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Old 02-14-2021, 06:22 PM   #1
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Beer to Champagne Comparison?

Hi everyone. My husband and I have been spending some time on here lately as we get very excited (and impatient) about getting back into our FR3 30 that we bought last year. As I have mentioned in a previous post, we love it, and we are sticking with it... for now. But we are thinking of upgrading in a year or two, so are trying to do our research now since we really don't have anything to compare our FR3 to as its our first MH. We love a lot about it, and we hate the way it drives. We like the size and don't want to go bigger than a 35. We REALLY like the layout of the FR3 2018 so we are finding as we search through YouTube videos of other RV makes and models, we are leaning toward ones that have the layout we prefer.... BUT... as much as I want a layout I am happy with, I want it to be a good quality, solid driving rig. So, my question is... (and I know we all think our MH is the best MH... and so we should, because that's what makes for happy campers... but...) is anyone able to give me some opinions. I feel like we would find the drive of a Tiffin much nicer than how our FR3 drives.. but we like the layout of the Fleetwood Bounder 33 (2021). Am I comparing champagne to beer?? Is there no comparison btwn a Tiffin and a Fleetwood? Some reviews put Fleetwood dead last, and some say it's great. My question (and we will get inside some RV's post-covid to see for ourselves) is how does the quality, craftsmanship and the drive compare between those two? Any other suggestions?
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Old 02-14-2021, 06:49 PM   #2
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When you compare you also need to put the price into the mix. You didn't say if you are shopping gas or diesel, but I suspect that you are looking a gas coaches. One of the major differences in gas coaches that typically ride on a Ford chassis, is the wheelbase and also the GVWR of each chassis. Shorter and lower weight rated chassis also cost the manufacturer much less but they are also less stable on the road. An RV that is near its maximum weight or exceeds it will usually not handle well. That same thing is true for too short of wheelbase. In general, the longer the wheelbase as compared to the total length of the coach, the better it will handle. That is especially true for gas chassis because most of the excess body length is behind the rear axle and that gives leverage to wind gusts and push from passing trucks. A longer wheelbase also lessens the effect from uneven or rough roads.
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Old 02-14-2021, 07:36 PM   #3
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What you're mentioning, to me, isn't a champagne vs beer comparison at all. It appears you're comparing one ~33' gas motorhome to another and I don't really think there's going to be a HUGE difference in quality nor how it drives as they probably are using a similar or the exact same chassis ...such as your Forest River and the Fleetwood Bounder you mentioned are most likely built on a Ford chassis.

Tiffin, I don't believe (somebody please correct me if wrong) no longer makes gas Class A units. But if you're comparing their entry level diesel pusher, the Allegro Breeze, then yes, it will not only be a step above the Bounder and your Forest River, but also cost much more.

You definitely will feel a difference in the way the Tiffin Allegro Breeze drives as it's a diesel pusher ...a diesel engine in the rear of the coach as contrasted to your coach which has a gasoline engine in the front.

A diesel pusher is worth the upgrade if it's within your budget. It will handle and feel a bit more stable on the road ...a lot more stable if moving up to something longer than 33'. It also will be much quieter when you're underway as the engine is in the rear.

Tiffin has always had a good reputation as you have implied. However, they are now under the Thor umbrella. Some say it won't make a difference that Tiffin units will now be Thor products. Some are uncertain, however, if Tiffin can sustain it's great reputation into the future. We'll have to see.

But yes! Still, ff you can afford it, take a look at the Tiffin Allegro Breeze if the model still exists in a few years when you're ready to buy another Class A. Right now (2021), it's a short diesel pusher that still has a pretty good reputation and, yes, that will be a little bit closer to the beer vs champagne comparison ...still, however, the Allegro Breeze is an entry-level DP and not as nice as, say, a Tiffin Allegro Bus that is a $500k motorhome ...that's getting closer to champagne!
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Old 02-14-2021, 07:46 PM   #4
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Tiffin does still manufacture gas coaches Open Road
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Old 02-14-2021, 10:34 PM   #5
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Tiffin does still manufacture gas coaches Open Road
Thanks! That's great to know. I haven't been paying attention lately to their offerings and when I went to their website and tapped "models" I thought, "huh, there are no gas Class A's listed."



To cbrett: Ok, then I have to revise my comments a tiny bit (and again, these are only my opinions and other will have differing opinions). The Tiffin Open Road Allegro will be more comparable to your Forest River. Again, the FR3, the Bounder, and the Open Road Allegro will be built on the Ford F53 chassis and will have comparable if not the exact engine and transmission specializations (I believe all three will have a 7.3L 445 cu in V-8 350 HP and 6-Speed TorqueShift Transmission).

The three will have similar handling and ride characteristics. Sure, one might be slightly more preferable in handling and ride if you were to compare them on a subjective basis.

I'm not going to say if the Tiffin's construction pertaining to the "house" portion is better or not. It may possibly be but I personally haven't compared them recently or priced them for that matter. I'll leave that for others to comment on but still I don't believe you're to a point where you could make a comparison of "champagne vs beer" unless as mentioned previously, you were to move to a DP and then the analogy might start getting closer.
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Old 02-15-2021, 05:35 AM   #6
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"We love a lot about it, and we hate the way it drives."


What is it about the "way it drives" that you don't like? Sway from wind/passing trucks, noise while driving, rough ride, wandering steering, etc.?


Most of these issues can be improved with aftermarket modifications. Most gas chassis motorhomes will have similar handling given the same length and wheelbase. Longer wheelbase, longer overall length with higher GVWR will handle better.


We modified our 30 foot ACE and greatly improved handing, noise, sway, etc. Cost was under $3,000. We traded the ACE for the 36 foot Miramar. It had all of the same modifications already installed as did our ACE. Traded for floor plan we liked better, residential fridge, king bed, washer and dryer. Cost about $40,000 plus our ACE. The 36' Miramar handles better than the 30' ACE.


The question comes down to how much do you want to spend.



If I liked/loved my current coach except the handling, I would upgrade it before trading to another coach. It would be cheaper and trading away a coach you like/love may result in disappointment at a higher cost.
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Old 02-15-2021, 06:18 AM   #7
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We bought a 34’ motorhome on the Ford F-53 chassis, probably the same chassis you have. Handled poorly, real pain to drive. I put a rear trac bar (cost $600), did the CHF, which is free and is a modification to the sway bars, added 2* positive caster to the front alignment (cost $150), now handles perfectly. If you cannot do these things yourself, as mentioned above under $3000 will get it done by any good mechanic.

Check the tire pressures also that can make a difference as well. One other thing if your present rig has 19” tires, a rig with the bigger 22.5” will ride better. Something to consider if you decide to trade.

We have a cousin that just bought a new Forest River MH last year. He just put a rear trac bar on it and has not stopped smiling since. They just completed a 2000 mile trip and he now loves to drive it. Cost him $600 plus about $200 for the tools he needed and he did it himself
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Old 02-15-2021, 07:50 AM   #8
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These are SUPER helpful, thank you so much! And I should also add that I wasn't clear before.. we are not opposed to switching to a DP with our next rig. Hubby is totally interested in a DP. I am a bit worried about the cost. But I think maybe it's possible that there are some gently used entry level DP's that won't break the bank (plus I prefer the mid entry door to the cab door... I think...).
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Old 02-15-2021, 07:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKP Kirk View Post
When you compare you also need to put the price into the mix. You didn't say if you are shopping gas or diesel, but I suspect that you are looking a gas coaches. One of the major differences in gas coaches that typically ride on a Ford chassis, is the wheelbase and also the GVWR of each chassis. Shorter and lower weight rated chassis also cost the manufacturer much less but they are also less stable on the road. An RV that is near its maximum weight or exceeds it will usually not handle well. That same thing is true for too short of wheelbase. In general, the longer the wheelbase as compared to the total length of the coach, the better it will handle. That is especially true for gas chassis because most of the excess body length is behind the rear axle and that gives leverage to wind gusts and push from passing trucks. A longer wheelbase also lessens the effect from uneven or rough roads.
Just to add a bit to the above, the 2020 F53 chassis has the new 7.3 L V8 and some significant changes/improvements in suspension over the 2019 and below chassis’s. Also the 24 & 26K chassis has 22.5” tires vs 19.5” on the lower weight chassis, all will change the handling somewhat.
There is a definite build quality improvement when you start looking at the Tiffin & Newmar products over the FR3. The cost increases substantially as well.
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Old 02-15-2021, 08:28 AM   #10
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Definitely NOT beer vs champagne, at least not if you are comparing the Tiffin Open Road vs a Bounder. The brand name alone isn't a measure of quality or capability, especially when comparing to coaches of roughly the same size & price and built on a similar Ford chassis. You need to get down to the specifics of both chassis and coach features to discern what (if any) differences there may be, e.g. wheelbase, GVWR (carry capacity), type of roof, electrical power features, tank sizes, etc.





Given your comments, I think you would be much happier with a more robust and capable DP than any gas chassis coach. Shop used - there are always good ones available if you are willing to take time and hunt around. Especially private sales. It's not as convenient as a dealer lot full of new models, but much better value for your money. Even if you make a few long distance shopping trips that don't pan out.
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Old 02-15-2021, 08:48 AM   #11
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I keep reading about the extras people put on their F53s. If they are so bad why aren't on them from the factory other than cost?
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Old 02-15-2021, 09:28 AM   #12
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These are SUPER helpful, thank you so much! And I should also add that I wasn't clear before.. we are not opposed to switching to a DP with our next rig. Hubby is totally interested in a DP. I am a bit worried about the cost. But I think maybe it's possible that there are some gently used entry level DP's that won't break the bank (plus I prefer the mid entry door to the cab door... I think...).
Beware the maintenance costs of a dp. If that is not an issue you will probably love it. The mid ships entry door, not our favorite. A bit of a nuisance when making quick stops like fuel, potty, etc. the door right behind the passenger is a nice place. We have been rv’ing for over 30 years and it is one reason we would switch coaches.
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Old 02-15-2021, 10:55 AM   #13
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Definitely NOT beer vs champagne, at least not if you are comparing the Tiffin Open Road vs a Bounder.
We actually compared the Tiffin Open Road 36LA & Fleetwood Bounder 35K side by side and there were many differences. Here's a few:
Wheelbase - Tiffin 252", Bounder 228"
GVWR - 24K vs 22K
GCWR - 30K vs 26K
Tiffin has more basement storage
Tiffin has leather seating vs vinyl in Bounder
Tiffin is all wood cabinets vs wrapped in Bounder
Tiffin had 4 house batteries vs 2 in Bounder

We went back and forth between the two numerous times comparing them as we looked at things in each. We felt the Bounder seemed very cheaply made in almost every respect. While we did not drive them, we suspect the Tiffin would have felt better on the road due to the longer wheelbase.

We have also looked at the FR3 and while we have not compared it side by side with a Bounder, IMO a Bounder would be a step up in quality.
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Old 02-16-2021, 03:08 PM   #14
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Good info from donskiman. It has been my impression that several of the recent Fleetwood models designed and built by Rev Group have been substantially cheapened (and presumably priced accordingly) but I didn't have any specifics to back up that impression.



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