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Old 01-21-2020, 11:03 PM   #1
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BayStar to Ventana

Hey all,

We're looking at selling and upgrading to a Ventana for a lot of reasons, but wanted some feedback to see if our gripes will really be solved and give us better RV "quality of life".

Our Baystar is a 2014 - 3124, great floor plan (and good rig/build quality), but here's some of our issues:
  • When slides are in, hard to get around
  • When we started towing our TJ Wrangler Toad, the rig feels very under powered - we want to get a newer 4 door and it'll be even heavier
  • Mountain driving was awful and stressful with the toad (roaring engine going 30 mph getting our doors blown off is no fun - looking at you Wasatch Plateau)
  • Non stop tire balance issues / thumping / vibrations (want to pull my hair out) - I could write a few posts just about the issues
  • With cross-winds and some big trucks, it's a full-time job wrestling the rig between the lines - have to limit driving to 4 hours or so, as I'm shot out after
  • Speaking of 4 hours... the front seats are pretty awful comfort wise, huge complaint from us
  • Marginal basement storage, and low height (seems fixed with 2015 F53 chassis)
  • Missing features we realized we want/need (auto gen start, bigger inverter, more battery capacity (two smaller batteries exposed out front just doesn't cut it)

With that, we're looking at 34-37 Ventanas, likely in that 2012-2016 range (based on our budget). From a ton of research, this looks to be our dream rig and will solve a lot of our gripes. (we've been drooling over them, and DSDPs at the Tampa RV show for 3 years running)

Any feedback on a Ventana based on the issues with the Baystar? Is the chassis and tires/rims much easier/better from a balance and stability issue? Is the air ride that much better?

Anyone have these floor plan sizes that can attest to how they are with the slides in and moving around? (we boondook at Walmart a lot on the way to our destinations, so it's nice to just put a bedroom slide out, but still makes it hard to move around in our Baystar when the FWS is in).

I know power and towing capacity has no caparison, and haven driven a DP a few times (no toad), I understand the power improvements (even on an older 1995 rig)

What other features are "must haves" on the Ventana we should be looking for? I'm really interested in the oasis system, and possibly residential fridge for instance.

Thanks for any input!
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Old 01-22-2020, 12:01 AM   #2
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Iím making the same move so Iíll be watching this one. I share most the the cons on the Bay Star. I drove mine 625 miles in one day a couple weeks ago (Salton Sea to Grass Valley) and it took a few days to recover.

I spent a lot of time looking at specs, calculating power to weight ratios, visiting dealers and looking at various rigs, but what I need to do now is drive them. My only experience is in a 34í Country Coach.

So anyway....
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Old 01-22-2020, 01:19 AM   #3
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We moved from a class c to a Ventana 3709 DP. We also towed a two door wrangler. With the gas rig, if we tried to tow over passes, the engine would roar so loudly that conversation was nearly impossible. Going down the other side was just as bad but with the added benefit of overheated brakes. So we would just stop at the base of steep passes & unhook so DW could drive the jeep up & down the mountain. One objective for the DP was to have more torque to pull mountains without unhooking & an exhaust brake to help with braking on the down hill. The DP has enough torque that we do not unhook anymore, but we do not break any speed records going up either. The exhaust brake helps with the descent but still needs significant braking on steep grades. Having the engine 30+ feet behind us makes for a very quiet drive, even climbing mountains.

The air suspension also provides a significant ride improvement over springs. Haven't noticed any tire balance issues in the 22K miles so far.

The comfort drive also helps a lot on long drives when dealing with cross winds.

Overall the DP platform is a significant upgrade, but of course it comes at a cost, both initially & in maintenance.

Fueling at truck pumps is also much more convenient with a toad than using the auto pumps.

The additional cargo capacity, both volume & weight was also an upgrade objective. When we moved our stuff from the class C I was amazed at how much storage space was left. Of course we found enough additional stuff to fix that issue!

Wasn't sure why we would need two bathrooms, but after having them for awhile we really like the floor plan.

The full wall slide really spoils you. So if you need to use the coach with the slides in, it is doable but not very desirable. We find that we need to pull the full wall slide in frequently when the wind comes up or in moderate rain. The large surface area of the topper makes a great sail in the wind. It also holds a lot of water when it rains.

Couple of things that we have really come to use more than initially thought are the fireplace & roof satellite dish.

All in all we are happy with the upgrade & feel the Ventana is a good balance between value & bling.
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Old 01-22-2020, 06:39 AM   #4
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Ventana vs Bay Star

In addition, you should experience these benefits:

Quiet cockpit because diesel engine is 35+ feet behind you
The air suspension will "dump" before the jacks go down, so your front wheels will be on the ground more often at campgrounds, and the entry steps should be closer to the ground.
Getting around inside while the slides are in may not be improved, but that will depend on which floorplan you get. A lot of floor plans are optimized for camping with the slides out, so look at all the options.
Basement storage is larger because a lot of bays are pass through and the chassis rails are higher.
Ventana will have higher end fit and finish in a lot of areas.
Can get an all electric coach with Ventana (no LP), if desirable.

We have a 2016 Ventana and have been happy with the travel experience.

If looking at a new Kountry Star or used Ventana LE, make sure you thoroughly research and understand the towing capacity and other weight limits (GVWR & GCWR). While they are both Diesel pushers, they cannot tow and haul everything (nor can the Ventana, of course).
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Old 01-22-2020, 06:54 AM   #5
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You can't go wrong by moving up to the Ventana. We also had a Baystar and had good luck with it but wanted a few more amenities. The comfort drive alone will make a huge difference in your driving for long distances. No more being blown off the road by big trucks. The only thing I would emphasize is to ensure that the Ventana you pick has been well taken care of. Most are but some folks just drive them and never do any maintenance or upkeep. We have a 2016 Ventana 3725 and absolutely love it. I would also recommend one with a King bed. If you are like me constantly fidgeting during the night the king bed will definitely help, and make the wife a lot happier too.

JMcG,
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Old 01-22-2020, 07:25 AM   #6
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We did that same move.

You need to look at the different floor plans with slides in and out. Not all are equally accessible.

The Ventana accelerates slower than the Baystar. That’s just the factor of five tons more mass and the same 360 hp. Anyone tells you different is blowing smoke. The Ventana WILL hold speed better in high elevations due to turbocharging. And it WILL climb with fewer downshifts because the torque is higher. And the ultimate speed on any given steep grade between the two will be very similar.

The Ventana will make more noise on a hill than the V10. But you won’t hear it, because it’s all behind you. But it’s screaming and roaring back there, just open the window sometimes when you’re alongside a concrete wall.

The Ventana is much more relaxed to drive, no doubt. The steering is better, the ride is quiet, the Allison and Cummins take care of business. Just set the cruise control and kick back.

Check out the basement, you won’t gain a whole lot in a short DP.

Seats are a very personal thing. We’re comfortable in either unit.

And do not buy an LE model with the 2xxx series transmission and the 340 Cummins. Doesn’t have towing capacity you need.
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Old 01-22-2020, 08:25 AM   #7
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We never looked at any Ventana floor plans shorter than 40'. We were moving from a 37' gas coach (V-10 with Ford suspension) to a DP and I wanted a tag axle no matter what.

It has already been stated, each floor plan is different. If we dry camp at a business and want to limit putting slides out we only put the bedroom and kitchen slide out. By deploying both of those it give us enough room to get by for the evening.

In our 37' coach I could drive 300 miles on a windy day and it felt like someone had beat me up. There have been several times in the last couple of years I have had to drive just over 600 miles in our current coach and could have done at least 200 more. More comfortable to drive long distance than my car!
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Old 01-22-2020, 11:55 AM   #8
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Our first motorhome was a diesel puller or front engine diesel. Basically it was the same as a gas coach but with a diesel engine. We now have a 2017 Ventana LE 3436. The reason we purchased this floor plan is because it is fairly easy to walk in the coach with all the slides in. We originally thought the floor plan we would be interested in would be the 3412 but it was almost impossible to walk through that coach with the slides in.

I was well aware of the towing limitations on the LE but overall that coach fit us better. My wife did not want the polished ceramic tile floors or the additional accent lighting. Our towed car weighs roughly 3300 pounds and the LE has had no problems towing it. I have also towed a classic Mustang on a steel deck car trailer to car shows without any issues.

The Ventana is much quieter than a front engine coach and we can maintain 40-45mph on most climbs. The air suspension is a big improvement in ride and the Comfort Drive is a big improvement in handling. You will hardly notice when an 18 wheeler passes you. The exhaust brake helps a lot on long steep descents but you will also learn to use your gears to slow you down, too. Between the gears and the exhaust brake, I find that I donít have to use the air brakes too much. BTW, air brakes are another big plus for a diesel pusher.

Good luck in your search for your new coach.

óóó Jim
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Old 01-22-2020, 06:00 PM   #9
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Sounds like youíve already decided to jump. And good for you. I hope you really enjoy shopping for and driving your new coach! Personally I really like the simplicity and low maintenance costs of the Bay Stars. But thatís just me.... The 2017 and later models with the 6 speed transmission are much quieter and more agreeable on the hills.
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodosgood View Post
In addition, you should experience these benefits:

Quiet cockpit because diesel engine is 35+ feet behind you
The air suspension will "dump" before the jacks go down, so your front wheels will be on the ground more often at campgrounds, and the entry steps should be closer to the ground.
Getting around inside while the slides are in may not be improved, but that will depend on which floorplan you get. A lot of floor plans are optimized for camping with the slides out, so look at all the options.
Basement storage is larger because a lot of bays are pass through and the chassis rails are higher.
Ventana will have higher end fit and finish in a lot of areas.
Can get an all electric coach with Ventana (no LP), if desirable.

We have a 2016 Ventana and have been happy with the travel experience.

If looking at a new Kountry Star or used Ventana LE, make sure you thoroughly research and understand the towing capacity and other weight limits (GVWR & GCWR). While they are both Diesel pushers, they cannot tow and haul everything (nor can the Ventana, of course).
We plan on sticking with the regular Ventana, I want the extra power and more options standard. Not sure if electric is worth it for us, but will have to think on that and see if some other people have weighed in on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMcG View Post
You can't go wrong by moving up to the Ventana. We also had a Baystar and had good luck with it but wanted a few more amenities. The comfort drive alone will make a huge difference in your driving for long distances. No more being blown off the road by big trucks. The only thing I would emphasize is to ensure that the Ventana you pick has been well taken care of. Most are but some folks just drive them and never do any maintenance or upkeep. We have a 2016 Ventana 3725 and absolutely love it. I would also recommend one with a King bed. If you are like me constantly fidgeting during the night the king bed will definitely help, and make the wife a lot happier too.

JMcG,
2016 Ventana 3725
The 3124 we have has a king bed, and it's spoiled us for sure. We're hesitant to go back to a queen which looks to be the case for the 34 Ventana floor plans. That may be worth looking closer at the 37 ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finance View Post
We did that same move.

You need to look at the different floor plans with slides in and out. Not all are equally accessible.

The Ventana accelerates slower than the Baystar. Thatís just the factor of five tons more mass and the same 360 hp. Anyone tells you different is blowing smoke. The Ventana WILL hold speed better in high elevations due to turbocharging. And it WILL climb with fewer downshifts because the torque is higher. And the ultimate speed on any given steep grade between the two will be very similar.

The Ventana will make more noise on a hill than the V10. But you wonít hear it, because itís all behind you. But itís screaming and roaring back there, just open the window sometimes when youíre alongside a concrete wall.

The Ventana is much more relaxed to drive, no doubt. The steering is better, the ride is quiet, the Allison and Cummins take care of business. Just set the cruise control and kick back.

Check out the basement, you wonít gain a whole lot in a short DP.

Seats are a very personal thing. Weíre comfortable in either unit.

And do not buy an LE model with the 2xxx series transmission and the 340 Cummins. Doesnít have towing capacity you need.
I noticed in research about the smaller transmission and less towing/carrying capacity. We'll stick with the regular Ventana and the 3k Allison. Thanks for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geaux Tigers View Post
Our first motorhome was a diesel puller or front engine diesel. Basically it was the same as a gas coach but with a diesel engine. We now have a 2017 Ventana LE 3436. The reason we purchased this floor plan is because it is fairly easy to walk in the coach with all the slides in. We originally thought the floor plan we would be interested in would be the 3412 but it was almost impossible to walk through that coach with the slides in.

I was well aware of the towing limitations on the LE but overall that coach fit us better. My wife did not want the polished ceramic tile floors or the additional accent lighting. Our towed car weighs roughly 3300 pounds and the LE has had no problems towing it. I have also towed a classic Mustang on a steel deck car trailer to car shows without any issues.

The Ventana is much quieter than a front engine coach and we can maintain 40-45mph on most climbs. The air suspension is a big improvement in ride and the Comfort Drive is a big improvement in handling. You will hardly notice when an 18 wheeler passes you. The exhaust brake helps a lot on long steep descents but you will also learn to use your gears to slow you down, too. Between the gears and the exhaust brake, I find that I donít have to use the air brakes too much. BTW, air brakes are another big plus for a diesel pusher.

Good luck in your search for your new coach.

óóó Jim
Thanks Jim. Will look at those floor plans, as we love the full wall slide, but it seems that it's more limiting when the slides are in, Baystar, or Ventana. We're so ready for comfort drive!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PetesMH View Post
Sounds like youíve already decided to jump. And good for you. I hope you really enjoy shopping for and driving your new coach! Personally I really like the simplicity and low maintenance costs of the Bay Stars. But thatís just me.... The 2017 and later models with the 6 speed transmission are much quieter and more agreeable on the hills.
That will have to be one of the concessions we'll make regarding maintenance. I've been doing most of it, and it doesn't get any simpler for the oil!
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:12 AM   #11
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We transitioned from a 2016 Baystar Sport 2813 to a 2018 Ventana 3436 in 2018. Our primary reason for doing so was to make long driving days over 450 miles more tolerable.

Our Baystar was on a 20,500 pound F53 chassis with 19.5 wheels. We made a number of improvements to the chassis, including Koni Shocks and upgraded front and rear stabilizer bars. We were considering liquid springs to soften the ride on the rear axles. After the chassis improvements, the coach handled fairly well.

We did not really need or care about a lot of the bells and whistles in the diesel pushers. However, the one thing we knew we could never fix on the gasser was the engine noise, so after test driving all the 35 foot and under diesel pushers made since 2016, we decided on the Ventana. We were also hoping for less rattles on rough roads.

We drove our Baystar over 25,000 miles in 19 months, up and down many mountain passes. Our last 10,000 mile journey included going up and over Vail Pass towing a 4,000 lb SUV. We never considered unhitching the toad, but did slow to 35 mph with the engine screaming at 4,500 rpm both on the way up and on the way down.

After attending the Gillette Newmar rally, we decided to upgrade to the Ventana. A few months after we had taken the Baystar over Vail pass, we took our new Ventana over the same route with the same toad. We did not notice any appreciable improvement in hill climbing ability between the two coaches. However, if you closed your eyes while going up and down the hill in the Ventana, you would not realize that you were going up or down. There was really no appreciable difference in overall noise.

We have now driven the Ventana about 20,000 miles over 18 months. With both my wife and I driving about 1/2 the time, we find that 500 mile days are no big deal anymore. For us, it is not about the power or the features, but the overall ride comfort and noise level that has made a major improvement.

If you are looking at a 2016 to 2018 model, I believe that the 3407 and 3436 models are decent to walk through with the slides in while the 3412 is not as good. You can't get around the foot of the bed in any of them with the slides in. The 3407 has a King bed while the 3436 does not.

I think you also mentioned you were interested in the OASIS. I know I am in the minority here, but IMHO I would save the money. If you want to dry camp or go to tight RV parks in cold weather, the OASIS has limitations. Also, in the 35 ft Ventana's, you lose about 1/4 of your bay storage with the OASIS.

We live in California and like to go to the State parks where the generator hours are from 10am to 8pm. When dry camping, you must use the diesel burner on the OASIS for hot water and/or the furnace. When the diesel burner is running, it sounds like a quiet generator when outside the coach. So if you run the OASIS outside of generator hours, you may get a ranger knocking on your door. We also think the noise level inside the coach is noticeably more with the OASIS than with our previous propane furnace. Also, when the outside temperature falls below 40, the electric element on the OASIS is insufficient to keep the coach warm all night, so even if you have full hookups, you must again use the diesel burner. If you are in a tight RV park, your neighbors will hear it every time it comes on at night. Finally, we have had a number of mechanical issues with our OASIS as well, having to go without hot water on more than one occasion. IMHO, unless your objective is to get to an all electric coach, I don't think the advantage of having continuous hot water is worth the other disadvantages. I am sure many others will disagree.
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Old 01-23-2020, 06:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelminer View Post
We transitioned from a 2016 Baystar Sport 2813 to a 2018 Ventana 3436 in 2018. Our primary reason for doing so was to make long driving days over 450 miles more tolerable.

Our Baystar was on a 20,500 pound F53 chassis with 19.5 wheels. We made a number of improvements to the chassis, including Koni Shocks and upgraded front and rear stabilizer bars. We were considering liquid springs to soften the ride on the rear axles. After the chassis improvements, the coach handled fairly well.

We did not really need or care about a lot of the bells and whistles in the diesel pushers. However, the one thing we knew we could never fix on the gasser was the engine noise, so after test driving all the 35 foot and under diesel pushers made since 2016, we decided on the Ventana. We were also hoping for less rattles on rough roads.

We drove our Baystar over 25,000 miles in 19 months, up and down many mountain passes. Our last 10,000 mile journey included going up and over Vail Pass towing a 4,000 lb SUV. We never considered unhitching the toad, but did slow to 35 mph with the engine screaming at 4,500 rpm both on the way up and on the way down.

After attending the Gillette Newmar rally, we decided to upgrade to the Ventana. A few months after we had taken the Baystar over Vail pass, we took our new Ventana over the same route with the same toad. We did not notice any appreciable improvement in hill climbing ability between the two coaches. However, if you closed your eyes while going up and down the hill in the Ventana, you would not realize that you were going up or down. There was really no appreciable difference in overall noise.

We have now driven the Ventana about 20,000 miles over 18 months. With both my wife and I driving about 1/2 the time, we find that 500 mile days are no big deal anymore. For us, it is not about the power or the features, but the overall ride comfort and noise level that has made a major improvement.

If you are looking at a 2016 to 2018 model, I believe that the 3407 and 3436 models are decent to walk through with the slides in while the 3412 is not as good. You can't get around the foot of the bed in any of them with the slides in. The 3407 has a King bed while the 3436 does not.

I think you also mentioned you were interested in the OASIS. I know I am in the minority here, but IMHO I would save the money. If you want to dry camp or go to tight RV parks in cold weather, the OASIS has limitations. Also, in the 35 ft Ventana's, you lose about 1/4 of your bay storage with the OASIS.

We live in California and like to go to the State parks where the generator hours are from 10am to 8pm. When dry camping, you must use the diesel burner on the OASIS for hot water and/or the furnace. When the diesel burner is running, it sounds like a quiet generator when outside the coach. So if you run the OASIS outside of generator hours, you may get a ranger knocking on your door. We also think the noise level inside the coach is noticeably more with the OASIS than with our previous propane furnace. Also, when the outside temperature falls below 40, the electric element on the OASIS is insufficient to keep the coach warm all night, so even if you have full hookups, you must again use the diesel burner. If you are in a tight RV park, your neighbors will hear it every time it comes on at night. Finally, we have had a number of mechanical issues with our OASIS as well, having to go without hot water on more than one occasion. IMHO, unless your objective is to get to an all electric coach, I don't think the advantage of having continuous hot water is worth the other disadvantages. I am sure many others will disagree.

Joel,

Did you get a lot less rattles on the rough roads? Understood on the power aspect. The nice thing about this though is the NCCs in the 8k plus range in addition to towing capacity is the real shining star here. So I'm okay not pulling much faster than we do now. We only have around 2k lbs of NCC in the baystar, and just a bit under 5k of towing capacity.

Also to clarify are you saying that the engine noise was roughly the same on those same mountain passes between the baystar and the ventana? Or it was night and day difference quieter as you could close your eyes and not know you were humping it up a huge mountain?

Thanks for the feedback on the hydronic system. I keep seeing posts that people say once they have it, they'll never go back. You make some good points about the noise, and also having to burn fuel even at a campsite. A lot to process there!
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Old 01-23-2020, 06:06 PM   #13
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Also was curious, is there any documentation that's been kept up here, or somewhere on the net that tracks the yearly changes to the Ventanas?



It's difficult digging through all the yearly brochures which do not always show all the small, or under the radar, major changes that happen each year.


I'll see people make posts about the changes all of the different Newmar rigs, and it doesn't look like data that's going to ever be in a brochure...
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Old 01-24-2020, 09:16 AM   #14
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powerwoofs

There was an improvement in rattles, but I still have plenty of them in the Ventana. I have some friends with a Canyon Star that has much fewer rattles than my Ventana. I think it has more to do with the cabinet design, slide design and what day the coach went down the production line vs the spring vs air bag suspension. Longer wheelbases also don't seem to be as prone to rattles.

As for the engine noise, their is absolutely no comparison. The DP is night and day quieter under almost all circumstances. Perhaps, this is why I don't think there is much improvement in rattles. The engine noise from the gas engine obscured the rattle noises.
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