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Old 10-10-2010, 07:42 PM   #1
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2001 40' Alpine, newbie questions....

Hello everyone..

Looks likeI will be a forum regular if I bite the bullit Tuesday morning and buy what appears to be very nice 2001 Alpine 40' coach with one living/kitchen area long slide. Has about 50K miles...

I was exploring the forum when I ran across some things that worry me some and I haven't pulled the trigger yet ...only left a $500 deposit (refundable if I cange my mind...or bank gives me a problem etc., which it won't).

This is my first diesel pusher after owning all kinds of campers up to and including several Class A gas rigs...so this is a big step up for us.

The coach I'm buying is beautiful inside and out. Something akin to what a 2 year old or newer coach would appear. Problem is other than a 20 mile drive , I don't know squat about it. The tires are coded the 19th week of 2006. It needs a slide topper....but other than that it is cosmetically beautiful almost without blemish in or out.

The dealer is fixing two mechanical issues...one is the dash air does not cool and the other is that the ABS light is on and stays on.

I only drove it about 20 miles and it drove great! ...in heavy interstate traffic to boot. It fell in with 70/75 mph traffic very effortlessly.

I have seen several post regarding brake issues and where the brakefluid that was like honey, and references to some other issues I'm not sure applied to the 2001 model or not.

Since I only have tonight to educate myself...I would appreciate any help on this coach . It is my understanding that Alpine makes a fine rig for the most part...but I'm a little spooked since no service records are available, etc.

I believe that the coach is well priced (please let me know if you think it is too much)...I made an offer of $54K which was well below the asking price and after much haggling was accepted.(... with the stipulation the two above items would be repaired).

My question: Are there any big skeletons in the closet that could likely make this model a very poor choice...

I am a old retired mechanic and equipment dealer by trade...so I have a lot of mechanical savvy. But we are of modest means and I don't need a money pit at this stage in my life.

Sooo...please be frank, and say "Run Forest Run" if these rigs are noted for expensive issues or engineering flaws.

Could be I'm I just having first time buyer DP jitters.....

Thanks to all,
best regards..Stan
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:03 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. I have a 2001 and would suggest the following:

1. Make sure the slides operate properly
2. Check your jacks to make sure they operate properly (down and up)
3. Your tires sound fine. Wear? Does the rig have the original shocks or upgraded to Koni (if not, plan on installing some Koni's)
4. Verify all appliances work (refrig on gas, stove, oven, water heater, TVs, satellite?)
5. There is a checlist on a used rig on this site, do a search
6. Check the battery compartment and how do the batteries look with respect to cables and age
7. Plug the rig into power and see if all fuctions are working (look at monitor panel)
8. Verify both ACs work
9. Verify furnace works
10. Verify electric step cover works in front of passenger seat
11. Check eng oil level and trans level.
12. Plan on changing all coolant and oils when you buy so you know how long since changes. Engine and generator.
13. I just changed the generator water pump belt. Do this.
14. Check for general leak issues around windshield, cabinets, etc. Probably not an issue, but check any way.

I am sure others will chime in. This is a very active forum.

Sounds like you have a nice coach in your future and the price seems very good to me. Enjoy.
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:31 PM   #3
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Thanks Rich..

I had planned on doing a more thorough check out Tuesday morn..it was near closing Saturday when I made the deal. I had messed with it an hour or so before then.

The slide and power awning work well. The a/c's and thermostat work properly. I spent a lot of time examining the coach cosmetically...in the storage bins, engine compartment, etc. No leaks in the interior cabinets, The engine was dusty but not a grease ball. I need to do more...but had to address the ABS and dash air with the dealer at that point and ran out of time.

I guess what I'm worrying about at this point, is "common issues peculiar to Alpine", that may not show up till later, and are very expensive to overcome.

Also would like to know what current Alpine owners think of these rigs. (especially the older ones like this 2001) I've never owned a pusher of any kind and have only driven a couple. I was looking for a coach that really drives well, quality if I could afford it, etc, etc. What kind of reputation does the 2001 Alpine have...regarding reliability and service issues. Or any way anyone would care to share with me...

Thanks agin..Stan..
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Old 10-10-2010, 10:41 PM   #4
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Stan,

For what it is worth, I bought my coach new in '04, and have not regretted it yet. If something happened to it I would look for another Alpine. I would not go back to gas. Obviously if you have read this thread you have seen all the dirty laundry. But quite a few people have stated if you think we have problems, go check out forums for some of the other brands. In a way you are kind of asking the wrong people. We have Alpine Coaches. Anybody that does not like them is not likely to be hanging out on this forum.

Many of the items discussed here are related to systems that are in a whole bunch of different brand coaches as well, and are not unique to Alpine. The Peak chassis is unique to Alpine, but engines, transmissions, brakes, and suspensions are used elsewhere.

Plan on getting new tires in a year or so, in the ballpark of 3 kilobucks for 6. Don't push beyond 5 years, or you will be asking for trouble.

An ABS light is probably related to the sensors, not the brake fluid issue. I had that problem once, and it was dirt. The sensors can get dirty or slightly dislodged. A good mechanic with the proper test equipment can probably solve it relatively easily.

You have had motorhomes before, so you know better than to expect thousands of trouble free miles like a modern car. I had two class C motorhomes before, and this coach has more complicated systems, and those can go wrong. And do sometimes.

I can't help you with pricing. I have never looked to sell my coach and upgrade. I am content with what I have, and intend to be for many more years.

Good luck with your decision. Like I said, I don't regret mine.
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Old 10-10-2010, 10:44 PM   #5
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Stan,
I have a '99 and have had it for close to 6 years. I truely love the MH. Handeling issues that seem to be a big deal with other coaches are pretty much non-existant with Alpines. Passing or being passed by trucks, no issue, plenty of power, good stopping ability. Folks have had an issue with breaks. However, change break fluid regurlarly, drive coach at least monthly and you should be OK. Folks have had issue with the plate where the steering box attaches to the frame, flexing. However this has been an issue with the '04 and newer coaches. It could become an issue with the older coaches as they get lots of miles on them. At 50K you should not have the issue for a long time if ever. Wind noise with front door coaches has been an issue. Easily fixed with adjustment of the gen slide and weather stripping around the door and gen slide. All three of these issues have been covered extensively on this forum and as it sounds that you are a DIY'er these things won't cost you a lot of $$.
Best of luck.
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Old 10-10-2010, 10:44 PM   #6
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P.S. Just because it will cruise at 70-75 does not mean you should!
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Old 10-10-2010, 11:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim A View Post
P.S. Just because it will cruise at 70-75 does not mean you should!

What is the recommended cruising speed.....I have no clue, this being the first DP?

Traffic was brutal and I was just keeping up. I expect 65 would be more the speed I would like....likely better mileage too.

Thanks..Stan..
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Old 10-10-2010, 11:28 PM   #8
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Thanks Jim..

I knew those that hang out here would likely like the Alpine, as I think I will. I am in uncharted territory and am afraid my opinion of Alpines "could" be flawed... hence the query. I have heard nothing but good about how they drive...and I have had several coaches that were a white knuckle ride on skinny roads in mountain passes. Heck I had one that was white knuckle road on a straight flat road back in the seventies..heh heh!

However, you guys know about the bad stuff too...which every coach has one issue or another. I'm just trying to be sure I didn't miss out on something when buying an Alpine. I'ts likely the last one we'll have, I expect 10 more years is all we'll be out and traveling much, and after that I probably wouldn't be comfortable spending more money..but I'm shooting for a solid one that will go till then.

I am told that nothing drives better than an Alpine...at least by some. Is that correct in your opinion?

There are plenty coaches that have some really elaborate whistles and bells... but I'm trying to get great quality first and whatever else I can get after that. I'd love to have more than one slide and a deeper slide at that...but this coach is by far the cleanest thing I have seen. It's "very" clean...more room would great. But the drive and nice is first...then the budget kicks in. 30 grand more would help with more amenities...but we won't get to use it but 3 or 4 times a year, so I'm trying to be prudent.

Thanks for help..much appreciated
Stan
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Old 10-10-2010, 11:31 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jeff and Cheryl View Post
Stan,
I have a '99 and have had it for close to 6 years. I truely love the MH. Handeling issues that seem to be a big deal with other coaches are pretty much non-existant with Alpines. Passing or being passed by trucks, no issue, plenty of power, good stopping ability. Folks have had an issue with breaks. However, change break fluid regurlarly, drive coach at least monthly and you should be OK. Folks have had issue with the plate where the steering box attaches to the frame, flexing. However this has been an issue with the '04 and newer coaches. It could become an issue with the older coaches as they get lots of miles on them. At 50K you should not have the issue for a long time if ever. Wind noise with front door coaches has been an issue. Easily fixed with adjustment of the gen slide and weather stripping around the door and gen slide. All three of these issues have been covered extensively on this forum and as it sounds that you are a DIY'er these things won't cost you a lot of $$.
Best of luck.
Thanks Jeff..I'm hoping my experiences will be as good as yours have been..

Stan..
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Old 10-10-2010, 11:38 PM   #10
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STAN - First of all, Welcome to IRV2 and the Alpine world!
Next, let me say that if you keep your speed down to 55-60, you should get excellent mileage AND avoid traffic tickets!

We bought a 40' mid-door '03, which was our first motorhome after having 5th wheels for 30 years. We traded it for a custom '07 Apex in '06. As this Forum will attest - we have had many mechanical issues that have come up now and then, HOWEVER - We have NEVER regreted buying an Alpine!

We put about 11 or 12K miles on it a year and hold to the philosophy that each "break-down" or problem just adds to the adventure! We try to be DIYSfers when ever possible and that adds to our learning (that's suppose to slow down dementia)!

Heed the advise that you drive it every month. Sitting is the worst thing for these DP. Test driving it 20 miles should have given you a good feel for the Alpine. We didn't even drive that far in our first Alpine, but drove it during bad Santa Ana winds on I-5 in heavy traffic and knew immediately that was what we wanted!

The pricing sounds great for a fantastic machine that you will be acquiring!

Good luck and safe travels - Hope to see you at an ACA (ALpine Coach Association) Rally. Joining ACA will be the first thing you want to do after you buy it! Alpine Coach Association
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:08 AM   #11
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Stan -

I am a chronically impatient traveler who typically wants to get to the destination ASAP. As an example, the day we returned home from purchasing our coach I drove 80+ MPH across I15 & I70 because we wanted to get home in 1 - day. The 2 - threads describing accidents caused by tire blowouts ("Leaving road at 75 MPH ..." & "Bad Crash ...") coupled with us losing the front A/C cover (twice) and the DS skirt panel has caused me to take driving a 32K+ lb. vehicle more seriously.

It was suggested to me that driving over 60 MPH will cause your fuel mileage to go significantly lower almost exponentially. I was getting 6.0 - 6.4 (without my toad) driving 70 - 75. I set the cruise control for 60 driving home from the San DImas rally and got 8.2 MPG! You can do the math, that difference equates to some serious $$$. Your coach may have a 350HP cummins which can produce different speed vs. MPG results but I would suggest that you find your "comfy" point. And, there was a HUGE difference in the overall noise of my coach and reaction to road conditions when traveling 60 vs. 70!

Takepride told me he travels at 55 MPH and has gotten as high as 10 MPG. Again, your MPG equates to $$$ much more so in a diesel motorhome than a car.

Just my 2 cents ... BE SAFE!!!
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:34 AM   #12
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We purchased a 2002 in 2005 with 50K on it. It now has 110K - we full time and are happy with it. We've had a few problems, most of which were due to previous owner misuse. But then they all have problems, just keep up with the maintenance and hopefully you will catch things ahead of time. One of the things that we have found is that if something needs to be replaced, it is probably better to replace the whole unit/system than just a part - - as things tend to be hard to find and small changes have taken place over the years and there will be small size changes that mean things don't fit quite right - - been there, done that and now we realize it is best to replace as a whole.

Don't know how long it has sat, but do plan on having all fluids/belts/filters changed out. We also added a second fuel filter on ours at the recommendation of Cummins Coach Care facility in Elkhart since the previous owner had noted "stop engine" lights several times due to clogged filter. Of course he waited until the "stop engine" light came on, never changed ahead of time. But we decided the second filter was cheap insurance.

While the older coaches may not have all of the bells and whistles, that just means there are less bells and whistles to have problems.

Barb
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:50 AM   #13
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I made a trip back east a few years ago, and kept the speed around 65 mph. I got an average of 8.5 mpg with a CR-V toad. The next year I took another trip back east, and this time tried to keep it around 60 instead. I got an average of about 9.2 mpg. I have had a few tank loads of fuel where I averaged over 10, most likely with little mountain driving and a strong tailwind!

An advantage of just 5 mph slower is that at 60 I very rarely pass other vehicles on the open road, allowing me to just sit and cruise. At 65 I would have to pass some slower vehicles, causing me to have to speed up and blend with traffic. More stress. A half hour or so later arrival for the day's drive is a good trade-off.

I have been known to drive 65-70 in LA freeway traffic to keep pace and out of the way. But never on cruise control at those speeds.

My previous Class C motorhomes were Lazy Daze, known for their good road manners. The Alpine Coach is just as good, and the only Class A I have driven. The Koni shocks were a good addition.

Sounds like you have made your choice!
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Old 10-11-2010, 01:57 PM   #14
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Thanks guys for the mileage and driving tips. I will likely drive very prudently, 60-65, but it sure is nice to be able to set sail if you need to. Most gas rigs I had were prone to drag down on hills that won't phase a diesel. I'm looking forward to that if we go ahead with this.

I'm still researching potential problems with the 2001 model...so keep me in mind if you think of anything else.

Thanks and best regards..Stan M.
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