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Old 10-29-2020, 04:32 PM   #1
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2006 National Tropical--Good or Bad

Hi everyone,
New to the camping world and am looking into buying a 06 National Tropical, Freightliner chassis, 36FT, C7 cat 350hp ,70K miles. Whereas National RVs are no longer produced, is this a model I should stay away from due to parts availability. Any opinions, personal experiences or headsup to inspect would be appreciated.

Thanks, Bob
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Old 10-29-2020, 06:02 PM   #2
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Bob,
The National Rv brand was considered to be a very good quality manufacturer, so if in good condition I believe you would be happy with how well it is built. I would think the problem of finding some parts would be centered around body panels specific to that particular model if needed. The chassis and drive train will probably be Freightliner and appliance will be name brand so replacement parts should be doable. Most of us that own older coaches face this same problem because even if your manufacturer is still in business the probability of them having a part for your 15-20 year old coach is slim. Winnebago however is the exception to this rule
Tom
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Old 10-29-2020, 06:37 PM   #3
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Hi Tom,
Thanks for your quick reply. Being new to the RV world I'm apprehensive about what to look for when I go to inspect this coach. Being a retired driver myself, congrats on your 5 million mile safety award. That's certainly something to be proud of on today's highways and thank you for your service. Bob
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Old 10-29-2020, 10:02 PM   #4
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I would have the coach weighed. The early diesel Tropi Cals had very little CCC.
No problem on parts other than body panels and most of those can be crafted
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Old 10-29-2020, 10:17 PM   #5
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thanks Don,

As I stated, I'm new at this. Without coming off as a total idiot, does CCC stand for combined cargo capacity? Bob
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:20 PM   #6
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Bob.....The Tropicals and their sister coaches have held their value and still look contemporary. If you like the coach and it's in good shape, I would grab it before someone else does.
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Old 10-29-2020, 11:51 PM   #7
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Great caution on the specifics of the unit your looking at CCC's capabilities...

I respect National. I liked their higher end gas Dolphin models on Workhorse and Ford F53 chassis's. I also feel they made a great 'Meat & Potatoes' series of DP's (A complement!), at the price points the different models were selling in.

If this coach checks out well, and if needed - obtain an independent inspection - and most important you like the layout, and it has good maintenance records - no concern whatsoever!!

I personally respected National. One of the contributing factors to them not being around today, was they did 'The Right Thing' for their customers. Some bad materials were provided, and National I believe brought many coaches back and removed and rebuilt the sidewalls - not an inexpensive thing to do. (And I believe, even on RV's beyond warranty period.). This costs lots of money to the bank account, which probably contributed to National not serving the down turn in the economy from the 2007/2008 crash.

So they did the right thing for their customers, and may have spent the funds in the bank that could have carried them thru this period... (But who knows!!).

Best of luck to you, and have fun if this is 'the one',
Smitty
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:59 AM   #8
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My first DP was a 2007 National TropiCal 33' (note the last four characters of my screen name.) Agree with the others regarding quality of build and holding value. Well constructed and the floor plan of our 33T was ideal, especially the side hall to the bedroom and ample kitchen counter space. I would never discourage anyone from buying a National coach.

Some things to note. My coach had a few bulges along the sidewall. This was not delamination, but rather rust that had formed on the steel frames near the belt line, probably from moisture entering from the compartment door hinges. I knew this when I bought the coach, and it did not bother me. The bulges are rock hard, unlike a delam. They are repairable, but expensive to do so and they did not get worse during my ownership.

Someone bought the molds for the body panels and a bit of research may uncover who, but as others have said, nearly all damage can be repaired through fabrication.

Why did we sell? We wanted a little larger coach, a little better quality cabinetry, and a bit more power. Overall, however, the National is a quality coach for the money, IMO.
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Old 10-30-2020, 10:50 PM   #9
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Smitty, I have to disagree that National did the right thing. Our first coach was a '99 Tradewinds. It was a POS right from the git go. I had the coach weighed and the weights were crazy. The left front and the right rear weighed 1,000 more than the other side. We lived close to the factory so away we went. The drunk factory manager's answer to the problem was that they were within limits.


Granted the gassers were great coaches but when the company ran into money problems, they would bring out a new model. At a factory rally, I bet one of their reps that I could blindfold him and take him inside a coach and he wouldn't be able to tell me what model he was in. If he could, I'd buy a new coach. He would not take me up on the bet.


Needless to say, we bought a Country Coach, which at time was owned by National RV Holdings, Inc. Luckily, National had not sunk their teeth into the CC brand and they were still making quality coaches.
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Old 10-31-2020, 10:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Without coming off as a total idiot, does CCC stand for combined cargo capacity?
Cargo Carrying Capacity, the amount of goods and gear it can carry and stay within its max weight rating (GVWR).

CCC often gets used to generically refer to cargo weight, but there are very specific definitions that are used in official RV specs and standardized weight placards. You will encounter NCC, CCC, and OCCC on the official forms and they are rather different. This article summarizes the key terms:

https://www.your-rv-lifestyle.com/vehicle-weight/

Back in 2006 CCC was the official cargo measurement, per RVIA standards, and that is what will show on the official placards on this coach. It separates gear weight from people and water weight, which is helpful in some ways but confusing in others. CCC makes assumes that the maximum water & people weight will be onboard, so it's a "worst case" number. Many coaches carry less than max, and thus extra capacity is available for use with other cargo.
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Old 11-01-2020, 07:20 PM   #11
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We had our 2001 Tropical gasser for 15 years and was very pleased with it. We were sorry they went out of business as we would have bought another. They still have a strong following. Because it is an out of production coach, you should be able to negotiate a better deal on it. Dealers are kinda sneaky if you haven't figured that out yet.
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Old 11-01-2020, 08:24 PM   #12
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That coach has a GVWR of 28,000 lbs. If you can get it weighed on a truck scale, the difference between the two will tell you how much cargo you can carry. If the tanks are empty you'll have to allow for the weight when they're full. From the brochure it appears that this coach has the following capacities:

Fresh water: 105 gal
Gray tank: 60 gal
Black tank: 40 gal
Water heater: 10 gal

Here's a link to the 2006 brochure:

https://dreamfindersrv.com/Literatur...l-Brochure.pdf

Though ours is a Dolphin gasser, many of the construction methods and materials used were the same throughout the National line. We're very happy with ours.
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Old 11-02-2020, 07:26 AM   #13
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Thanks to all for your input. As it turned out, I did not go thru with the purchase for several reasons, but am learning more about the process . The search continues. Again, thanks to all that responded. Bob
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Old 11-02-2020, 07:51 AM   #14
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We bought a 2003 NationalRV Tradewinds 375 in 2016 that had a leaking roof. I repaired the leak (old caulk had dried up) and we've been living in it full time ever since. The only major repair we've had is the power control board was miss-wired at the factory. We had a shop rewire it per the manufacturer's specification and we've had no power charging/distribution issues since.

Most of the parts/pieces you would worry about wearing out/breaking are made by companies that still exist. These RVs are pieced together with many manufacturers parts, so finding what you may need is relatively easy. If you're not a mechanic, find a honest/reliable RV repair service.

+1 on the overall build quality of our coach. We're just now (2020) making changes to make this RV more like what we'd want by making interior color/fabric/accessory changes.

We did upgrade the double door RV fridge with a residential Whirlpool refrigerator. Best upgrade we ever made. Our next upgrade is solar panels, as the existing one was destroyed by a hail storm many years ago.

Rob
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