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RE: Toyota motor homes

Until 1988, the chassis that was provided did not have a full floating one ton axle, they had 1/2 ton axles with dual wheels that were actually just half ton wheels welded together, they were called foolies by the people that had the RV's. Those foolies would break the axles at the housing and the wheels would fall off. Toyota eventually gave one ton axles to every owner of an RV that was build on one of their chassis to avoid publicity. The RV's rode like lumber wagons, cornered like a double deck3er bus, and were so underpowered that with a stiff headwind, you could not go over 50 mph.Everything you stated is spot-on. Our 1983 Toyota chassis motor home had those foolie-dualie rear wheels, and I had the rear axle replaced with true dualies. This is what I received from Toyota for free. https://live.staticflickr.com/3185/3730196184_88bca69ed6_z.jpg width=640 At that time I also had Bilstein shocks and 5000 pound rear air bags installed. It all helped a lot but still wasn't right.....just tolerable. I could NEVER recommend buying "any" Toyota chassis motor home made through 1994. They were great little pickup trucks, but fell far short for motor home applications. It was asking too much from such a small chassis. The early years were a real nightmare. Our 1983 with 1 ton rear axle added later, was an exception in that the rig weighed 3600 pounds empty, yet it still fell quite short. The later years with true-dual rear axle and V6 engine didn't offer enough improvement. Those little rigs were severely underpowered slugs, and yet they were still all over the road. Not having front and rear stabilizer bars of any kind was so wrong. Our rig SHOWN HERE would have been okay if it could have been equipped with the V6 engine, 5-speed manual transmission, and heavy duty stabilizer bars. Mirage Of Elkhart went out of business mid 1986 so none exist with the V6 engine.
ron.dittmer 11/30/20 12:53am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Caulking

I imagine "cleanliness" is key for the new Dicor to stick well. If the old is dirty and sun-faded, cut it back to get a clean surface to bond to. So your plan to remove the worst of the original caulk makes sense to me.
ron.dittmer 11/29/20 07:40am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Is it a battery and what I think is for?

So...as I understand this, the purpose of this 2nd chassis battery is to power your chassis-related accessories like your in-dash stereo when the ignition key is in the accessory position, installed to avoid draining the engine-start battery?
ron.dittmer 11/28/20 07:03am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Reliability of older Class C’s?

I've been doing this for a while and I wouldn't hesitate to take a well-maintained older class C across country, any day of the week.The same here with the same feelings about it. :)
ron.dittmer 11/25/20 10:41pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Toyota motor homes

IMO, you might want to take a look at a low miles Rialta Class B motorhome on a VW chassis in the 1995-2000 year range. Small engine, yes, 22' long but much better design than the Toyota and less than $30,000. Chum leeI was going to bring that up too, though I would have thought the 2003-2005 would have been a better choice for the more powerful engine. Maybe those model years are most desirable and therefore exceed his budget. Still, the most robust chassis will be an E350 or a 3500 Chevy/GM.
ron.dittmer 11/24/20 03:16pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Toyota motor homes

We need to consider downsizing and simplifying from a 30 ft. Class C towing a car to a much smaller unit and not towing. Discovering the older Toyota truck motorhomes. Seems like one would work; except how in the heck do you find a place for stuff to take along. Amazed to see that there is no outside storage. How do you deal with this? Do any of you tow a very small utility trailer? But then darn that's back to towing something. Second question. We looked at a 1992 Dolphin model sort of reconditioned. Pretty nice; but $28000?We owned a 1983 Toyota chassis motorhome for 24 years. CLICK HERE to see many pictures of it. That rig as it was pictured, weighed only 3600 pounds. As stripped-out and light as it was, with a solid 4-speed stick shift transmission, it accelerated and cruised very poorly because it was powered by a 2.4L 4-cylinder carbureted engine that yielded only 96 hp. I test drove a fully featured self contained Mini-Winnie on a 1993 Toyota chassis with the larger 3.0L-V6 engine with MFI and it too was unimpressive, I believe because the house weighed so much more than our rig did. Figure adding another half ton in people and stuff. I cannot endorse owning an old Toyota-based chassis unless your plan is to take your time. Plan on a cruising speed not to exceed 60 mph, and 25 mph on extended inclines. Also plan on "Poor Handling" with no good means to improve it. Our rig had no stabilizer bars and none were available. I had Bilstein shocks and air bags which helped, but were not an ideal solution. Better but not right. As far as the price is concerned, I would not offer more than $15,000 on any such rig regardless of it's condition. You can buy a very nice 22 foot long durable E350 chassis motorhome with a Triton V8 or V10 engine that is many years newer, built better, and in great condition for less than $28,000. And your fuel economy might not be much worse than a fully featured Toyota-V6. Our aerodynamic 2007 Phoenix Cruiser 2350 with a length of 23'-8" and the V10 engine gets 10.5 mpg trip averaging when not towing. My advise is to shop around for these rigs to determine if the design and price fits your needs and budget. Start with year 1998 and go newer. - Dynamax Isata Sport - Dynamax Carri-Go - Coachman Starflyte - Phoenix Cruiser 2100 - Phoenix Cruiser 2350 Pending the brand and model, lengths will vary from 21 to 24 feet long. The shorter ones will fit in a regular parking spot. Ours fits if backing in the letting the rear overhang grass and such. I believe all are also "narrow bodied" offering easy maneuverability. Many of these motorhomes lack a slide-out which is another benefit when buying "old". A slide-out in an old rig generally is not a good combination for reasons that don't require an explanation.
ron.dittmer 11/22/20 04:56pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Reliability of older Class C’s?

In your $15,000 price range, Google "Telstar Motorhome". I recommend a 1993 to 1997 model year to get the later body styling which includes chassis safety features. The chassis will be reliable after an inspection and preventative maintenance. BUT.... If you can spend a little more, consider an older used Dynamax Isata Sport or early production Phoenix Cruiser starting model year 1998. They will have an improved drive train that yields more power and improved fuel economy. The body of the motor home itself will be a critical consideration, especially at that age. I would surely avoid a slide out in such an old rig to avoid troubles of sorts. Here is a long read but you will better understand on RV construction pluses and minuses. Ron -------------------------------------------------------- New, used, or well used, when shopping for a conventional class B+ or C, the most important consideration is how it is constructed. This post outlines construction methods which are most affordable and methods that cost more, but are built to hold up much better to the elements and also the punishment of the road. Some motor home manufactures offer different levels of quality through their various model lines. Instead of providing a list of brands to consider, it is best to identify what "Better" is. When shopping for a motor home, don't get distracted with "Eye Candy" and "Square Footage". You want to pay close attention to how the house is constructed. Water infiltration is the number one killer of motor homes, rotting them away long before anything is worn out. Once water gets inside, it is like termites. By the time you realize there is a problem, a lot of damage has already occurred. Also consider that mold & mildew can grow inside the walls which then you have a health hazard. My advise focuses on identifying a reliably well sealed motor home. #1 BEST (Very Expensive, Can Be 1.5 times the cost of Second Best) NO structural seam work. The brand Coach House is a fine example. It is seamless, made from a mold. The only places where water can leak is cutouts for windows, entry door, roof-top vents & a/c unit, storage compartments & maintenance access, all of which are in areas of very low stress. Because they have a seamless shell, these motor homes are not common and have a limited selection of sizes and floor plans. #2 SECOND BEST Common, Affordable, & comes in Many Sizes so this is my main focus I own an example of this type. My Rig Here manufactured by Phoenix USA. Made in sections, but assembled in a way that greatly reduces the threat of water damage. Here are the good things you want to look for. a) Structural Seams Away From Corners When a motor home is driven, the house bounces, resonates, shakes, and leans countless times, representing a endless series of earthquakes. Corner seams see greater stresses than seams located elsewhere. Corner seams are more easily split, especially when the caulk gets brittle with age & exposure to the sun. One extremely bad bump in the road can instantly breach a corner seam. Seams hold up much better when they are brought in from the corners in lesser stressed areas. b) A Seamless Over-The-Van Front Cap A huge bed above the van’s roof is the most vulnerable area of a motor home. No matter how well they are made, that long frontal over-hang resonates when the RV is driven making it common for seams to split there, most troublesome with age & exposure to the elements. HERE is an example, one of many water-damage threads I have read. Scroll down in that thread to see pictures of the real damage. The small front aerodynamic cap of a B+ design HERE eliminates the overhang which eliminates most of the resonation, along with the most vulnerable seam work. There are a few conventional “C” Designs (big over-van bed) where that area is seamless. If you absolutely must have that huge bed, then look for a seamless bucket-like design. The Itasca Navion is a fine example. If your requirements are to have a large class-C with a massive over-van bed, the best example I seen was this Fleetwood Tioga model offered around 2008-2009. It is unfortunate all class-Cs don't practice seamless cab-over area construction for it would greatly improve the class-C industry. Increasing in popularity by many manufactures is a shallow bucket design with fewer seams located in less-stressed areas. The Nexus Triumph is one such example. This shallow bucket design is a reasonable compromise. If you plan to accommodate more than 2 people, having that large extra cab-over bed will be extremely useful. c) A Crowned Roof Rain and snow melt runs off a crowned roof. A flat roof will sag over time, then water puddles around heavy roof-top items like the a/c unit. Water eventually finds it's way inside after gaskets & caulk have degraded from age, sun, and change in seasons. d) Rolled-Over-The-Edge seamless Fiberglass Roof Sheathing A single sheet of fiberglass as shown HERE that rolls over the right & left sides of the roof, down to the wall. The overlapping of fiberglass to the wall provides a good water seal and the fiberglass sheathing holds up better than roofs made of sheet rubber or thin plastic called TPO, which require more attention to keep your RV well protected. e) A Five Sided Rear Wall Cap A five sided back wall moves the seams around to the sides to areas of much less stress as seen HERE. The rear wall resembles a shallow rectangular cooking pan standing on it's side. Like the example, some rear wall sections are constructed with an integrated spare tire compartment and rear storage compartment. Not only are they convenience features, but that rear wall/cap offers a solid double-wall for exceptional strength which is more resistant to flexing the adjoining seam work. It helps in keeping the house together. Don't be fooled. Some manufactures add rear wall sectional styling which gives the appearance of a 5-sided pan design. Though not as desirable, they are still an improvement because all the holes for lighting and such are not in the structural wall where water could otherwise get inside the house. You can easily tell by noting the sections & seams between them and the flat back wall that remains exposed. CLICK HERE to see an example. f) Walls Are Either Resting On The Floor Or Bolted Against It Common sense would say the walls should rest on the floor, but some manufactures actually bolt the walls into the side of the floor framing. This means the weight of the roof and walls (and everything hanging on them) rests on mounting bolts. How well will that method hold up when being driven for so many thousands of miles? Checking for this is very difficult. It takes a trained eye for sure. CLICK HERE for an example of it done right with the walls resting on the floor. Bigger Will Be Weaker The size & floor plan you select MUST FIRST meet your needs before this consideration. The bigger the house, the weaker the structure will be. Consider two cardboard boxes made from the exact same corrugated material. The smaller box would naturally be stronger. It will be more resistant to bending, twisting, and other types of flexing. So if you are on the fence between models, the smaller one will be your stronger choice. Potentially Troublesome Construction Entry level motor homes are made with seams in corners and finished off with trim, including the massive cab-over bed. Their roof is flat and finished with rubber or TPO. They are most affordable, and come in all sizes. HERE is one such example. If considering this construction type, keep in-mind they require more regular care with bi-annual inspections. Plan to use a caulking gun now and then. When buying a used one, consider that you really don't know how well the previous owner maintained it. Buying new or used, that construction method will be counting on you to be a good non-neglectful owner. There are also the rare exception of the Lazy Daze which has seam work in the corners, but the substructure and sealing method is of the highest quality that it holds up like a seamless body. It's excellent sectional construction methods are not commonly found in other brands. I am no expert on this, but I'd give it a #1.5 Almost Like Best A Caution Concerning Slide Outs Slide outs are most popular. Everybody loves the extra floor space they provide. There are so few motor homes made without at least one slide out. Unfortunately slide outs can introduce risk of water damage to the main floor around them. Good seals work when the rig is young, but can loose their ability to seal properly as they age. When looking at used rigs with slide outs, closely examine the main floor around each one. If you can lift the carpet adjacent to the slide out and see the wood floor is a gray color, that is a sign that water gets inside. Also, completely open the slide out and step on the main floor adjacent to the slide out. If it feels soft, the plywood or chip board material underneath likely requires replacing. About The Chassis The most popular is the Ford E350 and E450 with the V10 engine, and this year Ford replaces that 6.8L-V10 with a larger, more powerful 7.3L-V8. The Ford Transit diesel and the Mercedes Sprinter diesel are popular alternatives to the E350 in the smaller sizes. The GM 3500 & 4500 chassis are not popular but are a very good choice for the right application. Any of the chassis mentioned made since 1998 are real good, new or used. If you plan to tow a car or heavy trailer, be aware that the Transit and Sprinter will be least powered. People who tow with them naturally take it slower. I am not sure a Transit can tow anything significant. That needs further research. If considering a recent “small” class B+ or C motor home, here is a comparison between the two current main chassis contenders, the Sprinter with the V6 diesel engine and the Ford E350 with the V10 gasoline engine. Advantages Of The Mercedes Sprinter With Diesel Engine - Offers a 35%-50% improvement in fuel economy over the Ford-V10, when both are loaded and driven identically. - More ergonomic driver compartment with more leg room. - Comfort continues with a car-like feel & quiet ride. - A grander view out the windshield - Made by Mercedes which people are attracted to. Advantages Of The Ford E350 with V10 Engine - Given identical motor homes both brand and model, the Ford is around $24,000 MSRP cheaper - The Ford V10 engine has 50% more horse power and torque - The Ford E350 chassis handles 1430 pounds more weight. - The E350 is able to tow a heavier load. - The E350 rear axle is significantly wider which translates to better stability. - In most places traveled, gasoline costs less than diesel fuel - The Sprinter diesel has limited mechanical service shops around North America - The Sprinter diesel is typically outfitted with a propane generator. Propane is a critical fuel for RV operations, and generally needs to be rationed when dry camping. - This Next Point Is Debatable But Still Worth Noting....The V6 Sprinter diesel engine is not allowed to idle for extended periods. This limitation is detrimental when you need a/c but there are generator restrictions, you are low on propane, or you have a mechanical failure with the generator or roof a/c. The Ford offers a great backup system. The V10 can safely idle for hours on end, heating, cooling, and battery charging, all valuable if you have a baby, pets, or health/respiratory issues. You decide what your priorities are, and pick the appropriate chassis. There are some really sweet motor homes being built exclusively on the Sprinter chassis, such as the Winnebago Navion and View. The Ford Transit Chassis This chassis is increasing in popularity in the smallest sizes. According to Ford's website, the Transit DRW chassis is offered in the 156", and 178" wheel base, and is rated as high as 10,360 GVWR. Ford offers a motor home package specific for the RV industry. It's diesel engine compares to the Sprinter in power and fuel economy, but is more affordable and is easily serviced at Ford service centers, just like the E350 & E450. The cab has a lower stance than the Sprinter making it much more friendly to get into and out from for people in their later years. Entering and exiting is more like a mini-van rather than a standard van. The Transit's lower cab also offers roomier over-head bunks that are easier to access. The Dodge Promaster 3500 Cut-Away Chassis This front wheel drive chassis is another recent entry in the RV industry. I am concerned over it's lack of load capability as reflected with single free-wheeling rear wheels. I have been reading posts written by new Promaster RV owners stating they are over-weight with just two people, some personal effects and food. They say they can't carry water and never a 3rd person. I would not be comfortable with such a limited load range in a B+ or C. This chassis does seem to be a good option in the "B" motor home market. The Chevy 3500 & 4500 Chassis Unfortunately this chassis is not more popular, primarily because GM sort-of gave up on competing with the Ford E350 & E450. It offers more interior comfort than the Ford, but not as much as the Sprinter. It's power & weight ratings are a little less than their Ford counter-parts making them a great chassis for all but the heaviest of class Cs. They are also a little better on fuel consumption. One thing to keep in-mind, if you are counting inches in storing your rig, the Chevy is a little longer than the Ford by a number of inches which was critical for us with our garage as seen HERE with our Ford 2007 E350 rig. That could be the reason why the Chevy has a little more interior driver/passenger leg room. The Ford E350 & E450 The majority of class B+ and C motor homes are built on one of these two chassis for a number of very good reasons, and with the changes in recent years to the engine and transmission, the good reasons increase. They have more power and load capability than the others. Ford approves outfitters to modify the chassis to increase or decrease the wheel base which supplies motor home companies a lot of design freedom. Ford has off-the-shelf components that work with the wheel base modification. So if you need a new drive shaft, fuel line, brake line, parking brake cable, wire harness, whatever, Ford has them available. Finally, the E350 and E450 chassis is competitively priced. Engine Power Ratings of Ford, MB-Sprinter, Chevy, and Dodge Ford E350 & E450 - 6.8L-V10, 305hp, 420ft (7.3L-V8 starting in 2020) Ford Transit Diesel - 3.2L-I5, 185hp, 350ft Mercedes Sprinter Diesel - 3.0L-V6, 188hp, 325ft Chevy 3500 & 4500 - 6.0L-V8, 323hp, 373ft Dodge Promaster - 3.6L-V6 (GVW only 9,300 pounds) Now to supply some data as to why I feel our Phoenix Cruiser stands above most other brands. These two videos drag on, but provide lots of data and also clarify critical things to look for when evaluating any brand. CLICK HERE on a comparison between a Phoenix Cruiser and an undisclosed brand. I think it is a Nexus. There is a lot of nit-picking but is notable when adding it all up. It is also educational on what makes a better motor home...of coarse at a higher price too. CLICK HERE for a slideshow on how a Phoenix Cruiser is built. I feel this slide show teaches so much, especially about hidden things that unsuspecting buyers would never think about.
ron.dittmer 11/22/20 06:56am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Leveling a Class C?

Hi coolmom42, Every once in a while, your original question is asked.....Can you drive your rear tires on one ramp, such that one of the two tires is suspended in the air? We have a smaller class-C motor home. You can see it by CLICKING HERE. The weight on our rear tires is not as much as with bigger and longer rigs. I am comfortable using one ramp per rear corner, suspending the inside rear tire in the air. My decision was based in-part on a phone call I made to the Michelin tire company. At home we have rain gutters instead of curbs. My question was, "Is it okay to park so the outer tire is suspended over the rain gutter to avoid the rig parked out into the road? He said it was fine. I then asked about driving the rig on ramps. He said to use two ramps. Then I asked him what is the difference between my first question and second question. He admitted there is no difference, but that is what they are required to tell their customers. I use Lynx levelers. They resemble Lego blocks as shown below. Each block is one inch tall. They offer blocks, flat top caps, and wheel chocks. When used in combination, it becomes a fairly decent ramp. They store in nice compact zippered bags and are very light weight. I searched the web and found this picture of all 3 different Lynx components in use at the same time, but only one block high. You can stack this higher and higher. The official limit is 5 blocks, 5" high plus the top cap. https://www.wanderfilledlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Lynx-Levelers.jpg width=500 There are other products that accomplish the same thing. By chance I went with the Lynx product line. I am not saying it's the only good choice.
ron.dittmer 11/15/20 08:49pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Aluminum Framed Vacumn Bonded Lamination

Our 2007 Phoenix Cruiser is made as follows. Floor - Marine plywood deck, rectangular steel floor framing, foam block insulation, durable corrugated plastic under-barrier. https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50594113671_6b56f7a4c9_z.jpg width=640 Walls - Gel-coat fiberglass exterior, aluminum studs, foam block insulation, walls rest on the floor (not bolted against the floor). https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50593378893_3cefb2f73e_z.jpg width=640 Cut-outs - Framed as shown, foam block insulation, finished with wall-papered luan interior wall panel. https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50593378878_36d22319c3_z.jpg width=640 https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50594243617_fb413cf8b4_z.jpg width=640 Roof - (see picture above) Curved aluminum rafters for a domed roof, luan inside and outside, inside finished with a fabric, outside covered with sheet fiberglass. I suppose there are better materials and methods, but ours has been working well. There are so many more interesting details how a Phoenix Cruiser is constructed. CLICK HERE to watch a YouTube slide show that points out some unique detail.
ron.dittmer 11/12/20 10:02am Class C Motorhomes
RE: I Am severely dissapointed.

It is sad to read your story. Unfortunately your experience is not all that uncommon in the RV industry, especially with entry level motor homes. Many RVs brand new have such issues. Given your particular situation with no other place to live, I would get up on the roof and try to find the source of the leak and fix it myself, preferably permanently, but even if only temporarily to prevent further water damage. Unfortunately, you will find that the best person to get your rig right, is you the owner. A very common place for water to leak inside is at those orange and red high-mounted lights. It is a shame that those lights are installed in the first place but the government requires them on vehicles 80" or wider. A very thin amount of clear silicone caulk, around the entire base of the light, will be adequate to seal it. Be careful not to caulk the lens to the base because you will need to replace the light bulbs one day. But before you start caulking, first unscrew the light and inspect for a gasket. It might have been accidentally deformed (not placed properly) from a fast-operating assembly line worker.
ron.dittmer 11/09/20 07:45pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: 30 foot limit

I know National Monuments and the various National Preserves and Reserves don't allow campingJust FYI: Many national monuments offer camping. We've camped in many.
ron.dittmer 11/09/20 07:31pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: When do 2022’s come out?

It seems model years of RV manufactures are often introduced in time to show off during a particular RV show. Which one? I don't know.
ron.dittmer 11/09/20 07:27pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: 30 foot limit

We almost exclusively camp in national parks and monuments. Our rig is under the 24 foot length. Because we travel without campsite reservations, our short length has saved us a number of times.
ron.dittmer 11/09/20 03:37am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Propane tank

When it comes to your propane tank, fresh water tank, waste water tanks, and battery health, this type of metering is quite inaccurate. They provide a "rough" idea alone which for many people is adequate. The gauge on the propane tank itself will provide better accuracy, though still not perfect. https://live.staticflickr.com/5640/20966357074_44ebb463f7_z.jpg width=640
ron.dittmer 11/07/20 07:15am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Experience with Sprinter Class C's

Generally speaking, the Ford E350/E450 cut-away chassis has a very low cost of maintenance as long as it gets driven enough so the brake rotors don't rust-up, and brake calipers don't seize-up on you. But that is the same with any chassis. Cost of operation, specifically fuel consumption, is where the Sprinter takes the lead. But given the cost of gas is less than that of diesel (in most places), the lead is not as much as some people think.....especially when comparing similar-size rigs with the shorter lighter E350 motor homes. Our E350 gets over 10mpg when not towing. Keep in-mind that you have to drive an E350 like a Sprinter to get a fair comparison with regards to fuel economy. The problem is that people are more comfortable driving faster in an E350 so the comparison in fuel consumption is skewed. Drive the same rig, the same way, Sprinter versus E350, both not towing, and the gap is not so great anymore. An over-all comparison of fuel consumption, chassis maintenance and repairs would likely conclude that the cost of ownership will be less with an E350/E450. But there are other factors to consider. People love the comfort of, and the view out of the Sprinter. And if the house on it's back is just what you were looking for, then why not consider it?
ron.dittmer 11/05/20 09:04am Class C Motorhomes
RE: New E450 Chassis

Dual plugs? Ah, I get that. It has been many years since I seen dual spark plugs. As I recall in the 80's it was said that 2 plugs was a different way to accomplish the same as 4 valves. If that is so, it simplifies the engine but complicates a tune-up.
ron.dittmer 11/03/20 04:42pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Used class c purchase

Hi alamo47, New, used, or well used, when shopping for a conventional class B+ or C, the most important consideration is how it is constructed. This post outlines construction methods which are most affordable and methods that cost more, but are built to hold up much better to the elements and also the punishment of the road. Some motor home manufactures offer different levels of quality through their various model lines. Instead of providing a list of brands to consider, it is best to identify what "Better" is. When shopping for a motor home, don't get distracted with "Eye Candy" and "Square Footage". You want to pay close attention to how the house is constructed. Water infiltration is the number one killer of motor homes, rotting them away long before anything is worn out. Once water gets inside, it is like termites. By the time you realize there is a problem, a lot of damage has already occurred. Also consider that mold & mildew can grow inside the walls which then you have a health hazard. My advise focuses on identifying a reliably well sealed motor home. #1 BEST (Very Expensive, Can Be 1.5 times the cost of Second Best) NO structural seam work. The brand Coach House is a fine example. It is seamless, made from a mold. The only places where water can leak is cutouts for windows, entry door, roof-top vents & a/c unit, storage compartments & maintenance access, all of which are in areas of very low stress. Because they have a seamless shell, these motor homes are not common and have a limited selection of sizes and floor plans. #2 SECOND BEST Common, Affordable, & comes in Many Sizes so this is my main focus I own an example of this type. My Rig Here manufactured by Phoenix USA. Made in sections, but assembled in a way that greatly reduces the threat of water damage. Here are the good things you want to look for. a) Structural Seams Away From Corners When a motor home is driven, the house bounces, resonates, shakes, and leans countless times, representing a endless series of earthquakes. Corner seams see greater stresses than seams located elsewhere. Corner seams are more easily split, especially when the caulk gets brittle with age & exposure to the sun. One extremely bad bump in the road can instantly breach a corner seam. Seams hold up much better when they are brought in from the corners in lesser stressed areas. b) A Seamless Over-The-Van Front Cap A huge bed above the van’s roof is the most vulnerable area of a motor home. No matter how well they are made, that long frontal over-hang resonates when the RV is driven making it common for seams to split there, most troublesome with age & exposure to the elements. HERE is an example, one of many water-damage threads I have read. Scroll down in that thread to see pictures of the real damage. The small front aerodynamic cap of a B+ design HERE eliminates the overhang which eliminates most of the resonation, along with the most vulnerable seam work. There are a few conventional “C” Designs (big over-van bed) where that area is seamless. If you absolutely must have that huge bed, then look for a seamless bucket-like design. The Itasca Navion is a fine example. If your requirements are to have a large class-C with a massive over-van bed, the best example I seen was this Fleetwood Tioga model offered around 2008-2009. It is unfortunate all class-Cs don't practice seamless cab-over area construction for it would greatly improve the class-C industry. Increasing in popularity by many manufactures is a shallow bucket design with fewer seams located in less-stressed areas. The Nexus Triumph is one such example. This shallow bucket design is a reasonable compromise. If you plan to accommodate more than 2 people, having that large extra cab-over bed will be extremely useful. c) A Crowned Roof Rain and snow melt runs off a crowned roof. A flat roof will sag over time, then water puddles around heavy roof-top items like the a/c unit. Water eventually finds it's way inside after gaskets & caulk have degraded from age, sun, and change in seasons. d) Rolled-Over-The-Edge seamless Fiberglass Roof Sheathing A single sheet of fiberglass as shown HERE that rolls over the right & left sides of the roof, down to the wall. The overlapping of fiberglass to the wall provides a good water seal and the fiberglass sheathing holds up better than roofs made of sheet rubber or thin plastic called TPO, which require more attention to keep your RV well protected. e) A Five Sided Rear Wall Cap A five sided back wall moves the seams around to the sides to areas of much less stress as seen HERE. The rear wall resembles a shallow rectangular cooking pan standing on it's side. Like the example, some rear wall sections are constructed with an integrated spare tire compartment and rear storage compartment. Not only are they convenience features, but that rear wall/cap offers a solid double-wall for exceptional strength which is more resistant to flexing the adjoining seam work. It helps in keeping the house together. Don't be fooled. Some manufactures add rear wall sectional styling which gives the appearance of a 5-sided pan design. Though not as desirable, they are still an improvement because all the holes for lighting and such are not in the structural wall where water could otherwise get inside the house. You can easily tell by noting the sections & seams between them and the flat back wall that remains exposed. CLICK HERE to see an example. f) Walls Are Either Resting On The Floor Or Bolted Against It Common sense would say the walls should rest on the floor, but some manufactures actually bolt the walls into the side of the floor framing. This means the weight of the roof and walls (and everything hanging on them) rests on mounting bolts. How well will that method hold up when being driven for so many thousands of miles? Checking for this is very difficult. It takes a trained eye for sure. CLICK HERE for an example of it done right with the walls resting on the floor. Bigger Will Be Weaker The size & floor plan you select MUST FIRST meet your needs before this consideration. The bigger the house, the weaker the structure will be. Consider two cardboard boxes made from the exact same corrugated material. The smaller box would naturally be stronger. It will be more resistant to bending, twisting, and other types of flexing. So if you are on the fence between models, the smaller one will be your stronger choice. Potentially Troublesome Construction Entry level motor homes are made with seams in corners and finished off with trim, including the massive cab-over bed. Their roof is flat and finished with rubber or TPO. They are most affordable, and come in all sizes. HERE is one such example. If considering this construction type, keep in-mind they require more regular care with bi-annual inspections. Plan to use a caulking gun now and then. When buying a used one, consider that you really don't know how well the previous owner maintained it. Buying new or used, that construction method will be counting on you to be a good non-neglectful owner. There are also the rare exception of the Lazy Daze which has seam work in the corners, but the substructure and sealing method is of the highest quality that it holds up like a seamless body. It's excellent sectional construction methods are not commonly found in other brands. I am no expert on this, but I'd give it a #1.5 Almost Like Best A Caution Concerning Slide Outs Slide outs are most popular. Everybody loves the extra floor space they provide. There are so few motor homes made without at least one slide out. Unfortunately slide outs can introduce risk of water damage to the main floor around them. Good seals work when the rig is young, but can loose their ability to seal properly as they age. When looking at used rigs with slide outs, closely examine the main floor around each one. If you can lift the carpet adjacent to the slide out and see the wood floor is a gray color, that is a sign that water gets inside. Also, completely open the slide out and step on the main floor adjacent to the slide out. If it feels soft, the plywood or chip board material underneath likely requires replacing. About The Chassis The most popular is the Ford E350 and E450 with the V10 engine, and this year Ford replaces that 6.8L-V10 with a larger, more powerful 7.3L-V8. The Ford Transit diesel and the Mercedes Sprinter diesel are popular alternatives to the E350 in the smaller sizes. The GM 3500 & 4500 chassis are not popular but are a very good choice for the right application. Any of the chassis mentioned made since 1998 are real good, new or used. If you plan to tow a car or heavy trailer, be aware that the Transit and Sprinter will be least powered. People who tow with them naturally take it slower. I am not sure a Transit can tow anything significant. That needs further research. If considering a recent “small” class B+ or C motor home, here is a comparison between the two current main chassis contenders, the Sprinter with the V6 diesel engine and the Ford E350 with the V10 gasoline engine. Advantages Of The Mercedes Sprinter With Diesel Engine - Offers a 35%-50% improvement in fuel economy over the Ford-V10, when both are loaded and driven identically. - More ergonomic driver compartment with more leg room. - Comfort continues with a car-like feel & quiet ride. - A grander view out the windshield - Made by Mercedes which people are attracted to. Advantages Of The Ford E350 with V10 Engine - Given identical motor homes both brand and model, the Ford is around $24,000 MSRP cheaper - The Ford V10 engine has 50% more horse power and torque - The Ford E350 chassis handles 1430 pounds more weight. - The E350 is able to tow a heavier load. - The E350 rear axle is significantly wider which translates to better stability. - In most places traveled, gasoline costs less than diesel fuel - The Sprinter diesel has limited mechanical service shops around North America - The Sprinter diesel is typically outfitted with a propane generator. Propane is a critical fuel for RV operations, and generally needs to be rationed when dry camping. - This Next Point Is Debatable But Still Worth Noting....The V6 Sprinter diesel engine is not allowed to idle for extended periods. This limitation is detrimental when you need a/c but there are generator restrictions, you are low on propane, or you have a mechanical failure with the generator or roof a/c. The Ford offers a great backup system. The V10 can safely idle for hours on end, heating, cooling, and battery charging, all valuable if you have a baby, pets, or health/respiratory issues. You decide what your priorities are, and pick the appropriate chassis. There are some really sweet motor homes being built exclusively on the Sprinter chassis, such as the Winnebago Navion and View. The Ford Transit Chassis This chassis is increasing in popularity in the smallest sizes. According to Ford's website, the Transit DRW chassis is offered in the 156", and 178" wheel base, and is rated as high as 10,360 GVWR. Ford offers a motor home package specific for the RV industry. It's diesel engine compares to the Sprinter in power and fuel economy, but is more affordable and is easily serviced at Ford service centers, just like the E350 & E450. The cab has a lower stance than the Sprinter making it much more friendly to get into and out from for people in their later years. Entering and exiting is more like a mini-van rather than a standard van. The Transit's lower cab also offers roomier over-head bunks that are easier to access. The Dodge Promaster 3500 Cut-Away Chassis This front wheel drive chassis is another recent entry in the RV industry. I am concerned over it's lack of load capability as reflected with single free-wheeling rear wheels. I have been reading posts written by new Promaster RV owners stating they are over-weight with just two people, some personal effects and food. They say they can't carry water and never a 3rd person. I would not be comfortable with such a limited load range in a B+ or C. This chassis does seem to be a good option in the "B" motor home market. The Chevy 3500 & 4500 Chassis Unfortunately this chassis is not more popular, primarily because GM sort-of gave up on competing with the Ford E350 & E450. It offers more interior comfort than the Ford, but not as much as the Sprinter. It's power & weight ratings are a little less than their Ford counter-parts making them a great chassis for all but the heaviest of class Cs. They are also a little better on fuel consumption. One thing to keep in-mind, if you are counting inches in storing your rig, the Chevy is a little longer than the Ford by a number of inches which was critical for us with our garage as seen HERE with our Ford 2007 E350 rig. That could be the reason why the Chevy has a little more interior driver/passenger leg room. The Ford E350 & E450 The majority of class B+ and C motor homes are built on one of these two chassis for a number of very good reasons, and with the changes in recent years to the engine and transmission, the good reasons increase. They have more power and load capability than the others. Ford approves outfitters to modify the chassis to increase or decrease the wheel base which supplies motor home companies a lot of design freedom. Ford has off-the-shelf components that work with the wheel base modification. So if you need a new drive shaft, fuel line, brake line, parking brake cable, wire harness, whatever, Ford has them available. Finally, the E350 and E450 chassis is competitively priced. Engine Power Ratings of Ford, MB-Sprinter, Chevy, and Dodge Ford E350 & E450 - 6.8L-V10, 305hp, 420ft (7.3L-V8 starting in 2020) Ford Transit Diesel - 3.2L-I5, 185hp, 350ft Mercedes Sprinter Diesel - 3.0L-V6, 188hp, 325ft Chevy 3500 & 4500 - 6.0L-V8, 323hp, 373ft Dodge Promaster - 3.6L-V6 (GVW only 9,300 pounds) Now to supply some data as to why I feel our Phoenix Cruiser stands above most other brands. These two videos drag on, but provide lots of data and also clarify critical things to look for when evaluating any brand. CLICK HERE on a comparison between a Phoenix Cruiser and an undisclosed brand. I think it is a Nexus. There is a lot of nit-picking but is notable when adding it all up. It is also educational on what makes a better motor home...of coarse at a higher price too. CLICK HERE for a slideshow on how a Phoenix Cruiser is built. I feel this slide show teaches so much, especially about hidden things that unsuspecting buyers would never think about.
ron.dittmer 11/03/20 10:28am Class C Motorhomes
RE: New E450 Chassis

I cannot imagine a brand new engine design would revert back to spark plug wires and remote-mounted coil packs. For a number of years now, spark plug coils snap over the spark plugs, eliminating high energy spark plug wires. Maybe your terminology is incorrect. I understand tweaks were made to the 2021 E350 and E450 cut-away chassis to increase GVWR, but I don't how it was achieved. I did read that the "made for motor home" version has beefier front and rear stabilizer bars. Maybe that change alone increased GVWR. It would be interesting to read the specifics on how GVWR was increased.
ron.dittmer 11/03/20 09:52am Class C Motorhomes
RE: an interesting new design rv

Comparing a B-Box to my 2007 Phoenix Cruiser 2350 HERE. B-Box - 9'-8" tall to the top of the roof plus vent pipes = 9'-11". My Phoenix Cruiser - 9'-10" to the highest point, the a/c unit. B-Box - 22'-9" long. My Phoenix Cruiser - 23'-8" long. B-Box - ~83" wide. My Phoenix Cruiser - 93" wide. B-Box has a wet bath with shower curtain out in the main isle. My Phoenix Cruiser has a private dry bath. B-Box has a couch/bed facing forward, and front seats that swivel rearward. You sleep on the couch/bed. Where do you eat? My Phoenix Cruiser has full-time double bed, full size dinette, 3rd captain seat, and front passenger swivel seat. I have dedicated eating, sleeping, and relaxing areas, something for everyone at the same time. Watching the video, I see the auto-levelers hanging way down. Their thoughts about off-roading seems risky without them, let alone with them. B-Box has technical complexity up the ying-yang. My Phoenix Cruiser is simple. B-Box costs between $300,000 and $490,000? Is that right? My Phoenix Cruiser cost me $67,000 back in 2007. B-Box may be ideal for someone else, but not for me. Still, I admire their creativity and wish the company great success.
ron.dittmer 11/01/20 08:31pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Teacher's Pet

Dale, I wish you great success with the sale of your big diesel pusher. I hope you are holding up well. I have been married to the love of my life. We married at a young age 43 years ago. For me, it would be extremely hard to carry on.
ron.dittmer 10/30/20 06:42am Class C Motorhomes
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