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Old 04-13-2015, 08:52 AM   #1
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American Coach: Liberty Chassis & 450?,500?,600? HP

We currently have a 36' DP, looking for a 42-45' Bath 1/2 & Tag axle. Am. Coach web site appears to use Liberty Chassis on all models (Revolution & up, with XCM or SLM Frtln.). Also, engine sizes: Cummins 450, 500, or 600 HP.

We would like to hear feedback, personal experiences, pro & con, from people who own Am. Coach 2013 or newer models, Revolution, Allegiance, Tradition (fyi we love what we have read of 2016 Eagle changes, but not sure we want to do that price point).

We don't want to start the mpg discussion again, more interested in :
-handling,
- torque,
- 3 (4?) stage engine brake,
- maneuvering ...is there much difference in turning radius/rear swing between 42' & 45'?

We don't have an Am.Coach dealer nearby, but plan to visit dealers in our travel routes this summer. Since this is a different mfr than our current DP, any tips, Am. Coach owners have for our test drive and dealer visit would be welcome also, thank you!

Safe travels to all
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:32 PM   #2
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No one has ever complained of too much power, but that said, the 450 in our Revolution has been quite satisfactory.

While they have, as you obviously are aware, transitioned from the Spartan chassis when we bought ours to the Freightliner, the center section and the drivetrain are all but identical. The center sections are built to AC specs, the front and rear "clips" being contributed by the chassis manufacturer.

I can't compare the handling to another DP, or even another tag axle coach, this is the first of either we've ever owned. I can tell you that compared to our gas coaches (35 and 36' in length, respectively) it's like its on rails. Neither cross winds or passing trucks affect it except in the most extreme conditions.

All the engines you describe have a two stage engine brake that with a switch can be activated on 3 or alternatively 6 cylinders. I love the engine brake on steep grades or even in heavy freeway traffic.

Rear swing will depend on the overhang behind the drive axle. You'll see two axle coaches, gas or diesel, with unreal rear overhang with a rear swing that would have you sweeping across the neighboring county when making full use of your available steering angle. That explains a lot of those damaged posts you see in gas stations. Our 43' coach rear overhang is much less than many, if not most, 35' plus rigs I see, class A or C. Check the wheelbase of the various length coaches you are considering and compare that to the overall length.

In general, I suspect once you've gone up to 42' (note: the American Coach '42' models are really 43' in length) the extra 3' won't make much of a difference in most modern RV parks, but the bigger you are the more public parks, in particular, will become off limits to you.

Have fun. The "hunt" can be as enjoyable as the eventual purchase, and there's a lot to see.


Good luck!
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:18 PM   #3
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I dont own an american coach but have been looking the liberty chassis is very nice but you will pay for it with lack of storage space. I am on themtall side also and the freightliner chassis makes a very short bathroom ceiling height which eleminated ac and newmar(in the floor plan we liked. We have an entegra cornerstone on order.
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Old 04-14-2015, 06:55 PM   #4
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How does the chassis affect ceiling height? I'm having difficulty making the connection there...

The Liberty chassis is just an American Coach designed center rail section for the storage bays, inserted between front and rear mechanicals that are are standard Freightliner components and chosen by AC to yield the capacity, performance and handling they want in the various coach models.

Back in '04 and '05, they offered the Liberty with either Freightliner or Spartan front & rear clips. Mine is Freightliner, but the Spartan proved more popular back then.
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Old 04-15-2015, 06:30 AM   #5
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How does the chassis affect ceiling height? I'm having difficulty making the connection there...

The Liberty chassis is just an American Coach designed center rail section for the storage bays, inserted between front and rear mechanicals that are are standard Freightliner components and chosen by AC to yield the capacity, performance and handling they want in the various coach models.

Back in '04 and '05, they offered the Liberty with either Freightliner or Spartan front & rear clips. Mine is Freightliner, but the Spartan proved more popular back then.
it is mainly an issue with the 600hp coaches freightliner must position the engine higer. newmar and american coach has 6'3" ceiling height in the rear after the step up. i have been in previous american coaches Spartan w/ 600hp this was not an issue on those
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Old 04-16-2015, 09:19 AM   #6
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OK, got it. Yeah, that would happen in a rear bath floor plan. Not in others, but the step up is going to be in the bedroom if there is no rear bath.

Thanks for explaining.
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Old 04-16-2015, 01:38 PM   #7
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it is mainly an issue with the 600hp coaches freightliner must position the engine higer. newmar and american coach has 6'3" ceiling height in the rear after the step up. i have been in previous american coaches Spartan w/ 600hp this was not an issue on those
Just curious, how much headroom does the Cornerstone have? I was in a 2015 and don't remember it being exceptionally high. I'm only 6' so I may not have noticed how high it was.
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Old 04-16-2015, 03:01 PM   #8
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Let's keep the topic on AC's as the OP has requested.

Thank you.
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Old 04-16-2015, 04:57 PM   #9
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Thanks to all who took time to reply

Anyone care to comment on engine brake? Our 36'DP has exhaust brake, and it is only "ON" or "OFF". Looks like some AC have either 2 or 3 stage engine brake. Would like help understanding why or why not additional "stages" desirable, and how to know when appropriate need for additional "stages" use?


Safe Travels to all
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Old 04-16-2015, 05:14 PM   #10
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I use my 3 stage on long hills. If it's a 6 or 7 per cent grade I use the full braking. On a 4 or 5% I use the middle setting. It lets the coach maintain a constant speed down the hill. I wouldn't consider it a necessity, but it is a nice option. I've never had an occasion to use the lowest setting. I had an exhaust brake on an '05 40' SOB and I thought it worked quite well.
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Old 04-16-2015, 06:39 PM   #11
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The 450 has a two stage engine brake and the 600 has the three stage...don't know about the 500.
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