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Old 01-05-2012, 05:38 PM   #1
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Aspire 40DRQ observations, ride and handling comments

Now that we have finished our first voyage to Florida and back, I have some observations and questions about several things including ride quality and what to expect. First and foremost our 2012 Aspire 40DRQ was a fantastic upgrade for us coming from a 35' gas motorhome (2001 Dolphin 5355 on W-22 chassis). There's NO going back to gas - ever! We got many people asking us about the coach. Some TS owners were really curious to see what Entegra has done to the original designs. Everyone that saw her said she's beautiful - and she is! The high-end look is really something. It's very distinctive and bold without being "over-the-top".

The build quality of this coach is stellar. Solid, great fit and finish, and an overall feel of quality workmanship. It's going to the factory tomorrow for the punch list trip and a few extra tweaks we'd like done. For example the main sink in the bathroom has the faucet too close to the wall making it nearly impossible to brush your teeth and lean over to wash out your mouth without hitting your head! It should be an easy fix by moving out the faucet towards the front of the fixture. There are the little annoyances like the slide retract/extend buttons being mislabeled, the aqua hot furnace not heating the bedroom properly (probably a valve being shut off that we did not notice) and other little things that I'm sure Entegra will take care of quickly.

My other comments concern the ride and handling characterisitics. Overall I am THRILLED with the ride quality and low noise level. We averaged 8.2 mpg pulling our Toyota Highlander. Unlike the gas coach, you can not tell you have a toad hooked up! The 450hp Cummins was amazing. The rpm almost never ticked up except on the steepest few hills crossing the Appalachians near Chattanooga.

On good roads and moderate winds the ride quality of the coach is nothing short of spectacular. I felt like I was in the most comfortable tour bus I've ever ridden in. However, ride-wise what is "fair and reasonable" to expect from a 40' DP in less-than-ideal conditions? For example, driving yesterday in a stiff 20-25 mph cold wind (at a 90 degree angle from our driving direction) on a truly horrible road (I-65 north through southern Indiana) gave us a bit of a noisy, rocky ride. There are numerous small potholes and pavement strips on I-65 that even the truckers were trying to avoid. Many of these are probably from the winter season and the "hardness" of the road surface that seems so common in cold weather. I also assume the rubber of the tires gets stiffer as the exterior temperature gets lower.

Every time we hit one we'd hear some rattling and the thud that comes with rough roads. The winds also made steering a little more work which required more adjustments to stay straight. Having said this, the coach is MILES ahead of my gas coach in terms of ride. I also notice an occasional feel in the steering wheel that indicates a little too much play. There's also a slight perception while steering that the coach "rocks" as it compresses the airbags. It's hard to describe, but it's as if steering from side to side subtly pushes against a soft-feeling resistance on either side with wiggle room in the center. I wish I could describe it better than that. Any thoughts and observations from more experienced DP owners would be greatly appreciated! Other than the test drive before we bought this coach, I had never driven a DP before. Again, no major complaints but more of a curiosity about what I should expect.

My other concern with the 40DRQ is CCC. It's really low for such a high-end coach. I never carry full water tanks which is good, because with full tanks, passengers, etc... the CCC is a mere 750 lb! Off the record Spartan admits you can push the CCC a bit and not worry, but on this recent trip I'm sure I topped the limit by a bit - more than once. Shame on me for not weighing the vehicle during the trip, but I will ask Entergra for precise weight at the factory. According to Spartan. the CCC could have been increased by 1200-1500 lb easily by adding a stronger front axle. On the other hand the tires are rated so high that they are not the limiting issue. If Entegra wants to replace the front axle for me to raise the CCC, I won't complain - I also placed a lot of my heavier junk in the toad to try and help lower the load on the axles.

All-in-all this is a great coach made by a great company. I am very pleased. My only questions remain about ride quality expectations and the CCC. Perhaps proper tire inflation and weight distribution will help the ride. Since I did not have corner weights, I kept the tires inflated to recommended settings from Goodyear for the estimated total weight of the coach. CCC is another issue that I will discuss at the plant tomorrow.

Bottom line - Entegra is building quality coaches and seems committed to keeping their customers happy. I am one of those happy customers.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:09 PM   #2
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Glad you had a successful maiden voyage. With the single rear axle you'll have less stability than with the tag. That is one of the biggest differences in the two configurations. As for play in the steering wheel, you might want to have your front end aligned as they never used to do that at the factory in the old TS days...don't know if that's been changed. But after an alignment you should see a difference with tracking. And yes, do weigh the corners and go from there...estimated weights are just that-ESTIMATED! After finding which are your most over-loaded corners you may be able to change the way you load your coach with your "stuff"! If you can't find a place to align your coach, consider a trip up to Charlotte and have Spartan do it-along with weighing it if necessary.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:55 PM   #3
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Thanks. I just assumed they aligned the front end at the factory. I'll ask them tomorrow when I'm at the factory - if it's not done already maybe they have the ability to do it there - and for gratis!

The cost of the 40DRQ already pushed beyond our budget, so the tag was not an option for now ... Maybe after the college loans for our daughters are paid off we can make the move up to a tag. Is it that much of a difference? For example, on a scale of 1-10 for DP ride, is a single axle 40' a 7 or 8 and the tag a 10 with ride quality? On that same scale my gas coach would get a 3-4 with occasional 5-6 on windless days and perfect roads.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:14 PM   #4
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I'll put it this way...with a tag you see no appreciable "sway" in the coach when an 18 wheeler goes by....with a crosswind you don't have to fight the wheel much at all, if any. The co-pilot can go back and fix you a cup of tea or pour you a beer without falling over due to irregular road conditions. Without the tag, well, it'll throw her all over the place. Sometimes that's not so bad but.......I digress.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:33 PM   #5
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Agree with what Bob is telling you. In other words, YES, there IS that much difference with the tag. It is head and shoulders better ride and handling than any single axle. Glad you are having a great experience with your new Entegra. They truly are a great company with great products and the best is the customer service, you will be amazed while at the factory.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:21 PM   #6
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Oh well... I guess the next coach will need to be a tag! Having said that the single axle 40' still beats the pants off my gas coach! For about 95% of the 18 wheelers passing me I felt NOTHING. With my 35' gas coach I always had a push. With the kind of winds I felt yesterday (and the lousy road) my gas coach would have been quite an "experience" despite the W-22 chassis. The 40' Aspire took a bit of extra work, but I never felt white knuckled or anything even close to that. On the other hand it was not as smooth as I had hoped. On reasonably good roads and above freezing temps the drive was stellar. I better not drive a tag anytime soon... I'll end up with tag envy! No doubt I'll see 42' tag axles coaches at the factory tomorrow...

On a similar note, we met another Aspire owner at Disney who bought their 40' 2011 coach in May. They took a look at ours and had a serious case of coach envy! All the new features Entegra added to the Aspire in 2012 left them stunned. I think they will upgrade sooner than later. Makes you wonder if anyone ever gets a coach and says I will never need another DP! Assuming most of us will not ever own a Prevost-level coach, I guess we can all "Aspire" to tag axles and more bells and whistles!
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:26 PM   #7
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I am a Govt. employee so you would think that I would know every acronym out there but I cannot figure out what CCC is. Any help?
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATC-Sooner
I am a Govt. employee so you would think that I would know every acronym out there but I cannot figure out what CCC is. Any help?
Cargo carrying capicity
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:38 PM   #9
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Speaking of CCC, what are you tag axle Entegra owners getting for CCC in your coaches?
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:39 PM   #10
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a little over 7500 lbs.
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:51 PM   #11
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Wow... I have "CCC envy" now! That tag certainly does make a difference on several fronts. On the other hand, only a month ago we still owned a gas coach that was 10 years old and was really wearing me down when I drove it. After being told we would need at least $7500 to $10,000 to make it usable for another few years, the DP became a necessity. We had not budgeted for this until at least 2014. I'd be crazy to second guess my decision and will thoroughly enjoy this coach. I'll work with Entegra about the CCC and see where we truly stand on this. The other Aspire owner I talked to at Disney said the Entegra guys told him to not worry about CCC as long as you're not exceeding capacity by more than a few hundred pounds. In other words, there is a safety margin built in to the numbers. I know this is a hotly debated topic, but with a little common sense and careful loading we should be o.k.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:44 PM   #12
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rvguy, I agree totally, keep it anywhere in reason and you will be fine AND you have one of the best built coaches on the planet. Enjoy it and do not even think about what you may not have, think what you do have. It is a great coach that will serve your needs for a long time to come. You do not need any second guessing, you bought the coach that fits your situation and it doesn't get any better than that.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:48 AM   #13
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RV Guy...I agree with Gene. He has the cash to buy almost ANYTHING , so if he blesses your decision, I'm also on board......Just don't bring your checkbook to the factory!!!
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:50 AM   #14
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Their will always be better and more updated. I for one have no problem with my 2010, and have no desire to upgrade. Its already more than I ever thought I could have, and its nicer than most everything else out there.
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