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Old 06-17-2016, 09:08 PM   #1
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State: Oregon
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Newbie Thinking of Purchasing Axis/Vegas or Smaller Diesel Rig

Hi All,

I'm just so thrilled to have found you. I'm often long-winded and complex so....please forgive me for that, in advance.

I'm a single woman, almost old enough to retire (maybe 2 years away). Have been dreaming of camping in or living full time in an RV for years but have never done anything like that. Finally put my dreams to the test and rented a 27' Itasca Spirit C class and had it out in state park no hookups, for four days so now have a point of reference and I know enough to want to proceed with following my dream.

Why wait until I'm retired to get started, I've been thinking? If I get "it" sooner, easier to finance while working, more opportunities sooner for fun and adventure and will be an easier transition to retirement when the moment is right?

I'm in OR and much of my family is in CA. The thinking is to be doing a lot of traveling up and down the I5 corridor to be able to visit for extended periods of time. I'm a rower (sculler) so would want to be here in the good weather (around April to Oct/Nov): my club and my boat are here, then then travel south in the rainy period, taking my kayak on top of my car (2006 Subaru Outback) in tow, hopefully. Also plan to do exploratory, fun traveling besides that, of course.

One thing I didn't like was how badly the C class handled in any sort of wind. Drives like the big box that it is. I wondered if the newer A class Axis/Vegas types would be an improvement. After reading a good deal here, seems as if having stabilizing things on there would help and most of you seem to say it's OK. I'm generally not planning to travel great distances in one shot, more looking to stay put for periods of time, so handling may not be such a big barrier?

I like the idea of a smaller rig that uses diesel to save on fuel, ease of driving, maneuverability, increases chances I can just keep it in my driveway. But, I'm also hoping to spend extended periods of time in my rig, let's say up to a week at a time, so having a more roomy format would be helpful. In addition, I also would like to have the options of taking guests on trips and it would be way more comfortable in something bigger so we are not on top of each other.

So, just relishing the endless help, resources, support to be found here. I love the process of learning and exploring and, hopefully, ultimately, aiming all of that homework in the right direction to get the thing that will work best for me. With motor-homes being such a depreciating asset, when I "pull the trigger" I really would like it to be right the first time around.

thanks for your attention,

- karen
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Old 06-17-2016, 09:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karwask
I like the idea of a smaller rig that uses diesel to save on fuel, ease of driving, maneuverability, increases chances I can just keep it in my driveway.
Axis/Vegas units have a Ford gas V-10 in them..no Diesel. A smaller rig that uses Diesel would be one of the Sprinter based units (Siesta Sprinter, Synergy, or Citation Sprinter in Thor models) or the Ford Transit based units (Gemini, or Compass).

As far as Axis/Vegas handling: They handle about the same as the one you rented, however, once you own it you can add all kinds of stuff to improve the handling. The rental probably had nothing and, most likely, wasn't even aligned. Our Axis has only been aligned and neither myself nor my wife has had any issues with it handling even in the nastiest weather.
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Old 06-17-2016, 10:37 PM   #3
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Thanks JamieGeek,

Yes, I get that the Axis/Vegas are gas not diesel. Do you know approximately how many miles per gallon you get on yours or, generally, what one might expect? That is one of many considerations that I have.

What is the diff between the Axis and the Vegas? In my reading so far, I can't seem to find anything that mentions this.
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Old 06-17-2016, 11:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by karwask View Post
Thanks JamieGeek,

Yes, I get that the Axis/Vegas are gas not diesel. Do you know approximately how many miles per gallon you get on yours or, generally, what one might expect? That is one of many considerations that I have.

What is the diff between the Axis and the Vegas? In my reading so far, I can't seem to find anything that mentions this.
Most people report getting about 10 mpg if you drive on the highway at 65 mph or less.

No difference between Axis and Vegas. The reason why Thor does this is so two different dealers in the same town can sell the same RV without seeming to compete, because they both have an "exclusive" on either the Axis or the Vegas.
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Old 06-17-2016, 11:23 PM   #5
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The Axis and Vegas have slight cosmetic differences.
We just returned from a 4 state loop including Colorado (2 9500'+ passes)
Utah, Arizona & New Mexico. We pulled our 6x10 enclosed trailer.
The best gas mileage we got was a little over 11 and the worst, in Colo 8.3.
Keep in mind, Ron was breaking in a new motor and transmission...he did not push it .. until the last leg of the trip when we were over 3000 miles ..
ran 65 or so with no problems and got almost 11 on the flat plains of KS.

The diesel, definately, gets better gas mileage...as you probably know..but one must weigh the price difference and the different chassis size.

Ron & Kay
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Old 06-17-2016, 11:45 PM   #6
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Yes you can add a steering stabilizer to the front suspension and a rear
track bar to the rear end to help with the sway. If it does not come with
sway bars you would want those too.

As a reference I get 6 to 7 mpg in my 34E Class A motorhome while
towing a 4000 lbs. Dodge Dakota truck.


Just a point of reference, you will never see even 10 MPG for a class
C towing a car. It's just a cost of having fun.

As for towing your Subaru Outback, if it is a stick shift no problem
towing 4 down. If it is an auto trans car you can only tow it up on a
car trailer (not a tow dolly). Figure $3K plus for the complete tow
setup from Blue OZ installed. If you go with the stuff from Camping
World you can figure it is more like $5K.
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Old 06-18-2016, 01:57 AM   #7
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Thanks for all of the good info everyone.

Yes, lucky me: my car is a standard transmission.
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Old 06-18-2016, 02:49 AM   #8
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Model: Siesta Sprinter 24SR
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We just purchased a Siesta Sprinter 24SR. We wil be taking it out on our first trip next weekend to Bodega Bay before we head up the CA & OR coast in July to get out of the heat. We haven't driven it in the wind yet but I have driven it around town and it handles very nice. (First time RV owners so we don't have anything else to compare to.) You can tow up to 5,000 lbs behind the 24SR. We think it has plenty of room for the two of us and the dog. I will let you know how it handled on our shake down trip to Bodega Bay
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Old 06-18-2016, 03:09 AM   #9
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L House,

Thanks. Yes. I think I saw another post or yours and I'm anxiously waiting to hear everything you report about your experience with your rig and how you are liking RV'ing
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Old 06-18-2016, 05:43 AM   #10
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There's a lot to like about the prospect of 18+mpg from the diesel ... but I recommend you take whatever RV you're considering on a drive to a substantial hill/mountain pass. While on the uphill trek, slow down and see if you can accelerate. Then think about how you'll have the rig loaded especially if planning to drag a toad. When I did this with various small RV options the V10 felt like it had way more power to get up and over hills without being "in the way" on the 2 lane mountain roads we typically travel and this aspect won over mpg.

The other aspect mentioned is taking guests along ... and for that, search and pay close attention to what the real CCC is so you don't have an unsettling surprise when you weigh it and find out its over weight or would be if you add passengers! The CCC specification is sometimes difficult to find and may take some searching and asking. Dry weight plus the weight of all fluids subtracted from GVWR is essentially the Cargo Carry Capacity.

Tank sizes are important for boondock (exploratory fun travel) days and I've talked to many people who wish they had a bigger tank or tanks (water, black, gray, propane, fuel).
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Old 06-18-2016, 06:12 AM   #11
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TyCreek,

Those are excellent points for consideration. I knew that the whole weight thing was complicated so appreciate your pointing out the CCC aspect. I've yet to explore tank capacity but know that this is also something to be looked at as well.

Most interesting to me is your point about being slow on the hills: something I am concerned about. I understood that diesel might be better than gas for reasons having to do with torque? I'd love it you and/or others would weigh in on this a bit more. That could be quite a decisive factor in my ultimate decision.

One other thing about tank capacity: Is there any point in getting a composting toilet? I imagine it would free up more of the fresh water for potable water and greywater use at least. I don't imagine there's any way to convert the blackwater tank to another type of water use?
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Old 06-18-2016, 11:22 AM   #12
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Keep in mind the V-10 is used for things as small as pickups (F-250) to some of the largest dump trucks:

It is really a lot of motor for the Axis/Vegas units; thus there is no problem with hills or anything with them. Even pulling toads they barely even notice them back there (our old F-350 + 5th wheel was heavier than our Axis + car and still didn't have an issue).

As for CCC: The current Axis/Vegas units are built on the E450 frame which means there is an extra 2k lbs available to play with (the earlier ones were built on the E350 frame).

For water/tank usage: Its been our experience that tanks fill up before fresh water runs out--while dry camping, or even camping with only electric hookup its pretty easy to grab a long hose, or a 5 Gallon Water Carrier and refill the fresh water tank. Emptying the waste tanks usually involves unhooking and driving somewhere (unless you can call a honey wagon).
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Old 06-18-2016, 03:12 PM   #13
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I know right! ... Diesels are always thought of as mountain kings with oodles of torque! I think mpg was a primary target with the diesel engine choice and to that end they did well. For me I felt them to be fine around town and on the flat highway running empty during test drives but taking off on a hill showed me some of what to expect when loaded.
3.0L diesel V-6, 188 hp, 325 lb-ft torque
6.8L 2v gas V10, 305 hp, 420 lb.-ft. of torque
Certainly the on paper specs don't always tell the whole story and that's why it's good to purposely drive them yourself and see first hand how they feel. There's a pretty big power gap to make up for in transmission matching between those 2 engines and my seat of pants drives could easily feel the power difference.
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Old 06-18-2016, 03:46 PM   #14
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Jamiegeek and Tycreek thanks so much for excellent info: all of it captured and duly noted for future reference and tends to tip things in the Thor Axis/Vegas direction for sure.
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Old 06-28-2016, 04:42 AM   #15
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Karwask

We survived our shake down trip with a list of things that need to be fixed which based on other posts is to be expected. Nothing to delay our next trip up the coast to Oregon (service appointments are booked about 2 to 3 weeks out). The Siesta handled great. No problem with the hills (though I will give you a better idea when we go to Tahoe next month). We are getting 10 mpg in the city. We averaged 14.65 mpg on our trip but we got stuck in horrible stop and go traffic for over two hours in the Bay Area so that brought the mpg down. One complaint was the shower, it is a bit small, but otherwise we enjoyed the rig.
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Old 06-28-2016, 02:52 PM   #16
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Dear Karen,

Carpe Diem! I applaud you for seizing the moment!!! We were going to wait until retirement to purchase a class B or B+. After almost 2 years of reading and searching the blogs (and driving my husband crazy) it occurred to me one day that I should not put it off. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I switched my thinking.... since we have two teenagers, we needed a larger coach but I still did not want a really large coach, just the right size coach and so we purchased the Axis 24.1. After a couple of trips, I am so glad we did , we are having a blast with the kids along.

That being said, if it were just myself or just my husband and myself, I would probably downsize to a B or a B+ . I personally would trade off larger size , for comfortable drivability and better gas mileage. Everyone is different and size is a very personal choice.

I know from reading the blogs there are a community of singles out there traveling in their RV's , it sounds like most of them are women. Perhaps women are just more willing to blog about their experience, so it seems larger. You may have already discovered this during your research, but I would encourage you to check out Roadtreking - Roadtreking : The RV Lifestyle Blog. Mike & Jennifer Wendlend have a very professional website and podcast that provides a lot of valuable information about the small motorhome lifestyle (not just about Roadtreks). They also have reporters who post, including Janet Arnold who writes about her experiences as a solo traveler.


Last week we were just pulling into the Mammoth Cave NP parking lot and a class B+ was pulling in at the same time. I noticed it was a single woman and started up a conversation , admiring her coach. I discovered that she is a solo traveler who has lived in her RV traveling around the U.S. for 3 years! Impressive, personally I think that takes courage and admired her. I bet she has lots of great stories!

Let us know how it turns out.

I wish you best of luck and safe, happy travels !
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:53 PM   #17
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Hi Sandy,

Thanks so much for the thoughtful post and the great suggestions. There's a whole club of single women doing as you suggest: RVingwomen.org. They are all over the country and I am connecting with my local OR chapter now. They hold rallies each month for many months of the year. Even though I don't yet have a rig, I can still crash an event or two and get to know folks from there and learn from their collective experience as well as individual personal choices.

I appreciate your take on the desirability of something smaller and more gas efficient if you didn't have other considerations. Still up in the air about that.

...And...enjoying every moment of dreaming the dream and doing cool research to see what will be the best fit for me in the end.

warmly,

- karen
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:57 PM   #18
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Lhouse,

Thanks for keeping me posted on your experiences. I just got another reply from Sandy who is advocating for smaller size and fuel cost efficiently, should that be doable for me. I'd love to hear your ultimate take on how well the diesel handles steep inclines after Tahoe. Seems as if the jury is still out on that. Tycreek gave these numbers for consideration with the caveat that our actual experience on the ground might paint a different story then strictly speaking, the numbers show.

3.0L diesel V-6, 188 hp, 325 lb-ft torque
6.8L 2v gas V10, 305 hp, 420 lb.-ft. of torque

cheers,

- karen
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karwask View Post
Hi Sandy,

Thanks so much for the thoughtful post and the great suggestions. There's a whole club of single women doing as you suggest: RVingwomen.org. They are all over the country and I am connecting with my local OR chapter now. They hold rallies each month for many months of the year. Even though I don't yet have a rig, I can still crash an event or two and get to know folks from there and learn from their collective experience as well as individual personal choices.

I appreciate your take on the desirability of something smaller and more gas efficient if you didn't have other considerations. Still up in the air about that.

...And...enjoying every moment of dreaming the dream and doing cool research to see what will be the best fit for me in the end.

warmly,

- karen
Karen,

That is wonderful that you have found the rvingwomen organization and have made a connection. Spending some time with a group of woman with experience before buying, sounds like the best way to dip your toe in the water before taking the plunge.

Wishing you the best of luck finding the right coach!

Sandy
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:43 PM   #20
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We just got our Axis last month after draging a trailer for decades. Great little camper for the two of us.

We have meet many nice single ladies over the past few years. They are camping in tents to motor homes. So enjoy.
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