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Old 02-11-2021, 12:51 PM   #1
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Monaco vs Holiday Rambler?

We're searching for a class A upgrade and keep coming back to Monaco & Holiday Rambler. Is this like a Lexus / Toyota thing where one is identical to the other but more nicely appointed?

Early - Mid 2000's is about the best we can justify.

And then models in our price / dimension range . . . Cayman (Neptune), Knight (Ambassador) and ? (Endeavor). I listed in increasing weight / HP which seems to correlate to how nice they are.

Can someone help describe the general make & model differences?

Yes, I've looked at brochures for all of them and picking out the details is . . . very detailed. Sorta like not seeing the forest because all the trees are in the way. But gotta thank the manufacturers for their excellent archives.

We're looking for something fairly easy to drive (compared to an F53 gasser in a 20 mph headwind), quiet HVAC (big points for heat pump), decent temperature insulation and somewhat immune from outside noises. We'll boondock in cow pastures, glamp some State parks and sometimes sit in an RV park.

It seems the Cayman / Neptune doesn't offer all that, but the Endeavor covers all the bases at the cost of a fuel chomping Cummins ISC engine.

We know many state parks have a 35 ft limit . . . . forget that! We don't want to limit our choices to 34 ft coaches. 36 or 38 seem to be a good sizes.


And what's with the 6 digit # on HR Neptune front and rear caps?

Ok, I'm rambling . . .

Looking forward to hearing some comments, and thank you in advance.

Best,
- bob
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Old 02-11-2021, 01:45 PM   #2
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One important thing to look at is the chassis design.

The Endeavor has an 8 airbag suspension system which provided good handling and ride. Take a good look at the brochure and how the chassis is made and the airbags are mounted.

The Knight uses a trailing arm system, which in the early years was prone to failure. Here is a link show which model & year were affected Source Engineering Inc | Custom RV Chassis | Eugene, OR
There was a recall for this issue but some RV's did not have this done since it was up to the owner to make an effort to get it done. Every so often there is a report of a trailing arm failure, which usually leaves the coach stranded. So if you do consider a coach that is on the list make sure the trailing arms have been replaced.

Also, starting in ~2006 emission controls were installed on engines. Pretty much as these systems were installed they inherently had problems, especially new versions of different controls. Even now the newest diesel engines use DEF, and if you do enough reading you'll see posts from people having problems with all the different emission controls, some more then others.

I would suggest you spend time looking at the different rigs. As you work your way up the ladder the quality and amenities improve quite a bit. You can buy a quality used rig for a fraction of what it costs new. You can get a used rig that still has a lot of life left in it.
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Old 02-11-2021, 02:11 PM   #3
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OK, Sounds like you've been browsing through the brochures on monacocoach.com so you are already familiar with the lineup: Cayman, Knight, Diplomat, Camelot, Windsor, Dynasty, Executive, Signature and the corresponding HR brands. (The Diplomat LE was the forerunner of the Camelot up to '03).

Mechanical Stuff: Not all Monaco "Roadmaster" Chassis are the same; not even close.

Cayman and early Knights (until ~05) were built on the 4-airbag Rail Chassis: Rear radiator with smaller Cummins ISB and ISC engines. There were some issues with trailing arms cracking on some of the 4-bag RR's; There are threads on these issues and what was done to repair them.

'05-up Knights, Diplomats, Camelots were built on the 8-airbag raised rail chassis. The Camelots were side radiator coaches, the others rear. Engine availability included the ISL for the later Camelots and Diplomats. Later Windsors (~03+) were built on this chassis also. There are threads on the various engines as well as +, - of Side vs Rear radiators.

Earlier Windsors, as well as all Dynastys, Executives & Signatures were built on a very different 8-airbag Semi-Monocoque chassis. These are included for your consideration because there are a lot of earlier Monacos at this end which are price competitive with the 'entry level' ones. How they compare for your needs is up to you but it's worth a look. Try a search on RVT.com or RVtrader.com spanning the years, say, 1998 to 2007 to see.

On the HR line, it's the Diplomat that's the sister coach to the Endeavor, the Imperial to the Windsor (some years) and Dynasty in later of the years. The Navigator is somewhere in the range of the Exed and the Sig. That rough overview, once you settle on the model(s) and year range(s) it will be worth scouring thru the brochures and owner manuals available on the Monaco website and then visiting/inspecting some for sale.

Surely others will talk as well las to interior appointments. One recommendation here: Look for a residential refrigerator or factor into your decisions the possiblities&cost to do a changeover if it has one of the Norcolds.
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Old 02-11-2021, 02:22 PM   #4
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Purchased our 2004 HR Endeavor 40 last year and love it. Handles great and the floor plan is spacious. We took a trip from NY to FL last summer in it and driving it was a dream. Like others have mentioned just stick with the 8 air bag suspension models and you will be fine.
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Old 02-11-2021, 06:02 PM   #5
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Some awesome feedback and recommendations have been given already.

I’m not sure your exact price range, but if you’re looking at a mid 2000s Endeavours and Diplomats I would also recommend you look a few years older, but go up the food chain. Specifically I would look at 1998 to 2002 Windsors and Dynastys. These are built on the Roadmaster S-series chassis with either 8 or 10 air bags, side radiator, and either a Cummins ISC or ISL. There is so much value for your money in my opinion in these coaches. Of course your specific needs and usage will ultimately decide what is best.

I personally wouldn’t go less than an ISC, the likelihood of you wanting to upgrade again in the future for more power is just too great if you go smaller. If you jump up from the ISC to the ISL, the ISL is the first engine in the line up that has an engine brake instead of an exhaust brake. If mountains are in your future, this would be a consideration.

Also keep in mind that the difference between a 15 year old coach and a 20 year old coach is not that big. What’s more important is how well the specific coach was cared for and maintained. I think you will also find that a 20 year old highend coach, will be in better shape and have more life in it than a 15 year old entry level or mid level coach in the line up, generally speaking I mean.

Of course this is just our experience. Owning a 2001 Signature, you can see where our bias lies .


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All the best with your search! I’ve attached a summary of the Monaco and HR lineups for your reference.
Josh
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Old 02-11-2021, 06:48 PM   #6
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For added important information, I would suggest you notice Josh’s chart showing the chassis. The ones ending in R means it has a rear radiator. S means side radiator.
I’m prejudiced, having had both, and like the side one. Primarily because it’s much easier to maintain belts, fluids, filters, etc.
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Old 02-11-2021, 07:00 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies and I was already familiar with the Roadmaster R4R / RR4R link issue. Scaring me, actually. Only way to be sure is crawl under, which would be ok in nice weather.


Budget is $50k give or take and seeing some nicely maintained coaches in that range. Very tempted with some $30k Neptunes, but (I agree) I think going up in quality will be better overall.



Yes, how it's been maintained is key.


Thanks,
- bob & anita
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Old 02-11-2021, 07:18 PM   #8
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A friend went through the same process you did.

His basic parameters:

NO REAR RADIATOR
NO DEF (i.e. 2006/2007 or earlier)
8-bag suspension
Tag axle
Washer dryer stack or combination, or at least pre-plumbed for one
Not owned by a smoker
Must allow a pre-purchase inspection by an independent inspector
Good floor plan

Mike
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Old 02-11-2021, 07:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbr46 View Post
Thanks for the replies and I was already familiar with the Roadmaster R4R / RR4R link issue. Scaring me, actually. Only way to be sure is crawl under, which would be ok in nice weather.

Budget is $50k give or take and seeing some nicely maintained coaches in that range. Very tempted with some $30k Neptunes, but (I agree) I think going up in quality will be better overall.

Yes, how it's been maintained is key.
If you wait around for the perfect rig, you'll be dead. Decide on your budget and possibly floor plan, and buy the most, bestest rig you can find for that money. Every RV will need work period. A 36 ft rig with 4 airbags can ride as nice as a 45 ft rig with 10 bags. I'd love to have a bigger motor and a side radiator but that is not what we have. I bought as much RV as I could for the money that I had at that time. I have more money now, but I have done so much stuff to this RV that I would have to start over again with a new one. And for what, a bigger motor and side radiator? Nah, we are perfectly fine. I just keep upgrading this one.
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Old 02-11-2021, 09:49 PM   #10
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Bob, you've been given some great advice so far. Monaco purchased Holiday Rambler in 1996. Within a few years there was very little difference between equivalent models other than the name plate. Monaco also purchased Safari Motor Coach in 2002 and with Safari came Beaver. Within a few years these models are also similar to the sister Monaco model but with a few differences. Beaver continued to offer mostly Caterpillar engines while Monaco offered mostly Cummins engines. Beaver also used very high quality hardwood interiors. Some think that Beaver interior woodwork is the finest of any motor home.

I just wanted to comment on "fuel chomping Cummins ISC". Almost all Class A diesel motor homes get 7-8mpg. This is regardless of engine size. In fact, driver technique influences fuel mileage much more than engine size.
The Cummins ISC 8.3L engine is a great engine and would be the minimum power requirement for most folks. Remember, this is a big heavy motor home and not a Dodge pickup truck, so it requires a big engine. Most of us tow a car or something behind our motorhomes so that makes the engine power requirement even higher.
When shopping, ask what the engine torque rating is, not the HP. Try to find a coach with at least 1000 ft lbs of torque.
A Cummins ISL is an ISC with a slightly longer stroke crankshaft and displaces 8.9L. These are also very good motorhome engines and in some cases may get better fuel mileage than a small displacement engine.
Hope this helps.
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Old 02-12-2021, 02:06 AM   #11
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They are quiet running down the road but the roof mounted Air Conditioners make plenty of noise when parked. The heat pumps make just the same because they use the same device. Floor furnaces can be very loud as well. I have spent plenty of time and money making those much quieter.

The dual pane windows help with the outside noise quite a bit.
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Old 02-12-2021, 06:45 AM   #12
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We like quiet. Ever sit in a Fleetwood in a tornado? That's the sound of a Coleman Mach 3 on the roof . . . . or a Suburban SF-35 keeping you warm.

Like the Jeffersons, we're movin on up.

Cheers,
- bob
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Old 02-12-2021, 09:37 AM   #13
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I'm always looking to move up if I can find the right rig at the right price so I spend time looking at rigs. When I see a model in someone's signature I'll take the time to do a search and usually end up on RVtrader.com or other sales site. You can even look at Facebook Market Place. I take the time to look at the layout and the options. I'm honing in the models of rigs I would consider.


If you have a $50K budget and willing to purchase an older rig you can end up with a highend model that would cost +$300K new. In particular a Monaco Dynasty or HR Imperial. I see them listed quite a bit in that price range. If the rig has been taken care of it still would have a lot of life left in it.

I would rather go that route then a newer lesser model.
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Old 02-12-2021, 07:50 PM   #14
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Welcome to the forum, best to buy high end RV and as much coach as possible,
easier to grow into coach than trade up later.
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