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Old 06-04-2013, 09:06 AM   #15
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:21 AM   #16
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FWIW, we just drove from Fort Myers, FL to Williamsport, PA in our 2006 HR Ambassador, a distance of 1270 miles. With the 8.3L 330hp Cummins, dash and both roof airs running the entire trip, we averaged 7.7 mpg at 61mph speed. I think that was great mileage.
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Old 06-04-2013, 01:52 PM   #17
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Thanks everyone for the replies! I know my post was generic, and I have been reading through numerous similar posts on the forums as well. But this has given me a good starting point -- I have some brands to look at, I know that I have a realistic budget (even though it could stand to be bigger) and I know I need to moderate my expectations of fuel mileage a bit -- a compromise I'm willing to make for the comforts of a class A.

I do get the impression that as far as reliability goes, the drivetrain manufacturer seems to matter more than the RV brand. I'll be looking for a pushbutton Allison automatic transmission and either a Cummins or Caterpillar engine, although there are various models and I still have more research to do in that arena. I also have some research to do on generators, although I do want one and I do want it to be diesel.

Thanks again so far; all opinions are appreciated!


I'm thinking the majority of the DPs you'd be considering would have a diesel generator. Probably shouldn't be too much of a concern to you at this point.

However, when you mention "reliability," there may be several components you might take into separate consideration.

First, yes, the chassis manufacturer would be the one who supplies the basic mechanical underpinnings to the coach manufacturer. As you research further, you'll see that there will be multiple combinations. In the age range you're looking, the major chassis makers will be Freightliner (FCCC or Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation), Spartan, and Roadmaster. There will be a few others but those are the main chassis manufacturers in that era. Some coach manufacturers made their own chassis, i.e. Alpine (Peak), Monaco (Roadmaster), etc. There are also some coach manufacturers that may have used a different chassis manufacturer for different models such as Newmar that used both Spartan and Freightliner chassis in those years you are shopping.

Second, the coach manufacturer designates, specifies, or approves of the engine that the chassis maker will use when supplying the chassis for any specific model. As you already have mentioned, the main engines supplied during that time were Cummins (ISB, ISC, etc.) and CAT (during that time frame, probably most were 3126E, the precursor to the C7).

And finally, the coach manufacturer is responsible for the "reliability" of the basic structure of the "house" itself and they are the ones who specify which appliances, plumbing fixtures, lighting, flooring, etc., etc. will be used. They are ultimately responsible for the entire coach itself as they are the ones who dictate even what chassis and engine combination to use and see to it that the total product is properly coordinated and will work well symbiotically with each other.

So, you have to consider all three of those things when contemplating "reliability."

You'll see not only on this forum but on every RV forum, the classic debates on:

1. What coach is better? Newmar, Tiffin, Winnebago, Monaco, etc., etc., etc.

2. What chassis is better? Roadmaster, Spartan, Freightliner, etc.

3. What engine is better? Cummins, CAT, Detroit, Mercedes, etc.

You'll see the classic debates on this forum as well as other RV forums "Tiffins are the best and I'd buy no other" or "the Roadmaster chassis can't be beat and doesn't come close to the junk Freightliner" or "I've had Cummins engines in all my motorhomes and trucks and wouldn't buy any vehicle without one." ...etc., etc., etc., etc.

What it will boil down to is the Ford versus Chevy debate. You'll have to come to your own conclusion as to what you believe is "best."

Good luck!


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Old 06-04-2013, 09:45 PM   #18
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I think you might be able to find a coach in your year for under 50k, but it might not have too many slides. Seems the number of slides brings up the price. Something with one slide might be in budget. My old '94 bounder (36') got over 10 mpg, but it did not have any slides and had the cummngs 5.9 engine. No problems with the coach or engine while I owned it.

I hate to answer a question with a question, but what are your needs? tow a car? live in it? camping in the woods? RV for 2 or more?

To give you some kind of answer though, you might want to look around at a 98-00 Dutch Star, maybe around 38'. That is just an example of one of many coaches that might fit your requirements.

Peace.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:39 PM   #19
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I think you might be able to find a coach in your year for under 50k, but it might not have too many slides. Seems the number of slides brings up the price. Something with one slide might be in budget. My old '94 bounder (36') got over 10 mpg, but it did not have any slides and had the cummngs 5.9 engine. No problems with the coach or engine while I owned it.

I hate to answer a question with a question, but what are your needs? tow a car? live in it? camping in the woods? RV for 2 or more?

To give you some kind of answer though, you might want to look around at a 98-00 Dutch Star, maybe around 38'. That is just an example of one of many coaches that might fit your requirements.

Peace.
One slide is enough; the only place where I really want a slide is in the living room. I don't care if the bedroom is narrow as long as I have space to sleep.

Still figuring out my needs, but I won't be full-timing anytime soon. Figure probably 6-8 weeks per year on the road, sometimes by myself, sometimes with my stepson or with a friend. Possibly even with several friends, but that could be an issue with number of beds.

No immediate plans to tow a car, but I figure almost any class A should be able to if I decide I want to in the future. I don't foresee doing any offroading, but it would be nice to be able to sneak down a dirt road every now and then. I have experience driving buses and 18-wheelers, so I'm somewhat used to maneuvering large vehicles in tight spots.

There does seem to be a decent selection in my price range, I'm actually somewhat amazed at what's available out there. The quest continues.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:34 PM   #20
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You can easily get a good two slide coach for under $50k. I would look for as new as possible, no need to go back as far as '98-2000...
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:55 AM   #21
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You can easily get a good two slide coach for under $50k. I would look for as new as possible, no need to go back as far as '98-2000...
I'd be happy either way, two slides sounds like more that can break. As for age, I'm not opposed to an '01 or an '02, or even newer, but I'd rather spend less money than get a newer model. If I can get away with $40K, fantastic.
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Old 06-07-2013, 02:42 AM   #22
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I just sold my 1997 Holiday Rambler gasser and I'm buying a one owner 1998 Georgieboy Cruisemaster 35' with the 5.9 motor and the Allison six speed. coach has all records with it. The owner says he get 10 - 11.5 MPG. It has the Freightliner chassis with 22" wheels and air ride suspension on it.
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:39 AM   #23
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A very important consideration. Check the area directly under the passenger and driver windows. Where the floor meets the wall. If it is soft or papery, you will have rot. Its not a big problem, but it is a repair that will take time. The front windows leak, and there are no signs. I would still buy the coach I bought, but I would have negotiated several thousand off the price because of it.

I have a 2000 Holiday Rambler Endeavour. By the way, I averaged 10 from Tucson to Cleveland, not loaded, not towing. 330 HP cat.
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