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Old 06-20-2018, 06:58 PM   #71
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Thanks Vito for clearing it up for me. I am always interested in what others think about coaches. I am one of those guys that is always looking at coaches.
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Old 06-20-2018, 06:59 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
This thread seems to align with something we were told recently.

We are looking at both Motorhomes and 5th wheels for possible full time after retiring and selling our house. Recently at a dealer, the salesman told us the best MH we could possibly get is a 2001 - 2006 Monaco and partially gut it and upgrade it with some of the modern conveniences. He said it would be much cheaper and we would end up with a way better Rig than buying any other brand that is maybe 4-5 years old. He said if he had a couple of hundred thousand to work with that is what he would do without question. (He whispered this as that dealership does not even carry Monaco)

Since then two other people independently made the same suggestion.
Probably more would agree. I do for example.
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We would want one in the 40 - 45' range. Bath and a half. Capable of pulling a 10,000 - 15,000 pound trailer anywhere. Seems like any other wants could be addressed with money.
You've just described our 06 Ambassador.
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I would like to have a Detroit Series 60 just for nostalgic reasons (my Dad spent much of his career helping design and improve that engine). However that is not as important as quality.

So here are my questions:

1. Do you agree with Mr. Salesman?
Yes!
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2. Why Monaco specifically - he said that was the absolute best option for buying and upgrading. Why is that? What makes Monaco better than other options (Newhall for example?).
Build quality seems to have been good in those years.
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Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
3. If you agree - suggestions for models to look at?
05-07 Ambassador or bigger. Check the floorplans for the bath requirements however.
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Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
4. What should we watch out for if we go this way (lost of that is covered above - any added issues?)
Typical technical stuff (tires, batteries, etc.)
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Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
5. I was convinced Spartan frames are the best for durability and ride both. True? What frame did Monaco use?
RR8R for us, but any of the RR series frames are excellent.
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5. Are there any upgrades that are not doable that you know of?
You can do anything you want if you have the time and money!
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Our wish list would include: Aquahot, double paned windows, 3" walls with real insulation; heated basement/tanks; 100 gallons plus fresh and grey water, solar panels; 10k (or larger) generator); king or queen size walk around bed; reasonable ground clearance; 3 strong ac units; No jackknife sofa - I want a straight sofa that is long enough to lay down on; One piece possibly tiled sizable shower (especially height) (we have a bathtub). Ceramic, flush toilets (not plug in a hole type); incredibly wonderful driver and passenger seats that swivel and become part of te living area, laundry; not critical, but a table that cna be expanded to seat four or six would be awesome pass through large storage section int he basement; side radiator that is reasonably easy to access; water filter system; cabinetry and furniture that does not scream you are in a camper; lots of weigh capability. Not sure about a dishwasher - I dislike the Fisher and Payklel dish drawers but maybe if there is a different kind that actually works and does not break constantly. Also we woudl want deep kitchen sink(s), many units have absurd shallow ones. From what I have seen, we would likely replace all the cabinet knobs and handles, faucets shower head, and in some cases hinges. Even some of the nicer MHs use awfully cheap parts for those. I think it likely I would also upgrade the water pump on any unit.
Above: everything in RED is in my Ambassador. In green I've added or is perhaps better than what you wanted? You'll probably want to redo the entertainment systems (we went with Samsung matching systems throughout.)
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I do not see the need for super modern navigation (I can use my phone) but I do like the MHs with really nice cockpits with a wrap around style dash. We can also happily do without: a fake fireplace, built in safe, wine cooler or wine rack,
Get an RV navigation system! Trust me on that. I use both. Regular GPS systems don't help with restrictions such as size, height, etc., and as well don't have support for the POIs that you will want usually.
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Paint is irrelevant as long as not gaudy. The better exterior panels that do not delaminate are a big plus. Also any better interior panel than Masonite (but I do not thing there is anysuchofathing).

If we went this way, we would probably get one soonish and then spend several years using it while we upgrade it.

It seems like this would get us a customized unit at a lower price and with the costs spread out over time. Am I wrong in this?

Thanks.
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Old 06-20-2018, 08:10 PM   #73
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My wife also wanted 1 1/2 bath until she walked through one. She suddenly realized that the extra room has to come at the expense of something else and that was the kitchen counter. The counter was very short and the drawers were only 1/2 width.

Travel Supreme built high quality class A coaches from 1999 until the industry crashed in 2008. They closed the doors in Jan 2008 and eventually sold the company to Jayco. Jayco changed the name to Entegra Coach and also built quality coaches until 2016 when Thor purchased Jayco. So far, Thor has not degraded the Entegra line and the current Entegra coaches are still very nice and offer a lot of bang for the buck. You can compare a new Entegra Cornerstone to a high end Newmar.

Go look at a Travel Supreme Select from 2005-2009 (2004 and earlier have an older body style but are still nice). They are all electric coaches built on a Spartan Mountain Master chassis. Also look at Travel Supreme Select Limited coaches. The Select Limited is a notch up with the larger Cummins ISX vs the ISM in the Select. Both have very nice hand built wood cabinets and marble counter tops and many will have a fireplace.

Also look at Foretravel. They are handbuilt in TX and still in business today.

Like Mike said, Country Coach also built very nice coaches in Oregon (just down the road from Monaco) until they closed the doors in 2008. Winnebego purchased Country Coach and is keeping the name alive. The only thing I don't care for is Country Coach used Cat C13 and C15 engines in most of the higher end coaches before 2008 (these are also in many Beaver coaches). These are great powerful engines, but tend to be a little thirsty. However, one of the very nicest coaches I've ever seen was a Country Coach Lexa. We almost purchased it until I checked the on-board computer. Lifetime average mpg was 4.6.

Probably lots more nice models out there that I have failed to remember.
The London Aire is Newmar's direct competitor to the Entegra Cornerstone .Above that is the Essex and King Aire. Today I looked at a 2015 Cirnerstone. It was $100,000 less than my 2009 CC Magna would sell for.
I also looked at a '18 Cornerstone and was surprised to see it had smaller tag tires than my 365/70 and the window awnings were manual with the tie down straps.
I have the optional ISX 650, my fuel mileage is 7.6 mpg over 50,000 miles. The one major problem is the 650 ISX, in standard form, breaks the valves off in #6. Cost to fix mine was $33,000, several have gone to $40,000 and higher. Once fixed with the upgraded parts and ECM programming they run very well.
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Old 06-21-2018, 03:01 AM   #74
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You just described our 2005 Signature, except we have the ISX15 525HP engine and not a bath and a half. We have separate vanities. Mine is in with the commode. Barb has the main one in the bedroom.

It is happy to cruise at 75MPH, but I tend to set it at 65MPH as the gas mileage improves enough to increase the distance between fill ups.

It also has the Vorad collision avoidance which is a wonderful addition.

Paul

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Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
This thread seems to align with something we were told recently.



We are looking ....
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Old 06-21-2018, 05:58 AM   #75
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Don't overlook the 2000 Monaco Signature, really no difference than the later models. Jim E. OKC
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Old 06-21-2018, 06:44 AM   #76
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Like Zmotorsports I had a Beaver before buying my 04 Dynasty: "As for the wood work of a Beaver I can attest to that. Our Dynasty has a very nice and well built interior but nothing compared to old Beaver that we had previously. The Marquis, as well as the Patriot Thunder, had more of a gloss coated wood with Burl insets and they are very, very nice cabinets."
BUTother than the gloss finish and Burl insets they were all made in the same shop starting in 2003.
Unfortunately the sales pictures of my "new ride...08 Navigator" have been deleted as it has a Beaver looking interior with gloss burl inserts in all the overhead cabinets.
Not a great picture of the gloss burl inserts:


Here is an example of what I bought: https://www.rvtrader.com/listing/200...269-5001353620

The bath and a half fad is fairly new so there are a few starting around 2007 BUT while I've been told I'm full of it, no way would I give up that much space elsewhere. Some make the BR more open but having a clothes closet next to a shower plus a toilet that is not in it's own fart room does not turn me on. Having more kitchen counter/cabinet space is more important to us than two toilets.

Not sure why anyone would say you need to gut this and replace it with WHAT?
.
This picture is from the link above.
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Old 06-21-2018, 08:04 AM   #77
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Like Zmotorsports I had a Beaver before buying my 04 Dynasty: "As for the wood work of a Beaver I can attest to that. Our Dynasty has a very nice and well built interior but nothing compared to old Beaver that we had previously. The Marquis, as well as the Patriot Thunder, had more of a gloss coated wood with Burl insets and they are very, very nice cabinets."
BUTother than the gloss finish and Burl insets they were all made in the same shop starting in 2003.
Unfortunately the sales pictures of my "new ride...08 Navigator" have been deleted as it has a Beaver looking interior with gloss burl inserts in all the overhead cabinets.
Not a great picture of the gloss burl inserts:


Here is an example of what I bought: https://www.rvtrader.com/listing/200...269-5001353620

The bath and a half fad is fairly new so there are a few starting around 2007 BUT while I've been told I'm full of it, no way would I give up that much space elsewhere. Some make the BR more open but having a clothes closet next to a shower plus a toilet that is not in it's own fart room does not turn me on. Having more kitchen counter/cabinet space is more important to us than two toilets.

Not sure why anyone would say you need to gut this and replace it with WHAT?
.
This picture is from the link above.
That is pretty!. I am partial to Birds Eye Maple used in the Marquis. Second only to quartersawn oak with spectacular stripping, Birds Eye Maple is my favorite wood finish.

Wife wants two bathrooms. She is concerned that if one of us gets sick and need a toilet NOW, it could create a problem if someone is using the bathroom. Also sometimes, certain illnesses or preparing for a medical procedure like a colonoscopy you pretty much just stay int he bathroom all night. What does the other person do? Seems like an obscure concern to me, but it is important to her. Maybe she will change that priority as we look at some of the floor-plans. There are certainly ways to work around that issue.

I took the reference to gutting it to mean replace the appliances and electronics and entertainment systems to the extent they need to be updated. The navigation system would need updating or replacement (or use a phone instead). If it has a Dish drawer - it will need to be removed or replaced unless it is somehow still working - if it ever really worked.
Personally on every RV I have seen I would replace all of the cabinet knobs and handles, in many cases all of the hinges, often the sink faucets, sometimes the sink(s). It is likely the window seals will need replacing. The AC units may also need replacing or upgrading. Awnings may need to be replaced, Worn out or broken furniture items would need to be replaced. If there is a wine cooler or wine/liquor cabinet we would replace that. If there is a safe- remove it. Replace the mattress. I might replace the driver and passenger seats. I am not sure there, but it looks like those have been improved considerably and, as least online many of them appear worn/squished. Very possibly replace/upgrade the water pump. If it does not have radiant heated floors, we might put that in. Depending on what is there now, we might re-inslate the walls (is there any reason not to use ICYNENE foam?). from what I have learned since, we may well need to do the fix for the slide floors.

Add some of the newer features if necessary - rear and side cameras, collision avoidance, cell booster, upgraded solar panels (600 or more watts is now practical, many of the older Rvs if they have solar at all have only 100 watts). If it has what I call plug in a hole toilets, replace them with the ones we saw in the Entegra.

Countertops -not sure. I do not much care. Up to wifey. In our houses we have always had butcherblock, so we do not know much about counter options - we hate granite, but that makes no sens in a MH anyway.

I do not think we would replace the cabinetry although the sales guy may have intended to mean that. Some people only like whatever the most modern trend is. The Entegra we looked at did have some very nice pull out shelves that lock in place but release with a simple push. I assume that has probably been standard for a long time, but if an older coach did not have that, we might have it put into the existing cabinets.

Where necessary tires, air bags radiator/hoses, and other mechanical elements may need to be replaced.

Hopefully, if we go this way, we will be able to find a motorhome that does not need many of these modifications, but it is unlikely we will find a motorhome that old that needs none of them.
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Old 06-21-2018, 08:22 AM   #78
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Your list of what's desired perfectly describes our 2004 Monaco Signature Castle IV which has the Detroit Series 60 engine - has the Ugly Fix - has all cherry cabinets, with one exception - we only have a 65 gallon gray tank. Since we got the coach, I have installed a 9/16" thick engineered wood floor, taken out the F&P dishwasher and installed more cabinet storage space, replaced the driver's side couch with a custom cherry desk, replaced all the TV setup with up to date electronics and Winegard Directv antenna, replaced the no longer available Aladdin electronics with a Silverleaf system, took out the propane stove, added an induction cook top and added a fire suppression system to the engine compartment.

We bought the coach knowing it needed some work like side topper replacement, some subfloor rot at the corners of the two front slides and new batteries. When the new floor was installed we fixed the subfloor rot with marine grade plywood and installed all new slide seals. I did have the trailing arm frame break loose and had to repair that with a beefed up replacement frame. (The 10 air bag coaches were known for this problem.)

We bought this coach at a very good price and have put a little over $50K in it, but have a much better vehicle than anything less than a Newell or a high end Foretravel of todays coaches. We are on our 6th year since we bought it and will keep it until it's time to hang up the keys and stop traveling. It's been our full time home since 2013.
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:01 AM   #79
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Coldjensons, here's your coach with a Detroit 60 engine. This is one of a kind as Monaco only offered the Detroit 60 in the Signature, Executive, Navigator, and Marquis until 2007.

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f115/2008...ml#post4252160

https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/used-r...eries_rv-38976
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:16 AM   #80
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The 05 and newer has tallest ceiling. Detroit diesel is bulletproof. Drove ours across US and back. 10,000 miles before needing any oil. That was an 05 43PDQ Navigator. Solid performer.
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:48 AM   #81
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I love our 05 Navigator with the Detroit 60.


Previous owner called me to try and swap his newer 08 Navigator for the 05 he sold me. Said the Cummins 600 was no match for the pulling power of the Detroit and his wife liked the 05 layout better.
I politely said "no thanks"
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Old 06-21-2018, 11:42 AM   #82
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Old 06-22-2018, 09:25 AM   #83
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The 05 and newer has tallest ceiling. Detroit diesel is bulletproof. Drove ours across US and back. 10,000 miles before needing any oil. That was an 05 43PDQ Navigator. Solid performer.
The ceiling height is important to me (I am 6" 1" and a bit more). So does the 2008 with a Detroit Series 60 avoid whatever bad thing they did to diesel engines after 2006? I have a vague understanding it is some sort of emissions requirement, but if Monaco bought the engine in 2006, they could still put it into a 2008 model.

Dad says he did a good job with the Series 60. He was literally beaming with pride when I told him they used them as recently as 2008 and that I would try to find one with a Series 60 in it. I wonder how much if any of his work remains int eh Series 60. DDA was still a GM division when he worked there.

I will have to ask him about the post 2006 emissions thing. He retired in 1987, but he still hangs out with some of the engineers who worked under him (even though they are almost all retired now too, they may know what happened in 2006). I see some acronyms I can look up but having it explained would be better.
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Old 06-22-2018, 09:29 AM   #84
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Coldjensons, here's your coach with a Detroit 60 engine. This is one of a kind as Monaco only offered the Detroit 60 in the Signature, Executive, Navigator, and Marquis until 2007.

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f115/2008...ml#post4252160

https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/used-r...eries_rv-38976
Thanks. This is located near Austin. Our son is moving there at the end of August. If we help him drive out, maybe we will go look at it. PPL seems to have a lot of very nice used motor-homes, so we can look at several and compare. Also this will allow my wife to see what a second toilet does to kitchen space and that will help her decide whether it is worth it.
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