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Old 02-21-2011, 06:31 PM   #1
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Foretravel or not to foretravel

Friends
as a newbie, and i guess from what everyone that knows me says, i can be just to careful and particular when i resaerch anything that may cost me more than $100. So here i go again, the definite is that i will retire this year, wife and i will buy a DP, 36-40 foot, quality used unit, probably cant afford new quality, or justify its cost anyway. Have narrowed down to Newmar, Tiffin or Winnebago, but saw a Foretravel in my search and for some reason, I keep looking over my shoulder at them. So what is the feelings out there, i hear 96-99 320's are bullet proof, the 295 and 270 are foretravel but lesser quality. My boss is pushing for slide(s)(we have and will sell a Jayco fiver quad, so it has been nice)but talking with one Foretarvel owner (98' 320 40') he said slides have been nothing but a minor disaster for the company, and also said that there were some bad times in 2000-2003 that foretravel had some financial and quality issues. My budget is going to be less than $150 including a older dependable toad. Help me, yes to foretravel?, 320 versus 295 or 270, slide(s) or not, newer versus older. I plan on doing my own maintenance as to fluids, i have a camp site at my farm, 32x48 concrete slab with 16' pavilion and all utilities.
thanks
gary in cooperstown ny
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:39 PM   #2
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Foretravel vs. the bosses Jayco.....

If I had the $$$$, I go for the Foretravel. Let the boss sell his 5er to someone else. Check out
Pre-owned RV sales, Service ,Parts & Consignments Motorhomes of Texas

He started the RV business at Foretravel.

Ken
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Old 02-21-2011, 06:59 PM   #3
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Thumbs up Foretravel ?

The very first MH we met on the road in TX, was a FORETRAVEL. Somehow
I always had a love for it, but not the bucks, since the business was more important

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Old 02-22-2011, 08:46 AM   #4
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Gary,
We own a 97 U320 with no slides. This is our 2nd F/T (our 5th M/H). We had a 92 U240 and when we decided to upgrade we looked around like before, only this time we only looked 2 years. Our short list was down to F/T, Newell, Vogue 5000, and a Blue Bird. If we had any problems we would have never went back. Does this mean things don't brake or wear out? NO Any RV runing down the road will have some issue. Just think it is like being in a tornado and a earthquake at the same time when you are traveling down the highway.

If you get a 270, 295 or 320 the frame, air ride, sidewalls, roof are the same. The difference is in the axles, trans, engine and creature comforts. For example 270 and 295 will have a propane water heater and heating where a 320 has Aqua Hot that does both. The interior in a 270 may be oak where in a 320 will be walnut. The same people built them on the same equiptment. A 270 36' will have only 1 heater where a 295 will have 2. Rather than a side by side you may have a stacked fridge ect. The reason I use the turm " MAY " is that F/T has made many one offs. We know of a 2000 U320 with no slide and a 270 interior with propane heat and water rather than an A/H.

Now slides: Yes some slides had some issues with glue not bonding and didn't have anything to do with workmanship. We have seen some with no problems and others that have needed to be repaired. IMHO it seems like the hot sun had lots to do with the glue issue. The good thing is that if it has had the new style glue installed there has been no other problems that we have heard of.

Whether you want or need a slide is a personal thing. There is just 2 of us that travel and we don't square dance so we didn't feel like we needed a slide. We are on the road for aprox. 9 months out of the year and like the extra storage that you have in a non-slide. The units with a slide are nice if you have kids that travel with you or you have people over for 42 (dominoes) every night.

Now F/T did fall on hard times like other R/V manufactures and they did cut down production to a minimum. Now with the new owners they are in full production, well when they only build a couple of hundred a year full production isn't like some other companies.

Would we get another F/T if something was to happen to ours? In a word YES. The only thing we might change would be look for a 42' rather than a 40'. If your budget is around $150 you should have no problem finding a good used unit. As has been stated in another post Motorhomes of Tx. is a good place to look along with the Foretravel factory site. Foretravel Luxury Motorcoaches

Sorry for this being such a long post but you ask a lot too.
Hope this helps
Pamela
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:08 PM   #5
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Gary,
A few things I left out, a U320 will most likely have a Cummins M-11 in it in some form, where as 270 or 295 will have a Cummins 8.3 which could be either mechanical or electronic. You might run across 1 or 2 with a 3116 Cat. If you step back to a U280 you could even find 1 with a Detroit 6V92.All of the above will get you down the road.

On the newer U 320 (around late 96 and on) You will have a Allison 4060R trans. with a retarder in it. They have the push button control with a joy stick for the retarder. If you don't understand the retarder acts as a supplement breaking in the trans and is the best thing scence sliced bread.(IMHO) Some will make the statement that "they will make the trans run hot" but the extra cooling that is provided it prevents that. The heat that is generated in stoping has to be dissipated in some form either through the brake roters or the trans cooler. In a 270 or 295 you will have a 3060R that has the same features except it is sized for the smaller amount of HP of the engine.

Again hope this helps
Pamela
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:40 PM   #6
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Ken
maybe i wasnt to clear about who the "boss" is, its my dear wife! We have the fiver now, and will sell and move into a MH, that much she and i agree on!!
gary
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Old 02-22-2011, 01:55 PM   #7
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Pamela
Wow! Thanks for all the great advice. I have another person that it was suggested i contact, Barry at BEAMalarms. I guess he is quite the Foretravel guy. I am really leaning towards the Foretravel, I think U-320, 40', with slide as long as I can verify they(slide) are dependable. Then again, when you see the world going to heck (middle east/north africa) you start wodering if this is the time to get into something that cost $1 per mile to run, but then again, cant take it with me and no kids! Again, thanks for the help
Gary in Cooperstown, ny
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:18 PM   #8
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Bulkhead separation

A 1988 through 2005 Unihome and Unicoach Foretravel may suffer from a chassis issue called "bulkhead separation".

See Bulkhead Separation

Make sure you inspect for this before you buy.
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Old 02-22-2011, 06:59 PM   #9
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Gary,
Even though we don't have a slide here are some thoughts. The slide systen is built by HWH and isn't anything but a hyd. pump that drives your pistons so they extend and retract. There is the electrical side that has permisives for open or closed and an interface to the system that airs up and dumps air in the seal around the slide.

There is little things that you need to do like check the oil level and clean the air/ water seperator from time to time. From what we have talked to others they have had good sucess with their slides. Sure there may be some that are more prone to problems but all our friends that we travel with and have slides are sold on how they work.

Barry B. has a wonderfull site all about F/T. He has gathered lots of info and compiled in one place so go talk to him he is OK.

Pamela
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Old 02-23-2011, 04:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechWriter View Post
A 1988 through 2005 Unihome and Unicoach Foretravel may suffer from a chassis issue called "bulkhead separation".

See Bulkhead Separation

Make sure you inspect for this before you buy.
The bulkhead seperation is not a big deal, and not a costly repair at any F/T dealer, or in your driveway if you are handy. We have had our F/T for 5 yrs, I bought it after owning 5 diff. cookie cutter motorhomes(F/wood, Winne, National) and putting up with Manufactures that don't care about poor quality workmanship, water leaks, delamanation, and no customer service. With that said you might take a look at Foretravel motorcoach, Motorhomes of texas, and Encore motorhomes, 1 is the factory, the other 2 are right down the street and specialize in Foretravels, all of thier people are very knowledgeable and eager to help you with any questions/service/sales. U320, U295, U270, all the same quality, the only thing that holds you back is your wallet. One final note you will not find any particle board in older F/t's.
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbeane View Post
The bulkhead seperation is not a big deal, and not a costly repair at any F/T dealer, or in your driveway if you are handy.
Besides replacing rusted chassis bolts, you think the average weekend warrior has the ability to spread the steel chassis pieces apart 4 to 5 inches to treat the rust between (without delaminating a sidewall)?
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:55 AM   #12
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Mr Tech,
You don't need to spread the angle 4 or 5" for all repairs. If the heads are just broken it it a simple fix of drilling out old and replacing with new bolts. We have seen it done at a campsite. Now if the coach has been driven in salt and the angle is rusted really bad and some cleaning is needed you would need to open up and treat the rust as you would with any RV but 4 or 5" is a little much it can be done with as little 2" or less. If you were to look at the job first hand you would see how simple it is. These bolts hold part of bottom of the storage compartment (basement) together.
The big thing is not all units have had a problem. With us having had 2 F/Ts we have yet to have a problem. (could be luck) There are lots of owners that have had no problems.
But to answer your main question yes a good handy man that has a 90 deg. drill can do it.

Pamela & Mike
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:33 PM   #13
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If i understand the issue correctly, it is not a major structural problem, it is bolts that snap off or pull loose. They are positioned through a strutural angle iron and drill them selves into a lighter guage tube stock that is part of a compartment bay structure. The problem is getting access on the tube stock side for a nut, but also being careful not to overtighten the new bolt to the point of crushing the tube? Another issue is dealing with the existing corrosion on the tube and angle? Would it maybe be preferred to remove all existing bolts, first supporting the bay and its tube stock, then carefully seperate the tube stock from the angle using some sort of wedge, just far enough to sand blast the rust that has formed, apply some of the new style polyureathane chassis paint, then tackle the reatachment of the tube to the angle. This may be easier done if you actually removed a "slot" of the fiberglass cover, say 4", parallel to the tube stock, hog out some of the foam board, do your drilling put in through bolts and maybe reinforce the tube to stop crush. Then apply chassis paint, purchase fiberglass sheeting and attach to bottom of compartment with fiberglass tape and resin, pick up some expanding foam and inject it through a series of holes, plug them and call it good? or maybe i am just dreaming!
gary cz
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Old 02-24-2011, 04:56 AM   #14
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Gary, you are putting wayyyy to much worry into bulkhead bolts and such very easy check and repair not even very complacated. The bolts are 5/16 helock (self threading). You can go to www.foreforums.com to get the real story. Or you can simply call F/T customer service @ 800-955-6226 ext 239 or 259 Mark H or James T they will tell you how to inspect/repair. My coach is 12 yrs old I had 3 bolts on the front bad, and 4 on the rear 2 years ago. Last mo I still had the same number of them broke (I dont want to rush into to repairing them thats the only thing that needs attention on a 12 year old coach) it just would not be right not to have something broken/not working on a coach that old). To check quickly for any physical seperation simply look behind the front wheels at the bottom you will see a piece of angle with 17 bolts in it check to see the seam is tight the same with the rear.
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