Alpine Owners Club
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Vancouver, WA
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.
Monty & Janet - 2007 Alpine APEX 40 MDTS
S/N - 75715 - Retired - Master Certified RV Tech