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Old 08-26-2012, 11:14 AM   #1
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Cool Diesel Pusher purchase advice

Currently own a 2004 Holiday Rambler Endeavor (38'/2 slide/330 cummins/8 bag roadmaster). Looking for advice from all of your on our next coach. We are primarily 3-4 day weekend RV'ers as we both work, with typically a couple of two week trips each year. We are out at least 2-3 weekends a month in the coach and live in Oregon so would like to be able to use the coach year-round. Happy with our coach but would like (1) smoother ride and better handling, (2) more room with extra slides, (3) aqua hot or system that would give us more flexibility in the winter, (4) layout with 2 euro chairs & flatscreens.

Here are the type of coaches we are looking at (primarily to get better insulation and Spartan chassis): Newmar Ventana/Dutch Star, Country Coach. Would LOVE an Entegra Aspire, but that will have to wait a few years as our price range needs to be under 200k.

I would love to your advice on what coaches you think we should explore further...or are we already on the right track?
I would also like your advice on aqua hot or not for winter camping (winter here means no lower than 25 in the winter) and LP versus diesel fired Aqua Hot?

Thanks in advance.....love to hear from the experts on this board!
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:55 AM   #2
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We looked at many floorplans and fell in love with the Fleetwood Providence 40X. Mid, 40" flatscreen TV with two euro chairs, two living area slides; flat screen in the bedroom and a 3rd flatscreen outside by the outside kitchen. Check it out!
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:10 PM   #3
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I've been looking at some of these models you mention.

While we are looking for a full time model and leaning heavily towards 40+ and a tag we have evaluated these a bit.

The Ventana line seems a great line that is capable for FT:

Pro: Lots of floor plan options. Our favorite is the 3933 with king bed, private toilet, stacked W/D and other desirable options. Gets a good rating and recognized as a FT capable RV in RV.ORG too. Starting in 2008 you get the comfort drive system. They appear to have better all around insulation than many similar level brands but I'm just starting to validate that more deeply. Newer models have some basic propane hydronic heating system but I'm not sure they work in the electric mode.

Cons: Pre 2008 might want to wander a bit more on the road than longer models. (I would suspect the comfort drive minimizes that.) I am a bit concerned over the HP ratings in this line, especially if you go big at 43'. If I was more experienced I could tell you if my concerns are hog wash too. LOL

For us the bottom line is that we will probably pass on the Ventana because to get the longer 43' or new enough to get the comfort drive on the 3933 appears difficult at this time.

For reasons of budget we are looking at older model (04-06) Monaco Diplomat/Dynasty/Signature and Newmar Dutch Star/Mountain Aire/Essex. What we seem to be finding in these higher end model lines is that even though they are older than our current 06 Adventurer, they don't seem to look dated yet. They also come in more floor plans and standard/optional features meeting our desires. I also think that given they were higher end at the time that the original owners ordered them with more options than folks going entry level did. Most of them also are long enough to offer the tag axle.

I do not get any warm fuzzy feelings over CC models given some quality control issues and such. Sorry, not trying to insult any CC owners, it is my gut feeling. For that matter there are some great options in other American Coach and some other lesser known models worthy of consideration. But, when it comes down to gut/warm fuzzy feeling, I am leaning heavily towards the Monaco/Newmar model lines.

Best wishes on a successful search.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:02 PM   #4
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This is going to be interesting to follow. We have been looking at 'up grading' our 2003 Endeavor also. The DW has been looking at the Monaco/Holiday Rambler line again as we are happy with the one we have has held up. I am looking at model years 2008-2010 or so, while they still had Cummins engines. Also would like to stay with the 38'-40' size. There are some places that we like to go to that anything longer will could be an issue.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:11 PM   #5
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Try the American Coach line - they have everything you want. There were a few 2004-2005 models built on a Freightliner chassis, but most of those years and every other will be Spartans.

American Tradition, American Allegiance, American Dream, American Eagle, & American Heritage.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:25 PM   #6
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We love our 03 Dutchstar and rather than go for a newer one we have opted to reno the 03 and change it to suit our lifestyle.
Now, if we were going to go for a newer unit, it would be one of the Newmar models. There is a good reason why they are one of the few manufactures that have not gone out of business and, their factory support is awesome. There has never been a question they have not answered in a timely and profesional manner.
Take a close look at the others and I'll be willing to bet you will come back to the Newmar because of the quality. Some of the other units look pretty flashy on the surface but when you dig in and really look you will see the difference.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:13 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for your great advice on the "next step up". Glad to hear that others are contemplating similar moves. I will definitely check out the American Coach line as well to see what is out there and what others are saying.

Any experience with aqua/hydro/oasis hot and if that is worth pursuing for cold weather (20-40) travel? Others seem to love this system, but it certainly adds a hefty "add" to the price.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R2Home View Post
...Also would like to stay with the 38'-40' size. There are some places that we like to go to that anything longer will could be an issue.
Our real life experience on this is nill/none/nada. Our main concern is that we get a floor plan for FT use and figure we shouldn't have a problem getting into many great places if we stay below 42' and use our toad for exploring. There are a few, select 40' floor plans that can meet our needs but I'm a bit gun shy over weight and balance so I'm currently looking closely at tag axles. I'm going to start a thread on that soon.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by athuddriver

Our real life experience on this is nill/none/nada. Our main concern is that we get a floor plan for FT use and figure we shouldn't have a problem getting into many great places if we stay below 42' and use our toad for exploring. There are a few, select 40' floor plans that can meet our needs but I'm a bit gun shy over weight and balance so I'm currently looking closely at tag axles. I'm going to start a thread on that soon.
From our real life experience, I would caution against the idea that "bigger & more complex is better". As nice as a tag axle may be, I wouldn't want the extra +10,000lbs, the extra 2tires, the extra maintenance & extra "expense", plus the considerably more expensive ISM/X, Allison 4000, etc. necessary to get all that extra running gear down the road. It is also easy to justify another couple of feet on length.....40 is only 4 more feet than 36... Oh what the heck 42 isn't that much bigger....we can probably squeeze that 45er into most places! The other consideration is cost......how much do you really want "stuck" in a fully depreciating asset? These a big boy toys. I still have to remind myself that the upfront cost is only the start....the bigger the toy the more it costs to to keep all those goodies maintained and working.

Just something to consider....only you can decide what is right for you.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:12 AM   #10
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From our real life experience, I would caution against the idea that "bigger & more complex is better". ...
All great points.

We do know that it is difficult to get a floor plan we like in less than 40'. There are some great floor plans at 40' with a single axle too. I posted a new thread on rear axle weights and it shows my particular situation of not having enough available weight capabilities to keep me comfortable. If I get back some good information on typical weight and balance configs for some DPs, I would be satisfied to devalue a tag rig.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:22 AM   #11
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A tag axle does not add 10k lbs to the weight of the coach by any stretch of the imagination. It adds that in capacity, but it does not weigh anywhere near that much. Extra maintenance is hardly anything to even write about. Checking the hub oil and lubing a couple of extra brakes is not costly or time consuming. I will concede you have to buy two more tires for the tag axle when it comes time to replace them and that is a costly proposition.

Considering the vastly improved handling, stability, loading flexibility and the added braking capacity, the tag benefits outweigh the drawbacks by a significant margin. Yes, you'll only find tags on larger, heavier motorhomes, but when you're looking at a 40ft single axle you're already looking at a big motorhome. Adding 2 ft and getting the benefit of a tag is a smart consideration.

As to the original OP's question about Aquahot, I put in on my must-have list and have enjoyed it greatly. It adds to the 4-season camping ability and does a good job.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:21 PM   #12
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You are correct...an axle & 2 tires do not weigh 10k. I am guilty of simplification. However, I am sure you will agree that, pre-DEF, you needed to get into a 42-45ft MH to get a tag. This usually meant a serious jump up the model ladder to a premium unit equipped with agua-hot, a third AC unit, tile floors, solid cabinets, 10-12W generator, etc and this usually also meant an upgraded & beefed-up chassis and before you know it that 400hp ISL & Allison 3000 isn't enough....voila +10k in weight & complexity.

Hey nothing wrong with any of these improvements as long as you understand what you getting yourself into. For example, you mention an Agua-Hot system...no doubt an outstanding product, but for us we spend our time following and chasing "Goldilocks" weather (not too hot..not too cold) so in almost 2 years we have never turned-on our propane furnace (electric fireplace & space heater get the job done) and seldom turn-on the AC units. As a result, for us this would be a very unnecessary $10-15k worth of options, as would a 500hp ISM, as would a third AC unit, as would a 12W generator, as would 5-8ft of additional length.

Just us...not right or wrong... Just think anyone considering the move to a Tag, needs to understand that it means a lot more than an extra axle & 2 tires.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
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You are correct...an axle & 2 tires do not weigh 10k....
I knew what you meant.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:38 PM   #14
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We looked really hard when getting our 3rd coach. We finally settled on a 40' Phaeton by Tiffin. It has a fair balance of space and storage for full/half-timing. We still work, but have summers off, so during that time, we are full-time, and I can take everything and don't feel cramped. If we went to a 43' tag, we actually lose storage in the basement. I've avoided the AquaHot and dishwasher because of the lost storage space and the lack of need for the heating capacity in the very temperate weather we chase. We did opt for 3 roof heat pumps and a 10KW Genset. A great value for the money IMHO.
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