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Old 05-17-2018, 05:27 AM   #1
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Spartan or Freightliner chassis

We are planning on ordering a 2019 DSDP and are trying to determine which chassis to go with. We have done a fair amount of research about each and are trying to determine if the various issues with each still exist. Or if there are additional issues we don't know about. We have had a FL under a 2014 Phaeton since new and have had relatively few issues (except our local FL service being poor). We are not brand loyal. On the Spartan chassis we have read about shock issues, ball joint issues, and radiator/cooling failures. Are these still an issue? On the FL chassis we have read about tag misalignment issues, radiator fan shroud issues, and light bar flicker issues. Are these still an issue?
Any information would be greatly appreciated to help us with our decision.
Thanks
David
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:11 AM   #2
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If you’re ok with the dust storm the FL creates in a campground then that could be a choice. If not, then you need the Spartan. I’ve had both and I’m ordering another Spartan. If you’ve read all the discussions and are still considering a Freightliner then I think you might have chosen already.
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:15 AM   #3
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I have had a freightliner under all of my coaches. I have had a lot of troubles to deal with, and visited many freightliner service centers.

To summarize, when it was a mechanical or major issue that kept me from moving, I was able to get service quickly and on the road within a few days. Routine maintenance and minor work is just a plain hassle, and I usually find an alternate service option.

I am ordering my new coach with a freightliner, mainly because it is a familiar product to me, and I know the routine.

Either chassis you choose will have similar hassles, and both are high quality products. There are no known issues on current production chassis. The items you mentioned have all been corrected.

There are those that will say X is better than Y, but those are just opinions, and not fact. Newmar offers both because they are both high quality for the coach it is designed for.

The reason spartan is an upgraded cost in 2019 is the extra 2 year warranty they are "including". If you are buying an extended warranty, then no reason to buy a longer chassis warranty.
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbaron73 View Post
I have had a freightliner under all of my coaches. I have had a lot of troubles to deal with, and visited many freightliner service centers.

To summarize, when it was a mechanical or major issue that kept me from moving, I was able to get service quickly and on the road within a few days. Routine maintenance and minor work is just a plain hassle, and I usually find an alternate service option.

I am ordering my new coach with a freightliner, mainly because it is a familiar product to me, and I know the routine.

Either chassis you choose will have similar hassles, and both are high quality products. There are no known issues on current production chassis. The items you mentioned have all been corrected.

There are those that will say X is better than Y, but those are just opinions, and not fact. Newmar offers both because they are both high quality for the coach it is designed for.

The reason spartan is an upgraded cost in 2019 is the extra 2 year warranty they are "including". If you are buying an extended warranty, then no reason to buy a longer chassis warranty.
Thanks for the update. I wasn’t aware Freightliner had fixed their fan shroud problem.
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:32 AM   #5
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Thanks for the update. I wasn’t aware Freightliner had fixed their fan shroud problem.
The bracket issue appears to be primarily on the ISX line. I have been told by one source that FL upgraded the bracket on 2018 for that line. I have not seen this personally, so I do not want to state this as fact.

The biggest fear I have had with my FL chassis is the mechanical fan gear box. Because of this fear, I change the oil in it annually, and inspect it for leaks frequently. I have been fortunate so far as to not have a problem. I have a friend with a Tiffin who had a poorly designed gear box on their tiffin/FL chassis. In this instance, Tiffin sourced the gear box, and the new replacement part is the same that is on my 2013. I don't think anything has changed with this gear box for 2019.

On the Spartan, this is a hydraulic fan. There are advantages to the hydraulic, mainly the 'lack of a dust storm' when driving over gravel at low speeds (ie: enter/exit camp ground).

For me, I am kind of used to the "Grand Entrance Dust Storm" and don't mind it.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:21 AM   #6
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David do a search on the forum and you will find lots of blistering flaming threads talking about Coke vs Pepsi. Heated opinions galore. I went Spartan on my 2017 DS. There was no cost uplift for 2017 and the Spartan came with disc brakes on all axles. Things changed for 2018 and 2019 but would still do Spartan on another coach for lots of reasons that are written ad infinitum in other posts.
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:10 AM   #7
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The up fee at first was a put off, but when you consider that you are getting a 2 year warranty add on for that fee, I would not be put off by the fee.

There is a difference in the Ride, again think firmer vs stiffer. I was happy with my Freightliner at first, but after a while not so happy, even with Active Air, until I upgraded to KONI shocks. Then I was very happy.

On some coaches the Spartan Filters are much more logically placed. On the 4369, they are the same on both chassis.

I never got really excited about the turning radius, as I am dragging a CrewCab Chevy pickup, and it can't turn as sharp as the coach,so it is always my limitation when maneuvering.

Bottom line, pick one, and then stop reading you will be fine (or not) either way.
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghaynes754 View Post
David do a search on the forum and you will find lots of blistering flaming threads talking about Coke vs Pepsi. Heated opinions galore. I went Spartan on my 2017 DS. There was no cost uplift for 2017 and the Spartan came with disc brakes on all axles. Things changed for 2018 and 2019 but would still do Spartan on another coach for lots of reasons that are written ad infinitum in other posts.
I see that you too have centramatics on your coach. I installed these on all 3 axles in 2013 and have been very pleased. Did you do all 3 axles? Is this your first set?
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:58 AM   #9
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Yes Centramatics on all three. Got them early fall at the factory while I was in Texas. What little vibrations I still had were gone. Yes first time. I knew about them from my motorcycle days. Was at a truck stop listening to two independent drivers. The one with Centramatics told his buddy 'just do it'. Doubled the life of his tires to 100K+ miles before replacement. That's a bunch of tire money on an 18 wheeler.

Isn't the air dryer filter on an FL 4369 on top between the rails? On the Spartan it is in the back with the other filters so easier to get to for a change.
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:08 PM   #10
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Isn't the air dryer filter on an FL 4369 on top between the rails? On the Spartan it is in the back with the other filters so easier to get to for a change.
Yes it is. In fact, the design of this filter is particularly poor on the Freightliner. The back end of the canister has an outlet pointing straight down, which leads to the turbo. If anything were to get past the filter, during removal of the canister you could cause debris (dust, etc) to fall into the shaft.

Before removing the canister, I wash this area VERY THOROUGHLY to remove all dust. Then once the canister is removed, I will crawl up into the coach with a wet towel, and scrub the inside to catch any of the dust that may have gotten in.

It is for this reason I change my filter every 2 years. I am not aware of how this canister is on the DsDP with a Spartan, but I can see where this could be improved. It's not a big deal, and the whole process is 10 minutes, but you must be careful.
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Old 05-18-2018, 03:22 AM   #11
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Thanks for the feedback. When we were considering a 2018 (may still end up with one since dealers are eager to move them) I don't think I would let the chassis determine whether I bought or not. But since we are planning on ordering I figured I would get the best that I could and eliminate some of the known headaches up front. Based upon my poor experience with the local FL service (I don't go there unless I have to for FL issues) I am leaning toward the Spartan. I really like the local Cummins service center which is supposed to service Spartan. I need to give them a call. I did look under the FL radiator on a 2018 DSDP and saw a large plate shield. Not sure if that is new (and a fix for the dust storm) to 2018's or not. Red Baron, does that mean that there is a total of 3 years "bumper to Bumper" on the Spartan Chassis? If so, that seems like a pretty good value especially with the discount off MSRP is applied.
Great info. I appreciate it
David
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Old 05-18-2018, 05:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdnash View Post
Thanks for the feedback. When we were considering a 2018 (may still end up with one since dealers are eager to move them) I don't think I would let the chassis determine whether I bought or not. But since we are planning on ordering I figured I would get the best that I could and eliminate some of the known headaches up front. Based upon my poor experience with the local FL service (I don't go there unless I have to for FL issues) I am leaning toward the Spartan. I really like the local Cummins service center which is supposed to service Spartan. I need to give them a call. I did look under the FL radiator on a 2018 DSDP and saw a large plate shield. Not sure if that is new (and a fix for the dust storm) to 2018's or not. Red Baron, does that mean that there is a total of 3 years "bumper to Bumper" on the Spartan Chassis? If so, that seems like a pretty good value especially with the discount off MSRP is applied.
Great info. I appreciate it
David
Spartan is now a 5 year. Fl is a 3 year.
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Old 05-27-2018, 05:24 AM   #13
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Yesterday we test drove a 2018 DSDP with the Spartan chassis. First time driving a Spartan. First thing I noticed was that it took a very long time for the air bags to inflate to ride height. Like 5 minutes after dash air gauges showed max pressure had been reached. Thinking it may be an issue with that unit we drove, sales suggested we drive another. Same delay occurred. Is this normal? On our present coach when our gauges read max pressure, ride height is set and we are ready to go (very quick). Another smaller item we encountered was that the park brake alarm would sound when putting the trans into neutral prior to setting the brake. Both coaches did the same thing. Does the brake need to be set while in drive on the Spartan? Or is this normal? Also, any idea if Freightliner has corrected the tag misalignment issues on the 2018 coaches? Still researching everything. Thanks in advance for your replies.
David
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Old 05-27-2018, 05:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdnash View Post
Yesterday we test drove a 2018 DSDP with the Spartan chassis. First time driving a Spartan. First thing I noticed was that it took a very long time for the air bags to inflate to ride height. Like 5 minutes after dash air gauges showed max pressure had been reached. Thinking it may be an issue with that unit we drove, sales suggested we drive another. Same delay occurred. Is this normal? On our present coach when our gauges read max pressure, ride height is set and we are ready to go (very quick). Another smaller item we encountered was that the park brake alarm would sound when putting the trans into neutral prior to setting the brake. Both coaches did the same thing. Does the brake need to be set while in drive on the Spartan? Or is this normal? Also, any idea if Freightliner has corrected the tag misalignment issues on the 2018 coaches? Still researching everything. Thanks in advance for your replies.
David
Since I had the FL last year, I tend to agree. Be sure you put the engine on fast idle by turning on the cruise then click set. It gives you a few hundred more rpm. If I had to guess I would say it takes 2 more minutes to get to ride height. I use the time to do my walk around and get my head ready.
I notice the same thing about the brake and neutral. Never thought much about it. It has helped me not to forget to set the brake though.
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