Hunting for RVs. What can we rule out?

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by Finchplucker, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. Finchplucker

    Finchplucker Junior Member

    Hey everyone, first time poster. My girlfriend, another best friend, and myself are looking to buy ourselves a new home to live out of for the next year. We are calling it the RV Project, quitting our jobs and taking a year to travel from San Francisco, CA across the country and stopping at all the best rock climbing spots the USA has to offer. We'll be filming the adventure, as well as a documentary about the search for our generation.

    We're brand new to the lifestyle. We're currently hunting for RVs on Craigslist, and have found a few that match our tastes. For example, we looked at an '84 Lazy Daze with a cab over bed and a separate bedroom in the back, a small bathroom, and enough living space for us to be comfortable and also to work on our films. The only issue with it, and some others we've seen, is that they can't tow a compact car. We'll be staying at certain spots for weeks at a time, necessitating a second vehicle.

    My question is this: in looking around for RVs, what can I automatically rule out as being incapable of dragging a 2002 Honda Accord (automatic = tow dolly)? What engine specifications should I be looking for? We want the rig to be, hopefully, below $8k, and around 24 feet or so.

    Thanks for your help! Can't wait to start living the life.
  2. Triple E

    Triple E Senior Member

    Hello and welcome to RVUSA. :applause: I am not sure why you can not tow a Honda Accord behind a 24' coach. You will need a tow dolly or a flat bed trailer. Any engine that comes with the motor home will be able to handle a car of that size. If not, then run. Good luck and keep us informed of your adventure.
  3. KarenS144

    KarenS144 Member

    Sounds like FUN!!

    You guys have a lot to think about though. Like BUDGET for one. Older MHs might be cheaper to purchase but the purchase price might be the cheapest part of owning it. MHs are like little houses with motors. Anything that can go wrong in a house from a leaky pipe to roof damage can happen to a MH PLUS you've got the engine & transmission! Tires are very expensive and most need to be replaced on later than their 7th birthday regardless of mileage. When sitting in the sun, MHs become ovens pretty quickly and A/C is almost a necessity so make sure you have a working A/C unit. A gen set might come in handy for you since many campgrounds on national land (parks, BLM, Forestry..etc) don't have hookups. Check the size of the tanks...fresh water, grey & black. 3 people can empty the fresh & fill up the others quickly. Don't forget to factor in several thousand extra for insurance, breakdowns & tags.

    I don't know if your car can be towed 4 down or not but you can check here: If it can't be towed 4, I'd encourage you to considered getting something that could be. Dollys & trailers add extra weight and then you've got to deal with parking them somewhere. PITA if you ask me!

    Before purchasing something, the 3 of you might want to rent a MH for a long weekend. In BAD weather! Things can be great when everyone is outside but being cooped up together in a MH no matter what size is another story. I can guarantee that a 24' Class C will shrink to something about 5' long quickly. (Our first MH was a 22' B+.) You'll need a lot of "stuff" for a year on the road so consider storage. Look at a LOT of units and do a lot of research.

    Let us know what you decide!
  4. try2findus

    try2findus Senior Member

    Welcome Finchplucker!

    Yes, it does sound like fun and all great advice Karen!

    I agree that a MH seems to shrink. When we moved from a 24' to a 30', I thought we had all of the room we needed. Now after 3 that:indecisiveness:

    And as Steve asked, please do keep us updated on your adventure!
  5. akjimny

    akjimny Senior Member

    Hi Finch(?) and welcome to the RVUSA Forum. Like Steve said, almost any Class A or Class C motorhome will be able to tow another vehicle. Having used a tow dolly last year and a trailer this year, I have to agree with Karen that they are a royal PITA. Unless you are really competent at driving, they are a bear to back up. I have a 2007 Sunseeker 30' MH on the Ford chassis with the V10 engine. Book says I can tow 10k with it, but I don't even want to think what my gas mileage would be. But a small car like you have shouldn't be any problem. And like everyone else said, motorhomes do seem to shrink in the rain. JMO but I would try renting one for a weekend or two, just to get a feel for how much motorhome you will need.

    Good luck with your travels and keep us posted on how you do.:):)
  6. Finchplucker

    Finchplucker Junior Member

    Hey guys, thanks for the advice so far! Karen, you had some kickass tips that we've definitely heard from other sources, which means they are certainly valid.

    I think my trepidation about towing the Accord (which, it appears, I will be able to do 4 down, hooray!) is the extra strain on the brakes and engine of an older, perhaps high-mileage car. The Lazy Daze I mentioned earlier had an amazingly friendly owner who cautioned us against towing with it since it had something like 130k miles on it. In retrospect, it might be the only reason we didn't get it! Dang, too bad, it had a gennie, no leaks, etc. etc.

    I see a lot of CL ads for MHs with recent inspections. Are those worthwhile? In other words, what do they typically inspect, and what might an RV inspecting company miss?

    Finally, I do promise to update you all on the journey of our lives! Part of the filming, by the way, will be interviews of folks about their 20s, what they are doing, what their passions are, what they feel their place in the US is, and if they are living their dreams or if they settled. In short the hunt for our generation, culminating in a feature-length documentary. When we get our website up and running, I'll make sure to post the link.
  7. TexasClodhopper

    TexasClodhopper Senior Member

    Perhaps the seller of that 1984 MH was so happy to find ANYONE that would give his RV a second look. A MH with 130K miles and 27 years is waiting for a rookie to come along and snap it up! That's where you'll get a dose of experience. :stupid: Perhaps your budgeted price for a MH is too low.

  8. KarenS144

    KarenS144 Member

    Haha, Clodhopper! You are probably right!

    Finch> Your car is a Honda so if it's been maintained, it's probably good for another 100K BUT I can envision it having trouble navigating some of the rougher roads you may need to travel to get to the places you want to go. A small pickup with a topper would give you extra storage (which I guarantee you'd need). You can add auxillary braking systems for the toad which I think most of us would highly recommend. If you brake hard with the MH, the brakes on the tow vehicle also engage which is a good thing.

    IMO, You guys should raise the bar on the MH. I think what you're looking for is waay too small for 3 peeps to live in for a year. Unless you've got plenty of extra cash for repairs & upkeep you may have to restrict your climbing to the nearest park's playground. If this is truly something you want to do, it'll be something you want to do a year from now so this old gal's advice is to continue to work and save, Save, SAVE to get a bigger bank roll. Watch the prices on MHs on the for sale sites, continue to watch CL but you've REALLY have to be careful when dealing with CL (I'm sure you're aware of that!), check out some of the local dealer's stock and continue to research. Rent a MH for a weekend and all 3 of you stay INSIDE the whole time.

    What you guys want to do can be done for sure but you want to do it as safely as you can. MH breakdowns on busy roads are scary and dangerous. MH breakdowns in the middle of nowhere are scary and dangerous. It happens to all of us no matter how old the rig is but the older the rig, the more likely for major mechanical issues.

    I think you should ask the old folks if they lived their dreams or settled and see what you get!
  9. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    I agree with the others on maybe you should save and have more to spend on the rv. We have camped for 40 plus years and have seen people living in most anything from tents to plush MHs. Only you can decide what you can live with. We have a 32 ft Mh with 2 slides and it has all the space we need but we have been married for 52 yrs. We tow a 4x4 tracker which is very light and will go most anywhere we need. Good luck and live your dream if there is any way possible. Life is short.

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