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Old 07-07-2015, 12:35 PM   #1
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Tell Me Your Experience, Please

We've never had a motorhome, always trailers, however I'm considering going to a motorhome and selling the truck and trailer, and I would like to hear from those that have done the same.

Wondering how you like the M/H compared to the trailer. I know they have more room (late model Diesel pusher is what I'd be interested in). I'm wondering how they ride compared to a 3/4 ton truck and trailer, how they travel in general, how easy they are to set up in comparison, etc.

I know they probably use more fuel, but how much? If we did this, we would definitely have a towed vehicle, but at this time I don't know what it would be.

One of my thoughts is I really don't "like" to drive the truck we have, and only use it to tow the trailer. Does a good job of that, but otherwise it's too big. It just sets in the garage when not towing, and when we do get to a destination, I don't like to drive it around because of it's size, etc. Too hard to drive in traffic and too hard to park.

Please tell me your thoughts and experiences.
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Old 07-07-2015, 01:47 PM   #2
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Steve, we had our 2006 Classic 28' for 8 years and enjoyed every minute of it. Last year we sold it and bought a 2002 XC365 diesel pusher. I will try to answer your questions in the order you asked them. Do we like it? You bet. But, we liked the trailer as well, there are just different reasons to like the motorhome and they are all pretty obvious. Ours rides like a log wagon, probably because the tires need to be close to capacity to carry the load. It drives great but it does require constant attention to what is going on around you. They don't stop on a dime!. Its very easy to set up in a campground, very manuverable for its size and pulling the jeep is no different than pulling a trailer (except you can't backup so you must pay attention when pulling in for fuel, etc). We get about 8 mpg at best pulling the jeep and driving between 62 and 65. That is what I expected but frankly, it really doesn't matter. If you want a diesel pusher, the poor mpg and costs of maintenance are part of the fun!!! We completely remodeled the interior since it was pretty dated. It requires more attention because there are so many systems but I'm fairly handy so that has not been an issue for us. The move to a motorhome was good for us, YMMV.
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Old 07-07-2015, 02:03 PM   #3
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Thanks for your input Greg. I'm surprised you say the ride is not good because your M/H should have the air ride? The ride is only good in my truck with trailer in tow when there is a really smooth road, but how often is that these days? Wouldn't the fuel mileage be even worse with a gasoline M/H?

When you say "completely remodeled the interior", do you mean fabrics, or did you change any of the cabinetry?

One of the things that gets tiring to me on a trip is constantly having to drag out the leveling blocks to get the trailer level from side to side, but maybe I'm too picky about this. Do the M/H stabilizers also level the coach?
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Old 07-07-2015, 02:53 PM   #4
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We do ride on air but this is the first MH I have driven, I just expected a softer ride. But as I have been reminded, it is a truck chassis so don't expect it to ride like a Cadillac. Can't speak to mileage on gas but it certainly won't have the torque of the diesel. Interior remodel included all fabrics (not the leather), carpet replaced with cork, all new cabinet hardware (cabinets themselves were fine), everything that was bright brass was replaced or painted with a bronze finish, kitchen back splash mirrors removed and replaced with a faux tile. Jacks do indeed level the coach with the push of a button! Not a bad way to travel or camp.
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Old 07-07-2015, 04:13 PM   #5
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I have had 3 major motorhomes, an Argosy, an Airstream 310, and a GMC as well as god knows how many Airstream and Argosy trailers in the past 38 years. I loved them all in their way and for a while, but have settled on my 20' Argosy and 20' Airstream now and will not be changing back.

The motorhome issues I dislike have always been these.

1. You are stuck where you are camped and cannot go anywhere else unless you tow a vehicle behind the MH. If I am going to tow something, it will be a trailer and then use the tow vehicle for transportation.
2. Motorhomes technologically "age out". That is technology changes but you are stuck with what they built in when the rig was made. Upgrading things like carbs to fuel injection are very difficult. Brakes get out of date, and parts can be hard to find. The motorhome chassis is just fixed in time. With a trailer, you can simply buy a new tow vehicle and are up to date as the living parts of the trailer don't age the same way.
3. Motorhomes are expensive to service and the entire rig is out of service when it is done. I was always having my 310 aligned (for one example) and it took a day and cost $300. Brake service is expensive as is everything else on the driving part. Finding someone who knew anything about the Air suspension on my 310 or GMC motorhomes was impossible, so I had to learn how they worked and how to service them myself.
4. Motorhomes are relatively expensive to own and sit around with their chassis unused most of the time. A tow vehicle has other uses. License and insurance costs sit wasted in storage most of the time. They can be expensive, depending on your location.
5. Milage on most motorhomes is far less than towed Airstreams. My Argosy and 310 both ran 8 to 10 mpg. My towed Airstreams average out at about 13 mpg. Note that I have never towed with a truck, other than one Diesel Suburban. Mostly I have towed with Jeep vehicles, SUV's.
6. Tires for a motorhome are expensive, at least for the ones I have owned. The best I have done is about 30,000 miles on a set. At $1800 a set, and 30,000 miles (with luck) that is 6 cents a mile for tires alone.

So that is a view from someone who has had both.
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Old 07-07-2015, 07:00 PM   #6
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Yes, I sort of know the advantages and disadvantages of each, but in my case I maintain a dedicated tow vehicle that I don't drive unless I am towing the trailer. If I sold the trailer, I would also sell the tow vehicle, or trade it. I have an FJ Cruiser that is my daily run around town car, and I much prefer to drive it. Too bad it's not flat towable.

That means I would trade the FJ for something that would be a driver and a towed vehicle, so end result I would be reducing the "fleet" by one.

A 3/4 ton 4X4 truck is not handy to drive around town at all, but that's pretty much what's required IMHO to tow the trailer we have.

Guess what I'm most interested in is people's opinion of a M/H's ride, and overall convenience compared to a trailer. We seem to be spending more time in the trailer these days, and the extra space and storage space would really be nice.
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Old 07-07-2015, 11:03 PM   #7
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Tell Me Your Experience, Please

Service and roadside repairs. Towing. Need to has yet another drivetrain to maintain. Etc. Get ready to trade often.

If you travel six months or more I can see it. Really, a Moho is best for a group. For two it's just a lot of work for purported convenience.

And none of them drive well. Even accounting for some modicum of skill I can't tell you how often I wished the Class A pushers were on Channel 19 so I could blast them an earful. They're crap at speed. Any wind at all and they're a problem. That they are better than they once were is no excuse.

Too bad the FMC isn't still in production. Low slung, fully independent suspension. Genuine Dodge power in the rear. Mohos were never better than that.

Jes getcha an old Class 8 Volvo and sling a smart car on the deck. Yank a 22,000 -lb New Horizons 5er with it. Lots of clabber on SKP
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Old 07-08-2015, 05:43 AM   #8
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We have friends that have an Airstream Diesel pusher motorhome, and have traveled with them on several trips. They seem to have no trouble traveling right along with us at 65 on most any terrain, and this while towing a Jeep.

However, I would not consider buying anything without first driving it.
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:23 AM   #9
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My first experience was a class A rental in Alaska. We spend a month in a 30 foot something that waddled down the road like a duck. The only thing impressive was the ability of that Triton V10 to convert fuel into noise with so little performance. I would never consider owning one until I drove a couple rear engine diesels. I've also towed trailers and found them to have their own set challenges and issues.

Ours drives very well, has plenty of power to cruise 70 to 80 on the interstates and does better than most trucks in the mountains. It rides well and is stabile in reasonable winds. If the winds are bad enough to kick it around the trucks and travel trailers are fighting too.

We get about 13 mpg. We like traveling in it. We stop and it's set up. There are pros and cons. Test drive before you buy and see if you like the way drives. We travel with bikes on the back.
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:39 AM   #10
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:43 AM   #11
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Thank you idroba, I concur with your comments. No way would we go back to a MH.
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:53 AM   #12
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SteveH,
If you do purchase a motorhome, will you be selling your trailer?
I have always thought a 34' Classic with slide to be the ultimate Airstream trailer.
Maybe I could sell my Classic 30 and purchase your 34'.
I reckon I am sinning by coveting your long, long trailer with a slide.
If I were ever able to afford a motorhome, I would want an Airstream Classic diesel pusher ('94-'95-'96?), but they are already 20 years old and there were never very many of them built.
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Old 07-08-2015, 12:05 PM   #13
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SteveH,
If you do purchase a motorhome, will you be selling your trailer?
I have always thought a 34' Classic with slide to be the ultimate Airstream trailer.
Maybe I could sell my Classic 30 and purchase your 34'.
I reckon I am sinning by coveting your long, long trailer with a slide.
If I were ever able to afford a motorhome, I would want an Airstream Classic diesel pusher ('94-'95-'96?), but they are already 20 years old and there were never very many of them built.
If I do decide to buy a motorhome, yes I will have to sell the trailer, and I will advertise it here first. I have several people that say they are interested, but you know how that goes. Also have a friend that is just in a tizzy to buy my truck.

Anyway, if the decision is made to go that direction, it will not be before the middle of September because of "other commitments".
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Old 07-08-2015, 12:27 PM   #14
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I grew up in a towable family but it was my dream since age 4 to have my own motor home one day. Sure enough at 16 I bought my first Class A (I'd been blessed with a car already which I know most 16 year olds buy first). It was a beater to say the least ('85 Winnebago) which I upgraded to a '99 Bounder eventually. Well from day one I knew I wanted a diesel pusher but at the time they were out of my price range. Two years ago I joined the Airstraam community when I bought my current rig, a 2000 Landyacht XC diesel. I love it (yes if you've seen my other posts you know I'm ready to upgrade and am crestfallen that if AS doesn't make a new Class A OR I can find my dream '95 AS Classic diesel pusher...aka my unicorn...I'm going to have to go with another brand which right now is between a Foretravel and Newell). My long winded point is...
Class A all the way. I have a 2006 H2 for my toad and I honest to God get better mpg in my moho with toad that I do in the H2 itself (as the car is sub 10
MPG that's not saying much but...)
Here's where I recommend going class A versus towables. If your trips are all about the destination and not about the journey, and you stay at one spot for an extended period of time the go towable. Not even my parents 45' quad slide Newell (guess who was persuaded to go Class A after their son did and he was tired of them always wanting to borrow his rig over their 5th wheel? lol) has the space of a 40' 5th wheel (have you been in a DRV Suites?? Good lord...though my friend's had to buy a freakin' Volvo semi truck to tow the 20k pounder).
BUT! If you're like myself, and you jump from spot to spot and spend a good chunk of your trip driving, it's all about a Class A. Everything's already set to go. No need to extend a slide to use your bathroom (and ladies LOVE the bathroom on wheels as I call it quite often). And if you're into dry camping then there's no other choice. Class A's (pushers in particular) have waaaayyy bigger tanks and capacity to go a good week off the grid if need be. I myself have an array of solar on my rig...still need a little more as I can only run 1 AC on solar...need the genset on for the other.

In the end they're totally worth it if you have the use for it. Are they more expensive? Dear lord yes...but even then marginally if you had an International truck as your tow vehicle like I did.

Lastly, are you SURE an FJ cruiser can't be towed 4 down? I know I've seen one as a toad before but it was probably a manual tranny. Even if yours is an automatic as long as you can put your transfer case in neutral you can tow it 4 down (assuming it's 4 wheel drive..if it's all wheel drive you'll need a flat bed or a new car)

Anyways. I say do it. You'll love it. I guarantee that if you've been thinking about it even a little you definitely want to do it down inside. Oh and the set up? Say bye bye to Lego bricks forever. Just put it in park and push one button and it levels itself.

P.S. Go diesel. If you go gas you'll just have pusher envy and trade up one day anyways so just skip that step
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Old 07-08-2015, 01:01 PM   #15
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SteveH. We made the mistake of selling a perfectly great 30' AS and F250 Diesel and buying a brand new 38' Newmar Motorhome. I say mistake as I am a driver, love to drive and have driven almost every vehicle you can imagine over the years. I have a CDL as does my wife, who drove a school bus for 25 years. The motorhome itself was great, it was a Ford V10, incredible engine, but not enough for a 22,000 # MoHo which towed a Jeep Wrangler.

Anyway, we always dreamed of a MoHo, so worked a deal on the MoHo by trading both the F250 and AS. Deal was so good dealer could not sell the truck for what he had in it so they kept it. We test drove the MoHo, without towing. Drove ok, not great but we decided to accept the short comings and move forward on our dream and dream retirement trip out west - 7,500 miles in 7 weeks.

The Gasser was under powered as noted and brakes are not sufficient at all. Handling is awful, recall I've driven everything and my wife a school bus. This top of the line MoHo drove significantly worse than a school bus. Wind had it all over the road, literally could not keep it in my lane of choice. Out of curiosity I talked to every MoHo owner I could in the first four campgrounds we stayed in. To a person the diesel owners said "oh we had a gas for six months" Or we tried a gas for a couple of years an switched to diesel and they still don't like the way they handle. Unless you move into the Million $ plus range, they seemed to be ok with everything.

By the end of the forth week I had the MoHo selling dealer agreeing to take the MoHo back in on trade, buying an AS we were going to order from the local AS dealer and we worked our deal with both dealers, but the selling dealer was the MoHo dealer on our new AS. We ordered a new truck from our Ford dealer and when we got home in mid October everything was in place and we waited for the AS to be made. We picked up our new Ford 350 in November and the AS in December. The trip out to the MoHo dealer in the MoHo confirmed how much I did not like driving the thing, the trip back home in the F350 and AS confirmed how much we both enjoyed towing the AS.

I've relayed this story to a lot of friends all considering a gas MoHo or entry level Diesel, not up over $250,000 and each one has either purchased an AS or a 5th wheel. Setting up the MoHo in campgrounds is easy and great, staying in it was terrific, two slides - bath and a half etc. But could not overcome the poor handling and driving is a big part of our adventures out.

If you go MoHo, go big and go heavy or in my opinion don't go. The entry level diesels today are not what they were in the late 90's or early 2000's. They are lighter, underpowered due to emissions etc. Many mfgs have had to go to tag axles just to be able to carry the added weight of the new emissions garbage.
I do agree with LucasS if you simply travel to a destination and stay put, I would still go MoHo, but they way we travel it just did not work.

So there you have our story, Best of luck

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Old 07-08-2015, 01:04 PM   #16
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Due to my husband having Macular Degeneration we have a beautiful Holiday Rambler 38' Imperial motor home that we will be selling. It is beautiful inside and out. Was their show coach for 2001. In perfect condition and has not been out of its home in 7 years. 35,000 miles on a Cummins engine with a great transmission, a 7000 generator that operates 2 A/C units. Since we have bought an Airstream trailer that I can pull we will be putting the motor home up for sale if you are interested I will watch this string and give you info.
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Old 07-08-2015, 01:34 PM   #17
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Lastly, are you SURE an FJ cruiser can't be towed 4 down? I know I've seen one as a toad before but it was probably a manual tranny. Even if yours is an automatic as long as you can put your transfer case in neutral you can tow it 4 down (assuming it's 4 wheel drive..if it's all wheel drive you'll need a flat bed or a new car)
Thanks for all your thoughts.

I have done lots of checking on towing the FJ and the only way it could be done is with a drive shaft disconnect system (it's 2WD Auto), and then they don't recommend any towing or off roading with the disconnect system. In all my searching on the subject, I found NO Toyota vehicles that could be towed 4 down, not even the 4WD manual transmission versions.
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Old 07-08-2015, 06:14 PM   #18
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If I do decide to buy a motorhome, yes I will have to sell the trailer, and I will advertise it here first. I have several people that say they are interested, but you know how that goes. Also have a friend that is just in a tizzy to buy my truck.

Anyway, if the decision is made to go that direction, it will not be before the middle of September because of "other commitments".

Of course there would be a contingency-
I would have to sell my trailer to buy your trailer.
I would also have to buy your truck, too. I think the 34' with a slide is more weight and tongue weight than a half ton would be comfortable with.
I was going to buy s 1988 Excella 34' and pull it with my Tundra, but it weighed less and had less tongue weight than your "wide body" with a slide.


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Old 07-08-2015, 06:29 PM   #19
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The Airstream motorhomes must be hard to back up. I have a CA friend that runs over stuff when he backs up.
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:02 PM   #20
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No more difficult to back than any other 36' long vehicle-


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