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Old 10-07-2014, 12:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Ownby View Post
Excellent, well thought out post. Congratulations on taking the time to do the research and gain the knowledge that you obviously have. When it comes time to open your wallet, you have certainly stacked the odds in your favor to make a sound and well reasoned choice.
Thanks, Steve. I very much appreciate the compliment from someone of your stature in these forums.

The experience you shared made me realize though that I did make one mistake in my post; I told HereWeGo1 that he would "find it", but perhaps a better choice of words might have been that he could "make it" his own when he finds just the right blank slate and turns it into the RV of his dreams.

Have fun everyone... keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up!
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Old 10-07-2014, 08:26 AM   #16
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Great post, appreciate the comments. We are also looking for a class A, going Fromm a class C Sprinter. I need comfort because of back issues, so that moves up to top of the list. Lots of considerations , we are taking our time.

But I agree, engine, wear, milage is where I whittle down the list...if in doubt go with the least milage, and size, depending on your needs. The more I look the more I like the used ones!
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Old 10-07-2014, 02:10 PM   #17
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We love everything about our 2002 Monaco Windsor! You can find one for around $70k so you have some change left to travel!
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Old 10-07-2014, 06:53 PM   #18
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I thought I would take the time to respond to some of the posts here with what might be considered a slightly contrarian viewpoint, but I think my viewpoint is built upon a solid foundation. I have owned and operated RVís for almost 18 years. I have also transported just over 170 Class A coaches to new owners or dealers; this was done as a favor to my best friend who started out as a new RV dealership in California and grew to become one of the largest on the west coast.

I donít want anybody to take anything personally I would love to hear responses from anyone where they think I am missing the bigger picture. I also donít think that I write very well so I will quote some comments so we know what I am talking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wryly Blithe View Post
The perfect floor plan in a rig that has an engine that's too small to get it from point A to point B efficiently, safely and reliably isn't even going to make it onto my list.


While this makes 100% perfect sense and those of us that have been around long enough can point to some coaches made in the 1970ís and even the early 80ís that were unsafe due to engines of insufficient size, that problem has been laid to rest. The reality is modern day coach manufacturers all use a ratio of HP to GCWR so no coach is unsafe or has an engine breaking down early due to a mismatching of HP to weight. Therefore worrying about the engine size or Chassis at the outset makes no sense unless you have some unusual requirements, like needing to tow 12,000 lbs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wryly Blithe View Post
Next, I think considering specific brand names is very important


I understand where you went with your comment and we might be on the same page but let me be clear. ALL coach manufacturers have had lemons and ALL (even those crappy brands) have had some really stellar coaches (the crappy brands just have less of those). Itís also important to realize that sometimes Brand Xís Model Line A just plain sucks while their Model line B is stellar. So itís important to do your research on the specific year and model you are looking at.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Ownby View Post
If you buy a coach with an outstanding chassis, there are plenty of people in the Elkhart area that can work wonders.


Chassis are probably the most bullet proof part of any motorhome and I think you would be hard pressed to find a chassis that has broken before the box on top it has worn apart. The fact is there are only three main manufacturers of Class A DP chassisí (not counting Bus conversions and Prevost type rigs). They are Spartan, Freightliner and Navistar. IMHO any coach with one of these HAS and outstanding chassis, so once again the Chassis is a complete non-starter when deciding upon a coach.

[NOTE: It havenít talked about suspension or manufacturer add-onís to the chassis since most of these are marketing driven to help differentiate brands. Everyone who has an Entegra loves their RG IFS, everyone who has a Newmar loves their comfort drive, Winnebago people love their ZF IFS, Tiffin loves their Power Glide, etc. etc. What I am getting at is that all manufacturers have their specific suspension add-on and guess what, they all are pretty darn good. So this area really is a non-starter also]

Bottom line is that engines are matched to the weight of the coach, unless you want a larger engine for your specific needs or you ego you really donít need to worry about the sizing of it. Chassis are just hunks of metal that will long outlast the coach and they are pretty much the same and most people probably couldnít tell the difference between them. The suspension add-onís, while different, all give the end user a good experience. It's very rare hear a Entegra, Newmar, Monaco, Tiffin, etc. owner complaining about their suspension, but it's pretty commonplace to hear them praise their coaches great handling.

So once we do away with the marketing hype of the chassis add-on's we are left with floor-plan, the one thing that end user will be living with 99% of the time. While all those comfort-drives and Spartan chassis and Cummins motor are only being used 1% of the time. So once again I have to ask, what is the more important 99% that is highly variable or the 1% that is mostly the same across the board?

As always JMO and YMMV.

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Old 10-08-2014, 12:57 AM   #19
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Steven, all excellent points, of course. Your respected reputation in these forums is well known and well earned, and I promise you nothing was taken personally. Quite the opposite, actually; I very much appreciate the opportunity to have frank discussions like this as a learning opportunity.

Quote: The perfect floor plan in a rig that has an engine that's too small to get it from point A to point B efficiently, safely and reliably isn't even going to make it onto my list.

Response: While this makes 100% perfect sense and those of us that have been around long enough can point to some coaches made in the 1970’s and even the early 80’s that were unsafe due to engines of insufficient size, that problem has been laid to rest. The reality is modern day coach manufacturers all use a ratio of HP to GCWR so no coach is unsafe or has an engine breaking down early due to a mismatching of HP to weight. Therefore worrying about the engine size or Chassis at the outset makes no sense unless you have some unusual requirements, like needing to tow 12,000 lbs.

First, I wasn't referring to anything older than 2000, which is the line I've drawn in the sand of my own research. Including anything much older than that in this discussion is simply too many apples and oranges to make much sense out of. I know I didn't come right out and say that, but I just assumed everyone could read my mind. What... you mean you can't?

Further, when I said "efficiently, safely and reliably" I wasn't referring to catastrophic break downs or blatant safety violations, but rather the differential between the working capacity of different sized engines. For example: If you've got two 40' motorhomes that weigh approximately the same and one has a 350 in it and the other a 450 in it, the 350 is likely to run at a higher percentage of its working capacity that the 450. Granted, this is just a baseline comparison that doesn't take anything like tuning or torque into consideration, but I think it's a valid starting point for evaluation purposes. Can the 350 do the job? Of course, and I'd happily buy one if that was the only option in the perfect rig for me. But I would rather run a little bigger engine that might leave me some headroom in the powerband when running up a hill, for instance - if given a choice between the two.

Personally, I'm thrilled to read that this isn't nearly as big a deal as it's often made out to be, but that doesn't mean it isn't at least a small deal worthy of consideration.

Quote: Next, I think considering specific brand names is very important.

Response: I understand where you went with your comment and we might be on the same page but let me be clear. ALL coach manufacturers have had lemons and ALL (even those crappy brands) have had some really stellar coaches (the crappy brands just have less of those). It’s also important to realize that sometimes Brand X’s Model Line A just plain sucks while their Model line B is stellar. So it’s important to do your research on the specific year and model you are looking at.

Yes, of course, all manufacturers have their 'problem children' - we are definitely on the same page with that. But to clarify my point: If Brand A has an excellent reputation across 80% of their product line, and Brand B has an excellent reputation for only 20% of theirs, it's really just a matter of "why would I bother?" It's unlikely I will find anything in that 20% that's going to be so much better than anything in the 80% to make it worth my time. I'm not going to spend precious time and resources searching through a basket full of rotten apples to find the (hopefully) good one when I can simply walk across the road into the orchard and pick from almost any tree I want.

I closing, I do owe an apology for not making my chassis/engine point clear: I wasn't referring to different brands of chassis. I agree completely that all three manufacturers you mentioned make an excellent product. I was referring only to the different lengths, capacities and configurations of chassis and their respective relationships to specific floor plans. This was a glaring oversight on my part, and I apologize for the confusion.

I hope we can share s'mores over an open fire sitting comfortably between our two rigs one day
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:43 AM   #20
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There has been a lot of good advise here. I am no expert on Class A Motorhomes but buy a quality floor plan with a known chassis that is good. Just know that you will be fixing things yourself soon so have some money set aside. My unit is too old to make engine modifications so be aware of the limitations if you are someone that wants a fire breathing diesel. Mine did an outstanding job going up and down many mountain passes during a trip from the Midwest to Washington, Oregon and California.

One thing that I found quite annoying is the steering gear being a Sheppard and not a TRW. If the MH you drive tends to wander around and exhibits a loose steering feel it most likely doesn't have a TRW steering gear. It can be changed either by yourself or by a mechanic. I have an appointment for mine tomorrow. There is a long post about this issue in the Monaco forum. Do a search for 'steering box play'. Not a big deal or terrible expensive to fix, just a pita.

DW and I really like ours and we don't have so much money in it that we can't afford to make some changes to it. The couch and supplied recliner was a waste of space for us so they are gone and two recliners now occupy the space. Just like the SB the floor covering will be next.


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