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Post Info TOPIC: Smaller Rigs


RV-Dreams Community Member

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Smaller Rigs


Hey Everyone,

My name is Rick.  I'm just beginning to seriously consider the Full-Time RV Lifestyle. I was wondering if any of you are in smaller 18-24 foot rigs?  I just don't see myself in a 30-40 footer. I'm really wanting to find a simple, uncomplicated and frugal lifestyle.
Only looking for room for myself and maybe one grandchild at a time.



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Hi Rick and welcome to our little Solo's Corner. I'm still looking at rigs and have pretty much narrowed it down to 24-30'. Toughest thing is that the motorhomes in the smaller sizes are harder to find and seem to garner a higher value. There are LOTS of 32-36' but I really don't want something that big, especially since that would require a toad.

I will be interested in hearing from others as well.

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Donna & Stu (& Sadie, too)
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Hi Sanddreamer and Froggi, Well buying and living in any rig is purley a personal desision to make first and formost, as most every experieced Rv-er will tell you. Especially the great people on this site.smile Having said that I will suggest that you try before you buy. Renting an Rv can be very expensive. So if you happen to know someone who has a small Rv the size you want maybe they would be willing to rent for a nominal fee. If not, you could find a decent used rig to use for a year or so, once you decide get on the road. I know a guy who bought a new small camper. A year later went to a new travel  trailer and the dealer gave him almost what he paid for the one  he bought a year earlier,   he was trading up substantially.wink Small spaces tend to become tiny when you're in them fulltime. Just a line of thought for you!smile All the best in your search.biggrin Bago.



-- Edited by bago40 at 20:44, 2007-06-26

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Bago, 1997 Winnebago Vectra Grand Tour 7.4 290hp Chevy Vortec SFI. Focus Toad.


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Hi everybody. I thought that I would chime in on the subject of selecting an RV for full time living--be it small or large, motor home, fifth wheel or trailer. Be aware that several RVs are NOT intended for full-time living/use. This fact may or may not mean anything but could reflect on the quality of the rig or the various appliances therein. Also be aware that using a rig that is not intended for full-time use on a full-time basis could result in refusal to honor warranties by the manufacturer of the unit or the appliance you are trying to get repaired. Be sure that whatever unit you chose is represented, by the manufacturer--not the salesman--as being suitable for full-time use--IN WRITING.
Secondly, in considering your future lifestyle, remember to consider the types of climate that you will be 'camping' in. Not all of us intend to spend our winters in Arizona, southeast Texas, or Florida but rather in more northen regions. So if your plans include some wintery weather be sure the rig you chose has adequate insulation and a large enough furnance.

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RV-Dreams Community Member

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For those interested in full timing in smaller rigs, please check my blog for my year and a half experience in a 21 foot TT.  It is my preference.

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Here's another site with stories from folks fulltiming in small vehicles
http://www.vandwellers.org/

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Larry
"Small House, Big Yard "
7 years to go to FT
Alfa See-Ya 5'er and 2007 Kodiak C4500 Monroe Pickup


RV-Dreams Community Member

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I have been preparing to fulltime for some years now just didn't realize that was what I was doing until earlier this year.biggrin

Since I retired at age 62 i have done yearly road trips with my "small rigs". In 2007 and 2008 I traveled through all of the lower 48 states with a Scion xB and towing a Teardrop Trailer. These trips were all travel trips not camping trips, although I did do some limited camping. I'm now going to do one more trip with the xB and Teardrop but will do more camping this time with the thought of how would I be doing it with a different rig and do it fulltime.

With all that said, I would like to have comments from those of you that have been there before me. I am considering the purchase of a used RV, 2000 to 2003, that is not more than 22' in length as my replacement rig for a fulltime life. So far I have focused on Roadtrek and Winnebago and would appreciate your advice on these manufactures or any other that you might suggest.

I am open to suggestions regarding the make but finances probably will not let me buy anything newer than 2003 and I am opposed to going longer than 22' unless you can provide a good argument why I need a bigger unit.

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RV-Dreams Community Member

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I've been working up to this full-timing for about a year now and have finally made the executive decision to begin the implementation. I'm going to be flying solo with my cat and just like you I want a smaller rig that drives like a car. I've spent about the last six months researching the same units you're looking at. Because I'm planning on doing this for 3-yrs I'd prefer to buy a new unit but they no longer build the Rialta, my choice, I'm going to pick up a lightly used, well maintained, very low mileage rig. I've decided on the HD model and it has to be later than a 2001 as I want the larger engine.

I've decided I'm going to treat it like you treat a private plane. A plane has certain maintanence that's required at certain hours or date period. An engine has to be replaced at 2000hrs, a prop at 2,000hrs, etc. and annual inspections @ about $5k. so to insure you have the money available most aircraft owners open a checking account for the plane and treat it as though they were renting one. Each time they go up, they charge themselves for x-number of hrs and deposit that into the plane acct. That way, when you need the $25k for the engine, you don't have to scramble trying to raise the cash. While the Rialta should go easily beyond 100,000 miles and I know it would if I bought it new, I'm using the 100k mileage as my benchmark for engine and trans replacement and charging myself on a per mile basis based on the cost of the engine and trans, or replacement of the whole rig if I decide to continue on...all based on the remaining mileage to get to that 100k. If it continues to go on relatively trouble free, the account will just continue to build...no harm done. But, if that's the end of the line...I won't feel the pain of the large payout. My home is going up for sale in about a month, as soon as it sells, I'll start shopping in earnest for my home on wheels....hopefully, I'll be on the road by late spring.

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RV-Dreams Community Member

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I know this is an old topic but I just had to say I have lived in small to lrg TT over they years and am back to small and cozy.I like the small space ease to clean and also I do not start pack ratting,lol.

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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check out rvsue and her canine crew. single woman in a Casita, I think its 17ft. I love reading her blog. she just stated full timing and is really enjoying it

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You just defined a used Airstream.  They are rugged, but stone cold simple.  They come in all sizes and almost all of them have a fold out couch that makes a bed in the living area - Perfect for one grandchild.

 

A “Big” Airstream is 34’ and they go all the way down to what is called a Bambi.  They are really too small IMO. 

 

Except for the really newer ones, they don’t have slides, generator or inverters and don’t need a big truck to pull them.

 

My Mom and Dad full timed in one for 30 years back when life was a much simpler.

 

Do a little research and check them out as to price an applicability based on your criteria.

 

Bill



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Bill & Linda
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RV-Dreams Community Member

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Airstream also makes Class B motorhomes.



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I've been looking at the Winnebago Class C's. They are a bit pricey new but noticed that used they really come down. I really like the Mercedes diesel. I would like info on what the scheduled maintenance costs are for the Mercedes, and any past or current experiences with this model. I am new to RVing but am contemplating buying a used C in the next year or so. Thanks!

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fred4999 wrote:

I've been looking at the Winnebago Class C's. They are a bit pricey new but noticed that used they really come down. I really like the Mercedes diesel. I would like info on what the scheduled maintenance costs are for the Mercedes, and any past or current experiences with this model. I am new to RVing but am contemplating buying a used C in the next year or so. Thanks!


 

Fred,

You will want to be sure and do the research on the Mercedes.  According to something I heard, but cannot verify by actual knowledge, is that should one accidently introduce gasoline to the diesel, the Mercedes is basically trashed.  With the other brand diesels, one can get some work done on them and still have the engine to be usable.

Terry



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RV-Dreams Community Member

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Thanks Terry and Jo, that is something that I would have to watch out for.  The reliability interests me, however the reliability of American made has made me rethink all this foreign made stuff.  



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fred4999 wrote:

Thanks Terry and Jo, that is something that I would have to watch out for.  The reliability interests me, however the reliability of American made has made me rethink all this foreign made stuff.  


If you are looking for reliability try the Chevrolet Duramax / Alison.  If you can find a Class “C” on one of the 4500 Chassis you will not be able to find a more dependable diesel or transmission.  Others may be as good.  Don’t want to start that discussion.  But there is none better based on my personal experience of close to 100,000 miles, most of it towing a fiver. Zero issues - period.  Not one complaint.

 

Also, take note any routine maintenace can be done at any GM dealer.  So finding a place for an oil change and a once over on the road is easy not to mention if additional service were ever needed.

 

My 2 cents

 

Bill



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RV-Dreams Community Member

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Bill & Linda, I haven't bought yet either. I'd be interested in your opinion about diesel vs. gas. At least in the Spokane, WA area, diesel prices are still higher than gas. My neighbor around the corner from me bought a diesel, but he's also got all diesel trucks and he didn't even look at gas RVs. From a practical point of view, I'm a little bit of a car guy, at least as far as small gas cars go, but I've always been a bit hesitant about the diesels. I looked at his engine and thought, I have no idea how this thing goes together. Are there (possibly non-obvious) advantages to diesel that should make me want one and learn how it works despite the price at the pump? I'm sure lots of folks ask this question, and if there's a repository of info you consider reliable that you'd rather I turn to for the answer, a link would be great. Thanks.



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We started out in 2006 - 2007 traveling in a 16' T@B teardrop pulled by a diesel Jeep Liberty.  

 

Some of the advantages of diesel that lead us to that path where:

- Better fuel economy over an equivalent gas engine (we were getting 18 mpg towing in our 4-cyc diesel, versus the 12 mgp 6-cyc gas version of the same version - both of which had the same tow capacity).   At the time, diesel was cheaper than gas fuel, but even at today's prices - I think we would have been at least even or ahead. 

- More oophm (see above..  4-cyc vs 6-cyc)

- Being able to run bio-diesel and/or convert for veggie-oil (if that's your thing)

 

The biggest downside for us was the noise!  Having a diesel engine in front of us all day long driving became tiresome. 

 

We later upgraded to a 17' Oliver Travel Trailer (similar to RVSue's Casita mentioned above, but more designed with full-timing in mind) - and were able to continue towing with the Jeep for a while. And did switch to a gas burning Toyota Tundra. We lived/traveled in the Oliver for 3 years. 

 

More recently, we switched to a 35' 1961 bus conversion with a Dietroit Diesel 2-stroke engine (pusher).  The engine is incredibly simple (and BIG!), and even computer geeks like of us has been able to ramp up quickly to becoming novice diesel mechanics.  It's been a lot of fun so far.

 

So.. I can say from our viewpoint, living in a super tiny RV is enitirely thrivable (heck, there are two of us an a cat - and we run a business from our home on wheels!) for many years. And diesels aren't necessarily scary. 

Best wishes,

 - Cherie



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RV Mobile Internet Resource Center (unbiased information by RVers for RVers)

zephyr_pixel.jpgRV: 1961 GM 4106 Bus

Toad: 2009 MINI Cooper



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flickeringtorches wrote:

Bill & Linda, I haven't bought yet either. I'd be interested in your opinion about diesel vs. gas. . . .  Thanks.


This may start one of those ridiculous “Chevy vs. Ford” type discussions but since you asked this is my opinion.

 

Let me start by saying I will assume you will actually travel in the Class “C.”  If you going to travel 2,000 miles a year, on flat land, maybe none of this matters.  Some RVers don’t travel much.  We do, so that is the bases for all my comments.

 

First, a Class “C” is not a car.  It weights a lot more than a car and the power needs, especially in any mountains, or hills, are completely different from any car.  This is a truck regardless of how it is packaged.  Second, the maintenance on a diesel, at least the Chevy (and Ford / Dodge) diesels is just not significantly more.  Oil changes are a bit more due to using more oil – like 10 quarts.  You also have a fuel filter that must be changed.  Mine goes 15,000+/- miles – not a big deal. That’s about it as to increased maintenance; at least for my Duramax / Allison and the Ford’s / Dodge’s aren’t that much different.

 

It is a fact, and I have driven and pulled with both, there is no comparison between the torque, that is the “power” required to move something from a dead stop or uphill, of a diesel and a big block gas engine.  I cannot over emphasize the importance of “torque.”  Horsepower is secondary except when running on level ground and “cruising.”  Diesel fuel has much more “boom” (energy) in it than gasoline.  You get that power and yes for a lot of reasons now you must pay for it these days.

 

During a climb or running at interstate speeds some gas engines sound like they are going to blow up, IMO.  They aren’t naturally going to, but to make the power required they have to turn at very high RPMs.  To get that to the rear wheels very high rear axle ratios are necessary.  That’s one reason why the MPG goes way down.  Even on level ground they are turning very high RPMs and sucking fuel to keep the rig moving.  Diesels, not so much in most cases.  That’s why diesels usually get much better gas mileage than “gasers.”

 

There are a lot of things to consider.  But based on my experience for a lot of years you should not be “afraid” of these domestic diesels.  I clearly prefer the GM Duramax / Allison combination for a lot of factual reasons.  But as I said, I don’t care to engage in the Ford / Chevy / Dodge discussion.  To each their own and enjoy it.

 

I think the point is this: Don’t be afraid of the domestic diesels.  They are good workhorses and I don’t think you will be disappointed.  Hope this perspective helps.

 

Safe travels

 

Bill

 

A PS edit:  Oh, the new diesesl (at least my GM) are very quite - not at all like the clunkers we sometimes hear sitting next to us at stop lights.  I and the DW would really rather listen to my diesel all day than the gas one I once drove screeming at me.  {Grin}  Just a nice, quite 1650 RPMs.



-- Edited by Bill and Linda on Tuesday 13th of December 2011 10:29:10 AM

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Thanks Bill and Linda for the info regarding Chevy's diesel.  I will look to see if they are available in the C class.  I am hesitant about Mercedes service costs, had a new BMW car years ago - the $500 oil change/service drove me back to American made.



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I appreciate the advice. Sounds like a diesel pusher is the preferred mode of transport, and not a bad learning curve to get into performing routine maintenance. Regarding diesels by Chevy vs. Ford vs. Dodge etc., I have no opinion there. I have experience with Ford gas engines and hate 'em -- they were always like the saying goes: found on road, dead. My sedan is a Nissan, and that's a great little car, but apparently Nissan doesn't make an RV. [chuckles] How's the mean time between failure with diesel engines, whether major or minor issues?

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We just visited some friends with a Gulfstream Endura Class C with a Chevy Duramax diesel. Nice RV and they are happily full-timing in it.

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Besides one being Class A and one being Class C by definition, is there any practical difference between a front engine and a rear engine diesel?

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Being new to this and not financially well off, I opted for a used 28ft Class C Holiday Rambler built Alumalite on a Ford E-350 chassis powered by a (drummmmrollllll) "boat anchor" gas big block (460 I believe).  But with only 75k miles on it (it's an 86 model) and in good shape, and for the price of one used motorcycle and a grand in cash, I drove it home.  Needs a little work, but very clean and drives easily.  The plan is to leave the apartment in the spring and move in full time to get used to it, then head south for the winter after retiring to stay near my older brother for awhile.  I hadn't planned on lots of travelling, just living in it and having the option to head out if I want to.  Won't even worry about a TOAD, just some sort of ramp/platform rig on the back that will accomodate a Gold Wing Motorcycle.  I don't leave home without THAT!!!!



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smilesmilebiggrin Jesse: Pierre Saying Hello! I have an 88 Ford Cl-C with the 460, 7.5L engine. Yours is most likely carburated like mine. It has a Holley, so get that rebuilt with a new power valve, it's mounted with 4 screws on the front bottom of the carb. Make sure that big C-6 Transmission gets a serice with new filter and gasket and a quality fluid. I have had mine since 04 and it had 50K on it, now at 65K. Watch the front tires for wear as I-beam front axles tend to wear the tires after 6K miles. You may already know this; but thought I would give you a heads up. Maintenance is the best, because these are in the truck classification. Glad to have you here.



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Hi I thank everyone in sharing RVSue, I am enjoying her blog and have learned alot about basic full-timing from a woman's perspective. I recently was able to find a Casita to get in and see what it is about. They are very well made me feel like getting into a space capsule. I admire her ability to stay indoors during the weather. For me a Casita would be a great choice for part-time but full-time not sure. It can be pulled by a V6 but everyone recommends an 8 if you are going to do any mt driving. So to me if you are going to full-time, use a V8 then why not a bigger TT like a 22ft just coming from my perspective..



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Hi Pierre.  I sold the RV after doing some work and realizing the extent of what's left, big bucks stuff.  Then there was the "where to park" while i keep my job and save for the road.

Recently, I decided to go Van-Dwelling route, bought a Chevy G20 conversion and will tailor it to my needs, live in it while working and save for the road and retirement.  Then, it's wherever my heart desires.

Thanks for the input.  Happy trails



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flickeringtorches wrote:

I appreciate the advice.  How's the mean time between failure with diesel engines, whether major or minor issues?


 I dunno about mean time but my Ford 6.0 has had exactly one failure, and that was an alternator at 106K miles.  Oh wait, that is not specific to a diesel.  Seriously we have 126K on ours and only oil and filter changes.  Of course, changing oil requires 16 qts, not the 5 you are accustomed to.  I know of one guy with 400K+ miles on a 5.9 Cummins.  He mentioned the other day he had to spend $50 on repair.  A diesel is serious about clean air and fuel.  Dirty up either one of those and the repair mounts like a bottle rocket.



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I realize that this is a very old thread, but the topic remains alive, current and fresh.

As I mentioned in my Introductions post, I spend about a year and a half full-timing in a 17' RV-Van. Heck, I know folks that have been living out of their actual vans, for that matter.

It CAN be done. Just why, how and all varies.

Now I've got a 24' RV.



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RV-Dreams Community Member

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I too now have a 24'Class C with no toad.

Have been living in it full time for a little over two years now. Making some cosmetic modifications to the interior so that it is more 'my' home. Addopted an American Staffordshire about 9 months ago and she loves the Class C and the full time life as much as I do. 

The smaller Class Cs are great for the solo traveler or Fulltimer IMO!



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I have a 25' travel trailer with a super slide dinnette, rear jack knife sofa and a seperate bedroom. It's the perfect size for me, in fact, it seems roomier than what I could afford to rent in the SF Bay area.... I've decorated a little on the interior, and it's actually the cutest, nicest "studio apartment" I've ever had, and, I can move, very easily, not something you can easily say in a highly competitive, high rent zone!

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