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Old 01-16-2013, 09:56 AM   #1
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If you could build your Dream Phaeton

For (among many others):

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Ive had the wonderful privilege of reading all your posts from the sidelines and have concluded that anyone, like myself, who is interested in acquiring a Tiffin needs to spend time thoroughly picking your collective brains. That kind of education is priceless.

We are about to embark on the next adventure. After fulfilling item #6 on my bucket list last May and completing a 4K mile trip over 32 days through the SW US in a rental 2011 Tiffin Allegro Open Road, we are ready to take the next step. There were so many lessons learned from that experience, so many bonehead moves by yours truly, and a 42 year marriage that actually survived the journey without PTSD or worse, that I felt compelled to write a book about it: The Virgin RV Chronicles (Feb 2013). For those 25 family members and buddies who owe me from golf bets that will be forced to buy it, Im delighted to report ALL proceeds will go to St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital. Not sure what theyll do with the $37.25 but every little bit helps over there...

Anyway, after months of research, weve narrowed down the choices to the Ventana 3634 and the Phaeton 36QSH (full disclosure: have posted a similar blog on the Newmar section as well). There are many reasons why these two, but in a nutshell it was about finding a rig small enough for our modest needs but large enough to incorporate some of the great standard chassis, electrical, appliance and structural features found on the 40+ models. After hanging on for dear life through the 45 mpg gusts in Kansas in that rented gasser with a Ford truck chassis, its DP and air cushion ride for us from now on. And Newmar and Tiffin are tough to beat. We were looking for a happy medium as our travels will mostly be those 4-6 week vacations for the time being. All of you have had some experience with those mid length Tiffin models, particularly the Phaeton and the Allegro. With the exception of the Kansas cyclones, our Tiffin experience was wonderful. If you have to rent, what a great starter vehicle.

My sincere apologies in advance for asking you to post again about something which has already been covered, but if you could combine what you know now and go back to what you ordered then, what options and upgrades would you consider absolutely mandatory?

Perhaps the thread of "Building the dream Phaeton" might be useful for other newbies as well. Part of our process will involve visits to Red Bay and Nappanee, as so many of you have recommended, and our horizon for getting this new rig may well extend into the next model season later this year or early next. A search later this year may also uncover a 2011-2013 model equipped as we want it...

In the meantime thanks for all your valuable advice, past and future....

Phil
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:50 PM   #2
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Tiffin 38QSH

Great floorplan.

BUT.......

Dual pane windows are not available on any Allrgro Red. But it does have thicker than normal glass at 1/4".

670 Ft lbs of torque seems rather underpowered to get a coach weighing that much up the hills. Or maybe I've gotten so used to the Cat C7 with 870?

The Phaeton is a 'little' more expensive but has over 1000 ft lbs of torque, DP windows, a stronger tranny......

The only thing stopping me from getting a Phaeton 40QBH is that one of the places where we boondock 6 times a year would be a very tight fit for a 40 foot coach. Most of the spots would be a tight fit for a 38.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:46 AM   #3
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Phil,



Thinking about renting before we buy as well. Where did you find a tiffin to rent? From my reaserch, the Newmar is insulated better than Tiffin. Could be an issue if you camp in cold weather. I was looking at a Red 34.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by deasnealy View Post
Phil,

Thinking about renting before we buy as well. Where did you find a tiffin to rent? From my reaserch, the Newmar is insulated better than Tiffin. Could be an issue if you camp in cold weather. I was looking at a Red 34.



Hi. We live near Hilton Head but spend time frequently with family in St. Louis. We rented a 35' 2011 Allegro Open Road from Byerlys in Eureka MO. They're a Tiffin dealership. A number of dealers will let you take out one of their models for a short period of time if you're an interested potential buyer. You might find the book I wrote about our experience last may of some help in preparing for your trip. Comes out in a couple of weeks and all the proceeds are going to St. Jude's. I've heard the same about Newmar insulation but have never driven one or discussed with a dealer. Bloggers Deek and skmwalden on the Newmar owners website irv2.com are wonderful resources among many others. I'd recommend you input the keywords insulation on the Newmar and Tiffin (TRVN) sites And you'll probably get your question answered.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:37 AM   #5
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Thanks so much. I will get your book. Is it Kindle or old school? I have never thought about pushing the dealer to rent before I buy. Did they give you a deal for the rental or apply toward the purchase? Love Hilton Head. We are in Grayton Beach. Stay warm.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:53 AM   #6
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Coming out on Amazon (published by one of their companies called CreateSpace). You can get e-book or hardback I think. I'll just send one to you. Am asking friends and recipients just to make a min contribution to St. Jude. I figure that way even if the book sucks, the purchaser will feel good about making a charitable donation to a worthy cause! There is a lot of information in it for first timers....besides all my bonehead moves...

I think you'll find that there are three kinds of rentals: 1) The CruiseAmericas of the world who rent a lot to visiting Europeans (Class C); 2) A few places like Byerlys which have quality MHs at affordable prices; and 3) companies which rent privately owned MHs usually 40'+ luxury models and often for no less than $1000/day+++! If door #3 is of interest I'll send you a list of websites.....

We also looked at Fractional ownership (timeshares). Many of those guys went out of business during the 2008-2011 economic downturn. A few remain (one in CA). Typically you buy a 3 year share, pay monthly maintenance and decide how many weeks a year you want to use the vehicle. Monaco Diplomat seems to be the rig of choice. Expect to pay at least $2000/week ot $300-400/month maintenance. They also don't allow pets if that's an issue.

Enjoy the Gulf Coast
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:28 AM   #7
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Since we are bringing pets, I believe Cruise America is probably the type we would have to use. I would prefer a Class A rental , but most will not accommodate us. I would love the book and will make a contribution as well as a review if you want. The prices of rental do seem to be really out of line with just buying a used vehicle at the right price and use it as necessary and then sell it. That way you get a better rig without all the rental strings. I still like trying to get the dealer to work a rental before I purchase.

Thanks so much for your info.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:39 PM   #8
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Well, I've owned both a 2009 Newmar Ventana 3936 and I currently have a 2012 Tiffin Phaeton QSH. Both are excellent coaches. Here's some of the considerations in choosing between the two. My Newmar was on a Spartan chassis, but the new Ventana is on a Freightliner chassis with the Cummins ISB 360 hp engine with 800 lb-ft of torque. The Phaeton is on a Freightliner chassis with the Cummins ISC 380 hp engine with 1050 lb-ft of torque. I've noticed a big difference in power with the Tiffin. The ISC provides considerably more power and torque. The Phaeton is rated to tow 10,000 lbs and has a GVWR of 35,000 lbs, both more than the Newmar. The Newmar has "Comfort Steer" which is really nice, but the Tiffin does not. The Newmar also comes standard with a "smart steering wheel" with commonly used controls mounted right on the wheel; the Tiffin does not until you upgrade to the Bus. The Phaeton QSH has a huge 41" shower, which is really nice. The Newmar has a pantry, but the Phaeton does not. The Phaeton has a tiny dresser in the bedroom with only 3 drawers; the Newmar is much larger. My Ventana had Atwood Level legs, but I see that the new Ventana has HWH hydraulic jacks, same as the Phaeton. Bottom line, it often comes down to which floorplan you prefer, but I believe the engine in the Phaeton may be the deciding factor. Good luck!
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:30 PM   #9
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Saber:

Not being an engineer and having read a few other posts which outline some of the differences between Cummins ISB and ISC engines, I was wondering whether the choice of toad (for example <4,500 lbs) would make a difference in a decision of which engine was preferable. In other words, is the extra 250 lb-ft of torque a significant difference if mountain driving is limited and the tow load is standard? We're looking at both the Ventana 3433 and 3634 as well as the Phaeton 36 QSH. As you rightly pointed out, people swear by Comfort Drive and according to some, Newmar has hired a former Spartan engineer whose sole purpose is to take Comfort Drive on the road and demo it to prospective customers. As you say, both companies are first rate....
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:49 PM   #10
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For Toads of less than 4500 lbs, you probably can't really tell if the toad is there or not with either model. I have noted a significant difference in acceleration driving around town in city traffic (without the toad) between the Phaeton with the ISC and the Newmar with the ISB. Of course, the torque is about 25% higher with the ISC. I live out West, so I'm doing lots of mountain driving and I want the torque to up the mountains without slowing down very much. The Phaeton is and has been the #1 selling DP for quite a few years and there must be a reason for that, although I believe either motorhome would be an excellent choice.
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