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Old 08-31-2013, 02:10 PM   #15
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hi all I am new to motor homes have a2003 37fd alpine that we love, we are going to pull a 2axle trailer I need suggestions on brake controllers brands installation etc. any help would be great.OH about Alpines I drove about ten different brands 35-38 ft.and nothing drove or handled as well including CC my only problem is off ramps learning to get SPEED down when exiting other the driver error it is a great coach Robert
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Old 08-31-2013, 07:06 PM   #16
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First - All motorhomes are earthquakes going down the road, in fact every RV is that way, so stuff moves, shifts, and things get lose. Alpine (other than the windows and Wiring QA) used the best in my opinion components for their coaches, Dometic Refrigerators, Suburban Water Heaters and furnaces, better than the other guy in my opinion. Some come with residential units, which is better still.

Every motorhome has things which set it apart, and for me I like some of the things on mine and some things I don't like. Truism for life, that said, I think this forum is the life saver for many of us who own them, they seem to have their share of issues.

There is no other motorhome which drives as good as an alpine (maybe the new Tiffin Allegro Bus with the Powerglide Chasses) might be as good.. The outstanding thing about alpines is they are all mostly the same, the generator is in the same place in all of them, the charge air cooler, the engine & radiator assembly, furnace is in the same place for the most part, so once you learn where stuff is, on any of them it is mostly in the same place. Alpines have hydraulic brakes, so maintenance (flush the hydraulic brake fluid in the system at least every two years, annually is better) is needed, rear wheels have to be removed for this service, so can you, or are you paying for it? The other thing no other coach has other than the alpine is large fresh water and black/gray holding tanks. They came standard with at least 100 gallons fresh water holding, and mine has 104 grey, and 84 black. So I can go near about two weeks of boon docking before I need to dump or get water, provided I am frugal with the fresh water use therein. If that is a want/need, then alpine is your brand.

The wiring on an alpine in my opinion is not as good as other brands, however, each year of every brand can attest to something not good. Monaco seems to have good wiring, but don't purchase anything newer than 07, the quality went down in 08, then Navistar purchased the company, put their engine in them, and they don't have any power, and are a bitch to find parts for. Beaver made a good coach up to 07. Foretravel has a huge following, and I have looked at a few, again, it's what you like (better half) and how it is laid out what you like.

Of all the floor plans I have seen, (maybe I am just used to it) I think I like the alpine floor plan better than any of them I have looked at, even new Tiffin's seem to be cheap inside now to compete in the price point area they are targeting. The best Mh for the money is in the millions of dollars, Newell, Marathon, and other TOTL coaches. However, if you want to spend that much money, then real estate in 10 places is a better way to spend money. Alpine had good to great cabinet finish work, I don't like the 4 slide coach, as the passenger slide drops down for the level floor, and lots of folks have trouble with them, I like our 3 slide coach better.

Some things to consider (you may not think so but trust me in these).
1. If you have never driven a large rig before, take a tuck safe driving class from a state certified outfit, it could save your life, teach you all about turning, parking, and how/what to look for as far as mechanical things on the chassis go, the money is/would be well spent, many places have a two day class for RV drivers, since you don't need a CDL to drive one.

2. Washer and Dryer - stacked unit or two individual units - better capacity, and easier to maintain. Having two units mean you can wash and dry clothes at the same time, and all the sheets/pillow cases will be washed together. By having my own, I am not sharing my bugs with other people, nor sharing their bugs with me. No Laundromat for me. We don't have pets, but using Laundromat, we get our share of pet hair on our stuff, afterward, so, get built in units on the coach you purchase, the single unit works, but takes more time and you will be using it almost every day. The early splendide units had some issues, small tub, now most manufacturers are putting in separate units and using Maytag, whirlpool, or others, splendide has had to step up their game to compete.

3. Size in the 38-42 feet range, otherwise you are going to have a small kitchen area (you will do some in-house cooking) and the better half will bitch not having enough counter space. Plus gives you more living room, and if 40 and above a king sized bed if that is important to you. Although ours only has a queen, it's large enough for us, if you are big, then you need the king, 40 or more feet to get that.

4. Depending on brand, and equipment used to move the slides at least 3 of them, if living room size is important and bed room is not (you might find a 3 slide with two up front and one bed, not seen often) then a 4 slide coach is necessary. Remember, alpines in the 05 years and beyond max out at 33,000 lbs gross weight, so you cannot carry everything, keep the fuel tank full, and have a full water tank and blindly go down the road, each slide comes in around 450-700 lbs and add that weight to the base weight, those are points to consider. Monaco, Tiffin, others have much higher GCWR, so it handles more weight and can carry more stuff, usually with the addition of a tag axle.

5. Foretravel (depending on year and miles-do NADA price point check prior to purchasing) is a nice rig, and up to around 07 had good build quality. The company sold in 08-09 (I think), build quality might have gone down. We never found a floor plan we liked. FWIW-We also have seen a 2 million dollar Newell and we did not like that floor plan either, but they custom build, so we could have if, we had that kind of money-dream with lottery winnings!!!

So here are some recommendations.
Monaco in the 00-07 range, Dynasty, Signature, only, the others are cheap and overpriced.
Foretravel in the 02-07 years - don't have model recommendation, make sure you like the floor plan first, and how it drives, they used good qualify stuff, so it's just a "do I like it" thing. Country Coach-00-06 years, anything newer quality went downhill. Plus no two modes of the same one are built the same, so the air dryer might be under the front axle on one, and in the engine bay on another, if you are going to do the work on it, make sure you know this first. Anything after 07 stay away from, unless it comes with the best extended warranty in the business, and then I would have it inspected and an engine/transmission inspection by someone qualified first. Early models had drive line issues, and some of the air compressors did not have the correct PTO drive installed, the company is out of business. National (Parent of Country Coach from around 05) RV-Stay away from all of them (lots of different brands). Fleetwood, actually the newer units from the re-organized company are good from what I hear (read 1st paragraph again), I don't like Fleetwood as a rule, personal choice, their towable units were all crap in my opinion. American Eagle - Owners like them, I have not talked to one who did not, again, drive and floor plan, price, what is wrong with it. Prevost Chassis based units, i.e., $$$$$ High end Country Coach, various brands, now you are talking about a well built rv, but you are also talking about serious money, look for them in the used market, and try to purchase from current owner, not dealer, you will learn more, and won't be pressured, check the back of the FMCA Magazine for lots of units for sale. I don't think they had slides from year before 2000, could be wrong, so lots of units for sale with no slides, if you can make that floor plan work, you can save money.

Remember the old adage, "A Boat is a hole in the water you through money into", a motorhome is a hole on the land that collects money, takes up a large amount of time on maintenance and cleaning, I know owners who spend some time each week doing something on their coach either out of necessity or want. If it is sitting, it's wasting away in place, they should have two hours of use on the genset monthly, ac's, heater, stuff works better when used.

The better half won't RV anymore, so she want to sell ours, contact me on the personal message feature in this forum, and I will send you a description and pictures, include your e-mail in the personal message. Sorry to be long winded, opinions expressed are not to impinge on any other alpine owner.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:47 AM   #17
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Robert- can't help you w/the trailer brake controller, tho there are other threads here on iRV2 that will cover that. IIWMI'd cruise over to the more general discussion areas (http://www.irv2.com/forums/) then scroll down, try Class A, and Travel Trailers. You can use the "Search" feature.

As far as slowing down on offramps, if you are having issues w/that I'm guessing you are not using your engine brake or else the engine brake isn't working very well. You should be able to slow easily w/the engine brake assisting. There's a switch on the dash to engage it, after that it should engage automatically w/a tap on the brakes as you need to decel. You can also search under the Alpine forum:
Example thread#1
Example thread #2
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:09 PM   #18
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Thanks Mike for the info I will check on brake controlers,as for the jake brake I am going to have cumins check it thank you for the quick reply Robert
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:41 PM   #19
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BSLocum - Get under the dash on the side (very tight), and see if possibly the "battery boost" Switch wiring and the "Engine Brake" plugs have been swapped onto the wrong switch, mine were hooked up backwards, neither device worked until they were changed. Cummins (around $150.00) figured it out for me, knowing this now, to save your money, try swapping the plugs and see if that fixes it. I am thinking that you could look at the plug and it's associated wire positions and then see if those then align with the pins on the switch if that would let you know if they are reversed or not, one thing to check.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:36 PM   #20
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Thanks Monty,You are right it is TITE under there the plugs are in the correct place I am going to take to Northwest Cummins and have them check it and fix the tach it is stuck at 1500 rpm I can feel the coach slow down but it dosent feel like all six cyls. are working and the reason I am saying that is from years ago [and I mean yeeears ago] when I drove our lowboy silver 8-v 92 475hp and it would almost throw you foward in your seat if the tach is working then I can tell if rpm is high or low when the jake is on and how it should feel or slow down anyway I could go on and on but will stop here I Will let you know the outcome Robert
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:44 PM   #21
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Robert, the actica gauges are fixable if it turns out to be them. You would be better served if you took them out and sent them in yourself, since labor is expensive. That is assuming you don't mind doing that.

Mine engine brake seemed to be more effective before they fixed the last boot/CAC issue, but I won't know for sure until I go down some larger hills than I have. Then I can test it at 50mph and see if it does it correctly. Hope it all works our.
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:46 PM   #22
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You know, that long diatribe above is in the wrong thread, now how did I do that? This old age thing is getting worse lately.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:12 AM   #23
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BSLocum -The engine brake used on Alpine Coaches isn't a Jake Brake. It is a PAC brake and in the earlier models, isn't nearly as effective as a true Jake Brake. It definitely helps with slowing down, but don't expect the same results (nor the roar) that you had with the Jake.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:41 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdownward View Post
BSLocum -The engine brake used on Alpine Coaches isn't a Jake Brake. It is a PAC brake and in the earlier models, isn't nearly as effective as a true Jake Brake. It definitely helps with slowing down, but don't expect the same results (nor the roar) that you had with the Jake.
Not true. The ISC has a Pac brake (exhaust), the ISL has a Jake brake (engine).
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:33 PM   #25
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By the way, there is a great resource for us owners at the top of this Forum:

Alpine Tech Library, for Real

Lots of brochures, manuals, schematics, etc.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:50 PM   #26
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I stand corrected.
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Old 09-13-2013, 05:35 PM   #27
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Hi all,
I am planning to retire this year. The wife and I want to travel the US, Canada and Mexico for 12 to 18 months or longer. We want to do this in style and comfort. I believe Class A DP is the best vehicle for the trip. Since we will be doing more driving than camping, I want a coach that rides and handles great. My initial choices based on comments in other forums were Country Coach, Foretravel and Beaver. Then someone said try Alpine. That is why I am here. Has anyone owned one of the previously mentioned brands and now owns an Alpine coach that could give me their opinion of ride, and comfort? How does the quality (fit, finish) of the Alpines compare to a CC or FT? Is there somewhere to go to compare models and features of the coaches from 1999 to 2003 as those are the years I think my budget of 130K for the coach is taking me?
Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions.
I can only testify of the quality of a 99 Alpine SDS36ft. I have recently sold it, but had owned it for 3 1/2 years, and 28,000 miles. It was the only motorhome I had owned or driven. I thought it was top quality. Western RV has been out of business since around 2009. If you need parts or service be prepared to stay in touch with this IRV2 website. It is excellent with great, well informed, very helpful people. The riding & comfort was excellent. You can purchase an Alpine for much less than Country Coach or Foretravel or Beaver. I just sold mine in May 2013, it had 80,000 miles. It was in excellent condition. I had all the service records for the past 3 1/2 years. I am a retired cross country trucker. My last truck was 26 years old with 3,145,000 miles. It currently has 3.4 million. Point being, you must take care of equipment to get that kind of service. My Alpine was in top shape. It brought $35,000. Be assured you will have nearly as many service problems with a newer, expensive coach. The only people that do not have service problems are those that bought one yesterday & liars... old trucker
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Old 11-22-2014, 09:57 PM   #28
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We've been watching and reading the threads on the Alpine and have concluded that is the rig we want. (Still don't know the difference between the Limited SE and the FDQS.) We are interested in the 40' so if anyone has one for sale, please let us know. Many Thanks


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