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Old 03-15-2013, 03:28 PM   #1
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Default Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

Hi all,

My wife and I are shopping for a used Class B, and would like a Roadtrek due to the availability of a local dealer. I'm a little confused about the difference between the 190 Versatile and the Popular. Looks like the V has 2 passenger seats up front vs the one on the Popular...but I have seen different year Ps with 4-up seating as well. Are there other differences? Is the rear sleeping area smaller of the V as well? If so, is it still big enough to be comfortable for 2 good sized adults? I'm about 6'1 and, 250 or so, so a really tiny area could be an issue.

Of the machines I've looked at (only on-line, I have yet to find either machine near me to examine in person) this one looks about the nicest, and best equipped, within a somewhat reasonable distance. http://www.rv-warehouse.com/en_us/unitD ... e-or=22883 What do you think, does anything jump out as an issue with it, and what would be a fair price?

Can someone talk to me a bit about the floor in these rigs? The one I have linked to above looks to have a plastic or laminate floor with carpet on it. That's something I would like for ease of cleaning. Is this true on all Roadtreks, or am I mis-understanding how these work? Also...how does the shower work on these? I saw something about the center aisle has a drain and becomes the shower when you wrap a shower curatain around it? I'm not real clear on this.

Also, lets talk...Chevy vs Dodge. I much prefer the looks of the Chevy and I've owned several SBC-powered vehicles, parts are available and cheap, and the 350 is bulletproof. How is the Dodge (which I see much more commonly in the '90s-early 2000 rigs) for reliablity? I know some (very) old vans had very narrow, cramped footwells due to the engine placement. In the old days (we're talking 70s-80s), my memory is that the Fords were best here due to a bit more hood and more forward engine position. Is this even an issue any more? And are any manufacturers better than others?

Our main use will be weekend camping and hauling a trailer with 4 wheelers on it, generally less than 2000 lbs. Are there any issues towing with these rigs that I should know about? Also...I'm a bit concerned about ground clearance. Many of the places I want to camp here in North Idaho are on gravel forest service roads, and we will definately be "dispersed" camping. Many of these roads are a bit rough and rocky. My preference would be a taller, 4x4 van, but I don't see that happening on any kind of tight budget, which I definately am on. Do you see any major problems with this kind of use? Can you run a lift kit of any kind on these rigs?

Thanks all, and sorry for all the newbie questions. Figured I'd try to explain our wants as well as possible. Any input is appreciated.
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

Re: pricing - the unit for sale in the link you provided is priced on the high side
Look here: http://www.roadtrekchapter.org/roadtreks-for-sale
2002 asking $22,500
2003 asking $23,000
2004 asking $27,500 - a 2004 chassis will have a bit more passenger foot room and it will have a Tripp-Lite inverter / charger built in. That is a 3 stage smart charger

The Popular model sleeping is front to rear and the bed is longer. The Versatile model sleeping is sideways so it is limited to about 6 feet in length (wall to wall). You are limited to the one bed layout in a Versatile whereas you can have two twin beds or one king bed in a Popular in the model year you referenced. If one of you gets up frequently during the night then the two twin beds in the Popular is easier. In a Versatile, the rear most sleeper has to climb over the other to get out of the bed.

The standard floor in those years would be gel coated fiberglass with removable carpets in the galley / bath area. Fixed carpet in the rear.

Very popular topic on lifting (more ground clearance) here: http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...hp?f=12&t=1616

That only answers a few of your questions but it is a start.

Welcome to the forum!
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

MP, thank you for the information. I've been doing quite a bit more research and have decided to keep my eyes open for a 190 Popular. At my height, I think the "sideways" bed will be something I'd regret with the Versatile. Your link gave me some insight on pricing as well. Is there a good source of info on pricing on used Bs? Being new to this, I'm not real sure what constitutes a fair deal, and what is gouging.

I'm still struggling with what era to get. New or nearly new is out of the question for us. I'd really like to keep the price ~$15k or so, but it looks like that would put me in a mid-late 90s rig with high mileage. We could really stretch things into the low-mid $20s, which looks like it would get you into maybe a 2000-2001, which doesn't seem to get you a vehicle with many improvements from the mid 90s. From what I'm seeing (and your comments), I'd really like an '04 based on the Chevy chassis. In the pre-04s, are there changes that should really swing the choice?

Let me throw another question out there, concerning generators. I see that the factory Onan came with quite a price penalty. Is it worth it, or do you prefer to go with an external (probably Honda) generator? The external is less convenient to operate...but sure seems like it's a lot easier to repair/replace in the event of a failure.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

Nada Guides help a bit with pricing but the prices they show seem to be low for Class B's. http://www.nadaguides.com/RVs/Motorhomes

For older but slightly more modern look my preference would be a 1997 or newer Chevy or GMC. 1998 or newer Dodge, and a 1997 or newer Ford. Those are the years where cab interiors got a bit more rounded and thicker steering wheels etc. My 1997 GMC is very much like a 2002 model parts wise.

The next Chevy update was 2003.

An '04 Roadtrek 190P would get you the newer Chevy platform with slightly more passenger foot room and the 3 stage inverter/charger.

Older vans can be fun. You won't be too worried about a dent or scratch or spilled drink etc.

I'd say get the built in generator as first choice.
Your points about a portable are valid but think of starting or stopping it in the rain or late at night. And you have to carry extra gas. The built in generator helps on resale too. Someone might pass on your unit preferring one with a built in generator.

A generator is needed to run your air conditioner when you are not plugged into grid power. You can do everything else without a generator provided you have a good sized battery bank and a sufficiently sized inverter.

The RT I had did not have a generator but I lived in the Pacific Northwest (Pacific Southwest for Canada) then. It rarely got unbearable hot.

Late 1990 Class B's will include Roadtrek, Pleasure-Way, Leisure Travel, Great West and others.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

You can sometimes get towing related info from the the Roadtrek Owner's Manuals and Brochures which are downloadable from their website. However, not all the brochures are as helpful as my model year.

http://www.roadtrek.com/brochure_list.aspx

IMO, unless you get the 2002 200 P model with the optional 8.1L Chev engine, towing is probably not an option.
My 2002 is loaded to the "specs" with the added RV systems, and with fuel and fresh water there's not much engine left for towing. We struggle up hills in the mountains (> 5%-6% grade) sometimes pulling just our own weight.
We've never used our shower. We just figured it wasn't worth the hassle, and potential for creating an environment in which mold could flourish. The Roadtrek aisle shower does have to make use of the aisle area, a wrap around shower curtain, and there is a drain located under a panel that is removable in the floor above it, when you want to use it. Check the Roadtrek site for the aisle shower demo video, if they still have it on there. I couldn't find it. It's an oldie but a goodie, I think the founder's son demonstrates it.
You can do basic maintenance on the built in Onan, but more complex stuff needs it dropped out to access. It will add convenience and value I believe over time.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

Thanks to everyone that has replied. I'm thinking a lot about this one: http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/rvs/3687438818.html No gen set unfortunately, but the price is reasonable (especially compared to what I see in my area) and overall condition seems pretty nice. 1400 miles from my place so it would be a "fly and drve". See any obvious issues? I have contacted the owners and they are sending pics.
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

Looks OK at that price. They honestly don't go much lower in price than that, and still run well and look good, from what I've seen online. Pretty standard interior. Mileage not too bad, mine has 135,000 and still chuggin' along.
Most Roadtreks are generator ready, so you might find a used Onan on CL/E-Bay, and could get an RV place to install it for you, if you decide you'll need one down the road.
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Old 03-22-2013, 03:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

Price is OK and I like the fact that it is a one owner vehicle.

There is a '97 P no generator unit here: http://www.roadtrekchapter.org/roadtreks-for-sale listed just below $10,000 so you might have a bit of negotiating room but not much I suspect.
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Old 03-22-2013, 04:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

Both '97s and the '99 there look very reasonable MP. Unfortunately, all are a LONG way from Idaho. I'm actually thinking that '98 in Virginia might be worth a trip, make a vacation out of the drive back. Wish my vacation time wasn't so darned limited.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

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Originally Posted by markopolo
Price is OK and I like the fact that it is a one owner vehicle.

There is a '97 P no generator unit here: http://www.roadtrekchapter.org/roadtreks-for-sale listed just below $10,000 so you might have a bit of negotiating room but not much I suspect.
Wow, did you see the price on the '04 190V in Florida from the dealer? Must have been parked in someone's back yard for a decade, with that mileage.
I think you might be right about NADA versus reality, when it comes to pricing, if you're patient. I had forgotten about the Roadtreks for Sale website.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:11 PM   #11
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

Well, the owner of the previous one hasn't responded, so I'm assuming they have sold it. I talked to the owner of this one: http://medford.craigslist.org/rvs/3667882540.html. It's a bit shorter trip from my area, and the owner has agreed to $23k. Does that seem like a fair deal? I've seen better prices on similar models...just a LONG ways from my place. I've also seen higher prices. This looks nice, and about as good as I've seen since I started searching. I'm spending way too much time on Searchtempest, RV Trader, RVT, and a couple of other sites! You Easterners seem to have all the really good deals!

For what ever reason, the NADA RV site is only displaying prices for 2013 models for me. I had looked at others a couple weeks ago, not sure what's wrong.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:29 PM   #12
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

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Originally Posted by IdahoRenegade
Well, the owner of the previous one hasn't responded, so I'm assuming they have sold it. I talked to the owner of this one: http://medford.craigslist.org/rvs/3667882540.html. It's a bit shorter trip from my area, and the owner has agreed to $23k. Does that seem like a fair deal? I've seen better prices on similar models...just a LONG ways from my place. I've also seen higher prices. This looks nice, and about as good as I've seen since I started searching. I'm spending way too much time on Searchtempest, RV Trader, RVT, and a couple of other sites! You Easterners seem to have all the really good deals!

For what ever reason, the NADA RV site is only displaying prices for 2013 models for me. I had looked at others a couple weeks ago, not sure what's wrong.
By sure to drive it in a bunch of conditions, particularly wind and around semis on the freeway. Some of the Dodges had very squirrely handling. It didn't hit all of them, but the ones that were bad, were pretty scary, from what I have read around the different forums.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:37 PM   #13
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

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Originally Posted by IdahoRenegade
Well, the owner of the previous one hasn't responded, so I'm assuming they have sold it. I talked to the owner of this one: http://medford.craigslist.org/rvs/3667882540.html. It's a bit shorter trip from my area, and the owner has agreed to $23k. Does that seem like a fair deal? I've seen better prices on similar models...just a LONG ways from my place. I've also seen higher prices. This looks nice, and about as good as I've seen since I started searching. I'm spending way too much time on Searchtempest, RV Trader, RVT, and a couple of other sites! You Easterners seem to have all the really good deals!

For what ever reason, the NADA RV site is only displaying prices for 2013 models for me. I had looked at others a couple weeks ago, not sure what's wrong.
You can ask whatever you want for something you wish to sell, but it's only really worth what someone else will pay you for it.

If it seems like a reasonable price to you, considering what you've found online for pricing, and it's in good shape (looks good in pics, but that can be deceiving. go see it in person), then it's still really up to you. I think it's probably just a tiny bit high to reasonably priced, but it does have a low hours generator which is a $4000-$5000 option alone. Mileage isn't too bad for a 12 year old model.

The point about it being close to you, saves you time and a few bucks in travel logictics to get it, so that alone might make it the best deal you can find.

I'd be a little concerned about handling, like booster suggested, because the ad mentions it's got "Safe T Plus Steering" mods added. That's sort of a red flag to me, because I've never been a believer in those gimmicky steering helper systems. They're supposed to help you keep the vehicle pointed straight ahead, by forcing the steering linkage to return to center (straight ahead). Great, until you need to quickly maneuver around an obstacle, for example. Nothing can steer your vehicle for you. Short of some design issues with some class B vans, it's the driver that keeps the steering under control. I admit, I have no hands on experience, and you'll probably get as many people who will swear by these systems, as will consider them "snake oil". As booster said, test drive it in as many different conditions as possible. Google 2001 Dodge Roadtrek steering handling issues, and see what you can find online.

Other than that, if you're tired of looking, maybe time to make a decision?
I looked for ours for about 3-4 months, and got tired of looking, and we have a 2002 C190P. Ours has around double the mileage of the one you're looking at, but it's still running well after we added over 100,000 miles to the odometer. We saw ours on RVT, went and saw it the next day, and bought it on the spot. Or something like that.
Good luck.
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:13 AM   #14
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

Sometimes hadling issues come from the rear of a vehicle and not the front. The tail wagging the dog. As I recall from your postIng on another forum that you have plans to tow a toy trailer. You may end up having to add rear air bags that will add stability and lift which will help taking the dirt roads you plan on travelling down. Keep us posted.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:37 PM   #15
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

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Sometimes hadling issues come from the rear of a vehicle and not the front. The tail wagging the dog. As I recall from your postIng on another forum that you have plans to tow a toy trailer. You may end up having to add rear air bags that will add stability and lift which will help taking the dirt roads you plan on travelling down. Keep us posted.
Hi Stan,
There's a thread on this forum about my plan to try "trailering". Did you mean that thread? Or a post on a different forum? Which one? I'm on a few.
As an update, the wheels are in motion (no pun) to buy a smaller travel trailer.

My comment in my previous post here, was in reference to the fact that the previous owner of the Roadtrek that IdahoRenegade was interested in, had added a (gimmicky, in my opinion) system to improve steering control. That it might be a red flag about that specific make/model's basic handling, and that someone thought it was necessary to add it, to improve a perceived handling issue. As I understand it from the videos and other comments I've read, the SafeTPlus steering mod affects steering by restricting the natural left to right steering control of the vehicle. I don't think it really does anything except interfere with the factory installed steering system. Which might do more harm than good in some situations. Again, just my opinion.

Let me say that I started the trailer project knowing very little about actually towing a trailer, but am doing as much research as "Rok looking for a class B van". Maybe even more.

Your suggestion about having to add rear air bags to the tow vehicle to add some stiffness to the rear end ride, is a possibility. It will depend on how the weight distribution, anti-sway hitch I'm adding works out. As I understand it from reading about them, they're designed to reduce the tail wagging the dog, and to keep the whole truck/trailer combo parallel to the roadway. I honestly don't know whether they're necessary for every towing situation, but they seem to be almost mandatory standard equipment on truck/travel trailer combos these days, according to everything I've read online, and every opinion I've been given. I have no experience towing anything bigger than a little red wagon with my bicycle a long time ago, so I'm listening to the sales and service people at the RV dealership, and asking questions on forums with more trailer towing experience veterans. The combination I'll have will be such that the chosen trailer will only use about half of the tow vehicle's available towing capacity by weight and power, so I'm hopeful that things will work out OK. Air bags won't be necessary. I may add them any way just for fun, or "just in case".
As for the "dirt roads you plan on traveling down" part, I'm not planning on attacking dirt roads any time soon, with a truck/trailer combo. Until I get comfortable with the setup, we'll just drop the trailer at a campground first, before attacking them in the truck. Give me until the summer at least, then we'll see about hitchin' and haulin' across the badlands.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:44 PM   #16
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

Thanks for all the input, and heads up on the handling issues. I hadn't been responding just because I wanted to read up about it. Now that I have...I'm a bit more confused than ever! It sounds like this was an issue with some, but not all, Dodges from '08 to '01. The TSB I guess involves rear wheel spacers and an updated steering box, along with new alignment specs, correct? Many people seem to say that a set of good quality tires with heavy sidewalls and proper inflation corrects these issue, others did this and threw lots of money at other updates and never did get it under control. This has to be very frustrating. By the start of the 21st century you'd think every company could make a rig that goes down the road straight!

So, if this is one of the bad units, is it really obvious the first time you take it on the highway around the big rigs? Or is it a bit more subtle and only something that shows up under certain combinations of wind and road conditions? If it's just a tire issue, it isn't a deal breaker, though the need to spend $1200 on new shoes sure impacts what I'm willing to pay. If it's a deeper problem, I'll probably walk away, and look for a Chevy.

Mike, I think the trailering comments were at me. On another forum I mentioned that I'll be pulling a small trailer with a UTV (Polaris RZR) a good portion of the time we are in the van. It should pull pretty easily, the RZR is about 1100 lbs and the trailer a few hundred more. They pull fine behind my little Xterra, so I'm hoping that they aren't an issue with the RT. Air bags don't sound like a bad idea, at the least they should help counteract any sag in 12 year old leaf springs.

Thanks once again.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:57 PM   #17
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

Quote:
Originally Posted by IdahoRenegade
Thanks for all the input, and heads up on the handling issues. I hadn't been responding just because I wanted to read up about it. Now that I have...I'm a bit more confused than ever! It sounds like this was an issue with some, but not all, Dodges from '08 to '01. The TSB I guess involves rear wheel spacers and an updated steering box, along with new alignment specs, correct? Many people seem to say that a set of good quality tires with heavy sidewalls and proper inflation corrects these issue, others did this and threw lots of money at other updates and never did get it under control. This has to be very frustrating. By the start of the 21st century you'd think every company could make a rig that goes down the road straight!

So, if this is one of the bad units, is it really obvious the first time you take it on the highway around the big rigs? Or is it a bit more subtle and only something that shows up under certain combinations of wind and road conditions? If it's just a tire issue, it isn't a deal breaker, though the need to spend $1200 on new shoes sure impacts what I'm willing to pay. If it's a deeper problem, I'll probably walk away, and look for a Chevy.

Thanks once again.
Handling issues tend to be very subjective. We've had some discussions on here about the handling of different makes and models, and it often seems to come down to the perception of the driver.
That tech service bulletin info about the wheel spacers sounds familiar. I'm even thinking some Dodge cars and trucks/vans had narrower tracking in the rear end than the front by design, which lead to problems when they were loaded to the specs by the RV conversion additions. Ask if you can drive it, and see what you think?
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:17 PM   #18
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Versatile vs Popular, 2002

Quote:
Originally Posted by IdahoRenegade
Thanks for all the input, and heads up on the handling issues. I hadn't been responding just because I wanted to read up about it. Now that I have...I'm a bit more confused than ever! It sounds like this was an issue with some, but not all, Dodges from '08 to '01. The TSB I guess involves rear wheel spacers and an updated steering box, along with new alignment specs, correct? Many people seem to say that a set of good quality tires with heavy sidewalls and proper inflation corrects these issue, others did this and threw lots of money at other updates and never did get it under control. This has to be very frustrating. By the start of the 21st century you'd think every company could make a rig that goes down the road straight!

So, if this is one of the bad units, is it really obvious the first time you take it on the highway around the big rigs? Or is it a bit more subtle and only something that shows up under certain combinations of wind and road conditions? If it's just a tire issue, it isn't a deal breaker, though the need to spend $1200 on new shoes sure impacts what I'm willing to pay. If it's a deeper problem, I'll probably walk away, and look for a Chevy.

Mike, I think the trailering comments were at me. On another forum I mentioned that I'll be pulling a small trailer with a UTV (Polaris RZR) a good portion of the time we are in the van. It should pull pretty easily, the RZR is about 1100 lbs and the trailer a few hundred more. They pull fine behind my little Xterra, so I'm hoping that they aren't an issue with the RT. Air bags don't sound like a bad idea, at the least they should help counteract any sag in 12 year old leaf springs.

Thanks once again.
My bad on the trailering thing. Just thought Stan's comments were referring to my previous post, and the toy trailer was our new RV. The air bags mod is probably a good way to lift the rear end and help the springs a bit.
Our postings seemed to have gotten crossed, and added to my personal confusion level. If that's possible.

Here's a link you might find useful in determining whether towing is practical in a class B van. Put in as much info as you know, and click calculate, and it will fill in the rest, including estimated maximum trailer weight. You can add a "safety factor" to reduce the overall percentage of the tow vehicle's capacity you wish to use.
http://changingears.com/rv-sec-calc-tra ... t-tt.shtml
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:38 PM   #19
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Popular, 2002

Hello, I am new to the forum and own a 2002 Roadtrek Polular 190 with only 4300 miles that I want to sell. Im not sure if this is the right thread for this but I see that you guys are talking about purchasing. I have acquired the Roadtrek from my elderly father who bought it from a man who was a bit of a celebrity named Don Herbert that had a tv show on Nickelodeon named Mr. Wizard. Both my father and don did not use the motorhome much but they were meticulous on caring for it and keeping all of the records and manuals. If someone has any questions they can contact me at LarryThomson2485@gmail.com
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:40 PM   #20
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Default Re: Roadtrek 190 Popular, 2002

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadtrekOwner
Hello, I am new to the forum and own a 2002 Roadtrek Polular 190 with only 4300 miles that I want to sell. Im not sure if this is the right thread for this but I see that you guys are talking about purchasing. I have acquired the Roadtrek from my elderly father who bought it from a man who was a bit of a celebrity named Don Herbert that had a tv show on Nickelodeon named Mr. Wizard. Both my father and don did not use the motorhome much but they were meticulous on caring for it and keeping all of the records and manuals. If someone has any questions they can contact me at LarryThomson2485@gmail.com
Welcome. Is it on the Chev or Dodge chassis?
Generally speaking, if you're selling something, or looking to buy something, there's a "Trading Post" folder farther down the "Board Index", that most folks would use to sell a "classic" Roadtrek, like the one you've got.
btw, mine has 30X the mileage on it, and is still running pretty well, and it's in pretty fair condition.
Depending on the price, it would be a steal with that mileage.
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