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Old 01-13-2018, 08:52 AM   #15
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You can never have too much power! I will say that this is the first coach that I’ve owned that I am totally content with its power as well as it’s braking power. No longer worry about which route to take, just point it and go.
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:20 AM   #16
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Not going to be a popular statement but here goes!

Well put and like the others have said, you will get many many different answers.
In my case, similar to your thoughts, I went from a 40 foot single rear axle Monaco Signature, Cummins 450 ISM 11 rocket ship to a 44 foot (called 43 for some silly reason) 515 Detroit um, well, almost under powered Executive.

I know I will be flamed for that comment but it is what it is.

I simply can't imagine how upset I would have been if I listened to the salesman and purchased the 42 foot Dynasty with the ISL 400

BUT there are some facts to consider in all that. I went from a 99 much lighter coach to an 05 much heavier coach that is ALSO taller and another axle to push down the road.

I live in the Midwest where there are hills in every direction I travel for at least the first hour or two. The common places I go are quite hilly in fact.

I love the Executive but my days of cruising along with no cares on any hill east of the Rockies at 70-75 are over. In fact, the biggest hill between Ohio and Florida (one large one by Kentucky Tennessee line and another east of Ashville on I-40) would not slow me below 70 in the old rig. The new one will struggle to maintain about 63 ish up the Tennessee hill. It is also geared much lower so over 63-64 ish and I am out of the efficiency band.

As far as the Rockies were concerned, I only drove on I-70 and fell below 55 only if traffic obstructed me (with the lighter coach). There are some very long steep grades out there.

I am a full time employee with a nice coach we love to use but traveling is weekends and vacation so although not in a hurry, I do care when I get there and back. I also absolutely hate obstructing traffic so I like you, want to climb hills with traffic.

It is NOT normal for a big DP to run with traffic but that does not mean you have to surrender that right to do so. It will however cost money in purchase price, maintenance and fuel. Extra engine also means extra weight so stopping needs a little better planning as well.

Another point you made, the Jake Brake, VERY important on heavier coaches and in my opinion, a life saving device.

I did drive several coaches over the years and will say, I was quite impressed how the 42 foot tag axle Dynasty ISL-400 drove. That said, was completely flat ground with no challenges but aerodynamic drag. I see folks with those coaches pulling full size pickup trucks as toads so clearly it works somehow.

Another small point, the Cummins engines torque charts indicate that they have a slightly larger torque band than that of the Cat and Detroit engines. This is useful to know when comparing your driving style with the engines/drive lines setup.
My ISM was extremely happy to about 1700 RPM (about 72 MPH).
My Detroit is extremely happy to about 1450 RPM (about 61 MPH)

Don't be a hater guys, just stating my personal experience and thoughts.
Windecker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobcat738 View Post
Thanks for the input.
Sorry about the extra zero, if i had thought for a moment, should have realized it was a non starter.
I have been looking at the older high end Monacos and their associated cousins most have 500 hp and develop max torque at relatively low rpm. This was how I started to develop an interest in the Dynasty, as they seemed to have most of the high end goodies but without some of the extra electronics at a considerably lower price point.
My goal is to cross North America both Canada and US in a nice coach, so escaping the Rockies is not an option. I also know from using my boat (that will make way for the RV) that we tend to carry a lot of gear, regardless of my desire to cut down.
The other thought is that the bigger engines would probably provide better compression braking as it is not all uphill. I am not looking for a 40ft+ race car but do not want to be underpowered.
My general thoughts were to go to 350 minimum if a single axle and minimum of 400 for tag.
Again thanks for the input, I have found a lot of useful info on this forum even before i joined so thanks to all.
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Old 01-15-2018, 08:51 AM   #17
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Just want to give the OP my personal experience with our ISL and real world driving impressions.

One thing to consider on the Dynasty's of the early to mid-2000's is final drive gear ratios. When we were looking at upgrading to our current coach back in 2006/2007 I wanted the ISM500 and nothing less but also had a long list of other things and all in a 40 foot coach. I absolutely did NOT want a 42' or larger because of our parking situation at home at that point, although it would have been easier to find our list of want items on a 42 foot or larger coach. It was next to impossible to find what I wanted and then the guy I was working with had me and my wife take his dad's 42' Dynasty for a drive empty over an 8% mountain pass as well as come back and hooked up to our 24' enclosed trailer and went over the same pass. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it did with the Cummins ISL.

I ended up doing more research and that was when I realized the final drive ratios that they were using on the Dynasty model was different than the Executive and Signature and was going to be a major contributor to the difference. The Executive and Signature models run a 4.30:1 final drive ratio whereas the Dynasty uses a 4.78:1 ratio, thus netting a few more RPM at any given road speed. This was when we turned out attention to the Dynasty which was going to allow us to get into a few year newer coach and still remain within our budget.

In real world conditions my cousin has a 42' Signature with the ISM and we have a 40' Dynasty with the ISL. His coach weighs about the same as ours due to his only having one slide and ours having three even though we are a couple feet different in lengths. Our coach weighs right @ 36k pounds in travel ready gear. I was also towing a 26' enclosed race trailer with Jeep and Harley grossing the trailer at just under 13k pounds for a total of 49k pounds combined. I have traveled most of the western U.S. and parts of Canada with this configuration up until about a year and a half ago when we sold the trailer and now just flat-tow the Jeep.

We live in a bowl here in Northern Utah and have to pull 6+ percent grades in any direction when traveling to get out of the Wasatch Front corridor. One thing I noticed when traveling with my cousin was when approaching the grades, he would initially pull slightly ahead and open the gap a bit. This was due to his slightly higher rear axle gear ratio and more torque allowing him to maintain that road speed just a bit longer than mine. However, once we downshifted and he downshifted we pretty much hang right together on the grades, he not able to pull away from me and me not able to close up the gap and gain on him. We were also loaded a few thousand pounds heavier as he hauled his Jeep on an open trailer and had a Hydrolift to haul his HD whereas we hauled both our Jeep and HD in an enclosed trailer.

Once on flat-highway we run along with the cruise set @ 67 MPH the same as he does. Like others have said, these rigs are not going to race up any mountain pass as ours is no different, however, one grade here in southwest ID that we routinely drive (Malad Pass) has been a good comparison for our various coaches over the years. Our first motorhome, a 30-foot gasser that I had done a lot of work to when pulling our first 24' enclosed race trailer would pull that grade at about 37 MPH. Our second coach, a 1991 Beaver Contessa with the 3208 CAT engine pulled the same 8500 pound 24' race trailer at around 43-45 MPH and our current coach pulling a heavier trailer pulls that same grade at about 51-53 MPH. Again no race car but it does a fair job for as heavy as it is.

That being said, I don't think I would be as happy with the ISL in much heavier of a coach than what we have, but I know others are very happy with their rigs that do weigh more.

Mike
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Old 01-15-2018, 03:12 PM   #18
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Mike/Windecker thanks for the personal experiences. You can look at specs, rules of thumb and other indicators but nothing beats actual relevant experience.

I had expected that the axle ratio was a contributing factor in the ability to use lower HP but that can only help so much when dealing these very heavy coaches.

Again, thanks to all who contributed I appreciate your help.

Bob Munro
20k pound sailboat moving to MH
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Old 01-16-2018, 06:46 AM   #19
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I think Mike is onto something with the weight thing. Lighter makes it much easier to climb hills.
At 36,000 lbs he is 10,000 lbs lighter than I am which seems like a big difference for 4 feet and 1 less slide.
I had actually been thinking about moving down to a 42 foot coach, some to loose weight and some to reduce footprint. Wonder how much weight that would save?
I do like the handling of the longer wheelbase and tag axle, it helps a lot more than I expected.

There are also inefficiencies in certain set up's. Not sure how to know one from the next other than research.

I have a buddy with a 45 foot Freighliner over the road truck type C camper. Same exact engine as mine, 52,000 lbs unloaded, 10 tires and will run all day long at 75 not breaking a sweat. I have driven it to Arizona and back and although the noise upfront is not for my liking, it does not seem to care what you throw at it with headwind or hills. We averaged just over 7 MPG. I feel the difference is his 12 speed transmission being more efficient and the coach being just a tad less tall. It does take longer to get to speed with all the shifting but once there is amazing.
This year he upgraded his trailer to a stacker trailer and had to slow to 70 to hold 6 MPG.

One more thing about these coaches is brakes. The standard pretty much with the Monaco line up is disk in the front and drum in the rear. When you get to Signature and I believe Navigator, Beaver and maybe 1 other you get disk on front and drive axle, still drum on tag. Not sure what you get below the Dynasty.
Disk brakes are move expensive and can be problematic to a degree but they do cool faster.

A frustrating part of all this for people like myself who are somewhat particular, you can't just roll into a dealer and test drive these like cars. They want you to basically decide that you want the coach, then drive it.
Sometimes we may guess incorrectly which for something this expensive and with a depreciation rate of a stone falling is a very scary thing.

For many, the driving part does not matter much as they do not click many miles off a year. It is parked for months at a time until it is moved to the next temporary living space. That is awesome and all but if you like to drive or are forced to drive, the way the vehicle moves down the road becomes more important.

I totally embrace the various comments on this thread and learn something with each post.
I wish you the best Bob!
Windecker
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobcat738 View Post
Mike/Windecker thanks for the personal experiences. You can look at specs, rules of thumb and other indicators but nothing beats actual relevant experience.

I had expected that the axle ratio was a contributing factor in the ability to use lower HP but that can only help so much when dealing these very heavy coaches.

Again, thanks to all who contributed I appreciate your help.

Bob Munro
20k pound sailboat moving to MH
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:42 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windecker View Post
I think Mike is onto something with the weight thing. Lighter makes it much easier to climb hills.
At 36,000 lbs he is 10,000 lbs lighter than I am which seems like a big difference for 4 feet and 1 less slide.
I had actually been thinking about moving down to a 42 foot coach, some to loose weight and some to reduce footprint. Wonder how much weight that would save?
I do like the handling of the longer wheelbase and tag axle, it helps a lot more than I expected.

There are also inefficiencies in certain set up's. Not sure how to know one from the next other than research.

I have a buddy with a 45 foot Freighliner over the road truck type C camper. Same exact engine as mine, 52,000 lbs unloaded, 10 tires and will run all day long at 75 not breaking a sweat. I have driven it to Arizona and back and although the noise upfront is not for my liking, it does not seem to care what you throw at it with headwind or hills. We averaged just over 7 MPG. I feel the difference is his 12 speed transmission being more efficient and the coach being just a tad less tall. It does take longer to get to speed with all the shifting but once there is amazing.
This year he upgraded his trailer to a stacker trailer and had to slow to 70 to hold 6 MPG.

One more thing about these coaches is brakes. The standard pretty much with the Monaco line up is disk in the front and drum in the rear. When you get to Signature and I believe Navigator, Beaver and maybe 1 other you get disk on front and drive axle, still drum on tag. Not sure what you get below the Dynasty.
Disk brakes are move expensive and can be problematic to a degree but they do cool faster.

A frustrating part of all this for people like myself who are somewhat particular, you can't just roll into a dealer and test drive these like cars. They want you to basically decide that you want the coach, then drive it.
Sometimes we may guess incorrectly which for something this expensive and with a depreciation rate of a stone falling is a very scary thing.

For many, the driving part does not matter much as they do not click many miles off a year. It is parked for months at a time until it is moved to the next temporary living space. That is awesome and all but if you like to drive or are forced to drive, the way the vehicle moves down the road becomes more important.

I totally embrace the various comments on this thread and learn something with each post.
I wish you the best Bob!
Windecker
I agree Windecker, the 12-speed trans is a HUGE contributor to his ability to pull grades, always able to stay in the ideal RPM range. Those Class 8 tractor coaches are designed to haul 40k pounds, but don't get a Class 8 tractor Super C confused with the more common Jayco (and similar) Super C's as they are different animals. I'm referring to an actual Class 8 tractor chassis. All Super C's do share one common factor though, the frontal area is much more conducive to aerodynamics than our front, flat-faced Class A's. There is a lot of HP required just to overcome pushing that flat brick through the air. The Super C's do bring a bit more noise to the table but it is subjective. I've driven a friends Volvo ShowHauler towing his stacker and it did perform very well.

Like you I drive mine and want a coach for knocking down miles vs. staying parked for long durations. That was one of the reasons why I originally wanted the ISM as well as staying with a 40 footer, hard to find. I knew that with going up in size was adding weight as well as footprint and with my already long enclosed trailer was struggling to find parking places so I insisted on staying at 40 feet in length. Would I like to have an ISM or even and ISX in my little 40 footer weighing 36k pounds? HELL YES. However, just having the ISM/Allison MD4000 trans is going to add weight so it wouldn't be our coach weighing the same with the larger engine. There's always trade-offs.

Personally I would love to have a 45' Prevost one day now that we are no longer towing a long enclosed trailer behind us but there will be more limited parking, just another trade off. Right now with our little 40-footer, I can in most cases park it in spots designated for 36' without too much problem but once you take that jump to 45' campground parking does come into play. Much similar issues to what we were having parking our 72' OAL coach and enclosed trailer.

Mike
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:15 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vito.a View Post
First, ask for the engine torque rating, not hp.
Yes! It's all about torque in these battleships.
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:23 AM   #22
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38,830# actual gross weight, CAT C13; 525 hp, 1650ft/lb torque. 40' Beaver w/tag. ZOOM!
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:08 AM   #23
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38,830# actual gross weight, CAT C13; 525 hp, 1650ft/lb torque. 40' Beaver w/tag. ZOOM!
Always be sure to unhook everything before leaving the park. With that rig, you could pull the entire RV Park's electrical grid and plumbing system down the road with you and not even feel it.
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Old 01-17-2018, 08:47 AM   #24
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Functionally 2nd gear starts without locked up torque converter, which locks up as less torque is required, adding an extra "gear".
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:01 AM   #25
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Our last coach, a 05 HR Navigator 43pbq had a 525 hp, 1650 ft lb of torque 60 series Detroit Diesel. Man what a coach that was. Lots of power to go over the Donner Pass or any other. 7.2 mpg with the Ugly Fix. We now have a 17 Newmar Dutch Star. It has a Cummins 8.9 liter 450 hp. In a 44 foot tag. Not nearly as fast but smoother running. It gets same7.2 mpg both pulling a Jeep GC. Oh well,, just sayin.
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Old 01-20-2018, 06:01 AM   #26
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You had the HR version of what I have Executive only mine is 515 not 525. I thought the 525 was the Cummins installation?
Only way I can get 7.2 is to keep it under 63 or so (or have good tailwind).

Just came back from Florida in 10 degree weather and 15 MPH headwind. 5.8 MPG at 65 ouch! Nothing ever came up to temperature, tires, wheels, axles... Takes more effort to roll that way I guess

Your supposed to go SOUTH when it gets cold not north
I do love the coach though!
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Our last coach, a 05 HR Navigator 43pbq had a 525 hp, 1650 ft lb of torque 60 series Detroit Diesel. Man what a coach that was. Lots of power to go over the Donner Pass or any other. 7.2 mpg with the Ugly Fix. We now have a 17 Newmar Dutch Star. It has a Cummins 8.9 liter 450 hp. In a 44 foot tag. Not nearly as fast but smoother running. It gets same7.2 mpg both pulling a Jeep GC. Oh well,, just sayin.
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