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Old 08-11-2012, 10:00 AM   #15
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Winnebago & Tiffin were survivors of the down economy. I am not sure who else but that might be a consideration for the long run.

If there are any RV shows in your area ducking in a bunch of different ones will give you some ideas what brand you like. Engine wise they are mostly Cat or Cummins and both seem to be reliable.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:16 AM   #16
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Exactly right. I just drove I 70 west out of Denver. It was hot out and the hills were huge over 7% for miles. You keep your RPMs at the sweet spot and you down shift if needed. I will say this about the diesel engines though. I would look for a Cummins ISM it is the smallest of the Heavy Duty series and is a beast. Cat is out of the on the road market now but they make a good engine too. I prefer Cummins though as they have their coach care system that focuses on coaches. They have hookups for you to use when you are there in many locations as well. I will say I have both an V10 ford in my Bornfree and my ISM in my 42 foot Foretravel and I get about the same milage but the FT does not work going up the hills. I would stay diesel in the class A market.
I agree 100% John. I have the ISM also and consider it to be a truly great coach engine.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:26 AM   #17
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Another thing I did was to look at 5 year older motorhomes than the one I was buying. I wanted to see how they faired. SO when I did that, I was surprised at some things. Beaver stood out before it was Monaco and a great unit. The CC and the Foretravels seemed to wear better than the Monaco's but to be fair I had a hard time finding a older signature that was for sale, so that might say something too. I hate to bash a company but the growth of Tiffen has kind of hurt their QC. I have a friend who has a new Phateon and his wife said if the slide did not come in one more time or they had one more problem they were selling it. THe issue was it was 4 months to get a scheduled appointment at Red Bay. I know a lot of owners swear by Tiffen but Bob Tiffen is the heart and soul of that company and he is just one man. In the class C market I have to say that Bornfree is and has been bullet proof for me. I have had two of them and the factory support is amazing too. But I digress, I think you need to find a floor plan, size and price you want and then look for that.
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Old 08-12-2012, 01:13 PM   #18
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We are looking at a 2012 Thor Motor Coach Challenger with a V10 Ford/5speed transmission. We currently have a 2008 Bounder with Cummins 325hp/6speed Transmission. We are full-timers and really like the layout of the new Challenger but I wonder about going from a diesel to the Ford V10. I pull a trailer loaded with my car. The diesel has no problem at all towing.....just wondering about the V10. I'd appreciate any input from Ford V10 owners. Thanks
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Old 08-12-2012, 05:30 PM   #19
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One other factor, besides MPG and power to pull/climb what you want - is the stopping.

The Big Block Cummins (ISM/ISX) Cats (C12-15 - Using newer used rigs as the starting point) - usually move you into Three Stage True Compression Jake Brakes. (Exception being the Foretravel, with trans retarder. ISM + Retarder equals smiles on the face of a Tim Allen type junkie. Come on all, grunt with me on this one...).

Many ISL's can be found with the Two Stage Compression Jake (our 2004 rig has this). As much as I like it, and I do, the smaller mid size block engine just does not have the compression braking power of the Big Blocks. I've been told that in the CC line up, that the 2nd stage of the Big Cat, is about the same as the High of the ISL's.

One other last factor to consider, if you will be pulling some weight, is to Tag or No Tag your coach. You can find CC's and Foretravels at 38' with Tag's. (Probaby others too, but I know these two for sure.) Yes, you do lose some storage, but the tighter turning radius, another pair of brakes, substantially more CCC - and the running down the road of a Tag coach, is another smile to your face opportunity.

We went to 40', as a compromise on space vs having Tag's - and I feel I could have gone anywhere with this rig, that a 38' foot coach could go.

Another opinion, costs you nothing to read - is to: "Pick a budget range, and drop years to obtain the best quality rig you can find within that budget range."

Many may not agree with this. But I'd rather have say a 2002-2004 Wanderlodge/Foretravel/CC/Executive-Signature/Moutain Aire-Essex over a 2009-2011 (put your brand here) rig at the same price point. Quality lasts, of course care and condition factor into this, but you get the idea...

Best of luck on your search... Have fun!
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Old 08-12-2012, 05:37 PM   #20
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Winnebago & Tiffin were survivors of the down economy.
As was Newmar.
Still can't understand why so many people "forget" Newmar when they list "survivors" of the downturn.
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Old 08-12-2012, 06:06 PM   #21
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Beaver stood out before it was Monaco and a great unit.
IMHO the pre-Monaco Beaver is a great MH. Combine quality construction with a large-block diesel like my C-12 and it is an unbeatable combination.

This is one of the few threads where people with large diesel experience have spoken up about how much fun it is to drive one of those machines. I never worry about the grades I am going to have to climb; with 1550 ft-pounds of torque and a two-stage compression brake I've had no trouble climbing or descending anything I've encountered. I monitor engine and transmission temps but it is downright boring; it's virtually impossible to get my engine to go above 194 degrees!

I agree strongly with those who have posted about the benefits of a real compression brake. With the Jake on full my Cat can provide over 300HP of stopping power. Gearing down the Allison and putting on the Jake takes all the excitement out of downhill runs and I'm quite happy about that!
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:03 PM   #22
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We are looking at a 2012 Thor Motor Coach Challenger with a V10 Ford/5speed transmission. We currently have a 2008 Bounder with Cummins 325hp/6speed Transmission. We are full-timers and really like the layout of the new Challenger but I wonder about going from a diesel to the Ford V10. I pull a trailer loaded with my car. The diesel has no problem at all towing.....just wondering about the V10. I'd appreciate any input from Ford V10 owners. Thanks
Stay with the bounder.
The newer V10s are fine, but they're made to rev up and you're losing a gear. They're also going to be on a different (less expensive) chassis design.

Find one and drive it for 2 hours before you "downgrade".
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:30 PM   #23
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Other than Smitty77 referring to an older model to get quality, I would add the American Coach line to the suggestions to look at. Four years ago we bought our 03 Eagle at the right price point. So, that brings up budget. Those of us suggesting the big block engine MH may be doing so and it may not be in your price point

Fleetwood has not been mentioned (unless I overlooked a post) as one of the survivors. And a major reason to consider the American Coach line is their service offered at rallies. You can have two things repaired at no labor costs where they send their service team to the major rallies.

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Old 08-12-2012, 08:46 PM   #24
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We are looking at a 2012 Thor Motor Coach Challenger with a V10 Ford/5speed transmission. We currently have a 2008 Bounder with Cummins 325hp/6speed Transmission. We are full-timers and really like the layout of the new Challenger but I wonder about going from a diesel to the Ford V10. I pull a trailer loaded with my car. The diesel has no problem at all towing.....just wondering about the V10. I'd appreciate any input from Ford V10 owners. Thanks
I might be able to add a bit to this. I have the Foretravel with the ISM and I have a Born Free with the V10. Now the weights are different as is the driving. I can not tow very well with the BF. In fact when you tow you know you are pulling the jeep in the BF and when you take your foot off the throttle you feel the push from behind. CLimbing the hills it screams. No way I would tow long distances with a trailer and a car. Way too much weight for that engine. You will be replacing the tranny in 50K miles. Stay with a big block diesel even if you have to go used.
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