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Old 08-18-2015, 06:13 AM   #1
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Hello Everyone

Hello Everyone,

My name is TAM LE, I am retired at the end of 2010 but was returned to work as consultant for a special project until next June, 2016.

During my retirement, my wife and I travel a lot in the USA, Africa, Asia and Europe. We bought a brand new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee for retirement travel in the US and we have already put in 130,000 miles on this vehicle, not including about 30,000 miles on our custom van.

For the rate of travel we have done, we are seriously thinking about purchase an RV since most of our travel above was TENT camping at national park and similar "Nature" location since we both are interested in Nature Photography and have done a lot of photography work.

After months of research, we came down to 2 brand that we are interested in.

1 - 2016 Thor Challenger 37KT or 37TB - 50% interest
2 - 2016 Georgetown by Forest River 37 footer... 50% interest

After reading about some horrible story and comments regard to THOR and FOREST RIVER, I decided to look for other brand since I want to buy an RV for pleasure, not for trouble.

After looking around, I found this site about the Winnebago, I spend couple hours reading and have not found anyone "negatively" about the brand as far as reliability of the Winnebago.

This is why I join this forum and hope that you could help me to learn more about the Winnebago experiences that you have and hope that my wife and I (we) could make the right decision when we purchase our new RV by May of 2016 before my work contract is over.

So far, I am eyeing on the 2016 Itasca Sigthseer 36Z, if you have any input, please help me out.

Thanks in advance.

Tam Le
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:22 AM   #2
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We love our Winnebago

We bought a used Winnebago 2005 Itasca Meridian 34H this Spring. We had looked at other brands like Forrest River and just got confused by the sales person comments, online reviews, etc. We had toured the Winnebago factory in Iowa a year ago because we happened to be near there and were impressed with the quality and workmanship, so that's the brand we started looking for in the used market. The more we use our Meridian, the more we love it. That all might have happened with another brand, too, I suppose, but we are happy with our choice. We have already put about 6000 miles on it.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:18 PM   #3
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Thanks WC PANTER, I have read many of the discussion in this forum and other for THOR as well as FOREST RIVER to learn more about what I am about to venture in as well as to ensure as much as possible that I will spend the money to have a good time and not to buy any trouble. Even though I am a very handy man, I rather spend time to have the RV take me places instead of service centers or spending my spare time for repair works. I have done that and getting old with that along the way. That is why I want to buy brand spanking new RV so that I do not have to inherit anyone trouble.

Having that said, after hundred of read, other than some of the complaining about quality control from THOR and FOREST RIVER, it seems to me that many of the WINNEBAGO were quite happy with their choice no matter what they have chosen. That makes me felt better, however, one of the common thing that almost or most of people have frustrated or disappointed were their slide.

Is that really that bad, it seems that everyone, and I meant everyone have problem with the slide stuck one way or another... some even have problem at least many times in a year, and does not matter whether the MH is new or used...

Does yours have the same issue?

Thanks,
TL
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:11 PM   #4
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tamdle,
Welcome to this forum and, the RV world. Well Sir, I could write a novel about what you're going through but, this is the condensed version. Basically, ANY and ALL brands of motor homes and, all their models, WILL have issues, at one time or another. NONE of them are immune to problems and or, issues.

Some are noted for more than others. I've not done any research on Thor units but, I keep hearing of issues with those. I cannot detail the issues I've heard of or read about but, suffice to say, even based on moderate "hear-say", my wife and I will never own one.

But, with all that said, the higher end ones, which are seriously way over our head, usually have less problems due to manufacturing quality.

Winnebago and, it' sister, Itasca, have a pretty good rep for both quality and longevity. Sure, you'll read of an issue here and there on both but, over all, there's way more satisfied owners of those coaches than not. Any manufacturer of a mechanized machine is going to eventually have problems and or issues. Heck, look at all the recalls from all the auto manufacturers you've seen in the last few years.

So, you look around, get opinions, learn some things, take a few test drives, kick some tires, check the fit and finish, hopefully if you're looking at used, then try and get any service records. And then, make the best, most wise choice you can. Going diesel or gas, it's really not a big deal. Diesels have a bit more of advantages in terms of ride quality, interior quality, bigger brakes, auxiliary brakes like exhaust brakes and/or compression brakes and much, much more.

Their gas counter parts, are cheaper, but, for reasons. They have basically less power, can tow less, in may ways are constructed with less quality but, not always. Most gas units are fairly cheaper to maintain. So, take a good look around, take your time, if you find something to your liking, then ask about it on here and see what kind of history folks have to say about ones they have are the same kind. Good luck
Scott
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:50 PM   #5
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Thanks Scott...

I am appreciated for your comment. I think Winnebago may be the right choice thus far as I still have few more months before I "put a stamp" on one. I would love to have a diesel pusher, but the problem is I have to find some place to get a driver training for the Class B license before I can operate one... that is a real hassle for me since I do not own any rig to get the driving experience yet.

I will keep reading and hope that I could make a good decision that I could live with for sometime.

Again, thanks for your comment and good luck on your way...

TL
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Old 08-18-2015, 03:06 PM   #6
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Tam, to the best of my knowledge, most states do not require a special drivers license
I also own a 2004 Itasca Meridian 34' H.
We bought it used with 28,000 miles and now just turned 105,000. I also perform my own service.
Great Motorhomes with great tech service from both Winnebago and Freightliner . They can answer any questions you might have which is VERY important.
Good luck and enjoy the memories !
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Old 08-19-2015, 07:17 AM   #7
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Many states do require a special endorsement or license type for motorhomes but in almost all cases the requirement is vehicles with GVWR over 26,000 pounds. Many DMV offices don't even know about it if you ask but I know there is that requirement on those. We did the driving test for Texas and it was easy but when we moved our home base back to NY they would not honor the special license so we have to take test again in NY. Most people don't bother with it bit I worry about insurance not paying in an accident if they discover you don't have the proper license.
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Old 08-19-2015, 07:19 AM   #8
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Here is the info for NY.
New York

Driver's Manual and Practice Quiz*

Operator, Class D*- Minimum age is 18, or age 17 with driver education (see Driver Education). Allows you to drive a vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 lbs. (11,794 kg) or less. A Class D driver can drive a vehicle that tows another vehicle (for example a trailer) that has a maximum gross weight of 10,000 lbs. (4,536 kg) or less. A Class D driver can tow a vehicle with a GVWR of more than 10,000 lbs. (4,536 kg) only if the combined weight rating of the two vehicles is 26,000 lbs. (11,794 kg) or less. You may also operate Class B and C mopeds with this license.*

Recreational Vehicle or "R" endorsement*- Recreational vehicles, with or without air brakes, are not defined as commercial vehicles. You may apply for an "R" endorsement for your Class D or Class E driver license to allow you to operate a recreational vehicle (RV) with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of over 26,001 lbs. (11,794 kg) or more.

To obtain an "R" endorsement, you must: submit a completed Application for Driver License or ID Card (MV-44), indicating a license amendment, to any state or county motor vehicle office; pay a permit fee, which is valid for up to two road tests; and pass a road test in the size and type of vehicle you will be driving. No written test is required. To take the road test, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21 years old who has a license valid for the type of vehicle you will be driving during the test (e.g., a driver license with an "R" endorsement or the appropriate Commercial Driver License). The road test will be about 15 minutes in length and will include turns, intersections and backing the vehicle to the curb. Upon passing the road test, you must go to a motor vehicle office and pay the required fee to complete the license amendment process.*
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Old 08-19-2015, 07:25 AM   #9
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Here's a Google search with many of the states requirements
https://www.google.com/search?q=rv+s...spv=1&ie=UTF-8
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Old 08-19-2015, 07:27 AM   #10
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Even better. All the states on one site.
http://changingears.com/rv-sec-state-rv-license.shtml
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Old 08-19-2015, 08:35 AM   #11
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First off, Tam, welcome to IRV!

You are on a grand adventure and be sure to treat your journey just a richly as your destination. Go to the RV shows and many dealers. Test drive as many RVs as you can and be sure to let the wife drive as well. Yes, some states require special licenses for those who live or register there. Out of state drivers are usually exempt.

Having owned a Thor ACE and now a Winnie, I agree with the comment that all brands will have some problems. The slide issues are more due to the common slide out mechanisms. Driving a motorhome, you have all of the problems of both a house and a car, but the freedom to go just about anywhere anytime. Figure out what you like and where you want to go then choose the RV that will allow you to do that. For instance, most national parks and many state parks limit the size of the RV in the camp grounds. If that is where you want to stay, get a smaller unit. If you want to be able to "boon dock" staying anyplace, look for a unit with good batteries, a generator and maybe solar. If low fuel prices are important, get a smaller unit.

But most important, enjoy the journey!
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Old 08-19-2015, 04:02 PM   #12
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Thanks for all of your warm welcome and advices... I certainly felt at home here in this forum. I will take the advices into account for references.

Have a wonderful day,
TL
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