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Old 08-10-2018, 06:08 PM   #1
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It's down to these three Gas coaches

I have been researching, visiting dealerships, and have taken two different Class A gas coaches on a test drive. It is down to these three: Fleetwood Southwind 35K, Newmar Canyon Star 3646 or 3710 and the Tiffin Open Road Allegro 36LA.
We like the floor plan of the Fleetwood Southwind the best. My big concern is will I be able to tell a difference in driving between the three? Does one have a more stable comfortable ride, is one quieter (generator and engine up front), does one have a better feature regarding construction than the others? We will be driving the coach primarily on short drives for weekend getaways. Once a year we will take a 2 week vacation.
Every manufacturer seems to have their own self proclaimed advantages to their way of building a coach.

Thanks for continuing to answer my many questions!!
(still looking for a place to store it in Fort Lauderdale when I make the decision)
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:20 PM   #2
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Used to live in Fort Lauderdale.


This is where we kept the Eagle:


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Old 08-10-2018, 06:43 PM   #3
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Aren't they all on the same Ford chassis?
You said short trips, so the noise of a front gasser shouldn't really be a problem.
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:56 PM   #4
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Hi kdflyer,

The Fleetwood Southward 35K is a nice coach but in fairness it isn't a Tiffin or Newmar! Another consideration is you can likely get 27 to 30% off a Fleetwood MSRP where 23 to 25% is the top you'll see for a Tiffin or Newmar.

Here's the thing, drive them all and see what you think. As you said the layouts are similar. If you like the Fleetwood about the same as the others, buy the Fleetwood and save yourself some money.

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Old 08-10-2018, 06:58 PM   #5
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Many owners swear by Tiffin but in our opinion if you are already preferring one floor plan over the other you should choose that one.
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:59 PM   #6
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All very similar
Develop list of musts & wants have SO do the same and compare / combine lists.... ah the art of compromise... do it her way.
Then rank the three re how well they suit your needs / wants.
Take it for a / another test drive to confirm.
None are "better" if it doesn't meet your needs. FL pretty flat so noise climbing hills not an issue...

I'm partial to Newmar then Tiffin but you need to chose what will work best for you.
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Old 08-10-2018, 07:15 PM   #7
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I drive Tiffins and Fleetwoods all the time at work (we don't sell Newmar) and the sound deadening is definitely better in the Tiffin. The Newmar should be the same or better than the Tiffin. The chassis are the same.

When you test drive make it a long one. I find that the motorhomes sit and the tires get square. It usually takes a few miles for the tires to warm up and get back to normal.

Last point, everyone but Tiffin and Newmar have exposed air conditioners in the coach. These are loud. Tiffin and Newmar are all fully ducted and are much, much quieter.
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:02 AM   #8
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For me, the 3646 with the TV on the riser behind the dinette is a no go, but that's me. The dinette is useless if someone wants to watch TV, nor can you watch TV sitting at the dinette.

In general, given the other 3 are the same floor plan so you need to dig deeper.

A few considerations:

Start with cargo capacity, and make sure you are comparing apples to apples. To me, forgetting the nuances between CCC, OCC, etc., look at the difference between the actual posted UVW for each specific coach (not something in a brochure) and the GVWR to start with. Then, you have to remember that on the 26/30k F53 you have to eat into the 26k GVWR to pull between 4K and the 5k hitch rating. You'll find 36LAs on both the 24k and 26k chassis.......... Not sure about the others.

The other big consideration is wheelbase. The higher the wheelbase to overall length ratio, the better the coach is going to handle in general as well as well as make for better weight distribution which also impacts handling.

Tiffin also offers Sumo springs as a factory option, so while you can always add them later it's nice if you can find a coach with them installed at the factory.

The big slide on the 36LA is hydraulic, the bed is on a (sometimes / inevitably troublesome) Swintek, not sure of the other coach's slide set ups.

Look at useable storage space inside and basement bays. For instance, from what I have seen the Tiffin cabinets above the couch / dinette are much larger than Newmar's.

One final thought, given your stated intended useage, I think all of these are overkill, but if you are set on a nice gas ClassA these are certainly the ones to look at and you should be very comfortable in any of them.

Good luck!
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:45 AM   #9
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We are now in year 2 with our Southwind 32VS and love it.
Our first trip was 4,500 km across Canada after picking up the unit and have since been to Florida and back, another 7,000 km.
Our Southwind has been virtually problem free, with only a couple of minor tweaks that were corrected at the Fleetwood Service Facility.
It is comfortable to drive in for long periods, handled great in the mountains of Tennessee and we have also been very pleased with the fit and finish throughout.
The rear generator (Onan 5500) is very quiet.
Like any front engine RV, you will have engine noise, actually less than our previous Class "C".
We toured the Fleetwood manufacturing facility in Decatur IN. and highly recommend it.
If you have the opportunity to see first hand the build process of "any manufacturer" you are considering, and get a sense for how the employees actually do their job and look like they care, it will give you a better understanding of what goes into the build of your RV.
Good luck in your search.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:16 AM   #10
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For me it would be Newmar, Tiffin, Fleetwood, but I would buy the one the wife likes best. You will never be happy with the one she "wishes" you would had bought. Trust me.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:22 AM   #11
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Nuff said.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:54 AM   #12
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If you like the floor plan of the 35K the best I'd offer you one more choice before you decide. Entegra added a couple gas models to their line up. The Entegra Emblem 36U is a very similar floor plan with a king bed and optional stacked washer dryer. A quick review of the specs shows the Entegra longer wheel base, higher capacity front and rear axles and two 15K BTU A/Cs.
Entegra has always promoted ride and handling and they have added some suspension and shock upgrades to the Ford chassis.
I'm not trying to make your decision any more challenging but it's a lot of money to spend so get as much comparing and information as you can.
Best of luck on your purchase and post your pics of your new coach.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:59 AM   #13
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They are all on the same chassis BUT Newmar has "hung-wall" construction. It's better insulated for heat and sound.
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edgray View Post
For me it would be Newmar, Tiffin, Fleetwood, but I would buy the one the wife likes best. You will never be happy with the one she "wishes" you would had bought. Trust me.


X2!
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