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Old 01-20-2022, 08:49 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 11
Upgrading from our 35H - Our final observations

After several campers including pop-ups and 5th wheels my wife an I bought our first Motor Home. It was a 2008 Fleetwood Bounder 35H. Having consistently in what I would call moderately priced RVs we found the 35H to be very well built and enjoyable to travel in. We liked it so well that, after having to sell it when our employer laid us off, as soon as we could be purchased another one exactly like the first one.

Now that we are retiring we are going full time. We wanted something bigger and better built. So we have purchased a 2012 Tiffin Allegro Bus. Needless to say this represents a considerable jump in everything from quality of build to room and reliability. I thought I would provide some thoughts about our experiences with the Bounder.

First of all the Ford chassis is great. We have never had a single problem with it and have yet to find an incline that it couldn't manage. The gas mileage on the V-10 is lousy but that is expected. We averaged about 5mpg when on a cross country voyage. (It's really hard to believe that we are getting 11mpg from our 43' Diesel pusher now!!)

I think our biggest complaint is the general construction of the coach. Any place where there is a hinge, molding is attached, seams meet, etc. etc. they used inferior components or the workmanship was poor. If you are fairly handy this is mostly fixable. Over the years I have replaced or repaired most of these issues. We went though a point in time where cabinet doors simply started falling off the cabinets. That's when I started replacing hinges or using better screws. Yes, the concept of having a house going though the equivalent of an earthquake while in the middle of a hurricane definitely applies. But I do expect the manufacturer of a $120,000 RV to take that into account when they build the thing in the first place!!!!

I have had to replace one of the AC units and change the motor in the other one. The original fridge failed and had to be replaced. Significant issues with the large slide. (There was a recall on that but as the second owner of the second Bounder we missed the recall period.) The Fleetwood modification of the original Ford chassis dashboard caused some problems with some of the controls.

There have been other maintenance issues that I won't complain about since I felt like they were from normal use.

Fleetwood designed the 35H such that there were water lines in 3 different basement compartments and that made it a pain to keep from freezing when we were using it in the winter time. I have yet to understand why they put the water pump and water filter in a compartment on the other side of the coach from the water connection. That was because the fresh tank was in that location. Another significant design flaw.

We loved the bath and half design. However, the back commode is a vacuum flush toilet. But it was designed to maintain a vacuum constantly, even when not in use. The only way to turn off the vacuum pump for the toilet was to turn the 12V power completely off. We have a vacuum flush toilet on the Tiffin but it only creates the vacuum when you flush the toilet. We have had several instances where the vacuum pump on the Bounder failed because it ran ALL THE TIME and wore out.

My goal of this mini-rant was not to put down Fleetwood. We are glad to have owned the 2 Bounders. And would do it again. Maybe someone considering a new entry level motor home will see this and be more aware of what to keep in mind in their purchase. Even the super expensive RVs will have problems that need to be addressed. But the moderate level of RVs will be more frequent and widespread. Get to know your RV and learn how to make repairs and when to avoid problems by fixing issues before they become problems.

I have spent a lot of time watch the RVStreet channel on YouTube. It has been a great help for me. I can't recommend that channel strongly enough to help you learn what you need to be aware of with your coach. You will learn a LOT about your gas motor home and be able to know what to look for and maybe prevent issues. I wish that resource had been available when I bought my first RV.
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