Full Timer Purchase Advice

We are getting confused by the more we learn, the more we don't know. We are going to full time and want to spend under $350k. We like the Allegro Bus (made by Tiffin). But some say DON'T buy the Freightliner Chassis! I read the chat about get a Cummins, not a Cat, so I will take this to heart. But which chassis should I watch out for? One salesman had a brand that had cross struts in between the storage units downstairs. He said without those, you will twist and tweak all the time. One person said the Freightliner can be worked on in more places, another said it is the cheapest brand and stay away. Should I try to get a 450 or 500 diesel? Or will 350 do just fine? Alot of people said stay away from Winnebago, it will fall apart. Does it matter if the side walls are not metal? The metal walls come in a more expensive rig than we want. We want no more than 42', diesel pusher with 4 slides. Thanks!

C Nash

Senior Member
Re: Full Timer Purchase Advice

With a 42 footer I would go with the biggest engine. Are you buying new? For the price range you are willing to spend you should be able to get in a good unit. I like the cummins because of parts are easier to find here and generally a little cheaper but, would not let it be a deal breaker. Nothing wrong with a freightliner IMO. Just remember all units are going to have bugs in them so pick a dealer carefully. All just my opinion and I don't own a deisel but have been researching and wanting. Good luck and let us know what you find.
Re: Full Timer Purchase Advice

I absolutely agree with Nash on the dealer issue. There are opinions on top of opinons about the generalities you mentioned. A good dealer to take care of you is of the utmost importance. Personally, I wouldn't get one of the super high horsepower engines. Consider the input ratings of the transmission, also. Engine and transmission life is like a six pack of coke. You can drink it very quickly and have a loud burp, or you can sip it slowly with no loud noises...........and there's probably loads of opinions on that, too, and this is just mine. I guess it's worth what you paid for it.


Senior Member
Re: Full Timer Purchase Advice

Cummins seems to have the best reputation over a Cat engine. The transmissions are almost always by Allison, no matter the chassis you get. Freightliner is probably the most common chassis and there is really no problem with them. The best for storage are the "raised rail" chassis as they have more pass-through storage than do the standard rail type. But the best are the monique, which means one of the bus conversions or a product from Monaco. ( Monaco, Safari, or Holiday Rambler) The Monaco products are semi monique which means that they frame in in the lower structure of the sides which makes for more storage and a much more rigid frame. That is why the million dollar motorhomes all use a version of that as do busses. The bus conversions also have that. Winnebago cuts the frame in half on a normal chassis and inserts a section that is semi-monique. I think that I would stay with a Cummins engine, but the chassis is both a cost factor as well as one of design.

On the horse power, it used to be that 275 was OK and 300 was wonderful. Today the rigs are longer and somewhat heavier, but the horse power has gotten to be a status symbol. If you go to a bus like Marathon or Newell you may go as high as a 500 hp Detroit Diesel, which is probably the ultimate, but for most of us the 300 or 350 will do just fine.
Re: Full Timer Purchase Advice

I'm sure all of the advice above is meant to be helpful, I would like to add my 2-cents worth:

My Other Half and I are full-timers, too! For over a year now....I have a 2005 Bounder Turbo Diesel: Freightliner Chassis, Cat 300 HP engine, Allison 6 speed tranny --- I LOVE THIS COMBO! Coach rides like a dream (it's favorite cruising speed is 73mph)! I tow my Honda Accord and have all the power I need. I agree with all the rest...choose your dealer carefully.

Buy the coach you REALLY want...yes, they are ALL going to have bugs! They will ALL need service and they will ALL cause you immense FRUSTRATION at one time or another. Just keep remembering WHY you chose this lifestyle, all the joy you get by traveling around and meeting new people,



Senior Member
Re: Full Timer Purchase Advice

One other thing that none of us addressed is brand names. Winnebago is one of the better reputations on the road today. Two others that have excellent reputations are Newmar (makes Dutch Star & Kountry Star) and Allegro.

We have been fulltime now for 6 1/2 years.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
RE: Full Timer Purchase Advice

Sorry to disagree with Kirk, but I don't think Winnebago's have a very good reputation currently. Just going by what I have seen and heard in the last 5 years. I was parked in the Admiralty RV Resort in 2001 and I saw a Winnebago covered with plastic lemons and signs all over it claiming how bad the product was and the dealer/factory warranty service was. If fact they were trying to get action under the Texas lemon law. One of the problems was a hydraulic leveler coming down while they were going down the highway. That was just one of many problems. I have since read quite few few bad reports on them in the RV forums. Bottom line: I have a 5th wheel so take my 2 cents worth for what it is. Gossip :evil:


Senior Member
Re: Full Timer Purchase Advice

Sure glad I have an "OLD" 1989 Winnebago Chieftain. WE love it. For as old as it is, we have been really lucky for over 4 years with problems. Had to replace fridge, had to fix hot water tank solenoid, etc., but that is just about it for any kind of real problems. Got some side bubbles, but it was caused by previous owner not putting fridge line outside to drain but just inside fridge compartment. Been saying I'm gonna fix those bubbles for four years.
:( ;)
RE: Full Timer Purchase Advice

Hi There,
We're just waiting for the old house to get sold to start our full timing life. Having spent the last two years checking out almost all the deisel pushers out there I think you'll find there is very few negative comments about any of the Newmar RVs. You also won't find too many of the Newmars in the used RV magazines. That says a lot about Newmar! The Ventanna, [ new in 2006 ] is their entry level rv and has all the comforts without all the " bells and whistles " that often need repairs. Newmar dealers have to measure up to Newmars expectations or they loose their franchises. The tour at the factory [ we went last November ] was quite informative and their quality control process was exceptional. The 2006 Ventannas that are still out their run around $140,000 to $160,000. A good rule of thumb on purchasing price is to take %25 off the MSR price and start negotiating from there.
I'm lucky enough to have a nephew who owns his own RV repair shop, and does a lot of warranty repairs on many of the various RV manufacturers and concurrs on my feelings about the Newmars. Being an ex-heavy equipment and truck mechanic, I'll take a Cat to a Cummins any day. Most any truck shop mechanic can work on a Cat, not so with Cummins!
Hope to see you all on the road SOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!
Re: Full Timer Purchase Advice

Everyone has their own opinion about every rig so here's mine. You want to get a rig that is of good quality and low maintanence. Also one that has a good company to stand behind it. Right now Monaco is having some issues. Tiffin is one of the best companies as far as standing behind there product. Up there with Foretravel which costs twice as much. Freightliner is working through their problems and haven't had the problems of 04 in there newer chassis that I know of. Just remember that they don't have to be the prettiest to be the best built. ;)


Junior Member
Inventer We are Fulltimers on our 8th rig

Just would like to add that you might want to look at slightly used rigs there are a lot of them out there still under warranty for a lot less money and they might have a lot of the bugs out of them. We only bought one new rig in 2001 it was a 39 foot Bounder diesel and it worked great for us after the first year where we spent half the time in the shop fixing pages of warranty problems. I'm not saying every new rig will give you a lot of problems but used units just seem to have less. All the chassis,s are good now we have a Monaco Dynasty with the road master chassis and we like it. But Sparton and Frieghtliner also make good chassis,s . Don't forget each manufacturer makes different chassis,s. Do your home work but you might want to check out the used rigs a lot of people go RVing and find out it is not the lifestyle for the. We have been fulltiming for fifteen years and we still love it. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.
Bye For Now
Ric & Judy