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Old 09-27-2013, 07:32 PM   #1
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Thinking about a Class A, looking at my options

Well like the title states I am just looking, I hate to be another thread asking which company is preferred but I hope to bring enough information to the table that it might narrow it down a bit.

What made me look at a Class A, I like to go to car shows and have had a few experiences where hotels were full or charged some outrageous price just for the event (over $150 a night at a Days Inn). I have traveled over 1100 miles one way to go to a show, to me it can be relaxing to drive and get away. I like to drive until I get tired, sometimes I am on the road for 4 hours other times 14, but I have found once or twice that there was no where to stay when I did get tired. I have ended up sleeping in my truck, not exactly the most comfy night stay but better than falling asleep at the wheel. Normally I am driving my Dodge Ram 3500 with the 5.9 cummins towing a 36 ft goose neck trailer.

Before sleeping in the truck wasn't the best option but it worked, now that probably wouldn't be recommended due to the fact I am recently married. She probably wouldn't go to every show but enjoys it when she does. She also has to stop and use the restroom way more than I do. It would also be nice not to have to lug luggage from my truck to a hotel room, I am bad enough with 3 cases of camera equipment but it would make it much easier if we just pulled over and everything was "there" you might say.

What I am looking for, a Class A diesel pusher. I am partial to the cummins engine since my dodge has one and at work we have several engine generators that also use cummins brand (I know the guy at the local cummins dealer since we have one). It doesn't have to be a cummins but just my preference, I don't know if only certain brands carried the cummins or if its like semi trucks you can pick what you want when its built. I would prefer to stay below 40k but 50k would be the max price. I would prefer not to have slides, which limits me pretty much to anything before 2001 with a few exceptions. I will lose the ability to tow my goose neck trailer but I might tow an open car trailer or possibly an enclosed car trailer of 26' or less. I will not run a tow dolly or tow bar.

I could see us using this to travel the US if we purchase one, since we would have the freedom to do so. I don't see us boondoggling but an extended trip of 1 to 2 weeks traveling every other day wouldn't be out of the question. I know that overall cost wise its cheaper to do what I have been doing but now our comfort will be a higher priority Vs just my comfort. I am used to getting about 14 mpg loaded with my trailer, I figure this number with a Class A will drop to about 8-10 depending on the unit/engine.

The model that has caught my eye so far is a Monaco Dynasty but I am sure there are others that would do nicely.

Questions that I have, what chassis is preferred for a smooth ride, is the door in the front like a bus or in the center mean a different chassis. What problems can happen with a slide (get stuck, motor burns up, leak). What companies are still in business, during our past 5-7 years the RV business took a hard hit who is still around. Is there a particular company to stay away from because of this, can't get parts ect. I am sure I have other questions but they are not registering at this moment.

This will be my/our first RV of any kind so I come with no experience besides when I was a kid my grandparents had an airstream. My family followed them for 700 miles, 3 days, on a caravan heading to Nova Scotia that year. Any suggestions and links are appreciated, thanks for reading my book.

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Old 09-27-2013, 08:29 PM   #2
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Everyone may say there coach is best for you but you need to pick a floor plan that you and the new wife can get along with, 2 slides 3 slides or 4 slides. I wanted a 36' but we ended up with a 40' with 3 slides and a 400 Cat with 17K miles on it. One thing to think about is tires cost me $4200 plus $260 install going through FMCA the ones that came on it 8 years old. Another thing to think about is the radiator some last longer than others mine when out at 15k installed before I got it at a cost of $5400 plus we just had the Samsung 197 frig install with the Magnum 2812 inverter around $4000 and the list goes on. I am starting to think it is a money pit but after 9mo I think the pit is full, do I like it better than my 5er
Best of luck to you finding the coach you both like.
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:45 PM   #3
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If you are going to tow a car to the shows pay attention to towing capacity. I was shocked how many DPs are rated at 5000 / 500 and under. And go big, as a new RV driver I stayed around 30' but after driving it a while 10 more feet would make little difference to drive but a huge difference in interior space.
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:34 PM   #4
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There's a lot of good information here but you sometimes have to dig kind of hard to find it.... So I would recommend that you go to rv.org and pay the bucks for their product. It will be the best money you spend on your RV. When you've picked a model you can go to oodle.com plug in what you're looking for and check the right box and it will send you daily updates. Save yourself a lot of headaches and educate yourself well before you go out and buy a coach. Good Luck and happy hunting.
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Old 09-28-2013, 06:21 AM   #5
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Look at a tag. I regret not getting one first. If you budget would allow I would recommend. I have a 02 Newmar Dutchstar 3852 with a 330 cat and it would be in you price range at upper end. Great coach with lots of carrying capacity but I sure wish it was a tag.
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Old 09-28-2013, 06:23 AM   #6
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Look at 98 to 00 Dutchstars. They might fit your requirements. Happy Hunting!
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Old 09-28-2013, 06:50 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by scoobysmak View Post
What I am looking for, a Class A diesel pusher. I am partial to the cummins engine since my dodge has one and at work we have several engine generators that also use cummins brand (I know the guy at the local cummins dealer since we have one). It doesn't have to be a cummins but just my preference, I don't know if only certain brands carried the cummins or if its like semi trucks you can pick what you want when its built.
I will comment only on this portion of your post. In the pushers the 2 most common brands will be Cummins and Caterpillar (International has entered fairly recently with their MaxxForce design engines - based upon the powerplant found in the 08-10 Ford Superduty truck). The commons sizes in the price range you're looking at will be the Cummins B (5.9L), ISB (5.9L and 6.7L after 2007 mid year), C, ISC, ISL and the Cat 3126 and C7. All very good powerplants and will provide years of service..... however having said that.... should the Caterpillar ever suffer any kind of rotating assembly issue in most cases it will require total engine replacement as neither Cat powerplant uses cylinder sleeves (wet). Should it ever drop an injector tip or injection pump failure it will eat itself quick, fast and in a hurry - without cylinder sleeves there is no repairing it while it's still installed in the chassis. Google around a bit on some of the more common problems with either the 3126e or C7....
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Old 09-28-2013, 04:26 PM   #8
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A MH is like a piece of real estate. they always say location, location, location. in a MH the interior floor plan should be the deciding factor. That is where you'll spend most of your time. If your wife is happy with her pick on interior you have a much better chance of being happy. remember the old adage "If Mom is happy, everybody will be happy". Preferring one power package over another is no different than choosing a ford over a chev, it is just a preference. for future resale value I'd suggest a minimum of a Allison 6 sp trans coupled with enough HP to get you up the road. Everything else can be changed by yourself. safe travels... ed
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:57 AM   #9
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Just Commenting On Interior Layout.


What Ed said about interior layout is dead on. When I bought my first and current 36' DP the toilet was located in its own cubby with a door of course. Kinda small but what the heck else are you going to do in there? Fast forward a couple years and we realize we inadvertently stumbled upon the right layout.

Getting up in the morning and being able to use the toilet in private when someone else is drying their hair, applying make up or brushing their teeth is huge. Think about it.

A separate room for the toilet away from the sink works for us.

By the way our 2002 Coachmen Cross Country Elite sits on a Freightliner with a Cummins 300HP ISB and Alison. [moderator edit]
Best Regards,

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Old 09-30-2013, 04:05 PM   #10
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From my standpoint class A DP is the only way to go. When I entered the RV world I wanted a DP on a Freightliner chassis, Allison tranny and Cummins power plant. I have not been disappointed yet.

As stated above, floorplan is essential. Not only floorplan but design. I had a '05 Winnebago Vectra 40FD. It was a real joy to drive. But the living quarters were strange. The couch was not all that comfortable for watching TV. The overhead cabinets were shallow and not very high. Overall the interior was lacking on storage space. And the basement was small because it hung from the slides.

We were just in a new coach by Forest River that some friends of ours have. The floorplan was like ours but we had much more storage area because of how our cabinets are designed. And the basement storage of my coach is massive compared to some.

One post mentioned going with a tag axle. Our 40' coach is great to drive and is only two axles.

What about appliances? We have a residential refrigerator and much prefer it over the standard RV type. Do you want a convection/microwave? How about a dishwasher, washer and dryer (all in one or two separate units)? The list goes on.

The bottom line here is YES class A, dp. All the bells and whistles are your choice. But, don't buy a coach because you like the way it drives without considering all of the other factors, including reputation of the builder.

Happy hunting and, someday, happy trails.

Rick & Melissa Young, 2011 Itasca Meridian 40U, Frtliner XCL, Cummins ISL 380HP/DEF, Allison 3000 MH, 2014 Honda CR-V, SMI AF1, Blue Ox, EEZ TPMS, TruCenter steering control
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Old 09-30-2013, 07:37 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by 60Vette View Post
We love it but it has a slide which you do not want.
Out of curiosity, what type of slide would this be?
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:31 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by EricGT View Post
Out of curiosity, what type of slide would this be?
Hi Eric:

We have a living room slide 14 feet long. When it is collapsed (retracted) you can easily walk about the living room and kitchen which cannot be said for all Class As with slides. Gosh we looked at a beauty that was 10 years old but looked new. I mean the plastic was still on the couch and chairs. This thing was mint and a 40 footer DP. When the dealer closed the slide you could walk aft but only very carefully because there was only a foot or less clearance between the couch and kitchen cabinets. Very strange and it was a name brand which of course escapes me. We passed due to that negative feature and the length.

Bottom line is know what you want for a floor plan and look at it with the slides opened and closed. When we travel we like to stop at a rest stop, spread our legs, use the head and maybe make a sandwich. Nice to have the room to actually do that.

Have fun looking,

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Old 10-01-2013, 05:00 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the responses.

One of the reasons I am not particular on slides is, space inside when the slides are closed. I figure there will be plenty of times I am on the road and might not have room to "open up" you might say. I also would like to avoid the maint cost. I know I give up space but it will simplify my travels at times.

Probably like others, I know my RV will be a compromise of a few things. I would like something smaller to maneuver in possibly a "bad entrance" to a car show. I also understand that I give up living space for this shorter length and not wanting slides. For 75% of my traveling will be waking up and hitting the road to make the show, then be there a couple of days and return. I don't see needing a washer and dryer, if I do I will find a campground with these facilities. I would love to have a dishwasher but honestly with a double sink I can manage, I washed dishes for 2 years when I lived with my grandmother so an inconvenience but not a "got to have" option. The refrigerator I am not sure about, if I have a generator on board I think a normal home refrigerator would be a better option but not sure what an RV fridge brings to the table. I would like a convection microwave, I think this ranks higher than anything else mentioned but not a show stopper if I could add that later. What I give up by the previous comments seem to be if we choose to take a 2 week vacation traveling the US. I doubt we could get more time off together, so a longer duration is pretty much out of the question (retirement for us is more like 20+ years away).

I looked at tag axle DP's. The lower pricing I found seemed more like 70k with a few exceptions, mostly older converted buses. I also noticed that tag axles start at the 40' range, I might have seen one 38' but it might have been mislabeled as well. Towing a trailer is one of my goals, I don't think I would need more than 7000 lbs but always nice to have 10,000 lbs towing weight. I think having a tag axle would really benefit my situation. I also saw a thread on here about longer length parking at campgrounds. I normally would not have a problem, drop the toad off at the show and then I would be able to fit into most sites. The area that did catch my attention is over 65' you risk a DOT "involvement" you might say. I probably won't base a purchase off of this but it is a concern. I do wonder the normal tongue length on an enclosed and open car trailer so I can add this into the mix.

Just to give a bit more background about me so you might understand where some of my questions come from. I am a reservist that has been called to active duty serving the middle east. I won't return for possibly a year so the internet is my friend you might say. I would love to personally inspect a coach to see if I really like what the pictures tell me, plus it would narrow down what we really want. At first the floor plan wouldn't matter to her, she would be happy camping in a tent. I guess I did enough tent camping that I prefer some of the comforts of home all the time, like A/C. I am sure after traveling for a while our opinion of floor plans might change drastically. I know after I bought my first home I realized that I want my garage located close to the kitchen, when I unload groceries I don't want to carry them all over the house.

At this moment I see me looking at a 40' DP with a tag axle and no slides. Most everything seems out of the price range I intended on and not very many options. The best ones to me seem like an older Prevost or Blue Bird (aprox early 90's) but now I might be getting into higher maint cost depending on the manufacturer (it appears that Prevost is in the very high end market but not sure if that means better quality and a longer service life, Blue Bird might be in the came category). Prevost also seems to use Detroit power plants, I don't know much about Detroit or CAT engines but I am sure these are the engines used in semis all the time. I have seen a few Monaco, Tiffin, and Country Coach that have a tag axle and might be a little lower in price but all the ones I have seen come with slides. I need to read a bit more on here about advantages and pitfalls of having slides, I admit the negatives really lean me towards having no slides. One of the biggest questions I have is the brand chassis that is preferred, this might be like talking about "ford Vs chevy" and more of a brand loyalty opinion but I would figure Prevost uses a bus chassis that is pretty good.

An advantage to an older coach might mean that all the "bugs" have been worked out by the previous owner. It appears if you buy a brand new coach expect a few problems but you have a warranty to correct them.

Thanks for reading.
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:07 AM   #14
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Just received an old settlement check for3900. Plus I get2000. on the third. That gives me 5900. and of course RV trader has a '94GB Pursuit for exactly $5900. and it's only 81miles away. If the owner will deal I'm going for it. He says it's in good condition so I'm at least going to look at it.

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