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Old 04-24-2007, 11:28 AM   #1
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After years of travel trailers, my husband and I are seeking to purchase our first motorhome and my husband has eye-lock on the Alpine Coach. We live in Western Washington not far from Seattle, so are fairly close to the manufacturer in Yakima, Washington.

We are considering a used Alpine Coach (save a little $) in the years 2000 through 2006, and would sure like to hear what you people would suggest we "look for" (good things) in our purchase... as well as suggestions of things to "look OUT FOR" (bad things).

Why do you people feel that the Alpine Coach is superior to other brands of motorhomes (my husband sure does)?

Can you help us out?

Janet in Edmonds
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Old 04-24-2007, 11:28 AM   #2
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Alpine Owners Club
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After years of travel trailers, my husband and I are seeking to purchase our first motorhome and my husband has eye-lock on the Alpine Coach. We live in Western Washington not far from Seattle, so are fairly close to the manufacturer in Yakima, Washington.

We are considering a used Alpine Coach (save a little $) in the years 2000 through 2006, and would sure like to hear what you people would suggest we "look for" (good things) in our purchase... as well as suggestions of things to "look OUT FOR" (bad things).

Why do you people feel that the Alpine Coach is superior to other brands of motorhomes (my husband sure does)?

Can you help us out?

Janet in Edmonds
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Old 04-24-2007, 01:27 PM   #3
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This is the place I came to find out about Alpines when we were looking for a diesel. This list convinced us to get a 1998 Alpine Coach for our first diesel pusher - drove it home and it prompted my husband to say "I know you could drive this one". (He has been leary of letting me drive the Safari we had - although he had finally given in and said I could - that's all I wanted - I don't need to drive it now :-)) We just brought ours home on Sat and of course - used rig - there are things we want to redo, things that need fixed, just stuff - but I really think it is a nice coach - can't wait to go on our first run (we both work so have to schedule ahead of time) and this list is the friendlist forum I have run into - lots of information here. Best of luck in finding the one you want.
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Old 04-24-2007, 02:59 PM   #4
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Hi Janet,

I have a 2006 36FDDS purchased last August and love it. It's my second coach and the best handling one during my research of many rigs. I do a lot of mountain driving here in So.Cal and can attest to it's ability to handle well even on snow covered roads (last weekend). It has a great galley design for those who like to cook and the Cummins 400ISL is just awesome.

If you look at past posts, there will be a variety of interesting topics that may guide you in your decision. I vote for Alpine--the newer the better!

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Old 04-24-2007, 03:23 PM   #5
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Somehow I got the feeling that this forum would support our (pending) purchase of an Alpine Coach (LOL) and would substantiate my husband's overall impression of their superiority especially when it comes to road handling. I too would like to be able to drive the thing, so maneuverability is really important to both of us.

Questions include: Are two slides adequate, vs. the 3-4 slides we often see? With 4 slides, can one still get into the basement storage without breaking a neck? Do the curbside slides reduce the overall size of the pull out awning?

Have there been problems associated with the galley slide (plumbing, electricity, heavy kitchen weight)?

And who here prefers the mid-entry door vs. the front passenger entry door?

Are people happy with the Convection/Microwave ovens vs. the gas operated ovens?

If dry camping as well as RV Park camping, what specific things should we have in our Alpine Coach.

We are so excited and are currently shopping online every day for Alpine Coaches available for sale - all over the country. It would be nice to purchase in our own neighborhood, but are willing to travel out of state anywhere to buy the best rig at the lowest price.

We will be seeing you guys at the Walla Walla Rally on Friday, May 11th...in the morning hours. We have to be in Prosser on Friday the 11th by 4:00 p.m. for a Williams family reunion/wine tasting tour party that will last all weekend. Can't wait to meet some of you folks.

Janet and Todd Legg
Edmonds, Washington
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Old 04-24-2007, 03:37 PM   #6
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Hello Janet,

I have a 2003 34 FDDS which we purchased in Jan of this year. Ours has the Cummins 350 ISC and it still has plenty of power to pull a 18' enclosed trailer full of toys through the mountains. The biggest difference between Alpine and other manufactures is the drivability. Once you drive an Alpine you will instantly feel the difference between this coach an others. The hydraulic disk brakes make a huge difference and weight balance feels much more comfortable then most others. Before we bought ours I drove both new and used diesel pushers manufactured by Monaco, National, Fleetwood, and Winnebago and none of them seem to drive as smooth or quite. Granted I did not drive the top of the line of any of these manufactures, maybe that would have made the difference but they were well out of my price range. Also, I would rather buy a used alpine over a new coach from any of these other manufactures and let someone else take the brunt of the depreciation hit.

Another big factor for us is that a majority of the camping we do is dry camping and the fact that the Alpine has an 84 Gal Grey tank and 100 Gal of fresh water is more then any of the competitors.

Good luck,
Work2play
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Old 04-24-2007, 04:15 PM   #7
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Hi Janet,

I'll try to answer some of your questions:

The number of slides really depends on the floor plan you like...if you want a smaller coach, like work2play has, the 2 slides are configured to give you a lot of storage space. But, if you like to spread out more then you may want a longer coach with more slides. It's very much a personal preference thing. We just bought a new Alpine because we wanted to increase to a 4 slide, and the new ones (Apex & SE) have the Smart Beds that eliminate head bashing when getting into your basement storage. Otherwise, yes, you will be on your knees to get into the storage area...the reason why a lot of people have added Joey Beds or Slim Sliders.

If you get a 4 slide, your awning will be about the same size, but it will not drop down as low as the awning on a triple slide.

I have not heard of any problems related to plumbing, electricity or weight in the galley slide, though the weight may tend to get it out of alignment occasionally. You need to learn how to do the adjustment...which many Alpiners can show you how to do.

There was a thread about a month or so ago about mid-door versus front-door. If you click on "Find" and type in "mid door", you'll probably find it. It had some interesting insites, but it, too, is a personal preference thing. We have a front door 40 footer only because we want the king size bed.

I think there was a thread a while back about gas ovens versus microwave/convection ovens. So you might want to search on that one, too. Personally, I think the gas oven is too small and too erratic in terms of temperature. I'm happier using the convection oven and having the extra drawers for storage.

If you only do a minimum amount of dry camping, like us, you won't need anything other than what any of the Alpines are equiped with. As work2play says, the tanks are much larger than most other rigs, so you can usually dry camp for 5 or 6 days if you are careful of your water usage. You will use your generator to recharge your batteries each day. If you want to do a lot of dry camping, I would suggest you either look for a coach with solar panels or plan to add them later.

Be sure to check some of the postings here for people who are selling their rigs, as you never know what you might find.

I'm so glad you are going to the Walla Walla Rally! That will be a great way to get all of your questions answered.

Good luck!!
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Old 04-24-2007, 10:02 PM   #8
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Janet,

We fulltime in a 36 ft mid door. The two slides are more than adequate. I love the mid door because I can bring things right into the kitchen without going through the 'living' room. We also can get in just about any place and have been in a few places where having slides on both sides would have been a problem. We can also get along just fine WITHOUT putting the slides out - - that can be important at times when you are just stopped for the night.

The drive is very easy - - I do about 1/2 of the driving. As to why superior - - well just wait until you drive it.

Things to look for - the maintenance records. Pay particular attention to that. Look at the age of the tires - 5 years is when you start looking to replace them. Also check on the state of the batteries.

And I'd suggest you read through at least a couple year's worth of questions/answers that are posted here - - that will help you identify problems that people had questions about and what suggestions/remedies were offered.
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:34 AM   #9
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HELLO ...I HAVE A 2005 ALPINE COACH 8600 MILES ...3 SLIDES ...MID DOOR ENTRY ...40 FT THAT I AM SELLING DUE TO HEALTH PROBLEMS CONTACT ME AT WGrif19877@AOL.COM
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Old 04-25-2007, 05:37 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">As work2play says, the tanks are much larger than most other rigs, so you can usually dry camp for 5 or 6 days if you are careful of your water usage. You will use your generator to recharge your batteries each day. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

We dry camp every January in the desert at Quartzsite for two weeks with our 100+ gallons of fresh water. You REALLY have to work at it but it can be done.
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Old 04-25-2007, 07:20 AM   #11
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Hi Janet
We bought our first Alpine last year. Now, after our first winter south we can honestly say we could not be happier. It's a 40' with one slide. The floor plan and storage is excellent. Many times we have followed other coaches in the wind and watched them fight to stay on the road. The Alpine is a dream to drive and truly enjoyable
NOTE: Be aware of the manufacture date of the tires. Just because they look good does not mean they are safe. FIVE years is the recommended replace date.
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Old 04-25-2007, 08:09 AM   #12
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Janet,

We live in Auburn, WA, and have a 2006 36 mid-door double slide. We picked ours up new in August last year and have already put 15,000 miles on it.

We would agree with all the things Barbarok said about this size, and they are main reasons we bought ours. I think you need to determine if the king bed is very important or the queen will do -- we replaced our queen with a Dormia (Temperpedic knock-off) and are very happy with it.

We have had hydraulic hose problems with the slides but appear to have them fixed now; it made us glad we only had two slides, they were both on the same side of the coach, and the coach was liveable when we couldn't extend the slides.

We like the mid door not only because in loading and unloading we don't have to walk all the way through the coach, but also because the co-pilot seat has a flat floor (wife has short legs), the floor doesn't have to be extended or retracted every time we stop, and we don't have to listen to wind noise around the door when driving. Also that seat is positioned a little farther forward in the mid-door.

We added the GE Advantium oven intead of Microwave/Convection, and Fisher-Paykel dishwasher to our coach and really like both.

I think you should pay particular attention to the dealer where you buy your coach and make sure they can service or do work on your rig. Lead times to get service done in Yakima at WRV can be quite long so you want to have a good dealer.

We will be in Walla Walla at the rally and would be happy to talk to you about any of your questions or dealer issues. You can also send me a private e-mail and I will be glad to give you a phone number where you can call me for other questions.

Nothing drives like an Alpine!
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Old 04-26-2007, 08:21 AM   #13
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Here is a brief story as to how I bought my first Class A motorhome. Any companies mentioned are only listed because they are who I used and was pleased with their service and prices. It also should be mentioned that I enjoy doing research and all the work I did was fun, not work.

What do I want?

Generally I was looking for a used motorhome that others would have already taken the big deprecation hit on. The big items on my list of wants were a passenger side dinette so I can look at my own campsite when parked, pass through storage because I will store it next to a block wall on one side and a side radiator for easy engine maintenance. I also wanted more of a premium motorhome about 36' in length.

What brand?

I searched past postings on rv.net and found that Country Coach, Foretravel and Alpine were premium coached that seem to be mentioned often. Looking at these brands I found that Alpine had all the features I wanted so I looked closer.

Available models

I contacted Western RV, the maker of Alpine Coaches, and they sent me brochures of all past year products, 1998 - 2006. This was very helpful to know what changed from year to year.

Search, search, search...

Now that I knew what I wanted I checked the prices on NADA guide as a starting point and began my search. First I started searching the online RV sites:

rvsearch.com
rvtrader.com
rvtraderonline.com
rvregistry.com
rvamerica.com
chooseyouritem.com
roamingtimes.com
coast2coastrv.com
monkeyads.com
suncoastrv.com

On one of these search sites I found the perfect motorhome. It was for sale at a local dealer. It turns out Western RV changes their models mid-year so a newer 1999 is the same as an older 2000. This resulted in a 2000 priced as a 1999. I called the dealer and the motorhome was already sold. This is when I realized I needed to contact the dealers also. If they can't sell a motorhome off the lot they will list it on a RV search site and I wanted to be in the front of the line.

I found out all of Western RV's dealers and other large dealers and began searching their sites.

saddlebackrv.com
guaranty.com
pplmotorhomes.com
mcmahonrv-irvine.com
pcautotx.com
motorhomespecialist.rvusa.com
rvonline.com
lamesarv.com
giantrv.com
mountainstatesrv.com
mcgaughrv.com
uhlmannrv.com

I also called these dealers and told them what I was looking for. Next I contacted Western RV and asked their Western Rep. if he knew of any trades that were on the books. He knew of two that I tracked down but passed on.

Finally, I found my coach. It was being sold by PC Auto & RV Concepts, pcautotx.com, in Texas.

Coach history

I contacted PC Auto & RV Concepts in Texas and obtained the VIN number of the coach. Next I contacted Western RV and got the history of this coach and the engine serial number. The coach history was good and Cummins liked what they saw for the history of the engine. It had a fuel pump problem that was repaired back in 2003. The dealer also supplied me with many picture of everything inside and outside on the coach. All the manuals were missing for this coach so the dealer ordered a new manual and had it shipped to my house.

I also contacted the NHTSA to look for any recalls on this coach.
http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/recalls/

Financing & insurance

Next I searched rv.net to see who was mentioned for financing. I went through the list and found, for me, Scott Financial had the best rates. For insurance I wanted coverage to covered cracked windshields. Progressive's, Drive insurance with the $250 deductible worked best for me. Since I have my motorcycles covered with Progressive, the multi vehicle discount kicked in and the $250 deductible was about the same price as the $500 deductible without the multi vehicle discount. Progressive also has a diminishing deductible that is reduced by 1/4 each year the deductible it is not used. The insurance for the new motorhome is within a few dollars of what I am currently paying for my trailer and pickup truck.

Pay & pickup

After doing my homework, my wife and I felt really good about purchasing this motorhome from this dealer. The dealer has really gone above and beyond to answer all my questions. We fly to Texas after Christmas to pick it up. I'll have a check from Scott financial and the balance of my down payment in my back pocket. $2,500 was put on a credit card to hold the coach. It is understood by the dealer and myself that upon final inspection by me, if the coach isn't what I'm expecting it to be, I get my $2,500 back and the deal is off. I'll be out a trip to Texas, a little interest on the loan I'll cancel and about a week of insurance premium.

I hope this information will make it a little easier for other families looking to buy their first motorhome.
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Old 04-27-2007, 02:45 PM   #14
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I don't think you will beat the Alpine over other coaches and I am the worst critic. The balance of the folks will attest to that. I own one so that says a great deal. We have a 2005 34FDDS. Came very close to trading it on a 36'. My wife loved the mid-door until we investigated the loss of basement space. You must check that. We were not willing to accept that loss in space. It is just something you should be aware of.
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