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Old 01-22-2023, 07:14 AM   #1
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2017 Vista 31BE or 2018 Vista 29VE? such a dilemma!

We're shopping for our first MH (only popups in the past). We've narrowed it down to two very similar models with similar mileage (both are between 13 & 15K).

While similar there are a few things that we're struggling with and hoping more experienced RV'ers can provide some insight.
1. Bunks (31B) vs more interior storage (29V): which is better while using? which is better for resale?

2. Tailgate pkg (29V) vs no tailgate (31B): does the tailgate offer that much more convenience? I can see how having a sink outside could be helpful when grilling, etc.

3. 30' (29V) vs 32' (31): I've read that many state and national parks limit RVs to 30 and under. Is that true? Are we going to run into trouble finding places with a 32'?

4. After market stabilizers (29V) vs standard suspension (31B): Do the added stabilizers (sway bar) make that much difference when driving?

So those are my big questions so far that are keeping me awake :-) Looking forward to any thoughts you all might have.

Beth
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Old 01-22-2023, 09:21 AM   #2
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Always good to ask the questions first!
But then the answers will often depend on what each of us do with the RV! So many of our answers will be based on OUR preferences, rather than what might best suit you, so figure that in?

Bunks will depend on who goes with you and how they sleep. We found grandkids were a hardly ever group to go with us. Too busy with lots of other things to do. When they did go, they often went when weather was great and preferred sleeping outside where the AC was not making noise or bunking down in the floor with sleeping bags as fine for their young scouting type bodies! Bunks which may be tight or would they prefer out or the floor? Personal choice and hard to answer.

Tailgate? Not for us as it does add a bit of weight and takes some room that we would not use. But we are just a pair and the grill is small.

Space in parking is part of it but storage, being able to move in tight locations is a constant. We have not run into specific length limiting us very often but the choice of spaces will be greater when the RV is shorter. I tend to go shorter as it makes fitting it into some easier. Things like the width of the turning space to back in may come up more then actual limits. But then, will you be out in the desert with no trees or more likely in the woods?

The longer will likely have more RV behind the rear wheels and that is often where the tail tries to "wag" more. But we are not too fussy about the drive and have never added suspention parts so again, personal choices.


A place I like for looking at many of the parts we can't see as well as being able to lay things out side by side to compare is this interactive parts catalog:

https://catalog3d.winnebagoind.com/menu/Parts.htm

It takes a bit to learn how to move around but once you get it, the details are amazing.
Things like how the drains are connected and where?
One point I notice on both these units is a personal bug with me as the black water drain has a cable system which seems to be a bit of problem for some users.

The drain valve is located so that it has a handle facing the other side from where it is operated and that makes the cable go in and curve to come back to the valve. I read posts about this cable sticking and needing freed up?
Big problem or simply what I remember reading? Not sure, just small points that can become problems to be aware of BEFORE they bite us!

Many other small points, floor layout tank sizes, etc. PDF style list of parts on right side to let you compare details.

Click image for larger version

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Old 01-22-2023, 10:02 AM   #3
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Welcome to forum. I am going to agree X2 everything Morich says as there is no right or wrong answers only what you like. If you told you life's story more about your personal situation likes, dislike, one may have a better chance as guess the best answers for your questions.

But with that said, this is my opinion for our family based on your questions. But my beliefs may well only represent less than 10% of the views.
1. Bunks (31B) vs more interior storage (29V): which is better while using? which is better for resale?

Bunks were a nonstarter for us, even if we had younger kids. Our 29ve can sleep 8 and we usually never need more than 4; although we did have 6 once. The 29ve external storage is what really stands out in my mine. The Sofa Bed is normally the 1st choice for guest adult, while the Euro Loft is a kids favorite and it can sleep 2 maybe 3 depending on age.

2. Tailgate pkg (29V) vs no tailgate (31B): does the tailgate offer that much more convenience? I can see how having a sink outside could be helpful when grilling, etc.

Over the years ( the past three) I sense I am in the minority here, but I would NOT buy an RV without a Tailgate Option, or Outdoor Kitchen. It is what we use the most. My wife is one of those over clean types. She prefers to cook as much as possible outside. I love to be outdoors watching TV with the convenience of fridge with no cooler required. Do we use every trip, no; but it is there and I can always use it if I want too. I also tailgate a lot at football games or similar. Even when parked at RV Port at Home we may have guest and we sit outside on what we call the Sunstar Patio and watch movies and eat. My wife feels more engaged with doing stuff because she never has to leave the crowd

3. 30' (29V) vs 32' (31): I've read that many state and national parks limit RVs to 30 and under. Is that true? Are we going to run into trouble finding places with a 32'?

I have never encountered this and I doubt you would have any problems with a 31' RV. My RV is 30' 3" and I have never had trouble parking it some where including MacDonald's or downtown Dallas. Heck when we pull our 24' boat with Lincoln we may be 50', I have even parked at tent campsites. Yes you may have to pick one that large enough, but I do that anyway finding my preferred location within the park. FWIW, in some cases you may have reservation, so you know before you go.

4. After market stabilizers (29V) vs standard suspension (31B): Do the added stabilizers (sway bar) make that much difference when driving?

Yes, both will be as bad and both will cost about the same if you try to improve them. I have spent about $3,000 ( no sway bar) but I have Safe T Plus and Sumo Springs. Both are good but I think Sumo Springs are way over priced, but I don't know the alternative?
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Old 01-22-2023, 11:36 AM   #4
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Greetings Beth,
Just in case you didn't find them already, here are the brochures for those two model years:
2017 Vista
2018 Vista

If it were me making this purchase, I would go with the 2018 29VE. It is smaller, has the outdoor kitchen, it is one year newer, and because both units have the same GVWR should be able to carry more cargo.
Welcome to the forum.
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Old 01-22-2023, 03:34 PM   #5
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Oh my gosh! Thank you all for your quick responses. Being this was my first time in the forum, I wasn't sure how long it would take for folks to weigh in.

@Morich - the 3d parts catalog is really great! thanks for pointing it out.
@dkoldman - lots of thoughtful input. We don't have kids or grandkids - just dogs and that's what we were thinking about the bunks. BUT, I think the dogs would be just as happy on the floor and we'd likely be happier with the outside kitchen.
@Eagle5 - appreciate you posting the brochure links. We're coming to the same conclusion :-)

Hoping my next post is in the welcome section with pics of the new-to-us Vista.

Beth (and Scott)
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Old 01-23-2023, 10:29 AM   #6
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Some folks without a need for bunks convert the area to other uses like; an office with a desk, a sewing “room,” or, of course, extra storage. It might help resale to have bunks, but look at how it affects your buying decision… it’s not always a plus.

You’ll find the tailgate option is similar. It’s a must have for a few and an unused item by many. Some also convert that space to storage or even a tool shed.

The 32” length is not in any way a problem. Sure some places have shorter sites but it’s not a hard and fast rule. Mostly you just see others saying that they “heard” others talk about this issue.

The driving experience for either will be suboptimal. These gas motorhomes are built on a dump truck/box truck/delivery truck chassis. Many aftermarket devices are sold to help with sway, body tilt, wandering. These do help some.

But ride comfort? There are many discussed. However, only one real solution. Unfortunately, it costs so much that only a small number of people take that option. It’s called Liquid Spring and replaces the entire suspension… for $25,000.

How to choose? Pick the floor plan that suits you best with the fewest compromises.
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Old 01-24-2023, 08:00 AM   #7
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Welcome to the forum! We have a 2021 29B -- similar to the 29V -- so here's my take on your questions.

1. Bunks (31B) vs more interior storage (29V): which is better while using? which is better for resale?

Using: I read that it's just you, DW, and furbabies, so I would opt for no bunks (unless you want to convert that space to storage/office?). It's usually just me and DW with sometime grandkids and we can pack everything we need for a month or more on the road with no problem.

Resale: Good question. My thought would be that the resale market for the 31B bunk model will be small than that for the 29V. You could check out RVTrader.com to see what used units are going for now to get an idea.


2. Tailgate pkg (29V) vs no tailgate (31B): does the tailgate offer that much more convenience? I can see how having a sink outside could be helpful when grilling, etc.

Tailgate Pkg: Originally I didn't want the tailgate package on our 29B -- now I couldn't live without it! We cook/grill out often and it makes the whole process more efficient and easier. Plus -- outside beer cooler!

3. 30' (29V) vs 32' (31): I've read that many state and national parks limit RVs to 30 and under. Is that true? Are we going to run into trouble finding places with a 32'?

Size Limits: Yes, some National/State parks do limit the size of the MH to 30' or even 24'. It hasn't been an issue for us, as we check ahead when necessary. With a 32' MH you'll have more tail-wag than with a 30'. Not much, but it will have an impact on getting around tight gas station pumps and smaller campgrounds. This is especially true if you tow a car or something.

4. After market stabilizers (29V) vs standard suspension (31B): Do the added stabilizers (sway bar) make that much difference when driving?

Stabilizers, etc.: Yes! They do make a difference! You're looking at older models (pre-2020 Ford chassis which upgraded the suspension), and there is a LOT of information on attempting to improve the chassis ride and handling on the forum. Even with the upgraded chassis, it needs help. The first chassis addition I made was a Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer. It helps a lot with centering the steering wheel, reducing "fidgiting" or wandering when driving and wind influence. Second chassis addition was Sumo Springs to the rear suspension. That reduced sway and wind influence but slightly harshened the ride quality. It was a reasonable trade-off.

Good luck and enjoy the MH experience!
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Old 01-24-2023, 10:16 AM   #8
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Great points! Thanks so much for weighing in with your personal experience.
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Old 01-29-2023, 06:08 PM   #9
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Consider your GVWR

The many good posts here are right on. However, a main point I always consider is gross vehicle weight. The 31 and 29 have the same 18,000 GVWR. I am guessing the extra 2 feet will weigh more than the outside kitchen thus reducing the amount of weight you can carry. With two adults for a 98-day trip with an inflatable Kayak, we were overweight by 400 pounds with empty gray, black, and half-full fresh tanks and 2/3 gasoline tank. We have a 29VE and plenty of room but could not safely carry more. With the 31 you will have more room but may have less carrying capacity for your stuff.
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Old 01-29-2023, 06:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmblsad View Post
We're shopping for our first MH (only popups in the past). We've narrowed it down to two very similar models with similar mileage (both are between 13 & 15K).

While similar there are a few things that we're struggling with and hoping more experienced RV'ers can provide some insight.
1. Bunks (31B) vs more interior storage (29V): which is better while using? which is better for resale?

2. Tailgate pkg (29V) vs no tailgate (31B): does the tailgate offer that much more convenience? I can see how having a sink outside could be helpful when grilling, etc.

3. 30' (29V) vs 32' (31): I've read that many state and national parks limit RVs to 30 and under. Is that true? Are we going to run into trouble finding places with a 32'?

4. After market stabilizers (29V) vs standard suspension (31B): Do the added stabilizers (sway bar) make that much difference when driving?





So those are my big questions so far that are keeping me awake :-) Looking forward to any thoughts you all might have.

Beth

Hi Beth,


I have owned the 31BE for almost four years and we really like the layout of the 31BE.


  • Regarding the bunks. We have used them when we bring the grand-kids and found they worked out great. Ours have a DVD player, with headphones, in each bunk and the older grand-kids like those. The top bunk folds up and there is a clothes rod so you can use the bunk area to hang clothes and extra storage. It essentially turns into a six foot closet. We just spent almost three weeks in the unit and found the storage to be more than we needed. I even stored my dive equipment and several air tanks in the bunk area. And I have also stored a high-end bicycle in the bunk area as well...although my bride has advised me against doing that again.
Using the bunks, we actually had ten people spend the night; six adults and four kids. It was crowded but the bunks can sleep an adult that's 6' tall or less.

  • We have the tailgate package, and I am indifferent to the amenities. We have used the fridge and sink, and they are handy, but if the unit didn't have the tailgate package, I think we would manage just fine. We generally only keep a few beverages in the fridge.
  • Regarding the length. We haven't been any place, including a few National Parks, where the length caused a problem. Most of our camping however has been in state or private campgrounds, or State Forests.
  • Prior to the Vista, I had only towed travel trailers and driven a 25' Class C. I have the standard suspension. I don't find the handling and suspension to be bad at all. We've been in the mountains, heavy traffic, and seasonal roads and it handles fine. My wife was a bit apprehensive about driving the unit initially and she feels like it handles fine. If we had stabilizers, maybe I'd feel different.
We also don't tow a car. If we did, maybe the upgraded suspension would help.
  • We spent a couple of weeks in Florida earlier this month. We happened to camp next to a 29VE. The owner of the 29VE and I each compared the units. He could see advantages of the 31BE and I was happy with my decision to purchase the 31BE.
  • I think the only thing I don't like about the 31BE, is the size of the shower. It's not a big problem, but a bit smaller than I would like. I wish I would have looked at the size of the shower in the 29VE to compare.
If it is a couple (or two) traveling together, I don't think you could go wrong with either unit. We knew that most of our traveling would be just the two of us but a few times per year, we would have all our grand-kids, so we specifically bought the 31BE because of the extra sleeping capacity.


Good luck in your decision.


LJ
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Old 02-01-2023, 06:42 PM   #11
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We've had a 29VE for 5 years now. We definitely like and use the outdoor kitchen (especially for the extra fridge space - we keep all our drinks out there). We seldom use the outdoor TV (in our view the point of camping is to not sit around and watch TV like you do at home). Storage space inside and underneath is pretty good, no complaints there. Ride quality is awful and the aftermarket fixes just make it slightly less awful. But then we didn't buy an RV for the driving experience, its for what you do when you get to your destination.
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Old 02-01-2023, 07:26 PM   #12
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We've had a 29VE for 5 years now. We definitely like and use the outdoor kitchen (especially for the extra fridge space - we keep all our drinks out there). We seldom use the outdoor TV (in our view the point of camping is to not sit around and watch TV like you do at home). Storage space inside and underneath is pretty good, no complaints there. Ride quality is awful and the aftermarket fixes just make it slightly less awful. But then we didn't buy an RV for the driving experience, its for what you do when you get to your destination.
My wife likes having the TV when outdoors cooking. One could argue that the Main TV inside is the one you don't need, because if you were camping, it would force you get back outside to see the outdoor beauty and still watch / hear the TV. But for me, I thought the Outdoor TV was part of a Tailgate package, it is by far what we use the Outdoor TV for the most. Nothing like being at a football game or similar with friends cooking and drinking beverages of your choice. But to your point, if I wish to camp to that sense, we will go with the tents, but if I am camping in a 6 figure plus RV, I expect a TV inside and outside
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