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Old 02-20-2012, 08:44 PM   #1
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Newmar Owners Club
Spartan Chassis
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Advice on 1st Diesel Pusher purchase

Hi. My husband and I are brand new members. We have owned a couple of 5th wheelers and loved them. We are now ready to move on to a motorhome. Very confused after a couple months of looking. We know we want a diesel pusher, plan to pull an enclosed trailer with our jeep, RZR and a couple kayaks inside. We've been looking at 38-40 foot, 2006-2008 DPs and get more confused every day. We have friends who are totally loyal to Holiday Ramblers but haven't found what we're looking for there as far as floorplan, colors, etc. Our friends are not at all fond of Winnebagos or Fleetwoods; which look pretty good to us. They feel the Winnebagos are "not very solid or well built" and the Fleetwoods have too many electrical problems. We'd like to hear from others who have experienced these brands. We appreciate your guidance and input. Thanks so much.

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Old 02-20-2012, 09:16 PM   #2
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Darcan - IMHO the best thing you can do is join the RV Consumer Group and look up their judgements on different models. There is another company JR Consumer that rates RVs too. Both are worth getting.

Also in my opinion, Holiday Rambler, Winnebago, and Fleetwood make many very good RVs. I have friends with all three brands. I would say that they are roughly comparable in quality. Holiday Rambler is owned by Monaco. The two other makers that closely compete with the three mentioned above are Tiffin and Newmar. And of course Monaco who makes Holiday Ramblers.

Those motor homes would fit into the medium cost-quality range. In my opinion.

We have a Country Coach which is approximately similar construction to the higher end Monacos.

There are many many very good motor homes and RV's. The more you look at and drive different brands-models the more you will be able to figure out what your needs are. Absolutely you should use your own eyes to decide which that the quality and cost you are looking for. Most quality can be seen if you look behind the bling and pay attention to how things are put together.

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Old 02-20-2012, 09:36 PM   #3
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Find one you like and have it thoroughly inspected. I have been very happy with my Presidio by Thor.
2007 Presidio 39D

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Old 02-20-2012, 09:39 PM   #4
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darcan, welcome to the forum. I agree with b bob, Look past the colors and get down to how well the coach is built. The components ,microwave, water heaters, furnace are the same, look at the box they are packaged in. We have had 4 American Coaches with NO electrical problems. I would suggest to look at a side radiator for towing a enclosed trailer. Hope this helps a little.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:51 PM   #5
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Over the years we have owned three different MHs. A Triple E with a Ford 460 Gas/Propane conversion and 1 slide, A Fleetwood Discovery with 325 HP Cummins and 2 slides, and a Berkshire 390BH with 4 slides, Turbo Cummins 360hp and bunks.

We were extremely happy with all 3 units but with each change picked up several options that were important to us.

The Triple E was a Canadian Made Unit (argueably one of the best made units of its day). It had tons of windows, lots of storage and a nice floor plan. Unfortunately Triple E has removed itself from the Class A business over the past couple of years. Although our unit would run on propane or Gasoline they also made Diesel Pushers that can be found in the used market. These units are particularily good in cold climates with heated tanks, thermal pane windows and upgraded insulation.

We Moved to the Fleetwood to gide us the additional slide and the benifit of a Cummins engine. The ride and upgraded braking was a vast improvement over the Triple E. Although the finish both inside and out was very good, my wife never seemed to forgive me to taking away the huge windows of the Triple E. The increased interior size due to the second slide along with the larger basement storage, waher/dryer and beautiful bathroom helped to offset the smaller windows. The Fleetwood made a true deisel lover out of me.

The move to the Berkshire was done for one reason and one reason alone ... the addition of the bunks. With the age of our kids, this is a perfect fit. The 4 slides make this a true house on wheels with over 420 feet of space when fully open.

We spent several years looking before making each one of our switches. Determine what features are important "for you". We looked at thousands of units on the internet to become familier with the floorplans and features being offered. Once you have that nailed down it is simply a matter of holding out for a good deal.

Based on the type of towing that you are expecting to do ... you will require a fair bit of torque. My advice would be to get a very good handle on the total weight that you are expecting to tow before you even start looking.

Good Luck
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:09 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum and you are right to get a lot of information before you buy something. Before I bought my present coach, I asked a lot of questions about size, tag axles, engine size, slideouts, floor plans, aqua-hot, residential frig vs. norcold 4door and on and on. I was told to buy something 2' longer than I thought I needed. I ended up with just under 42' and that was the best advice I received for our needs. We have never had a problem staying in a state park. I was also told that a tag axle would improve the handling and increase the amount of stuff I could carry...again great advice as it turned out. My four slides have never been a problem in a campsite and the aqua-hot is the best system (although expensive to fix) that I have ever used in a camping vehicle (presently on my 8th I think). Never have to worry about hot water or heat or propane. Just have to keep the diesel tank filled. I ended up with a Monaco Dynasty 42' and it is exceptionally well built and designed. I previously owned two other Monaco products (holiday rambler fifth wheels) and they were well built also. Now is a great time to buy a mid to higher end coach and as usual, you get about what you pay for. Just make sure there is a good paper trail on the maintenance that has been kept up to date and that you have someone in the know check out the other chassis systems to make sure they are operating properly. This is true for any coach you decide to buy. Good luck in your hunt and in your find. You will enjoy the trip.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:22 PM   #7
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My parents had, over the years an Airstream Excella 500 and a Foretravel MH so when we went looking for a long term MH to purchase for retirement we looked for quality. You have to look behind the glitz and glitter and see the construction of the cabinets and house portion.
We had a Santara 35' gas unit, almost every weekend I had to replace stripped screws as the cabinets were made of what looked like pressed cardboard with a vinyl wrap.
Our Dutch Star has hardwood cabinets and I have yet to have a screw back out or strip out after almost 10 years.
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:09 AM   #8
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The two resources B Bob refers to are a great investment in my opinion. They discuss particular models by year and identify various strengths and weaknesses plus rate the various models on a point scale. Having no expertise in such matters we found these resources invaluable in our search for our Class A. In addition when you look at different options (side vs rear radio), (different engibe types and sizes) you will be able to find discussion on this and other forums. Good luck and enjoy your search.
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:54 AM   #9
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Don't forget about Tiffin, they make very nice MH's and customer service is the best in the business. Any of the manufacturers mentioned above, make/made very nice coaches. If it were me, I'd want a MH manufactured by a company that's still in business, has been well maintained with service records to prove it. Don't worry so much about the name on the unit, instead find a floor plan you luv and get your coach from a fussy owner or dealer that can provide the documentation you require!
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:42 AM   #10
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My advice would be to look into purchasing the latest model Hi Line coach that fits your budget fits.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:39 AM   #11
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Two things you need to consider, the max price you can afford and the floor plan.

We're on our third RV, and if we had it to do all over again, we would have gone with a Tiffin.

2005 Fleetwood Providence 39J
CAT C7 350, MP-8 Programmer

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Old 02-21-2012, 11:21 AM   #12
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Hi darcan,
Welcome to iRV2. Quit asking your friends. When friends get into the details in your post, their comments are not supported by facts. If a friends advice stays at the high level, then sit and listen. By high level advice I mean:
1. floor plan sells the coach. Find the floor plan that fits the way you'll use the coach.
2. 100 lbs per horse power is the most weight you'll want to attempt. This includes the loaded trailer estimated weight. A higher number may require you to have more patience that you're ready for.
3. Have the coach inspected by two different techs. One is certified for the coach and its' systems and the other is certified for the chassis and automotive systems.
4. Consider a service contract for the first year. It's like a warranty, but read the fine print to understand what is and is not covered.
5. The big things you can see for yourself are tires (date code) and batteries (ask for proof of purchase to determine age).
6. CCC = Cargo Carrying Capacity. Make sure the coach will carry all your stuff.
7. CGVWR = Combined Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. Make sure your coach will carry all your stuff and pull the loaded trailer.
8. Hitch Rating = Make sure the hitch will hold your fully loaded trailer.

Every manufacturer that is still in business has a good product.
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:30 AM   #13
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Wow, thanks for all of the great input. You bring up several excellent points. We th agree that we seem to be drawn to the Fleetwood line. I like the 40X floorplan and my husband likes the 39L. We keep coming back to the Providence; 2007-2008. We just need to find some close enough to us to take out for a drive. They are scattered in every area of the country except near us. I had a feeling that these coaches were all basically good but I believe I will check on the two resources mentioned for some consumer feedback. Again, thank you for all of your input. We are so glad we found this site. It has answered many questions.
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:37 AM   #14
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Monaco / hr, winnie, and fleetwood make good motorhomes, as do tiffen and newmar. There are some other manufacturers that are known a "entry level", but your list is solidly middle class.

We love our monaco.

Fleetwood stayed with a conventional chassis for a long time, and many of their dp's do not have passthrough storage. U can tell, if the storage doors come out with the slides, there is no passthrough. Just something to watch.

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