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Old 09-06-2018, 08:36 AM   #1
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View J questions...newbie!

Hi all,

First, allow me to introduce myself. My wife and I are younger (mid 30s), I work half of the year and have the flexibility to work from pretty much anywhere. I have a background in commercial / industrial electrical work but am currently doing other things that are far more exciting to pay the bills. We lived aboard a 34' sailboat for three years, most of that in the Caribbean, and are very accustomed to living in cramped quarters and being extraordinarily self sufficient. This may sound funny, but the View J layout looks like an enormous amount of space compared to the boat, and we're ready to see everything the USA has to offer. We are new to RV life and are currently in research /shopping mode. We'd like to get something in the next few months. Brand new is unnecessary but we aren't necessarily interested in inheriting someone else's problems either.

Our usage will essentially be to tour the USA, probably also Alaska, primarily boondocking as you would call it, off grid, full time use. That being said I've got a few questions.

1) What do you think of the View J (we really like the floorplan) as a platform for live aboard?

2) How well does the View handle climate extremes? In other words, is it well insulated, is the ventilation adequate enough to not constantly run the AC in hot climates, what kind of temperatures are workable for cold climates (let's say I wanted to be a ski bum for the winter)? How do you guys handle the heat and the cold while off grid?

3) Has biodiesel use been much of an issue in the newer models?

4) We found a 2016 garaged with 2,300 miles on it listed at $89k, what kind of offer would be insulting, and what do you think a realistic settle price would be for a newer 2013+ View?

5) Does anyone know what specific changes happened between years, and are there any particular years / layouts to avoid? Is there any major benefit for example of getting a 2016 vs a 2013?

6) Anything else to consider? Modifications necessary for boondocking? I'm kind of a dork when it comes to tech and am seriously considering installing a lithium house bank and some level of solar. Has anyone installed an additional diesel heater like a Webasto, or a different water heater system like the Truma combi?

Thanks in advance, glad I found this place!


-EC
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Old 09-08-2018, 08:46 PM   #2
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the larger size corner bed may have started in the 2016 model...



These are generaly not winter machines though I have been no-winterized for several days when there is not a hard freeze at night (days above freezing). They are generally not for sub freezing weather, some have done some extreme modifications to help with that. It is by no means a 4 season MH.


The AC is OK, in higher heat you need to use some reflective bubble in the windows to help lower the heat of the sun. In the cold you will run an electric heater to supplement the LP furnace and perhaps a smaller one in the wet bay to keep it from freezing.



Extremes in temperature are a challenge due to the lack of insulation.


I've been happy with my 24J and enjoy stretching it's limits due to weather.



Yes, you should have the floor plan that is best for you. I have the Truma hot water, diesel gen, standard LP furnace to provide a balanced power demand. 200w solar and aftermarket higher capacity batteries are a major plus.


generally the selling price is around %20-22 off MSRP for new vehicles. Depending upon upgrades a base model that year sold for around 100k, lack of use on an LP is a negative - as well as a vehicle just sitting... my opinion... there will be contrary posted for sure.



If the gen is LP it will limit your time boondocking without a good solar/battery setup and in cold weather since you can't run the gen (for electric heat) and the 13lb LP can be used up fast for the furnace and the gen.


It's a great size MH to park in almost any park without size issues, also good to get into auto fuel stations where fuel is less than truck stops and any parking lot with two spaces front to rear.


good luck in your decision
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Old 09-10-2018, 12:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElCampo View Post
Hi all,

Welcome to the group. At least you are asking all the questions up front before you drop the big bucks.

1) What do you think of the View J (we really like the floorplan) as a platform for live aboard? The J is absolutely the last floorplan we would pick. Climbing over each other in the middle of the night to go to bathroom is not cool. My neighbor has a J and even he is thinking of another floorplan.

2) How well does the View handle climate extremes? In other words, is it well insulated, is the ventilation adequate enough to not constantly run the AC in hot climates, what kind of temperatures are workable for cold climates (let's say I wanted to be a ski bum for the winter)? It is, at best, a three season coach. A/C wise, it is going to run a lot in the Summer (I live in the SW). Ventilation is pretty good - you have big windows. Cold wise, I would not want to go too much below freezing. I have the tank heaters but at 20 degrees, the furnace will run constantly. So, stay between 32F and 100F. You can always point the thing south in the winter and miss most of it.How do you guys handle the heat and the cold while off grid? It kind of depends on what you can tolerate. You are going to have to run the generator to have A/C in the heat and the propane furnace for heat (without running the generator to run the heat pump).

3) Has biodiesel use been much of an issue in the newer models? Not really an issue. If you have to use 20%, try to get something lower on the next tank. Some states mandate 20% in the summer but don't panic.

4) We found a 2016 garaged with 2,300 miles on it listed at $89k, what kind of offer would be insulting, and what do you think a realistic settle price would be for a newer 2013+ View?

5) Does anyone know what specific changes happened between years, and are there any particular years / layouts to avoid? Is there any major benefit for example of getting a 2016 vs a 2013? The 2016 chassis has proven to be pretty good. I find that it is far stiffer than my neighbors 2012 and just handles better.

6) Anything else to consider? Modifications necessary for boondocking? I'm kind of a dork when it comes to tech and am seriously considering installing a lithium house bank and some level of solar. Has anyone installed an additional diesel heater like a Webasto, or a different water heater system like the Truma combi? My recommendations are more solar, more batteries (or at least higher storage capacity), diesel generator (save the propane for heat).
The Truma is going to cost a bundle and the regular works just fine. You are not going to be taking long showers on your stored water tank anyway.


Thanks in advance, glad I found this place!


-EC
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Old 09-10-2018, 06:28 PM   #4
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I have a 2019 24D. I think the Truma water heater is awesome. I only turn it on when we need hot water. When we need hot water, it's there almost instantly. The Truma runs when you need hot water. It doesn't run to keep a tank full up to temperature in case you need it. It only heats what you need, not a 6 gallon tank full. I think it's quite efficient and certainly very easy to live with. Maintenance is also easy.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:43 AM   #5
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2015 vs 2016

Okay guys, thanks for all the info so far. These boards are a wealth of information. We are getting close to purchasing and are in the negotiation process. I think we're down to possibly 2 vehicles and I'd value your opinions!

1)
2015
Diesel generator
Full body paint (and colors we like)
11,000 miles
No solar (which we will definitely want)
Not sure at the minute about double pane acrylic windows
Not sure what's left on warranty
Price 75,000

2)
2016
Diesel generator
Not sure about full body paint (colors we don't care for as much)
18,000 miles
Solar installed from factory
Double pane acrylic windows
Warranty still has 3 years and quite a few miles (extended warranty)
Tank less water heater
Price 80,000

Thoughts? We are looking to buy this week or next.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:58 AM   #6
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Don't buy it if you think it's ugly. You'll b e looking at it for years.
Full body paint is nice, and generally holds up better than decals over the years.
Mileage is irrelevant for both of these. It's actually better to use them than to let them sit. The 2016 has been used more regularly.
I love my tankless water heater.
Solar is helpful.

From your descriptions, between the two, I would lean toward the 2016, but if you don't like the way it looks, either go with the 2015 or keep looking.
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Old 09-11-2018, 08:17 AM   #7
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That's kind of the direction I'm leaning - is not...ugly....the other one is much prettier though. Everything else kind of says to for the '16.

Do you know if there were any major build differences between the 15-16 models? Quality, features, otherwise? I'm good with tech and installs so I could manage a solar install without a problem, though it would be nice to have it from the factory.

The 16 definitely seems better equipped and we want to hit the ground driving. Also, the newer vehicle is closer to the manufacturer so I'm guessing any warranty issues were taken care of early on.

Ugh...how much to do a retro full body paint on one of these?
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Old 09-11-2018, 08:57 AM   #8
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I don't know about build differences between 2015 and 2016.

When I bought my 2016 Forest River, the full body paint was a $6,000 option. As a retro, I would guess $8,000+, depending on how fancy you want to get. My 2019 Navion does not have the full body paint. It has the Carbon Red graphics package. I think it looks nice. Decals can be replaced if they start to fade or peel for a lot less than the cost of a full paint job. There really aren't that many decals involved as most of the pattern is actually paint.
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Old 09-11-2018, 11:55 AM   #9
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Crows usually have contrarian Views. (Pun intended!)

Were it me..... since you are used to living on a boat..... I'd be looking at the interior foot print to see how it actually 'works' if you would be living in it. Next, you need storage. My Bud's 18 View J has the skimpiest and most awkward interior storage compared to our 14 View G. It's just worthless inside. Our '05 TrailLite C-17 hybrid camper trailer had more and better storage solutions.

Suggest looking at the different versions/MYs at the Lichsinn WBGO site on YouTube for easy comparison. No doubt there are several things about the layout of your boat's cabin and the 'working gear' that was a pig's breakfast of poor design and execution. So, doing a 'rehearsal' (mental via videos and actual if you can find a model you like) on how you would organize it and use it is a smart idea.

Exterior storage is about the same as our 24G, maybe.


Speaking of storage. There's the V/Ns that have a 'profile' front over the cab and those that have a 'snout.' Can't speak to 16-18 profiles, but our's has two cabinets on either side of the 'cut out' to reach the 'quarter deck' … a ton of easy access storage right by the coach door. My Bud's 18' J has nada storage over the cab despite having a huge schnozzle poking over the cab. (Yes, you can maybe get the 'bed' accessory but you still have to rig some type of netting and lashings to keep stuff from falling over the edge to the deck).


Another difference in the newer N/Vs is that they have cheapened the galley area. Hardly any useable counter space AND they have put a TV set on the wall (where the useful cabinets used to be) right over the sink/galley. What were they thinking. The older versions had a swing out TV under the cabs right up near the main hatch so you could actually watch it with out having a lifetime subscription to a chiropractor for you dislocated back and neck!!!!

There's no storage under the galley counter space near the coach door. Gone.

If you have solar..... there are advantages of course. OTH, if you have solar, you don't need the diesel 3200 genny when an LP 3600 will do nicely for the occasional house battery boost or to run the AC. The point here is: The LP delivers more watts at a slightly higher fuel burn. Yeah... I know there's all kinds of whinging and whining about LP UNavailability the seemingly high LP fuel consumption.... haven't found that to be true.) And you are going to need LP to run the furnace, water heater and fridge (if not all electric) anyway in cold weather camping.... Since you have solar, you may not be running the genny that much.


From the ONAN manuals circa. 2015: 1/2 load, the 3200QD burns 2.3lb/h (1.04 kg/h); the 3600QG burns 0.6 Gal/h (2.4 lb/h) 1.1 kg/h. That's a difference of POINT 1 lbs/hr or .06 kg/hr). Half load is probably typical of the general usage when charging batteries, running the microwave or the A/C.


Diesel genny is noisier (low freq vibes) and stinkier than the LP.

Another point is that the diesel genny uses Sprinter fuel. It will only draw on about the top 2/3s of the tank. So the 'magic' of having this 'awesome' fuel resource is ephemeral. The Sprinter has a 16 gallon tank. You have about 20 gallons useable and 5 reserve. Best not to run the tank down too far beyond the fuel light because it has a very high pressure pump system for the engine. It needs a minimal volume to cool the fuel & pumps to avoid damage. So, you have about 13 - 17 gallons of useable fuel for the genny, depending how you figure it. BUT, what really counts is that you have between 3.5 - 6.5 gallons ABOVE the reserve level. If you arrive at a site with only 2/3 of a tank of fuel, you have 3.5 to 6.5 G of fuel for the genny. Just sayin'.... it's all in how you calculate the fuel consumption.


Paint or decals? If you are out in the SW and S, any thing 'red' will fade to pink. I don't think it really matters if you use a little care and keep it clean and don't use harsh stuff to clean it. Maybe some good car shampoo with UV and polymer coatings to help keep the sun away.
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:14 PM   #10
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Depending upon actual condition and any other extras they are relatively close in value.



The factory solar already has wiring and a Zamp system that you can easily add 4 more panels to the system (1k option). The tankless water heater saves on water when boondocking (you get hot water after the first qt or less, heats up in about 5-10 min before you need it (1k option), if you are at a campsite with water and grey waste setup you can shower for hours if you like. I wish I had the double pane windows (1k option), although I have heard of them crazing and a little extra care in cleaning them. Unknown cost or value of extended warranty, paint was a 10k extra- I chose to pass on it at purchase although it is nice, mine is the 2016 with the tan/gold decals.


You will probably have to replace the house batteries, most do with upgraded storage using 6v golf cart batteries or 12v AGM.


For me newer and slightly more used is better than one that has sat longer, the 2016 if it is the J model has a longer corner bed and vehicle size is a few inches longer overall.... I believe, you 'd have to check.
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Old 09-12-2018, 07:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElCampo View Post

2)
2016
Diesel generator
No full body paint
18,000 miles
Solar installed from factory
Double pane acrylic windows
Warranty still has 3 years and quite a few miles (extended warranty)
Tank less water heater
Price 80,000
.
What do you think a fair price would be for the 2016? Would 75k be over paying?
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Old 09-13-2018, 12:31 PM   #12
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I'd think it went out the door for around $110 before tax. It's now 2.5-3 yrs old and will be older when the next prime selling season (spring) comes around.


You have to decide that... check blue book value, condition etc. The value of anything is what someone is willing to pay for it. You can always make the seller an offer worst that happens is he says no or ask them to sharpen their pencil and come up with a better price for you.
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:48 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone - purchase made, thread closed I appreciate all the input!
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