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Old 02-12-2007, 05:44 AM   #1
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I am interested in Newmar owner's comparison of Freightliner and Spartan chassis. Which do you prefer and why?
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:44 AM   #2
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I am interested in Newmar owner's comparison of Freightliner and Spartan chassis. Which do you prefer and why?
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:38 AM   #3
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I used to be on a Freightliner chassis and now am on a Spartan. No comparison w/Spartan being the better overall. Although my new chassis is a level up from my old one and has a tag.

Before buying a new Coach, I decided that I would start w/the best chassis. I did a lot of research on this forum, other forums, websites etc. Conclusion was Spartan is number 1 in quality and features for a coach, Roadmaster is 2nd (seemed a close 2nd), and Freightliner 3rd.

To generalize my findings. Spartan is better for driving but, "stiffer" than roadmaster. Roadmaster is a "softer" style ride but, sloppier on the handling.

Spartan's Comfort Steer puts them completely over the top. Rumor is that it will be coming out on a lot more models in 2008.

Be careful w/Roadmasters claim about so many air bags. I had found out that it was a red herring and can actually be a disadvantage.

To be clear, I am not slamming any chassis manufacturer. Only explaining the conclusion I came to after non-scientific research.
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Old 02-12-2007, 07:50 AM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Spartan's Comfort Steer puts them completely over the top. Rumor is that it will be coming out on a lot more models in 2008. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Let me clarify this....

Comfort Drive is actually TRW's baby and NEWMAR has an exclusive two year agreement that ends with the 2008 model year.
While Spartan does supply the chassis for Newmar,Spartan does not have the "rights" to Comfort Drive, only Newmar.

Just thought I'd clear that one up...
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Old 02-12-2007, 10:21 AM   #5
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Spartan builds the complete range of chassis sizes up to 54k GVW and 600 HP. Freightliner until this year has only had 400 HP 30+ GVW chassis's. They now have a larger chassis in the 500 HP capacity range. The Spartan has always been a premium chassis choice.

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Old 02-12-2007, 10:37 AM   #6
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I've had both...First MH was on a Freightline XC, and our current MH is on a Spartan K2.

For ride quality and ease of access, it's Spartan hands down. I prefer the Spartan so much more, that it's really not a fair comparison. Besides, with the Spartan, you get the cool insignia on the hub covers!

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Old 02-13-2007, 04:25 AM   #7
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Two of the previous posts compared the Freightliner XC to the Spartan K2. While I agree with them, it's certainly not apples to apples. The K2 is "kicked up a notch" quite a bit from the XC. I've previously owned the Freightliner XC. It wasn't a bad chassis but it certainly wasn't my first choice. However, under the 2004 Allegro Bus it was the only choice and I loved the coach so much I decided that I could live with the chassis. I now have the Spartan Mountain Master GT chassis underneath the 2007 Allegro Bus. Granted, it's a tag axle, so it's not exactly apples to apples either, but it is a bit closer. And I've compared the Freightliner tag to the Spartan tag extensively so I'm familiar with both. I could have gone either way this time but I chose the Spartan.

Without a doubt, the Spartan has some advantages. It handles better than the XC and has a more stable feeling to it and less lean in turns and crosswinds. It's almost as if it's a racier suspension underneath it yet, it doesn't ride harsh at all. When I look at the details (I'm a gearhead ) I'm impressed. The LCD dash display on the Spartan is both functional and readable whereas the display on my Freightliner was next to useless. Where Freightliner just kind of "hangs" things with minimal thought to where to put them and minimal thought as to how strong they should be mounted, Spartan thinks things through. It's much easier to access the various service components on a Spartan and every component is mounted on very solid mounting brackets instead of the flimsy stuff the FL uses. I've had a few issues with having to fix stuff that I shouldn't of had to on my FL because of this.

A typical example is the coolant overflow (surge) tank. My FL had a plastic tank. It was replaced at 6 months under warranty and at 2.5 years under warranty. It's not a very durable design. Plus it's mounted smack in the middle of the rear engine access doors so you have to try to crawl around it if you need to get to the engine at all. My Spartan has a heavy steel coolant overflow tank that would take a neutron bomb to destroy. Plus it's mounted off to the side so it's out of the way. That's just one example of many where Spartan sweats the details better.

Another issue is cooling. The FL XC works fine in the rear radiator Phaeton with Cat C7 but it can have issues in the side radiator coaches with the Cummins 400 ISL. The radiator area is 1,050 sq in and the charge air cooler, radiator, etc are all stacked in front of each other. So the air that enters the radiator core is already preheated, which reduces the ability to cool the engine on steep grades, high temps, and/or high altitude. Spartan increases the radiator size to 1,326 sq in and they also place the charge air cooler and radiator vertically so that each section receives cool air. There's a big difference in the way the temperature gauge responds between the two chassis.
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:30 AM   #8
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NICE post from one of our resident "techies" and self professed "gear-heads" AND he's one of our forum moderators too!!
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Old 02-13-2007, 06:09 AM   #9
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Bob, here is another excellent post from the same source. I've added it HERE because it contains such GREAT advice. I've noticed lots of owners doing a brief "warm up" while not moving from their site in campgrounds. NOT a good idea, thanks MARK!
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Old 02-13-2007, 06:16 AM   #10
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At the risk of being slightly off topic I will post the "jest" of Cruzer's post in the other forum...Might be a lil easier than following the link and I apologize ahead of time for sliding this off topic,but it IS important stuff...

It's important to warm the engine's up really good. I'd rather run it for 1-2 hours once a week than 20 minutes every day. Also, idling doesn't help - you need to rev it up to build the heat and circulate things. If an engine gets "a little warm" it'll cause condensation in the engine's crankcase. This condensation will settle out as it cools. Every time you start it, you add more condensation. If you run it good and hard for a long enough time you'll burn that condensation out but if these are short runs you'll just be adding to the problem and it's actually better to have left it sit.

This condensation will cause metal pitting and rust damage but in cold weather it wil settle in the oil pan (remember, oil floats) and once it accumulates enough it can partially freeze up the screen on the oil pickup tube. Then, when you run your engine, it starves for oil and the light comes on.
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Old 02-13-2007, 06:28 AM   #11
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This only works "if" you come up to temperature! Much better to put in gear and run it(up to temperature) or just let it sit.
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Old 02-13-2007, 09:43 AM   #12
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Yeah, What Cruzer said.
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:25 AM   #13
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Additionally the Freightliner tag axle has the wheel mounted in reverse of the drive axle. This requires a less capacity bearing as the load is not offset. Doesn't look near as cool, in my opinion.

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Old 02-14-2007, 05:00 AM   #14
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The cool factor of the way Spartan mounts the rims is important. Maybe the wives don't think much about it but us guys like cool rims.

Actually, I came up with another crazy idea reagrading those rims. I ran it by the Spartan guy who handles Tiffin's account and he thinks it might work so he'll run it by the engineers and get an "official" opinion on it.

It's common knowledge that hauling a spare tire around isn't easy in a diesel pusher. I don't have an issue with this in normal traveling and will rely on ERS but it would be nice to have a spare or two for an Alaska trip. I do pack air tools and torque multipliers so I can change them myself so that's not a concern. This could be a big plus when you are in the middle of nowhere.

Anyway, with the Spartan's tag axle arrangement it looks to me like I could pick up a set of extra tires and rims and mount them as duals on the tag axle. The studs are long enough and it's the perfect place to store them because they don't take up any room. True, the duals don't add any weight capacity but I don't need any more of that. And the really wouldn't wear out because RV tires die from age, not mileage. The only negative is that if I blow a tire and use a "tag spare" to replace it I'd probably have to remove the other side too rather than go down the road with three wheels on one axle.

It might just work. Besides, how cool would that look - a tandem axle RV.
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