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Old 09-20-2014, 11:27 AM   #1
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Your Thoughts/Experiences regarding these model years?

Hi all,

The great folks at Escapees referred me over here and I've really enjoyed reading over the CC threads. I'd like to get some thoughts from all of you regarding the coaches that I'm looking at.

My budget is about 80k and most of the coaches in my price range that I've really liked are 1999-2004. Can I get some thoughts/advice on the different models CC made during these years? Common issues, recalls, etcetera are a concern for me, but I also know that there are some good things in the older models that the newer ones lack.

I'd really like to hear from those of you that have or have had coaches from these years and what you did or did not like. Country Coach and Newmar are the only brands I'm considering, but I have to admit that I've fallen in love with CC.

Thanks so much,
Dawn
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Old 09-20-2014, 11:42 AM   #2
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Most CC have full body paint, if you understand that Clear Coat is a paint that tops color coat paints or gel coats on Country Coach rigs in the automotive paint process

Clear coat deteriorates when a rig is stored in the sun. Repairing the peeling clear coat has been my focus for several years now. My rig is stored outside in the Sacramento area.

Other than paint I do not know of common issues in your chosen range. We have had no manufacturer related issues in our nearly 13 years of ownership enjoyment.
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Old 09-20-2014, 03:32 PM   #3
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Thank you!

That's encouraging to hear.
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Old 09-20-2014, 03:38 PM   #4
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Love me some Country Coaches! I can't imagine buying one would be a huge boo-boo if it was taken care of.
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Old 09-20-2014, 04:01 PM   #5
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As you get closer to the 2003 year, look for darker colors impact of Micro Checking, in the I believe the Allure model and down.

Also the later models could have Dry PTO's (Power Take Off's) and at risk Radiators. Model specific, so do your research on this carefully. Not a deal breaker, but know about it and if not taken care of by a previous owner, price should reflect these.

I would also ask yourself some questions about planned usage, and what you think you might need for cargo carrying. This could move you into both a Tag model, and if heavy loads and lots of mountain driving are forecasted, then a bigger engine model. This would mean the Intrigue on up, for the bigger engine units.

Some of the earlier years models, could have non Independent Front Suspension, while not a deal breaker, I find the IFS to have tighter turning radius, and a bit nicer ride. But, this is very model and year specific, so not a 'fixed' statement. Some of the earlier years could be on the Gillig chassis vs the DynoMax chassis. The Gillig is a fine chassis, but you might want to check with owners here and also on the Yahoo CC User Group on anything specific about the Gillig.

CC made a fine coach, and if well cared for make a great foundation for long term ownership and many years of service ahead. They are also solid enough to be worth upgrading interiors to what you may want, and refreshing of some equipment too.

Which models? A very personal decision, that only you can decide on what model is the one for you. No right or wrong on this, just comes down to what each person wants.

Here is some info and opinions from me, based upon how I saw the playing CC model field. But you need to do your research, and determine what you feel.

IMO (In relation to the years you mentioned):

Tributes and Inspires Models - Are fine coaches, with good quality, not as many features, some which could be important for full time usage. (Examples: No Compression Jake Brakes; no hydro/aqua hot, no floor heating; lower CCC capability; no tag's available.

Allure - Entry level into the higher end of the CC food chain. Can be had with the items mentioned missing above. ISL370 available in the 2003 model year, vs ISC engines before this (Maybe 2002 too?) Solid coach, with solid chassis. Less 'gee whiz' features. Less 'bling'. Our 2004 was optioned out to very similar features as the stock Intrigue of that year. But typically a few thousand pounds lighter than the higher end models. So very good Power To Weight Ratio in non tag models, and adequate power in tag models.

Intrigue - I found this to be the 'sweet spot' in the lineup. In some years, you can get this with the larger CAT engine as an option. (Not sure if that did not start until say 2004?) A few more gee whiz gadgets.

Magna - All come with the bigger engines, and many more gee whiz gadgets and equipment too. When you look at the Magna line across the RV industry in general, I feel it is the 'entry' level into the higher end of the food chain. (That was meant to be a complement, as the Magna's are a good value in this part of the quality and luxury segment.) A well respected coach. The chassis are also usually riding on a few more airbags which helps the ride.

Affinity - Rises the bar from the Magna. I see it as in a very elite group of quality high end coaches.

(Other models exist, some on bus conversions, like the Concept. But I'll stop with the normal line up. Though the Tribute as the entry level coach to CC, were built in very few years.)

We wanted a 40-42' Tag for CCC capability. While I like and respect the Magna's on up, I also was concerned about the costs maintaining all of those extra gee whiz goodies. And, my wife and I liked 'less bling' than many of those models had. I suppose I wanted KISS mechanically, and interior wise!

My target coach was an Intrigue, with BIG CAT engine. (For power yes, but also for the true 3 Stage Jake Compression brake too.

We ended up with a 2004 Allure, 40' Tag with ISL370. The galley sold this coach to my wife and I. She had to have a large galley, and the High Cascade model had the largest galley we'd seen in any coach. It was also in the Non Slide side, which I wanted to provide more cabinet space towards the top, and less risk from moving plumbing parts in a slide. (Though, most CC owners with kitchens in slides, report no real problems!). I miss the Big CAT not being available for some hill climbs, and some downhills the lower compression from the smaller size ISL's Jake Brakes does require either gearing down more, or service brake usage.

That being said, we just finished a four month trip to Alaska, and averaged 8.5MPG, with very few times missing the larger engine over this 10K trip.

I also encourage you to research Damon Rapozo's history page:

Model History | Damon Rapozo

I want to be clear about my comments above, that those were my personal feelings on what was important to my wife and I. If I had unlimited funds, I'd really enjoy the Magna/Affinity models, and would have refreshed the interior to our styles and likes.

And staying clear, the Inspire is a very fine coach, and to many the water heater and not heated floors in the years you are looking into - is not a problem at all.

Sorry this was so long winded!

Best of luck on your quest,
Smitty
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Old 09-20-2014, 05:40 PM   #6
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Her ya go. It is a Country Coach and a Prevost and has the series 60 engine. Best of all, it's in your price range.

1995 Prevost Country Coach XLV | eBay

I have no connection to this coach or the seller. It's just the first I found doing a simple search. I do have a 99 Prevost Country Coach and love it.
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Old 09-20-2014, 08:14 PM   #7
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Thank you all for your input. Smitty, don't apologize for the long post; that's exactly the type of information I'm looking for. Coincidentally, I've narrowed my favorites down to Allure and Intrigue as well, although I have seen a few Magna and Affinity coaches hovering around my price range. Like you, though, I prefer less bling, especially in decor. I'll be traveling with my kids and sometimes my Mom, not with a rock band. Some of the higher-end coaches seem too much like party coaches too me, and lack the warmth and residential feel that I love in CC.

In answer to someone's question, I'll be longtiming and possibly fulltiming over the first few years and almost definitely fulltiming once my youngest (10yo twins) are off to college. However, I'm only looking at moving every couple of weeks and while I live in the Smoky Mountains, they're probably the only mountains we'll see. Most of our travel will be in the southeast, with forays into LA and TX and maybe a trip or two up to New England.

I'm with your wife on the importance of the galley and that's one of the reasons I love Country Coach so much. So many other brands, you could barely make a sandwich in the galley without stepping all over yourself.

Again, thank you everyone for your input and by all means keep it coming. I'm hoping to purchase in February.

Have a great night,
Dawn
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:21 AM   #8
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Excellent info Smitty. Along with used Newells and Foretravels, Country Coach is definitely on our short list of full-timing rigs we will consider. I will most likely hold out for the biggest engine I can find as we are considering towing a stacker trailer for our toad, bicycles, smoker, etc.
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:39 AM   #9
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When you get to specific models you can google Coach name, year, model and recall notice and it well tell you about the recall. Aluminum radiators are an issue and there's some discussion on those. Things to look for. Check that the generator has been used a fair amount. If not have that checked out. Tires, be sure and check the age. Fuel gauge working right? I would also go to RV.org and pay what they are asking and read over all the material. It will be the best money you spend on your coach.
Good Luck and Happy hunting
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:07 AM   #10
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Sorry I did not catch this earlier, but my post was via the Droid, and small screen and keyboard makes my normal poor typing skills even worse!!!

That was a typo on my total MPG on our Alaska 10K mile trip. We averaged 7.5MPG - not 8.5MPG. This was adjusted for both generator and hydro hot usage. The ISL is in a tag weighted coach is the difference on that 1 mpg. I talked with a ISL Alpine owner with no tag, and they had averaged 8.5MPG over their 56K miles of ownership. In fairbanks, I talked with a 2004 Dynasty owner with a ISL that had the Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT) vs my coach has the CAPS era ISL. They had a tag too, and we were within 1,000 pounds of each other as far as travel and toad total weights (Same toad, a CRV.), they had averaged just under 8MPG on their way from Florida to crossing the boarder into Canada. But once they hit some of the mountains, and the Alcan, they had averaged 7.5MPG too, from Canada border to Homer where I was talking with them.

On CC's engines, while I believe Cummins ISC, ISL and a few with ISM's and ISX's were used the most in say 1998 and up. BIG CAT's were available from also about 1998 and up, in Magna on up. And the CAT C9 is often found in the Inspires. Also in the mid 90's, some CC's were found with a Detroit diesel option too. Again this is for the main models mentioned above, and not the bus conversions.

I personally wanted a ISM, but would have been very happy with the BIG CAT too.

And another caution for those looking, or more of be sure you are aware of it when shopping. A few of the Magnas in he later model years, had a all CAT engine and transmission option (possibly Intrigues too?). With the bigger block engines, the Allison 4000 is the more normal transmission. The all CAT engine and transmission may be a fine combination. But major repairs of this transmission, will be in a CAT shop. CAT shops are not as prevalent as Cummins and Allisons. If you run into a coach that you like that has the all CAT engine/trans combo, do check with this User Group, and the Yahoo CC User Group on more specific info. (I recall reading of some problems with this combo, but they could have just been start up problems that computer flashes took care of. I respect CAT quite a bit, and feel they will back their components, so no real concerns on parts over the years ahead.)

Best to all,
Smitty
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:38 AM   #11
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Thank you guys for the great info.

You also reminded me of another question I keep meaning to ask someone. What is the significance of the hours used on the generator?
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:55 AM   #12
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Dawn,

You got some great answers and I would like to know the answer to your last question too.
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Old 09-21-2014, 01:12 PM   #13
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When it comes to generators, usually higher hours are better then lower hours, within reason.

Generators need to be exercised frequently, or moisture can build up and cause problems. Most owners do regular exercise of their rigs including the generator. When not using our rig, I get it out every 4-6 weeks for a regular hour run route. I start the generator, the fridge, the hydro hot, and everything gets up to operating temperatures. On the generator, it needs to have at least a medium load on it. In summer, I run a roof AC. In winter, even with a window open if needed, I run the heat pumps. Running to coaches, also helps keep the tires good, as rolling an at temp, is better then sitting stable and in the sun...

So if the owner of a used rig has maintained his generator by exercising it regularly, and it has lower hours, not a problem. IMO, once you get up into the 2000 hour range, you want it looked over well.

If good documentation of maintenance, a 1000 and under of a 10-15 year old coach, is not a problem on generators. If under 200 hours at that age, I'd be more concerned, and want it also looked over very well.

Opinions will vary on this!

Best to all,
Smitty
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Old 09-21-2014, 02:17 PM   #14
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Thanks, Smitty. That makes perfect sense. I've been trying to figure out the significance of both high and low hours on the generators.

Between the two forums, I think you're becoming my CC mentor, lol. We'll have to catch up to you on the road sometime and cook you a steak.
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