|Home||RV Books||Blog||RV Links|
,,,,,,,. . .. .
Choosing That First RV
Before you begin your wandering lifestyle, select the perfect RV. Right away you save huge sums of money by deciding whether you want mobility or living space.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Small Motorhome for Mobility
Stay just about anywhere with this size:
Small Trailer for Living Comfort
Some access restrictions apply due to terrain, length of backing-in area,
Trailer coach (also known as a “tow behind”) - 19 to 25 feet
Trailer coach - 19 to 25 feet with slideout(s)
Fifth Wheel Trailer - 19 to 25 feet
Fifth Wheel Trailer - 19 to 25 feet with slideout(s)
Pop-up Tent Trailer - 8 to 16 feet
Large Motorhome for Full-timing - Mobility
At this size many state park systems are not available due to small spaces and narrow access. Some city and county parks accommodate these rigs. Generally steep approaches and long distances are not a problem which does allow access to remote parks with large sites.
Large Fifth Wheel for Full-timing - Comfort
Trailers this length are too cumbersome to allow much adventurous travel. This size is best for seasonal stays. Add, of course, the extra length for the large truck needed to pull something of this size and weight.
Slideouts are wonderful in that the appearance of extra space makes the adjustment to a Recreational Vehicle more enjoyable. If you are buying new, one slideout can add as much as $25,000 to the price. Even used RVs cash in on the extra value of slides.
The downside is the parking space required to expand the slide, and the possible mechanical problems with the slide mechanism and seals. Be aware that if you buy a new RV, many trips to the dealer are required to fix leaks and slide mechanisms. Buy quality!
Just a word here to remind you to think of value for the dollar. Ignore the glitter of brand new interiors. Check the wall and cabinet construction on the inside.
Ask about the quality of the insulation, type of suspension, roofing, braking system, engine, transmission, and other outside details.
Often the lower-priced RVs need after-market suspension and safety mechanisms added to make the driving experience acceptable and safe.
Purchasing a used high-end coach or fifth-wheel trailer gives you long term enjoyment and saves you the disappointment of a new purchase gone bad. Let the original owner purchase all the after-market enhancements...and spend the time at the manufacturer repairing the glitches...allowing you to drive away with a highway-ready rig.
The soon to be first-time RVer usually sees the extra room a trailer provides (particularly the fifth wheel version) and assumes that this is the perfect travel combination.
Think of the comparison as a choice between house-like comfort (trailer) or maneuverability and safety on the road (motorhome).
Do I want a diesel engine for power and long life...or a gas engine for up-front savings and ease of maintenance?
Diesel engines with their long life span, greater power, and better fuel economy seem to be very popular in the new RV market. As they are an unknown quantity to first-time RVers, research the different manufacturers before buying.
The low-end Detroit engine appears in a lot of new coaches. The Caterpillar and Cummins engines are found in the higher quality rigs. The horsepower varies from 250 to 450+.
The difference in price for diesel engine motorhomes is several thousand dollars from the low-end to the high-end, even in used rigs. Quality pays off here again.
Repairs on these engines run into thousands of dollars. They also go 350,000 miles without a glitch. Maintenance, as with all types of engines, must be kept up-to-date. Filters must be monitored as dirty ones easily foul the engine. Attention to detail makes the difference between flawless performance and costly repairs.
Gas engines, on the other hand, cut the cost of a new vehicle by as much as $20,000. In used vehicles, however, gas engines may be close to end-of-life.
These engines are more familiar to the average owner and maintenance as well as the cost of repair is lower.
The Ford V10 or E-350 (made in China) seems to be the engines used in the newer coaches. If you are looking at a used coach with a Chevrolet 454, make sure headers are installed to keep the engine from overheating, or drive it gently. A typical 454 is good for at least 50,000 miles before an overhaul is necessary.
To make the transition to this new lifestyle flow smoothly, always, always, always have an independent RV inspection before signing on the dotted line. You would never consider buying a house without one, so follow that same procedure when buying your new home, an RV.
Use the search engine at NRVIA.com to find the nearest certified inspector. If that fails, have the current owner or representative (sales agent) drive it to the nearest RV repair shop. Never take the word of the sales agent about the drive-away safety or integrity of the rig; leave that to an independent inspector.
The Maxwell Group Publishers
|Margo @ TheMaxwellGroup.net|