i know you have spent a ton of energy and time researching your potential big puchase and for that I salute you. I realize that you have a budget and a certain size RV that you are targeting but i would be concenred that you are really backing yourself into a corner and I would worry that you are not going to be happy. It sure appears that you have to get into at least a 25' rig to get what you appear to want and need. I have commented in the past regarding my feelings regarding the Sprinter chassis
All of us want to get as many MPG's as we can but I would really caution you about Sprinter MPG claims.....If you have full tanks, AC on, full wall slide, tires at recmended pressure, cruise set at 65 MPH, 2 adults, two bikes on the back you will not break 14 MPG I never did in 10,000 miles of driving a 2009 Monaco Covina 3.0L. I applaud you for doing the math regarding the CCC of the chassis and while you may be able to come in slighlthy under I will bet one of the axles will be over weight. PC makes a super product and I would do whatever to find a model within the PC family that will work for you. Best of luck. Thanks
Thanks for the input ragoodsp.
It is tough to get all of the 'needs' and most of the 'wants' in one rig, that's for sure.
It may sound funny but the most difficult purchase I've made prior to this was kitchen cabinets. There dozens, if not hundreds, of mfrs. Each mfr has multiple styles of cabinets. Each style comes in a variety of types of wood. Many of the different species of wood come in different finishes. Almost all styles have several grades (quality levels). _Then_ you get into the various sizes, types of shelves, dimensions, etc. That warped my little brain -- and there were fewer variables and much less money involved.
At this point we do have a pretty good idea of our needs vs. our wants -- what we can live with and what we can't. For example -- a walk-around queen would be nice, but we can deal with a corner bed -- especially if we have a comfortable second bed. We have a CA King size Tempur-Pedic here at home, and we usually have a 135 pound Rottweiler between us so we might as well be in separate beds!
Another example might be the galley. I really like the PC's galley design -- very sleek and upscale looking. Nice countertop material with a large sink and stove. I like the idea of having a relatively large smooth horizontal surface when the sink and/or stove isn't being used, and a place for the covers when they are. That said, all we really _need_ is a functional galley. Some simply are not. Take the WGO View Profile/Navion iQ. There's a lot to like about those rigs, but the galley sink is an absolute joke. It's about the size of a water bowl for a large dog. The cook top is the common two-burner one with the glass cover. IIRC, the sink has a glass cover as well but neither are flush with the counter and both are hinged, so they are potentially in the way when open (if you want to use the area of the counter behind them). Finally, the Profile/iQ has a single door fridge with a tiny "freezer". That's pretty much a deal killer right there, because we both agree that a regular, dedicated freezer compartment is practically a necessity, since we plan to eat in most of the time.
The shower is another area of compromise. Sure, I'd like to have what I call the "Taj Mahal of class C RV showers" -- the one in the LTV Unity U24MB, but I can settle for an ordinary shower as long as I can turn around and stand up in it. A shower _door_ (as opposed to a curtain) is a big plus. I really like the showers with a tub base (like a dual-purpose utility sink). I see PC puts one in the 2400 -- I wonder if we could get that in the 2350 -- another question for Stuart. I'm not that tall (6'2") but I cannot stand up in the showers in several rigs including the LTV Serenity and the newer (2011 and up) Profile/iQ. That's an example of something that (unfortunately) one often does not find out until after going to Hershey or some other RV show. A unit may look good otherwise, but because few (if any) RV mfrs give the dimensions of their showers, the customer is left to find out that it's too small after (perhaps) spending quite a bit of time studying various models. That can be aggravating. Fortunately, I found that most are tall enough.
WRT to length -- my 25 foot limit is of course somewhat arbitrary, but I know that it is possible for my wife and I to get what we need, and a lot of what we want, in a rig under that length. The PC 2350 and the LTV Unity U24IB are two examples. It may be hard to find multiple rigs that length that are designed the way we'd like, but it is physically possible to fit what we need/want in an RV that size. PC does it, so does LTV -- WGO could be a contender if they'd go back to the 2010 and earlier design and fix the galley. There are a couple others as well -- all built on the Sprinter chassis. Keep in mind, we started out at the very beginning looking at class B rigs, so a B+/C seems very spacious.
Length restrictions are another concern. Most people say they haven't run into very many length restrictions on local roads, in national parks and forests, and in campgrounds -- but they do exist, and 25 feet seems to be a common number that pops up. My wife and I used to go to the Southwest on vacation years ago -- we'd rent a vehicle (usually 4WD) and just drive around -- mainly AZ and NM. We found many roads that had posted length restrictions (for good reason). 4WD was rarely (if ever) necessary, only high clearance -- but length was an issue, and sometimes width. I don't plan to take our rig on the Rubicon Trail (we'll have the Enduro for that), but I don't want to be limited as to where we can go simply because of length. We may encounter some length-related problems anyway, because of having the Enduro on the hitch mounted carrier we'll probably be around 27+ feet total.
I know from my Internet travels that many RV owners have strong opinions about the chassis their rig is built on. The most common by far of course is the Ford E-350/450 -- the Mercedes (Freightliner/Dodge) Sprinter is also becoming more popular. Both have their advantages. If a person wants maximum GVWR and GCWR, Ford is the way to go, hands down. It's also easier to get a Ford-based RV serviced, although from what I've read, not as easy as say a Ford Focus. Apparently some dealers won't or can't work on an E-350/450 chassis if there's an RV sitting on it. I've never heard why this is, presumably they work on ambulances, etc. There seems to be broad agreement that the Sprinter-based rigs are easier to drive, have a more comfortable ride, more room in the cockpit, and have more safety and convenience features. They also cost a lot more, so they should. My understanding is that they can be serviced at any Freightliner dealership and most Mercedes dealers, but Ford clearly has the advantage there.
If there were two identical coaches that we liked (say PC 2350s), one on the E-350 and the other on a Sprinter, there is obviously some price differential that would tip the scales toward the E-350. In fact, I started a thread over on RV.net with this very idea in mind. After seeing at the prices of the new and used Sprinter-based rigs I decided that a) they were pricy, and b) focusing exclusively on the Sprinter-based rigs was not in our best interest -- we might not see a coach we'd really like. My hope was that I could find a RV on a Ford (or even GM) chassis -- preferably diesel -- that fit our needs/wants for a lot less than the Sprinter-based RVs. No such luck. The price difference seems relatively minor.
That brings us to mileage. There have been endless threads and posts dedicated to the subject. Yes, it is a serious concern, but it certainly doesn't trump everything else. I don't have personal experience with either chassis, but even if I did it would only be one person's experience. I might go around unloaded with no toad drafting slow-moving semis or I might be towing a Hummer at 80 mph! We've all seen what appear to be excessively high and low mileage claims. Sometimes they may be true and due to unusual circumstances, sometimes the person may have miscalculated, and perhaps once in a while there is some 'writer's embellishment'. In any case, over the 3 years or so (off and on) I've been researching RVs and reading posts in RV groups and forums, I've gotten a pretty good idea of the mileage the two chassis' typically get in normal use. Obviously there are variables (speed being the big one) but most people will give the speed they typically drive, and most run 55/60 to 65 mph. Almost all mileage figures are given without a toad, and if people do occasionally tow a vehicle they'll state their mileage when towing and usually give the type of vehicle. Most mileage figures are calculated over an entire multi-thousand mile trip, or even over the entire time they've owned their rig. Anyway, the bottom line is that the vast majority of people are getting 15 to 17 mpg with the V-6 Sprinter (the most common figure reported is 16 mpg) and 17 to 18.5+ with the I-5 Sprinter. The E-350/450 gets about 8-8.5 to 10 mpg. One interesting fact I like to point out is that Born Free (in Iowa) claims their rigs have won all of the national mileage competitions (I wasn't aware there were mileage competitions for RVs...). They use the E-350/450 exclusively and _brag_ that their RV (no model specified, presumably the smallest) gets 9.65 mpg at 55 mph. They make a big deal of this in their literature and claim that no other mfr's RV can touch it. I've never seen any other RV mfr make similar specific mileage claims, let alone refute Born Free's boast of being the mileage champ, so I assume that their claim is true. 9.65 mpg is, if anything, toward the higher end of the figures I've seen, but that is also at 55 mph. At 55, the Sprinters would be at the high end of the range I gave -- about 17 and 19 respectively. Close to double the mileage for the older I-5 Sprinter, and about 75% better for the newer V-6 chassis.
I agree that PC makes a great RV -- that's why I'm spending as much time as I am thinking about the optimum layout for the 2350. I'm hoping we can make the 2350 on the Sprinter chassis work. I think we can, but I doubt we are going to be able to bring my prized rock collection along. ;-)