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Old 02-10-2009, 05:03 AM   #1
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I currently have a Fleetwood Bounder, but have recognized that I goofed on the configuration. The Bounder is great, but we're a family of six with ages and sexes of children that just can't share beds. I didn't think we needed slide-outs either.

I am looking to buy a bunkhouse model and I am basically sold on the 35J. I am seeing some used 2007s that I might be able to manage on our budget -- taking a bath on the Bounder, of course. No deals on the table for a 35J at this point.

But... I have a deal on the table for a new 2008 Vista 32K for a price we can manage. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to see a 32K in person, so I have a few questions, especially in comparison to the 35J, which I have seen on a dealer lot. Vista 32K owners, please feel free to offer your thoughts and experiences with that model.

The first thing I notice from the brochure and pictures is that the Vista looks cheaper. I think I can live with the old-school cargo doors, but what else about it is cheaper? I'm assuming that unless the brochure says so, it doesn't have dual-pane windows. What other "quality" things are different between the 35J and the 32K? The brochure for the Vista seems to "not say" a lot of things.

Based on the brochures, it actually looks like the smaller 32K has more cubic feet of basement storage than the 35J, but it just doesn't look like it has more storage in pictures. Please share your observations about basement storage space on the 32K.

I think I'm spoiled by the Fleetwoods that all seem to come with a VCR or DVD player and a rear bedroom TV. It looks like neither of the bunkhouse Winnie models come with video players for the main TV (I know they're an option for the bunks). Is there a place in the cabinets up front where a video player is easily added for the main TV? I'm assuming that TV has the needed input jacks. Am I overlooking a rear TV or would I need to supply one?

Does the A/C in the 32K do a good job? With 6 or 8 people on board and then heat from cooking, does it stay comfortable?

The biggest concern I have is about floor space. The living room slide out in the 35J is really, really roomy. The same goes for the bedroom slide. While I kind of like the large dinette in the 32K, it seems like it pinches off open space in the living room and it looks to me like it might be really tight with the slide in. We have little kids that are "play in the floor" age and teens that are as big as adults. The 32K just looks like we'd still be all over each other like we are in our Bounder.

Sorry to be long-winded. I'm really wanting to "get it right" this time. Getting a new, fully warranteed unit is an attractive option with the Vista, but not if it won't really work for us. Thank you in advance for any replies and input.
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:34 AM   #2
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I haven't done a complete side by side, feature for feature comparison, but I have been in and looked at both. I can definitely agree with your "cheaper" summation. Vista ia an entry level coach. Winnebago cut some corners, that's just the way it is. When the Sightseer debuted in 2002 (not the 35J, the whole model line), it was entry level too. It'd probably be worth your time to sit with all the Sightseer brochures and see what they added as the years went on. There may be a must have feature for you that meens you need to find a newer one, or even an older one. All the brochures are at the Winnebago website. Winnebago will also fax or email you the retail price lists for any model. A brochure and the price list will nail down exactly what the options were. Very handy when looking at a used one.

My vote is the Sightseer. If you want to "get it right" buy what you really want.

(And I don't think you got it wrong with your Bounder. You've just discovered that a motorhome works good for you. It's a great way to travel.)
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:01 AM   #3
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Thanks, Tim.

I like our Bounder a lot. I mostly made a good call on it, but didn't account for the mix of kids we have. I already knew motorhome travel was good, but I have gotten the co-pilot fully on board now.

I think I know that the Vista would be a compromise, but it gets tempting when something factory new gets into range of the budget. I have spotted a used 35J advertised at a price that fits the budget if they will give me at least wholesale on my Bounder. Seems reasonable, but the RV biz really doesn't like trades right now and will sometimes have a whole different starting price for people with trades.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:26 AM   #4
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I have a vista 32K. It works well so far but getting down to it I wished I went for the 35J. I am a female and have 3 daughters. Anyway I left people talk me out of the 35 feet becuase of drving . Plus at state parks in PA its sometimes hard to get a site that big. There is alot of basement storage in the 32k.
Long story short wished I went with the 35J. In fact I really like the Adventurer 35Z and depending on finaces I might take a stab at a deal.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:22 AM   #5
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John,

We just went through a similar transition to a bigger RV. We had been in a Class C (Winnebago Outlook 24V) and originally thought that would be fine for us. However, the more we enjoyed camping, etc., the more we wished we had gone much bigger (it was our first one).

Well, in the past 3 weeks, we did decide to bite the bullet and upgrade. Our main criteria was bunkbeds for our 2 girls, a king size bed, and slides to allow for a more spacious living area.

We decided on the 35J (2008 Itasca Sunova - had been looking at Sightseer's, but our local dealer did not have that, just the Itasca) and could not be happier.

We looked at some Vista's, but, as others have said, there was a definite difference in interior quality when compared to the Sightseer/Sunova. Overall, the Sunova just seemed to be a good middle ground when compared to the higher end and lower end models.

As someone else said, buy what you want and you'll have no regrets.

I'm not sure where you are located, but if it's an option, don't limit yourself to your local dealer. We live in Phoenix (only one Winnebago Dealer) and purchased our first RV in Los Angeles because we could not find what we wanted here (plus we got jerked around, but that's another story!). This also seemed to help in purchasing our Sunova (bought in Phoenix - much better experience this time around) as we made it clear (and had proven in the past) we had no problem taking our business elsewhere to get what we wanted.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions regarding the 35J.

David
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:46 AM   #6
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Thank you for your input china and David. Everybody seems to be reinforcing what I really already knew.

The real killer for the Vista is when I think about traveling with 8 people, which we may do occasionally if grandparents join us. I can see it working out in the 35J. The Vista just seems like it's a little crowded right out of the gate.

David, one thing I'd like to know about the 35J is how it is with the slides in. Every picture shows them extended and the one I've been able to see was also slides open. I don't see it being a make or break for the 35J, but just curious about how tight it is getting into the bathroom and back bedroom with the slide in. I figure the forward area to be not much different than the non-slide Bounder I have now. Really, except for the bunks and slides, the 35J is very much like what I already have.

Thanks,
John
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:19 PM   #7
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With the slides in, the back area is a little tight.

In the bedroom, the drawers come up right against the end of the bed. There is no walking space between the bed and the drawers.

As for the bunk and the bathroom area, it is tight, but manageable. I'm guessing there is around 2' to 3' (I will be at the RV - cannot store it at our house - on Thursday and if you'd like, I can measure it) of clearance between the bathroom wall and the bunks. The bathroom door does open, but not all the way, just enough (maybe 2') to get in.

Bottom line is it is a tight fit, but not so tight that we ever said "what will we do if we can't open the slides one night?"

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:45 PM   #8
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New is always nice but with the size of your family it sounds like the bigger MH should be considered.
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:16 PM   #9
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We have the 35J (see sig) and love it. My in laws have the Tiffin Allegro 32 and are always commenting on how much bigger ours seems then theirs. You can sleep 2 people on the couch, 2 in bunks and a small person on the dinette. We love having the king bed because on cold mornings we all 3 snuggle in together in the bed before facing the day. There is plenty of room to access the bath and bedroom, you just can't walk around the bed because the slide comes to the foot of the bed. No problem for the bunks though.
Hope you enjoy whatever you get.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
The first thing I notice from the brochure and pictures is that the Vista looks cheaper.
When I was shopping for a MH I had narrowed it down to the Vista 32K, Sightseer 35J, and Tiffin 35BA. After seeing all three, the Vista definitely has a cheaper feel. The cabinetry and trim just has that entry level feel. The Tiffin was at the opposite end of the spectrum - very nice! We ended up with a good deal on a Sunova (Sightseer) 35J with all the options.

Quote:
Based on the brochures, it actually looks like the smaller 32K has more cubic feet of basement storage than the 35J, but it just doesn't look like it has more storage in pictures.
I am not sure how, but the Vista did seem to have more storage space underneath, especially in the rear, but the Sightseer has plenty for us and unlike the Vista the basement storage under the living room slideout extends with the slideout.

Quote:
It looks like neither of the bunkhouse Winnie models come with video players for the main TV
I don't know about the Vista, but the 2008 Sightseer has the DVD player built into the front radio and plays through the main TV.

The thing I really liked about the Sightseer over the Vista was the layout of the kitchen. The small amount of counter space is more usable in the linear layout of the 35J. I can tell you we're very happy with our 35J, who knows maybe you can find a deal on a new 2008 35J.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:00 PM   #11
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The only thing I liked better with the 32K was the U-shaped dinette. It just seems to sit more people than the 35J. Otherwise we didn't like the 32K's kitchen layout and it doesn't have a lot of options available in the 35J. As far as storage for the 35J, I can't imagine needing to fill it all up and we always pack heavy. I think we made a good choice and we enjoy it a lot.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:51 PM   #12
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John,

We currently have an Outlook 31C. We have 2 boys who love the cabover bunk, but they are getting bigger. So we thought we'd take a look at what else was out there. We looked at both the Sightseer/Sunova and Vista at an RV show in Tampa a few weeks back. We really liked the Sightseer/Sunova much better. It just has a much better feel about it compared to the Vista. We drove one, and I don't think you'll have any trouble getting around with the slides in. With the Vista, we felt like we'd just be settling for the MH just so we'd have bunk beds. IMHO, it's probably better to stretch the budget a little to get what you want rather than settle for something you might not be completely happy with. Hope that helps!
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Old 02-12-2009, 01:43 PM   #13
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We were fortunate and found a used (barely) 35J. I had waffled between the 32K and 35J. In the end I felt the 32 would end up too small. We are very happy with the "house" end of the coach as well as workmanship (always a subjective area in RVs). Drivability is better than our Admiral 30' on the same chassis.

Look around and see what's out there. There are still some leftover 2007(maybe) and 2008s out there. Be a tough shopper.

P.S. I sent you a private message
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Old 02-12-2009, 03:00 PM   #14
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I measured the hallway and bathroom door opening with the back slide closed.

The hallway has approximately 20" of space and the bathroom door opens to allow about 19" of space to get into the bathroom.

David
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:01 AM   #15
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We've had our 07 35J since December 07 and love it.

With all the slides in you can still get around, though once you pass the hall its 1 at a time. We're able to get in and out of the bathroom without a problem while parked or underway. One feature I liked about the 35J compared to some others was that the bathroom door opened towards the back, meaning you didn't have to pass the door to open it.

The 07s have a separate VCR/DVD connection in the upper right corner, not the shared Raido DVD player. I was happy mine didn't come with one, as they are cheap to buy and I was able to get what I wanted and installed it myself. Same went with the rear TV and we didn't want the bunk TVs.

The 07 comes with seat belts for 7; two front facing dinette, one rear facing, 2 couch, 2 front seats. I suppose you could add another at the dinette or the couch.

We've been all over in ours and I've had no problems getting in and out of campsites. To be honest even with the 4 of us + 2 dogs I'm not sure I'd want anything smaller.
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Old 02-14-2009, 03:53 PM   #16
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OK, I'm going after a 35J. Question about the sofa sleeper. Does anybody know which option on the spec sheets is which? It looks like there are 2 or 3 options there with the basic being the jack-knife style and then a hide-a-bed style with or without an inflatable air topper.

Most of them seem to be the 41R sofa/sleeper option. I'm guessing that's the hide-a-bed, but no idea whether it includes the air mattress. Hardly anybody puts up pictures of the beds made out.
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:29 AM   #17
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Not sure as mine has the jack knife bed. Always different opinions, we have a fold out in previous motorhome and did not like as it went from sofa to kitchen cabinet. Just something to check. We also removed the not-very-comfortable barrel chair and put in a small computer desk which we use with a folding chair.
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Old 02-15-2009, 03:05 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Mo:
OK, I'm going after a 35J. Question about the sofa sleeper. Does anybody know which option on the spec sheets is which? It looks like there are 2 or 3 options there with the basic being the jack-knife style and then a hide-a-bed style with or without an inflatable air topper.

Most of them seem to be the 41R sofa/sleeper option. I'm guessing that's the hide-a-bed, but no idea whether it includes the air mattress. Hardly anybody puts up pictures of the beds made out.
Ours has the aero bed. Think we used it once and it was fine. Daughter prefers the dinette table "bed". If grandson gets up in the night, there's room for him to sleep there for awhile. We also took out the barrel chair but we replaced it with a Lazyboy recliner.
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:52 AM   #19
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We have the jack knife sofa as well, fine for one but not for more. The question I had about the Aero bed is if it runs off of 12v or 110v, if 12v I'd say go for it. Otherwise you'll always need power or you'll need to fire up the generator to run the bed pump, which might not be too popular in some campgrounds at night.

As for the barrel chair... pulled it out too. Dog bed took the place.
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:52 PM   #20
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We also have the jack-knife sofa. It is very comfortable, but the sleeper might be better if two people are going to use it. We're lucky to not have had to use it yet.
Have not replaced the barrel chair yet, but planning to. It is the only thing I really dislike about the 35J. I like the desk idea! Do you have any pictures RoadRohrer?
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