Retro RVs - The GMC Motor Home
byR.A. Rowell; Co-Owner of Intent-sive Nature & the Brand Shamans network
The 1970’s were a great time for RVs and motor homes. So, GMC decided to enter the recreational vehicle market with their own cutting-edge RV. They aimed to create a top-end vehicle that would blow away the competition. How did the GMC motor home fare? Let’s find out if the GMC RV stood up to the competition and if it’s still a viable motor home today.
The GMC Motor Home Design
The most common RV design in the 1970’s was boxy and top-heavy, build onto a truck chassis. So, GMC wanted their motor home to be entirely different. The ad slogan for the GMC motor home was “Doesn’t look like a box or ride like a truck.”
The design work for the GMC RV began in 1970 and it was planned to hit the market in 1973. The GMC motor home had front-wheel drive, rare in cars of the day, and never seen in a motor home. The drivetrain and suspension were taken from the Oldsmobile Toronado design. It had a 455 cubic inch Oldsmobile engine with 265 horsepower.
The engine was attached to a Turbo-Hydramatic 425 transmission with torsion bar suspension. The rear suspension was adapted from the GM bus designs. It used dual swing arms, with one trailing and one leading. Each had a single air spring on each side.
One major difference with the GMC motor home design was that it didn’t use auto body steel in its body. The body was instead made with lightweight aluminum and molded fiberglass-reinforced plastic. These were the same materials used in the Chevy Corvette. It greatly reduced the vehicle weight compared to its contemporary RVs.
These design features all created a very different motor home than others on the market. No other RV at the time had independent swing arm rear suspension or front wheel drive. Also, without a drive shaft or axles underneath the coach, the floor height could be much lower, meaning a lower center of gravity.
The motor home also featured a six-wheel braking system. There were disc brakes on the front and drum brakes on the four rear wheels. This further enhanced the vehicle’s drivability.
These features made the handling of the GMC RV easier than the boxy RVs of the time. It also made for easier entry and exit from the vehicle, reduced wind resistance and rollover risk. It made the GMC motor home far easier to operate and safer for those who had no prior experience driving vehicles larger than a car.
Interior Design Features of the GMC Motor Home
Previous motor home designs focused on the comforts of using the RV as a home away from home at a camping spot or mobile home park. The GMC motor home was targeted a somewhat different type of RV buyer. It was designed to make getting to the destination less cumbersome and easier for the everyday driver. Also, the GMC RV featured a panoramic windshield, making the view of the road superior to pretty much any other motor home at the time.
The GMC motor home was available in 23 foot and 26 foot lengths. This actually was a fairly small RV even at the time. The motor home’s interior was compact and featured no permanent sleeping areas. Beds were converted from sleeping areas when needed. This allowed for better use of interior space.
The fridge was powered by a standard auto battery. While this was fine for short-term use, its power source was only good enough for overnight before it needed recharging. Also, the water heaters were quite effective, using engine coolant loops. Unfortunately, the water could become so hot - with temperature in excess of 200 degrees Fahrenheit, that it could actually represent a scalding hazard. So, you had to be careful.
Thirty different floor plans were available, so there were many different interior options. This wide variety of floor plans allowed you to find a model that fit your specific vacation plans best. So, how would the GMC motor home fare on the open market?
The GMC Motor Home on the Market
The GMC RV prototype debuted at the Transpro ‘72 trade show in May 1972 in Washington, DC. Production began in 19773 with two models. There were the 23-foot Model 230 and the 26-foot Model 260. GMC actually produced motor homes with both finished interiors and unfinished interiors. Those unfinished interiors were sold to Avion and Coachman, who then furnished the RVs with their own interiors before reselling them. On the open market, GMC motor homes were priced between $35,000 and $40,000.
Unfortunately, despite GMC having innovative design for their motor home, they entered the market right before the energy crisis. With fuel prices skyrocketing, many people decided not to buy the larger motor homes any more. To increase fuel efficiency, GMC replaced the Oldsmobile 455 engine with a 185-hp, 403 cubic inch engine. This engine was actually seen in many other Oldsmobiles at the time.
Because of the poor timing at entering the market, the GMC motor home never sold a high volume. After producing 12,921 vehicles, GMC decided to retire their motor home after the 1978 model year and switch to light trucks.
The Collectibility of GMC Motor Homes
The good news for GMC motor homes is that their relative rarity made them instant collectibles almost the moment that production stopped. Fans of the GMC RV created owners’ associations to make getting parts and service for these unusual motor homes fairly easy. In fact, service for these vehicles even became a cottage industry.
In 1992, when GMC decided to scrap all remaining parts and tools for the motor homes, Cinnabar Engineering seized the opportunity to purchase all of the remaining supplies. They also negotiated a deal with GMC to continue providing parts for the GMC motor homes.
That same year, a monthly magazine called GMC Motor Home Marketplace debuted. Two years later, Cinnabar started publishing the quarterly newsletter called GMC Motor Home News. This publication ran through December 2010. GMC Motor Homes became collectible toys, too. Mattel even created more than fifty different diecast GMC Motor Homes models for their Hot Wheels line. In 1977, Mattel even released three toy GMC Motor Homes as a Barbie Doll Star Traveler promo.
The Loyalty of GMC Motor Home Owners
There are still over 8,000 GMC motor homes registered today. Many of them are still worthy of camping trips! There are still plenty of places online to find more information about the GMC Motor Home and find parts and places that will service them. Because of their rarity and popularity, used GMC motor homes still sell north of $10,000 on the open market. Models in top condition can fetch $15,000 or more.
What do you think of the GMC motor home?
One of the most important questions to answer when buying a motorhome is whether you are buying a gas motorhome or a diesel motorhome. As far as the interior and overall performance, there are few differences. But, the major differences between gas motorhomes and diesel motorhomes are the price and the gas mileage.
Diesel Motorhomes Are More Expensive
Because diesel motors are more expensive to purchase upfront, diesel motorhomes can cost significantly more than gas-powered motorhomes. However, while the maintenance can be more expensive when it has to be done, overall, diesel motors are known to last longer than gas-powered motors. The major advantage to diesel motor homes is that they have a higher fuel-to-power ratio, meaning you get more horsepower and torque while consuming less fuel. The other upside is that diesel motorhomes depreciate less quickly.
Gas Motorhomes Are More Affordable
Today, there are many large gas-powered motor homes, especially from Ford and General Motors, that offer excellent performance and are comparable in horsepower and torque to diesel-powered models. Of course, while the gas-powered motor homes are more affordable, you do pay a cost in more frequent maintenance and higher fuel costs. Gas-powered motorhomes also tend to depreciate more quickly, especially when it comes to mileage.
Diesel Motorhomes Have More Durable Engines, Transmissions, and Pac Brakes
Because the larger diesel motorhomes are built more like tractor trailer trucks, they tend to have much more powerful transmissions and have more powerful brakes than gas-powered motor homes of comparable size.
However, there are also diesel-powered motor homes that are much smaller using the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van chassis. They get the fuel efficiency of a diesel-powered van with all of the same conveniences as a smaller gas-powered motorhome. However, these also have more powerful transmissions than many of their gas-powered counterparts.
In either case, if you plan to drive a lot in the mountains, diesel motorhomes are going to handle the wear and tear much more effectively. Mountain driving is extremely hard on ordinary transmissions found in gas-powered motor homes. So, because diesel motors naturally have higher power-to-fuel ratios than gas, the more powerful transmission is necessary. The power that drives tractor trailer trucks is what gives diesel motorhomes an advantage in that way. Overall, diesel motorhomes tend to be more durable when it comes to the motor and transmissions.
Gas-Powered Motor Homes Offer Value for the Price
If you aren’t planning on a lot of mountain driving with your RV and don’t plan on making consistent cross-country trips, gas powered motor homes can be a good option. While gas-powered engines tend to require more frequent maintenance than diesel motors, tune-ups, oil changes, and other maintenance tend to be less expensive than on the more specialized diesel motors.
The auto parts are also less expensive for gas-powered vehicles, and if you spend a bit extra on higher-quality and high-performance parts, you can get a lot of value for your money. However, if you tend to go on frequent cross-country trips and use your motor home as your primary vehicle, the wear and tear from constant driving will take their toll on a gas-powered motor and transmission. While newer gas-powered models have more efficient motors that offer higher torque than their predecessors, gasoline will never offer the same power-to-fuel ratio as diesel fuel. So, the engine has to work harder and therefore, will not last as long.
It is possible that when your gas powered motor home surprasses 100,000 miles, your engine may need a major overhaul or transmission work may be needed. This is something important to keep in mind. If you have an aftermarket transmission or other non-stock components installed into your motor home, however, you can increase the life of your motorhome’s engine significantly.
Diesel Motorhomes Have Engines That Last Forever
The major reason that people are willing to shell out the big bucks for the bigger diesel-powered motor homes like those from Fleetwood, Monaco, Newmar, and Holiday Rambler, is simply that their motors tend to last forever. Even though the maintenance and oil changes can be significantly more expensive, the motor and transmission are so durable that they may outlive the motor home chassis itself!
The other major advantage of the larger diesel motor homes is that they typically run quieter, due to the engine compartment being in the back, like in buses. Even the smaller diesel-powered motor homes that have the engine in the front use six-cylinder or eight-cylinder turbo diesel motors than run much quieter than the comparable V8 or V10 gas-powered motors.
Also, diesel motorhomes can carry more cargo and have heavier internal amenities than on gas-powered motor homes. That’s because they have higher towing capacity, as those motors are designed for hauling lots of weight. You can have heavy materials like china toilets and Corian countertops in your diesel motor home without thinking much about how it will affect your vehicle’s gross weight.
So is Gas-Powered or Diesel-Powered Better for a Motorhome?
The good news is that with the continuous advances in engine technology, gas-powered motor homes are becoming more efficient and powerful every year. Of course, diesel technology is also improving all of the time, with some of the more modest-sized diesel motorhomes getting similar gas mileage to a full-size pickup or SUV!
However, there are advantages to both. It all depends on how you plan to use your motorhome. If you have a secondary vehicle in which you will do most of your around town driving and really only drive your motorhome from destination to destination, gas powered motor homes should serve you well. But if you basically live on the road, there are major long-term advantages to owning a diesel motor home, especially in terms of motor and transmission durability and gas mileage.
As long as you are aware of the various costs involved with maintaining gas and diesel powered motor homes, you can do well with either a gas-powered or diesel-powered motorhome. As with anything, it all comes down to personal preference and what vehicle you feel fits your needs best. The largest motorhomes are going to be diesel-powered and mid-size motorhomes are fine when gas-powered. It all comes down to which motor home that you feel most at home in.
Whether you decide on a gasoline or diesel motor to power your motor home, just do your research and find the best value for the price. Motorhomes give you so much flexibility when it comes to your holiday adventures and either type of motor can make full-time RV living possible. Both offer relatively the same interior comforts. So, if you want to save some money upfront, a gas motorhome is a great choice. If you’re looking to own your motor home for the rest of your life, a diesel motorhome could be the right choice
Which will you choose for your motorhome: gas-powered or diesel-powered?
During the summer months, you want to make sure that your air conditioner is in the best possible condition to keep you cool and comfortable. That’s especially true in your trailer or motorhome. RV air conditioner maintenance should be done regularly to make sure that all components are working properly. If RV air conditioners aren’t properly maintained, they can be very expensive to repair. You don’t want your RV air conditioner quitting and ruin your summer vacation, after all.
An RV air conditioner is similar to the split system air conditioners you find in some homes. This means that the condenser and compressor units are installed outside, in this case on the roof. Then ,the air-cooling unit is installed inside, on the ceiling. One unit is enough for many RVs, but for RVs that are longer than 35 feet may need two units to keep the space relatively cool.
Here are some tips to keep your RV air conditioners operating well through the spring and summer months.
Wash or Change Your RV Air Conditioner Filters Monthly
Your RV air conditioner filters should be washed or charged at least once a month. When the RV air conditioner is in use, disposable filters should be changed every month. If you use reusable filters for your air conditioner, they should be washed with water, then left ot drop dry before putting them back in.
It’s important to avoid having clogged air filters, since clogged filters can lead to lower efficiency, higher energy using, and potential damage to other A/C components such as the evaporator coil. Also, while changing the filter, using a damp cloth with a bit of dish detergent should be used to remove dirt and dust from the entire unit. You don’t want to be blowing all of that around!
Clean Your Evaporator Coil Regularly
The evaporator coil is one of the most important components of your RV air conditioner. If it’s not kept clean or becomes damaged, your A/C efficiency will be greatly reduced. The coil is located on the back of the rooftop part of the unit, so not only is it exposed to the elements but to possible damage from leaves, tree branches, and other hazards.
This coil is the part that circulates the cold refrigerant in your air conditioner, so you want to make sure this component is cleaned regularly. Use a soft bristled brush to remove any dirt that’s accumulated on it. While some RV air conditioner units already have shields for the fins and coils to protect them from the elements and potential damage, not all do. If your A/C unit lacks shields for these things, it may be a good idea to have them installed.
Check RV Air Conditioner Gasket Seals
Condensation can often occur due to much of the A/C components being outside. Because of this, the gasket seals on your RV air conditioner can become damaged. So, the gasket seal between the ceiling and the bottom of the unit should be checked regularly.
Also, the drainage holes in the condensate pan should be regularly cleared of any debris, such as leaves. Any clogs can cause condensation to leak into the RV. Not only is this an annoyance, but the excess water still inside can damage your A/C unit.
Before a Trip, Start and Check Your RV Air Conditioners
Before you set off on your big summer trip, start your RV air conditioner to make sure everything is running correctly. Be sure the the fan and your temperature control are working properly. Also, when checking your A/C, be sure that you have an adequate power source. A 15-amp extension cord may not be sufficient for some RV air conditioners, especially on larger RVs.
You don’t want to underpower your A/C when checking it, because insufficient amperage can actually damage your A/C motors, compressors, and other components. Check your A/C unit’s power requirements for the right amperage and make sure that you have the right switches and circuit breakers installed in your home to not cause power issues.
By following this regular RV air conditioner maintenance routine, you should be able to enjoy summer after summer with well-performing air conditioning. Have fun and stay cool.
In the United States, lemon laws protect consumers from purchasing defective new vehicles from auto dealers. These statutes are in place so that consumers can take recourse against the manufacturer if the vehicle proves to be unreliable. However, when someone buys an RV, consumers may not realize that RV lemon laws vary from state to state.
When you’re buying an RV, your state’s lemon laws vary when it comes to fixing defective recreational vehicles. In fact, in the United States, most states’ lemon laws don’t protect you against problems with your RV if they are over a certain weight or don’t have to do with the vehicle’s drive train. Learn about how your state’s lemon laws cover your RV.
Why are RV Lemon Laws Different From Those for Other Autos?
RV lemon laws tend to be different because of how RVs are constructed. Unlike many cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs, which are mass-produced, RVs are often assembled by hand. Also, the parts are typically made by several different companies whereas most other vehicles have the majority of their parts coming from a single manufacturer.
So, this means that the chassis can be made by an auto maker, while the body and living area are made by one or more other companies. This means that there isn’t a single manufacturer that can be held responsible for vehicle defects. In the past, this meant state lemon laws didn’t want to deal with figuring out who to hold responsible and they simply didn’t cover RVs.
Every US State Lemon Laws Now Covers RVs... To a Point
In the past, only a handful of US states had lemon laws that covered RV’s. But with the growing popularity of RVs, states now have been expanding what their RV lemon laws actually cover. This is no longer the case. In every US state, any and all defects in an RV must be repaired within a “reasonable” number of chances in a “reasonable” amount of time. This is good news.
However, know your state’s lemon laws well. You can do this by just doing a search for “(Your State) RV Lemon Laws” in your favorite search engine and it should come up. Some state RV lemon laws have restriction. In some states, only the living areas are covered and in other states, only the chassis (drivetrain) is covered. Also, some states limit coverage by your RV’s weight. So, you’ll have to read the entire state’s lemon law to find out what exactly is covered.
What US States Offer the Best and Worst Lemon Laws?
The good thing for consumers is that there is an online resource that lists all 50 US states and what each state’s RV lemon laws cover. This list from Lemonlaw.com is current as of 2018 and lists a summary for the RV lemon laws in each US state. Some states are very limited on what they will consider under a lemon law. For example, Arizona only covers RVs under 10,000 lbs! Of course, you still want to read your individual state’s lemon laws in their entirety.
How Can I Minimize the Risks of Buying a Lemon RV?
Besides knowing what your state covers when it comes to buying RVs and buying accordingly, there are other ways to protect yourself in the case that you do end up buying a lemon RV.
First of all, examine the warranties that are offered with RVs you’re considering purchasing very carefully. If you feel that the warranty isn’t good enough, and your state’s lemon laws won’t cover certain things, you may want to consider purchasing an extended warranty for your RV.
Next, make sure you do some research on the past reliability of the class and manufacturer of each RV you may want to purchase. Some classes of RVs experience certain kinds of problems more than others, and certain manufacturers are known to have difficulty with certain parts failing than others. If you find that a manufacturer or type of vehicle has problems that won’t be covered under lemon laws or that vehicle’s warranty, you may want to consider purchasing a different RV.
Another precaution you can take is to ensure that the vehicle carries a RVIA seal. This seal from the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association means that the RV manufacturer belongs to an RV industry group which requires its members to meet a set of safety standards. Those standards include a list of five hundred items. This gives you peace of mind that the quality control of the RV you are buying is very good.
So, when buying a new RV take all of these precautions in mind. Do your research on your state lemon laws and what RVs could potentially be lemons more than others. You’re buying your RV to enjoy weekend getaways, long vacations, and potentially even full time RV living.
The last thing you want is to be spending your vacation at home - or worse at a motel - while your RV is in the repair shop. Be sure that you know what protection there is for you if you do buy a lemon RV. Get the best RV for you and go and have fun!
If you’re considering buying an RV, whether it's a motor home, travel trailer, or other type of RV, you actually consider many of the same things that you would if you were buying a car or truck. Don’t let dealers take advantage of you. Be well-educated about the types of RVs available and what a fair price to pay for each should be. Keep in mind that if you’re buying from a dealer, many dealers add a fifteen to thirty-five percent markup on the MSRP prices, due to incentives from the RV manufacturers.
Definitely visit two or three RV dealerships before making a final decision on purchasing an RV. Also, see what sorts of warranties and service the dealer you’re buying from offers. Most dealers are happy to be your best friend while you’re deciding on the motor home you buy. But after buying, a lot don’t want to be bothered unless you’re coming back to buy a new RV. So, definitely find RV dealers that are happy to work with you for the life of your recreational vehicle.
Of course, you can also buy RV’s from used auto dealers and third-party sellers. Auto dealers that don’t specialize in RV’s tend to offer lower prices, although their service probably won’t be as good in the long term. So, keep that in mind. Also, with third-party sellers, you’re completely on your own once the title and keys are in your hand. But, you can also potentially get the best deals, even if some serious maintenance of the vehicle is in your near future.
Whatever you do, as with buying anything, be sure to do your due diligence. A motor home is a great vehicle to have. Just know the market, especially when buying used, and know the potential risks involved with maintaining old, larger vehicles. Then, find the motor home that’s your soul mate, and enjoy your RV adventures!
What RV do you want to buy?
When you buy a motor home from a dealer, it will always come with a warranty of some sort. But, should you buy an extended warranty for your motorhome? Let’s learn about a motor home extended warranty and what you should expect to pay for it and what it covers on your motor home.
The first major thing to consider about purchasing a motor home extended warranty is whether you bought your motor home new or used. Newer vehicles will attract longer term warranties than older ones, just as with cars, trucks, and vans. Of course, whenever that warranty expires, you’ll be exposed to the risk of having to pay for expensive repairs that may have been covered by the warranty.
So, just as with anything you purchase, you have to determine the risk versus the reward of paying for a potentially pricey warranty. Let’s talk about the benefits of an extended warranty for your motor home.
A Motor Home Extended Warranty Offers Peace of Mind
Just like any extended warranty, purchasing one for your motor home offers peace of mind. That can be worth a lot of money if you use your motor home on a semi-regular or regular basis. They’re also pretty easy to purchase on the internet these days, meaning that you don’t necessarily have to purchase one directly from the dealer. Why’s this? That’s because dealer extended warranties are more expensive because they cover dealer commissions.
However, when buying cheaper online warranties just beware. Actually, you want to be careful even if you purchase one through a dealer. Make sure you real with reputable companies underwritten by “A” rated insurers, especially rated by Standard & Poor. NEVER buy an extended warranty from companies that don’t disclose the rating of the company backing the policy, for motor homes or anything else.
While an extended warranty is available on both used and new motor homes, used motor homes with high mileage won’t be eligible for motor home extended warranties. This is true of most vehicles, of course. But with a motor home, it’s a risk to be very well aware of when purchasing one with mileage approaching or exceeding 100,000 miles.
What Can Affect the Price of Motor Home Extended Warranties?
So, once you find a good company that offers a motor home extended warranty, how much will it cost? Here are a few guidelines to give you an idea of the potential cost.
In general, diesel motor homes tend to be more expensive to warranty. That’s because typically diesel motor homes are more expensive due to the fact that they typically offer better gas mileage and less overall maintenance. The diesel pushers, where the engine is in the back like many buses, tend to have the most expensive warranties.
If your motor home has a Renault-built engine, many companies won’t offer you an extended warranty. These motors are sometimes found in RV models using a Mercedes-Benz chassis.
Likewise, some engine modifications will void a motor home warranty. Of course, many people choose to install a turbocharger on their motor homes. Extended warranties that cover motor homes with this modification tend to have higher premiums, so keep this in mind.
With longer extended warranties, there’s going to be a surcharge for each year added to the warranty as the vehicle ages. If you buy a used motor home, there will also be surcharges as the vehicle’s mileage increases.
Any added equipment such as stereo systems, satellite dishes, and televisions will incur additional surcharges, as many extended warranties cover these particular items.
To get a quote on an extended warranty for your particular motor home, contact a few companies and get to know the differences between various policies. That way, you can make an informed decision in deciding what’s worth paying for and what’s not. Then, choose the extended warranty that fits your needs and your motorhome the best.
Which RV Type is Right For You?
Are you interested in purchasing a motor home? Understanding the different types of motor homes can be overwhelming when trying to decide which RV type is right for you. In this guide, we’ll go over the different classes of RV, both trailers and motor homes.
Things to Consider When Choosing an RV
Some motorhomes are designed specifically for only two to four people. Others can sleep six to eight people or more. Travel trailers and fifth wheel trailers also come in many different shapes and sizes. There are so many layout and configuration choices when it comes to RVs. But, there are several classes of RV to understand in order to narrow down your choices when it comes to choosing your perfect motor home.
In the case of motorhomes, there are some major things to consider. There are motor homes with automatic transmissions or 5-speed manual transmissions. Also, different motor homes have different engines and fuel requirements. Motor homes use a lot of fuel and while many diesel models tend to be more fuel-efficient than gas-powered models, that isn’t always the case. So, do your research.
Obviously, with trailers you won’t have to worry about engine types and such. But you will have to consider what to tow it with. There are two major types of RV trailer: travel trailers and fifth-wheels. There are also truck campers, which actually connect into the bed of a pickup truck. We’ll get into these various classes of RV trailer in a bit.
Other things you’d want to consider are the amenities you’re looking for with your RV. Some of these may include chemical toilets with flushing capabilities, fresh water and waste water tank sizes for holding fresh water and waste water, hot water heater capacity, and air conditioning. Motor homes and trailers can also usually include various sizes of kitchens. Most contain a refrigerator and many have a microwave.
Fortunately, when you’re browsing RVs, the basic specs and equipments provided with each model of motor home or trailer will be listed on the manufacturer website. So, there isn’t a guessing game when it comes to knowing what each RV model has to offer. That way, you can narrow down exactly what features are important to you when making your choices.
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s look at the various classes of RV. These include the Class A Motorhome, Class B Motorhome, Class C Motorhome, Fifth Wheel trailers, Travel Trailers, Truck Campers, and Van Conversions (or caravans as they are called in Europe).
Van Conversions / Caravans
In Europe, caravans have been popular for travel for years. These converted vans have become increasingly popular in America, Australia, and other places, as well. They do have the reputation of being “old school,” which is something that does attract people to them. However, they also have a reputation of being cramped, slow, and underpowered.
On the other hand, there are plenty of van conversion RVs that aren’t underpowered at all. Some of them have engines on par with the larger RVs and some are actually very similar to the Class B motorhomes that we’ll get to shortly. If you’ve been considering a van conversion, and it’s just you and one other person, a van conversion or European-style caravan may be a good choice for you.
Class A Motorhomes
Perhaps the most popular motorhome is the Class A Motorhome. For many people, they are considered the most impressive. That’s because they resemble a bus, and many are the size of smaller school buses. Some Class A Motorhomes resemble big-time tour buses. Like on a touring bus, Class A Motorhomes have a cabin where the driver and a passenger sit. Behind the cabin is a luxury vehicle that not only allows for luxurious road trips and vacations, but are the perfect choice for full time RV living!
The main appeal of Class A Motorhomes is that they typically can contain everything that a typical home can. These include appliances, even washers, dryers, and dishwashers in larger models, and can be built inside to look exactly like a typical small apartment. Larger Class A Motorhomes can sleep up to 10 people, although there are smaller Class A models that sleep four to six people.
With large Class A Motorhomes, you typically see owners tow their personal vehicle such as a car, truck, van, or SUV behind them. That’s because Class A motorhomes tend to be very difficult on fuel consumption, so having the smaller vehicle to travel locally is a good idea.
Class B Motorhomes
The Class B Motorhome is actually very similar to a cross between a van conversion and a Class A motorhome. It has a drivers cab in front, but it resembles more of a large van instead of a bus. They typically only sleep up to 4 people and don’t have all of the amenities of a Class A motorhome.
The major advantage of Class B motor homes is that they can be used as a practical vehicle around town. They fit in most parking spaces and tend to be very fuel-efficient. While they are OK for going on vacations, they aren’t well-equipped for long-term RV adventures.
Class C Motorhomes
The Class C motorhome is a popular choice of motor home for several reasons. It’s sort of a cross between a Class A and Class B motorhome. It has a drivers cab, but they have a private sleeping area above the cab, which can also be used for storage if that space isn’t required. Class C motorhomes come in a variety of lengths, but most can sleep six people comfortably.
Some Class C motorhomes are short enough to fit in regular parking spaces, while others can be even 30 feet or longer like a Class A! The major benefit of a Class C motorhome is no matter the size, every Class C motorhome comes equipped with a kitchen and small bathroom. While they can be cramped to live in long-term, for only two to four people in some of the mid-sized models (23 to 26 feet), full time RV living is possible in these Class C motor homes.
While Class A motorhomes are often built for luxury living, Class C motor homes are typically built with more practicality and versatility. They are a favorite of many full time RVers for that reason.
Fifth Wheel Trailers
In the case that you own a pick-up truck, fifth wheel trailers are a great RV option to consider. These trailers attach to the truck bed using a special attachment, which can be installed fairly easily by a local dealer. Fifth wheels tend to be far less expensive than a motor home, which is one major benefit to owning one if you have the vehicle to tow it.
Fifth wheels also have the benefit of having a “second story,” which is usually a master bedroom that sits over the truck bed. But the other thing about fifth wheels is that they are still free-standing when detached from the truck. So, it can be used just like a conventional travel trailer.
Another option if you have a pick-up truck is a truck camper. Like a fifth-wheel trailer, they sit in the bed of the truck. However, they don’t have any special attachments, and some larger ones can even be free-standing. These truck campers can have basic amenities such as a kitchenette and toilet & sink.
The larger truck campers are good for one or two people. They aren’t ideal for long-term trips or full-time RVing, but there those that use them for that purpose. The major advantage to truck campers is that you don’t have to worry about towing them.
Like the fifth wheel trailer, travel trailers are great if you have a towing vehicle. The major difference is that you can tow them with any vehicle capable of towing a trailer. You may have to invest in a better tow package for your vehicle, but many trucks, vans, and SUVs have the capability of towing decent sized travel trailers.
The amenities of a travel trailer are very similar to those that you would find in Class A and Class C motorhomes. Some travel trailers are actually quite luxurious, while others are more practical. Travel trailers are widely popular because of how easy it is to find a vehicle that can tow them. They’re very easy to live out of both in the short-term and long-term and are a staple at many campgrounds and RV parks.
Now that you know the major classes of RV, you can decide from these what type works for you. There are RVs in all of these classes at various price points, especially if you buy used. By knowing the various pros and cons of each class of RV, you can narrow down your choices considerably. At the end of the day, though, you’ll want to visit your local RV showroom to get a feel for each type in person.
What class of RV is your favorite?
Benefits Of Owning Motor Homes
Why own a motor home? Owning a motor home offers you multiple benefits when it comes to travel and vacations. Whenever you want to travel for just a weekend getaway or a long vacation, a motor home can simply your trip planning. Motor homes can offer many different solutions, from where you’ll stay on your trip, to where you’ll eat, and much more.
Motor Homes Have All the Benefits of Home
Owning a motor home gives you the benefit of essentially having a home away from home. You have appliances and other basic household amenities. A motor home allows you to skip staying at motels and hotels, which can be very expensive and at times not even comfortable. You also can take more with you on a trip than you would in a car, van, or SUV. This means not having to buy as many things to use just for a trip.
In your motor home, you can cook, sleep, and bathe. Even better, most motor homes can tow your car, and larger ones can tow vans or SUVs. You can also bring along jet skis, four-wheelers, and even boats on a little trailer you can tow behind the motor home.
Motor Homes Are Great for Family and Friend Visits, Even Business Trips!
You don’t just have to save a trip in your motor home for a vacation. You can drive your motor home to visit friends and family in a different city. This can save you a lot of money on hotel and restaurant costs. It’s also great to use your motor home for a long business trip. If you’d otherwise have to rent a vehicle, the extra gas costs from driving a motor home there will still be a savings. In any case, it’s going to be a much more comfortable ride for you and your family.
Motor Homes Come in All Shapes and Sizes!
There are so many different types of motor homes you can purchase depending on your travel plans, the size of your family, and other personal needs. You have a wide range of options from body style, length, sleeping space, layout, equipment, and other amenities. There’s a motor home out there that will work right for you.
Now that you know the benefits of owning a motor home, all you have to do now is choose the motor home that best fits you and your needs. Just do a bit of research online and you’ll find the motor home for you!
by Lyn Lomasi; Co-Owner of Intent-sive Nature & the Brand Shamans network
Installing vinyl flooring in your RV can be a great way to save on many levels. Find out below five of the ways we found it helpful and why we installed it in our RV ourselves almost immediately.
Mud And Spills Clean Up Easy
The RV life often involves raw and dirty adventuring -- and sometimes kids. Oh yes, and some of those nasty RV only messes that can happen in the restroom...well, we won;t go all the way there. For all those unfortunate messes in your motorhome or camper, vinyl flooring makes cleanup so much easier.
Vinyl Flooring Makes A Great Waterproof Barrier
When we purchased our RV, we noticed the previous owners just painted straight over the sub-floor. Not a super huge deal. But that made it more vulnerable to going bad faster. So, we decided to cover it up with vinyl flooring almost immediately. This actually has helped create a waterproof barrier and keep the sub-floor sturdy much longer. This way, if our roof ever leaks or we have some nasty spill or accident, it's less likely to ruin the sub-floor.
Get That Clean "Home" Feel At A Low Cost
If you like the look of tiles, but want something more versatile and convenient, vinyl flooring may be the way to go. As you can see in the above pictures taken during our installation of the vinyl tiles, they completely change the look of the entire motorhome.
Many tiles can be heavy and easy to break. This creates multiple problems in a rolling home. Vinyl flooring is lightweight and harder to crack. Even if you do somehow manage to mess up a spot, they are easier and cheaper to fill in. Imagine all the extra weight that would be added to your RV if you used traditional tiles. No thank you. I don't know about you, but ours has enough extra weight added as it is.
Vinyl Flooring Is Easy To Install
And of course, one of the best reasons to install vinyl flooring is that it's super easy to do. There are so many projects and repairs in an RV if you use it often. Vinyl flooring will allow you to do it yourself inexpensively and quickly without having to hire help and pay an extra cost.
Most people know that bungee cords of all sizes are handy to have around. But I bet you never thought of these 10 handy uses for bungees in your motorhome or trailer. Get some bungee cords today and put them to use in your RV to see how well they work.
1. Simple Curtain Tie
Attach an eye hook to the wall and use it secure the tie when you need your curtain to stay open. Any lightweight bungee will do the trick, unless your curtain is exceptionally heavy. We found the 3-pack from the Dollar Tree works fine for ours.
2. Portable Toilet
If you're temporarily using a portable toilet in your RV, you know it may shift when driving. To avoid accidental spillage, secure an eye hook to the wall behind the toilet on both sides. Then, attach a bungee. Be sure to leave space to use your flush handle, if you have one. The thicker, rubber ones are best to use in this instance, as they tend to hold more weight. We spent less than 2 bucks at Home Depot getting one that works for this. Our portable toilet is a Camco 5.3 Gallon.
3. Secure a Room While Driving
We used a long, thick bungee that was about two bucks at Home Depot to secure the bathroom area before we fixed it. This helped while driving because it prevented everything from flying around. This is good if your bathroom (or another room) is under construction, like ours was. It also helps if you have any other area where there may be loose furniture or other semi-big items. The bungee held in a portable washing machine, a baby gate that kept the toilet secure, and a few miscellaneous things that were tucked around those items.
4. Prevent Shelves From Losing Items Or Falling
Your wall shelves should be secure, ideally. But if you want some extra protection, try using a bungee cord to secure the shelf even further. We often do this if we want to place something on the shelf that might otherwise fall while driving. It could be a book someone is reading here and there or something else fairly lightweight. This isn't a good solution for heavier items.
(Pardon the sawdust in the picture. This was taken right after setting up this particular fix.)
5. Prevent Cabinets From Opening While Driving
Since we are in an older motorhome, this is a common problem, as we are under construction. This is a good temporary fix if your existing hardware isn't the best or you are missing the latches. In our case, we just needed to fix the latches. We don't need to use this anymore. But it worked to keep items from flying while we awaited delivery of the appropriate hardware. The simple Dollar Tree bungees were fine for this as well.
6. Secure Loose Work Items
When we were doing a lot of work on our vintage RV, this one helped a ton. We kept a Homer Bucket from Home Depot full with all kinds of tools and hardware that we were using every day. We didn't want to have to keep putting away and taking out these items every time we had to drive somewhere. So, we kept it secure with a bungee. The Dollar Tree bungees were fine for this as well. But remember that the heavier the item, the stronger the bungee cord should be.
7. Secure a Loose Door While Driving - If your door is loose and you need to secure it while driving to the repair shop or elsewhere, try using a bungee. Fasten it to the latch and/or screen and secure it to the inside to prevent your door from banging back and forth.
8. Tie Down Luggage - This may seem obvious, but not everyone thinks of it. If you have extra luggage that you don't want stored inside, try securing it to the roof with bungees. Heavy duty bungees should be used for this.
9. Secure an Infant Stroller - If you have a large infant stroller, like our Graco double stroller, you may not want to store it inside your rig all the time. Unless the weather is bad, we prefer to bungee ours to the cargo carrier luggage rack on back. That way, it's easy to grab and then store when going in and out of stores or entertainment facilities. This also works if you want to store the stroller inside because you may not be able to fit it inside a closet. In this case, you can bungee it to keep it from roaming around your RV.
10. Secure a Cooler Full of Groceries - If you just picked up a bunch of groceries and want to wait to put them away until you get to camp, you can throw them all in a large cooler and secure it with a bungee on the roof, in a rooftop cargo box, or in a cargo carrier.
When deciding to live or camp in your RV for the winter, there are many things to consider. The most important factors include keeping the heat inside (and cold air out) and keeping all of your tanks and connections from freezing. Watch the videos below to learn what you can do to properly winterize your RV for winter living and camping. Be sure you don't winterize it for storage, rather than living, as there is more than one type of winterizing. We love the advice from the two experts in the videos below, as they offer practical tips everyone can follow and they both have different things you can apply.
Kansas is one of the many states we passed through on our huge RV road trip this past summer. Here are some beautiful photos of a sunset in the hills over a lake in Dorrance, KS.
by Lyn Lomasi; Co-Owner of Intent-sive Nature & the Brand Shamans network
When RV’ing with babies, it’s important to choose gear that is versatile, safe, convenient, and functional. Knowing which cribs work best on the road is important. Here’s why we chose the Graco Travel Lite Crib as the best playard or crib for parents traveling or living in a travel trailer or motorhome.
Our Criterion For a Good RV-Friendly Crib
When we decided to try out the Graco Travel Lite Crib, we were already familiar with the Graco brand and had a larger Graco travel playard model. While that model does fit in our RV, we wanted something even smaller and less bulky (while the baby is still small) without losing the convenient features.
Why Graco Travel Lite Crib Fits the RV Lifestyle Best
We didn’t have to hunt much for our Graco Travel Lite Crib, as it showed up at a thrift store just as we decided we needed a smaller bassinet or playard. But they’re actually easy to find. That’s not why we chose it as the best one, however.
Why Graco Travel Lite Crib is the Best Playard or Crib For RV’ers:
How Does Our Baby Like the Graco Travel Lite Crib?
Of all the various nap and sleep solutions we’ve used, Nova Skye (our baby) has enjoyed the Graco Travel Lite Crib the most. We think it’s the cozy compact design coupled with the extra comfy mattress. She also enjoys the little toys hanging from the mobile on the sunshade. As she grows, she might fit better in the other (bigger) one we have. But for now, we use that one when in bigger spaces or for various other purposes. May as well, since we have it and she enjoys that one, too.
You won't believe what this rare 1977 Winnebago looks like inside and out! It's all decked out Denver Broncos style, but still remains true to the 70's.
The engine needs a rebuild, but most other things inside are in working order. We're working on getting this vintage beauty into tip-top shape. Take a rare peek at what's going on inside this '77 Minnie Winnie!
The dinette that doubles as a bed needed a little work done when we got it as the center piece was missing and one of the benches had a crack in the seat area. I went to Home Depot and got some board for both areas, as well as the necessary hardware, picked up some marine vinyl fabric, and put it together. More about that in a future post.
The top bunk is a perfect hideaway and doesn't really need any work done to it. We may eventually replace the mattress there, along with the cushions and mattresses in the other areas.
The kitchen doesn't really need much work, as most everything is in working order. I did replace the p-trap in the beginning, as there was a small leak, which is normal in any kitchen, not just RVs. We also will need to replace the water pump. But that's about it. The bathroom doesn't need any help at all. In addition to the toilet and sink pictured, there is a spacious closet with a door, as well as a full tub and shower.
When we got the RV, the wood floors came painted blue to match the Broncos theme. However, raw wooden floors are not very livable in an RV. So, we replaced them by installing vinyl tile, which is much easier to clean during adventures. It's also better when you have kids. The picture on the right shows the original floor and the one on the left shows what we did.
The picture on the left shows my son on the long bench that is opposite the dinette bench. The picture on the right is the RV refrigerator. It does have an issue staying cold that may or may not be simple. We're working on that too. When we adventure, we do have a system that keeps it cold. So it's not a priority yet. Though, it is on the list of fixes.
This is just a small glimpse of everything that's on the inside and what we've been doing. Stay tuned to future posts for even more by hitting the subscribe button on the right.
If your RV sink is turned off or broken in some way, there are still several ways to make use of it. Find out which way is right for you, based on how bad your RV sink situation really is.
Method One: Hand-Fill and Drain Later
This method is best for those who have a working drain and a grey water tank that is less than ¾ full. If your p-trap is leaking, do not use this method. However, if there are no leaks when your pump is turned off and your grey water drains into the tank properly (and your tank is capped with the release valve closed), you can use this method.
Since your RV sink pump will be turned off, you must be either boondocking or you have an issue when the pump is turned on. This means you will need a couple gallons of water. One is for a rinse bucket and the other is for your washing water. You can either buy this water or if you are at an RV park (or other location) with access to water, you can fill up a jug or bucket accordingly.
Plug your drain and fill one side of your turned off RV sink with water. Add antibacterial dish soap and swish it around to make it soapy. Add dishes and wash them. Place them in the empty side of the sink and drain the soapy side. If you have a heat source available, you can boil the water first for added disinfecting. Use the rinse jug or bucket to rinse the dishes over the unplugged side of the sink. Again, only do this if your tank can hold both the rinse water, as well as the soapy water.
Dry the dishes inside the clean sink, on a dry towel, or in a drying rack. Once you have access to a sewer drain hookup, drain your grey water tank. If you can’t get access to a hookup and you need to drain it, drain it into a bucket, safely handle/store it, and drain the bucket as soon as there is a safe place to do so.
Method Two: Hand-Fill and Hand Drain
This method is best used if your RV sink drains well, but the tank is full. Follow the same instructions as above, except don’t drain the water into the sink. Both sides should be plugged. When emptying is needed, siphon the water out with a jug and pour it into a bucket. Follow proper safety methods for disposing of the grey water in the bucket. If there is any residue left in the sink that cannot be siphoned, use a towel to soak it up and dry and clean the towel as soon as possible.
Method Three: Cover the Drain Hole and Use Bins in the Basins
This method is basically the same as method two, except you’re going to use bins to do the washing into so that as little as possible gets into the actual RV sink. This is best for when you either don’t want to siphon out water or don't want to risk getting too much water into the actual sink.
Other Possible Options
So, you have a fridge in your RV or camper but you’re boondocking and can’t turn it on or it’s broken. Here’s how to use a turned off or non-working RV refrigerator as a cooler for food, drinks, or both.
How to Use Your Turned Off or Non-Working RV Fridge as a Cooler
You can use your makeshift RV or camper trailer refrigerator cooler for drinks, refrigerated food, or both.
The first step is to place a freezer pack into each storage container. Then, fill them with ice. Place the covers onto the shelves and then place the containers on top of the covers. The containers need to stay open to keep the refrigerator cool enough. Placing them on top of the covers helps eliminate dripping when the ice melts and helps keep them in place when your RV moves.
Once the containers and food are in place for each shelf, use the RV refrigerator bars to secure everything so that it doesn’t move too much while driving. These bars are inexpensive and will save you from having food crash against the door and either get smashed, spilled, or cause the refrigerator to open while the camper is moving.
Once your shelves are stocked and secure, place a freezer pack in each refrigerator drawer and then fill about halfway with ice. The space left over is where you will place the food that needs to go into the drawers. Freezer bags and storage containers help prevent your food from getting wet, just like in a traditional cooler.
Introducing RV'ing Successfully
Welcome to RV’ing Successfully! Whether you’re a full-time RV’er or traveling in it now and then, we have tips, adventures, and no-nos for you. This includes all types of motorhomes, campers, travel trailers, pop-ups, and the like. Let us make the mistakes so you don’t have to!
We’re a little new at this, but studied hard beforehand and are learning so much along the way. Read about our start in “Beginning the RV Life - The BroncoBago” by my fellow writer and life partner, Richard Rowell.
That’s just the start of a long journey and we plan to have tons of great resources, advice, projects, fun, adventures, and more for everyone living the RV life to enjoy.
We are a homeschooling family, sometimes roadschooling in an RV. We enjoy spreading the word about how to #RV successfully! We've traveled across the country in a '77 Minnie Winnie decorated Denver Broncos style and dubbed the BroncoBago. We've also had other rigs as well. Follow along as Lyn Lomasi and family share adventures, tips, how-to guides on the RV Life in a #Winnebago, and more! If it's about RVs, homeschooling, roadschooling, camping, and the like, you can bet we'll cover it. Hop in and enjoy the ride!
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
Lyn is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! While rescuing civilians from boring business practices and energy vampires, this awesomely crazy family conquers evil and creates change.
They live among tigers, dragons, mermaids, unicorns, and other fantastic energies, teaching others to claim their own power and do the same.
By supporting us, you support a dedicated parent, healer, and minority small business that donates to several causes. Profits from our all-inclusive store, Intent-sive Nature support these causes and our beautiful family!
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