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Old 02-28-2022, 01:51 AM   #1
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2006 National Dolphin 5320 buying info?

Going to look at a one owner, 2006 National Dolphin 5320 today with 30k miles on it. Ford chassis with V10. We looked at it a couple weeks ago and now we are going back again today. What do I need to look for on these Nationals? I've had RV's before, just never a National. are there any "brand known" problems with these units I should look for? How hard are these to find parts for? I'm worried about the basement style A/C's? Are they a problem?
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Old 02-28-2022, 04:23 AM   #2
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i have a 2005 5320 and love it, since it is an orphan parts are a little hasd but are available. mine is workhorse chassis, not sure if ford had any recalls but wh had three, basement air does great and much quieter. not much help but all i can offer.
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Old 02-28-2022, 04:23 PM   #3
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I have a 2004 Dolphin 6320, which is the LX version but same floorplan. Nationals are a well-built coach.

The one piece fiberglass roof is pretty good on these... no problem with them peeling off like some of the Winnebagos. Roof leaks seldom an issue provided the PO has kept up with sealing vents and joints, same as with any coach.

Coleman Mach basement air units are still made. Ours works well and I really like it. The rush of air from the heat pump fan is pretty loud in the bedroom-- I wish it had a lower speed setting-- but not much of a problem on a/c as a/c is used more during the day when you're not in bed. When using the heat at night though it might bother you, but you always have the option of using the propane furnace, which is much quieter at the rear of the coach. Usually, we turn on the propane heat first thing in the morning while we're still in bed, and switch to heat pump once we're up and around. The only real problem with these units is the start capacitors, which sometimes need replacing. It's not an expensive or difficult job, so I'm told. My 2004 is still on the original capacitors.

I've heard of a few units having cracks in the outer shell of the basement locker doors. Mine has a few hairline cracks in one door, but they don't affect the structural integrity and I really don't think it's a concern.

Except for body panels, everything is pretty much the same as what you'd find in any RV. Jacks, slide motors, awnings etc are all aftermarket companies that mostly are still around. Door locks, power steps, inverters etc are also the same as used in many other brands.

Some of the Dolphins used a troublesome gear unit on the bedroom slide. That unit was made by RBW, and used a brass gear. The better unit is made by PowerGear, which is what is in my coach. National used both vendors, so hopefully the coach you're looking at has PowerGear. RBW was bought out by AL-KO. Not sure who owns them now. Take a look at this old thread and scroll down to post #25 for some good information from forum member GREGORYJ. That should help you identify which unit is in your Dolphin.

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f105/200...m-44806-2.html

I'm actually surprised yours would have a Ford chassis, as most 2003-05 Dolphins were on the Workhorse, but if yours is in fact a Ford chassis parts should be readily available. I'm not having any trouble getting Workhorse parts yet, but that day may come before too long.

The 5320 and 6320 are on a 208" wheelbase, while the next size up were 228". That should make them handle crosswinds a bit better. Mine drives quite well, but I had to add some suspension goodies to get it handling the way I like.

All things considered, if I were in the market for another coach now, National would be at the top of my list. I looked at (and drove) several other coaches before I bought mine three years ago, and for the money the Dolphins were just so much nicer.
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Old 02-28-2022, 04:26 PM   #4
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I have a 2007 5342 Dolphin and I have 35000 on it. Itís been a great motorhome so far. Parts have not been a problem since most of the parts they used is off the shelf Items.
With the Ford they didnít have any recalls that I know of. They had one for the refrigerator but that the only one I know of.
National had a problem with there sides. If water got in then you had separation of the layers. Look for deformed wall and if it smells like mildew then really look it over. Thatís a red flag with any unit you buy.
Good luck
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Old 02-28-2022, 05:03 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info. We bought it today. It's a one owner coach that has been stored in a pole barn up in North Ga. Pretty clean unit with brand new (2021) Michelin tires on it. Only problem is it still has the diamond shield on it which I will be removing ASAP. I've removed DS from my 2013 Tiffin and it's a big job, but worth it in the end.
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Old 02-28-2022, 05:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamJam1 View Post
I have a 2004 Dolphin 6320, which is the LX version but same floorplan. Nationals are a well-built coach.

The one piece fiberglass roof is pretty good on these... no problem with them peeling off like some of the Winnebagos. Roof leaks seldom an issue provided the PO has kept up with sealing vents and joints, same as with any coach.

Coleman Mach basement air units are still made. Ours works well and I really like it. The rush of air from the heat pump fan is pretty loud in the bedroom-- I wish it had a lower speed setting-- but not much of a problem on a/c as a/c is used more during the day when you're not in bed. When using the heat at night though it might bother you, but you always have the option of using the propane furnace, which is much quieter at the rear of the coach. Usually, we turn on the propane heat first thing in the morning while we're still in bed, and switch to heat pump once we're up and around. The only real problem with these units is the start capacitors, which sometimes need replacing. It's not an expensive or difficult job, so I'm told. My 2004 is still on the original capacitors.

I've heard of a few units having cracks in the outer shell of the basement locker doors. Mine has a few hairline cracks in one door, but they don't affect the structural integrity and I really don't think it's a concern.

Except for body panels, everything is pretty much the same as what you'd find in any RV. Jacks, slide motors, awnings etc are all aftermarket companies that mostly are still around. Door locks, power steps, inverters etc are also the same as used in many other brands.

Some of the Dolphins used a troublesome gear unit on the bedroom slide. That unit was made by RBW, and used a brass gear. The better unit is made by PowerGear, which is what is in my coach. National used both vendors, so hopefully the coach you're looking at has PowerGear. RBW was bought out by AL-KO. Not sure who owns them now. Take a look at this old thread and scroll down to post #25 for some good information from forum member GREGORYJ. That should help you identify which unit is in your Dolphin.

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f105/200...m-44806-2.html

I'm actually surprised yours would have a Ford chassis, as most 2003-05 Dolphins were on the Workhorse, but if yours is in fact a Ford chassis parts should be readily available. I'm not having any trouble getting Workhorse parts yet, but that day may come before too long.

The 5320 and 6320 are on a 208" wheelbase, while the next size up were 228". That should make them handle crosswinds a bit better. Mine drives quite well, but I had to add some suspension goodies to get it handling the way I like.

All things considered, if I were in the market for another coach now, National would be at the top of my list. I looked at (and drove) several other coaches before I bought mine three years ago, and for the money the Dolphins were just so much nicer.
What's the difference between the 5320 and the 6320 "LX version"? How do I know which one I have? I just know mine has that floorplan, but not sure which I have?
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Old 02-28-2022, 08:12 PM   #7
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Mine has the 6320 numbers on decals on the front fenders. Not sure if they still did that in '06.

Here's a 2006 brochure that should tell you all you need to know about the differences between the LX models and the other.

https://www.nrvclub.com/_files/ugd/d...ad5319907d.pdf

I find it interesting that no mention is made of the Ford chassis in this brochure, which ties in with my thinking that they only came with Workhorse chassis in '06. They did have Ford chassis available in '07, so I wonder if the change was actually made mid-year 2006?

I think the delamination issue mentioned earlier was for a limited time due to a supplier issue, and I'm told most of them were fixed under warranty. Should be pretty obvious after 15 years if yours has that problem.
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Old 03-01-2022, 05:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamJam1 View Post
Mine has the 6320 numbers on decals on the front fenders. Not sure if they still did that in '06.

Here's a 2006 brochure that should tell you all you need to know about the differences between the LX models and the other.

https://www.nrvclub.com/_files/ugd/d...ad5319907d.pdf

I find it interesting that no mention is made of the Ford chassis in this brochure, which ties in with my thinking that they only came with Workhorse chassis in '06. They did have Ford chassis available in '07, so I wonder if the change was actually made mid-year 2006?

I think the delamination issue mentioned earlier was for a limited time due to a supplier issue, and I'm told most of them were fixed under warranty. Should be pretty obvious after 15 years if yours has that problem.
Thanks for the brochure. It does have both the Ford and Chevy info in it. Mine is a Ford F53
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Old 03-01-2022, 12:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Thanks for the brochure. It does have both the Ford and Chevy info in it. Mine is a Ford F53
It sure does! I must have been thinking about another year brochure I looked at.
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Old 03-05-2022, 10:50 AM   #10
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We have a 2004 Dolphin 5342 on a workhorse chassis! Have had it 10 years with 68,000 miles on it and love it!!
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Old 03-05-2022, 03:32 PM   #11
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Could you tell me if your model must have the batteries connected when you're on shore power in order for the 12v dc to work?
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Old 03-08-2022, 04:20 PM   #12
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Yes, most all motorhomes will not allow the 12v lights and other items to work if the house batteries are disconnected. This breaks the circuit.
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Old 03-08-2022, 04:36 PM   #13
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I bought a new 5320 in 2006 and it had the Ford V10 chassis. Solid unit from the construction standpoint. I really can't say much against it other than issues that come from exterior forces, like a varment chewing the gas feed to the generator. When running with the genset on while running the alternator light kept coming on. No issue other than an idiot light blinking on and off. Driving it I found the transmission was hunting for the right gear going up gentle inclines especially with a toad on the hitch, that hunting made for a loud driving experience, it was noisy going over road ruts so I hunted around the unit while my wife drove to locate and silence them with shims etc, the dual pain windows clouded up on the driver side, I reconfigured the front TV with an LED and put in a better surround system. I still have the original sound system. A crack in the roof happened on the left rear corner causing water incursion to the rear left main bedroom closet. It was easily fixed with tape, headlights clouded up so I polished them to like new condition. All these things were minor considering more major things that can go wrong, but the experience things just added up to a time to sell it. Harsh driving experience would be my greatest critique. Very solid unit tho, and all appliances, generator, engine, AC worked flawlessly except for the darn varment, which insurance paid to fix.
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Old 03-09-2022, 03:02 PM   #14
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Delamination

Hey, just wanted to say that overall I think National made a good RV. I did want to chime in for anyone reading that I have had some problems with delamination and want to tell my thoughts. I have been very keen on checking seams around all the roof openings. I have use Dicor sealants with good results. I noticed some very minor cracks in the roof fiberglass and coated the whole roof with Henry's Tropi-cool silicone coating. I usually have my RV covered with a cover. It is not waterproof. Lately, I have notice that a bulge is forming just above the trim at the basement door hinge all the way down the side of the RV. I believe this was caused by the cracks in the chalking along that trim. I have now re-chalked all the seams everywhere I could. One other minor problem is the area is where the roof drip mounding has a small gap because it is not continuous but is made in 2 pieces. I have minor delamination right there and directly below in the side wall. I have since dug out the sealer and resealed this area as best I could. I write this to help any National RV owners reading this to check these areas.

2005 1321 Seabreeze
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