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Old 03-21-2013, 01:19 PM   #1
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Class A with side radiators.

Wife and I are looking at used MH in the 75-100000 price range. We've sorta decided on our want/needs for a floor plan, but my really want is a side radiator (for easier maint). Is the any certain brands where I should concentrate my search, or does it vary by model?? You've answered so many of our questions so far on this site , I hope u can help me here too. Thanks in advance.

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Old 03-21-2013, 02:49 PM   #2
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My experience and expertise is limited to Monaco brands so I will answer about them. If the description says built on a RR8S chassis then it's a side radiator. The S is for radiator position. If you are going back to '03 then side radiator coaches are as follows:
1. Signature
2. Executive
3. Navigator
4. Dynasty
5. Imperial
6. Windsor
7. Camelot
8. Septer

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Old 03-21-2013, 03:16 PM   #3
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Tiffin Allegro Bus and most Country Coach. Many of the higher end coaches.

In your price range you will be looking at an early 2000's vintage most likely.
FMCA #F431170, GS #822128658, Escapees SKP #112655
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:26 PM   #4
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Smile Highly Recommend

I asked the same question and was directed to a NEWMAR. Found an 2006 Dutch Star and could not be happier.

Good Luck and Many Happy Miles
Jim, Becky and our Four Legged Friend "Jackson"
2006 DSDP/2007 Chevy Tahoe
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:27 PM   #5
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Grand Cherokee Toad
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:34 PM   #6
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Fleetwood Revolution
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:40 PM   #7
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04 RexAir not a high end coach but has side draft radiator!!!!
Bill & Donna Rowe 04 36' Rexair DP
Max & Abby (mini dachs)
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:47 PM   #8
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All Alpine Coach motorhomes are side radiator.
John and Mary Knight
2015 Newmar Ventana 4311 - wheelchair accessible
2015 Cadillac SRX Luxury AWD
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:53 PM   #9
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My 2002 Monaco Windsor has a side radiator. We love it!
Joe & Annette

2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:02 PM   #10
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I'm also searching for a used motorhome. Some of the ones on my list with comments and my opinions:

Monaco Windsor, Dynasty, and Executive- (The Camelot came along in 2004 and the Windsor was dropped in 2006. Most Diplomats I’ve seen have a rear radiator and no Aqua-Hot. The Signatures are usually higher priced)

Holiday Rambler Imperial and Navigator- (one of the Monaco lines)

Country Coach Intrigue- (The Magna and Affinity are also priced higher)

American Coach Tradition, Dream, and Eagle- (The Heritage is rare and expensive)

Tiffin Allegro Bus and Zepher

Travel Supreme- (several models, the Select is usually all electric)

Newmar Dutch Star and Mountain Aire- (The Essex is usually higher priced and the King Aire is untouchable)

Beaver- I’ve started looking at some of the Beaver models. (They are one of the Monaco lines, but have Cat engines)

Newell or Featherlite- Sometimes you can find an early Newell or Prevost conversion reasonably priced, but they usually do not have slides and have very high miles.

Slides: Generally, you will find the manufacturers gradually upgraded all of these models over time and then started new models under them (there are exceptions to this). The first slides started around 1997 and through 2000; where you generally find only one slide. 2001-2003 you will generally find two slides. Then in 2004 you start finding more three slide models until in 2005 and newer there are more four slide models. Three slides (two up front) can really increase the interior space feel in a motor home.

Interior height: Most class A motorhomes interior height remained at 79” until 2005 when they slowly increased interior height. This can lessen the claustrophobic feel in side.

Chassis: The American Coach, Tiffin, Travel Supreme, and Newmar are built on Spartan chassis (these are good). Without starting a war, I try to avoid the Freightliner chassis. You may find a rare Gillig chassis and these are supposed to be very good. Monaco, Holiday Rambler, and Beaver are all built in house on their proprietary Roadmaster chassis (these are also good chassis).

Engines: I own a Dodge Ram with a Cummins ISB and I think it’s a great pickup/backhoe engine, but the little ISB is too small for a 30,000# RV. I would like at least a Cummins ISL (400-450hp) and would prefer a 450HP or higher. I also avoid the little Cat C7 engine as they have a history of expensive issues. I looked at a Country Coach Lexa (it was one of the nicest coaches I’ve seen as well as the most powerful) with a Cat C-15 and it averaged 4.9mpg, so I try to avoid the C-15. I also avoid all Navistar engines as I owned a Ford with the Navistar built Power Stroke and it was included in the class action law suit against Navistar. I have also driven some of the Monaco’s with the Detroit Series 60 and it was a great engine.

Aqua-Hot: After spending a couple of cold winters with a propane furnace, an Aqua-Hot heater is on my “must have” list. It is a diesel powered radiant heater that uses circulated hot coolant and does not dry out the interior air like a furnace. It also provides unlimited hot water. Most motor homes also have at least a 100 gallon diesel tank while the propane is only 30 gallons. In cold weather the propane will run out very fast while the diesel will last much longer.

I’m sure I’ve left some models out, but someone else here will add it. Take your time and you will learn from every one you look at.

Best of luck!
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:12 PM   #11
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Oh my!! I've got writers cramp listing all this great! Information. So much knowledge on one site. Wow. Thanks. I'm going to make a spread sheet with my must have/should haves on it and start shopping. I hope I get a chance to meet y'all touring. If I do the first ones on me. Thanks so much. I'll start digesting all these pointers tonight. Can't wait to join you on the road.
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Old 03-22-2013, 05:51 AM   #12
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Personally, I wouldn't have side-rad as a must-have. I won't argue that it's better but I don't think it gives you that much. For a lot of maintenance stuff, it won't matter and for the ones that do, it's usually $$$ repairs anyway (e.g. with the side-rad, it will cost you $1800 instead of $2000 with the rear-rad).

What the side-rad usually gives you is a higher-end coach and I won't argue that there's some benefit to that but personally I'd probably look for a 2-3 yr never coach with rear-rad than an older high-end with side-rad coach. E.g. looking at Tiffins, for roughly the same price (probably in your budget), you could get a 04 40' Allegro Bus (3 slides) and side-rad or a 06 40' Phaeton (4 slides) and rear-rad. The Bus will a bit higher end and has the side-rad but I think I'd prefer the newer Phaeton.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:12 AM   #13
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I recently bought a 2000 Dutch Star, side radiator was high on my list. Every motorhome I've ever owned has needed a new alternator.I looked at a Discovery & had to take a flashlight thru a hatch in the closet floor to even see the alternator, opened the back of the Dutch Star and there it was staring me right in the face.
2000 DSDP, 3894,Freightliner,330 Cat, 07 Jeep Commander 4x4toad.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:42 AM   #14
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I agree that alternators are much more of a pain with rear rad because you have to access from above or below

Actually, I'm not sure if they are all like that but in our 03 Phaeton (Freightliner with CAT 330 (rear rad)), you either have to remove a whole bunch of stuff (possibly the rear rad too - don't remember exactly) or simply cut the bolt. The alternator is attached with a long bolt that can't be removed because it won't slide out far enough to clear (slacking it off end then cutting the 'tip' off so you can pull in the opposite direction is an easy solution and then when you re-install, you simply put in a new bolt from the opposite direction). That said, when I picked up my new-to-me coach from the dealer, it needed a new alternator and since I was in a hurry, I helped the mechanic do the swap (mostly I was fetching tools and holding things) and I think it took less than an hour to remove the old one and install the new one so while it was a pain to deal with the rear rad, I don't think it really took that much more time to do it than it would of with a side rad.

On a related note, why is it that all these motorhomes seem to need new alternators? Is it lack of use that makes them fail early? I've need to change the alternator in 2 used DPs when I bought them and another one I was looking at needed a new alternator (I had planned to go see it but at the last minute, the vendor told me I had to wait as the alternator failed and he had left it at the shop to get replaced).

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