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Old 12-05-2010, 01:45 AM   #1
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Question Buying first MH-need input

Hi Everyone! My wife and I are new to RVing and are looking seriously at buying our first-A 2001 National Dolphin 33' with Ford chassis and V10 engine(gas). It has only 11,000 miles and looks new. I understand that Nat'l is now out of business, but does anyone have any experience with this rig?

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Old 12-05-2010, 06:08 AM   #2
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Hello and . We are glad to have you join us here and we look forward to reading of your adventures and experiences. I am sure you will enjoy the website and forums. Good luck, stay safe and keep us posted.
National RV did a pretty good job of RV manufacturing. I would day better than the majority of builders. I also think that Dolphin may have been their most popular model. I would however have a qualified person do a systems inspection. This may actually include a mechanic for the chassis and drive train and a RV Technician for the "house". Also know that the supply of coaches for sell is very high and so the pricing can be very favorable to the buyer. I would suggest you do not get into a hurry and keep doing your homework. Find out how you will use the coach and ask those of similar activities what they like and would change about their coach (model you are interested in) .

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Old 12-05-2010, 10:22 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by fencer View Post
Hi Everyone! My wife and I are new to RVing and are looking seriously at buying our first-A 2001 National Dolphin 33' with Ford chassis and V10 engine(gas). It has only 11,000 miles and looks new. I understand that Nat'l is now out of business, but does anyone have any experience with this rig?
Fencer, you might move this to the National RV section of this forum and you'll get more answers from other Dolphin owners. National made a good coach and even though they are no longer in business (as are many other manufacturers) be aware that the only thing specific to your Dolphin that was made by National would be the shell. The drive train, appliances and other systems are all readily found. There are companies who also have the National specific items for replacement such as body parts as the parts and moulds were bought up when National folded.
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:14 PM   #4
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We had a 2002 Dolphin LX that was a good solid coach, though we had a number of teething problems the first 8-10 months of ownership (it was new model). A 2001 Dolphin ought to have all the kinks worked out by now.
Gary Brinck
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:26 PM   #5
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National build an RV that was a cut above the average RV. With them out of business, it is considered an orphan and you will not find any factory support, so make sure it has all of the original National manuals.

Plastic and fiberglass parts are not available, but all of the appliances and electrical systems are readily available,,.

Make sure that the manuals are included with the coach.

Amateur Radio Operator (KE5DFR)|Full-Time! - 2012 6.7L Ford Crew Cab Dually -2013 HitchHiker Champagne 38RLRSB - Travel with one Standard Schnauzer and one small Timneh African Gray Parrot
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Old 12-05-2010, 03:41 PM   #6
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You can still buy fiberglass parts here. Ortega Manufacturing Inc. | Del Craft Plastics | National RV
Ortega bought the molds it the auction and has converted many of the plastic parts to glass. The parts are special order and have 4 to 5 week lead times. I just had to buy a Bay Door and a entire rear cap for my 1999 Tradewinds.

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Old 12-05-2010, 04:11 PM   #7
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Nationals are good motor homes

We belong to a small local RV Club and since we are 100 miles south of where Nationals were made there are several in our club. We have two Dolphins. Two of our friends took their Dolphin and Trade winds on a 10,000 mile trip to Alaska and back this summer with almost no issues at all and nothing major. The Trade Winds is a DP and the Dolphin is a gas 36'. I hear very good feed back from the National owners in our club.

My own subjective opinion is that National was a good middle range builder and similar to Winnebago, Fleetwood, Tiffin, Holiday Rambler, and Newmar. For a few years National owned Country Coach. I have no idea the reason they sold Country Coach and then closed. Likely too much borrowed money and then the mega RV depression set in.

I have owned two orphan RVs. Although Country Coach is reopening in Jan so my current coach was only an orphan for a year. The key is to get a well built and taken care of vehicle. I have had exactly zero problems getting my Country Coach serviced even though the factory has been closed all this year.

So I would give a strong thumbs up to National Motor Homes. The 1996 Dolphin 36' that went to Alaska this summer has been there twice and has approx 150,000 miles on it. It is still running strong.
B Bob
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Old 12-05-2010, 06:05 PM   #8
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just make sure holding tank capacitys are enough for what kind of rving you plan to do. if you plan on being out in the middle of nowhere without hookups you dont want to be short on water that can be a real bummer

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