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Old 05-23-2015, 01:07 AM   #1
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Default Advice for an RV Newbie

Hi All,

My husband and I are considering purchasing a used Class B RV. We are very early in our research but are already feeling a little overwhelmed by the information out there. We were hoping to take a shortcut and get some advice from you all about what kind of RV we should be looking at, given our planned usage/needs.

We are a family of four: two adults, one infant (almost 5 months old now but probably around a year old or more by the time we purchase), and a cat (and we may expand with another baby in the next few years). We hope to be living in the RV fulltime for several months at a time (or longer, depending on how we like it). We want to be able to park it in the city/urban/suburban areas and also boondock in addition to staying in campsites, etc. Here are some things we think are important to us:

1) Fuel efficient (we plan on going all over and not just parking it in one place and staying long term)
2) Ability to park in regular parking spaces
3) Fits all our family members
4) Reliable/relatively easy to maintain
5) Safe/easier to drive
6) Good value
7) Ability to have some control over the temperature (we adults are okay layering, but I want my baby to be comfortable)

I thought it might be helpful to list things we don't care about that much:

1) Looks (in fact, we expect quite a bit of damage from our cat)
2) Luxury (we lived out of a tent for a few months and are used to navy showers, cramped spaces--and we're both pretty small people)

We think our budget would be around $30k, but clearly if we can spend less we'd prefer that. Neither of us are very mechanically inclined. We're willing to learn and put in a bit of elbow grease, but I have some doubts about our ability to ramp that up quickly, and we don't have many tools besides your typical hammer, wrench, screwdriver, etc.

Also, feel free to give us a reality check. Will this be miserable with a baby and a cat? Is our budget way too low? Do you have any advice or pointers to resources for those new to the Class B RV world?

Thanks in advance for your replies.
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Old 05-23-2015, 03:14 AM   #2
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Default Re: Advice for an RV Newbie

Your budget is fine. I waited and looked for months and struck when the time was right and got a beautiful unit for $4000.

My advice, no real order, just throwing it out
- Wait and look. Spring/beginning of summer people are asking for more than the van is worth. I got mine in the fall.
- The infant can sleep with you for now. Most B vans have either a large single bed or two singles that can sometimes be converted into a queen. But you may find in a few years that you don't have enough room.
- A lot of the older units I have seen do not include air conditioning. You can add it, but it's not cheap. If you want AC then get a generic quote from a dealer before buying to consider it in your budget.
- The only vans that you can park almost anywhere are under 21 feet long and only have four wheels. That means no duallies in the rear. Of course this varies from city to city and state to state, but the above is safe in most places.
- Maybe consider renting a unit for a weekend and think of it like a try before you buy deal. However you will most likely not be able to bring the cat in a rental
- Fuel efficiency, in my opinion, is a misnomer in a class b. They aren't small and light vehicles. Saying that however, you should still expect anywhere from 12-18mpg depending on the year, make and model.
- Consider storage. Then think about it again. B vans are not big and are limited on storage. Make sure there's enough room for all of your stuff plus extra.
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Old 05-24-2015, 12:09 AM   #3
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Default Re: Advice for an RV Newbie

my suggestion is go for class c. class b is okay for single or couple. but three person is pushing it. even for an infant / child. how many cases of child death because sleeping parent roll oven them in their sleep?

the thing with class b is that the front seat is the one being converted into a bed. most class c usually have a big bed and also dining area which converted into a bed.

my suggestion is to try renting a class b for a few days and then class c for a few days.
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Old 05-24-2015, 02:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: Advice for an RV Newbie

Try to see as many Class B's that you can to get an idea of the layouts and the space available.

I know you mentioned that you'll look for a used unit.

A floorplan like the Winnebago Travato 59G would work - http://winnebagoind.com/products/class- ... floorplans - but it will be a many years before you can get one for around $30k. I think the dinette would be very useful with an infant onboard.
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Old 05-24-2015, 02:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: Advice for an RV Newbie

I'll help you out. 2006 Winnebago View/Itasca Navion. You can find them for your budget. Best RV for the money and handles all of your requirements.
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Old 05-24-2015, 03:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: Advice for an RV Newbie

Since you mentioned living in it and comfortable I suggest a generator with an AC or heat pump. Maybe the weather is fine where you are at but the genny will help out on many appliances that help us be comfortable from a microwave and coffee pot to the AC. Sure you can use an inverter on some (not AC) but they will drain your battery(s) a lot faster.
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Old 05-24-2015, 03:20 AM   #7
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Default Re: Advice for an RV Newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jostalli
I'll help you out. 2006 Winnebago View/Itasca Navion. You can find them for your budget. Best RV for the money and handles all of your requirements.
I agree, 2006-07 are the best years. Easy to work on compared to the newer ones. I bet you can find something in your price range in the fall/early winter time frame.
Class B is too small for what you want to do
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Old 05-24-2015, 08:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: Advice for an RV Newbie

Thanks for all the great advice! I forgot to ask for make/model/year recommendations, so I'm glad you guys offered that up. If we *were* going to look into a Class B just to try out for rental, what would you guys recommend?
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Old 05-24-2015, 08:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Advice for an RV Newbie

P.S. We'll also check out the Winnebago View/Itasca Navion and compare.
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Old 05-24-2015, 08:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: Advice for an RV Newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by chschen
P.S. We'll also check out the Winnebago View/Itasca Navion and compare.
look at the year-in 2007 all diesels started with mandated emissions systems. dpf etc.

you want a diesel on old sytems prior to this. a 2007 might be on a 2006 chassis-it might also be on a 2007 chassis.
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Old 05-25-2015, 01:17 AM   #11
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Default Re: Advice for an RV Newbie

A short class c would be best. There are plenty in the 21'-22 ' range.
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Old 05-26-2015, 05:11 AM   #12
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Default Re: Advice for an RV Newbie

That's good to know that there are many short class C RVs. Out of curiosity, what makes an RV a class B versus a class C?
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Old 05-31-2015, 10:36 PM   #13
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Default Re: Advice for an RV Newbie

Class B is a van conversion (retains the original van body). Class C is on a cut away so the cab is the same but the body is all built by the upfitter.
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