Just getting started - how to not get discouraged?!

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Joined
Oct 4, 2020
Messages
6
Hi everyone! Just starting to shop for our RV (5ht wheel, 2 adults, no pets) for next year's retirement plan (part time to start with!) Currently living in MN tho that may change later.
We are feeling a little discouraged today. I have done A LOT of reading about how certain rv manufacturers were better and some we should stay away from. So yesterday we went to about a half dozen dealer lots to walk thru some to see what we liked...found 2 we liked the layout and coloring, so we got home and looked up reviews only to see most gave a rating of 3 out of ten for the overall quality of that rig. We don't want to waste whole days of driving around looking only to learn we should have ignored those too (we avoided keystone and anything made by thor since we read many places that their quality was not so good.)
So how do we narrow down our search if the articles about who is good and who is bad seem to contradict themselves?
Also, we do not plan on buying new, but want to see some layouts and details to settle on a brand and size.
Any advise would be so appreciated so we don't give up before we start! What brands are consistently better and which are consistently not? Or does each brand have a basic model that's not great but mid and upper level models that are better?
I'm back to feeling overwhelmed after thinking I had done so much research...
Help! 🥴
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
3,671
Location
Midlothian, VA
RV Year
2017
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
Welcome to RVForums @TK & Em. Take a deep breath and just go see what you want to see with no obligation to buy. The floor plan is most important as that's your living space. Every RV is going to need work, yours and professional at some point, rolling earthquakes are hard on a house. After you see everything something is likely to "wow" you and that's what you should consider. It's a daunting process, I ordered mine and didn't sleep for 3 months! Whatever you choose I'm sure you will enjoy and if not you can always get something else. Many around here seem to have owned on average 3 RV's. Take your time...enjoy the experience, it is great. Welcome!
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2020
Messages
428
Hi @TK & Em welcome. Some people have enjoyed RVs that have a reputation that is less than favorable. Others have trouble and complaints about top of the line coaches. It is more about what your tolerances to quality issues that bring in the reviews. Rough edges, trim problems, furniture problems, carpet problems, just questionable attention to detail. Some accept the quality as it is others find such things unacceptable. For me safety issues like electrical issues that have seen smoke are big to me. Leaks because construction methods are big. I don't want to sit along side a road waiting for chassis repair, or a tow. I don't like complex systems that rival an industrial complex, but many require/demand it.

The Internet is great, but with it comes information that never would have caused great concern before, it leaves many searching if they have the same issues that they never knew they had before the forum they belong to had the problem abuzz on it.
Find an RV that is just right for you. Read the reviews and see if any of them really are serious of if a bandage will cover a hole.

I walked through a retro trailer last season. The dinette seat had uneven seams. Looking at that on a regular basis would drive me crazy, others don't even notice. If all else looked good I would buy a throw to cover the issue. Screws through wiring would make me run the other way.

Just my $.04 worth, buy what you can be happy with, no ones opinion counts but yours.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2020
Messages
184
Location
Ringgold, GA.
RV Year
2006
RV Make
Holiday Rambler
RV Model
Ambassador
RV Length
40'
TOW/TOAD
2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
You can't believe half of what you read on ANY kind of forum no matter what the topic. ;) There are know-it-alls in every group that will tell you every brand (except the one they own) is junk. Then there are the people that don't know how to do the most simple repairs so every time the smallest thing needs fixing or maintaining they get on the forum and complain about what a piece of junk brand XYZ is. The same thing may not bother me a bit and to me would be considered par for the course with ANY mechanical device.

All that being said, you usually get what you pay for. Bargains can be had in the used market if you catch the right buyer in the right situation (like I did) and this lets you buy under market value so it leaves you money to fix or repair or replace anything you don't like about the RV. My advice? Don't be in a hurry. Keep looking. Eventually you'll find a brand or a model that you think suits your fancy. Floor plan is THE most important thing. It's the hardest and most expensive thing to change! Then once you know which one you want, you can start your Nation wide search for the best deal. I flew from Chattanooga, TN to Dallas TX. to buy mine. It only cost $109.00. The widow picked me up at the airport and after my inspection I drove it home. DO NOT pay for the RV until you see it in person. Many people have been burned. There are lots of scammers out there and dishonest people as well.

Good luck!! Come back and let us see some pictures of what you bought. :)(y)
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
2,390
Location
WA, MT or somewhere else!
RV Year
2018
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Mountain Aire 4047
RV Length
40'
TOW/TOAD
2014 Honda CR-V
Welcome to RVF, @TK & Em; glad you are here. And, please don't get discouraged.

I second the comments posted by others above. "Floor plan" should be your first criteria. Then, use your own eyes to evaluate the quality of a unit. If the fit and finish of a specific RV doesn't seem good to you, move on; it probably isn't any better in unseen areas. And, I fully agree with the thought that "you get what you pay for."

Can you tell us what type of RV you are looking for? Motorhone, travel trailer, 5th wheel, etc.? That would help us point you in the right direction.

Now, as to internet reviews, I don't give them much credence as what they really portray is someone's opinion. One person may love or hate a particular product for a very insignificant reason. You can improve your assessment a little by looking at several different reviews and throwing out the high and low cores, focusing on the comments offered in the middle.

Good luck on your search. If you can provide a bit more detail regarding what you are looking for, along with a general idea of your budget, we'll do our best to provide our best thoughts.

TJ
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2020
Messages
6
Welcome to RVF, @TK & Em; glad you are here. And, please don't get discouraged.

I second the comments posted by others above. "Floor plan" should be your first criteria. Then, use your own eyes to evaluate the quality of a unit. If the fit and finish of a specific RV doesn't seem good to you, move on; it probably isn't any better in unseen areas. And, I fully agree with the thought that "you get what you pay for."

Can you tell us what type of RV you are looking for? Motorhone, travel trailer, 5th wheel, etc.? That would help us point you in the right direction.

Now, as to internet reviews, I don't give them much credence as what they really portray is someone's opinion. One person may love or hate a particular product for a very insignificant reason. You can improve your assessment a little by looking at several different reviews and throwing out the high and low cores, focusing on the comments offered in the middle.

Good luck on your search. If you can provide a bit more detail regarding what you are looking for, along with a general idea of your budget, we'll do our best to provide our best thoughts.

TJ
Thanks - I did edit the post above - thanks for that suggestion - we're looking at 5th wheels, no set budget yet, but not the high end ones - more mid range - we like grand design reflections (and of course love the solitude, but trying not to overspend the first time around!!) or FR Artic Wolf and a few others like those - we haven't toured keystones or coachmen yet, nor winnebegos, but been checking out floor plans. We wish we could see all floor plans for all brands in one place - we did find one website that had a lot of them, but not sure it's really all of them! We'll keep looking while weather cooperates, and then switch to online over the winter! thanks again!
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2020
Messages
184
Location
Ringgold, GA.
RV Year
2006
RV Make
Holiday Rambler
RV Model
Ambassador
RV Length
40'
TOW/TOAD
2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
We wish we could see all floor plans for all brands in one place - we did find one website that had a lot of them, but not sure it's really all of them! We'll keep looking while weather cooperates, and then switch to online over the winter! thanks again!
Have you ever been to a National RV Show? :oops: :oops: :oops: Every make and model under the sun in one place!!! It's a bit overwhelming the first time you go to one. It's like drinking from a fire hose!! I suggest you find one and go to it. But DON'T take your check book with you the first time. The sales people there are professionals at closing the sale and you'll be taking one home if you're not careful. :LOL: If you are located anywhere in the Southeast you should go to the FMCA National show in Perry GA in the Spring. If you can't find it there then you ain't looking hard enough!
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2020
Messages
6
Have you ever been to a National RV Show? :oops: :oops: :oops: Every make and model under the sun in one place!!! It's a bit overwhelming the first time you go to one. It's like drinking from a fire hose!! I suggest you find one and go to it. But DON'T take your check book with you the first time. The sales people there are professionals at closing the sale and you'll be taking one home if you're not careful. :LOL: If you are located anywhere in the Southeast you should go to the FMCA National show in Perry GA in the Spring. If you can't find it there then you ain't looking hard enough!
we would love to go to an rv show, but we are in MN and our show is indoors in February and will most likely be canceled this year unless they figure out how to sanitize the air every 3 minutes from people walking in and out of them all! rofl...that won’t happen! so we are trying to do as much as we can before it gets too cold, but rv lots are thin on stock now of course! but we are doing what we can! wish we lived where we could attend an outdoor rv show!
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2020
Messages
70
Location
Texas
RV Year
2015
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Ventana
RV Length
44
TOW/TOAD
2013 Ford Explorer
@TK & Em Looks like the Tampa "Super Show" is still a go for Jan 2021. Held at the state fair grounds in Tampa. I've attended the past two years. Tons of RV's of every kind, most outdoors.
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2020
Messages
6
i will still be working until about march 1st...not sure i can fit in a trip to tampa from minneapolis...cuz i am NOT flying anytime soon! but we will keep our eyes open. we may have to do more of our shopping in the spring...not much to go look at right now! thanks for the info...we will ponder it!!
 

ARD

Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
307
Location
Fulltiming
RV Year
2018
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Dutch Star
RV Length
44
TOW/TOAD
Yukon Denali
Fulltimer
Yes
I don't know about hoofing it all over the place to check RV's. I would have found that discouraging and exhausting. I did all my research online 1st and had narrowed it down to 3 manufacturers that had the best reputation as far as quality, customer service and was within my budget. Then I was able to narrow it to ONE based on floorplan and also because it was the only one that offered coaches without carpet. Then I went to the RV Super Show in Tampa and went straight to Newmar (my research #1 choice) to see it LIVE and UP CLOSE. I was sold. Ordered my coach and I've been a happy camper ever since. I'm not real familiar with 5th wheels. I have friends that have a New Horizons and they seem to really like it. And as you already noted, Grand Design's Solitude has a good reputation. Good luck in your search!
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2020
Messages
6
I don't know about hoofing it all over the place to check RV's. I would have found that discouraging and exhausting. I did all my research online 1st and had narrowed it down to 3 manufacturers that had the best reputation as far as quality, customer service and was within my budget. Then I was able to narrow it to ONE based on floorplan and also because it was the only one that offered coaches without carpet. Then I went to the RV Super Show in Tampa and went straight to Newmar (my research #1 choice) to see it LIVE and UP CLOSE. I was sold. Ordered my coach and I've been a happy camper ever since. I'm not real familiar with 5th wheels. I have friends that have a New Horizons and they seem to really like it. And as you already noted, Grand Design's Solitude has a good reputation. Good luck in your search!
well, we're trying to put our heads into at least a few to see the actual shower sizes, bedroom space and some interior colors -we dislike the dark dark woodwork that we see in a lot of them! But, we're about out of good weather so we'll probably go this weekend and the rest we'll whittle down online. We have it down to a few good choices with larger showers, so we'll research customer satisfaction on those manufacturers and such over the winter. We're also second guessing our 5th wheel idea since we aren't sure we want to drive a big-a$$ 3/4 ton pickup to haul one, and we don't really want to go shorter than the 28 or 29 footers. We may go back to researching larger class C's for starters! good thing we're not in a big hurry - we're not impulse buyers, just impatient buyers, if that makes sense! Hate shopping but don't need it RIGHT NOW - just want to be done 'deciding' already! LOL Thanks for your input!
 

ARD

Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
307
Location
Fulltiming
RV Year
2018
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Dutch Star
RV Length
44
TOW/TOAD
Yukon Denali
Fulltimer
Yes
we're not impulse buyers, just impatient buyers, if that makes sense! Hate shopping but don't need it RIGHT NOW - just want to be done 'deciding' already!
Hahah. I totally understand! That was the first part of my research .... deciding whether I wanted a 5th wheel, Class A, C, B. I ended up choosing a Class A since I'm a solo woman driver and felt a Class A would be safer and easier for me. I also read somewhere to buy your 1st RV as if it was your 3rd, so that is how I eliminated the smaller coaches. When you go and sit in some rigs, imagine how it feels to be inside on a rainy day. What things are on your must have list .... washer/dryer, etc. Let us know how it goes. It will be so much fun once ya'll decide. Happy hunting this weekend.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2020
Messages
184
Location
Ringgold, GA.
RV Year
2006
RV Make
Holiday Rambler
RV Model
Ambassador
RV Length
40'
TOW/TOAD
2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
@TK & Em Looks like the Tampa "Super Show" is still a go for Jan 2021. Held at the state fair grounds in Tampa. I've attended the past two years. Tons of RV's of every kind, most outdoors.
I've been to the Tampa show as well. It's every bit as big as the FMCA show. ;)
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2020
Messages
428
There is nothing like an RV show to compare quality. Look for the tiniest issues and walk thru twice. Keep notes. The trip to one is likely the best money you will spend in your purchase.
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2020
Messages
6
Hahah. I totally understand! That was the first part of my research .... deciding whether I wanted a 5th wheel, Class A, C, B. I ended up choosing a Class A since I'm a solo woman driver and felt a Class A would be safer and easier for me. I also read somewhere to buy your 1st RV as if it was your 3rd, so that is how I eliminated the smaller coaches. When you go and sit in some rigs, imagine how it feels to be inside on a rainy day. What things are on your must have list .... washer/dryer, etc. Let us know how it goes. It will be so much fun once ya'll decide. Happy hunting this weekend.
well, since I wrote that earlier, we looked at some class C floorplans and decided that wasn't going to work. There's still a bit of discussion amongst us as to how much we are going to travel. ONE of us 😉 is about all set for full time as soon as I get done working. the OTHER one seems more inclined for 3-4 week jaunts or maybe longer over the winter months, but thinks we need to keep an actual house too. They have no past association with full time RVing, and I do, as my folks did so for about 5 years until my father was injured. So I'm much more willing to jump in with both feet! So, baby steps to find a middle ground so we won't have to buy a new rig in a couple years when we decide we don't need the actual house for awhile! If I was solo, I'd be going with a class C or smaller class A, but for now we don't want that big (towing our car, etc). Trying to stay in the 30' range for our first few years!
There is nothing like an RV show to compare quality. Look for the tiniest issues and walk thru twice. Keep notes. The trip to one is likely the best money you will spend in your purchase.
we will most likely do that next year as we don't want to fly this winter yet, and we're too far to drive to any warmer climates for one if anyone actually has one this winter. Everything we see says not to buy right now anyway due to high demand and low supply, and we're not in a huge hurry so we have time to wait to see what next spring and summer brings to the availability! We would love to go to one huge show and see all of them we like...but that'll have to wait. Thanks for the input - we're definitely hoping to make it happen if covid will allow shows to go forward again! (Not likely here this winter!)
 
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
395
Location
Florida
RV Year
2018
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
CanyonStar
RV Length
39' 11"
TOW/TOAD
Demco KarKaddy 460SS and VW Passat
Not sure what exactly you're looking for but you might start a conversation with youtubers LessJunkMoreJourney folks. They are selling their 5th wheel and have lived in it full time for over a year. They trade rigs about every year. I am sure they would be happy to talk about the pitfalls and benefits of 5th wheels. Less Junk, More Journey
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2020
Messages
75
Welcome to RVForums @TK & Em. Take a deep breath and just go see what you want to see with no obligation to buy. The floor plan is most important as that's your living space. Every RV is going to need work, yours and professional at some point, rolling earthquakes are hard on a house. After you see everything something is likely to "wow" you and that's what you should consider. It's a daunting process, I ordered mine and didn't sleep for 3 months! Whatever you choose I'm sure you will enjoy and if not you can always get something else. Many around here seem to have owned on average 3 RV's. Take your time...enjoy the experience, it is great. Welcome!
I’ve been researching for about 18 months already, and we’ll probably not be buying until next year. We have a slight advantage and that we have owned a motorhome for five years - it was our first motorhome but we loved it - We bought it when it was nearly 7 years old, spent money on repairs and upkeep, sold it a few years later and it was still doing great.- we took good care of it.
so it is our benchmark comparison... We know what felt good about that motorhome and what we disliked about it (split windshield, TV over cab!).
We know a few problems to look for.
I’m a bit intimidated by this forum because it seems like there’s a lot of late-model Newmar owners and we’re not in their league financially..
But we have a good idea of the cost of ownership now, and we think we’ll be able to buy and properly maintain an older model when we retire next fall, when I find the right one, 😊
 

ARD

Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
307
Location
Fulltiming
RV Year
2018
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Dutch Star
RV Length
44
TOW/TOAD
Yukon Denali
Fulltimer
Yes
I’m a bit intimidated by this forum because it seems like there’s a lot of late-model Newmar owners and we’re not in their league financially..
But we have a good idea of the cost of ownership now, and we think we’ll be able to buy and properly maintain an older model when we retire next fall, when I find the right one,
You know what I love about this forum? It doesn't matter what rig you have. We all share a common interest of travel and are able to share our experiences, seek help, meet up, recommend, etc. Wishing ya'll luck in finding your next coach! 😊
 
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Messages
470
RV Year
2019
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Dutchstar 4369
RV Length
43
TOW/TOAD
2013 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Crewcab / 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
Grand design is a reputable manufacturer. No matter what unit you buy, there will be quality issues. Grand design is one manufacturer that offers factory service, and that is a plus.

You need to look at lots of rvs, including used. Learn what problems look like, learn what items show wear quickly, learn what materials stand the test of wear and tear.

I like looking thru used rvs for this purpose. Once you learn to identify failures, you can then look at new construction without the "rose colored" glasses and see the difference in build.

Another tip: look for photos or videos showing the construction or deconstruction of different brands.
 
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