Passing behemoth Class A Motor Homes - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-02-2015, 06:46 PM   #1
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Passing behemoth Class A Motor Homes

I do not tow on Interstates much unless I have too preferring back roads or lesser highways. Anyway, earlier this year towing back through Georgia I trusted the GPS and it took me straight down an Interstate highway and I noticed something. Semi tractor-trailer rigs were not too bad, but a dadgum Class A passing us would suck/blow us around quite a bit. Kind of scary it was.

Fast forward to last week and I was driving my company car, a brand new Ford Escape, down a local Interstate to get quickly from one side of town to the other. I passed a Class A at Interstate speed (70 mph) and just about got blown off the road as I passed the front of their rig. It was shocking how much turbulence was created by that big square fronted rig fighting its' way down the road. Just another strike against them in my book.
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Old 11-03-2015, 10:56 AM   #2
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I find the big Greyhound type buses the worst.....they are usually going 75-80 mph
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Old 11-03-2015, 12:52 PM   #3
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I used to drive an Escape as a company vehicle before I retired, and it handled kind of squirrelly. The short wheelbase, coupled with the front wheel drive, made for some exciting Texas driving. No way would I ever use one as a tow vehicle.
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:03 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by CasitaRick View Post
I used to drive an Escape as a company vehicle before I retired, and it handled kind of squirrelly. The short wheelbase, coupled with the front wheel drive, made for some exciting Texas driving. No way would I ever use one as a tow vehicle.
:

Come on Folks we have driven them all and the worst for us are the Tractor Trailers the push then pull so when we see them coming we pull over to the side of the road giving them some room & it sort of stops the problems especially when in the Class A 25'6"MH not that big but some of the problems I have found out are the shocks, springs, tire size, anti sway items are most of the problems. The longer the wheel base the better then if you upgrade tires and rims to 22.5 from 19.5 big change in getting blow around even in strong wind, next is change the ride by changing to the best there is in shocks, also anti sway systems help a lot to.
We own a 2012 Ford Escape and love it as real easy to drive and never any problems from tractors, MH's but do have problems with other SUV's.
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Old 11-04-2015, 03:09 AM   #5
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Hi: All... If your going to drive a brick in the wind...it might as well be a biggie.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 11-04-2015, 03:18 AM   #6
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Brick in the wind,

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Hi: All... If your going to drive a brick in the wind...it might as well be a biggie.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
: which one is yours the large one or the daughter?
I like small and we drive at 59mph so we can get 10.5mpg US and 12.5mpg Canuck and when towing the Toad we average 9mpg US and 11mpg Canuck, Tow'd weighs in at 2400#'s. Works for us plus in strange areas lets us park the MH and get around to the places we want to see. Worked real well in NL this past summer.
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Old 11-04-2015, 03:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by stude View Post
: which one is yours the large one or the daughter?
I like small and we drive at 59mph so we can get 10.5mpg US and 12.5mpg Canuck and when towing the Toad we average 9mpg US and 11mpg Canuck, Tow'd weighs in at 2400#'s. Works for us plus in strange areas lets us park the MH and get around to the places we want to see. Worked real well in NL this past summer.
Stude.
Hi: stude... We're the B.C. built 5.0TA Escape. We actually had some folks knock for a wee peek in. No one wanted to take a look in the Big Country!!!
We average 15.5 mpg towing @ 60-62 mph with the V6 Nissan Frontier. Our entire rig is no more than 32 feet long but bends in the middle.
We have no stability issues passing or being passed!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:02 AM   #8
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Alf got your answer

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Originally Posted by stude View Post
: which one is yours the large one or the daughter?
I like small and we drive at 59mph so we can get 10.5mpg US and 12.5mpg Canuck and when towing the Toad we average 9mpg US and 11mpg Canuck, Tow'd weighs in at 2400#'s. Works for us plus in strange areas lets us park the MH and get around to the places we want to see. Worked real well in NL this past summer.
Stude.
: right now the one I like the most is Winnebago Vista 27N but they are just to pricey for our pension so well stay with what we have and do the grunt work to make it safer in the wind or the push,pull, drag items that happen out there. I would love to own anther Truck but not a New one I like the 40's to 79's none after that but my wife likes them to have EFI especailly at 115*F and 8000' or higher.
hard to keep her happy.
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:48 AM   #9
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Very nice looking combo Alf.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stude View Post
: right now the one I like the most is Winnebago Vista 27N but they are just to pricey for our pension so well stay with what we have and do the grunt work to make it safer in the wind or the push,pull, drag items that happen out there. I would love to own anther Truck but not a New one I like the 40's to 79's none after that but my wife likes them to have EFI especailly at 115*F and 8000' or higher.
hard to keep her happy.
Stude
Hi: stude... Our entire rig is less than 1/2 what a Vista 27N cost, and when we get to Florida and unhook we have our EFI V6 to take us shopping.
Happy wife, happy life!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:16 AM   #11
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Very nice looking combo Alf.
Hi: Borrego Dave... Thanks. We really like it. The more people see them the more popular they have become. So much so that ETI can't build them fast enough.
I sure didn't want them to hurry mine along though.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:13 PM   #12
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I find the big Greyhound type buses the worst.....they are usually going 75-80 mph
Ya,, I really enjoy meeting one of them on the 2lane when I'm doing 75-80
in the opposite direction,, on my 500 lb motorcycle!
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Old 11-04-2015, 01:56 PM   #13
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for sure passing the big busses/A's/TractorTrailers. We get blown around with our lifted/high-top van conversion a bit, though the real crazy times were if pulling the TT behind the van. I would often tap the brake controller to get the little one back in line and calmed down after a pass.


On Big Rig 5th wheels, our ~43ft Evergreen Tesla that we full time in gets pulled by a tractor. At 21K lbs it is really the safest route.


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Old 11-14-2015, 06:00 AM   #14
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for sure passing the big busses/A's/TractorTrailers. We get blown around with our lifted/high-top van conversion a bit, though the real crazy times were if pulling the TT behind the van. I would often tap the brake controller to get the little one back in line and calmed down after a pass.


On Big Rig 5th wheels, our ~43ft Evergreen Tesla that we full time in gets pulled by a tractor. At 21K lbs it is really the safest route.


Thom
If you don't already have one installed, a rear anti-sway bar will do wonders for your high-top van conversion. I'd recommend one from Roadmaster, Inc in Vancouver WA. I had them installed on my 32RQ class C and it made a WORLD of difference in the handling... so much so that I also had one installed on my B-van.
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Old 11-14-2015, 11:49 AM   #15
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Bend in the middle

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Originally Posted by Alf S. View Post
Hi: stude... Our entire rig is less than 1/2 what a Vista 27N cost, and when we get to Florida and unhook we have our EFI V6 to take us shopping.
Happy wife, happy life!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
: I hear U Alf, but the wife likes the MH and drives like she is in a Nascar Race. She just does not trust my driving for long periods of time and refuses to go to sleep when I drive as I have picked up a old man's bad habit of dozing while driving.
Seems I sleep better then!
I have had two Nissans and I only like the 1978 Version with 5spd, 4cyl. I also had for work a 2004 Nissan almost brand new and it got worse mpg than the Dodge Dakota did.
My favourite is the Toyota trucks but the problem is they have gotten way to big and to high off the ground for me, but If I could find a 225 slant 6 WIth a 5spd or automatic in a older Dodge 200 or 1/2 ton or a Ford 4.9L inline 6 with 5spd or automatic I could get happy driving again.
But Alf you have the right idea with gas getting higher and higher we have to start thinking smaller.
For the life of me I cannot figure out why the big MH's are still being built very few are in the 28' or shorter, we have 25.6' and it is hard to give it up as it has all the bells and whistles we like to have, plus the Tow'd is a fun car to drive.
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Old 11-14-2015, 01:07 PM   #16
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Hi: stude...
We average 15.5 mpg towing @ 60-62 mph with the V6 Nissan Frontier. Our entire rig is no more than 32 feet long but bends in the middle.
We have no stability issues passing or being passed!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
Quote:
Originally Posted by stude View Post
: right now the one I like the most is Winnebago Vista 27N but they are just to pricey for our pension so well stay with what we have and do the grunt work to make it safer in the wind or the push,pull, drag items that happen out there.
Stude
Quote:
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: I hear U Alf, but the wife likes the MH and drives like she is in a Nascar Race.
But Alf you have the right idea with gas getting higher and higher we have to start thinking smaller.

For the life of me I cannot figure out why the big MH's are still being built very few are in the 28' or shorter, we have 25.6' and it is hard to give it up as it has all the bells and whistles we like to have, plus the Tow'd is a fun car to drive.
Stude
The big mohos are still being built because people buy them... they buy A LOT of them still.

Since 1980, I've owned a veritable parade of trailers, motorhomes and tow vehicles from Scamp 13s and a Dodge Omni up to an Airstream 34' tri-axle trailer and Excursion V10. I had a Bigfoot 25 for nine years that I pulled with a Nissan Titan. I towed a '61 Airstream Bambi with a '98 Astro van. I've had an Airstream 325 moho and now I have a Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis with the Chevy Vortec 8.1. I've found some basic truths that run counter to the popular thoughts espoused here regularly. I'm going to commit blasphemy here... are you ready? here I go: fuel consumption and subsequently, fuel costs are NOT a significant consideration in owning an RV, regardless of size.

Now that you're gasping in disbelief, and perhaps rage... let me explain:

The physics are pretty simple... it takes X calories of energy to move one gram of mass a certain distance through a vacuum at one gravity. That's it. That's the concept. Now, we throw air in. Moving a mass through air... air causes resistance, so now the shape of the mass determines how much more energy it will take to move it. So, if you're moving 5000 lbs with a small engine and the engine is inefficient and has to work really hard at the top of it's limits, it's sucking down gas at a rate faster than a big engine at idle. If the RV's shape is a cheese-box shape it takes more energy yet, so shape (aerodynamics) matters... some. But not all that much.

Where the real cost in fuel is taken up is how under-powered a vehicle is. Here's some real-world examples... I had a '94 Toyota pickup with a 3.0L V6. It got 18mpg hwy normally, and 13 towing (a small engine that was screaming to tow.) My Excursion with a 6.8L V10 and 3.73 rear end got 17mpg highway... and it didn't care that the trailer was behind it. It had a huge engine that basically idled at highway speed. it was very efficient. My Airstream moho with a 454 and an Allison got about 8mpg. My current Born Free 32' rear queen with the Vortec 8.1 and Allison 5 spd auto gets about 9.5 mpg.

So, let's talk a bit about the actual costs of towing an RV for a season, using the 17mpg and 9.5 mpg extremes. Lets say that the best mileage I ever got was with the Excursion towing a Scamp 16 at 17mph... and my current moho gets 9.5. I drove my Born Free about 7,000 miles this summer. You can argue that you get 22 mpg and that's great, but in the big scheme of things it's only a gain of a few percentage points. Here's the analysis:

I drove my Born Free about 7,000 miles this summer using 736 gallons of gas at 9.5 mpg. Most folks probably only put a couple of thousand miles on their trailer/moho each season, but we'll go with my summer at 7000 miles. I probably averaged about $2.75/gallon during the summer so my total cost for fuel was $2,026. Now, let's say I'd gotten 17mpg for that same 7,000 miles, my total fuel costs would have been about half that, or $1,132, a difference of about $893 for the entire year's travels between 17 and 9.5mpg. If you only drive 2,000 towing a year that amount is reduced to $255 for the year's travels.

Now I'll grant you that almost $900 is a nice chunk of change, but it pales in comparison to what many folks lose annually in finance costs and depreciation between their trailer and tow vehicle. THAT is the true cost of RV ownership; the cost of money and the cost of depreciation. Fuel costs are truly pretty minor. As your tow vehicle ages out, of course, maintenance expenses can begin to come into play also.

The previous owners of MY particular motorhome lost $110,000 to depreciation in 9 years... from the new sticker price to the price I paid. I bought my Bigfoot 25 new, kept it nine years, and while I sold it for almost twice what NADA lists, I still lost almost $12,000 to depreciation and another $3,000 to finance costs... which works out to a loss of about $138 for every month I owned it.

So, the moral to this story, folks... is that as an expense in owning an RV, ANY RV, don't worry about your fuel mileage. Buy your RV at a price that you'll lose the least depreciation and finance as little of it as you can. THOSE are the REAL costs of RV ownership. Choose your RV to be comfortable and meet your needs... match it to your tow vehicle... but just don't get caught up in the mpg race because for most folks who just put a couple of thousand miles a year on their RV, in the bigger picture it just isn't as valid as a financial concern as convention wisdom would dictate; especially for folks who buy new trailers, tow vehicles, and motorhomes.

Roger
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:05 PM   #17
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Good post Roger H, I've been saying the same thing for years.
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:18 PM   #18
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Hi, Roger!

You are right on gas. But we do not talk depreciation because our brand new 21' Escape cost a little over $30K (with the value of the dollar, which is even more in favor of Americans in recent months) so we paid cash. Likely would not be doing that with a Born Free.

Being in Iowa also, I have been interested in Born Free, and they look great, roll-over cage and all, but the bottom line is that we paid a lot less plus the savings in gas. We have air conditioning, thermal windows and insulation including underbelly foam spray, solar, inverter for microwave, bath with shower, permanent bed, 4-person dinette that can be made into a bed. So you show me your Born Free some time and we will show you our Escape!

So why would we want a Born Free (and maybe need a toad)? Well, if we had lots of money sitting around and nothing better to do with it, or did not care about borrowing, we might get one. But the fact is, we saved a lot more than gas. And we have one of the biggest fiberglass trailers which has longevity over many of the bigger guys. Oh, and can be sold for near what was paid.
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Old 11-14-2015, 05:55 PM   #19
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Hi, Roger!

You are right on gas. But we do not talk depreciation because our brand new 21' Escape cost a little over $30K (with the value of the dollar, which is even more in favor of Americans in recent months) so we paid cash. Likely would not be doing that with a Born Free.

Being in Iowa also, I have been interested in Born Free, and they look great, roll-over cage and all, but the bottom line is that we paid a lot less plus the savings in gas. We have air conditioning, thermal windows and insulation including underbelly foam spray, solar, inverter for microwave, bath with shower, permanent bed, 4-person dinette that can be made into a bed. So you show me your Born Free some time and we will show you our Escape!

So why would we want a Born Free (and maybe need a toad)? Well, if we had lots of money sitting around and nothing better to do with it, or did not care about borrowing, we might get one. But the fact is, we saved a lot more than gas. And we have one of the biggest fiberglass trailers which has longevity over many of the bigger guys. Oh, and can be sold for near what was paid.
Hi Cathi! Thanks for the thoughts. My point wasn't so much the moho vs. trailer thing, or the new vs. used... it was more that gas mileage just doesn't figure in as prominently in the actual cost of ownership of an RV for most folks as do other factors that tend to drain your savings account, yet the first question out of folks when they see my moho is "what kind of mileage does that beast get?" Well, I get... blah blah blah... and they never discuss the actual cost of ownership of this stuff.

Actually, Cathi, I bought my Born Free for pretty much what you paid for your Escape. Although it's nine years old now, it only had 30k miles on it. I'd wanted one of the rear queen 32' coaches ever since I'd seen one new at the factory in Humboldt, but of course they were considerably out of MY price range at the time at $154k. When I found this one for under $40k, I couldn't help myself! The Bigfoot 25 got sold to some friends, and I was back in the motorhome business.

Having had a bunch of trailers, and now my fifth motorhome, what I've come to realize is that trailers are wonderful for going to a destination, and staying a few days. I seldom do that... we travel a lot and use our RV more as a mobile motel room seldom staying in one place more than a night or two. There are certain amenities with a moho that I've also come to appreciate, like having the genset when I want to stop at a rest stop to cook a meal, eat, relax, take a nap (with A/C on) or whatever... and that's more difficult to do while "trailer-ing."

So for me, right now, the moho is a better choice, but as I said I've traveled both ways a LOT since 1980 when I bought my first '76 Scamp.

You're welcome to come and see the Born Free anytime. It's an amazing coach, and I'd LOVE to see your Escape! PM me and we'll chat!

Roger
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Old 11-14-2015, 08:35 PM   #20
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I will just say a few words and pm you. That is one fantastic deal on your Born Free! You have me on the A/C at lunch. (But we are solar people, do not want a generator). We do often stop and eat inside but never cook food for lunch. We could use our microwave then if we wanted to heat something though.

You have had so many trailers and MHs and I think once you have more space, it becomes difficult to go to something small. We have only had small. People are used to what they are used to!
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