First of all- a big 'thank you' to all of the previous posters here that have provided so much great information on various topics. I would hate to guess the number of hours I spent here researching & learning. I really appreciate it all.
I just made it home in my new (to me) 2014 Jayco Seneca FS!!! My wife and I made the deal over the phone last week with LaMesa RV in Albuquerque NM and my two sons (7 & 10) and I flew in to NM yesterday from Texas to finish the deal. After a quick nap in a WalMart parking lot, the boys and I drove the Seneca 500 miles back home without any problems (well I drove... they mostly watched movies, laughed about various bodily functions, and played card games. It was a lot of fun though!!).
I would like to give props to LaMesa RV in Albuquerque. They made the whole process of spending extremely large amounts of money very easy and I (think) got a really good deal on a great motorhome. It was a little unnerving forking over that much money and time on a vehicle that I had not physically seen but the verbal description of the motorhome condition accurate and they were great answering all of my questions. I have a very high bar for 'perfect' and this motorhome was reasonably close to that. I had the opportunity to talk with close to a dozen employees at LaMesa while waiting for different things and they were all extremely nice & helpful.... even after closing time came and went (time flies when you are spending money
I had spent exactly zero hours behind the wheel of a Seneca before this. Not even a test drive. The very first time in ANY moving Class C was done after the paperwork was all signed and I was headed home. This was not the dealerships fault as I'm sure I could have test drove it as much as I wanted before signing the papers but time was running out, the kids were restless, I was exhausted, it was getting dark, and I needed to get headed back home. This was EXTREMELY risky, I know.... but I've been a diesel mechanic for roughly 20 years so I'm really not worried about the mechanicals on the Freightliner. The engine sounded good, everything was clean and properly serviced, no leaks, low miles, everything looked good- so I felt pretty safe. I contacted the original owner (It is truly amazing/scary what you can find on Bing) who had nothing bad to say about the motorhome (he had nothing to lose since he had traded it in months ago so I trusted his opinion). I had also done at least 100 million hours of research on the Seneca and have a put a lot of miles in a similar Freighliner bus (much shorter but same basic cab & frame) so I was pretty confident what I was getting.
My first impressions of the Seneca:
(I remember sucking up any information I could find before I bought ours and maybe this will help someone researching a Seneca in the future. )
The drive home was very easy even though the wind was about as gusty as I have ever seen. It was brutal. I passed many other big RVs that were obviously struggling to stay in their lane but the Seneca tracked so nice and straight you really only noticed the super hard gusts like when coming out from behind a hill or in a valley. Passing semis and getting passed in the Seneca was a non-event once I was comfortable with where my vehicle fit in the lane. . Rough roads suck. There is no denying that. When there is a chunk of asphalt missing out of the road- you will notice and so will everyone else in the motorhome. There is a very audible 'bang' and you immediately locate any loose dental work that you might have (OK.. maybe not THAT bad but much more noticeable than any car or pickup). The more common 'rolling bumps' are handled with ease and were not a problem at all. I would say that on 90% of my drive I was perfectly comfortable driving 75mph. The other 10% the road was just too rough and I had to drop to around 65 to feel perfectly safe.
The power leather seats are very comfortable. In the 500 mile drive I did not once get that feeling where I just need to get out and stretch (I did get out for other reasons though). The high seat position lets your legs stretch out a lot more than in a car. Cab noise was pretty low considering the big diesel engine. I could easily carry on a normal conversation with my passenger. Louder than a car or pickup but perfectly acceptable. Talking to anyone behind the cab required a soft yell. I'm not a radio expert but the cab radio is garbage. Unless I'm missing something there are just two crappy sounding dash speakers and that is IT. Much worse sounding than ANY car I have ever been in. Very 'tinny' sound that really just hurts your ears after a while. A $200,000+ MSRP rig should have a better sounding radio. We are going to take ours to a local stereo shop to get upgraded. My Seneca has the screeching/chirping shifter noise that has been discussed here several times. I'm going to have to make a trip to Freightliner to get that fixed. It is a bit annoying. A piece of fiberglass trim was loose just above the fuel cap that was gently flapping all the way home. I tried to fix it on the road but didn't have the proper tools with me. No other rattles or squeaks that I noticed.
We really like the layout of the FS bunk model! In our first (and so far- only) overnight stop the kids loved watching movies on the bunk DVD players. I liked their wireless headphones even more
I think I've heard enough Shrek and Lego Movie to last me several lifetimes. The king bed was comfortable. You can close a sturdy wood door to the master bedroom which blocks a surprising amount of noise. The A/C worked very well. It would freeze us out if turned down too low and it was 98 degrees on the way home. The overall fit and finish are OK. Keep in mind that our Seneca has 30,000 miles on it so it has bounced around a fair amount in the last 2 years. There were several small pieces of wood trim either missing or loose. Nothing major though. I noticed several screws inside and outside that were hanging on by a few threads or missing altogether. I still considered that to be very acceptable considering the circumstances. The cabinets all seemed to be very sturdy and the doors were tight & closed tightly. I did notice a wet spot on the corner of the bunk slide. I'm hoping that was from the pressure washer during the dealer's detailing wash and not a sign of a more serious leak. I'm going to keep an eye on it. The bathroom was very nice. Plenty of room.
Anyway... so far so good! I'm sure I will be posting with lots of questions.