Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

Discussion in 'Class A / Diesel Pushers' started by Harry_, Feb 18, 2007.

  1. Harry_

    Harry_ New Member

    Hi,

    okay, apples and oranges have more in common than my comparison, but I am new to this and went to an RV dealer today to get a first impression. The idea was to figure out if there are decent used Class-A coaches around in a price range of about 60 thousand.

    Two coaches I somehow liked today:

    1999 National Tropical offered at the "manager's special" of 43,000 (I think it was about 34' with one slide). Well it is kind of old, but 27,000 miles I guess might be okay. What about Nationals in general, any advice on this model? How reliable can such a coach be, or do I have to expect a breakdown every 500 miles? Is the price in an okay range?

    On the contrary, (two) quite new looking 2005 Fleetwood Southwind 32VS (I think one with 7,000 miles, one with 13,000 or so). Offered at 77,000 (down from 85,000 listed). Well, over my budget considering taxes and fees, but man, I like the high ceiling! I am tall and that couple of inches more makes quite a difference for how I feel in there.

    The thing is, I am from Europe and I most likely have to pay everything in cash (no US credit history = alien from a different world). So, 50 all together compared to 85 makes quite a difference.

    And, I am a newbie, and my wife and I we want to give it a try traveling the US for a year or so in that RV. But what if we figure out after two or three months that this isn’t for us? Selling the old National will cost me quite less in depreciation than the Fleetwood, at least I think so?

    Maybe you pros can give me an advice if one of those mentioned RVs (in relation to the price, reliability, ...) would be okay, or what else to look for. I like a roomy feeling but I realized today that longer (34+) RVs often have just more furniture whatsoever which we don't need (and don't want), and the guy at the dealership told us that you run into troubles with coaches over 34' at many RV parks? I don't know if this is true (maybe some advice from you would help here too), and/or if you want to become a fulltimer you simply have to go for a 40' monster?

    Thanks a lot,
    Harry
     
  2. hamdave

    hamdave New Member

    RE: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    Can't answer your question as to 'which one'. I suspect you need to do a lot more soul searching as to a)how you plan to use it? driver vs parker for example. b) do you like camping in general? c)What you can 'afford'? d) over all cost including 'depreciation' etc. I had a class C back in the 70's when I had kids at home. We used it pretty regular for about 4 years, then it sat for a year with little use. Sold it, and then in 2006 spent about 7 mon looking for a good used unit. Found one, bought it outright and will spend about $1000 remodeling it ourselves. We think we are drivers, not parkers so it has no slides, it is short (will fit in my garage and believe we will use it about 4 mon out of the year although not all at one time.

    I think you get the drift, 'research..research..research.. etc. :)
     
  3. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    You might want to look into renting for several weeks before buying. You will get diferent opinions on the makes so listen but make up your own mind. Most parks will accomadate longer rvs but if you plan on some out of the way smaller national parks you may be limited to size. 35 ft is a good length IMO. Both of the units you are looking at are good but national may be in some money trouble and a lot of people bash the Fleetwood products. Drive them, sit in them, lay on the beds, ck bathroom size for fit and ck, ck ck and ck them again. If interested offer several thousand less. Expect problems and you wont be dissapointed. Good luck
     
  4. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    Don't know anything about National's quality, but they seem to have had economic difficulties over the last few years.
     
  5. chappie

    chappie New Member

    Re: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    I would not buy anything by National RV. Theif customer service stinks. We bought a new 2001 SeaView and the bumpers, fenders and cargo doors have all cracked. They sent new doors, but we had to have them painted and installed to the tune of $3200 and then they cracked again withing 5 months, 1 cracked within a week. The product is not made for out of doors; clearly it is a manufacturing default. They will do nothing for us.
    :dead:
     
  6. Harry_

    Harry_ New Member

    RE: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    Thanks a lot for all your feedback!

    Meanwhile, I also went to other dealers, with some strange results ;-)

    At one dealer we also checked a fifth wheel which was quite nice. A 30 (or 32) feet with three slides, very high ceilings (which I love), new for 45,000 incl. a generator and the hitch for a truck etc. So this sounded very promising, and I really liked it. But I guess a trailer has quite a lower image (here in the US) than having an RV? I don't know why but that is how I understand people see it, right? Maybe someone can explaint that to me.

    But then we also went to another dealer and we found a coach we would like the most - wouldn't it be quite above the original price limit we had in mind. A 2005 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37C for $100,000. Very cool, nice relativ dark wood, and a plain gray look inside with white leather, exactly as we would like it (love it)! And very specious as well. Not the high ceilings that we found in an Alfa for an even higher price, but still taller than in many others which makes a difference to me as I am quite tall as well!

    I don't know if we really should seriously consider such a huge price increase compared to a 43,000 older coach or a $45,000 brand new fifth wheel solution? What do you think about that Fleetwood model in general, and would it be worth that price?

    Harry
     
  7. Harry_

    Harry_ New Member

    RE: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    ...

    Btw, talking about the price: how much would you offer for that coach? I guess it was offered at 115,000 or so and than had some "super special rebates" bringing it down to 99,900. I am not familiar how much room there is in the US at car and RV dealer ships and what the best way would be to negotiate the best deal - for me, and not the dealer ;-)

    Harry
     
  8. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    There is nothing wrong with a fifth wheel and appropriate tow vehicle, and there are some advantages.

    It all depends on what you plan to do with it. If you will be on the road more days than not, then the motorhome can be easier to use 'on the road' and easier to set up at the end of the day. But you will need to tow a small car to get around, so 2 registrations, 2 insurances, 2 maintenances. And if the vehicle part of the RV conks out, you will probably have to live in a motel while it is being repaired.

    On the other hand, if you will be travelling for a few days then staying in one place for a while, the fifth wheel might have the edge. You can unhook and use the tow vehicle for getting around. Probably 100K worth of trailer and truck will be of higher quality than 100K of motorhome. If the truck breaks, you can stay in the trailer while it is getting fixed. Down side is it is harder to use the RV while you are traveling (like for restroom breaks/meal breaks/naps), it can be less comfortable to drive (most 'normal' sized trucks are a bit cramped for us big fellers) and setting it up can be more work (mostly levelling).

    Don't let 'them' make the decision for you. If a trailer is better for you, go for it.
     
  9. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    My question is are you trying to look good or travel well. If you spend all your time on the rroad "full-time" it's hard to beat a 5th wheel for comfortable living. If you like to travel with your nose in the air then a coach is the way to go. Lovin it in a 5th wheel. :bleh: :evil:
     
  10. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    Now why are you saying our nose is up in the air DL :laugh: Aw forgot we can't stand the smell of that Dodge diesel fumes :laugh: :laugh: I've had both and prefer the MH. Different strokes for different folks :)
     
  11. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    I've had both and I prefer the MH for travelling and the fifth wheel for staying in. And I don't use either to impress people, i use them to fulfil my needs (ok, wants, perhaps :) )
     
  12. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    Just having fun Chelse. I quess I'm still ticked at the TrailerLife magazine advertizing MotorHomes, and MotorHome magazine won't lower themselves to advertize trailers in their "nose in the air" magazine. Or maybe its the fact that there are lots of uppity Motor Home only RV Parks, but not any trailer only RV Parks. Somewhere in there I distinctly get the feeling I'm not as good as the motorhome owners. Just a perception mind you. Also in conversations with SOME Mortorhome owners, they seem to have their noses in the air. For instance, many times I have had Motorhome owners ask my honey and I "What kind of COACH do you have"? When I or my wife answers, "we have a 5th wheel". Their response is a derogatory "OH". Personally I like the floor plans in 5th wheels better than Motorhomes, and I would buy a new 5th wheel tomorrow, if i won the lotto today. Just my perference.

    I have never dectected any "nose in the air' feelings from anyone on the forum, but as HARRY quite eloquently stated, " But I quess a trailer has quite a lower image (here in the US) than having a RV". Golly, now my 5th wheel isn't even included as a RV. :( No reason for bitterness, I guess. So I apologize and take back my "nose in the air remark".:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  13. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    DL, No apologize need here. We once had an Airstream and while sitting up in our site a lady came running across the campground and wanted to know what our numbers were. Told her we didn't have numbers and you would have thought I poured icewater on her. Ran back a lot faster than she came over and never spoke anymore. :laugh: Thought it was funny myself :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: When we had our popup we pulled into the only spot left beside a big Prevost and the guy came out and helped. :eek: Have had them all from sleeping on the ground, tenting, popups, converted bus, 49 ford with 327 chevy engine, man can still hear them duals talking, twin smitties we called them, TT, 5th wheel and now MH and loved them all. What family memories along with meeting all the fellow rvers :approve: :approve: The nose where they belong far out number the ones in the air.
     
  14. Stormin

    Stormin Member

    Re: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    I have a coach and pull a chevy 2500 with a duramax. Are you impressed?
     
  15. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    Yeah, I would probably pull my Dodge CTD with a coach if I happened to have one. :clown: :eek: :bleh:
     
  16. Stormin

    Stormin Member

    RE: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    I'm going to try pulling my coach with my Chevy-only a Duramax would get that done :laugh: ;)
     
  17. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    I push our Ford MH with a Chevy tracker :eek: :laugh:
     
  18. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: Newbie needs help: '99 National vs. '05 Fleetwood

    Well you got me there. My 5'er won't pull or push. :clown: :evil: :laugh:
     

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