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Old 11-15-2008, 06:40 PM   #1
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I've been looking at 07 Monaco Caymans and 07 Holiday Rambler Neptunes. They both have the ISB 325hp 610 ft/lb torque engines. The gross is 27,500 lbs. These coaches have a lot of features that I'm looking for. They both have Allision 2500 6 speed transmissions. I currently have an 03 Southwind 32V on a Workhorse Chasis......I believe the gross to be about 20,500 lbs.
Here's the questions and I know there's no exact scale to measure by, but:

Power wise, how is the diesel going to measure up to the workhorse for pulling grades?
How is the ISB engine for reliablitly and mainteance I see the next year it went to 340hp and torques to 660lbs.
What do you gain having a 6 speed vs a 5 speed transmission?
Will there be much of a difference in mpg?
Does the ISB have an exhaust brake?
By the way, I do tow a vehicle that weighs I believe around 3500lbs.
Any and all comments are appreciated. Thanks
Brian
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Old 11-15-2008, 06:40 PM   #2
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I've been looking at 07 Monaco Caymans and 07 Holiday Rambler Neptunes. They both have the ISB 325hp 610 ft/lb torque engines. The gross is 27,500 lbs. These coaches have a lot of features that I'm looking for. They both have Allision 2500 6 speed transmissions. I currently have an 03 Southwind 32V on a Workhorse Chasis......I believe the gross to be about 20,500 lbs.
Here's the questions and I know there's no exact scale to measure by, but:

Power wise, how is the diesel going to measure up to the workhorse for pulling grades?
How is the ISB engine for reliablitly and mainteance I see the next year it went to 340hp and torques to 660lbs.
What do you gain having a 6 speed vs a 5 speed transmission?
Will there be much of a difference in mpg?
Does the ISB have an exhaust brake?
By the way, I do tow a vehicle that weighs I believe around 3500lbs.
Any and all comments are appreciated. Thanks
Brian
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Old 11-15-2008, 07:21 PM   #3
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Brian.....IF you were to race up a grade you're 03 Southwind will blow the doors off that diesel. I had the 8.1 in a Fleetwood Terra and on grades I could pass just about any diesel. The only problem is you have to wear earplugs and not intend to listen to the radio or talk to your spouse while doing so.

The ISB will pull the hills steadily, even while towing a vehicle, just a little slower. It's a big change when you switch from driving a gasser to a diesel. The quick acceleration of the gas engine and the ability to tromp on it, drop a gear and go is not something you can do in a diesel. The gassers accelerate and the diesels gain momentum.

The 6 speed gives you more ability to chose gears when pulling grades. Again, difference between gas and diesel with more torque. The mpg will probably be the same as your Southwind if you've been driving it economically...about 8-9 mpg.

The Monaco archives don't show an exhaust brake on that model.

Before you buy one of these coaches, make sure you drive one, I'm a Monaco fan, but these have the 4 airbag chassis and I find them to be very rough riding. The next model up (Knight) has the 8 airbag chassis.

It just so happens that I put Koni shocks on the rear of a friends 07 Cayman today to help the ride. I did his fronts several months ago. Even with the new shocks, I don't find it to be that smooth.
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Old 11-16-2008, 04:14 AM   #4
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I have the 08 Cayman XL. It does have the exhaust brake. I have been fulltiming in mine about 6 months now and this is what I've found.
The front ride is rough! I was thinking of doing the Koni's mod but reading Don's reply, I'm going to wait.
It goes right up the hill with everyone else. It will pass most trucks and generally stays with traffic. I've found the "comfortable" speed for it about 63 mph. It will run at least 79 mph but Cat caught me with the GPS and made me stop that.
Mileage has been steady about 9-10 over the last 5000 miles. I like the Allison 6 speed. it seems to shift just about perfect up or down to me. The only thing that I notice that i don't care for is when the exhaust brake is On, and letting off the throttle, the Allison is programmed to go to a lot lower gear than needed. But that's a trade off for slowing down on long grades also. Contrary to one thought, The cruise control and exhaust brake can be used at the same time, and really work well. I have to say that this is the best cruise control system I've ever used.
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Old 11-16-2008, 06:44 AM   #5
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I own a 07 Cayman 34 SBD and have had it for 18 months--my observations:
I do not find the ride rough like others--some up and down in the front if I hit a large bump but is dampened quickly.
Coach is quiet and tight.
Power is ok, on 6-7% grades I have to hold it in third gear at about 43 mph pulling my car. It will shift to fourth but can't hold it.
Fuel mileage is great--9.5 to 11.
Transmisson is actually just like the 5 speed with 6th being a double overdrive. I need to get to about 64 mph to get it to shift into 6th but then I can slow back down and still hold 6th.
Stereo is junk.
I prefer the way the rear TV is mounted in the 2008 model.

Overall I'm happy with this coach, I have owned many others including a CC Magna and for the money I think it's a good value. If I was in market now I would be looking at used coachs but this one suits us fine.
John
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Old 11-16-2008, 07:07 AM   #6
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Brian,
I have an '07 Cayman XL 36. It has about 8000 miles on it and I have to say I'm overall pleased. I have the engine that you are wondering about and here's the deal: it's not going to win any races particularly uphill ones. But why try? It's a smooth cruiser and that's what I'm really interested in. And I get about 9/10 mpg towing a Jeep Wrangler. The six speed Allison is a great unit. My only negative comment about it is that it wants to go about 63 or so to shift into six. Then I let it drift back to 58 or 59 (my comfortable cruising speed) and you don't even hear the motor back there.
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:56 AM   #7
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Hi Supercub

We have an 07 Neptune XL. I would agree with all the prior posts. The unit does have an EXHAUST BRAKE. This is great when going down hill. It really helps with not having to overuse the "air brakes" and works well with the transmission.
As stated in the other posts the uphill pull is good as long as you maintain the same consistent torque. The transmission will do its own thing if left alone but it is always a good idea to glance at the TACH and try to maintain a good level. If you see it dropping then just slow down a touch and drop down another gear manually if the Allison allows you to do that operation. You may have to slow down a touch to get another gear. Most 6-7% grades will be taken in 3rd gear automatically when pulling a toad. Very rarely have I had to overide the transmission and drop down to 2nd gear. Really depends upon the amount of traffic and semi's going up the same hill. In this case I will usually stay behind a trucker (at his pace) just to be cautious and courteous to other traffic. When going up hill just take it smoothly and it will perform quite nicely. We pull a Saturn VUE, which is just under 3500 lbs, with the 325 ISB engine. Most of the time I never even feel the Saturn; I always have to look in the rear camera monitor just to make sure I still have it with me. HA HA!

Good luck on your decision.
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:36 PM   #8
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supercub,

In April I traded my 05 Adventurer w/W24 and UtraPower Upgrade for a new 07 Neptune. Have only driven it about 5500mi. Overall satisfied, although I've had some annoying minor things taken care of.

How will diesel measure up to Workhorse? Workhorse will be the 1st off the line and 1st to the top of the hill. Like someone said earlier acceleration vs momentum. I added soundproofing to the W24 doghouse that helped but it's nothing compared to quietness of the DP.

Haven't had it long enough to comment on reliability, but others (including mechanics) speak very highly about it. Like any engine, preventive and routine maintenance is key.

You've probably heard people say the maintenace cost is more for a DP but the maintenance intervals are greater so it supposedly works out in the end. One example would be oil changes for my diesel are 15,000mi rather than the 7500mi on the W24. That's good if you put on the miles but if you don't and you do maintenance based on time (like me) it definitely costs more.

MPG on the W24 6.8 to 7.4; mpg on DP 9 to 10.5. I usually have generator running and tow weighs in around 4800lbs.

Exhaust brake and Allison 2500 6 speed are sweeet!
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Old 11-25-2008, 07:17 AM   #9
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I'm happy with my 08 Cayman. It now has 7K miles on it. The ride does porpoise on me some. Never driven the 8 air system yet to compare. It does ride much better then my old gas Class A
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Old 11-25-2008, 05:40 PM   #10
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Brett, I had a "porpoising" issue with my unit, a 2007 36' Cayman. Although yours is two feet longer, the wheelbase isn't. So, you might try what I did. I cured my "light front end" by lowering the ride height by about 1 1/2" in the front. It actually made the coach level, which wasn't apparent when I first received it. (The dealer thought everything was OK) I had the adjustment done by the shop that did the first transmission service. But it was simple and after I was showed what to do, I said "Doh". The sensor on my unit is located in the wheelwell behind the rightside front tire. Probably is the same on yours. Figure that 1/8" on the adjustment slot is good for two inches of front end height. Find a very level spot to park on and measure your plane with the airbags inflated to "ride height" and see what you get.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg from Almanor View Post
Brett, I had a "porpoising" issue with my unit, a 2007 36' Cayman. Although yours is two feet longer, the wheelbase isn't. So, you might try what I did. I cured my "light front end" by lowering the ride height by about 1 1/2" in the front. It actually made the coach level, which wasn't apparent when I first received it. (The dealer thought everything was OK) I had the adjustment done by the shop that did the first transmission service. But it was simple and after I was showed what to do, I said "Doh". The sensor on my unit is located in the wheelwell behind the rightside front tire. Probably is the same on yours. Figure that 1/8" on the adjustment slot is good for two inches of front end height. Find a very level spot to park on and measure your plane with the airbags inflated to "ride height" and see what you get.
Hi there,
So what actually now your ride height in the front air bag and the rear. The "sensor" your talking about, is that the ride height valve mentioned from the manual? Thanks.
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