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Old 07-22-2012, 08:21 PM   #15
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3) You also don't need to spend a fortune to get a great DP. The big techno improvements occurred 10yrs or more ago. 5yr old DP's all have bigger drive trains (ISL's), great chassis (you DO NOT need a tag - unnecessary extra complication & ongoing maintenance), multiple slides, sine wave inverters, LCD TV's, etc,etc,....wait two years and you'll be looking at Coaches just pre-DEF & someone else will have spent hours & hours visiting the Dealer to get all those "little" things fixed. Review service records with a passion....if a Coach has a history of problems it's a turkey....if it has a history of few problems & has been meticulously maintained...get out your wallet. Regardless, don't spend more than play money.
jack makes some excellent points. We wanted a top-of-the line DP without paying a fortune for it so we bought a well-cared-for 10 yr old Beaver. We were fortunate enough to find one that had been garaged and had a full set of maintenance records. Jack also makes another point that I rarely see mentioned: many MH's in the early 2000's have larger engines than most being used today. I'm not saying that any MH can be a hotrod and I'm not demeaning anyone who has a smaller engine, but my 12-liter CAT is a lot of fun to drive. With 1550 ft-lbs of torque it accelerates from a stop almost like a car and climbs mountains without hardly noticing them.
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:32 PM   #16
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GREAT RESPONSES!

Perhaps I am over thinking the "buyer's market" angle at this time. I certainly want to get bang for the buck.

Techno wise, Sat TV, Sat Radio and good slides are what I want. We like our 3 slides and super slides are not making us drool either. Now, if there was a good mechanical reason to super slide a side such as less corners to leak, that might make some difference on my opinion. I'm not interested in fancy outdoor entertainment systems either.

The issue of ISL and DEF. I think I understand DEF is just used to reduce exhaust emissions. Does anyone have a "MPG" for DEF? also, what is ISL? I'm thinking it is a Cummin's engine design.
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:40 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by athuddriver
GREAT RESPONSES!

Perhaps I am over thinking the "buyer's market" angle at this time. I certainly want to get bang for the buck.

Techno wise, Sat TV, Sat Radio and good slides are what I want. We like our 3 slides and super slides are not making us drool either. Now, if there was a good mechanical reason to super slide a side such as less corners to leak, that might make some difference on my opinion. I'm not interested in fancy outdoor entertainment systems either.

The issue of ISL and DEF. I think I understand DEF is just used to reduce exhaust emissions. Does anyone have a "MPG" for DEF? also, what is ISL? I'm thinking it is a Cummin's engine design.
Thud..... An ISL is a 400-450hp Cummins, but way more important (and a BIG upgrade over a Gasser) it comes with a true 2stage engine brake. When you're pushing +35,000 lbs. I'd rather be able to STOP than Go!
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:09 PM   #18
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Don....a DP is much more complicated of a coach to own. I know a lot of people who have sold their DP's and have gone back to the simpler life of a gasser. As an example....Typically on a gasser, you have one fuel filter, one oil fiter and one air filter to change along with six quarts of oil and your service is done. With a DP, you have two fuel filters, one oil filter (huge), one air filter (often difficult to install if it's a canister type) air dryer filter, hydraulic filter and on some a coolant filter, plus 30+ quarts of oil.

I'm not trying to scare you off, just letting you know it's more complicated and you need to know that in advance. I love my DP and will buy another some day. I do my own servicing and look at the coach as my hot rod. I love doing projects on it.

I just serviced EVERYTHING the other day, except the coolant. I replaced the oil filter, air filter, fuel filters (2), air dryer filter, hydraulic fiter, generator oil, air and fuel filter and bought 32 quarts of oil. The total bill was $500.00 in parts. I use to do this every year and found it to be a little overkill since I only travel about 8000 miles a year. I do change oil, air and fuel filters every year for about $400.00.

This year I changed the fluids in the Allison. It's seven years old with 50K. It cost me $363.00. So in 7 years, the Allison had the intial 5K service for about $150.00 by the dealer and this most recent service. As a side note I keep seeing people post TranSynd fluid prices at $32.00 or so....but it's more like $45.00+ online and here in California.

The coolant I changed about three years ago and went with the OAT coolant which will last a long time. Even that change was reasonable.

The prices I'm giving you are without labor. The killer is a set of tires (I guess they take about 3 barrels of crude to make them at the price they charge). Hopefully, you'll get about six years without any issues.

Tires (average over 6-7 years) $4000.00
Oil changes per year $ 400.00
Coolant 6-7 years (X2) $ 300.00
Allison Service 6-7 years $ 400.00
Miscellaneous $ 1000.00

If you alot for about $1000 a year for service, (over a 6-7 year period) plus labor, if you can't do some or all of it yourself, you should have an idea on costs.

Every coach is a luxury and some luxuries cost a little more. You'll love the ride and comfort of a DP, just understand that it takes a little more work.
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:56 PM   #19
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Don I've had my coach (CAT C7, Allison 3000 on a Freightliner XCR chassis) serviced annually at the Freightliner Service Center in Gaffney, SC. Cost usually runs between 8 & 900 dollars. It has been as low as 400 and as high as 1,000. If you can do the labor you can cut the cost in half. PM me and i'll send you copies of the service invoices. I'm too old, fat, uncoordinated and just not interested in crawling under one of these things. I take my coach to Gaffney because I can't stand the local Freightliner service center, it gives me an excuse (that I don't really need) to visit family in Gaffney and other places in SC, go to Good Sam or FMCA rallies in Perry, GA or other rallies in the SE region, do some camping in places that I haven't stayed before in the NE GA, SC and Western NC, TN and KY areas. The maintenance is expensive. However, I could travel twice the miles that I normally do and the maintenance cost would the same. The coach is serviced annually or every 15,000 miles. For me it's time not mileage. My CAT, Allison, and Freightliner chassis should be good for 500,000 miles. The brakes should be good for 200,000+ miles before they need new shoes. I wish my kids could have gone that long. I have the single rear axle. My coach rides good. I wish I could afford a tag axle coach. They will ride better and be even more stable that the single rear axle coach. The down side is that you actually lose storage (got to put that extra axle and 2 wheels someplace) and you get to buy 2 extra tires every 7 - 10 years. You're not getting younger, life has no practice rounds, get the most that you want and can afford and never look back. Be sure and get a residential refrigerator no matter what you buy.
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:38 AM   #20
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also, what is ISL? I'm thinking it is a Cummin's engine design.
With large diesel engines torque is pretty much determined by engine displacement (size). Manufacturers can fool with the ECM's to increase a particular engine's horsepower far more readily than they can do much about its torque.

The principal Cat and Cummins diesels found in DP's rack up roughly as follows with respect to torque. As you would expect both companies have engines roughly comparable with their competitor's models:
  • Cummins ISC Cat C-7 ~1050 ft lbs torque
  • Cummins ISL Cat C-9 ~1200 ft-lbs
  • Cummins ISM Cat C-12/13 ~1550 ft lbs
  • Cummins ISX Cat C-15 ~1800 ft lbs

These numbers are approximate and I'm sure someone will post that with a Banks kit his ISC can put out 1200 ft lbs or that I'm off 50 ft lbs on one or the other of them. My intent is purely to rack these up for comparison so the OP can understand the basic engine options he will encounter.

I'm also not trying to reopen the endless torque vs horsepower debate. I agree that a 400 HP ISC will be able to climb a hill just as fast as a 400 HP ISL, but it will be turning faster and working harder when it does.
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