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Old 08-06-2020, 11:43 AM   #1
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switch to a motor coach?

My wife and I are thinking ahead a few years. We are wondering if we're going to get to the point of not being able to do all the work of hooking up a trailer. Never having owned any sort of motorcoach rv I'm wondering what the experience has been for folks who have used both?

things that concern me now:
My stinger for the Hensley is 48 lbs and has to be put on and off several times a trip.
If we forgo hook ups I have a generator to lug around.
I'm ok with the manual zipdee awning for now, but it'll be a chore in the future.
We do not carry everything in the camper so every trip means loading and unloading the truck bed(my daily vehicle).
It seems like driving one long solid vehicle (maybe 40ft?) would be simpler than hauling a 34ft trailer with an 18 foot truck?

Is it easier to just get in a motor coach and drive away? With its auto levelers and onboard generator and basement storage...is it really as easy as it appears to pull into camp, drop the landing gear, and do the hookups?

We are healthy, in our mid 60s, and want to be on the road as long as possible but our years are numbered and we want the next ten to be the best ever!
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Old 08-06-2020, 12:18 PM   #2
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I went the other way.
40' motorhome to Airstream.
First, my bad knees didn't like the five steps getting in and out.
It required a lot of maintenance, $500 oil changes, roof reseals, dashboard air always needing repair. $500 tires (thankfully you never wear them out but they dry rot.) Yes, the jacks are nice, but they're not maintenance free either. If they won't go up, you're not moving.
I got about 8 1/4 mpg. I'd go 600 miles on a tank.
Unless you have a "toad", you can't get around while the MH is parked.
I loved the MH, it had tons of space and storage and never let me down, and it was fun to drive. But it just became too expensive to maintain after I retired. Since I was solo, it was just too big. I remember being camped one night by myself, and the guy in front of me had a truck camper and three boys. Yikes!
The secret of a motorhome is to use it a lot. They punish you for ignoring them.
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Old 08-06-2020, 01:35 PM   #3
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We are in our mid-70ís and actually doing the reverse. We love the interior space and convenience in setup. You can also carry an enormous amount of stuff if that is important to you.

Our reason for change involves our adjustment in the camping we wish to do which is now an emphasis on state and national parks. We are also looking to reduce system complexity and annual service cost.

Class A Motorhomes are wider and much taller than the trailer so site selection and route planning are more complicated. Slide and leveling systems do fail and require service which may or may not be available near you at the time of need. Service, particularly for diesels, is expensive.

None of this should be considered a deal breaker. It is all manageable, but you need to know going in that it can be much more expensive and inconvenient. Fellow RVers are alway happy to help, too, when you need advice or that tool you need to get in the road again.
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Old 08-06-2020, 01:59 PM   #4
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The good thing about RVing is... there's a type/size/model for almost everyone. You mention motor coach and I presume that means a Class A based on your comments. A few thoughts to ponder:

1) What kind of travel do you anticipate? Weekends? Weeks? Months? Seasonal? How much "space" do you really need?

2) Class A motorhomes have many "features" but they also have many complexities. We know several people with Class A motorhomes and they are not inexpensive to service and many of the systems almost require a technician.

3) Driving one large vehicle may be easier than towing a trailer but I wonder if that's really true. We go lots of places with our trailer that a Class A motorhome wouldn't even consider - gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, metropolitan areas, etc.

4) With a Class A you're almost certainly going to want a small "toad" so you can get around locally. If you tow something, in most cases you cannot back up the rig with the toad attached. The exception to that is if you actually tow a trailer. But wow, is that ever more complicated than a tow vehicle and an Airstream.

5) Have you considered a Class B (or perhaps a Class C)? In addition to our Airstream trailer we have an Interstate van. The van would almost certainly win out over the trailer if we had to choose one. Fortunately we can have both and enjoy them in slightly different ways. We are surprised how much room the van has in it (i.e. storage). We have been on trips for several weeks and not had a problem. We wouldn't hesitate to use the van on a trip for several months. Would we go someplace for the "season" and remain in one place for several months? Not likely in the van. Yes, the van is much more compact than the trailer and clearly more compact than a Class A but it's so much more flexible. Stop here to eat, go there to sightsee, stop at a friend/family house for the night. Go, go, go. Don't tow a "toad" and you'll be amazed how nimble you are. The best thing about a Class B (maybe a C) is... you always have everything with you - your clothes, your bed, your bathroom, your food, etc. There's no need to go back to the campground - just go over the next hill, around the next corner, and on to your next campsite!
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Old 08-06-2020, 03:34 PM   #5
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I am not real sure that thinking ahead is a useful way to approach aging. Our decisions seem to be pretty much dictated by circumstances. I would suggest keeping the trailer until you just do not want to do that anymore and then decide on a motorhome or some other method of recreational travel. Maybe a park model in a nice Florida resort? Maybe a condo somewhere. Maybe it is easier to hook up the towed to a motor home than a trailer to a truck? Maybe not.
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:28 AM   #6
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We did the same, went from a Tiffin Breeze DP to our Lance TT. Cost difference is tremendous.
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Old 08-07-2020, 11:03 AM   #7
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We started out with a used Class A and are generally happy with it. Circumstances have kept us to a few local trips a year, and we did go with Airstream but never had a trailer. So I'm offering a few user comments without trailer comparisons.

nvestysly mentions consideration of a Class B or C instead of an A, and there is an extremely diverse range of models/sizes on the market today. If you are buying a new, or newer moho then maintenance is pretty much the combination of the house part(=the trailer) and the chassis. Our older Land Yacht is on a truck chassis that Workhorse stopped offering but oil, chassis lube, etc are commensurate with the vehicle age and mileage. The issues we have had are not Class A-specific but design issues, such as the older design battery charger is only a single stage so it specializes in boiling batteries. (Upgraded 3 or 4 stage will be installed this month.)

The Land Yacht model we bought is smaller than many Class A's, still 30 feet but a little narrower and less tall so a little easier to maneuver as opposed to a "full size" 30 footer. It only deploys one step to get in but we usually add an external half step to start.It is easy to get dazzled by newer full size rigs but consider the overall handling, parking, etc.

We test drove several mohos before we found this used one and found the then-current designs drove better, were easier to maneuver and many were well designed inside, but quality varied considerably.

Feel free to post any Q's, or message me if you have any specific questions.
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Old 08-07-2020, 11:10 AM   #8
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Switched back to an Airstream

I agree with MollysDad completely.

In 2015, we were full timing in our Ocean Breeze and thought we needed more room. We bought a slightly used 37' Tiffin Phaeton Diesel pusher. The maintenance costs were overwhelming, about $10,000 in two years including a set of tires.

Every time we camped, we wondered if the slides would come back in or if the levelers would retract.

Way too much complexity and not fun to drive.

We're back to an Airstream not and won't make that mistake again.
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Old 08-07-2020, 12:52 PM   #9
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Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful input. We DO like our 34 Classic especially since we've redone the interior and converted it to an elegant farmhouse look as opposed to the original 'grandma's upholstery everywhere' vibe. Maybe I'll start doing some yoga and tough it out!

I did not think the increased expense of motor coach would be that high but the results seem unanimous. Oil changes and tires would be quadruple what it is now. Deal breaker... thanks again.

dvg
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Old 08-07-2020, 02:04 PM   #10
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"I'm ok with the manual zipdee awning for now, but it'll be a chore in the future."

Have you seen the Zip Dee strut handles? I have them and they work great. They give you a lever, mechanical advantage, to push against, Also they help when you collapse the awning for rolling up. The handles fold close when awning is up. I believe I bought them on the Airstream web site.
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:11 PM   #11
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Smile Motorhome?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dvgofaz View Post
My wife and I are thinking ahead a few years. We are wondering if we're going to get to the point of not being able to do all the work of hooking up a trailer. Never having owned any sort of motorcoach rv I'm wondering what the experience has been for folks who have used both?

things that concern me now:
My stinger for the Hensley is 48 lbs and has to be put on and off several times a trip.
If we forgo hook ups I have a generator to lug around.
I'm ok with the manual zipdee awning for now, but it'll be a chore in the future.
We do not carry everything in the camper so every trip means loading and unloading the truck bed(my daily vehicle).
It seems like driving one long solid vehicle (maybe 40ft?) would be simpler than hauling a 34ft trailer with an 18 foot truck?

Is it easier to just get in a motor coach and drive away? With its auto levelers and onboard generator and basement storage...is it really as easy as it appears to pull into camp, drop the landing gear, and do the hookups?

We are healthy, in our mid 60s, and want to be on the road as long as possible but our years are numbered and we want the next ten to be the best ever!
We like having everything aboard the motorhome, pulling over, starting the generator and AC, and making lunch. Even leaving our little dog with the AC running while we eat at a restaurant.

Having the "basement" storage is a blessing.

Having migrated from a fifth wheel, it was handy having a tow vehicle, but we now tow our pickup behind the coach which is handy for many little side trips.

All in all, the coach is a better way to travel for us, with the fridge on year round, so picking up and going camping is simplified.

Enjoy your camping whatever you decide.

And we do enjoy our automated awning....

Ron
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelingJim View Post
Way too much complexity and not fun to drive.
Too many systems. (Mine was fun to drive and I never had trouble with a slide.)
Here's the rub. My builder took a great Spartan chassis and mated it with a living quarters made in house. Do you know how much wiring went between the two major parts? It was accomplished using relays. I had an entire panel of relays. You flip a switch and the relay closes and connects the other half. Most weren't even labeled. Troubleshooting was impossible, except for the great techs at Lazy Days and then it was expensive. I was quoted $104 for wiper blades! NO! The air filter for the Cat engine was $275! 4 house batteries and two chassis batteries! Since it sat so long, I'd be replacing all almost every year.
It just wore me down.
I've said if I won Powerball, I'd get another and just pay someone to keep after it. Maybe a nice Bluebird or Eagle!
Until then, I love the Airstream. Everything about it.....maybe not the awning.
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Old 08-07-2020, 04:08 PM   #13
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We did the reverse -- Class A DP to Airstream. As others have said, MH is expensive and more maintenance. We also didn't like the way our MH drove (like a really old truck with really loose steering). That may have been due to the short WB and heavy diesel in the back. Definitely drive several of them both on highway and in close quarters before you make the move. Numerous threads in MH forums about steering & suspension mods to try and get them to ride & handle better. We drove & immediately rejected a Winnebago View (Sprinter chassis) because of the ride & lack of weight capacity.

I also found hooking up the toad to be more work & took longer that hooking up the WD hitch on the AS. As for the hitch, we leave it on the truck for duration of the trip, only remove it at home where I have tools to lift it.

Nearly anything on the AS that breaks, I can fix myself if I have time & inclination. On the MH, it's a bus chassis, many things that I knew how to fix I couldn't because everything is so big & heavy. Engine access on many of the newer models is non-existant. You're totally at the mercy of the repair shops who are mostly booked up to get repairs done.

If you do decide to make the switch, look closely at Tiffin. Much better made than many other brands with outstanding customer service. Their brand loyalty is similar to Airstream as a result.
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Old 08-07-2020, 05:13 PM   #14
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Had a small class A, every time we went out something broke, as long as I can hook up the TT, will be going that route for sure. Nice to have your TV to get around!
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Old 08-07-2020, 05:57 PM   #15
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Motor home vs Airstream

We are on our third Airstream, and a couple of years ago purchased a class C motor home (24' Forester on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis, and full slide out). We had previously rented a motor home on two different occasions going to Alaska, and the simplicity of pulling in to a campground and not having to get out (if mosquitoes, etc.) was a sanity saver.



What we have found is that if we are going to spend multiple days at one or more locations, we like the Airstream better, because we still have our tow vehicle to drive around in. If we are primarily touring, where almost every night is a different location, then the motor home works best.



We toured the U.S. with the motor home and loved it, but didn't tow a car.


While we get reasonable mileage of about 13-14 mpg (turbocharged 6cyl diesel) the maintenance costs are definitely higher than a trailer. If one does the maintenance that Mercedes "requires" to maintain the warranty, it costs in excess of $1,200 per year. When we purchased the motor home we were sold a contract to cover repairs ($100 deductible). That was $5,000 to $6,000, and we've had to use it a fair amount. I don't know about other RV repair facilities, but the one we use often has about a one month turn around on repairs. That is a real irritation because you are without the RV when you might have planned on using it. On more than one occasion I had planned on going somewhere with the motor home, only to have to revise my plans and take the Airstream because the RV was tied up in the shop. All of our actual repairs were on the Forester, not the Mercedes chassis.


Summary:
Touring: Motor home
Camping: Airstream
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Old 08-10-2020, 02:31 PM   #16
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Trailers are more convenient than hitching and unhitching a "toad" (towed vehicle). I leave my stinger on the trailer, and/or if left on the TV, secure a small 8" traffic cone on it for noticeability. The only time you need to lift at all is when you reposition the stinger from the hitch head to the receiver before reconnecting. The simple and easiest way is to backup, using you truck's backup camera, close enough to be able to lift the stinger up a little and slide it in the receiver. Let the stinger and receiver carry the weight except lifting enough to slide it forward.
Trailering for 50+ years now!
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Old 08-10-2020, 02:38 PM   #17
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Take a look at this thread. Great heartfelt contributions from fellow members making it very informative - and moving at times:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f42...nd-211542.html

The main thing is to keep rolling! See you on the trail.

Cheers,
John
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Old 08-10-2020, 04:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvgofaz View Post
Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful input. We DO like our 34 Classic especially since we've redone the interior and converted it to an elegant farmhouse look as opposed to the original 'grandma's upholstery everywhere' vibe. Maybe I'll start doing some yoga and tough it out!

I did not think the increased expense of motor coach would be that high but the results seem unanimous. Oil changes and tires would be quadruple what it is now. Deal breaker... thanks again.

dvg
Maybe rent a MH and try it before you buy it. I have No experience with MHomes but noticed on some of the Utube channels that they seem noisy going down the road, with rattles and engine noise and plates clanking, stove tips clanking etc. Compared to us in our pick ups cruising along with a giant Coors lite can quietly following behind us
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:09 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultraclassic View Post
Maybe rent a MH and try it before you buy it. I have No experience with MHomes but noticed on some of the Utube channels that they seem noisy going down the road, with rattles and engine noise and plates clanking, stove tips clanking etc. Compared to us in our pick ups cruising along with a giant Coors lite can quietly following behind us
In defense of Class A's: Yes, they are louder than a nice insulated solid pickup. It is a large lightly insulated box on wheels so it is bound to have more road and wind noise but I HATE clanking, squeaking, etc and have chased down just about all of those interior noises. A little extra pots&pans, plates packing helps keep everything quiet. We like the ability to pull over, just unbuckle and step in back for whatever we need.
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:38 AM   #20
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Quote:
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they seem noisy going down the road, with rattles and engine noise and plates clanking, stove tips clanking etc. Compared to us in our pick ups cruising along with a giant Coors lite can quietly following behind us
Yes, they can be noisy. Especially gas versions because the engine is next to you. The diesels are very quiet on good roads. My tires ran 95 psi so they were hard. Tar strips or potholes had everything jumping.
Everything in your Airstream is jumping also, but you just don't hear it.
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