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Old 03-23-2015, 08:37 PM   #1
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Which DP for Full Timing

We owned a 37 ft Tiffen Allegro Bay. Really like it but it only had two slides. If we go full-time, we want a 2-3 yr old, 40 ft (42 ft max) DP with 4 slides, all electric and a residential refrig. Bath and a half is ok but not a requirement. Budget would be $150K-$225K.

Initially I would not be DIY as I would have a big learning curve on a diesel and more complex battery system and all electric setup. But eventually, I could see myself doing oil changes, filters, batteries, plumbing and all indoor maintenance. I should mention that we would plan on full timing for 7-10 years. I would be looking to buy the DP that would last us that entire time.

Given the above, if floorplan, features and price were pretty equal, I tend to lean towards Tiffen (Phaeton or Allegro Bus), Entegra (Aspire or Anthem) and Newmar (Dutch Star). Are those in line with what you folks would do?

I have only had a gasser so don't know if things like a side radiator are a big deal. Seems the Entegra's and the Allegro Bus have side radiators but not the Phaeton. Folks seem to say side radiators are better for easy access to the engine and keeping the radiator clean. Are they a big deal or just nice to have?

What about a tag axle? I understand the tag gives some driving stability and more carrying capacity but loss of bay storage. How important is a tag? Is it important enough to go to 42ft and not stay at 40 ft?

Also Entegra and the Allegro Bus have IFS. For day to day highway travel, does IFS make the ride much better?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and recommendations.
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Old 03-23-2015, 08:50 PM   #2
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Dutch Star could also have IFS depending on the year, and yes, it does make a difference. In 2000 there was the standard FL chassis with CAT 3126 and beam axle or the Spartan with Cummins ISC 330 and IFS. On our 2002 DSDP we ordered the Spartan and ISC 350. According to the owners manual the 2000 DSDP was not rated for full timing, but lots of people still do it.
Our 2002 DSDP 4090 did not have a tag axle and did just fine, the 45' 2009 Magna has a tag axle and also does just fine.
To me a side radiator is a must but to others it isn't. Although with the Magna you can't see much of the engine anyway, but belts are a snap to change. The Magna just plain weighs too much not to have a tag at almost 48,000#'s dry weight.
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:28 PM   #3
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Not having a side radiator doesn't really matter much if you're not the one doing the mechanical maintenance and repairs.

Not having a tag axle doesn't really matter much if you're not the one doing the driving.



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Old 03-23-2015, 10:36 PM   #4
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The one with the floor plan and colors the DW likes the best.
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:59 PM   #5
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For our needs, a tag was a must for the extra carrying capacity and drivability. We also tow a 20ft car hauler full of stuff. I think with a 40ft, non tag, you might approach the weight limits depending on what you may want to take with you for the next 7-10 years. We took the guessing out of the equation with a tag.

For me, I like the side radiator. Its gives me a clear view of my engine and its easy to clean and work on if you do the work yourself or have a technician do the work. A tech typically won't have to go inside the coach to access the engine bay.

Floor plan, find one you like; for us, a bath and a half was a must have. We seem to be on the same cycle. ;o)
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa_Jim View Post
Not having a side radiator doesn't really matter much if you're not the one doing the mechanical maintenance and repairs.
If you have to write the check for extra hours of work to get to the engine at over $100/hr then I think it might!
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Old 03-24-2015, 08:42 PM   #7
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Size, layout, # of slides, engine, etc., depend entirely upon your tastes. I know a couple who full-timed in a 35' gas engine coach with no slides, for over 10 years.
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Old 03-24-2015, 08:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ray,IN View Post
Size, layout, # of slides, engine, etc., depend entirely upon your tastes. I know a couple who full-timed in a 35' gas engine coach with no slides, for over 10 years.
True, there is no right or wrong answer to this.
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Old 03-24-2015, 09:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlazar View Post
We owned a 37 ft Tiffen Allegro Bay. Really like it but it only had two slides. If we go full-time, we want a 2-3 yr old, 40 ft (42 ft max) DP with 4 slides, all electric and a residential refrig. Bath and a half is ok but not a requirement. Budget would be $150K-$225K.

Initially I would not be DIY as I would have a big learning curve on a diesel and more complex battery system and all electric setup. But eventually, I could see myself doing oil changes, filters, batteries, plumbing and all indoor maintenance. I should mention that we would plan on full timing for 7-10 years. I would be looking to buy the DP that would last us that entire time.

Given the above, if floorplan, features and price were pretty equal, I tend to lean towards Tiffen (Phaeton or Allegro Bus), Entegra (Aspire or Anthem) and Newmar (Dutch Star). Are those in line with what you folks would do?

I have only had a gasser so don't know if things like a side radiator are a big deal. Seems the Entegra's and the Allegro Bus have side radiators but not the Phaeton. Folks seem to say side radiators are better for easy access to the engine and keeping the radiator clean. Are they a big deal or just nice to have?

What about a tag axle? I understand the tag gives some driving stability and more carrying capacity but loss of bay storage. How important is a tag? Is it important enough to go to 42ft and not stay at 40 ft?

Also Entegra and the Allegro Bus have IFS. For day to day highway travel, does IFS make the ride much better?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and recommendations.
Ten years ago my wife and I were in your situation. We had a 5 year old 36' no slide DP and decided we wanted to full time. We are just completing our 8th year full time.

We traded our first DP on a 3 year old 40' Monaco with a tag axle we are still in that coach and I would unplug in the morning and head to Alaska with every confidence that the coach is ready. I do my own maintence now and have for the last 6 years. We have no interest in a new or different coach. We only know what has worked so well for us so I can recommend the following:
1. Tag axle
2. Side radiator
3. AquaHot
4. Min of 40'
5. Min of Cummins ISL
6. A Progressive EMS should be added to the electric system ASAP
6. A TPMS should be strongly considered
7. If not so equipped, a Silverleaf type engine monitoring system should be installed.

In my opinion, IFS is more marketing than reality but many knowledgeable owners disagree. I took it off my must have list.
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Old 03-24-2015, 09:40 PM   #10
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It is true that the floor plan of the motorhome that you're considering it's very important. Who have to live in it and it must be comfortable for your needs. Your picked three excellent coaches. Test drive them to find out which when you're going to like the best. The Newmar with comfort drive is a very big plus if you'll be doing a lot of traveling. The tag axle does allow me to carry more weight it is more stable esspecially with crosswinds or big vehicles passing you.You also will have two additional wheels when you're breaking.

Best of luck with your search. Happy trails!
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