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Old 12-07-2019, 07:51 PM   #1
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Workhorse for full-timing

Hi all. I have just started looking for a used Class A for full-time use. Between the WH and Ford chassis the WH looks better on paper. I like the earlier torque curve and the Allison is a no-brainer.


My question is to solicit opinions from full-timers who are motoring around with a WH.


How easy has it been to find repair shops throughout your travels from state to state?


Have you ever been delayed or had to wait for parts to be sourced?


Do you feel that going with a Ford chassis would have been a better choice for full-time traveling?


Jim
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Old 12-08-2019, 01:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim58 View Post
Hi all. I have just started looking for a used Class A for full-time use. Between the WH and Ford chassis the WH looks better on paper. I like the earlier torque curve and the Allison is a no-brainer.


My question is to solicit opinions from full-timers who are motoring around with a WH.


How easy has it been to find repair shops throughout your travels from state to state?


Have you ever been delayed or had to wait for parts to be sourced?


Do you feel that going with a Ford chassis would have been a better choice for full-time traveling?


Jim
I dont know about the suspension on the workhorse, but the the F53 is a straight axle leaf spring delivery truck and it rides like it. Fine for short hops and long stays, but after 350 miles I start looking for a place to camp and if I go 450-500 Im completely beat.

I like driving long hauls and setting out for distant destinations, so Im moving on to a Newmar DP with IFS. If I was only going to do short hops Id stick with my Bay Star. But I just did 7351 miles in five weeks and it was brutal.

A friend had an old Winnie on a Chevy chassis with coil spring A-arm suspension and it rode just fine. So depends on what you are going to do with it and your driving habits. The F53 and its component parts are so common that you’ll never be stuck waiting for parts. And its so simple theres not much you cant do your self. And its so sturdy that other than maintenance there shouldn't be much to do.

The six speed (post 2016 or so) is said to be better overall than the five speed, and the new F53 that will probably start showing up at dealerships next year with the new 7.3 gas V8 may be worth a look, but for me if the front suspension hasn't been improved, I wouldn't be interested.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:29 AM   #3
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I have a Newmar on the Workhorse W24 chassis. We have taken some long trips and have been perfectly comfortable driving. Hereís a few things to consider. Look for the later W24 or W25.5 chassis. These chassisís have larger multi-piston brake calipers. The also have oil filled front bearings, the Ford have greased front bearings that require disassembly and repacking every 30,000 miles. If you check Ultra RV Products, they carry a full line of Workhorse parts. They are very helpful and I have had them overnight me parts a couple of times. You could also call Jon Brazel at Ultra RV (Brazelís Performance) and ask him for his opinion.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:46 AM   #4
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I have a W24 Workhorse chassis coach and has worked really well for us. We live in it from October to May and have put about 12,000 miles on it in the last 3 years. Iím pretty mechanical so I am not super concerned with maintenance or repair however if something major crops up I will be looking for a repair facility for sure.

Workhorse stopped building Motorhome chassis in 2010. I believe a 2010 Workhorse is a better chassis than a 2010 F53. As mentioned above, in 2016 the F53 got the 6 speed transmission which was a great improvement. In 2016 the F53 finally caught up to the 2006 Workhorse W24 in overall performance, reliability and function.

If you are mechanically inclined and capable of doing periodic maintenance I would buy a Workhorse w24 over a pre 2016 F53. If you are not mechanically inclined or want a 2016 or newer coach then the F53 is a better choice (only choice).

Workhorse coaches are not without their problems. You need to have appropriate tools and instruments so you can monitor and stay on top of issues before they become problems.
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Old 12-09-2019, 02:50 AM   #5
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ford v10 (older one - 1999 chassis)

Bought a new National Tropical Model 6351 V10 (last of the Tag Axle Motorhomes with new Ford chassis and a tag axle). Ordered in May of 1999 and took delivery in July of 1999. Began full timing in April of 2000. This is the motorhome we still have. Currently has just shy of 150000 miles. We full timed in it for almost nine years. Then bought a house and since then have used about six months a year. Last big trip was 7000 miles in 2017. Never a flat tire, never a breakdown while traveling, never an emergency repair. Still runs like a champ and for its entire life has been hauling around a gross combined weight of nearly 26000 pounds. I guess you can tell I am well satisfied with my Ford V10. Following is the roughly accurate total cost (give or take $15000 or so) of our travels over the last 19 years..

CAMPING $78,894.02
GAS $61,700.00
MOTORHOME COST $83,000.00
TIRES $12,000.00
INTEREST $39,400.00
MAINTENANCE / REPAIRS $11,300.00
INSURANCE / REGISTRATION / TAXES $34,555.00
Sub Total = $320,849.02
TOWED VEHICLE COST $88,000.00
Total = $408,849.02
AVERAGE MONTHLY COST $1,793.20
AVERAGE YEARLY COST (19 YEARS) $21,518.37
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:36 AM   #6
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We bought a Workhorse chassis coach in 2002 because the chassis was clearly superior to the Ford F53 at that time. Starting with the 2006 model year, the F53 chassis got substantial improvement and once more became competitive. By 2008 I would say more-or-less equal.


There are probably some Workhorse parts that are hard to find, but the 8.1L engine and Allison tranny are easily serviced. Shocks, brakes etc. as well.
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:12 AM   #7
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We bought a Workhorse chassis coach in 2002 because the chassis was clearly superior to the Ford F53 at that time. Starting with the 2006 model year, the F53 chassis got substantial improvement and once more became competitive. By 2008 I would say more-or-less equal.


There are probably some Workhorse parts that are hard to find, but the 8.1L engine and Allison tranny are easily serviced. Shocks, brakes etc. as well.


In 2006 the Workhorse got the 6 speed transmission. The 6 speed didnít show up in the F53 until 2016.

Ive driven several 5 speed F53ís, the newest being a 2014 Fleetwood. IMO none compared to the comfort, quietness and power of my W24.
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Old 12-09-2019, 04:21 PM   #8
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In 2006 the Workhorse got the 6 speed transmission. The 6 speed didnít show up in the F53 until 2016.

Ive driven several 5 speed F53ís, the newest being a 2014 Fleetwood. IMO none compared to the comfort, quietness and power of my W24.

I have no doubt the WH is a good runner. My question/concern is related to breakdowns, parts amd repairs while on the road. I will be using whatever I buy as a full-time rig. I can see it being easy enough for those that are not full time and probably have a shop near their home base that do repairs when needed, at their convenience.



On the other hand, full-timers, with no home base don't have that luxury. Thus my questions concerning getting parts and repairs if broke down in any given State, while on the road.



Was hoping to hear from some full-timers who had first hand experience with breakdowns, parts and repairs to their WH rig.
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Old 12-09-2019, 04:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
We bought a Workhorse chassis coach in 2002 because the chassis was clearly superior to the Ford F53 at that time. Starting with the 2006 model year, the F53 chassis got substantial improvement and once more became competitive. By 2008 I would say more-or-less equal.


There are probably some Workhorse parts that are hard to find, but the 8.1L engine and Allison tranny are easily serviced. Shocks, brakes etc. as well.



Would you happen to have a source of certified WH repair shops? Seems like most are vanishing as time rolls on.


My biggest concern is being out on the road...have a breakdown...and then not being able to find a repair shop....or stuck waiting weeks for parts to be found.


Versus


Buying a Ford and having a better chance of finding parts and getting repaired in most any city.


It's not about which one is better. It's about ease of parts and servicing while being on the road full-time.
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Old 12-09-2019, 04:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jim58 View Post
I have no doubt the WH is a good runner. My question/concern is related to breakdowns, parts amd repairs while on the road. I will be using whatever I buy as a full-time rig. I can see it being easy enough for those that are not full time and probably have a shop near their home base that do repairs when needed, at their convenience.



On the other hand, full-timers, with no home base don't have that luxury. Thus my questions concerning getting parts and repairs if broke down in any given State, while on the road.



Was hoping to hear from some full-timers who had first hand experience with breakdowns, parts and repairs to their WH rig.


Again, getting parts is not really much of a problem. There are a few parts that may be difficult/expensive to get, exhaust manifolds and fuel pump come to mind, but there are usually alternatives from the aftermarket.

The key is to be able to monitor, inspect, maintain and repair the coach/chassis yourself. If you dont mind paying $150/hr for a mobile mechanic then you will be fine with either chassis. I think itís a little easier to find a shop or Ford dealer to repair an F53 chassis than it is to find someone willing to work on a Workhorse.

I have a 2002 Itasca on a W22 chassis and it has never been worked on by anyone other than me. I have it in AK where my home is so its a little easier to work on it in my shop.

I have a 2006 Winnebago on a W24 chassis. We live in it from Oct to May. Owned it for 3 years and 12k miles. On 2 occasions I needed a shop or mobile mechanic to help me with a repair. On both occasions the shop/mechanic screwed up the job and I had to make the same repair again myself, within 100 miles, in a parking lot or a rest stop.

I carry about 400 lbs of tools and spare parts with me in the Adventurer. I carry spare parts that are difficult to find on the road like fuel pump, relays/solenoids, spark plugs and wires, belts and hoses, filters, every different fluid the chassis/generator needs. I have 6 separate Dewalt organizer bins full of spare small parts. Plumbing, AC electrical, DC electrical, screws and fasteners, calks and sealants, misc spare parts like globes, lenses, shades, etc.

If youíre thinking of getting a newer coach then you cant go wrong with a 2016 or newer F53. Super solid chassis with a solid following and a good forum here at iRV2.

If youíre prepared to monitor, maintain and repair the coach/chassis yourself then you cant go wrong with a Workhorse chassis. IMO the 2006 and newer Workhorse is a better chassis than previous years.
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Old 12-09-2019, 05:51 PM   #11
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We have one of the last Workhorse chassis and with the 6 speed Allison it’s been great and trouble free. At 36,000 we are still on original brakes and have did 1,050 trip heading to WA last year. 400 miles in first day and 498 the next. A very easy drive except the pain of fuel stops. And my W22 does have oil filled front hubs. Did upgrade plugs and wires at Brazels in Centralia WA....I also understand the V10 is higher reving and therefore a tad noisier. I can cruise all day at 2k rpms at 60 mph, mountains not withstanding. And our 36’ double slide Siena has served us very well as full timers for 5 years.
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Old 12-09-2019, 07:41 PM   #12
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I drove a 2004 F53 for 3 years and test drove a 2013ish F53, a 2005 W24 and have 18 months driving a R26 (UFO).

The UFO is hands down the best of the lot, followed by the W24.
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Old 01-02-2020, 05:35 PM   #13
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Again, getting parts is not really much of a problem. There are a few parts that may be difficult/expensive to get, exhaust manifolds and fuel pump come to mind, but there are usually alternatives from the aftermarket.

The key is to be able to monitor, inspect, maintain and repair the coach/chassis yourself. If you dont mind paying $150/hr for a mobile mechanic then you will be fine with either chassis. I think itís a little easier to find a shop or Ford dealer to repair an F53 chassis than it is to find someone willing to work on a Workhorse.



I found a 2005 Bounder with WCC. Should pick it up next week.


I have a 2002 Itasca on a W22 chassis and it has never been worked on by anyone other than me. I have it in AK where my home is so its a little easier to work on it in my shop.

I have a 2006 Winnebago on a W24 chassis. We live in it from Oct to May. Owned it for 3 years and 12k miles. On 2 occasions I needed a shop or mobile mechanic to help me with a repair. On both occasions the shop/mechanic screwed up the job and I had to make the same repair again myself, within 100 miles, in a parking lot or a rest stop.



I would prefer to do it myself and know exactly what I did. Looks to be enough knowledge here for anyone to tap into if they're willing to learn.


I carry about 400 lbs of tools and spare parts with me in the Adventurer. I carry spare parts that are difficult to find on the road like fuel pump, relays/solenoids, spark plugs and wires, belts and hoses, filters, every different fluid the chassis/generator needs. I have 6 separate Dewalt organizer bins full of spare small parts. Plumbing, AC electrical, DC electrical, screws and fasteners, calks and sealants, misc spare parts like globes, lenses, shades, etc.



I am planning on doing the same. As I read posts I'm making a list of common parts that I may need. It costs a bit upfront but I feel it's good to have them and hope to never need them.


If youíre thinking of getting a newer coach then you cant go wrong with a 2016 or newer F53. Super solid chassis with a solid following and a good forum here at iRV2.



I went with an older model. I'm on a budget and it's my first rig.


If youíre prepared to monitor YES, maintain and repair the coach/chassis yourself WHATEVER I CAN HANDLE I WILL DO MYSELF then you cant go wrong with a Workhorse chassis. IMO the 2006 and newer Workhorse is a better chassis than previous years.

I've already learned a ton just reading here. Thanks in advance to all who post tips, tricks and for sharing their knowledge. I appreciate it a bunch.

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Old 01-03-2020, 03:00 PM   #14
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Although not FT'ers, we've done 5&1/2 month summers in an '05 W-22 chassis...HR Vacationer 36 DBD. We traveled in 49 states and 3 Canadian Provinces with very few minor chassis problems. Before we started out, I put a rear trac bar on and had the front end aligned with extra positive caster shims installed. These two options made the W-22 handle so well that other mods available were unnecessary. Loved the 8.1 Workhorse and the Allison is bullet proof.

We had several issues with the levers, but didn't have any trouble finding maintenance providers while on the road...even in AK.

IMHO, you can't go wrong with a properly maintained W-22 or -24 Workhorse chassis.
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