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Old 07-31-2011, 11:17 AM   #1
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Country Coach motorhomes quality/reliability

Looking to buy a MH. Diesel pusher. mechanic friends said don't buy a new Winnebago, avoid new vehicle depreciation by buying a used Country Coach diesel pusher with low mileage. Am wondering about Country Coach quality, reliability, reputation. Your thoughts would be appreciated. I am not a mechanic and don't want to buy somebody else's problem. Thanks in advance. Huck

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Old 07-31-2011, 11:47 AM   #2
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We have been told by former Country Coach employees to avoid any model past 2006 as the quality dramatically went down after that point. Having said that, also be aware of where your prospective new coach has been. We purchased ours after it had practically been an orphan . . . one original owner but after that owner it went from lot to lot and experienced a huge amount of dry rot. We did, however, get an amazing deal on it, and even with the money invested in it to bring it up to standard (check out pics on Country Coach owner's forum from num1dgh), we still have a great buy on our hands. We have always wanted a Country Coach, and in our minds, there is no better quality coach. Any coach requires maintenance and care, and if it is left in a lot to rot, it will.

Prior to purchasing a used Country Coach, or any coach for that matter, I would definitely want to see the maintenance records. Look for the PTO being replaced with a "wet kit" or have it done prior to taking delivery. Press on walls around the driver's toll window, the door, and all windows and feel for solid wood. If it's at all soft, beware . . . it indicates dry rot.

If you're anywhere near Oregon Motor Coach, I'd ask if they could inspect the coach prior to you purchasing it. If not, and you're comfortable with the coach, I'd bring it to them to inspect it and recommend any repairs. OMC doesn't make up things to be done just to get work as some repair shops do. They will give you an honest opinion on any work and then provide you with accurate estimates of the repair costs.

I think when you get to the Country Coach level of coach, you probably wouldn't be "wrenching" on it anyway, even if you were a mechanic. They're beautiful coaches and a real pleasure to drive and live in.

John & Cathy Lamb
45' Marathon XLII
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:05 PM   #3
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Country Coach MH

Country Coach had a great reputation for quality and service until the last couple of years before they went bankrupt. They are still regarded as one of the better built MH's made.

IMHO, the following are brand names that have better than average quality and good after purchase customer service.

1. Tiffin Motorhomes
2. Country Coach
3. Winnebago (No matter what you were told!)
3. Newmar

Earlier than 2007 National RV's are of excellent quality as well. Tropi-Cal, Tradewinds, Islander, Marlin and Pacifica are the Diesel Pusher models built by National.

If price is no concern, then ForeTravel and Newell top the list.

Again, just one mans opinion.

Happy Trails!

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Old 07-31-2011, 12:29 PM   #4
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Well, any motor home has the ability to challenge your wallet even if the previous owner did not have any problems.

A motor home has many systems built onto a bus or truck chassis which is gravity challenged given the condition of our Nations highways and byways. They are not built with the quality controls built into high volume mass market automobiles.

So, expect to pay someone at $100/hr for the mechanical repairs you do not want to do yourself, and to loose time driving to the shop, waiting for the repair to be done, and driving from the shop with whichever rig you buy.

If you are good with that scenario, then Country Coach rigs from 1994 to 2003 are very reliable rigs. All CC coaches also are built with quality materials. The chassis will be a Gillig Bus chassis or a proprietary chassis with cloned Gillig chassis features. However, CC was slow to adopt the concept of slides and so have none or fewer than the competition in the above time period.

In the end they peddled the exotic Veranda model slide which was a postscript to a dying cash flow stream.

Also seeking more volume of sales, in the middle 2000's they expanded the model lineup on the entry level, but still expensive, introducing the Tribute and Inspire which diluted their focus on the higher end lines of Affinty, Magna, and Intrigue.

CC built beautiful machines until about 2008, but their overtaxed quality control system and increasing complexity may cause headaches and repair bills for the owners of more recent rigs.

Travel Supreme built some great rigs with good quality control results but are also high end orphans.

1995 CC Magna #5280
C8.3L 300hp Cummins, 31,000lbs
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by desobelman View Post

IMHO, the following are brand names that have better than average quality and good after purchase customer service.

1. Tiffin Motorhomes
2. Country Coach
3. Winnebago (No matter what you were told!)
3. Newmar

If price is no concern, then ForeTravel and Newell top the list.
I've just been thru some more recent CCs, one owner had good things to say, the other experienced a nightmarish first year but seems to have most bugs worked out now.

Tiffin always gets high marks, no matter who you ask.

Most brokers and salesmen seem to roll their eyes when you mention Winnebago.

I've gotten a few of those reactions praising Fleetwood, but only from owners of other brands. I've got one now, and am planning on replacing it with a Monaco or Fleetwood. IMHO, the upper end of the Fleetwood line would be deemed "Best Value," if Consumer Reports rated DPs.

A close friend comes from a family of devoted Newmar owners, but has had some serious troubles with his newer Essex. He swears that his late father's Mountain Aire logged 100K miles without a serious problem. Like me, he's a pilot and mechanic, but puts food on the table practicing dentistry. He won't buy anything but Newmar.

The friend from whom I bought my Fleetwood (it has been wonderful, through 6K miles of use) bought a 2005 Newell and now has a profound case of upgraders' remorse. It has been nothing but trouble, and his trips to the shop (according to him) have consistently been ten times as expensive, compared to the times he had mine worked on.
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:35 PM   #6
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The top two production motor homes for quality are Foretravel and Country Coach. I have a Country Coach from 2002 and a very close friend a Foretravel from 2005. Both have very similar construction. Quality where you see it and quality where you don't look often. All other makers are a step down in my humble opinion.

Country Coach may have had some issues after 2006, but I have been in coaches built after that date and driven them. They seem to also be of very good quality.

Of course there are a few makers of ultra high end coaches that are likely of a bit higher quality components than CC, like Marathon, Libery, Newell, and so on. But those are not really production coaches.

With all due respect the gentleman who rated Tiffin above CC is incorrect, again in my humble opinion. Tiffin fits into the middle range of production coaches with Winnebago, and Newmar. Certainly good makers, but not of the level of quality components as Country Coach.

The other two companies making very good coaches are Monaco and Beaver. IMHO both a cut above T,W, & N and a bit below CC and Foretravel.

But, there are many many good motorhomes out there with many happy owners. I personally like CC, but the more I talk with owners of many different brands I come to the conclusion that there are many motor homes capable of making happy owners. So drive and look at a whole bunch of coaches and buy the one that best fits your needs. The thing I like about CC is that it is near impossible to find a poorly engineered one.
B Bob
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Old 08-01-2011, 04:46 AM   #7
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As you are aware there are very many components that make an RV. Usually it's the "purchased" components like Dometic, Norcold, Caterpiller, Cummins, HWH, Flowjet, etc. that can give the owner headaches. When these components break down or do not perform correctly the owner will sometimes blame the coach manufacturer. When, in reality, the coach manufacturer has nothing to do with the performance of the component part. With the exception of providing the best quality component possible.

When we talk about the quality and performance of the coach itself we must remember that we are talking about the engineering that went into the design, the construction quality (the labor and technique of construction), the construction materials, and, in the Country Coach, the chassis. Country Coach designs and builds their own chassis (frame, suspension, steering, etc.) whereas many others purchase their chassis and build an RV on top of it. Come to think of ti, I don't know if CC still designs and builds their own chassis anymore since the "new Country Coach" company has started up.

Back in 2003 when I was in the market to buy a motor home I spent 18 months studying how each company made their rigs. Not that I was so particular, it was because I was not financially able to make the purchase for that period of time. Many of the mainstream RV manufacturers sell total junk. I watched a manufacturer in Forest City, Iowa putting the wooden framing in a rig. The worker did not fit the parts together correctly but instead of making it right he shot about 30 staples int the joint until it stayed together. Never mind that the wood had so many staples in it that it had split into shreds. There were many places where the thin wall paneling did not fit correctly. The "fix" was to throw some color matched tape on the joint. I left that place shaking my head.

I had a similar experience (only worse) with a manufacturer in Decatur, Indiana.

While on a business trip in 2004 to the Pacific northwest I had the opportunity to visit the County Coach plant in Junction City. I watched for several hours as the workers took their time to fit parts correctly and all welds were checked by an inspector. The house framing was all steel and aluminum. Screws were used instead of staples. The paint shop looked and performed like a custom car or custom motorcycle shop. All top notch. I was convinced.

2 months later I purchased a lightly used 2000 Allure Millennium Edition and I have been very happy with it since.
Happy travels, Bald Eagle
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rwbed1 View Post
Looking to buy a MH. Diesel pusher. mechanic friends said don't buy a new Winnebago, avoid new vehicle depreciation by buying a used Country Coach diesel pusher with low mileage. Am wondering about Country Coach quality, reliability, reputation. Your thoughts would be appreciated. I am not a mechanic and don't want to buy somebody else's problem. Thanks in advance. Huck
why not a new winnebago???
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:39 AM   #9
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Check out some of the low mile Alpha's. I haven't experienced any issues with mine that I couldn't fix. The more we're in it, the more we know we made a good choice.
Good Luck..........................
Wendell & Bev
Des Moines, Ia
2007 Alfa 40'
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:26 PM   #10
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I give Tiffin outstanding marks for after-sale customer service at the factory, but no better than average for build quality. I see the same litany of complaints about factory screw-ups with Tiffin that I do with other brands. The good news is that they stand behind the product and fix the problems, and not in just the first warranty year.

Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition; 2014 Buick LaCRosse
Homebase in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
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