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Old 11-19-2012, 07:43 AM   #1
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Newbies - Trying to avoid first-time buying mistakes

We did as much pop-up camping over the years as we could and we've been saving and planning for our first DP. We are on the hunt for a Monaco in the 2003-2006 with at least a 330 HP Cummins since we will be towing a Jeep through the Rocky Mountains a lot. Want to make sure we have sufficient weight carrying capacity so I'm wondering if there is any information out there with approximate curb weights so I can compare the actual payload weight limits between models and years?

We are thinking of either a Diplomat or Camelot but to make it just a little more of a challenge we would like to stay in the 34 to 36' range so we can get into most any state or nat'l park campground.

Any recommendations of where I can look to get some reliable weight information? Any other recommendations are welcome as well.

- Glenn
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:43 AM   #2
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Look for a Windsor (sp?). deSanford
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:54 AM   #3
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Look at as many units as you can. The floor plan is very important. At that price range you will want to pay to have an inspection on both the chassis and house itself. A few hundred dollars spent upfront will allow you to understand any issues before purchase. If you have questions ask the forum from those that have experience in your area.

Good Luck
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:49 PM   #4
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Others on the forum are framiliar with our story....we decided to switch out of a 40' toyhauler FifthWheel into a DP.
We bought a Newmar Ventana 3303. Great coach, well built. ---- Wrong length and floorplan.

Openly my wife and I tried to go smaller with our first DP and it just didn't work.
We switched to a HR Scepter 42 PDQ this year. Great coach lots of space and power. The same hills that would work the 5.9L cummins in the Newmar at 28,000 lbs are of no issue with the 8.9L at 40,000 lbs. Fuel mileage is about 2 MPG different.

2 slides may look good while you are shopping - but think more. Get some more people in the coach and see if you have room in the bedroom, the bath - or entertaining in the salon.

Test drive the units you are looking at more than once - especially if you plan to go with a shorter DP. Negotiate with the dealer that you are buying from to give you a defined time frame to return the unit with "the list" that you are undoubtedly going to make after your first few trips out - warranty or otherwise. New tires, batteries and full fluid service should also be baseline for starting service as well.

Fianlly, I had read on this forum some time ago that it takes a number of months once you do purchase a unit wether it be new or used to work out the "bugs" and get it set up the way you like - that is the truth.

Just my thoughts

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:49 PM   #5
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Check all the systems.

Flip EVERY switch, lever and valve.

Have the batteries load tested.


Ask me how I know...
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:01 AM   #6
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newbies buying first DP

There are arguements on both sides,but I found that when we bought our 38' HP Endeavor the after market warranty was a good investment. When you know nothing about the coach your buying the few thousand gives you piece of mind. We bought a two year warranty. Cost around $2800 (probable paid too much). We had about $4000 in warranty work done. So I figure were ahead of the game,and still have about six months left on the warranty. One word of advise is to read any warranty very close. Ask questions on the forum. It will be worth it.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:06 AM   #7
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Welcome and good luck....
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:47 PM   #8
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Go out to the Monaco web site and download the brochures and compare the specifications and the available options between the models you’re looking at . Find a floor plan you like and narrow your search to a specific model or models. When I got my 34' DP I was supprised as to the number of options that were installed. Good Luck

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Old 11-20-2012, 03:04 PM   #9
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Her is one that apperas to be priced right (providing it has been looked after) 2004*Monaco*Diplomat w/4 Slides*listed on RVOnline.com -RVs for Sale
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:13 PM   #10
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Lots of great information and suggestions from all above. Here are some thoughts following all of your comments...

We originally were thinking about a 40' coach but our thought of not exceeding 36' is simply because so many great parks in the Colorado area say they have a 35' limit. We have no experience to know if this is truly a limitation or just a suggestion. I have lots of experience driving big trucks so maneuvering a 40' rig in a confined area is not a concern to me. Any one have experience with a larger coach in campgrounds that advertise 35' and smaller?

I am looking for a qualified RV mechanic in the Colorado Front Range area (Ft. Colins down to Colorado Springs) that I can hire to inspect before I buy. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

We know what we would ideally like in a floor plan but we are also aware that the used RV factory doesn't build to order and we need to compromise some. We think our ideal coach is 35', low mileage (<25K miles), no pets/smoking one-owner, minimum 330 HP, curb side dinette & aqua-hot. We are pretty flexible on most other elements. However, we've changed some basic desired items as we've been researching.

Another concern is actual load limits. I have not been able to find any resource for curb weight by model to allow me to know how much weight in stuff we can safely carry. We like to have our stuff with us, including our Jeep with the kayak on the roof rack of the Jeep and our bicycles on the back. Of course, I have no idea how much everything weight, I just don't want to buy only to find out that we are pushing or exceeding the GCWR.

Another question we have is just how late into the winter we can use our coach? Winter days in the Rockies can be beautiful however the nights can be well below freezing. How far below freezing can you push before you begin worrying about freeze-ups. I know some people specifically advertise heated wet-bay, is this basically standard or an after-market addition?

So we've been pouring over the brochures for the 2003-2006 Diplomat, Camelot and (now thanks to deSanford's comment) Windsor's. We are looking now at RVTrader, the classifieds in iRV2 and general web searches in case a great coach comes on the market that we don't want to miss, but ideally would like to buy in the early spring so we are not just buying and parking for the winter. I also noted RVOnline from The Danes are Coming as mentioned above, never saw this site before. Are there other website that are good to scan?
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Danes Are Coming View Post
Her is one that apperas to be priced right (providing it has been looked after) 2004*Monaco*Diplomat w/4 Slides*listed on RVOnline.com -RVs for Sale
Thanks for the link to this great coach. We absolutely love the curb side dining area with windows all around the slide out. The only problem is that we're still a bit stuck on looking for something just a little smaller.
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