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Old 12-01-2020, 01:36 PM   #1
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Advice on unit selection

Hello, my wife and I are getting ready to buy our first class A diesel and could use your advice. We have been researching units for about 5 years in anticipation of retiring this summer, so now is the time! We've settled on a used 40ft Newmar, we tend to do lots of rustic camping and our feeling is the 40 will get us into more sites than other options. My perfect unit would be a 2016 DutchStar 4018, but being honest I don't want to spend that much.

So we are down to a 2014 - 2015 Dutchstar 4018 vs a 2014 - 2015 Ventana 4037. As background the unit will be used primarily out west (mountains) and often in the fall.

Engines and Radiator
- Dutchstar 450, Ventana 400 engine
- Is this a meaningful difference? We will be towing an F150, will the smaller engine impact us in the mountains? My understanding is that these are actually the same engine, just a different ďchipĒ.
- Dutchstar side radiator, Ventana rear radiator
- I understand side is better, but how much better? With the rear radiator will I be susceptible to overheating in the mountains pulling the truck?
- I also understand maintenance is cheaper with the side radiator, once again, how much? Could you tell me the difference in cost of something simple like an annual oil change?

Tire Size Ė I know the Ventanaís tires are smaller, what is the pro and con of this? I assume smaller tires are cheaper, but the ride quality is impacted??

Suspension Ė I know the Dutchstar has an independent front suspension and the Ventana does not. Iím sure handing is probably better, but once again, how much, what does this really mean in real life?

Weíve seen that some Ventanaís, even with the residential fridge, do not have the pantry, and none of them have the external freezer. Can these be added after the fact?

What year did the Dutchstar start offering the heated floors? I believe it is 2015, but wanted to verify.

If you could supply any insights I would be extremely grateful.

Thanks in advance for any and all assistance
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Old 12-01-2020, 03:31 PM   #2
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Very familiar with and like our '13 VTDP 3433. I am not very familiar with the DSDP but think you have the major differences mentioned.
I dont think youbwill see much $ difference on routine service like oil & filters. The big $ difference is when you get into belts, water pumps, etc that requires rad removal with rear.
Our 3433 has the ISB engine so you are talking a different animal and I believe they are ISCs in that size. I do believe the DSDP will be heavier so you might look at HP & torque / 1000 lb MH wt. Lots of time the larger displacement engines are used because of the extra wt and aren't necessarily better performers?
Tires also sized appropriate for load they carry and don't think that is a big decision factor but will be dictated by other priorities.
I do wish we had heated floors but otherwise very pleased w our VTDP.
I think you will find no Bad decision just how important those features are to you.
I also love the Comfort Drive but thats on both so a wash. Have never driven a IFS for comparison.
Have considered a slightly older DSDP to keep budget about what a newer VTDP $ would be?
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Old 12-01-2020, 03:47 PM   #3
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CTrina,

Engines and Radiator
- Dutchstar 450, Ventana 400 engine
- Is this a meaningful difference? We will be towing an F150, will the smaller engine impact us in the mountains? My understanding is that these are actually the same engine, just a different ďchipĒ.
We got into the DP world with a 2005 DSDP 3815. We had some great times in that coach. From what I've read, the difference of 50 HP is taken up driving the side radiator fan so the net power is pretty much the same. We have towed a Chevy Equinox and a Jeep Wrangler through the mountains. Steep grades slow you down a bit but it was not a big problem. I believe your F150 is a bit heavier than our Toads but it should still be OK.
- Dutchstar side radiator, Ventana rear radiator
- I understand side is better, but how much better? With the rear radiator will I be susceptible to overheating in the mountains pulling the truck?
Side has pros and cons. It seems to be more popular with claims of greater effectiveness. After having both, with our driving needs, I haven't really perceived much of a difference. Access to the engine for service is definitely better with the side radiator. Side radiator costs you a storage bay. While I haven't studied the question of maintenance cost differences, I haven't really noticed it.
Tire Size Ė I know the Ventanaís tires are smaller, what is the pro and con of this? I assume smaller tires are cheaper, but the ride quality is impacted??
The smaller tires do result in a bit of a ride degrade but it's not big. Smaller tires are a bit cheaper.
Suspension Ė I know the Dutchstar has an independent front suspension and the Ventana does not. Iím sure handing is probably better, but once again, how much, what does this really mean in real life?
From what I read, the independent front suspension is a step up but I did not have that in my DSDP or our VTDP so I can't weigh in on that one.
Weíve seen that some Ventanaís, even with the residential fridge, do not have the pantry, and none of them have the external freezer. Can these be added after the fact?
We have/had a pantry on both coaches. As part of the negotiations in specing out the new coach, the dealer agreed to move the basement fridge/freezer from the DSDP to the VTDP at no cost. We love it.
What year did the Dutchstar start offering the heated floors? I believe it is 2015, but wanted to verify.
Don't know when they started it. While it's a pricey option, it's one that we wish we had - spending most of the year in ND. It's on our wish list for our next coach.
You mentioned that you like to do lots of "rustic camping". If that means frequent stays at National Parks, National Forest Service, State Parks, etc., you may want to consider a shorter coach. A forty foot coach will limit your "rustic" camping options somewhat in that their sites are often rather short.

I highly recommend retirement. HAVE FUN!

RB
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Old 12-01-2020, 03:51 PM   #4
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You mentioned 'rustic camping'.... Our experience of solely 'rustic' camping is that a 40' MH will get you to places easily. We used every kind of public park... national, national forest, etc. and also boondocked on public lands. Never had an issue. We fit in Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, etc. We found beautiful national forest campgrounds along with Corp of Engineers, county and city parks. We dry-camped our summer in Alaska. Ours was an '04 Dutch Star, 370hp and side radiator - which I would highly recommend if you get on gravel roads. We traveled the western mountains all the time and 370 was more than sufficient.
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:30 PM   #5
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You might want to investigate the FWS issues surrounding that vintage of coach.
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Old 12-02-2020, 05:30 AM   #6
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When comparing the engines it is better to look at torque than horsepower. Both DS and VT have a torque rating of 1,250 and that is what will get you up the hills. Pantry is floorplan dependent, we have one and would not like to be without it.
When we compared the 2 we ended up moving the side radiator, heated floors and IFS on the nice to have list based on the $90K difference between the 2 coaches. Very happy with out VTDP 4362.
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Old 12-02-2020, 08:29 AM   #7
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Havenít been out West yet but east coast mountain driving in our 43í Ventana fairly loaded (4 humans and 4 dogs have a lot of stuff even when part time) has been pretty smooth towing a full size 2019 Expedition.

Iím never the fastest or slowest vehicle up the hill.

40í has the same engine with less weight, and the Ventana is lighter than the Dutch Star by a good chunk. The HP to weight is probably comparable between the two.

Good luck deciding.

- Richard
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Old 12-02-2020, 09:58 AM   #8
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Nothing to add to the excellent responses, above, regarding your concerns. Either coach will fit your needs.

OMO, focus on floor plans that will make the decision for you, in that you are buying used and what you “love to live in” may not be available in a certain coach.

Once you’ve found the coach, come back here and ask if there are particular issues with that brand, model, and year. Every coach has some, and owners will advise.
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Old 12-02-2020, 10:52 AM   #9
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What do you consider to be 'rustic' camping? -Paul
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Old 12-02-2020, 05:02 PM   #10
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Heated floors, IFS, side radiator, all big and worth it. Also if you could get into a 2016 DS you would get the Mor-Floor, all tile no carpet.
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Old 12-03-2020, 06:24 AM   #11
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Primarily national and state forest in national and state parks. We have historically done a lot of the commercial campgrounds
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Old 12-03-2020, 07:57 AM   #12
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Both of the coaches you have honed in on, DS 4018 and VT 4037 are actually 41í long. Not a big difference, but it can make a difference if youíre looking at campgrounds that only allow 40í or less.
Both coaches are almost identical in layout. It comes down to personal preference.
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Old 12-03-2020, 08:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTrina View Post
Primarily national and state forest in national and state parks. We have historically done a lot of the commercial campgrounds

We have been full timing for 21/2 years, now and have spent around 65% of our time in State, National, and Corps Of Engineer campgrounds. I think that with planning ahead, you will be fine. No one has ever come out with a tape measure to check us. Overhead clearance to tree limbs has been the biggest concern for us. I carry a pole saw for trimming small branches, as needed.

We schedule a stop at a Freightliner Oasis shop every year. Annual maintenance costs were: $887 in 2018, $887 in 2019, and $2087 in 2020 (36 month maintenance schedule is much more extensive, and took a day and a half to complete). Next year will revert to the less costly schedule. If buying a used unit, you may want to consider getting into a Freightliner or Spartan shop right away to establish a baseline for maintenance going forward. Not sure what just an oil change should cost, but the 450HP version has the same oil capacity as the 400HP version.

I think adding a pantry to a used unit would be difficult and expensive. Adding the freezer would be fairly easy, but basement storage will take a hit. I think you might be surprised at just how much food can be stored in the residential fridge's freezer, if done efficiently. We have found we don't need one, but there's only 2 of us. On the subject of kitchens, we did not get the dishwasher, preferring to have the extra drawers for pots, pans, etc.

We have found the ride in our Ventana is smooth and quiet, but a rough road is a rough road. Folks we have spoken to at the end of the day in Dutchstars that took the same route have agreed with us. LOL!

We have 305/70 tires and they are wearing evenly and are doing the job. We are fairly heavy at 43,000 LBS.

We have crossed the Rockies several times and the ISL400 did just fine. Your heavier TOAD will no doubt make some difference in the mountains, but I think you will be fine as long as you drive pro-actively, paying attention to the Tachometer and downshifting when appropriate. I try to hit the bottom at 1800 rpm and downshift at 1600 rpm, which will bring rpms back up to 2000. On steep grades we usually end up in 4th gear at the top. On really long ones, we have occasionally ended up in 3rd. Bottom line is, we got to the top and didn't overheat.

Good luck in your choice! Either way, I think that you'll be fine. -Paul
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Old 12-03-2020, 08:09 AM   #14
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I had the same questions as you do about a year ago. What I found is if you can swing the DSDP, go for it. I ended up with a fantastic 2016 4369 VTDP mainly due to cost, but I do miss some of the differences. We got the 4369 for the bigger shower and bathroom. The engines arenít that big of a difference, itís the torque that matters and they both have 1250. I have only seen heated floors it in 2016 and above DSís but they are worth it, even in the summer those tile floors are cool on bare feet. The independent front end gives you tighter turn radius, some of these campgrounds can be pretty tight getting in and out of. In the 2016 and above DSís you donít have carpet on the slides, thatís so much nicer looking and less trouble cleaning. Power shades are a nice option I wish I had. Multiplex light controls would have been nice. I think the DSís have better insulation in the walls. Unfortunately, this is a terrible time to buy an RV, a lot of people are RVín due to COVID, wait if you can for the prices to go down and selection to go up. I donít think youíll regret either choice, itís mostly convenience differences. You already know you want a Newmar and I think thatís the best choice for full timing.
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