Friday, January 14, 2022

Buy Your Second Motorhome First


Great advice, too bad it is near impossible to do for a number of reasons. One of the first is everyone is different and has different expectations and what you think you want is often different from what you learn to want and need.

One of the first considerations and often one of the first to change after using the motorhome is how big should the motorhome be. Long can give more living space but can restrict where you can park especially if you like to use State and National Parks. As an example one of the Oregon State Parks we like to use has slightly over 100 full hookup sites for 34' or less motorhomes,  Thirty (approximate number) for homes < 36', 12 for units <38', and 2 for 40 footers.

That would seem to favor 34' or less but most class A motorhomes less than 34' are difficult to drive because they do not track well. A 34' home doesn't do a great job when compared to 36'. Thirty-eight to forty foot is the drive-ability sweet spot.   

Next on how big is what you get in general. A 34' motorhome will usually have front seats that turn around (some 180 degrees, some less), a dinette for four, a couch that makes into a double bed, an okay kitchen, a bath and a queen size bed with some storage. A 36 footer will have everything the 34 footer has plus a chair/recliner in the living area. Thirty-eight feet will add another chair/recliner, slightly more kitchen and bath space and more storage. Forty feet and you get more storage and likely a makeup area in the bed room, over 40' and you may have a 1/2 bath as well as a full bath behind the bedroom.

Of course next to size the most important decisions are diesel/gas and Class A or C. The A or C decision is mostly what floats your boat. Engine in back has less engine noise than one up front. Diesel/gas has two main factors, price and systems. A diesel chassis is designed for a service life of 700,000 to 1,000,000 miles, gas chassis no so much. The price difference can be offset somewhat by buying an older diesel motorhome. The other advantage of Diesel pushers is even entry level homes have complete and robust systems vs. most of the time with gas power the systems are not as good or complete.

While age of a used motorhome can be a factor, mileage on a diesel pusher is not much of a factor as you seldom find one with more than 150,000 miles, about 15% of the bus service life. Pre-2000 motorhomes likely have dated systems, worn interiors and brittle plastic.  Newer units have better digital controls but newer than 2006 the emissions control electronics can cause major problems. BTW, my preference if I were buying my second motorhome would be a 2006 40' top of the line bus like a ForeTravel or Country Coach.

More to follow,




  1. Interesting discussion. We tought a few times to buy or rather rent one to go around and visit family and friends with the pets. Easier than finding pet friendly accommodation along the way. In which purpose a big one would be overkill. My younger brother did the RV thing, changed 3 times, bigger everytime. It's for sale this year. Not much travelling in these parts these days why i feel no rush to replace the Lincoln. To go where ??

    Bob, awaiting the next big storm. Snowblower serviced, spouse checked out on blower start/operation and emergengy generator start/hook up, storm beers, chips and dog treats resupplied. Ready Aye Ready 😁

    1. Bob,

      Once you travel by bus it is hard to go back to the truck or car. I have not been in a rest stop or fuel station head since buying a motorhome. Pretty much the same for hotel/motel rooms. After almost 40 years of nightly bag drags and hotel rooms I hope to never stay in another one.

      The best thing about a motorhome is it allows us to get out of Tucson for the Summer and to stay longer in Houston when we visit the kids. Without the motorhome a Houston visit is 21-22 hours of driving to get there, two or three days visiting (the three day rule for guests and fish), then the same 21-22 hours of driving to return to Tucson. This time we were able to stay 3 weeks before Covit ran us back home.

      What's the old joke about a northerner retiring and strapping a snow shovel to his hood and driving south until someone asks "What's that thing strapped to his hood."