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Old 01-18-2011, 12:30 PM   #1
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Fleetwood Discovery vs Tiffin Phaeton

I am posting today in hopes of getting some honest feedback from past and present Fleetwood owners, and more specifically, owners of late model Discoverys. We are looking to buy in 3-5 months. Unlike salespeople who have a vested interest and a biased opinion. I want to hear the good and the bad from real owners.
My wife and I are a bit on the younger side (early 40s) and we have 3 younger children. The oldest being 11. We have never owned an RV before and had always planned to buy a coach in another 5 years or so. Then we started to think about all of the fun we could have as a family (and the fact that we can afford it) while the kids were younger and decided to buy now rather than later. It will primarily be used for short getaways every 3-5 weeks, a couple of 2 week vacations in July and December and one 1 week vacation in the summer.
We have narrowed it down to floorplans that have bunks and I do not want to go a tag axle. We really like the Discovery 40G with the U-shaped booth. We like the overall layout which seems to fit our needs. We also like the midship TV which is visible and usable when the slides are closed. My wife is very safety conscious and will not allow the front TV to be used while traveling (I am not saying this is a bad thing.) Overall, the kitchen reflects our kithcen at home and the living quarters "feel" like home.
I have specific questions regarding the full wall slide. Have the later models worked out all of the bugs. I find myself holding my breath every time the salesman slides that thing in and out. I want to hear about any experiences out there. Also, have there been any major issues with leaks? Additionally, since the restructuring, has Fleetwood stood by their products?
The other brand that we looked at pretty hard is the Tiffin Phaeton which has a brand new bunk model in the 40ft. You can NOT find a Tiffon owner to tell you that the company does not stand by their products. The problem is that the coach kind of feels like our living room at home vs the family room. We seldom use our liv room and like to hang out in our fam room. I am sure this dislike of the interior is an age thing. Also, the midship TV is hidden by wall slide in closed position. Since this is a brand new floorplan just coming off the line, I am not sure if I'll be able to wheel and deal as much with the Phaeton.
I am also very interested in "ride quality" comments on either of these coaches. I know the Disc doesn't have independent front suspension. Is this very important or just sales speech?
I have written enough now. I will wait for your comments and suggestions. Thanks-Ed

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Old 01-18-2011, 01:01 PM   #2
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The new bunkbed Phaeton is a new floorplan but shouldn't affect pricing because it's readily available. It's actually a takeoff on the Allegro RED 38QBA bunkbed floorplan. That's a more entry level coach with bunkbeds that you may be interested in.

As to IFS - the Phaeton doesn't have it either so there's no plus or minus when comparing it toi the Discovery. Actually IFS is not necessary. Our 2004 40' Allegro Bus had a solid front axle while out 2007 has IFS. When going down the highway they both ride well. The main difference is in the ability of the IFS to separate the two front wheels so that a pothole on one side doesn't transmit as badly through the steering. The biggest plus of IFS is when entering a driveway approach at an angle. A slid axle will tend to rock the coach back and forth as the front tires hit the approach at different times whereas IFS will keep it much flatter. IFS will also make it easier to hang onto the wheel should a front tire ever blow out. But, 99% of the time you won't feel any differnce between the two when driving.

Mark & Leann Quasius
2016 Cornerstone 45A
2007 Allegro Bus 42QRP (Sold)
2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited - Rubicon
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:30 PM   #3
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Fleetwood VS Tiffin Phaeton

I now own my third motor coach and it is a 2009 Fleetwood American Allegiance 42G.

This coach has the long driver side slide out and as of this writing I have never had a problem with the slide. Moves in and out with ease--has auto saftey locks when closed to prevent sliding out when coach is in motion.

Slide has plenty storage compartments etc.

The problems I have encountered has not been with new technology, but the items that have been in use for a number of years.
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:58 PM   #4
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I like Tiffin for their customer service and the fact that they are STILL in business. That says a lot right there! You need to pick which coach suits your needs and wants and of course which kitchen your wife likes best. When we purchased our Phaeton used the kitchen and storage was one of the best selling features for my wife. I also like the basement pass through storage for all of my needs. Take a look at the cabinets and little details to see how they are made. Tiffin is a great company, but with every motorhome you will have some kind of a problem. The only problem I see with the bunk bed idea maybe resale. A lot of class A diesels are geared towards two adults. If that is not a concern then get what makes you and your wife happy. I think they both have the Cummins engine, so that's a wash.

Good luck
05 Tiffin Phaeton 40 QDH Cat 350+ ScanGuage D
MP-8, Aero Muffler, AFE Filter, Koni FSD, MCU's, Reflex SS, Ready Brake Elite, HHR LT Toad
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:18 PM   #5
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I bought a Fleetwood 2008 Providence new 1 1/2 yrs ago. We have lived in it solid as full-timers and have put 3,000 miles on it (Several short trips). I'm really not thrilled with the idea of cross country with this, and especially with fuel (diesel) going up to $5.00/gallon within the next two years. I put off a Florida trip partly due to the rising cost of fuel. 5,000-6,000 miles round trip at 8-9 mpg... Nearly $2,800 just in fuel. Our plans were not to go on long trips anyway. I would use other transportaion methods distances that far.

What's good about it:
(1) Not one problem with the Frieghtliner chassis, Cummins motor, Allison tranny, etc. (Excellent) Starts with one turn of the engine everytime.
(2) Interior wood quality (Solid Doors, color match, no flimsy walls. etc)
(3) Nice Fill paint job wil Gel Coat
(4) No Electrical Problems (Solid)
(5) High quality FlexSteel material used for the furniture. This unit has an upgrade of Leather-ette
(6) Drive/Ride is not bad for a non-tag unit. I have driven tags and they drive/ride much better.
(7) Air conditioners are excellent
(8) Extra large side-by-side Dometic refrig is excellent
(9) Air vents are good
(10) Excellent Onan Diesel 8k Generator
(11) 9 MPG with Coach and tow vehicle = ~35,000 lbs (I guess that good)
(12) Double Pane Windows (No moisture in them)
(13) Counter Tops made of Brand Corian
(14) Cabinets are nice, well done
(15) All controls up front and in one location and working
(16) TPO Roof is doing well, but it is only 3 years old... Let's see how it is in another 5

What's Bad:
(1) Number ONE problem is plumbing. The plumbing list of issues is long. Toilets (both replaced), shower, sink, faucets, leaks, air-vents, water-heater (replaced due to faulty weld), sensors, black tank flush back-valve replaced, washer leak, etc etc
(2) Slide outside floor aluminum coated metal that slides or glides on a nylon bar. CHEAP...
(3) Lack of wall insulation (Wall R-Factor must be 5 or less) Inside walls sweating with only a 20-30% humidity. Why can't they greatly increase the insulation factor when they know these are hot-boxes in the summer and refrigerators in the winter? This thing will not hold heat for winiter or cold for summer more than 30 seconds.
(4) Why do they put light colored gold carpet in it? All covered with area rugs. We wished it had tile and NO carpet.
(5) Propane tank is too small (30 gallons)
(6) Replaced the sofa air mattress 3 times. The third time I pulled it out and put a hotel mattress in it. WAY Better
(7) Front door is hard to close and open. I'm not sure how long it is going to last.
(8) Gold dash is quickly looking old and dated (discoloring)
(9) First problems showing up with the Power-Gear Jacks
(10) Lack of wall insulation (Oh, I mentioned that twice)
(11) Entrance door width too small (Newer units have 30" door openings)
(12) Bedroom lighting. You need at least one big light for times when you just need some bright light.
(13) Wall-paper (Plastic coating or something) looks cheesy
(14) GPS is useless in the location where placed. The screen is not in the driver's view without leaning over to look at it.
(15) No way to change out mood light bulbs with longer lasting bulbs. The regular style light bulbs burn out quickly.
(16) Cargo boxes are held up with steel bands that are already rusting

These are a few things we have experience in the Fleetwood. One a 1-10 scale: 6.5-7

It's sad, but I don't think this unit will be around 15-20 years in an on-the-road worthy state without huge maintenance.. Probably 10-12 yrs

I would get a high end Newmar Dutch Star or Dutch Aire anyday over the Fleetwood Providence. But.. Rememeber, the Providence is not Fleetwood's high end stuff. They have another line that is double or tripple the Providence/Discovery.

You get what you pay for is certainly true when it comes to RVs.

Phaetons are about in the same line as Fleetwood's Discovery. Overall, pick which one you like and go with it.

There is one thing... Tiffin has the best reputation in the industry for customer care.

I have called Fleetwood a few times and received great care while under warranty and the last two times I was just put off and was told to go see a dealer.
Fleetwood Providence 2008 40e
Ford F-350 4x4 Diesel 6.0L 2006
Honda CR-V 2006
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:28 PM   #6
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I need to add that the two furnaces have been performing flawlessly. Appliances, no problems.
Fleetwood Providence 2008 40e
Ford F-350 4x4 Diesel 6.0L 2006
Honda CR-V 2006
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:46 PM   #7
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I am on my second Allegro Bay, and I cannot say anything bad about Tiffin. I do know they have a great product and give good service. The quality is much better than most motorhomes. I have travelled with friends that have other brands and they mostly had more problems than I. Look closely at Tiffin, they have been here a long time and I expect they will outlast most of us. I understand Mr. Bob Tiffin is at most of the rv shows, not trying to sell his product, it sells itself, but talking to the rv buying public. This is a man I can trust.
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Old 01-20-2011, 04:26 PM   #8
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I looked at the Discovery before I bought my Phaeton. Look at your storage closely. You do not have the pass through storage on the Discovery that you have on the Phaeton. I have no plans to replace my coach anytime soon. I have it about like I want it, it's relieable and it's comfortable.
Travel well, travel safe,
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:17 PM   #9
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I have an 08 Phaeton QTH with over 23k miles. Great coach and I have tested their commitment to providing great service and by my strick standards they passed. I will sell mine soon only because I need a bit bigger coach. The only negitive I can offer is; despite the good people that work for Tiffin, you may want to keep your visit to RedBay as short as possible.

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Old 02-22-2011, 10:23 PM   #10
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I bought a new 2008 Fleetwood Providence just over a year ago and the only problem I have had was with the Power gear electric jacks but since they replaced one and repaired two others they have worked flawlessly, and yes they claim they are insulated good but on a couple trips that got into the high 20s low 30s at night the heaters ran allot but love the coach.
As for the TV we have the 40X floorplan which is a front kitchen mid living room and when trying to use the TV while driving for the kids they always get car sick looking towards the back to watch tv while going down the road so I now let them watch the front TV when driving down the road. ( I have both the mid cabin tv and a tv over the driver)
I say get the coach you are the most comfortable in and that best fits your needs. We too are in our 40s and just do short family trips as often as possible and the quality of family time on these trips is better than we ever get at home.
We almost bought a Monaco with the same floorplan as our Fleetwood but the interior decor looked more like something my dad would own so i say put the whole family in it and relax for a while without the salesman and see how it fits.
Good luck
2008 Fleetwood Providence 40X
1957 Willys in tow or 2012 Wrangler Rubicon
Roseville Ca.
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Old 02-23-2011, 03:46 AM   #11
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Go with the floor plan that your wife likes the best.
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:42 AM   #12
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CentILRVer- ED,

About 2 years ago there was a fellow on the Newmar forum from the Wash DC area, northern VA, He had a similar family as you IE, young and growing. He bought a new Newmar DP, with bunk beds. He was delighted with his purchase. Unfortunately. I can't remember his name. Maybe you could post a thread on the Newmar forum to find him- They make a super product along with Tiffin, and both survived the economic downturn. Newmar made what I thought was a super management move- They put their production line workers into their service facility and began repairing and upgrading all makes and models avoiding costly layoffs and a loss of talented, well trained people.

Good luck, and I know you will enjoy your decision for spending irreplacable time with your growing family- It'll be a blast setting up camp- each person will have assigned set up/breakdown tasks, exploring new areas, sitting by a camp fire making "Smores", and seeing this great country (don't forget the family pet). I speak as a 7 year Workamper in coastal Maine and have watched and interacted with these folks for many years. We love to see our guests walking down to our beach and pier, watching the lobster boats pulling lobster pots and our cooking operation for lobsters. Ospreys (fish Eagles) fly overhead and raise their young in front of our eyes.

Yes, it is a wonderful lifestyle---

Best regards,
Max H,
2002 Newmar Mountain Aire, 37', 3778, W-22, 8.1 Vortac, Ultra Power upgrade, CAI (cold air intake), Taylor wires, colder plugs, Koni shocks.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:15 AM   #13
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We have never had either a Discovery or a Phaeton, but as happy owners of a Tiffin Allegro Bay, this would be a no-brainer for us - Tiffin all the way.
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by historyljc View Post
I looked at the Discovery before I bought my Phaeton. Look at your storage closely. You do not have the pass through storage on the Discovery that you have on the Phaeton. I have no plans to replace my coach anytime soon. I have it about like I want it, it's relieable and it's comfortable.
Fleetwood went to the raised rail chassis and full pass through stoarage on the discovery in 2008, and the Providence in 2009.

It's easy to spot... the older ones with no pass through, the storage bays come out with the slides. Really trememendously handy, no boping your head. Till you realize fully half the storage sace is gone.

Yes, we've been shopping too.

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