Thinking about a Bus/RV

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I tend to agree with that premise. Some friends of ours have an Alfa and they love it. I'm not a huge fan of the interior layout (although we could change/adjust that). But, it's an orphan as Alfa went out of business in 2008 I believe.
     
  2. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Lots of companies bit the dust in 08. some have come back as new companies, but all do not honor warranties.
    Newmar works different, they do not build a coach until half the money is paid. They never went into debt during the down turn in the economy. As a result they have bought the Winnebago. or vice versa ?
    Most of the companies that supplied coaches prior to 08, built rock solid coaches. but many do not supply coach parts. fortunately most chassis are still available as truck parts.

    follow the Monaco story they built a full line of coaches.
     
  3. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Today,, I helped a guy with his brand new NEWALL. no one is exempt :) his coach is 2 million buck coach.
     
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  4. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    That is slightly above my budget. :)
     
  5. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    At the moment I have probably 10 that I would say are good considerations, with a pretty clear top 3 options, two of which are bus conversions, none of which have slides. Laurie just went to work today for a week, so I think the general idea will be to discuss pros and cons of the various ones and then have a plan for which one(s) we want to look at when she gets home and in what order. Like I said, some customization/work will need to be done regardless, but the goal is to have something that we can at least mostly hit the ground running with.
     
  6. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    I have yet to see a couple with kids that doesn't want more space.
     
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  7. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    I couldn't rationalize that either..
     
  8. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    All three of the top contenders are 45'ers. The rest are 40'ers. We both agreed that size matters.
     
  9. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    The slide gives you the space with out length. 45 foot is a lot to get in to a camp. the 40 with a slide will have more space.
    We simply don't see 45' in the in the national parks, you will see these at the camps outside and using the toad to sight see.

    and another consideration is 45 foot in traffic is a Pain in the _ss.
     
  10. ChemGuy

    ChemGuy Cleared for Takeoff

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    As much as I know Ted...only from the forum....these seem more your alley..

    https://www.buybyebluebird.com/

    https://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.com/forums/index.php

    They are great units with a rabid fan base for parts, info, help. Except for the RV part inside...its all standard commercial bus stuff.


    I spent several years selling products to the "RV" market...no thanks. Unless you go super high end heres how they were built....some meth'd up elkhart county dude spent 6 hours at the factory that day trying to get all his units built by 1-2pm so he could leave.

    The units selling for 300,000+ are built slower and with some higher end products, even they arent immune from the penny pinching frugality the RV industry is known for.

    My motto is buy old, buy cheap...your gonna have to fix em anyways might as well keep some money in your pocket.:D
     
  11. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    @ChemGuy I actually don’t like Wanderlodges - I think they’re ugly and not a fan of the interiors. Go figure. :)
     
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  12. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Well when I tow my trailer I’m about a 52 ft length, granted with a bend in the middle, and I used to parallel park things like that in Chicago and Manhattan. Not too worried about the traffic.

    The parks are another aspect. Not driving through at all or just not parked inside?
     
  13. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Ok Ted, now hear me out: combine your "thinking about a semi" thread and this thread and what do you get? A motorhome semi towing a 5th wheel, lol.

    Family gets to hang in the back, and you get a built in vehicle to drive after dropping off the 5th wheel. Heck, they may even be able to built it with a cab over![​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2020
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  14. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    @SoonerAviator well I did find this for sale.

    7EE6E91A-13FD-4EBD-A843-8EBD6AE55125.jpeg

    It’s a Pete 372 that’s basically converted into a 45’ Class C. With Lincoln Town Car headlights even!

    The price is within the budget, but I think a bit high, and the interior is in need of work. Still on the list though.
     
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  15. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    When we visited Yellowstone I started talking to a couple. He retired, they cashed everything in and bought a 5th wheel so they could travel the country. I asked him how it was working out. He said he wasn’t sure, it had only been 2 weeks. He liked the 5th wheel aspect. Pull into a campsite, unhook, and drive to sightsee. Many of the lots around the park do have big RV spaces but they fill up early. A toad or the truck you pull the trailer with are pretty much required.

    Different story when we were in Alaska. The class A coaches with nothing behind seemed popular for driving up from the lower 48. We talked with a couple from Atlanta that were on a 3 month trip.

    Different vehicles for different missions.
     
  16. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    I love the driver's door, ours does too. G/Ma does not have to move her seat. :)
     
  17. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Once while we were at Old Faithful the fifth wheel truck driver unhooked while they were sight seeing, some one took their parking spot. they actually parked under the trailer.
    we still laugh at that.
     
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  18. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Wow. That’s poor form. But that lot gets full early in the day.
     
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  19. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    That Pete is a really interesting find. The layout has a lot of issues with it and our intended use, things that we can't really change because it's a cabover (you can't move the engine). Might be a different story when the kids are older, but for now, probably the wrong answer.

    We've found a couple of other 45' options (no slides, naturally) that are appealing. To us, we see the benefit of the 45' vs. 40' being that we get the square footage of a 40' with slides, but we get it while rolling down the road. Granted there are limitations, not the least of which is that we have even fewer places we can park the thing, and that block of space it takes up is even bigger. However one thing I've noted on the Prevost group that I've been on is nobody who has a 45' wishes they had a 40', but a lot of people who have a 40' wish they had a 45'. So there's something to that, whether it's the grass is always greener on the other side or the extra space just really is useful. With 3 kids I figure we'll never find ourselves wanting for less interior space from a living perspective, but it will likely lend itself to the park-and-drive-the-toad for roaming in some areas... although I'm not convinced we wouldn't be doing that anyway.
     
  20. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    I don't see the advantage of a longer living area. because the seating area will be the same when driving. The seat belts area remains the same slide open or closed. we have seating for 7 open or closed.
    but the living area is more usable when the slide is open.
    I have yet to see the prefect coach, it is simply a trade off for the one you like most.
     
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  21. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Definitely agree with you there. Like airplanes or houses. :)

    I see your point regarding the living space. Although it does let you theoretically have more "stuff" since all the slides can really do is give more square footage, but that square footage needs to be empty since you have to be able to close it up when the slides come in.

    Really we need to go walk around a few and get an idea.
     
  22. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    we shopped for 3 years to find a coach we liked, then found ours by accident. it was in a park and sell lot. (Go figure)
    we looking a 34-36' when we found the 40'.
    Never buy from a dealer. more people in the deal, the more people to pay.
    be careful about tires, cheap tires are a death trap.
    buy quality, we don't like to be fixing cheap cabinets when you should be enjoying the family.
     
  23. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I basically agree with everything you said there. We do renovations on basically everything we have, so we'll expect to update/customize things. But it should be a joy not a burden. If it's a burden it takes the fun out of it.
     
  24. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Then you should be looking for the best chassis/engine you can find.
    Spartan/Cummins --- in my opinion. easy to get parts for.
     
  25. MIFlyer

    MIFlyer Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Ted, on that, it's nice to have a "living room" that you can get with slides, especially when it's rainy or there is some other reason not to be out. Also, think about your dog(s) sleeping in the hallway at night. with slide outs, there is more floor area at night for animals (2 and 4 legged) and for folks to still navigate around them in the dark to use the bathroom/etc. I think your sensibility to make sure that there is still comfortable, usable space inside when the slides are in and you're going down the road.

    I will also, in all seriousness extend an invitation for your family to base with us for a few days. We have gigabit internet, 50A power, water, sewer hookups next to a creek (on gravel or concrete, depending where you park) and a backyard trampoline, swingset and pool. We're also across the street from a lakefront public park on Lake Washington and an easy cruise to all kinds of things to go see (Mt Rainier, Seattle, San Juan Islands, etc). We'd love to host you and Laurie if you end up out west.
     
  26. charheep

    charheep Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    So for us with less squatters in the house, can I get by with something smaller and less $? 2 adults, 1 8 year old, and 2 idiot Labs.
     
  27. MIFlyer

    MIFlyer Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    You could consider a truck plus camper with only one kid. My buddy is doing that. 3/4 ton crew cab short box truck with a camper on top. He can park in any normal PARKING spot along the way, or as they run errands, but obviously, they have to pull over for pottie breaks/etc. If you want to go motorhome, then for a msaller crew you could evaluate not only small class A's, but take a peek at class B (sprinter van conversions) and class C (minnie winnie style)
     
  28. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    You find the Spartan to be better than Freightliner? I just don't know enough between the brands.

    Personally I'd rather have a Cat than a Cummins... but that's mostly because I think Cats sound better and I haven't owned a Cat engine in a road-going vehicle. :)

    You make good points there, and while we are planning on dog coming along we hadn't really accommodated for the size of dog, and the fact that he's big and likes to sleep on a couch. That would definitely increase the usefulness of slides (and certainly there's plenty to be said for slides all around), and something we do need to think about.

    I do truly appreciate that, so don't be surprised if we take you up on it. :)

    Right now we're also looking at a list of places we'd want to hit and planning out what trips like that could look like. Laurie's normal schedule is 8 on 6 off, so most of our trips have to fit into that 6 day timeframe somehow. She gets her vacation weeks which essentially give us 3 weeks straight we can go somewhere. One of those is in October and we're thinking that might be a good time for a tour of the southwest. More temperate climates, etc. But next summer would be a good time for a northwest adventure. Really, I'd love to throw motorcycles or the Cobra (once it's driving) in the trailer and get traveling.

    All of this assumes that things are open which... is a big maybe.
     
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  29. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Spartan is a fire truck chassis, with component assemblies, (front axel, rear axel, engine) the Spartan chassis are built as coaches, their ride is much softer, Freightliner not so much, many have straight front ends and have a rough ride, most start at trucks until you get into the high end and later years.
    basement, storage, ours has a 8' wide X 12' long storage area, ( in 3 compartments) because the frame rails are above the frame. With the wings and fuselage off we can put a whole C-150 in there. BTDT :)
     
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  30. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Good to know on the Spartan, I didn't realize that difference.

    I think ultimately which one we get is going to have more to do with the other features than anything, but it's good to know that Spartan is a positive when weighing the criteria.
     
  31. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    rear engined coaches you should not hear the engine, my 8.3 L with a programer to 400 horse gives me 10GPM after we get on the freeway. I set the cruise at 65 MPH, set the transmission to economy, and it cruise. with 150 gallons aboard I figure at 1000 miles between stops.
    the generator is diesel at about 1 Qt. per hour. we never run it while on trips.
    Things you want.
    Side radiator, rear engine,
    Our neighbor has a 37' coach with a C7 cat, he gets 6-7 miles per gallon. no matter what he's doing.
     
  32. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Spartan also makes chassis for custom fire trucks. Considering that the great majority of those chassis are tilt cab front engine RWD and most coaches are rear engine RWD designs, I wouldn't call what is under a class A motorhome a 'firetruck chassis'. If you looked at the specs for the frame rails and axles on a fire vs RV chassis, you would probably not confuse the two.
    We have a 20 year old Luverne engine on a Spartan chassis. It has a 450hp Cummins with an Allison 4000 series transmission and it has been very reliable.
     
  33. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Spartan manufactures a array of chassis, pick one that fits. :)

    for motorhomes this is a good thing.
     
  34. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    My understanding has always been that Cummins tends to be a bit more efficient than Cats, although I wonder what sort of tune he has in there. Depending on the emissions requirements and emissions equipment on there, yeah, it doesn't surprise me he would get bad mileage. I'd probably plan to get a tune in anything I got that didn't already have one.
     
  35. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    He does not have emission on his coach. it is about year as mine.
    He must clean his radiator every 10,000 miles or it over heats.

    I want a single piece windshield, our 2 piece has been replaced twice. (the new glued in window are great)
     
  36. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Research matters.

    While I’ve never shyed away from something big, I do try to keep things legal. Length restrictions are a problem with a 45’ RV.

    I found 4 states (plus DC) for which 40’ is the max length for an RV, plus national parks and almost all of Canada. That cuts out a lot of potential locations, including sitting in line at national parks to get in (much better in the RV than the toad).

    Perhaps a bigger deal is the total length restrictions. In most states it’s 65’, but there are 10 states (roughly) where it’s 60’ or less. What that means is I couldn’t even flat tow the Ram with a 45’ hardly anywhere legally. Then I’m stuck looking at buying another vehicle for a toad.

    For our planned use, that creates an issue. So I think that puts the 45’ ones out of the running. :(

    Back to 40s with slides.
     
  37. charheep

    charheep Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Can you rent some for a few days to test out things? rvshare.com is the site I use when I want to rent one. But I never looked for a 40' before.
     
  38. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    As long as you are legal in your home state you are good to go, many states have much longer regulations.
    getting the unit to fit is another story. :)
    we are 58' total, with the jeep tagging along, with the trailer it goes up to 65', parks are the problem.. but there are camp grounds outside of the parks. west yellow stone has several.
     
  39. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Gotta stay with the aviation theme....

    A DC-3 conversion with toad....
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  40. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    When I did the research Kansas is pretty much average. We’d be not legal with the 45 and the Ram, and then less legal in some places. I’m assuming the 40’ limit at national parks is enforced and hard to get around too?