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Old 02-08-2009, 08:33 PM   #1
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I'm wondering if you Alpine owners would buy an Alpine again? I have looked at a used 2008 Alpine 36 FDDS and find it very interesting. I'm thinking of going to a Class A from a C and wondering what Alpine owners think.
Thoughts of buying from an out of business manufacturer seems scary though. Later resale? Etc.
Thanks for any opinions.
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:47 PM   #2
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Certainly the game has changed. The several brands without factories present a challenge different than those with. If you need warranty and tech support, orphan coach brands won't qualify. If you buy used (unwarranted) coaches, but feel you'd need to make heavy use of tech support, orphans may still not be suitable.

I'd take an out of warranty Alpine with its great ride & quality of design over other coaches in its trim level that are out of warranty. Alpine Coach Association has been making great strides toward documenting our rigs, and has hired former factory tech support to be available to Association members. Assuming you are getting an Alpine at a price that makes sense given the factory situation, you should have a bargain and a great coach.

Original quality in the 08's was IMO fairly good. If it is from a dealer, you should be able to get any issues you find w/the coach fixed under the dealer PDI, or consideration for the fixes in the price of your new rig. Of course the motor, tranny and other major systems all have their manufacturer's tech support ongoing. Until, of course, our stimulus checks cost us all so much that Cummins & Allison fold also.

Check back thru the last 3 or 4 months threads here on the Alpine Owner's forum for similar topics and more thoughts on the subject. It is a recurring, and welcome theme.
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Old 02-09-2009, 06:16 AM   #3
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Many years ago, when I started researching a used Class A purchase, I chose a Safari Trek. An important consideration in my choice was the strength, knowledge and comraderie of Trek owner groups/forums.

During my 5 years of Trek ownership, I contacted the factory one time. Every other issue or modification I pursued was addresed on the Trek forum, successfully.

My Trek was not immune to typical "motorhome maladies"; the difference was an exceptional group of Trek owners, who had undertaken abundant efforts to maintain and modify their coaches, sharing --in detail-- their experiences with other owners.

WHen I started researching my next Class A purchase, I found this Alpine user forum. I was already convinced of the mechanical/design merits of an Alpine, specifically the chassis.

Common wisdom asserts the first time around is often influenced by floorplan, the second time, it's the chassis. In our case, we feel we chose the best of both.

Four years into my Alpine ownership experience, I have found this owner's forum to yield the same --if not better-- experience as I enjoyed with my Trek. The Trek had an un-matched and enviable reputation for a strong owner's group. It still does, but I believe the Alpine owner's group has achieved it as well.

Perhaps it's not too surprising to find so many former Trek owners migrated to Alpines.

Spending a big sweaty wad of cash to become an orphan is daunting, for sure. However, should one choose an Alpine, you can join the Alpine orphanage, which I submit as the best "high-end" Class A owner's group in existence.

It'd be nice to still have "parents", but nowadays with so many expiring, it's great to have "kin". Our "kin" are smart, diverse and quickly achieving the same --or better-- level of support once offered by our "parents", notwitstanding child support (warranty).

Yes, I would do it again, with even greater confidence than before.
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:34 AM   #4
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At this point in what is shaping up to be the wildest ride in the history of RV manufacture, I'm not sure who I'd bet on to stay in business, with the exception of Forest River (which now includes the remains of the RV business formerly known as Coachmen, and is owned by Berkshire Hathaway/Warren Buffett). Unfortunately, Forest River has never had terribly interesting RV's for my taste.

Country Coach appears to have expired; National, Alfa, & WRV are shuttered. Thor's sales are down to a third of last year's in RV's (which were lousy then), Monaco has hired "financial advisers" (code for major restructuring &/or wholesaling off divisions), Fleetwood shares trade at 9 cents (code for nobody believes in a future there), and Winnebago looks to be the strongest financially in a herd of dying animals.

So for whose coach would I pay more or less "retail", believing I was buying solid warranty protection? Hmmm... Anybody?
The best financial move today (probably always for that matter, duh!! ) is to buy used, or from the inventory of orphans where great deals present, then work thru any bugs with our orphan buddies. Buying new & expecting full warranty support is a gamble at best, self-delusion at worst, and problem solving (even when there was a factory in full swing) has always been cleaner & simpler with assistance from a robust owner's community like here on iRV2.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:30 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replys. I appreciate the opinions and suggestions and am sorry I am late replying back. I have a slow and poor Verizon connection from North Ranch, Congress, Az.
Alpine Coach Association is what I was looking for. Kind of sparse though, I guess the Winnebago Ind. site has spoiled me. The Alpine quality and options is on a different level from a Winnebago though. I was mostly impressed by the responsive power, the cornering, and the ride control.
Thanks.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:50 PM   #6
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Jerry J,

I can echo the posts from EngineerMike and Jim and MaryJo. I have a 2006 36 FDDS now, having moved up from an Itasca SunNova Special Edition on a Ford Chassis. The difference in handling is amazing. Although I have had a few issues with the Alpine, none have been catastrophic. I purchased the coach new and have an extended warantee. You might be able to find an Alpine sitting on a lot that can qualify for such a program. If not, this forum is a great resource!

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Old 02-10-2009, 07:32 PM   #7
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We also went from a 31 foot Fleetwood Tioga class C in 2006 to our Alpine. We probably got our Alpine during the worst of WRV's quality issues, and they seemed like a lot compared to our class C. However, they got solved, and once so, have given us a lot of confidence in the coach.

I'm in the camp that few coaches handle, drive, and ride like an Alpine in its price range. I also believe they have the most usuable floor plans in their price range. They are very comfortable machines.

I think you have to realize that coach like the Alpine or its competitors has more systems and more complexity than your class C. That complexity will produce more problems. But that complexity also makes it more comfortable to drive, ride in, and live in, certainly for longer periods, as we typically do for 4 months in the winter.

The key in my mind is to have a strong owners' support group like we have on iRV2, and with the Alpine Coach Association, to help you as you go down the road. Who knows which manufacturers or brands will be in business one or two years from now? That's where owners' support groups come in and make the difference.

I now would buy another Alpine if I wanted a different floor plan, which I don't. Partly it's because I've come to know it and how to take care of it, and partly it's because of the excellent information I get from this support group on how to deal with issues when they arise.

And I also bought a 7 year/100,000 mile extended warranty when I bought the coach. I'd recommend you do the same.
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:13 AM   #8
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Any extended warranty that you would recommend? I'm not a fan of extended warranties but in this case I could see a need. I usually see extended warranties as not covering what is important, overpriced (additional profit), and if thought as important then the item to be purchased should be avoided.
Although not the same, I feel more comfortable with the thought of Tiffin or Winnebago.
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:42 AM   #9
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You have a very good resource at North Ranch. Jerry and Earlene Bloomquist who have a place in North Ranch have an 01 Alpine. Jerry is very mechanical and can answer all your questions and Earlene is an officer in the Alpine Coach Association.
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:14 AM   #10
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Thanks. I did see one residential place that had 2 Alpines, must be theirs. They are good looking motorhomes.
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