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Old 06-04-2012, 07:55 PM   #15
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Vesta is 33

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Old 06-04-2012, 08:01 PM   #16
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Wow, thanks for all the quick replies guys. Yes I have to be 33' or less total overall. I don't want to hang onto the sidewalk in front of my house, and I can't get the unit down the side of the house. I test drove a 2009 Bay Star 2702 by Newmar today. It is a gas unit and is 27'9" long. I could have gotten it for about $79000 including my trade. I was really really really close to buying it. But when I was on the highway doing 60mph, I wiggled the steering wheel about an inch back and forth. Well it really swayed from side to side wobbling almost out of control....and I really wasn't moving the steering wheel that much to cause that. We ended up passing on the Coach as the slide prevented the drivers seat from going back far enough(I'm 6'4" tall), my wife didn't feel it had enough counter space in the galley and the handling characteristics were not great. But it fit the bill otherwise. I was told by the dealer that no gas unit will perform very well and that only the DP's can handle well. Is this true?

I should say that I also want to tow a malibu tournament wakeboard boat and at times a 20' car trailer. So GCWR is important to me.

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Old 06-04-2012, 09:34 PM   #17
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I have a Beaver Monterey, which they made from ~1996-2003. Safari made a similar Sahara coach. CAT 300 upgradeable to 330 with a software push. It's listed as a 30', tapes out at exactly 33'.

I pull an 18' Carson Racer trailer with an extended tongue, about 5K loaded. They have a short sleeper sofa in the front on the kitchen slideout. First class cabinetry. Solid construction. The front seat has plenty of adjustment with the slide in. Because it's a relatively light DP with a big motor, you have a lot of tow capacity to work with.

Things you have to look out for:
The short length and big motor means that you have to pay attention to alignment and loading. I fill up the water all the time and fill the fuel up if it gets a bit flighty in the wind. I added a Safe-t-steer. I also added a tube bumper under the (empty) front cap that I can fill with rebar - right now it's full of bricks until I can find a cheap source of old rebar. I also added a 26 gallon ag sprayer under the front cap. A line goes to a spray nozzle in the fan shroud, so when it get's hot on long grades I just spray cool it, and otherwise I have about 300lb extra in front of the front axle.

The 2003 has the gennie in the nose. If I had an endless supply of money I'd send it up to Bend and have the beaver guys put the gennie in the nose and the A/C condenser where the gennie goes, that would really fix the nose weight balance.

You don't have to do all of that, but I live in a really mountainous, hot, and windy area. You can do fine with alignment and the safe-t-steer.

They also have hydraulic over hydraulic brakes, which a lot of the less informed on this site seem to disparage. With the linkage properly adjusted, they work just fine. I do not need to use reverse gear on a grade however. The torque of the cat, slope, and light front end weight makes the front brakes pretty useless and the rears overtaxed. I find you can just roll it backwards in neutral and there are no worries.

I got mine in 2010 with 33K miles for $57K. I've put on new tires and a host of little things, other than my projects to "improve" it I've probably spent around $60K total.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:52 PM   #18
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:14 PM   #19
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there was a 30' Monaco dynasty DP (5.9 cummins) on ebay last week. I dont know if it is still on there
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:26 PM   #20
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Keep an eye on eBay for ideas so you can see whats out there. I have a search set up to email me daily to see pushers under 34 ft. You can check out the completed auctions to see all of them. My Airstream 32 was only made for a few years. They don't appear too often for sale. 12-14 mpg.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:51 PM   #21
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The Safari Treck would fit the bill. No longer in production thouge. IIRC it was a 28 footer and the bed retracted up.
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:14 AM   #22
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Jeff suggested a safari trek, very good coach with lots of room. No real bedroom as the bed retracts to the roof. most are not a 'pusher' but a diesel.
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Old 06-05-2012, 04:13 PM   #23
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Maybe you should shop around for a storage location before making this decision. Diesel coaches are expensive vehicles and limiting your decision to 33' seems a little short sighted.

Another word of warning: Many short wheel base diesel pushers have serious handling issues. When you hang a very heavy diesel engine and Allison transmission on the back of a coach it presents a challenge to make it handle/steer decently.

Best of luck!
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Old 06-05-2012, 04:34 PM   #24
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Vito is correct, and a couple others have alluded to the handling issues. Consider that a diesel pusher has a pretty heavy engine & trans hanging out behind the rear axle.

The shorter the wheelbase, the more problematic it becomes to have good handling. Note van dieman's remarks about having to add water & ballast to the front of his coach. That's to compensate for the short wheelbase. Unfortunately, many Safari (and Monaco?) coaches were built with the generator in the rear, which further exacerbates the problem. We strongly considered a Safari, but this poor design turned us off. Engine, trans & generator ALL behind the rear axle? No way it's ever going to really handle well... (Plus, many Safari's don't have air suspension or brakes...) Note there are companies specializing in solving Safari coach handling problems, for several thousand dollars...

In my experience, a good diesel pusher should have at LEAST a 50-55% wheelbase to length ratio, the generator mounted in front, and the fuel & water tanks mounted center and low.

Bottom line, in that small of a coach, I would just get a gas model. They are built on completely different chassis, and much better suited to the small size. There are several models in the 31-33' range with excellent floorplans.
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:05 PM   #25
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This is really strange. My MH handles great. (34wds) Just had a catastrophic failure on a front tire and no problems with handling. In fact I easily stayed my lane while slowing down. My neighbor had the same xc frame and year(Discovery), 3-4 ft longer and he had big problems with wandering. Maybe I just lucked out. I can easily sip my coffee while driving. I like the short wheel base.
I do have the 7500 watt diesel gen in front. My neighbor had propane, much lighter.

Bottom line whichever model you choose check on the road at highway speed. See if you can control with one hand. For safety I always use 2 but as a wandering check just lift your hand off the wheel. If it is wandering you will know right away.

I might suggest you look into the new Class B/C vehicles. Some have the Mercedes diesel in them. Small and economical and they will fit in your drive.
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:56 PM   #26
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Ok, so I went and measured the driveway at our new house(never trust a realtor). The driveway is 35' long and if I put a driveway in on the other side of the house(who needs a lawn anyway?) I can get about a 38' long driveway. So that changes things a little bit. Like I said before, we have a boat. I figure it weighs about 6000 lbs including the trailer. It is about 25' long from the trailer tongue to the transom. So my question is how many of you guys with class A motorhomes tow a boat? If so, how difficult do you find it is to launch/retrieve the boat?, or get around a provincial/state campsite. I know some of them can be tight. I'm thinking of going with a 34-35 foot motorhome.
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:14 AM   #27
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My advice:
If you can fit a 38', then you should consider 34-40' models with a preference towards the longer models.

Decide on new or used.

Don't get in a rush. If you decide used, give yourself 2-6 months to find the right coach.

Stay away from both the Cummins ISB 5.9/6.7 and the Cat C7. Theses small displacement engines do not have enough torque to pull your boat and power the motor home. Salesmen will tell you the coach has a 350hp diesel, but it is up to you to find out the engine model. What is important is the torque. It could be a 350hp Cummins ISB 5.9L engine with 650 ft lbs, or a 350HP Cummins ISC 8.3L with 1050 ft lbs of torque.

Look at and drive as many coaches as you possibly can. Don't rule out 40' coaches as that is a very popular size. If it has all the features you like and is a bargain, find a way to fit it in your space. Like someone else said, make sure you test drive it out on the highway at 65+mph and be very sensitive for wandering/tramlining.
Best of luck!
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:17 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Jeff and Cheryl View Post
The Safari Treck would fit the bill. No longer in production thouge. IIRC it was a 28 footer and the bed retracted up.
I always liked these also!

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