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Old 09-07-2016, 12:30 AM   #1
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Have I erred?

OK, i have looked at over a years worth of posts on this site for Country Coach. I am convinced it is a quality product. I made an offer on one at Junction City and put down a modest deposit. However, it seems no one leaves the driveway without a major problem and significant expense. How can this be? Do people really spend this money to crawl around the coach in search of gremlins? Especially electric gremlins? So maybe the users only report problems?

We are looking at a 2006 Intrigue 530 42' with CAT 525. What issues specific to this year and model are applicable?

We want a reliable home for on the road. I have no skills in repair, or troubleshooting. We can take it to Junction City annually for maintenance. We would expect in return approximately 15,000 miles of trouble free operation.

We have had a 5th wheel and are happy with the 5th and want to try the Country Coach. Travel is Alaska for the summer and the Southwest in winter. We have 70,000 miles towing in the lat 10 years on a variety of towables.

So, how do you keep the experience trouble free for a complete season?

And yes, we will do the annuals
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:59 AM   #2
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Terry Jay said:

"So, how do you keep the experience trouble free for a complete season?"

I'm following this post as I'd like to know the answer too.

We bought our class A new 12 years ago and have never had a trouble free year. It seems like every trip something untoward happens.
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Old 09-07-2016, 01:01 AM   #3
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You cannot expect to travel trouble free. These are very complicated systems and any single part of a given system can put you on the side of the road or in the repair shop.
All you can do is perform good yearly, monthly and daily maintenance. Even if you can't do the repair work, you still have to know how everything works. Unless you have deep pockets you really must purchase mechanical breakdown insurance and roadside towing service. That way you can have peace of mind and enjoy traveling.
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:07 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by adamfolger View Post
You cannot expect to travel trouble free. These are very complicated systems and any single part of a given system can put you on the side of the road or in the repair shop.
All you can do is perform good yearly, monthly and daily maintenance. Even if you can't do the repair work, you still have to know how everything works. Unless you have deep pockets you really must purchase mechanical breakdown insurance and roadside towing service. That way you can have peace of mind and enjoy traveling.
This is so true. We are on our third motorhome and it is no question that our County Coach is the best built of those we've had. However, these beasts can and do develop issues at times. In 3 1/2 years and 30K miles of travel we've only had one case where we had to have it in the shop and spend 3 nights in a hotel. Other things have needed repair but nothing that left us stranded on the roadside.

IMHO, if you have no repair skills you will surely want to get some sort of extended service plan and be willing and financially able to pay someone else to fix stuff. I believe many (most?) of us who own these things see it as sort of a hobby within a hobby and actually enjoy doing some repairs, fixes, upgrades.


If you want to get someone good to do an inspection before final purchase, I highly recommend Kevin Waite in Junction City. Kevin is a former CC builder/tech and runs his own RV repair business and does inspections. He also offers a tech support plan for an annual fee. I subscribe to his plan and he has saved me money and shop time by talking me through repairs that I would have otherwise had to pay someone else to do.
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:14 AM   #5
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*I* wouldn't even consider owning one if I didn't feel I was able to do most of my own maintenance and repairs. I know there are things that I am unable (or simply unwilling) to do, but most of the time I'll do it myself.
I might feel differently if I had wads of money, but I don't. I can't afford to pay someone for everything that needs to be taken care of on these beasts, so I end up getting my hands dirty a lot.
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:24 AM   #6
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Terry Jay,
As you already know driving the Alcan to Alaska is very hard on RV's. Country Coach are very well built, but there is only so much you can do to prevent problems. I lived in Anchorage for 16 yrs, driving the Alcan several times in a Class C, and it did not hold up very well.

I bought my 02 Intrigue two years ago, and knew nothing about a DP. I decided to buy an older model because of less complex systems. Ive learned a lot and now feel pretty good about how things operate, and learning more each day. Be sure you have all manuals.

I am planning a trip up there next summer, and have no worries about my Coach. I will be carrying spare chassis parts, and always being prepared for the unexpected.

Biggest concern that I would have is to not let anybody work on the coach, they can do more damage than good. Wait until you get back to JC if you can to get those small problems fixed.

A good warranty for the first few years of ownership may not be a bad idea, as you will gain more knowledge as you go.
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:50 AM   #7
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At the 2006 year group you should still be pretty much free of the complicated electronic control systems that control everything inside the coach, this is a big plus. As to the drive train the thing here is to have previous maintenance records available, and have an engine and transmission oil analysis done and results back before purchase, Blackstone Labs is a common lab a lot of RV'ers use. Oil analysis will go a long way on giving you an idea as to the internal shape of these components. Be advised that the results will not be back for a couple of weeks.
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:54 AM   #8
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We have owned our rig for the last 14 of its 21 years.

We have been towed twice for repairs.

1. A broken metal fuel line whose bracket had vibrated loose during travel.
2. A failed fuel injection pump.

My prior life was a desk job and ownership of S&B homes. I did electrical, plumbing, and some carpentry repairs/modifications on the S&B because I was cheap and curious. I did no automotive repairs.

This and other internet forums as well as You-Tube have allowed me to make most repairs on my rig. I cannot do tire repairs or major drive train repairs.

If you are travelers, the Country Coach rigs are a great way to go.
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Old 09-07-2016, 01:46 PM   #9
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Terry Jay,
Did you just return from Alaska? If so how were the roads, and in particular the condition between Tok and Whitehorse.

Drove down several years ago and that was the worst stretch.

Thanks,
Brett


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Old 09-07-2016, 03:41 PM   #10
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Terry Jay:

FWIW, we are recent CC Allure 470 owners, our second Class A DP. Our first DP (Brand new 2007) had issues from day one, yes minor, but irritating issues. We put up with it for the 5 years of ownership, then lost $50K when we cashed it in. Rvs are like a boat, except you can stop and turn!

Our current CC is teriffic, more than we expected and very happy. That said, when I purchased it used (62K miles), the day I went to pick it up it was at the shop resolving an ABS sensor failure. The seller paid for that. While driving it directly to CC in JC for an bumper to bumper inspection, annual and upgrades, I replaced the PS front spindle oil cover in route!

After the coach had a two month stay with CC in JC, we were returning to Las Vegas (Home) via CA and lost the "whole house" solenoid on day two. Took three hours to find it with an expert at midnight (Thanks Joe!) and $300 to replace it.

We still love our DP, but as seasoned owners also understand that we will most likely be in fix it mode while we own it. I did not have a hobby planned when I retire, but I think I just found it. Good luck, buy a County Coach, they are just simply the best IMHO, but I'm biased and look forward to a little fix it now and then!!
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:07 PM   #11
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Thank you to all who replied. I have not mastered the multi quote so I will keep this general.

I have usually passed on the extended warranty, but need to re-consider. We currently have Roadside Assistance from Good Sam, and will add the coach to the policy. Is there a better plan? The Kevin Waite Plan also looks worthwhile. In looking to try the DP route we expected to pay $5,000 or so, perhaps a bit more, in annual maintenance and repair costs, and included tire replacement at 7 to 8 years and batteries at around 5 years. If that number is insufficient, what should it be?

As part of the delivery, I have asked for a list of spares to be carried, and will also ask for a suggested tool list. One of the things I found a bit surprising in looking at pictures of the older (2000 or a bit earlier) Prevost conversions and Wanderlodges was how many had a red multi-drawer tool chest prominently mounted on a slide-out tray. We had a 1997 FL-50 to carry the car and tow a trailer for a number of years, and all it needed was the annual oil change and fluid and belt and hose inspection, and a replacement of the passenger side windshield wiper mechanism. Reading the manuals is required, and having them is essential. My experience has been that actual hands on experience beats book learning. I lack the hands-on portion on the the coach systems.

We intend to have the annual work done in JC by one of the shops there, including crawling thru the whole thing looking for loose or corroded connections. We have a local NC Cat shop, and Eric's RV in Sequim has a lot of DP experience, including some other local CC owners.

Again, thanks for the comments. Any suggestions are most welcome.
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:39 PM   #12
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We have an "experienced" '02 Intrigue that we picked up at the factory with only 79 miles on it. It now has almost 150,000. So far, there has been only one tow and that was because of a faulty oil pressure switch. If I could have kept the motor running long enough to get the coach aired up enough to crawl under it, the tow job would have been eliminated.

My recent 6,000 + mile trip east, I had a caution light caused by a $120 part. I could drive the coach however if I hadn't had the availability of a Cummiins tech friend, I could have ruined the ECM.

If you think the coach will be trouble free, think again. There is a lot more parts in a coach than a trailer. We have ride height valves, air driers, air compressors, turbos, hydronic heating systems, slide mechanisms, auto leveling systems and some other stuff that a trailer doesn't have. Naturally, these will at some time present problems.

Some people run back to the "factory" just to get some paint work done or a screw tightened. In reality, there are a number of techs out there that are quite capable of repairing anything in the coach. After all, most of the components used in a CC are also used in other rv units.

All the talk about oil analysis of the motor is bunk. If I wanted to sell you a coach with a questionable motor, I would keep fresh oil in it and when you did a sample, all would be great. Complete maintenance records really don't tell a lot either. Mine is maintained because I drive it a lot but I only keep records for the last two years. When I get ready to sell, and people don't like the idea of incomplete records, I don't care.

Oh, about the tool box.I carry one but rarely open it up. Mostly to tighten a screw here and there. I also have the good filter wrenches for changing fuel filters on the coach and generator, not those cheap strap wrenches

If you like it, buy it. After the learning curve, you will be in fine shape
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:52 PM   #13
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bneukam:

We have made 11 trips in the last 10 years. First trip in 1969. We lived there 1969 to 1980 in Anchorage. Every year is an improvement. Have a look at RV.NET and find the Alaska section near the bottom, and look at Roll Call 2016 towards the end. Commenter sue t. is local west of Whitehorse and quite accurate, born in Beaver Creek. We had no issue starting about August 18, went over that section on a Sunday, so no work, and it was intermittent construction, but not wet or muddy or washboarded. That seems to have changed, per sue t. 's comments. The son goes north in late April and emails the conditions. We may delay going next year from May into July. There is another construction zone just south of the Liard River, moving a lot of mountain and re-aligning the road, and that may also be an issue. We will likely go a bit later next year and return earlier to watch the eclipse. If you go, consider 93 out of Missoula, nice drive, low traffic. Icefields Parkway north. East on 16 to Hinton, North on 40 to Grand Prairie, on to Dawson Creek and Alaska. Might cost a few bucks for a stay in the park and the Icefields, but worth it. Consider a stay at Toad River (cable TV and a greasy spoon restaurant) and Teslin Yukon Motel & RV (better restaurant, no TV, WiFi in restaurant only). Best price on Diesel is usually Grande Prairie and Contact Creek Lodge about (?) 40 miles short of Watson Lake.

The speed control is critical west of Whitehorse, and sometimes south. Some days in some sections it may be engine idle speed due to washboard for several miles or more, other days after grading the speed pops up. Relax, it will still be there when you get there. One thing I have noticed over the years is the air suspension DPs pass my former 5th in the rough sections, and I come upon them later, after they have peeled the wife and the dog off the ceiling. Hope you have a great trip.
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Old 09-08-2016, 07:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Jay View Post
bneukam:

We have made 11 trips in the last 10 years. First trip in 1969. We lived there 1969 to 1980 in Anchorage. Every year is an improvement. Have a look at RV.NET and find the Alaska section near the bottom, and look at Roll Call 2016 towards the end. Commenter sue t. is local west of Whitehorse and quite accurate, born in Beaver Creek. We had no issue starting about August 18, went over that section on a Sunday, so no work, and it was intermittent construction, but not wet or muddy or washboarded. That seems to have changed, per sue t. 's comments. The son goes north in late April and emails the conditions. We may delay going next year from May into July. There is another construction zone just south of the Liard River, moving a lot of mountain and re-aligning the road, and that may also be an issue. We will likely go a bit later next year and return earlier to watch the eclipse. If you go, consider 93 out of Missoula, nice drive, low traffic. Icefields Parkway north. East on 16 to Hinton, North on 40 to Grand Prairie, on to Dawson Creek and Alaska. Might cost a few bucks for a stay in the park and the Icefields, but worth it. Consider a stay at Toad River (cable TV and a greasy spoon restaurant) and Teslin Yukon Motel & RV (better restaurant, no TV, WiFi in restaurant only). Best price on Diesel is usually Grande Prairie and Contact Creek Lodge about (?) 40 miles short of Watson Lake.

The speed control is critical west of Whitehorse, and sometimes south. Some days in some sections it may be engine idle speed due to washboard for several miles or more, other days after grading the speed pops up. Relax, it will still be there when you get there. One thing I have noticed over the years is the air suspension DPs pass my former 5th in the rough sections, and I come upon them later, after they have peeled the wife and the dog off the ceiling. Hope you have a great trip.
Not actually related to an RV as I left my Coach in Calgary, drove my 1938 Packard to Bellingham, up the Marine Highway, exit Skagway, on to Fairbanks, Anchorage, Homer, the regular tour taken by most, ( in newer cars ! ) . There were 50 cars in our group , this was 2005. Most flew home back from Anchorage and had their car shipped by container to Seattle. A few of us drove back to Calgary where our rigs were parked. My only problem the entire trip was a flat tire west of Whitehorse on a Sunday. Fix a flat got me to Whitehorse for tube repair, it was a long day as fix a flat only works if you keep driving, do not stop ! That stretch of highway was rough then, sounds like it's not got better.

That " North To Alaska " tour with the Classic Car Club was a blast, and 13,000 miles later, back in Lower Michigan after 6 weeks on the road in a vintage car was a trip of a lifetime. Repairs were made at home, side glass , many things loose or falling off , rock chips and bug juice that required sanding and touch up, no major repairs and I still had original headlight lenses ! ( even tho I did tape them up enroute ). .....Those years are behind me and the recession cost me the hobby, but not the Country Coach Concept, an all electric Bus 45' and 55,000 lbs with trailer and Porsche behind. This year I spent 10,000 in repairs, same last year , seems to be a magic number cost wise. I due a lot of my own restoration, am rebuilding the step well treads,walls, air cover, etc and we just installed a new porcelain floor along with 23 computer boards...this has become my new hobby, I love my Concept and would do it all over again. We have become snowbirds wintering in Boulder City, Nv. Life is not bad, just has a lot of bumps along the way..........and at 75 I do not have plans to move up to a full blown Provest or Newell,. Still , you never know its all a crap shoot. I see repairs as a part of restoration, somthing I did for 23 years on old cars, now it's just old Coaches, my CCC is a 1998 vintage.
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