Inconveniences of a motorhome? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-10-2009, 10:26 AM   #1
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We've discovered a few inconveniences with owning two travel trailers over the last year and a half. While we were able to foresee many of the problems beforehand some only surfaced while in use. We are now considering purchasing a motorhome and wonder what surprises are before us. Does anyone here have motorhome experience that can share their discoveries?
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:31 AM   #2
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It all depends on your financial outlook.

I don't think I could justify the expense of a motor home -- taxes,storage,maintenance,fuel and initial cost. Just to have it sit for months at a time.

At least with a trailer you can utilise the TV for other uses such as daily transportation.
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
We've discovered a few inconveniences with owning two travel trailers over the last year and a half. While we were able to foresee many of the problems beforehand [b]some only surfaced while in use.
I'm curious to know what inconveniences you've discovered.

I can only relate what my sister claims with her Motorhome, a 35' class "A" without slides. At 7 mpg, she has not been able to afford using it. She is able to store it at home, so it has been "the Guest House" for the past 3 years that has not moved.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:13 PM   #4
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Disadvantages:

*This one is obvious, but unless you tow a second vehicle, you never get that nice free feeling that you have after parking the trailer and then just being able to use the tow vehicle for a "normal" car to go exploring.

*Somewhat related to the above, I guess if I were going to be on the road a lot (vs. long stays), and the motorhome were going to be of a smallish size, I would rather have a motorhome for the "not towing a trailer" feel. On the other hand, if I were going to be parked more, I would rather have a trailer that I can "ditch" and not have to drive it around all the time (and take it out of my campsite every time I wanted milk and bread). This assumes no towed car behind your motorhome.

*Also, as mentioned above, you are now purchasing and maintaining two engines (motorhome and regular vehicle that you either leave at home or tow along).

*This one is probably infrequent, but if you have vehicle problems out on the road, your whole "house" has to go to the shop, vs. parking the trailer somewhere and just letting the tow vehicle go into the shop.

*When the time comes to change "campers," you now have to buy a new (different) engine and drivetrain, as opposed to just getting a new trailer (this one would depend on how often you like to change rigs, of course).

***********

Advantages:

*On the upside, you can now tow a boat or other trailer without having to tow doubles (which isn't even legal in many places).

*If you keep it small (Sprinter or Coachhouse type), then I think they feel more nimble and less "always on your mind" when driving than a TW/trailer combo.

*This is another one that depends on your travel style, but I often pull into a rest area all "ready for bed." With my car (I can sleep in the back) I can just subtly slip into the back and head off into dreamland, whereas with the trailer I feel more like I am "announcing" my intentions and that I'm solo. So I often still sleep in the back of the car when I'm in transit. But in any case, there is the ability to just slip into the back without going outside.

*In a smaller rig, it's nice that you gain the space and comfort of the driver and passenger seats -- they often swivel and become living room furniture. A good captain-type car seat is way more comfortable and better-made than your typical bench in a trailer.

*The RV can be a shorter rig (depending on how long your TV/trailer combo was), so could be handier for parking (of course with a car and a 13-er, one can already fit into a normal nose-to-tail parking spot, but I don't suppose than continues to work with longer trailers and longer TVs).

Well, those are a few that come to mind immediately. To my mind there is a vast difference between a "small" motorhome (Sprinter, Coachhouse) and a huge behemoth. Having driven an 8'6"wide Class A motorhome for work, often on narrower secondary roads, I know that at the end of the day I was exhausted, even when I was used to driving it all the time. Getting into my car at the end of the day was like a present!

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Old 12-10-2009, 12:17 PM   #5
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Steve, for us, when things were "normal", there really weren't any inconveniences. We had acreage so storage wasn't an issue. At the time Dh was able to do maintenance projects, sure filling it up with gas was shocking, but you just get use to it. More room than our lil glass, but honestly just cause there is more room you tend to fill it with crap you don't need so it really comes down to how you like to camp. I loved having every Motor Home I have ever owned but I love having our lil Casita as well. For us "now" the Casita works.


Maybe renting a Motor home, and seeing if you like traveling that way would help you make a decision. You will just have to out weigh the cost of a Motor Home over the inconveniences of owning a lil glass and if the benefit of more room is worth it to you. Maybe posting what the inconveniences are for you, might help us tell you if a motor home would be less of an inconvenience.
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:19 PM   #6
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Hi Steve,
Our first RV was a small motorhome, and while it was nice to have the convenience of everything in one space, I would not want another one. It was so bulky to drive (and this was a really small one, maybe 23'), kind of like driving around in a bread box. Top- heavy, too. It was an older one, a '93, so maybe the newer ones are better. I never felt comfortable driving it.
With our Scamp, I feel a lot more freedom. We can pull into a site, unhitch, and drive off to do whatever.
I feel much more at ease towing the Scamp than I ever did driving that motorhome. So, even though the motorhome had more room inside, for us the egg is perfect...easy to tow, plenty of room for us and our needs.
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:39 PM   #7
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I too have had just about every kind of rig. I have been glad to have a small motor home when I was solo and working as a flagger. I had my home with me and could pull off anywhere and sleep but the flaggers with trailers had them in trailer parks. I also enjoy the ability of leaving my home, my trailer in a safe park connected to heat or air while we went to a resturant or out to a trail head for a hike. I feel very uncomfortable leaving my "home" at someplace like a trailhead where it says to everyone, I won't be back for a while so my home is vulnerable. It truely depends on how you use your RV and what you need. I would suggest making a list and see the pros and cons. Do you like shopping in town, geocaching, taking friends out to lunch or having more space? Do you like having people come in and play games inside out of the rain, being able to grab a drink or snack out of the back while dh drives? Do you like to sleep in while dh gets going early, do you like moving from the front to the back without going outside or do you like staying in the trailer reading while dh goes into town to get take-out and a movie? I like the idea that if I have mechanical problems I have such options as renting a tow vehicle to get home, or staying in a nice park while repairs happen.
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:56 AM   #8
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We've discovered a few inconveniences with owning two travel trailers over the last year and a half. While we were able to foresee many of the problems beforehand some only surfaced while in use. We are now considering purchasing a motorhome and wonder what surprises are before us. Does anyone here have motorhome experience that can share their discoveries?
Steve
Just to reinforce what others have said, "It all depends." When we were pulling a boat and going up to Lake Erie on weekends, we first used a class B MH and then a 23' class C and they worked great. After I retired we took the MH to Texas for two winters. What a pain. Had to unhook and rehook up every time we went for groceries, went to church, etc. etc. Trying to find a parking place at most malls and groceries involved a long walk. After 2 winters we switched to a 25' Airstream trailer which we used for almost 10 years. Pulled with a Chevy van. Was so much more convenient for the long haul. Now at age 70 we downsized to a U-Haul 13ct. Winters we will rent a cottage in Alabama. Traveling the van doesnt even know the trailer is there, but it still gives us a snug safe place to sleep (I don't do motels) and still gives us the freedom of the van. The only way a MH is practical is to tow a dinghy and then you have two motors to depreciate and maintain.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:42 PM   #9
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This reminds me of the old saying, “The Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

I thought everyone knew, there is NO perfect RV. From my side of the keyboard, it boils down to several questions that you gave NO information on.

1) How do you use an RV? (RV parks, boon-docking, off-roading, camping, traveling)

2) What do your friends use?

3) Are you looking for Prestige?

4) Do you have good backing skills?

5) How deep are your pockets (money)?

6) Do you want to pull toys (boat, dune buggy, snow mobile) with you?

7) Can you parallel park a Motor home if needed?

8) Gas guzzler vs Diesel?

9) Insurance?

10) Do you have stock in a windshield company? Motorhomes have frequent replacements.

Let us know what you decide and why.
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Old 12-11-2009, 02:18 PM   #10
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I had a big Chevy Van for many many years that I fixed up as a camper. I loved the fact that I could pull off anywhere and just go to the back without going outside. However, when it came to actually purchasing an RV I leaned towards a trailer. I was tired of packing up all my campsite stuff and disconnecting to simply go into town to the grocery store.

Having my Scamp has been a joy. I disconnect and then have the Jeep to travel around, explore or go to town.

In 2008 I finally had car trouble while on my way home traveling through Nebraska. My trailer was in a full hookup site. The tow truck towed my Jeep along with Lily and I to the nearest repair shop. After checking in I had a loaner to use so we were very comfortable for nearly a week without our vehicle. The only thing I had to do prior to towing the Jeep in for service was remove the few things in it that I did want to lose. Had I had a motorhome, everything would have been in it and I guess Lily and I would have had to move to a motel.

I like the idea of a motorhome but then I'd have to have a vehicle in tow behind it. More tires, more engine service, etc. I'm staying with a trailer.
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:22 PM   #11
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There is also the added insurance cost. The ride is much better in most tow vehicles than in a motor home. The noise of things clanging around and squeaking can really wear on you after a while.
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:30 PM   #12
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We've owned 3 diesel motorhomes and currently own a 40' Allegro Bus with 3 slides. We've also owned smaller trailers at the same time, a teardrop and since 2007, a 13' Scamp deluxe. We consider our motorhome our RV and live in it for 4-5 months as we go south for the winter (snowbirds)! We used our teardrop, and now our Scamp for summer camping in Nat. Parks and forrests, local weekends, as well as visiting friends and kids in the NW part of the US. We pull a Honda CR-V with our motorhome and wouldn't think of hitting the road without a toad. We have everything we need in the motorhome for extended RV'ing, color HD ttv's, washer/dryer, etc. So we luv the comfort and convenience of our motorhome. We DO, however, also luv taking off in the Scamp and spending more time outside, sitting by the campfire, hiking, etc. So, the bottom line is- both types of RV'ing/camping are great, in the end, it's what you enjoy and what you make of the experience. We'd do both over again and have no regreats what so ever!
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:16 AM   #13
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Hi Steve, enjoy yourself as you see fit and don't rely on us to give you guidance on a $150 to $800,000.00 ++ purchase. I don't believe anyone here would turn down the oppotunity to move up if it was presented in an affordable way (read:if one has the money or it's close to free). The only inconveniences I can imagine would be where to store it off season, large carbon footprint insurance, campground lot size limitations, and unless you purchase fairly new or you don't buy just the right manufacturer and model you may get shunned from some RV parks which would defeat #3 on Mike's list.
As stated already you'll need a toad (or small bike) of some sort though once you arrive at camp. All the other things required you can do if you're inclined to.

We may have to create an FGRV alumni area at the rallies for the FGRV grads.
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Old 12-12-2009, 07:42 AM   #14
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Well, having driven a motorhome on a regular basis in the past, I would have to say that I wouldn't want one even if it got 30 mpg and cost $10k. That's because while they are out of my budget range now, that's not the only reason they don't appeal to me.

I like the freedom of being able to go down more roads, poking around small places and fitting into humbler spots. I also enjoy driving a car vs. a huge rig. And I also don't really go for the typical look inside the big rigs. Yes, I could customize the inside, but I still just wouldn't want that experience vs. a smaller one.

Now a Sprinter.... that I think I would enjoy.

I think this is an interesting thread, and I'm glad the Steve did ask for input. Sure, he's going to make his own decision, but why not do a bit of research, and see what other people might have for reasons that could resonate, although he might not have thought of them.

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Old 12-12-2009, 03:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Disadvantages:

*This one is obvious, but unless you tow a second vehicle, you never get that nice free feeling that you have after parking the trailer and then just being able to use the tow vehicle for a "normal" car to go exploring.

*Somewhat related to the above, I guess if I were going to be on the road a lot (vs. long stays), and the motorhome were going to be of a smallish size, I would rather have a motorhome for the "not towing a trailer" feel. On the other hand, if I were going to be parked more, I would rather have a trailer that I can "ditch" and not have to drive it around all the time (and take it out of my campsite every time I wanted milk and bread). This assumes no towed car behind your motorhome.

*Also, as mentioned above, you are now purchasing and maintaining two engines (motorhome and regular vehicle that you either leave at home or tow along).

*This one is probably infrequent, but if you have vehicle problems out on the road, your whole "house" has to go to the shop, vs. parking the trailer somewhere and just letting the tow vehicle go into the shop.

*When the time comes to change "campers," you now have to buy a new (different) engine and drivetrain, as opposed to just getting a new trailer (this one would depend on how often you like to change rigs, of course).

***********

Advantages:

*On the upside, you can now tow a boat or other trailer without having to tow doubles (which isn't even legal in many places).

*If you keep it small (Sprinter or Coachhouse type), then I think they feel more nimble and less "always on your mind" when driving than a TW/trailer combo.

*This is another one that depends on your travel style, but I often pull into a rest area all "ready for bed." With my car (I can sleep in the back) I can just subtly slip into the back and head off into dreamland, whereas with the trailer I feel more like I am "announcing" my intentions and that I'm solo. So I often still sleep in the back of the car when I'm in transit. But in any case, there is the ability to just slip into the back without going outside.

*In a smaller rig, it's nice that you gain the space and comfort of the driver and passenger seats -- they often swivel and become living room furniture. A good captain-type car seat is way more comfortable and better-made than your typical bench in a trailer.

*The RV can be a shorter rig (depending on how long your TV/trailer combo was), so could be handier for parking (of course with a car and a 13-er, one can already fit into a normal nose-to-tail parking spot, but I don't suppose than continues to work with longer trailers and longer TVs).

Well, those are a few that come to mind immediately. To my mind there is a vast difference between a "small" motorhome (Sprinter, Coachhouse) and a huge behemoth. Having driven an 8'6"wide Class A motorhome for work, often on narrower secondary roads, I know that at the end of the day I was exhausted, even when I was used to driving it all the time. Getting into my car at the end of the day was like a present!

Raya
All good points, Raya and others. Must say ditto on Raya's for sure.

In the late '90s until 2005, our RV was a C-Class MH and we had ran the generator at times. Not for all out electronics use, which we did not have, but to run the A/C. I remember the longest trip running the generator was between Las Cruces and the LA area of Southern California. Temps were in the triple digits, we needed the A/C on the roof to keep the inside of the coach cool. We got a late start and had to spend a night sleeping at a rest area in Arizona, the one before getting to Quartzite. It ran all night and most of the time getting there and on the next day. We would turn the A/C off a few minutes before stopping to re-fuel to keep the generator from over heating. We would turn generator off while re-fueling.

We did not have to use it on many trips, but on a few. There were 5 of us on the trip I mentioned. The salesman had told us about running the generator to run the A/C on very hot days.

We would often turn it on & off using the microwave while driving. Of course one can have too many electronic running at once, depends on size of the generator, how much power is need to run each object. We could not run the A/C and the Microwave at the same time for an example.

We felt more secure in using rest area, etc in the MH . We had often used Rest Areas and the like in it but not in the trailers, but the key is to be Vigilant, some are better than others, if spooky-don't, if not-stay. Welcome centers had been nice to stay in as well.

More secure, if something or someone made us feel spooked or uneasy, all we had to do was climb down out of bed, get behind the wheel and drive off. No going outside to get into a tow vehicle.

We normally towed a small Geo Metro behind the MH (which was not a huge one, 20 or 22 foot one). But we have towed a Ford Ranger at times and a Jeep CJ-7 which would be towing a boat. Often the Metro had a 16' canoe on top of it and two bicycles (one a tandem) on the back of the Metro and two on the back of the MH.

The one we had, had all the power in the world, could tow about anything but it took a lot of fuel, was very tall without all that much added storage.

Like someone said, how you plan to use it, and what you like and what you don't want to do, they will make a lot of difference. I believe it was Mike Sanders who wrote it.

It is fun for me to be closer to really camping and to have to do things in the trailer. To be able to travel a little lighter, in a small space. Makes me .

What size, what class (A, B or C) how many bells and whistles are factors. Basically, I believe some mentioned this already: a motor home will be much like a TT except it is attached to a motor vehicle, therefore you have same problems of both all in one unit and you can not drive off without the RV part, unless you are in a second vehicle. They have some neat ones out there for sure. I might take one if someone offered it to me as a gift, but I would not want to buy one again. It would make it a lot easier to take my Yamaha with me and the canoe, etc.

My son's father-in-law, rented a small or at least short C-Class (what we had) in Billings, MT and drove it to Glacier and back. He hated it, didn't like the rocking back and forth was one thing, not sure of any others. He likes a trailer instead, his son got a toy hauler and he has used it a few times. My son would not want anything but a 5th wheel.

It is why they make so many different types and models. Good idea is to check on renting what you like first, check out cost for insurance, to park it if any, etc.

Happy Trails!
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Old 12-13-2009, 11:23 AM   #16
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Well, Im not sure that I can talk too much about the benefits or drawbacks, but I can relate one experience from this past spring. I went to Big Bend with a friend over spring break. We were down near the river and there was a bit motorhome backing up the road! They went down to the parking area that was full and too small for them to get into and circle. They were too big to do a 3 point turn so they were BACKING UP! The passengers were trying to direct trafic around them as they backed up. Im not sure that is the way that they had planned to spend their vacation!




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Old 12-18-2009, 09:21 PM   #17
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A lot depends on how, how often, and where you plan to camp. Over the years we have had tent trailers, C class and A class motohomes and one conventional trailer. We like our current 16'Casita the best. The big drawbacks to the motorhome for us was (1) we like to tour, not stay in one place for more than a day or two. That gets expensive with a motorhome for fuel. Withe the Casita I get 15 to 18 MPG towing. That's 3X what i got with the MH. (2) With a 35' MH + dingy we were at 51'. That limited where we could go and where we could park and what we could see and do. With the Casita I can go almost any where my TV can go. (3) It was more tiring to drive. Driving position was not optimum and loosness of the steering, chassis, etc meant constant correction of the wheel. Very tiring. My wife did not feel comfortable driving it so I did all the driving. My wife drives the TV pulling the Casita and is totally comfortable. (4) The MH was so big we had to rent an off-site storage space for it. It was such a chore to load and unload we didn't go as often as we would like. The Casita we store in the garage. In five minutes we can be hooked up and gone. (5) When we sold the MH I unloaded 1500 lbs of "stuff" that I swear I had not used or seen since I had put it in the rig. "The available stuff expands to fill the available space". The Casita forces you to think twice about what you need not just want. We have a different set of stuff we take depending on whether we plan to dry camp or camp with full hook-ups. I think MH and big 5th wheels are great if you go to a spot and stay there for two weeks or more. That's just not our style. Think about how you plan to camp and buy accordingly, budget allowing, of course.
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:49 PM   #18
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If you can afford it, rent one. Maybe you could rent one in a part of the country that would otherwise be out of range?

After renting one for a week, I can't see myself ever wanting a motorhome. But of course, that's just me.
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Old 12-21-2009, 05:36 PM   #19
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Steve:

As you know, I have a trailer almost identical to yours. On November 30th, I rented a 23' class C motorhome for a trip to Wyoming. After having surgery on his ankle, my 86-year old father needed to be transported from Wyoming back to his home in Arkansas. This was my first experience actually driving and staying in a motorhome.

On the plus side:
My father was able to ride in complete comfort in a situation where he needed to elevate his leg most of the day.
Pulling over for bathroom breaks or to get something from the fridge didn't require exiting the truck and walking back to a cold trailer.
Since I was not towing anything and had dual rear wheels, I felt more stable on some of the icy roads I encountered.

On the minus side:
Once arriving in Wyoming, I needed to rent a car to get around town in. This is why most MH owners end up towing a small car behind the rig. You either drive your house and tow your car, or when trailering, you drive your car and tow your house.
With built-in propane tank, I had to break camp and drive to a propane facility when I ran low. Since it was below zero in Wyoming and I used a lot of LPG, I had to do this every couple of days.
Leveling was twice as difficult as leveling a trailer, mostly I didn't bother. If you get a MH you might want to get the best leveling system you can afford.
My Bigfoot trailer is a four season unit, the motor home I rented was not. Sure could have used that good insulation when it got down to minus 20 a few nights.

Driving the MH was not difficult and it did the job, but I am sticking with my Bigfoot.

Dave
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:30 AM   #20
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Heavy motorized vehicles and/or rvs do not well tolerate a lack of use. Tires tend to flat spot, engines rust and decay, rubber parts such as hoses, belts and suspension components deteriorate much faster in dormant state than when being used. Fuel goes stale and with diesel the fuel tanks will start to grow algae unless kept full. Most motor homes have at least two large batteries which are difficult to remove and need maintenance charging at the storage site. I could define other maintenance problems on a motor coach versus a trailer but overall unless you are a frequent user the motorized rv will be more expensive and more time intensive to maintain than a trailer with a tug that is used for other purposes.

The motorized rv is not a simple vehicle in comparison to most trailers. They certainly have their place in the rv life but not for me. I would suggest subscribing to publications devoted to the motor coach owners and see the amount of pages and articles they devote to repair and maintenance - it is extensive.

Talk to motor coach owners but avoid asking their opinion of trailers vs what they own. Most owners of any device are defensive about their choice. In a general conversation about rving, with most motorized rv owners, the subject matter soon turns to problems and repairs with their coaches. Even the task of finding someone or some service facility qualified and available to service these machines is not without its tribulations. Its not only about money, rv repairs are time consuming and aggravating. I love those big wobbly boxes with ten slideouts and all their magic stuff but in my world not worth the trouble.

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