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Old 01-01-2015, 10:52 PM   #1
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Country Coach or American Coach or Alpine Coach

We are new to the Motorhome world (have owned 5th wheels in the past). We are getting ready to retire soon and have been looking for a good quality older coach to spend 2-3 months a year exploring this great country. We have found 3 that my wife and I like and we are looking for feedback. All are about the same price, have full records, and are in good shape for their age. The biggest difference is in the Cummins engine. 2001 country Coach Allure 36 double slide with ISC 330HP, 2002 Alpine Coach 38 ft Limited with the ISL 370 HP, 2003 American Dream 40 ft with the ISL 370 HP. I would like feedback on the different engines. Will there be that much of a difference? What about long term reliability? Any known issues, concerns or things to look out for with either of these coachs? Any other feedback would be greatly apreaceted before we make such a large purchase.
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:54 PM   #2
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The ISL's have more torque and HP but also more weight to carry. The ISL's did have some oiling problems and there is a recall on some of them but the ones you're looking at should have enough miles on them that any problems would have shown up by now. They are all good engines though. We have a 350 ISC with Banks kit. The Banks kit really wakes the 350 up, not so much on the 330 though but you can't get the Banks kits anymore either.
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:42 AM   #3
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What you should look at is the ration of Weight to HP to make sure there is enough power to push the coach.

I have a 2002 Monaco Windsor with 2 slides, it is a heavy coach. It has a 350 HP 8.3L ISC. It gets the job done and I just turned 100K miles.

This vintage of Cummins is a proven engine.
Jim J
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:26 AM   #4
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I don't think you could go terribly wrong with any of the three so if there's one where the floor plan just jumps out at you, I'd go with that one.

If that's not the case, I'd likely lean toward the ISL for it's greater power/torque, without knowing what you may wish to load into it or pull behind it.

Of course the empty weight of the rig, if there's any significant difference, could, as implied earlier in the thread, wipe out any perceived performance advantage.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:23 AM   #5
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Looks like you are doing pretty well by your choices. Might add Monaco Diplomat or above on the Monaco/Holiday Rambler pecking order of the same vintage to your list. Monaco still has tech assistance and now is owned by ASV? parent company of Fleetwood. So American Dream does, too. Does it have a rubber roof? I don't care for them. I don't know if Country Coach has any tech support, or Alpine, which was surely a great coach. It would be good to have parts and tech support for a coach of that era. I am not aware of any problems associated with those Cummins engines. We are excited for you!
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:58 AM   #6
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On the ISC of that era, a Pro is that if you want more power, kits and ways to bump HP are available. A con, is that ISC's have a manifold that like to crack!

Between the two ISL's, I suspect the CC at 40' and at that model year, is a Tag? If so, then the added weight of the tag will, along with the larger coach, will yield a lower Power to Weight Ratio then the Alpine. It should have the 2 Stage Jake Compression brake, which is nice. (We have 2004 40' Allure, Tag, ISL370. It does fine 95% of the time, but will slow down a bit on the long grades. I did have Cummins ECM flash to ISL400, and that helps a bit. (Torque remains the same, and the added 30HP is in the upper RPM ranges, but it was the change of the curve of when the Torque and HP kick in, that I felt it was worth the dost to bump up.)

The Alpine should yield the best Power to Weight Ratio of the three. I had Alpine's on our short list, but don't recall if that model year had Compression or Exhaust brake assist. The peak (or peek(SP?) chassis should be the most nimble of the three for handling. WRV used Hydraulic Brakes in this chassis, and some don't like the feel of these. But most Alpine owners I talked to, said they were comfortable with the braking.

The final few thoughts, in order of my opinion of build quality, CC 1st, WRV Alpine 2nd and American Coach a solid tie. (But all three are well built rigs.) The CC with Tag should give you the most CCC, and provide the most stability in cross winds driving conditions, and I suspect the turning radius is the same or better than the smaller Alpine, due to the drive wheels being shifted a bit forward due to the Tag.

The Alpine might get you into a few more sites, being a bit shorter. And if it is mid entry, as many Alpines were, some prefer that for the passengers driving enjoyment. (Less visibility restrictions from the door and screens.).

Not a bad one in the bunch!! All things being equal on condition, I'd do the drive and se if one seems to feel better to you, then factor in the interior and make a decision. Or, be wise, and say 'Dear, which one...'!

Best to you,
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:56 AM   #7
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Thanks all great info. All are 2 axel so no Tag. We are going to drive the CC Saturday so we will see how that works out.
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Old 01-02-2015, 01:51 PM   #8
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This past spring we purchased a 42' Country Coach after having (2) gassers for nearly 12 years. The only thing that surprised me was the cost of service. That appears to be about twice the cost of servicing the gassers. However, the 42' Country Coach (2004 Intrigue) is twice the coach at a minimum. We no longer wonder if we can travel in the cold or over that mountain. The cost of diesel is more but we get better mileage so that is about a trade off. All of the coaches you mentioned should ride better and quieter. My engine is the Cummins 400 ISL and has run without problems so far while towing a 4 door jeep all over the mountains out west. The jake brake make descending the grades almost fun. So - choose the best floor plan, do the proper service and have a great time.
Ed and Barb Burgess
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Old 01-02-2015, 02:13 PM   #9
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The factory support of American Coach is one of the best in the business, we have had four and our next will be a American Coach without a doubt!
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:19 PM   #10
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Thanks to all for the comments and feedback.

After driving all 3 my observations are the Country Coach is very good quality and the best attention to details and had the best ride but felt slightly under powered with the 330 ISC. The American Coach felt the most luxurious with the cherry cabinets and paneled doors, had good attention to detail and the 370 ISL felt adequate. The Alpine Coach with the 370 ISL felt the most powerful (I think this is the lightest coach) but was not as nice interior as the other two coach. We have owned 3 Alpinelite 5th wheels over the last 30 years and all 3 held up very well. I like the smaller size of the Country Coach but am a little concerned the engine won't be adequate.

I would welcome feedback and comments on these coaches. We will be towing a 4 door Jeep Wrangler (4500 lb). We will be spending time in mountainous areas in California, Colorado, etc and don't want to be cresting hills at 30 -40 MPH. 50 - 60 would be fine. I don't plan on being in a hurry and will likely be driving between 60-65 MPH.

Thanks again.
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:28 PM   #11
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I would lean toward the CC or the American, because American is still in business and there is still some quasi-factory support for CC. I think that Alpine owners have no such support available.

All of these coaches are adequately and reliably powered. I would make my choice based on condition primarily, then on floorplan and features.
Marc and Jill, Wellington FL
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Old 01-04-2015, 07:45 AM   #12
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American's support, even for coaches that pre-date the old Fleetwood's bankruptcy, is excellent.
Jay and Peggy Monroe
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Old 01-04-2015, 08:38 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by MRUSA14 View Post
I think that Alpine owners have no such support available.
Actually the Alpine has a very good support system in the Alpine Owner's forum here on IRV2. It is a very knowledgeable group.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:49 AM   #14
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CC has an excellent support system not counting the factory. The really good techs from CC went out on their own and provide excellent service. Parts are readily available and they know where to get them
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