Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club

This forum is for Born Free Owners and those interested in owning a Born Free.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 7:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:54 am
Posts: 11
Location: Portland, OR
Newbie here investigating a Born Free RV. I love the quality and opportunity for longevity over the Luan plywood / Filon / block foam insulation sandwich of lessor RVs. We own a 2005 Chinook Concourse, 21 foot, E350 Chassis, V10, 34k miles. For those familiar with these models, a Chinook Concourse is also a true fiberglass RV like Born Free. Built like a boat, gelcoat, NO seams, real wood interior, quality construction, loaded to the gills with options, etc.

Our purpose in this rig is both for day trips and camping. For a couple, it's an ideal rig and we are very happy. For day trips trips with the family it is also great. My wife has medical issues that require traveling more than 45 minutes or so in a fully self-contained vehicle, access to a couch, etc. This rig also is small enough to park in a handicapped parking spot.

Camping though is the greater challenge. We have two kids, one a teen and the other soon to be. In nice weather, we can bring along a small tent for camping options and to spread out. Where we live though, weather is often an issue so this means sharing a large bed (jack knife sofa, dinette) with no aisle and we like also camping during the shoulder season. We also like to bring along our 2003 Chevy Tracker (tow) for nearby activities when we camp, allowing us to keep the RV set up.

Due to the need to have access to handicapped parking on occasion at those times that my wife requires it, if we are hoping to have an all-inclusive solution that is less than 22 feet in length. The Jewel or one like it seems like a strong possibility because of the cabover bunk and an option to have couches opposite each other for the second sleeping area. (not pictured on the website but the factory shares that it is indeed an option)

What I'm hoping to find out is:

1) Are there any other models such as the '22 foot' one from a few years back that are truly 22 feet or are they really 23 feet or longer? Do they have a 2 couch option as well as the overhead bunk? I've not purchased a new RV before, knowing that it typically is a better proposition for us to buy used. (The reality of helping kids go to college is coming… )

2) Do any of you own a 21 foot 10" Jewel? If so, what have you liked/disliked? I don't see options for any sort of dining table on this model if it is the 2-sofa version.

3) What is the net cargo carrying capacity of these rigs? Our Chinook for example is close to the max on the rear duals but has additional capacity on the front axle. Anyone done the separate axle weights? We have to watch that carefully; wish that it was a E450 on some days.

One other option that we can consider is to keep our Chinook and just get a small trailer (teardrop, etc.) to tow when we go camping. We can sell it after the kids have graduated. (6 years total). That eliminates the option for a towed vehicle though while @ camp. Towing a small pickup (Toyota, Ranger, etc.) with a canopy is also one option we've considered, although the jump seats in such rigs are pretty small for growing teens. Some folks have a 2nd RV for camping but the added cost for storage, maintaining a 2nd rig, etc. is of lessor appeal to us and we feel a bit ostentatious if we own two as we would not be maximizing the use.

Thanks for your time and any thoughts based on your experience that you'd like to share.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:11 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:05 pm
Posts: 1990
Location: Spencer, IA
wanderso,

Just to let you know that our Born Frees are upscale enough to be considered 'motor coaches', not 'rigs'!

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Bill Hemme - Spencer, Iowa
E-mail: whemme@earthlink.net
2002 Born Free (Ford E-450 V10) 26' RSB
2016 VW Golf GTI - toad


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:41 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:54 pm
Posts: 135
Location: Newark, Ohio
The Chinook is a nice coach. We looked at them when we bought our Born Free. We are a family of 4 with 2 teenagers and have a BF 24' Rear Bath on the E-450 chassis. I can't help with specifics regarding a 22' Born Free, but I can say that the 24RB model is working very well for our family.

We have a cab-over bed, sofa bed and dinette that makes into a bed. The dinette works well with kids. It provides a table for meals and a central entertainment area for games and family time. At bedtime, the isle is passable between the sofa bed and the dinette bed, and there is still room to use the ladder to the bunk. The rear bathroom also serves as a changing room and the rear closet is accessible from the bathroom. This is very handy in keeping the stuff of 4 people organized.

The 2 storage areas under dinette seats are wonderful. We keep heavy items (tools, cans, bottled water, etc.) under the forward dinette bench which helps balance the front/rear weight load of the coach. When we are fully loaded with fuel, water, propane, gear, supplies and 4 bikes on a hitch rack, we are still 400 pounds under the rear axle rated capacity.

Any Born Free you purchase will likely have plenty of power to tow a car. We often tow a Mercury Mariner Hybrid with a Blue-Ox baseplate/hitch and US Gear brake. In addition to the E-450 chassis having a higher weight capacity than the E-350, it is roughly 4 inches wider in the rear tire tracks. This extra width adds to the stability of the coach. We upgraded the stock anti-sway bars with those from Hellwig and found them to make a huge improvement in the coach's drivability.

While the 24' RB model is longer than the 22' model that you are interested in, it might be worth looking at to see if it can fit your lifestyle and family. It certainly works well for us. Best wishes to you in your RV shopping. -- Chuck

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Chuck & Laura Meadows
'99 24RB PSD


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:54 pm
Posts: 135
Location: Newark, Ohio
Hi Sam,
You are correct and yes, I read that. Also saw this:
" . . . we are hoping to have an all-inclusive solution . . . "
I saw the word "hoping" and figured they are still in the shopping mode. Just thought I’d offer our experience of fitting a family into a 24' model.

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Chuck & Laura Meadows
'99 24RB PSD


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:39 pm 
Maybe the original poster should decide the merits of others posts, comments, information, and suggestions ?????

Just sayin !


Last edited by Ray on Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:01 pm
Posts: 418
Location: Powhatan, Virginia
I would go bigger and just drop the person off at the door and park. Some places have large handicapped lanes to park in and others do not. I find that my BF at 24 foot is one foot longer then a crew cab long bed pickup.

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2015 Royal Splendor on Ford 550 none slide version
Former owner 2007 24foot rear bath painted and 2006 22 foot built for two
Former owner 1994 34 foot 2000 36 foot and 2001 42 foot FORETRAVEL's.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:52 pm
Posts: 1117
Location: Mobile, AL
I read your post carefully and note that you wrote that the factory will make modifications for you. This is one of the strengths of buying a BF. The will modify a used model as well as a new. You mention a dining solution. Born Frees in the past have had removable dining tables. If you find a used model you like be sure to contact the factory and determine all the modifications they can make for you. You do have unique needs. I wish you well.

Found this with a search.

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2464&p=12625&hilit=Dining+table#p12625

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Dallas Baillio
2001 26RSB
Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club Member


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:52 pm
Posts: 1117
Location: Mobile, AL
Sam Ryan wrote:
cmeadows wrote:
Hi Sam,
You are correct and yes, I read that. Also saw this:
" . . . we are hoping to have an all-inclusive solution . . . "
I saw the word "hoping" and figured they are still in the shopping mode. Just thought I’d offer our experience of fitting a family into a 24' model.

Needing a handicapped parking space capable unit, would just about trump everything else. His Chinook E350 with duallys @ 21' is already pushing the limits of most spaces.

Back in 2003, I almost bought a used 2003 24' RB from a guy that had downsized from a 40' diesel-pusher to a Born Free. He was out of it inside 6-months. Reason: His family of (6) :shock: wasn't quite comfortable in it. :lol: :lol:


Sam,

Might I prevail upon you to add an e-mail and/or a PM link to your profile so that I and others may communicate with you other than through this public forum?

Dallas

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Dallas Baillio
2001 26RSB
Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club Member


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:15 pm 
Deleted


Last edited by Ray on Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:23 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:52 pm
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Location: Mobile, AL
Sam Ryan wrote:
John S. wrote:
I would go bigger and just drop the person off at the door and park. Some places have large handicapped lanes to park in and others do not. I find that my BF at 24 foot is one foot longer then a crew cab long bed pickup.

That's not exactly what the OP is wanting in a Born Free. But since the Born Free is a larger unit, it would seem there's an impasse created by the OP. :wink: :wink: :lol: :lol:


As I continue to emphasize, keeping on topic and being respectful of posts by others is a hallmark of a mature, intelligent adult.

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Dallas Baillio
2001 26RSB
Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club Member


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:13 am
Posts: 70
Location: Seattle, WA
I refer to my Born Free as a 'rig' all the time.

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Trix
tent camper
pop-up camper
learning RV'g in my 2007 24' RB
2011 Subaru Forester toad


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:54 am
Posts: 11
Location: Portland, OR
Thanks all for your input! My apologies that I've not replied for a little bit. The suggestion to drop my wife off and then find a place to park is indeed one that I have considered that would allow a slightly larger vehicle, but the ability to use it for day trips as well is what makes the length important. There are several occasions that we find that in an urban area that it's difficult to find a place to park except for the handicapped spot that she is able to access already. In those cases there of course are parking spots for regular autos, just not quite big enough to park the RV. As it is, since I am certainly able-bodied, if I can find a spot that I can park and drop her off ahead of time in a loading zone, I do so. (if a loading zone or the like is available). This allows us to to leave the handicapped spot available for others who may be traveling alone and wouldn't have that option.

I see that Born Free made a 22 foot RV in 2010 that isn't the "for 2" that seems to be a possibility as well, but I'm curious if it really is 22 feet or something larger. http://www.motorhome.com/rv-reviews/mot ... n-free-22/


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:11 pm 
I am really getting tired of this

Well over spec? - Well you have to read the specs (actually you have to use your eyes and not your mouth) - and read the right spec.

Much like my BF - the model is a 26 foot RSB - Yes, its longer than 26 foot - in fact it is as long as the spec says.

So maybe if you read the spec's ??????????? And could understood them ?

The born free Web page has all the manuals under owners pages - Take a look.

If you do find something wrong with the specs (especially the 26 RSB) I would be interested, and I am sure the factory would be also be interested in any inaccuracies.

It would be nice if some people would reference the facts and correct information for people instead of just posting non-informational or inaccurate information because they are bored.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:33 am 
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Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 9:58 am
Posts: 414
Location: Southeastern New York
wanderso,

The factory personnel would be happy to tell you what the actual length of any of their coaches were. Even though you are not buying new, they are really very helpful. They consider that if someone sells their old coach, they may just be in the market for a new one. So, please do call the factory to find out exactly how long the coach you may be considering is.

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Joe and Lucinda
Tonto and Meadow the papillons, and now Shadow the papillon puppy
Shiloh and Morpho at Rainbow Bridge
2017 Spirit
Formerly 2006 24RB


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:33 pm
Posts: 1111
Location: Near Ashland, OR
wanderso... I have the BF you are referring to.
I have a 22 foot rear side kitchen 2011/ E 350 chassis.
Regarding the length, the actual length is a little under 23 feet.
I measured mine when I first bought it, but misplaced the actual measurement.
But can measure again to the nearest inch for you if you wish.
Its a great little MH.
Averages just a little over 10 mpg. Easy to maneuver around. Easy to park.
The more I own it, the more I like and appreciate my Born Free, super heavy duty construction and 3 built in roll bars.
Just ask away on your questions or email me.

To me, the big disadvantage of the Chinook, is no overhead bed.
Bang for the Buck, my BF has a lot of "space" for such a short MotorHome. Love it.
I hear they might start building the Chinook again?

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Steve
2011 Born Free 22 foot/ corner kitchen, E350, 30k miles.
Our first RV. Lots to learn. Thanks.


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