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Old 10-04-2014, 07:31 AM   #1
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Prospective owner - handling problems?

We've tentatively moved Monaco to the top of our list, specifically a '95-02 Dynasty/Exec/Sig 40'.

So I come here and start reading, All the complaints and horror stories about handling are very off-putting.

How bad is it, really?

Do they all do that, or only some?

Is there a way to spot a "problem child"? I can't easily just "drive it and see" because this will be our first MH.

Is there a shop that can just "fix it"?
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Old 10-04-2014, 08:48 AM   #2
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I am an owner of an older Monaco Dynasty that used to be a terrible beast to drive. Through the help of the great folks that support this forum, I was able to find the solution to the problem. I now own a terrific handling coach.

As a Dynasty owner that has come through this, here's my take, which is more my opinion that actual fact.

I think the '90s era coaches have a higher risk of being difficult to drive. I understand that the 2000 and newer Dynasty coaches handle well.

In 2001, Monaco began producing the Dynasty, Executive and Signature coaches as tag axle coaches. The tag axle coaches all handle very well. I have read that many have the opinion that the Monaco tag axle coaches are possibly the best handling coaches available.
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Old 10-04-2014, 09:24 AM   #3
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In 2005, a friend with a less than year old Winnebago Vectra was following us, in our then 1995, single rear axle, 38' Dynasty, over Highway 20 to Redmond. We were just driving normally and enjoying the trip, and he would fall behind us in all of the curvy stretches. He later told us he couldn't believe the diving and the lean, in some of the corners. He said there was no way that he could have kept up on those curves. It actually scared him a bit, and he had been a truck driver in his early years. We were taking the corners at or maybe even 5 mph above the posted speed for the curves, and for us it was just a pleasant drive.

There are a lot of Monaco's on the road, but the S-Series chassis coaches really are awesome units. I'm not sure when the S-Series began, but our experience with whatever chassis was under our old '95 was a very good one, and they only got better. And that applies to their Dynasty, Executive and Signature lines.
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Old 10-04-2014, 10:23 AM   #4
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Gannet,
Are you "moving up" to a DP from another type of RV such as a truck-chassis Class-C? My point is that all of our "big rigs" have the front wheels under or under-and-slightly-behind where the driver sits. Also, the wheel-base is short in order to increase overall maneuverability. These two "features" brings with it a wandering issue. Your thoughts?
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Old 10-04-2014, 10:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Gannet,
Are you "moving up" to a DP from another type of RV such as a truck-chassis Class-C? My point is that all of our "big rigs" have the front wheels under or under-and-slightly-behind where the driver sits. Also, the wheel-base is short in order to increase overall maneuverability. These two "features" brings with it a wandering issue. Your thoughts?
Nope. We lived in a 30' Airstream for about 18 months 20 years ago and did one cross-country trip in it and that's the sum total of our experience with RVs. We've decided to retire and go full-time and hence the MH hunt.

I'd be fine with a tag coach but they're just out of our price range, for the most part.

I don't understand why driver's position should have an effect on steering stability. There are threads here with from 500-1,000 posts about these issues. I shouldn't think that would be the case if this was just a perception or inexperience issue.

There are mentions in the thread above of model-year changes. Can anyone point me to a thread or a page that outlines which chassis changes were made in which years?
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Old 10-04-2014, 01:42 PM   #6
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I own a 2002 Monaco Windsor, which is on the same chassis at the Dynasty an up. Model is a 38PKD, but it is almost 40' long.

The coach handles great. Last year coming back from NY to TN we jumped off I81 to visit a friend, we ended up on some very narrow twisting roads, with the friend following behind us. When we got to her house she commented about how well the coach handled and was surprised I could drive the roads that well.

You will not be disappointed in the ride if you stick with those model coaches.

Good Luck
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Old 10-04-2014, 04:17 PM   #7
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Just my recommendation.......buy the newest MH with the floor plan the DW loves and of course know what kind of camping you plan on doing. Have a few thousand dollars left over for the needed and the unexpected. de Sanford
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Old 10-04-2014, 04:34 PM   #8
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You will find that some folks have problems in the handing dept and some don't. I have a 40ft Knight on a rr8r chassis and have no problems in the handling dept, with that being said your not driving a car that's only 5 ft off the ground your driving a box that's 12ft tall and up to 45 ft long. You just need to drive what ever your looking at and deside if that's for you. I have owned 5 mhs through out the years and a few were a handful on a windy day or on two lanes. the one I have now is the best handling one I have owned. I think you'll find that the longer coaches handle better because of the longer wheelbase but you just have to drive it and see for yourself.
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Old 10-04-2014, 04:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannet View Post
We've tentatively moved Monaco to the top of our list, specifically a '95-02 Dynasty/Exec/Sig 40'.

So I come here and start reading, All the complaints and horror stories about handling are very off-putting.

How bad is it, really?

Do they all do that, or only some?

Is there a way to spot a "problem child"? I can't easily just "drive it and see" because this will be our first MH.

Is there a shop that can just "fix it"?

http://www.monacocoach.com//library/...02_Dynasty.pdf

Start looking for one of these with a tag. Generally a 40' or longer coach will have the best handling characteristics but the tag axle levels the playing field. The coaches you list, particularly in 2000 and later are wonderful coaches.


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Old 10-04-2014, 10:13 PM   #10
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We've tentatively moved Monaco to the top of our list, specifically a '95-02 Dynasty/Exec/Sig 40'.

So I come here and start reading, All the complaints and horror stories about handling are very off-putting.

How bad is it, really?

In my case, it was really, really, really, really, really bad.

Do they all do that, or only some?

I think that most are probably OK.

Is there a way to spot a "problem child"? I can't easily just "drive it and see" because this will be our first MH.

You need to test drive the coach. You don't need to have any experience driving Class A coaches. If immediately the steering seems 'vague', as if the coach isn't responding to your direction at the steering wheel, and the coach wants to wander all over the road, you've found a bad one. If immediately the steering seems right, responsive and tight, and the coach is going exactly where you think it should, then you've found a good one.

Is there a shop that can just "fix it"?[/QUOTE]

In the 90s era coaches, Monaco used inferior suspension bushings in some. It may have been a case of having to use an alternate supplier sometimes. Whatever. My coach had soft rubber like suspension bushings from the factory. There are 20 of these bushings. On my coach, replacing the suspension bushings with the right bushings solved most of the problem. The addition of trailing arm cross braces designed by Van Williams completed the cure.

As far as suspension bushings replacement is concerned, most heavy duty shops can do it. It's a bear of a job, and not inexpensive.

With the new suspension bushings, and Van Williams trailing arm cross braces, our coach rides and handles great! Solid as a rock, absolutely no sway under any circumstances, rides smooth, handles corners effortlessly. One handed driving under all but the most extreme conditions.

Jim



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Old 10-05-2014, 07:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannet View Post
We've tentatively moved Monaco to the top of our list, specifically a '95-02 Dynasty/Exec/Sig 40'.

So I come here and start reading, All the complaints and horror stories about handling are very off-putting.

How bad is it, really?

Do they all do that, or only some?

Is there a way to spot a "problem child"? I can't easily just "drive it and see" because this will be our first MH.

Is there a shop that can just "fix it"?
Our 2002 40' Windsor is a dream to drive, even in the high crosswinds out west! I couldn't ask for anything more stable!
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Old 10-05-2014, 08:27 AM   #12
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Gannett
Stay away from the Monaco RR4R, mostly Cayman & Neptune. If you go with Monaco 8 or 10 (tag axle) bagger you will be fine--barring a lemon. Monaco Coach click on the "brochure archive" and look at the MCC Monacos, Holiday Ramblers, Beavers and Safaris--being 2009 and earlier. I would focus on Diplomat (and sisters i.e. HR Ambassador) and above. I firmly believe the MCC Monacos are the best bang for the buck and barring super coaches of same time period, give the best ride. The semi monocoque frame, mostly Dynasty and above is well regarded as the best ride.
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Old 10-05-2014, 08:32 AM   #13
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Of course we didn't know how ours should handle when we bought it. Ours was not fun to drive. However we took it to Henderson Lineup in Oregon (because we were going to be in that area). We learned a lot just from having them do the test drive.
1. The ujoint on the steering box was worn and the steering box had never been adjusted. ( in the early 2000 era they used two different boxes. Make sure you don't get a Sheppard as they are not adjustable)
2. When it was weighed on all 4 corners we discovered that while we are underweight the tire pressure was not correct. We were way over in the front and low in the rear.
3. We needed the front end aligned the tow was off
4. We did opt to add a steering stabilizer
Result. Its a great coach to drive. We still need to replace the shocks and that will be another improvement.
Overall our non tag is a great coach and actually drives nicer than any other rig of this era that we drove.
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Old 10-05-2014, 08:37 AM   #14
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Pre-2000 coaches are the worst offenders in the "wandering/handling" department. Post-2000 model coaches are almost always better...not necessarily GOOD, but BETTER. ALL handling/wandering problems can be fixed, but require a mechanically savvy person (or friend) to implement the fixes.

Tag axle coach owners seldom report handling/wandering issues. HOWEVER if the coach is equipped with a Sheppard steering gear, rather than a TRW-Ross gear, there could be considerable lost motion in the steering wheel, and that will make even a tag axle coach seem to wander all over the road. That problem cannot be overcome permanently by anything other than a swap to the TRW gear. Lost motion in the steering gear will cause ANY coach to handle very poorly. Craig French pioneered the steering gear swap and has reduced it to a relatively simple, if moderately expensive procedure. Read his post on the swap.

You might still have lost motion in your steering gear, even if it is a TRW. But barring an internal failure in the gear (VERY rare), it is a simple adjustment to bring the lost motion to ZERO.

All other problems causing poor handling can be cured. Depending on the cause of the problem, the fix can run from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
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