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Old 06-25-2009, 02:26 PM   #1
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Upgrading, $60k budget, need to tow 8k lbs or so

Howdy,

We currently have an '84 small (26') class A on the P30 chassis that we use to tow our 24' enclosed trailer (probably 8k lbs, give or take, with 1k lbs tongue weight). To feel safe, we've upgraded a bunch of things over stock... Springs, frame reinforcements, sway bars, shocks, E range tires, etc.

I feel safe enough going down the road in it, but when we get where we're going, we're sick of not having a slide and a queen size bed.

Budget is $60k max and that's a stretch as is. We're fine with used (prefer it, even), but I'd like to stay in the "no more than ten years old" range.

We can't afford the rigs that are really built for this like the Dynamax and Renegade, so don't bother suggesting them. :-)

I imagine any more modern RV in the 30'-34' range with a queen bed and at least one slide will have more than enough amenities for us.

So all that said... I've been looking at class A's a little and have some questions for folks that know better... It would seem that the Workhorse chassis would be the way to go with a gas unit... Anyone have any recommendations for overbuilt RV's on a Workhorse W22 or W24 chassis? Ideally we'd be in the 30 - 34' range with one or two slides.

Should I even consider a Ford chassis on a gasser?

For the diesel setups... Are there chassis I should stay away from? Looks like today the Freightliner XC chassis tends to list 10k lbs GCWR over whatever the GVWR is... Am I correct in assuming that means its likely to have the capacity to tow what I want? Will it hold to the older chassis?

What's the deal with the non-Freightliner chassis? Is the Roadmaster a solid way to go? Reading the Roadmaster website, the rr4r sounds pretty good, but I'm not sure how that would apply to something like a 2003 Monaco Cayman, for instance.

For what I'm doing, are the diesels generally going to have more weight capacity left over compared to the gassers, or do the manufacturers tend to chew up the extra capacity with more house?

Changing gears completely... What about one of the Super C's? Seems like the 'older' (2004-2006-ish) 8.1 Kodiak models are in my price range. Can they be easily setup to tow 8k lbs? I was under an Ultra the other day and noticed some frame extensions that I would want to reinforce before I dropped 1k lbs on the hitch, plus a good bit of overhang, but I'm not sure how big a deal that is or how common it is. Can parts from the higher capacity Kodiak's be put on the smaller ones or other easy stuff done to increase the weight capacity for the Kodiak chassis?

In general, I'm way less concerned about ride and road noise than I am about the ability to safely pull my trailer.

Appreciate any advice, particularly if someone can point me to where to find out GVWR/GCWR numbers for used chassis!

Mark
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Old 06-25-2009, 04:49 PM   #2
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You need to go to a diesel pusher or FRED. You're WAY, WAY overweight if you're towing an 8,000 lb trailer with a little class c. Even the newer class A's will go a max of 5,000 lbs. I would bet your hitch is rated 3,500 lbs.

If $60,000 is stretching your budget think what a multi-million dollar lawsuit would do to it!
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Old 06-25-2009, 05:52 PM   #3
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Howdy,

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldChief7155 View Post
You need to go to a diesel pusher or FRED. You're WAY, WAY overweight if you're towing an 8,000 lb trailer with a little class c. Even the newer class A's will go a max of 5,000 lbs. I would bet your hitch is rated 3,500 lbs.

If $60,000 is stretching your budget think what a multi-million dollar lawsuit would do to it!
A diesel pusher would be ok. I'm not sure what a FRED is, but I'll check it out.

If I go with a diesel pusher though, what are the benefits & drawbacks for the different chassis out there? Ones I've seen are Freightliner, RoadMaster, and Spartan and I imagine there are others?

For our current RV, we're certianly over the rated limits, no question. However, we've reinforced the frame, added rear spring, upgraded swaybars/shocks, gone from load range D tires to E, etc. I've also gone across the scales to make sure the per axle weights are ok.

The only thing that bothers me about our current rig is braking. I've got well adjusted and good trailer brakes, but if there's a failure there I'm certainly pushing the limits of the chassis brakes.

Oh, and the hitch is a class IV hitch, good for what we're using it for (i.e. 1k/10k in WD mode).

Anyway... I guess I'm mostly looking for specification data on diesel pushers & heavy duty gasser class A chassis from 2000 to 2005 or so... Does that exist somewhere?

Thanks!

Mark
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Old 06-25-2009, 05:58 PM   #4
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Go with a diesel pusher on a Spartan chassis, 15,000lb tow cap. That is what most of the class A owners that drag race and pull a trailer have. No problems with trailer or room inside. You can find 2003 and up MH for very reasonable prices

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Old 06-25-2009, 08:22 PM   #5
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Look at the older Foretravels. Check out Motorhomes of Texas in Nacogdoches, TX.

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Old 06-26-2009, 07:53 PM   #6
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In your price range you should have no problem finding a 10 year old diesel pusher with a tow capacity of 10k or better. Go to a site like RV Trader (rvt.com) and enter a price range of 40-60k and Class A Diesel and see how many pages of hits you get. And that's the asking price - you should be able to get a substantial discount off that as well.

Freightliner, Spartan, Roadmaster are all good chassis choices. We can argue which is better all day long, but none of them are bad. On the Roadmaster, I'd prefer the RR8 over the RR4 models for a better ride and handling and on the Freightliner I'd prefer one with IFS and air suspension over the leaf springs and solid axle that the lowest end models have. But that's just degrees of "better", not bad vs good.

The Workhorse gas chassis does not have the tow capacity you need and neither does the Ford.
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Old 06-28-2009, 09:25 AM   #7
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There are some Fleetwood MHs with Freightliner chassis rated to tow 10-15K that I would look at. The tow rating depends on the chassis, receiver, the way the receiver is mounted to the chassis, and perhaps some other chassis components like brakes and transmission. In other words it depends on Freightliner and the MH manufacturer. Also, Freightliner chassis are custom so each MH manufacturer can specify a different tow rating from Freightliner. In my experience there are few MHs with an XC chassis with a towing capacity greater than 5,000 lbs though it would not have taken much initially to achieve that ability. The GVCR is the combined MH and toad weight rating and the GVWR the MH weight rating. The difference is the weight rating for the toad. If you load your MH at less than its GVWR you can add that to your toad weight.
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Old 06-28-2009, 06:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
In my experience there are few MHs with an XC chassis with a towing capacity greater than 5,000 lbs though it would not have taken much initially to achieve that ability.
Except for those configured with the 2500 MH transmission (typically the leaf spring suspension ones), most all XC's have a 10,000 lb tow capacity. The frame itself is set up that way, but the 2500MH transmission has a lower limit (5000 lbs).
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Old 06-28-2009, 09:36 PM   #9
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Howdy,

Quote:
Originally Posted by RV Roamer [Gary] View Post
Except for those configured with the 2500 MH transmission (typically the leaf spring suspension ones), most all XC's have a 10,000 lb tow capacity. The frame itself is set up that way, but the 2500MH transmission has a lower limit (5000 lbs).
Good info... Thanks!

Can the 2500MH trans be updated or modified to have a higher capacity, or is that not practical?

One model I've seen that looks interesting is the Damon Ultra Sport... 35', XC chassis, +10k GCWR from GVWR (with either a Cummins or Cat, looks like the Cat has quite a bit more torque stock), 3000MH trans. Asking prices I've seen have been in the $60k to $70k range.

Any feedback on this or another ~34' diesel pusher with a +10k GCWR?

Thanks!

Mark
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:26 PM   #10
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The only way to upgrade the 2500MH is to replace it with a 3000MH and that is a BIG job, since they are not the same physical size, shape, or bolt pattern.
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