While I have not used it yet - one of the other forum members turned me on to this site - www.rv.org
I am planning on joining just to obtain the books and review information on there. We already chose our first rig and will try this out for a couple years before moving to a new unit (if at all).
We decided to purchase a top of line used larger unit and give it the TLC it needs to bring it up to our needs. Then after 2 or 3 years possibly trade for a new(er) unit but only after we totally decide what we want or need to do this full time.
Quality was one thing we looked at closely and knowing the manufacturing process involved in rv's - knowing first hand the methods used in winnebago's - and knowing of similar units like lower end fleetwood and etc - we decided to go with the high end coach.
Here is what we ended up purchasing and you might keep in mind - new or used - the coach you buy is a rolling home on wheels and you must decide to dedicate some of your time and efforts toward maintaining it. Otherwise - they do have a habit of shaking and moving around enough that a small problem could become a huge one over time.
I would strongly agree with the post about www.rv.org. They are the only organization that does evaluations of RVs who do not accept advertising from the manufacturers. Organizations like Good Sam, Motorhome Magazine and such, sell buying guides but they also depend upon the advertising dollars of the builders and it shows. I have been a long time reader of Motorhome magazine and to date I have never seen any more than very mile criticsm of an RV and not one "do not buy" rating. And they nearly always sell large advertisments to the manufacturere of the product that is currently under review. The RV Consumer Group trains volunteers to do their evaluations and the rater receives only expenses in return. Because of the lack of advertising they must rely upon member dues and the sales of their books for income so this will not be free. But when we bought our motorhome, their advice was what saved us $8400 in the price of the unit that we bought and after 4 1/2 years of fulltime living in the RV selected with their help, we are still very satisfied that we made a good choice.
Diesel pushers with the rear radiator configuration often have problems with adequate cooling.
The side radiator configuration does a better job of moving the cooling air through the radiator.
I owned a National RV gasser for 6 years and can say nothing bad about it. However, the Tradewinds DP with a Cat engine had engine cooling problems when operating in the desert.
We chose a Newmar Dutch Star Diesel Pusher due to percieved better quality.
The RV Consumers Group is a reliable source of information, even though strong biases show up from time to time.
You might want to visit www.tiffinrvnetwork.com and see what people who own a Tiffin motor coach have to say. There is some good and bad to read but at least its non-biased postings.
We own a '03 Tiffin Phaeton 38GH motor coach. It has a 330 hp Cat engine and a 6 speed Allison Transmission. It has a rear radiator and I have NEVER had any problems with the engine overheating however I do always wash out the radiator when I wash the coach. This is just part of the ritual I have when cleaning the rig.