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Old 09-11-2014, 09:07 PM   #1
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Default Absolute and total newbie

Hi folks,
I have never owned an RV and have only slept in a class C once so I don't even know what questions to start with.

Here's our brief history. My wife and I are in out late fifties. We live in Montana andI have a seasonal business that is closed from Nov to April. We love long road trips and prefer to stay in one location for 2 weeks or less. Up until now it has been motels/vacation rentals/, and cottages. Many of our side trips have been skipped because of distance from any lodging, and I thoroughly dislike tenting! We have perused every type of RV available (from the unimog to the 42 bus)With our lifestyle we have decided on the class B 3500 sprinter chassis. That's as far as we can go at this point because we don't know anything we need to know and we don't know where to start. Can somebody point me in the right direction. I've tried to find a sprinter to rent for a month but so far that has been a waste of time. We plan on purchasing our RV in late 2015 or early 2016.
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Old 09-11-2014, 09:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: Absolute and total newbie

Welcome

Here's a lot of information. Long post! Don't worry if none of it make sense right now - it soon will.

As an overview, typically you get all or most of the following in a Class B van:

Isolator or Battery Separator separates house battery from engine battery to prevent a dead engine starting battery but allows all batteries to get charged when engine running.
House Battery(ies) provides 12v power to the coach to lights, fan & water pump etc.
House Battery Disconnect Switch disconnects the house battery to prevent discharge when you are not using the RV.
Converter provides 12 volt DC for lights etc. and charges house battery when plugged into utility power.
Inverter gives you 110 volt AC from your 12 volt DC batteries so you charge a phone or watch TV.
Generator used to provide 110 volts AC to the RV. Often needed to run the coach Air Conditioner or Microwave oven.
110 volt electrical panel with breakers
12v distribution panel with fuses
Transfer Relay - automatically switches the coach from generator power to utility power.
Fridge with freezer.
Stove top.
Furnace for heating the coach in cold weather.
Thermostat to control the furnace.
Water Heater propane or combo propane and electric, can be DSI (lit automatically) or pilot light (manual)
Water Heater by-pass valve used when winterizing the plumbing system.
Water Pump
City water connection lets you use campground water instead of onboard water
Fresh water tank
Fresh water tank fill
Fresh water tank drain
Waste Tanks
Waste Tank discharge valves black tank (toilet) and grey tank (sink & shower) dumping valves
Waste hose storage
Front seats may swivel to face rear of van extends the van living space
Propane detector 12v propane leak detector
C0 detector carbon monoxide detector
Smoke detector
Monitor panel showing propane, battery charge state, water and waste levels
Propane fill valve
Propane shutoff valve
Propane Tank
110 volt 30amp power inlet - power the coach when plugged in
Cable TV inlet
TV antenna
TV outlet
TV,
Stereo
Shower
Ventilation Fan
Air Conditioning (both for the coach and the cab)
Rear Hitch for towing or bike racks etc.
Toilet
Sink(s)
Fitted cushions
Lighting
Exterior storage compartments
Curtains or blinds / shades

Different manufacturers do different things but that should give you a good idea of the items involved.

Browse through some owner manuals for a more detailed explanation of what does what and how to do things:

Winnebago ERA owners manual
http://www.winnebagoind.com/resources/m ... /15Era.pdf

Airstream Interstate owners manual
http://www.airstream.com/wp-content/upl ... manual.pdf

Roadtrek RS Adventurous owners manual
http://www.roadtrek.com/_uploads/manual ... _model.pdf

All this should give you a good idea of the systems involved.

Do think you'll stay in campgrounds or "boondock" either in forestry type sites or even parking lots like Walmart? Or will it be a mix of both?
Do you think you'll prefer to shower in your van or at campground showers?

They're more or less questions for you to answer for yourself. If dry camping (off-grid) you would probably want a Class B with at least two house batteries. If shower in the van you'll want a Class B with a comfortable (for you) shower.

Ask as many questions as you want.
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Old 09-11-2014, 10:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: Absolute and total newbie

Also, here are some links to Class B manufacturers:

Advanced RV
http://www.advanced-rv.com/

Pleasure-Way
http://www.pleasureway.com/

Roadtrek
http://www.roadtrek.com/

Winnebago
http://winnebagotouring.com/

Leisure Travel
http://www.leisurevans.com/

Safari Condo
http://www.safaricondo.com/en/motorises

Great West
http://www.greatwestvans.com/

Coach House
http://www.coachhouserv.com/model-V24.php

Midwest Automotive Designs
http://www.midwestautomotivedesigns.com ... el&model=9

Outside Van
http://www.outsidevan.com/

I probably forgot a few but they'll give you a good idea of what is available.
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: Absolute and total newbie

Lake Region RVs in Ramsey, Minnesota rents Class Bs I believe. That's Minneapolis/St. Paul Twin Cities area. It would also be a good place to check out if you are interested in buying as I suspect it might be the closest full Class B dealer to Montana.

http://www.lakeregionrvs.com/

Also, Advanced RV in Willoughby, Ohio has a Class B rental service.

http://rvrental.advanced-rv.com/
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: Absolute and total newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce
Hi folks,
I have never owned an RV and have only slept in a class C once so I don't even know what questions to start with.

Here's our brief history. My wife and I are in out late fifties. We live in Montana andI have a seasonal business that is closed from Nov to April. We love long road trips and prefer to stay in one location for 2 weeks or less. Up until now it has been motels/vacation rentals/, and cottages. Many of our side trips have been skipped because of distance from any lodging, and I thoroughly dislike tenting! We have perused every type of RV available (from the unimog to the 42 bus)With our lifestyle we have decided on the class B 3500 sprinter chassis. That's as far as we can go at this point because we don't know anything we need to know and we don't know where to start. Can somebody point me in the right direction. I've tried to find a sprinter to rent for a month but so far that has been a waste of time. We plan on purchasing our RV in late 2015 or early 2016.
The difficulty in purchasing your first B, is that you have no way of knowing how you will like it and how you will use it. For that reason, we went cheap on our first unit. We owned it for 1 month and determined that we loved the flexibility that this type of travel gives us. When we travelled by car and stayed in motels, we always had to decide if we were going to make reservations, or hope that we found a suitable motel. After purchasing the B, we gained a lot of flexibility, just get up in the morning, go and start looking for a suitable place to spend the evening, at around 3pm or so.

We liked the B form of travel so much that we traded up to a 2006 Road Trek, RS. It was a very nice van, but a little quirky in a nice way. We put 50,000 miles or so on that in two years, and traded up again, to a GWV Legend SE. It is very nice, but possibly, not as nice as the new van that Davydd, is having built

One option to consider is purchasing a lower cost used unit, knowing that you may incur some transaction cost if you decide to trade up.

I have found that almost everything, in RV's is a trade off. Unfortunately, without having some experience behind the wheel and living in one for extended periods, it is hard to tell what trade off's you are willing to live with.
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Absolute and total newbie

One of the biggest reasons for a Class B probably is the flitting factor as described in this Advanced RV news item. This is about a couple who currently travel extensively in a Class A pulling a Jeep. I never thought of it as the flitting factor but kind of like that description.

Why We're Downsizing to a Class B RV
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Absolute and total newbie

I will let others describe the features/benefits on the Class B, but I just had to ask this: Had you possibly considered touring by motorcycle? My wife and I enjoy travelling on a GoldWing every bit as much as we enjoy the Class B. Our favourite hotel chains are an easy find on the GPS.
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: Absolute and total newbie

Johnny R, did you read Bruce's message? They are in Montana and only have Nov-April available. They also stated many trips are avoided because of the lack of motels. Sure m-cycles are a wonderful way to travel. My wife and I have been in all 48 & lower Canada on 2 wheels. But we also m-homed and now prefer to stay dry while traveling.

Bruce, it makes sense to consider a good used to start since you have never done it. There are Class B available in used at varying prices. We sold our Class A bus last year and downsized and are glad we did. Although we started with a new Airstream Interstate Class B we switched out to a new Roadtrek CS Adventurous Extended length E-trek which is still on the assembly line.

I like to know that the bed I am sleeping in is mine and the bathroom I am using is mine. That's not to say we don't use motels since some of our travel cannot be done with a m-home.
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Old 09-17-2014, 12:33 AM   #9
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Default Re: Absolute and total newbie

You stated that you pursued every type of RV. what do you mean by that? does it mean think about? rent? go to dealer? what? If you did not rent and want to try one don't just limit yourself to a Sprinter if you cannot find one. Just go out and rent a class B and see if it suites you. At that point you may decide you like that or you may see the changes you want. then when you go to buy get what you want.
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Old 09-17-2014, 03:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: Absolute and total newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikerbill
Johnny R, did you read Bruce's message? They are in Montana and only have Nov-April available.
Ah yes, I did have it backwards.
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