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Old 08-16-2015, 04:59 PM   #1
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My ideal Class A

We've had our 2014 Fleetwood Excursion for about 7 months and have been on a dozen or so trips. It's a great "entry" level DP, and with the exception of a few gremlins has been pretty reliable. The ride isn't bad, but not great. The floor plan is workable for our lifestyle although we'd like a slightly larger bathroom and bedroom. Storage both inside and out is adequate. Usually the crew is my wife and myself and our 6-year old daughter. Occasionally she brings a friend, and they sleep on the full queen size loft bed that drops over the drivers area. We like the loft bed a lot, more than a bunkhouse model. The coach used to have a jack knife couch/convertible bed. It was horrible to sit or lay on. We replaced it with a reclining love seat we found at a local home furniture store. Between that and the reclining passenger seat there's plenty of comfortable sitting room for the 3 of us. The floor plan we have also has a pull out table with chairs (2 regular chairs and 2 that fold up and store under the bed). We definitely prefer this to dinette arrangement. Sometimes our 20 something son joins us. As it stands right now, there's no space other than the love seat for him to sleep on.

Most of our trips are within 100 mile radius of our home (Disney World and various central Florida state and private parks). We've done a couple of 400 and an 800 mile trips and a 1,500-2000 mile 3 week'er is in the planning stage. We're still going to be working for some time, so while, long trips will be the exception rather than the rule. We also pull a car on our longer trips with a tow dolly. It we towed more often a 4-down set up with a Jeep or CRV might fit. The debate between gas and diesel is moot at this stage. Rational or not, I would not go back to a gas coach. The excursion is a 35 footer and based on my experience so far I can't see going much bigger than that, maybe a 40 if it was the right package.

So here's my "wish list" based on our experience so far:

Price - somewhere between $250 and $300k. Probably would have to stick to the low end. Although I have no regrets buying new, I'd definitely consider a used coach. Especially now that you can get 2013s and up with amenities like big flat screen tvs and LED interior lighting.

Floor plan - we really like most of what we have in our current plan. 1 bathroom is plenty. The showers in the excursion is not huge, but I can shower comfortably without feeling like I'm trapped in a Pringles tube. The vac-u-flush toilet seems ok. The vanity is a small, single sink unit and it would be nice if it were bigger. The bedroom is a bit small and with a single widow is very stuffy. It has a short queen mattress which we replaced with a memory gel foam we got on Amazon. It's very comfortable, but I'd prefer a full size queen. There's a small slideout closet in the bedroom that gives some closet space and a spot you could put a combo washer dryer. My fifes side has a very small end table, my side has no table. An extra 18 inches around the bed would make a great improvement. I've already talked about the couch and lost bed. We like those fine. The kitchen with residential fridge, propane 3-burner stove and microwave/convection oven is plenty for our cooking needs. We mostly grill outdoors and I have a portable induction cooktop if I want to fry anything outside. Or, I also put a cast iron griddle on my propane grill for bacon, eggs, pancakes. The entertainment center is pretty basic. A 36 inch Sony flatscreen in the living area. Didn't come with a tv in the bedroom, I'm working on adding a small flatscreen in there. We almost always use our Dish X2 for TV. A winguard Traveler interests me, but we camp in a lot of places with lots of trees, so I doubt I'm going to adding one of those

Mechanical stuff: Since I'm at the DP level anyway, I think I'd like a beefier engine/trans than my Cummins 300 HP Allison 2000 trans. Preferably something in the 400 HP range. I'd like to be capable of towing up to 10k lbs, although at this point I'm not sure I know that that would be. Since this is a wish list, I think I'd prefer a side radiator to the rear one I have now. I can do basic maintenance and some roadside repairs. It would really be nice to not have to rip the bedroom apart to have to access the top of the engine compartment or crawl on the ground under the rear to try to swap a serpentine belt.

TAG axel- I've read a lot of great things about TAGs. Looks like mostly positives, although it would be two extra tires to replace when the time comes. Since I'm not looking for a unit much bigger than 40 feet I'm not sure TAG would be an option

Love my Onan 6000 QD generator, but I really envy having a generator on a slide out. Other than oil changes, I'm not sure what work can be done on my generator without dropping it. And that probably a job I'd have to leave to the Cummins guy. Since my "dream" coach would be a bit bigger ( not sure if it would be 3 AC units big), I might need a 10 or 12 KW genny.

Finally, AC unit. The word needs to be "quiet". My excursion is so loud inside its terrible. And even with the 2 Fantastic fans it comes with we need the AC a good portion of the year here in Fla. oh and on the outside, the Excursion has the Airxecel low profile rooftop units definitely have earned the "Mach 8" name. They sound like they're flying at Mach 8 whenever they are running. They appear to have traded off profile height by using less coils with super high air flow. I am surprised no one has complained (yet) about the noise of our AC units. It sounds like I have two giant shop vacs on my roof. If I keep this unit for a while I may have to look into getting these swapped out for standard ACs on the roof

Anyway, this is my wish list/price range. Looking for opinions and suggestions. I'm sure I'll get a few
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Old 08-16-2015, 05:05 PM   #2
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2007 and earlier Monaco, Safari, Beaver and Newmar are all really nice coaches. The high end models will be in or near your price range and you will be amazed with the ride especially the S-series Monaco coaches.
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Old 08-16-2015, 05:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gemert View Post
2007 and earlier Monaco, Safari, Beaver and Newmar are all really nice coaches. The high end models will be in or near your price range and you will be amazed with the ride especially the S-series Monaco coaches.
Yea, here's where money gets in the way. 2007 is almost 10 years old. I can see trying to keep this for 10 years or so and I'd be a bit concerned about parts replacement and obsolescence. But thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 08-16-2015, 06:54 PM   #4
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Yea, here's where money gets in the way. 2007 is almost 10 years old. I can see trying to keep this for 10 years or so and I'd be a bit concerned about parts replacement and obsolescence. But thanks for the suggestion.
Parts do not seem to be a problem The only thing I've heard so far is the hydraulic fan on the engine is on a constant back order. To the tune of 10 months or so. Everything else seems to be supported. Good luck.
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Old 08-17-2015, 09:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jondrew View Post
Yea, here's where money gets in the way. 2007 is almost 10 years old. I can see trying to keep this for 10 years or so and I'd be a bit concerned about parts replacement and obsolescence. But thanks for the suggestion.
I have a 2004 Newmar 4011 that I bought used at 10 yrs old. I don't have any problems getting parts and it cost $200,000 less than a new one!!!
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Old 08-18-2015, 06:34 AM   #6
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I dropped my Excursion off for service yesterday and was wandering around the showroom. They had 2, new 2015 Tiffin Alegro Bus units in there with TAG axels. One was $399k and the other was $300K.

I'm assuming Tiffin is a price point down from the others suggested here?

Both these units had a lot of the features I lik but we probably larger than I'd pick. What is the difference between the Tiffin Alegro and the Monico Newmars?
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:33 AM   #7
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I have no personal experience with Tiffin. I have heard numerous people who love them and compliment the company and their customer service. The ones that I have looked at do not seem to have the same quality as my 12 year old Beaver. But my Beaver is 12 years old and the original company is no longer in business. If I was looking new, and I had an extra 600K, I would be looking at a Newmar to get the same quality that I already have. Not sure if this answered your question or not. I would be comfortable buying a Tiffin. I guess I should mention that my Beaver is a Monaco product. Good luck.
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Old 08-18-2015, 11:26 AM   #8
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I have no personal experience with Tiffin. I have heard numerous people who love them and compliment the company and their customer service. The ones that I have looked at do not seem to have the same quality as my 12 year old Beaver. But my Beaver is 12 years old and the original company is no longer in business. If I was looking new, and I had an extra 600K, I would be looking at a Newmar to get the same quality that I already have. Not sure if this answered your question or not. I would be comfortable buying a Tiffin. I guess I should mention that my Beaver is a Monaco product. Good luck.
Interesting you say that. While the Tiffin was obviously a higher level of product than my Excursion is, you could see fit and finish issues similar to my Rig. For example, lots of the same dashboard finish and switch look. On the outside the hole for the exhaust looked like it had been drilled by a drunk with a home saw.

I'll have to go check out the Monacos and Newmars.

Mind you this is all hypothetical. I can't see trading in the Excursion at this point for something more expensive. Unless of course we hit the lottery
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:38 PM   #9
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Interesting you say that. While the Tiffin was obviously a higher level of product than my Excursion is, you could see fit and finish issues similar to my Rig. For example, lots of the same dashboard finish and switch look. On the outside the hole for the exhaust looked like it had been drilled by a drunk with a home saw.

I'll have to go check out the Monacos and Newmars.

Mind you this is all hypothetical. I can't see trading in the Excursion at this point for something more expensive. Unless of course we hit the lottery
I was looking at newer DPs in the 3 year old range. I was not impressed by many of the ones I saw. The only ones I really liked the fit and finish, cabinetry, and standard equipment like hydronic heat on were way out of my price range. I had pretty much resigned myself into buying one that I know would have driven me nuts when my wife and I stepped into our current coach. It looked brand new and the cabinets were better than in my house. HydroHot heating, tag axel and everything I had been drooling over was on it. Found out it was a 2003, paid less than I had planned by 2/3rds. 34K on it and never looked back. I have found plenty of indications of it's age since! But still happy and about 6k miles down the road and happy. So good luck, the right coach will fall in your lap probably before your ready for it!
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:47 PM   #10
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Have you checked out Entegra? The Entegra Aspire may be closer to what you are looking for and still within reach on the dollars. Orlando RV is an Entegra dealer.

Another idea for you might be to attend the Tampa RV show in January. That's a great show with lots to see. You may want to consider the Hershey Show in September. That's another great show with lots of Class A's which you can check out and tire kick.
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:15 PM   #11
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Newmar Vantana ...400/450 HP...2016 will have a passive steer Tag on their 40ft...cuts 17% off turning arc ! .. Hot water heating 10 K gen..list 300-370..buy 250 - 280K
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:19 AM   #12
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Our rig is 20+ years old. Not much need for parts or difficulty in finding those needed.

Sometimes we imagine obstacles where there are non.
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:35 AM   #13
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If you want a 40ft with a tag axle, then Newmar Ventana or even a late model Dutch Star should be on your shortlist. I highly recommend that you test drive a Newmar so that you can experience Comfort Drive. When I did my test drive, it was under windy conditions and it was pouring rain (rare in California). I almost didn't even go to the dealership due to the weather, but it was the perfect environment to test Comfort Drive. I LOVE IT! Comfort drive with a tag axle is such a beautiful experience.

As for the ACs, I have to put my hand up to the ceiling in my Dutch Star because I can't hear the AC even though it's on. The Dutch Star also has AC drip rails (not sure what it's called) so that the condensation drains underneath your coach as opposed to down the sides of your coach walls.
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:48 AM   #14
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Here are some customer testimonials on Newmar's Comfort Drive. They can add me to the list of customers that are sold on it.

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