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Old 01-19-2015, 10:47 PM   #1
rocker59 OP
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Question for the RVers - Class C motive power ?!?!

I've been mulling over the thought of picking up a used 10 -15 year old 22ft - 25 ft Class C RV for road trips, pulling a 5,000 lbs horse trailer, and maybe a small motorcycle trailer on other occasions.

I had been considering buying a used 2500/3500 diesel powered pickup and a used Living-Quarters gooseneck trailer, but have noticed for about half the price of that combo, I can pick up a nice low mileage used RV and pull the trailer I have.

Anyway, WTF is with all the gas powered Class C RVs out there on the market? I drive a GM V8 powered pickup right now and can't imagine a gas powered Class C pulling my 5,000 lbs horse trailer.

I have been able to find a few 2000 - 2003 model Ford 7.3 diesel powered Class C coaches, but they're usually 29 ft - 30 ft and probably wouldn't be suitable for pulling my trailer because of the monster rear overhang they have.

I'm just in the planning stages now, but really would like some insight into why every Ford E450 Class C doesn't have a Powerstroke diesel under the hood ?!?!!?!? A Chevy chassis would be fine, but they always have the Vortec 6.0, and never the Duramax...

Anyone out there pulling 5,000 lbs with a Class C RV ???
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:24 PM   #2
TUCKERS
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My 26' 1996 Class C E350 with the 490 Ford will pull TWO 5000 pound trailers and not know they are there. Guaranteed 9 miles to the gallon. You can load it up or strip it down, do 55 or 75...still gets 9 miles per gallon. Pulls up hills like nobodies business, I drive in the fast lane on the freeway.
You need a 26' or better....below that there is no permanent bedroom and you have to jack around with the dinette every evening. Yes they have a large overhang.
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:33 PM   #3
troidus
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A few years back an inmate put a 12V 5.9 and a 5-speed stick in his Ford Class C. He loves it a lot more than he loved the 460 that was in it. More power, better drivability, and better fuel economy. He had to have one cylinder re-sleeved, though. Turns out the used mill wasn't as good as he thought.
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:45 PM   #4
Donkey Hotey
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I'm curious why you've selected Class C over a Class A? The bottom has fallen out of the RV market in the last 10 years. There are stupid-nice turbo diesel motorhomes out there now for under $15K.

In the front-engine versions, they're basically a similar chassis anyway. They just build a roomier driver's area in the front.

In the pushers, you get yet another level of luxury. Often the generator is up front by the driver area. So when you park at a truck stop and want to take a nap, you're in the bedroom in the back while the generator is running 30 feet away.

Just curious why you shot them down?

Edit:
This Hawkins would be an AMAZING freaking motorhome. Man, this thing is killing me. I'd love to have it.
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst...854551559.html

Edit 2: damn, you got me searching motorhomes again. Another Hawkins for a steal of a price:

http://slo.craigslist.org/rvs/4825923017.html

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Old 01-20-2015, 07:01 AM   #5
TheOtherBart
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This past summer my family of four took a trip from Chicago to Washington D.C., from there down the coast to Florida, then back up to Illinois, in a 23' Class C with a Chevy 350 engine and 4L80E transmission, flat towing our JKU four - door Wrangler (~4000 pounds) the whole way. The only time we knew it was there was when we made an impromptu detour up to the Flight 83 memorial in Pennsylvania.

Get one of the bigger C's with a Ford V10 or similar and you'll be golden. People will always advocate for the big luxury Class A's (because bigger is always better, natch) but my driveway doesn't allow for anything much bigger than what we got.
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Old 01-20-2015, 07:59 AM   #6
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The main reason most class C's don't have a diesel is because of weight issues. The extra weight of the motor knocks down capacity too much for most rigs. Most are close to their limit as is.
If you still want a class C, my recommendation is start your search for a Lazy Daze. Best class C made IMHO.
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:10 AM   #7
rocker59 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
I'm curious why you've selected Class C over a Class A?
Mainly size. I don't want/need a 35'-40' RV. I do realize that bumping up to the medium duty chassis of an A (or even a Super C) would eliminate my trailering concerns. But, I need to be able to take it in relatively tight quarters and the longer and taller it gets, the more restricted my use would be, knowing where I currently pull my horse trailer.

Secondly, price. I can buy a nice Class C to fit my target of $25k.

But, wow! Those two links you posted are nice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherBart View Post
This past summer my family of four took a trip from Chicago to Washington D.C., from there down the coast to Florida, then back up to Illinois, in a 23' Class C with a Chevy 350 engine and 4L80E transmission, flat towing our JKU four - door Wrangler (~4000 pounds) the whole way. The only time we knew it was there was when we made an impromptu detour up to the Flight 83 memorial in Pennsylvania.

Get one of the bigger C's with a Ford V10 or similar and you'll be golden. People will always advocate for the big luxury Class A's (because bigger is always better, natch) but my driveway doesn't allow for anything much bigger than what we got.
I drive a Suburban with GM 5.3. It does fine pulling the horse trailer, but would suck if adding 4,000 lbs +/- of RV to the mix. I live in the Ozark Mountains and vacations are mainly in the Rocky Mountains. I'm sure a gas V8 would be adequate if I didn't live in the land of 11% grades.

Another thing about the Diesels vs Gas: The gassers make max torque at around 4,000 rpm. The diesels make max torque around 2,000 rpm. Since highway cruise is about 2,000 rpm, the diesels do a much better job with a load on them. Nothing more annoying than screaming up a long grade with your gas V8 turning 4500 rpm to maintain speed.


Flat towing is one thing. Having no tongue weight is nice. The trailer I have weighs up to 5500 lbs loaded and puts about 400 lbs on the hitch. I've done a few searches and come up with mixed answers on using a 28'-29' Class C with that kind of weight. I'm looking for a turn-key purchase. Don't really have the time or desire to beef up the rear frame section as some seem to have done.
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:20 AM   #8
rocker59 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkam View Post
If you still want a class C,
It's just a thought. Class C seemed like a good way to get a small living quarters that could still tow my horse trailer.

My first thought was 3500 pickup with slide-in camper. I could do that for about what a Class C would cost me. But loading/unloading/storing the slide-in would be something to consider.

My budget is $25k +/-, so we're talking used and 8-12 years old for any of my viable options.
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Old 01-20-2015, 09:42 AM   #9
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A class C will do fine for you, just get the biggest motor you can and not be in a hurry. Most of them have an OD trans and the wrong gearing in the rear diff so you will be in and out of OD up and down hills or run it out of OD in the hills or against a headwind and go a bit slower like 62 or 65 mph.

26' class C has a corner bed in the back so the wifey will need to crawl over you to go pee in the night if that is an issue.
28' or bigger will have a Queen walk around in the back.

They make two different widths of Class Cs, the widest one is 108" (I think) and you will see in the pics of the bed the cabinets on the sides of the bed on the back wall will be wider on one side in the rear. Most all of them are that width.
Watch for roof height, RVs with big basements will be 13'+ tall where some are 12' 4" or so, tree branches are not as big an issue.
Slide outs are heavy and something else to break but nice for more room.

The best most enjoyable RV we ever had was an '89 (Ford) Class C 460EFI with OD, 28" queen bed, two swivel chairs/no couch in the cabin. Not a wide body so you didn't take up the whole lane, no slide outs, plenty of power and 8 to 12 mpg depending on conditions and speed. We pulled a 12" v nose trailer with a bike and other stuff in it. It was not too big we couldn't park in most any campsite.

A 460 has more pulling power on long gentle hills but a V-10 will climb hills/passes better it seemed, I don't know why and don't want to start a debate. Had a Class A with a V-10 and it did very well towing a Wrangler. In the year span your considering you will find V-10s, they do very well and run a lot of miles. Take your time and enjoy the trip.

Good luck with your search and have fun.
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Old 01-20-2015, 09:47 AM   #10
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I don't know at what exact length it becomes necessary for the RV manufacturer to extend the frame rails on a stock Ford class C chassis, but it would be a concern for me. I have seen countless older A & C units that were having structural issues simply from being underbuilt and overloaded, especially as they age. It's common to squat down and eyeball the beltline of a coach, from front to back, and be pretty shocked at how bad the ass end is sagging downward, especially if it had slides.

On occasion I've even got a glance at a rig pulling a substantial trailer, often an enclosed hauler, and I was obvious from 100' away, that the RV was really in failure mode, since the beltline looked like a banana.

My 33' A on the Ford F53 chassis is pretty useless for anything but flat towing, since it has a 5000lb tow rating with a couple of hundred pound allowable tongue weight, which isn't even close to what you would generate on a well balanced trailer. Don't know what your best option is, but there are plenty of rolling examples of what to not do, out there.
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Old 01-20-2015, 10:09 AM   #11
Donkey Hotey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocker59 View Post
I'm sure a gas V8 would be adequate if I didn't live in the land of 11% grades.
You just hit on another reason for a Class A: mountain driving and towing. Keep in mind, I'm not really trying to change your mind here. I'm trying to tell you everything I've learned so you can make the best choice for yourself based on all the information.

Class C motorhomes are often right at the ragged edge of their brakes and suspension. In fact, many of them are poorly design with respect to things like placement of the heavy components (generator, batteries, fuel, water and waste tanks, etc). Those things all have to be carefully balanced with that dreaded rear overhang, in order to optimally load the axles without overloading them. I've read of Class C motorhomes leaving the driveway with the rear tires overloaded with nothing more than normal camping crap, and full of fuel and water. That's without trailers, bumper carriers, etc, etc.

Tongue weight is a biggee. When you add 400 pounds to the tongue, it doesn't just add 400 to the rear axle. The axle is a see-saw: add 400 to one side (the rear) and it raises that much weight off the front. In the case of my 25 foot Revcon, adding 400 pounds to the tongue actually adds 623 pounds on the rear axle. The extra weight came off the front wheels. My Revcon has a respectable surplus rating on the axles. 400 pounds on the bumper (motorcycle) puts the rear axle and tires right at the designed load limit.

My Revcon's brakes are also always in danger of overheating. The worst grade I've done with it was 8% and it scared the crap out of me. Like you, I'm in hilly country (California). I'm actually afraid to take my own motorhome to Death Valley, or places in the Sierras because I'm in fear of the chassis not being up to the job. It's let me down more than once.

Going back to my earlier suggestion of a Class A, there are also many different types of Class A. The HMCs that I linked to don't have slide-outs. They're a rugged, well-built chassis but, they don't have the buggy, leaky slide-outs to deal with. That keeps the rig's weight down and margin on the brakes and suspension is also higher. That margin is critical in the mountains.

Finally: you're wanting a diesel for all the right reasons (torque, etc). I'm not sure if they ever put the badass diesel, transmission, brakes and suspension on a 25ish foot Class C. Somebody wanting to tow a big trailer full of toys, is generally also going to want the space of a 32+ foot Class A. Generally is the operative word there. There may be exceptions but, I don't know of any.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkam View Post
If you still want a class C, my recommendation is start your search for a Lazy Daze. Best class C made IMHO.
What he said. Lazy Daze would be the first place I'd look for quality and capacity in a Class C.
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Old 01-20-2015, 10:10 AM   #12
TheOtherBart
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Originally Posted by rocker59 View Post
I drive a Suburban with GM 5.3. It does fine pulling the horse trailer, but would suck if adding 4,000 lbs +/- of RV to the mix. I live in the Ozark Mountains and vacations are mainly in the Rocky Mountains. I'm sure a gas V8 would be adequate if I didn't live in the land of 11% grades.

Another thing about the Diesels vs Gas: The gassers make max torque at around 4,000 rpm. The diesels make max torque around 2,000 rpm. Since highway cruise is about 2,000 rpm, the diesels do a much better job with a load on them. Nothing more annoying than screaming up a long grade with your gas V8 turning 4500 rpm to maintain speed.


Flat towing is one thing. Having no tongue weight is nice. The trailer I have weighs up to 5500 lbs loaded and puts about 400 lbs on the hitch. I've done a few searches and come up with mixed answers on using a 28'-29' Class C with that kind of weight. I'm looking for a turn-key purchase. Don't really have the time or desire to beef up the rear frame section as some seem to have done.
I've seen plenty of ~26' Class C's with 5000/500 hitches. On a rig that length the frame extensions are short enough that they can handle the tongue weight no problem. The other thing to look at is GVWR and GCWR. I came very close to trading up to a 26' Fleetwood that has a 12,500 lb GVWR (3,000 lb occupant and cargo capacity) and a 17,500 GCWR. Obviously the tongue weight counts against your GVW, but even with the motorhome loaded to the capacity of the chassis you'd still be within spec to pull your 5,000 pound trailer.
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Old 01-20-2015, 10:39 AM   #13
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Agree with DH, I had a late 70's Dodge Class C MH, you know the ones they made too many of - very unbalanced when loaded, down right scary going down the high passes in the Colorado Rockies, big time brake fade even when downshifting the torqueflight. Suspected the gutless gas hog 360 probably didn't have much compression left at 28K miles. Thought I was getting a great deal at $2500, total POS
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Old 01-20-2015, 11:37 AM   #14
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We have a 1993 Class C with a 460EFI, 21.5 ft, with a OD tanny. I have not had any issues pulling 4-5000 lbs with it, even through the mountains. I regularly pull the enclosed tralier, with 4 bikes and alot of other gear, around 4300 lbs. It is a bunk model, with two nice sized bunks that fit my 6'4" frame. We normally sleep on the bed above cab, with plenty of room to spare. The whole rig together is less then 40ft.
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Old 01-20-2015, 12:22 PM   #15
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Can't find it? consider the market that they were sold in as new. Most new buyers will have a budget and look to get as much home as possible and as little motor as needed. It's a vacation machine, fuel is just an expense of the vacation. And 15 years ago fuel was cheap. Hard to talk someone into spending an extra $5-10k for a diesel engine that they will never see a payback on. I remember an RV magazine one stated the best engine option was the Ford V10. Lower maintenance costs than a diesel and lower purchase costs. Low enough that the fuel cost didn't matter

I will also second looking a chassis over. I have worked on a few motorhomes and am shocked at the scab work to extend the chassis. Amazing this stuff stays together as well as it does.

Another option I haven't seen mentioned, get a big 1-ton duelly and a truck bed camper.
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