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Old 10-25-2011, 11:59 AM   #1
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Alpine Owners Club
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Fruita, CO
Posts: 5
Considering an Alpine Coach purchase

We are currently looking at a 2004 Alpine Coach 40MDTS. We have some unanswered questions and are looking for experienced help and advise. Please post your comments! Many thanks, Ron and Zelinda Brown
  1. How well does the a/c refrigerator only work with the inverter and auto-start generator? How well do the batteries hold up when boondocking?
  2. Does a solar panel significantly help? especially when boondocking.
  3. Does anyone have trouble with the slides malfunctioning?
  4. What kind of fuel mileage can we expect?
We have checked the unit quite thoroughly and these seem to be the main questions. We are not new to motorhomes. We currently have a 2005 Monaco Cayman w/ 300hp Cummins. Model 36PDD.

Again, many thanks.

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Old 10-25-2011, 01:17 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: TX
Posts: 495

If you haven't already checked the previous posts about buying an Alpine, then check out these links:

2003 Alpine

Purchase Advice '05-'07

2001 40' Alpine, newbie questions....

Dale & Karin
2006 Alpine Coach Limited 36FDTS
Watercolor Artist: http://www.cindydaunis.com/
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Old 10-25-2011, 03:02 PM   #3
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Location: Washington State
Posts: 866

I have an update on fuel mileage, which is buried in a post mentioned by Dale. I have 51,736 miles on our 2006 MDDS with the 400 Cummins, and tow vehicles averaging 4000 lbs nearly all the time. We are usually loaded to around 30,000 lbs, and the 40' will probably run loaded between 32,000 and 33,000 lbs.

In those 51,736 miles, we have burned 6734 gallons of diesel for an average of 7.68 mpg. If I account for 336 generator hours at an estimated 0.7 gal/hour, that adjusts it to 7.94 mpg. I have also had a 2% larger tire size for the last 20,000 miles, so that adjustment to the miles traveled increases the average to 8.02 mpg while the coach is running. Incidently, the Silverleaf says 8.1 mpg since the coach was new, so it's close.

I typically drive around 61-62 mph on the highway, and of course, into and with the wind each year when we go south from Washington to S. California and cross the southern U.S. to Texas and back to California.

So while we're 7.94 mpg over these last 5 1/2 years since new, your mileage will be different based on your driving speed and weight, as you know from you vehicle. People ask me the mileage question all the time and I say plan on 7.5 to 8.0, which is what I think you should expect if you keep it long term and drive in all kinds of conditions.
Former Owner, 2006 36MDDS
2010 Arctic Fox 22GK Travel Trailer
2007 Toyota Tundra
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:42 PM   #4
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Alpine Owners Club
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Surprise, AZ
Posts: 569
mzcruisin - I have a 2003 with a res fridge, 6 - house batteries, & 50W solar panels. Here's me experiences thus far:

1. My Xantrex AGS works with th Duo-Therm thermostat to automatically start the generator when A/C is required. I've been told that a single A/C unit will run with the inverter but I don't understand the point. The generator does not use very much fuel even when running both A/C units and I did that for weeks last summer.

Assuming that the house batteries are in good condition, you should expect the batteries to last atleast 8 - 10 hours depending on what you're using in the coach. During our recent boondock in Albq. we ran the generator until 10 PM and then relied on the batteries for the fridge and some rear TV to make it thru the nght. We manually started the generator between 6 & 7 AM because I was too chicken to wait for the AGS to automatically start the generator based upon low voltage. But it shoudl work.

2. No. The solar panels only trickle charge the batteries so just using the res fridge will drain the batteries as described above. The solar panels are excellent for parking and storing the coach when not in use.

3. We have not had problems with our slides except for closing the rear DS bedroom slide. The problem was actually the slide topper awning and not hydraulic issues. There's plenty of threads on this web site discussing slide &/or hrdraulic problems. We've had the pump motor fail which is soemwhat common due to poor internal grounding within the motor but still slide specific.

4. I drive 60 - 62 MPH because the mileage goes down significantly if you drive faster. I've gotten as high as 8.3 and as low as 6.8 even when traveling at that speed. I used to drive 70+ and got as low as 6.0! Yuk!!!

If I recall, the late 2004 models may be when the steering bracket issue started which is well documented on this web site. There is a fix available thanks to Engineer Mike (IIRC).

Again, these are my experiences and surely other owners may have different experiences (better or worse). Good luck!!! They're great coaches!
Bob Bowers (Surprise, AZ)
2003 Alpine Coach 40' FDTS
2014 Jeep Cherokee Lattitude
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:30 PM   #5
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Thanks, Bob. We live near Grand Junction, CO. and we appreciate you sharing your experience and knowledge. We'll get together in the future on Colorado traveling - I just joined today and am trying to get familiar with this forum and how to effectively use it. Later - Ron and Zelinda Brown
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Old 10-25-2011, 09:53 PM   #6
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 1,563

Welcome to the forum. I know you are really going to like that new coach. We have the residential reefer and LOVE IT! I was a bit wary at first, but now love the extra room and the better temperature control. I have six 6-volt house batteries (660 Ah total) and they run everything well. While moving down the road, power is not an issue. When in hookup campgrounds, power is not an issue.

We, however, like to boondock. When doing so, I run the generator for two hours in the morning and one hour after sunset. That seems to work out fine.

Like Bob, we have two 50 watt solar panels.

Now, I plan to improve my power situation. I added a tray extension in the battery compartment and will be replacing my current battery bank with eight batteries, six of which will be larger (1120 Ah total). I want to cut down on generator use. I just don't enjoy the noise. Next I will also upgrade the solar array to 505 or 640 watts, becoming even less dependent.

My mileage ranges from 7.88 for partial mountain driving to 10.3 for tailwind flatland, towing 3775 pounds. I am the second owner and have seen the lifetime mileage increasing from 8.1 (read at the ECM), now 8.3 mpg. I drive 55-57 mph. The previous owner said 65-70, towing cross-country.

I haven't really had any slide issues, other than a topper binding under snow-load (easily dealt with, remove snow) and a leaking hose on the rear DS slide. They do like to be fairly level to prevent binding, but if you watch carefully while extending/retracting, you can stop the slide as soon as binding starts and prevent damage.

As a favor, could you note the last five numbers of the VIN for our Alpine Register (one of the top threads). We are trying to document the existence of all existing Alpines.

Good luck! We look forward to seeing you on the Forum and on the road!
2003 Alpine 40FDTS (400HP)
Long Beach, CA
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:25 AM   #7
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Location: Surprise, AZ
Posts: 569
RNZ - Here are a couple of issues you need to be aware of on pretty much all models ....

1. The front A/C shrouds on our Alpines (Dometic Penguin) have a tendency to come loose and crack or break in the process. The problem seems to be caused by the air flow affects coming across the front of the roof while driving. If you drive < 65 MPH you will be more unlikely to experience a problem. However, DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING! The shrouds are slightly bigger than their mountings which causes undue stress on the shroud material. There has been several discussions on this forum with suggestions on problem avoidance. I even used a 2' bungee cord across mine to make absultely certain that I don't lose another shroud. Periodically, make sure the screws are tight and listen for banging noises on the roof while driving.

2. The left DS fender panel that starts directly behind the front generator slide and continues around the wheel can come loose from its mounting. Mine literally split above the wheel and flew up while driving. The panel is rivoted along the front edge and on the rear edge behind the wheel. The top edge is screwed on and acts soomething like a hinge if it comes loose. The middle of the panel is fastened by fiberglass "X" strapping on a frame mounted bracket just in front of the wheel. This is where the problem starts! If you look behind the panel and under the coach you'll see that an "air dam" exists which constantly pushes outward on the panel while you travel. Just check the panel from time to time and make sure it's not coming loose (moving in & out by touch). I had mine reinforced by the body shop that fixed my panel when it broke. Again, the key is that traveling < 65 MPH will probably avoid this problem but check on it occasionally.

Notice there's a theme with these issues? Don't drive too fast!? Bad things happen in motorhomes when traveling too fast. My problems occurred while traveling in excess of 70 MPH. Those days are gone for me! And, I save on fuel costs (big time).
Bob Bowers (Surprise, AZ)
2003 Alpine Coach 40' FDTS
2014 Jeep Cherokee Lattitude
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Old 10-27-2011, 05:18 PM   #8
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Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 629
RNZ, Welcome to our forum We are all dependent on the postings here since we became orphans a few years back. Fortunately, we have several extremely knowledgable owners who watch this forum and post very helpful answers to our questions!

I can't add to what folks have already said here, other than to recommend that you learn to use the search capability...quite simple using the little drop down "Search This Forum" at the upper right side of the header banner just above the threads. If you go to the Alpine club's website at www.alpinecoachassociation.com and click on "Read the Newsletter", you will find a detailed article in the September 2010 newsletter to help you learn to use iRV2. An extra bonus will be to get a little acquainted with our national club.

Sure hope you decide to go forward with your purchase of that 2004 Alpine, as I don't think you will be disappointed...nothing in this price range drives like an Alpine! And, we'd love to welcome you to our family!

Gail, John & Mindy Stacy
2007 Alpine SE 40FDQS, 2011 Equinox
ACA & Alpine SoCal
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