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Old 12-18-2012, 08:32 PM   #1
Rok
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Default Deciding on which class B to buy.

O.K. So at the end of the year, my wife is going to retire, and shortly after I will as well. One of the things we have been wanting to do for some time is do some traveling. What we've decided to do is get some sort of class B motorhome and travel around in it.

Other than that, we haven't made too many decisions. What prompted this was a year or so back we saw a Roadtrek 210 (maybe it was a 200) 2001 with 35K on it for $35,000. We looked at it and considered it and because we were a year from retirement, we didn't buy it. It was immaculate in condition, but it had a little bit of a "musty" smell. The guy had put on a couple of mods like a big storage box in the back and an extra battery and some sort of camera system where it showed behind the van normally, but when you flipped the turn indicator, the camera view changed to the side of the rig that you were turning to. Bottom line, though, we didn't buy it.

Now we are looking at new ones, and are baffled by the choices. We've looked at the RTreks, and no one model really "smiles" at us. Last week, my wife drove a new Airstream while I rode in it (I have driven all sorts of rigs, but she has never driven anything that large. She thought it was great. It had a camera mounted over the rear view mirror that mimicked an actual rear view you would get from a normal rear view mirror. I think it was called an "Interstate" & was on a 3500 Sprinter chassis. It was also VERY expensive.

This coming weekend, we will be looking at the Roadtreks more, as well as some of the Pleasure Ways, and also an offering from Winnebago--I think it is called the ERA.

We have all too many options to consider, and I expect that we just need to dive in and find out if we even enjoy RVing in the first place--whether or not we can sleep in the rigs, etc.

Any suggestions to a couple in our situation would be welcome. I'm fast finding out that there is a lot more to making the decision than just which unit initially looks best to us.

Advice?

Thanks...............Rocky
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rok
O.K. So at the end of the year, my wife is going to retire, and shortly after I will as well. One of the things we have been wanting to do for some time is do some traveling. What we've decided to do is get some sort of class B motorhome and travel around in it.

Other than that, we haven't made too many decisions. What prompted this was a year or so back we saw a Roadtrek 210 1992 with 35K on it for $35,000. We looked at it and considered it and because we were a year from retirement, we didn't buy it. It was immaculate in condition, but it had a little bit of a "musty" smell. The guy had put on a couple of mods like a big storage box in the back and an extra battery and some sort of camera system where it showed behind the van normally, but when you flipped the turn indicator, the camera view changed to the side of the rig that you were turning to. Bottom line, though, we didn't buy it.

Now we are looking at new ones, and are baffled by the choices. We've looked at the RTreks, and no one model really "smiles" at us. Last week, my wife drove a new Airstream while I rode in it (I have driven all sorts of rigs, but she has never driven anything that large. She thought it was great. It had a camera mounted over the rear view mirror that mimicked an actual rear view you would get from a normal rear view mirror. I think it was called an "Interstate" & was on a 3500 Sprinter chassis. It was also VERY expensive.

This coming weekend, we will be looking at the Roadtreks more, as well as some of the Pleasure Ways, and also an offering from Winnebago--I think it is called the ERA.

We have all too many options to consider, and I expect that we just need to dive in and find out if we even enjoy RVing in the first place--whether or not we can sleep in the rigs, etc.



Any suggestions to a couple in our situation would be welcome. I'm fast finding out that there is a lot more to making the decision than just which unit initially looks best to us.

Advice?

Thanks...............Rocky
That old 210 was severely overpriced, good thing you passed. Everybody has different tastes in B's. Chassis type, kitchen side, sleeping setup, etc. We went in as blind as you, although we knew we liked the Roadtrek 190 Popular on a Chevy the best just by looking. We tried to find a place to rent, but it is hard to find one to rent, and very expensive if you do. We were in the process of trying to find a low priced older model to "test", to see if we liked the camping part of it (and would be able to sell it with minimal loss if we didn't like it, or if we liked it enough to move up to a newer one), when an extremely good deal came along on a two model year old, but new Roadtrek equipped just as we guessed we wanted. We decided to go with it, as it was so reasonable we wouldn't lose a lot if we had to resell (less than a two week rental of loss). It worked out well for us, and 4 years later, I will be retired in 7 weeks and will be on our way for real traveling.

Start with the interior layouts by getting in them, shutting the doors and curtains, moving around, etc to see if it feels comfortable. DW is somewhat claustrophobic and had big problems in some models and no problems in others. Hopefully, it will feel right when you hit the one that suits you best. Of course, renting is an option if you can find one to rent.

You also need to determine what you want to do. Tour the country, moving often and stopping at lots of places, or going to fixed locations for longer times. Boondocking, or mostly with hookups? Cities or wilderness? What you get should best suit what you plan to do. A B is small and not what I would want to "snowbird" in, sitting in a park in Mesa.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

There are a lot to choose from ..... and Ford will introduce the 2014 Transit later in 2013 just to add more choices



I think this is the current list of B manufacturers:

http://www.roadtrek.com/
http://www.greatwestvans.com/
http://www.pleasureway.com/
http://www.leisurevans.com/
http://erarv.com/
http://www.airstream.com/touring-coaches/
http://www.safaricondo.com/index_eng.php
http://new-west.com/eng/
http://www.westfalia-canada.com/EN/
http://www.sportsmobile.com/
http://www.advanced-rv.com/ (new company)

If you're going for new then maybe make a few basic choices:
20', 22', 24'
Diesel or gas?
Separate twin beds, queen/king size bed, electric sofa/bed?
Slideout? (only one model currently available)

Similar topic here for reading: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...php?f=9&t=2343 4,000+ views! So lot's of interest in this type of topic.

Booster has offered some good advice above.

I'd probably favor the first four in the list above because they're well known, well established, etc.
Airstreams are nice but the prices (MSRP) are way up there

Retirement finances are different for everyone. Relatively low rates and long terms can make even the most expensive unit seem affordable until you try to sell the unit yourself. Retirement also affects everyone differently mentally/emotionally. I'd be cautious putting a ton of money at risk jumping into a new lifestyle. Have you ever traveled in an RV or tent camped etc.?
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Thanks for the comments.

We don't really know what the difference is between a 22'er, a 24'er, etc. The 20 foot ones seem a bit small, but who knows. What is the longest that you would want to park say, in a 7-11 parking spot? I've heard that there are some municipal restrictions that prohibit vehicles beyond a certain width. Has anyone encountered problems with the local authorities about such issues?

To answer a few questions: No, I haven't ever camped out or stayed in a motor home ever. My wife on the other hand has camped out, but in the wilderness. (Actually, I take that back, I did camp out one time and it was 4 below 0. The condensation from our breath dripped down onto us from the top of the tent. It was NOT a pleasant experience.

We have a few places around here (Seattle area) that rent units, but they are very expensive. I guess that would let us know if we could hack it in such small quarters.

When we test drove the Airstream Interstate, we were told that the Airstream was the top selling class B now, and has been for the last 2 years. I've read where the Winnebago Era was the top selling model. I've also read that the Roadtreks have over 50% share of the Class B market. They can't all be the #1 seller. Can anyone make sense of this for me?

Thanks again for your posts.

................Rocky
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Re: current market share

Quote:
Through October (2012), Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. retained its lead in Class B sales, owning a 36.6% market share, while fellow Canadian builder Pleasure-Way Industries Ltd. was second with a 19.9% share. Thor Industries Inc. was the top U.S. manufacturer for the 10 months, holding the No. 3 slot with an 18% market share, followed by Winnebago Industries Inc. at 16.2%.
Thor = Airstream

Hopefully some others will post about length. I haven't been in any of the extended (24') Sprinters. The 22' seem spacious to me. My van is only 20'.

Palm Desert, Las Vegas, San Diego would all be within range for you to take a quick warmer weather get-a-way in a Class B.

Storage space is something to consider as well. If you golf for example make sure there is space for golf clubs in the van.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

While I bought the best deal I could fine because new ones are so expensive I also looked at some new ones and I came down to the two I liked best being Roadtrek only because their popularity and leaning towards Sportsmobile because you can custom build your own. I also see where Marco posted several makes that I never knew of including a new company that is almost in my back yard. I guess I will have to check more out. I figure many components are shared between all the different makes so their reliability should be the same.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

I've researched and owned two Sprinter B's. In my experience there is no correlation between top seller and best quality. Heck, the potential best might not have even sold one yet. If you let that influence you, you are handicapping yourself in your choice. All Sprinter B manufacturers today make quality products. A few second tier quality converters have fallen by the wayside. Your choice should come down to features, plan design and price.

All four of the Canadian converters Markopolo listed are excellent quality. You don't appear to be ready to consider the design your own Sportsmobile route. If you want to buy American (seems important to some) and want the best price the Winnebago ERA should be given serious consideration. I personally put them above Airstream and they will definitely have the best price.

My personal order of preference to consider at this time if I were in the market today would be:

1. Advanced RV in Willoughby, OH
2. Great West Vans Legend in Winnepeg, Manitoba
3. Winnebago ERA 70A plan only, Iowa
4. Leisure Travel Vans Free Spirit in Morden, Manitoba
5. Pleasure-way Plateau, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The others (Airstream and Roadtrek) don't have floor plans and layouts I would consider. But that is my opinion and I have expressed my reasons numerous times in other threads and I have over 100,000 miles of travel and two Sprinters to base my opinions on.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Some of the converters that Markopolo listed can't be bought in the United States. Interestingly, unless it has changed again recently, you couldn't buy a Canadian converted Great West Van Legend in Canada. That was last year.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:01 AM   #9
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
I've researched and owned two Sprinter B's. In my experience there is no correlation between top seller and best quality. Heck, the potential best might not have even sold one yet. If you let that influence you, you are handicapping yourself in your choice. All Sprinter B manufacturers today make quality products. A few second tier quality converters have fallen by the wayside. Your choice should come down to features, plan design and price.

All four of the Canadian converters Markopolo listed are excellent quality. You don't appear to be ready to consider the design your own Sportsmobile route. If you want to buy American (seems important to some) and want the best price the Winnebago ERA should be given serious consideration. I personally put them above Airstream and they will definitely have the best price.

My personal order of preference to consider at this time if I were in the market today would be:

1. Advanced RV in Willoughby, OH
2. Great West Vans Legend in Winnepeg, Manitoba
3. Winnebago ERA 70A plan only, Iowa
4. Leisure Travel Vans Free Spirit in Morden, Manitoba
5. Pleasure-way Plateau, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The others (Airstream and Roadtrek) don't have floor plans and layouts I would consider. But that is my opinion and I have expressed my reasons numerous times in other threads and I have over 100,000 miles of travel and two Sprinters to base my opinions on.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:12 AM   #10
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
I've researched and owned two Sprinter B's. In my experience there is no correlation between top seller and best quality. Heck, the potential best might not have even sold one yet. If you let that influence you, you are handicapping yourself in your choice. All Sprinter B manufacturers today make quality products. A few second tier quality converters have fallen by the wayside. Your choice should come down to features, plan design and price.


The others (Airstream and Roadtrek) don't have floor plans and layouts I would consider. But that is my opinion and I have expressed my reasons numerous times in other threads and I have over 100,000 miles of travel and two Sprinters to base my opinions on.
Ok, this is the third time I've tried to reply to this post: I'm gonna give up if this one doesn't work.

Thanks for the reply Davydd,

I didn't plan on making my decision based on the sales figures, but rather to see if my salesman was lying to me. If he can just bold-face lie that easily, how can I trust anything he says?

I didn't like the floor plans of most of the R-Trek Sprinter units, either. Ditto for the Airstream. If you could give me a synopsis of your posts on the subject, I would really appreciate it. I've see posts about how some people like to be able to see out the right side of the van from the driver's seat, so they like layouts that have the toilet on the driver's side somewhere. Others like it in the back somewhere, but let's face it, there isn't a lot of room in a Class B to put much of a bathroom anyway.

Again, thanks for the reply.

...........Rocky
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:14 AM   #11
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

I've been lo0king at b's for years. by the way
roadtrek used the 210 designation in the 90's =stopped than started again with it in 2005. don't get them mixed up.

there is no perfect van. The Roadtrek 190 is too small for my wife. so i have been researching 210's.Many good things and bad-but on a Chevy chassis that is stable and has good passenger legroom.

despite my saying all this I lust for a pleasure way excel. Best bathroom on a b and is only 20 feet 4 inches long(puts tire underneath rear) and to my wife and i seems bigger inside than a 210(go figure).

but of course it's never easy. some editions of the excel have sway issues. the problem is the one's that have the issues seem to have no rhyme and reason to year and production cycle. I do believe it;s not pleasureway perse but the fact that each ford van is not exactly the same-some not within tolerances-so pleasureways jigs on each van are slightly off.

the other issue is passenger leg room-there is none. still i keep going back to them. if you look at a excel make sure you give it a test drive at least to 60 miles per hour on the highway passing trucks. like i said some have the issue some don't.

good hunting

just my 2 cents.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:19 AM   #12
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Thanks Gerry,

I'll check out the Pleasure Way Excel.

..............Rocky
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:31 AM   #13
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

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Thanks Gerry,

I'll check out the Pleasure Way Excel.

..............Rocky
your welcome. keep me and us apprised. I''m retiring in march and know i'm going to have to make a decision-or do nothing.the desire to not make a mistake often keeps you from not doing anything at all-then suddenly you to old to do anything.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:45 AM   #14
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

The Excel looks like a RTrek 210 in a lot of ways, except it has the bathroom behind the driver. The prices seem a lot lower, too.

I also looked at the Leasure Van's all new "Free Spirt SS" with the slide out portion. That's the one with the slide and what appears to be a small bed. The bed in the Free Spirt also looks to be a bit unsturdy. How does one find out about such things without buying one. I guess we will have to start laying down on the beds to test how they feel.

Since I've never owned any sort of RV (other than a bubble top VW van when I was in my 20's) I don't know how it works when you go into an RV Park. I assume that there are different prices for different kinds of rigs, right? Do you have to be a "member"? How much does it cost?

Given the specs for the black water tanks and the grey water tanks on Class Bs, I would expect that you can't camp without hookups for too long--am I right? I think it is called "dry camping" isn't it? (Or Boondocking, I guess, now that I looked it up.) My wife wants to do a lot of that.

THanks again to all who have taken the time to respond.

.............Rocky
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:02 AM   #15
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rok
The Excel looks like a RTrek 210 in a lot of ways, except it has the bathroom behind the driver. The prices seem a lot lower, too.

I also looked at the Leasure Van's all new "Free Spirt SS" with the slide out portion. That's the one with the slide and what appears to be a small bed. The bed in the Free Spirt also looks to be a bit unsturdy. How does one find out about such things without buying one. I guess we will have to start laying down on the beds to test how they feel.

Since I've never owned any sort of RV (other than a bubble top VW van when I was in my 20's) I don't know how it works when you go into an RV Park. I assume that there are different prices for different kinds of rigs, right? Do you have to be a "member"? How much does it cost?

Given the specs for the black water tanks and the grey water tanks on Class Bs, I would expect that you can't camp without hookups for too long--am I right? I think it is called "dry camping" isn't it? (Or Boondocking, I guess, now that I looked it up.) My wife wants to do a lot of that.

THanks again to all who have taken the time to respond.

.............Rocky

Rocky-i'm going to give you some advice. if your goal is traveling-moving day to day-never staying in 1 place more than a couple days-a van is the way to go BUT- it is not a vehicle conducive to LONG TERM BOONDOCKING-notice i said long term-tank sizes,propane sizes etc-besides being closed in on rainy days. if your wife wants long term BOONDOCKING in one spot-an van is not it. Look at small class c
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Old 12-20-2012, 02:26 AM   #16
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Hi Gerry,

I don't think my wife wants anything long term as far as boondocking is concerned, and probably not many multi-night stays at RV parks, either. I certainly don't plan to be boondocking long term. (That is unless long term is 2 to 3 days.)

Keep in mind that I really don't know what I'm even asking, so I may be asking some really stupid questions. Remember things that seem obvious to those of you who are experienced are often things we haven't even considered.

Class C's are out for a number of reasons. First and foremost is the cost of parking the things in the off-season. A nearby lot charges about $65 to $85 per month for storage parking one of them, and that is in a non-monitored lot where people could jump the fence and break in, etc. We would rather be able to park our rig in our own driveway and monitor it ourselves. Then it wouldn't be an ordeal to take off on a moment's notice.

Our initial plan is to drive it for one night overnight stays so we can get the feel of it. That would give us a range to go to Portland, OR, Vancouver, BC, or Spokane, plus a lot of nice camping areas in between.

I guess my ignorance about the subject is so bad that I don't even know what questions to ask! We are quick learners, and we're pretty sure we will enjoy this form of travel, but we need to know more about it before we buy a rig of some sort.

So, I guess one of the questions I should be asking is: What IS a class B good for anyway.

What do you all use yours for?

Thanks as always...................Rocky
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:06 PM   #17
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

I like these "decision" topics. Excellent points are brought up.

Most campgrounds are open to all RV types. There are some that are restricted to Class A's only. Some restrict based on the age of your RV like 10 years or newer but that is not always strictly enforced. If your RV is in good shape they'll let you in. Sites are priced according to location in the park. Waterfront sites cost more for example than water-view sites. The services at the site also determine the cost. A site with Water, Electricity, Sewer and Cable will cost more that one with less services. You can get sites with no "hook-ups" meaning just a spot to park on or one with electricity or one with electricity and water for example. The offerings are different at every campground.

One of our favorite annual RV vacations was a week dry-camping at Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island. We'd have to drive the RV to the dump station mid week to empty the tanks. So typically you need to empty tanks after three days - that will vary - but it gives you an idea. We did not have a generator in that van and only missed not having one once when it hot and we did not have electricity at the site. The coastal and forested Northwest is obviously much cooler than being down South

In early retirement for me now, a Class B serves as a second vehicle. We sold a newer Class C (still miss the greater accommodation) to get the older B van and build a garage for it. The C was 8mpg and the current B is 17mpg. The C sat outside in all weather but the B is in the garage. We can fit in just about any parking spot at the mall or grocery store. We can stay in it overnight when visiting family because it doesn't take up much more space than a car in their driveway.

The Oregon and Washington coasts are perfect places for trips in a Class B if you like walking on the beaches and exploring etc.
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Old 12-20-2012, 06:52 PM   #18
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

It's simple. you have to decide if your TOURERS or CAMPERS. class b's are for tourers who don't mind a long period of closeness. tourers have far more use for parks with rv hookups

if when your spending a long time with the wife you drive her nuts-no place to hide in a van. If one of you snores-no place to hide in a van.-get the drift


ps . one more issue i forgot-i only bring this up because this happened with another novice 2 years ago. the AIR CONDITIONER doe not run on battery power. It needs a hook up or generator. Most class b's put the generator under the rear of the van. the onan 2800 gas generator is super loud . some b'ers have managed to quiet it down with the onan resonator and also the super trapp. even with these it is loud and shakes things.most camping places both parks/and state/and federal campgrounds have generator running hours.

one advantage of the Excel is the generator is just behind the drivers door on the outside and has much easier access. if your attempting to sleep in the back and the generator is underneath you-you get the point.It is recommended NOT to sleep with the generator on beacuse of carbon monoxide poisoning but i know people that have.
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:06 PM   #19
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Thanks for the additional posts, folks. All I can do is say, "more please". This is really good stuff to know. You know that a salesperson isn't gonna tell you that when you run the generator, it shakes the bejesus out of the rig, and might suffocate you as well. This is stuff we NEED to know to make an informed decision.

Thanks again.

..........Rocky

BTW: I read somewhere that about half the owners of one brand of Class Bs (I think it was Airstream) don't ever even sleep in them. I wonder what exactly they DO do with them. (I also wonder where one can buy one of these units that hasn't been slept in when someone tires of it and wants some of their money back.
--R
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:15 PM   #20
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Default Re: Deciding on which class B to buy.

Rocky,

i don't advocate sprinters because of overall costs and lack of service /repair places. I also know Davydd would disagree.

however if I was going to buy a sprinter based i would get winnebego ERA 70A
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