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Old 07-24-2022, 03:37 PM   #29
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I semi-agree with the post below.

The issue is stability of what is essentially a very large VW bus. Yes, I know that will PO a lot of diesel pusher owners, but physics is physics. A short CP has the same issues as the VW because all of the difference in length comes out of the wheelbase, which is a major issue for stability. A tag axle increases stability significantly, but at the expense of turning radius, basement storage and expense. Add the weight of a diesel, transmission and ancillary stuff behind the axle and the result is very different from a Class 8 tractor. FYI, a side radiator helps quite a bit with both weight distribution and longer wheel base..

Of course, tags are rare under 40'. Most are actually 41 or longer, actual length.

Our DP was a 1995 Beaver Patriot Trenton, 37'1" actual LOA. Maneuverability of the shorter coach was excellent, though cornering-type handling was heavy on the understeer with the OEM tires. We upgraded the front tires one load rating and one size and it went around corners much, much better. Highway stability was OK, but never great. I had a chance to drive a 40' tag axle Blue Bird one afternoon on the highway east of Bend, OR immediately after spending the day on that road in our Beaver. The Blue Bird was significantly more stable, however it's turning radius was huge and the Allison transmission retarder was not only less effective than our PacBrake on our C8.3, it quickly overheated the transmission fluid so we couldn't use it continuously on the long down grade.

Originally Posted by vito.a View Post
The biggest mistake people make in purchasing a diesel pusher is restricting the length. Been there done that. I would not own a diesel pusher less than 38'. The reason is they have a very heavy diesel engine and transmission hanging off the back side of the rear axle. They tend to drive like the tail wagging the dog.

A agree with a tag axle. But I think the shortest coach you will find with a tag is 38'.
If you open your search up to 40' it will greatly increase the number of coaches available.

I also agree with Country Coach, Alpine, or Monaco. They built quality coaches that are now affordable. Stay in the 2002 to 2008 model year. Many 2008 coaches will have 2006 engines and are pref-DEF.

Look for a 40' Monaco Dynasty with an ISL. A Monaco Executive will be identical but come with the larger Cummins ISM engine.
If you can live without the tag, a 38' Monaco Windsor with an ISL is a great coach.
You should be able to find a Country Coach Intrigue under 40' but the Magna and Affinity coaches are going to be longer.
Beaver Coach and American Eagle coaches in that same year group are very nice. But you will have a tough time finding one less than 40'.
Travel Supreme (now Entegra) made a very nice coach.
Best of luck!
Steve & C. J.
2008 Carriage Cameo 32SB2
2019 Ram 3500 Laramie 4X4; Cummins HO & Aisin, TrailerSaver & MOR/ryde
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Old 07-24-2022, 03:52 PM   #30
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We have a 2020 34' Newmar Kountry Star. It has a Freightliner chassis with Comfort Drive (no tag axle). One of the things I like best about it is how well it handles compared to my old Monaco gasser. I couldn't be happier about it. I don't get any of that blowing around that others complained about. It just wants to go straight down that road without any over/understeer or floating around like my old gasser. Even went though a dust storm in AZ with 40 mph sidewind gusts that it pretty much ignored. Just needed the slightest sideways pressure on the steering wheel to compensate for the wind.We drive many curvy mountain roads here in CA, it takes it all in stride.

The load is very well balanced - 10,000 lbs on the front axle and 20,000 on the back.

Don't worry about maneuverability of a DP in tight spaces. The turning ratio is amazing compared to a gasser. It almost feels like it is going sideways at full turn.

Don't know if you can go back far enough in time to hit your price point with a similar rig.
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Old 07-24-2022, 04:22 PM   #31
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I had a 98 36 ft. Monaco Dynasty and it handled fine on the highway and now I have
a 99 36 ft. U 360 Foretravel. It has a M 11 450 HP Cummins engine. The coach handles
great. I never wanted any bigger and the 36 Foretravel has a huge storage space. The
Foretravel forum is awesome, there is almost always someone that can help with mechanical problems
36 ft. 99 U320 foretravel 36 ft. 98 Dynasty
98 Suzuki Sidekick Sport 4 door
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Old 07-24-2022, 05:14 PM   #32
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When I retired, 2011, the wife and I had only three desires in a new motor home. The shortest we could get with a diesel engine and a bed on the floor. I doubt there is a manufacturer we did not look at.

We were routinely warned that a short diesel pusher will be too light in the front and hard to drive. Besides the shortest one of those we could find was 34 feet.

We ended up with a 32 foot FRED (front engine diesel) that Winnebago made for a couple of years. I am pretty sure ours in one of only 13 they sold (they sold many more FREDs but not many 32 footers). Unfortunately we did not notice that it was 8 ½ feet wide instead of 8 feet.

We now love our motor home and plan on owning it for the rest of our lives. BUT I have put 24k and hundreds of man hours in improving it. The craftsman and design was worse that the poor design found from most RVs. It quickly became clear that Winnebago did not put much thought into adopting their unit to a FRED chassis.

If you want a short diesel, you should consider one on a FRED chassis if Freightliner is making them anymore.
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Old 07-24-2022, 05:32 PM   #33
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Short DP

DW and I have a 2004 Winnebago Journey 32T, which we’ve owned since 2014. It is just shy of 33 ft., approx 28,000 lbs GW, and we love the floor plan and how it handles. Spec-wise: Freightliner Chassis, Cummins ISB 5.9L turbo-diesel, 300-hp, Allison 5-speed 2,500 MH trans, NeWay® front & rear air suspension, 160-amp. alt, 4-wheel ABS, and 2 slides. We’ve put about 24000 of its 50,xxx miles. About half of our miles included a 3,500 lb toad, with no problems. Personally, I like the feel, the economy, the maneuverability, and tight turning radius. For what it’s worth, I spent over 20 years as a group tour operator using MCIs and Prevosts, but this is my preference for us. Good luck in your search.
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Old 07-24-2022, 06:54 PM   #34
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We have a 34y Winnebago 2009 and love it 34’7” and the 09 comes with a 350 6.7l and the trans is a 3000 Allison changed to a 340 hp 2500 trans in 2010 plus pre dep good luck they are still out there
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Old 07-24-2022, 07:46 PM   #35
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I have a 98 Beaver Ticonderoga 30th Anniversary edition. 47,000 miles, a Cat 3126 engine. Everything in the coach works the way it should and the paintwork looks as close to new as you can get. I have made some upgrades such as putting in a central vac, side cameras and a double rear camera that looks back at the toad. It has a truck GPS and a tire minder. All the fluids and filters have been replaced in the last year by me. I have done pretty much all the maintenance over the 10 years I have owned it, so I know everything works. The length is 37', though Beaver listed it as 36'. It even has a bath tub believe it or not. The power cord is on a powered cord caddy, water tanks are enclosed and heated for winter. Power steps, power awning with wind sensor, Bose stereo, washing machine, etc. It only has one slide. My toad is a Fiat 500 which I would sell with it if interested. It drives very well. No sway when trucks pass. It has averaged 9.7 mpg over it's life according to the trip computer. I am considering downsizing as it is mostly me travelling in it. I have not listed it for sale, but if you are interested, send me a message.
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Old 07-25-2022, 11:35 AM   #36
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Short Diesel Pusher

I’ll share my experiences and have always owned a DP (except for a short time with a V10 class C) since starting RV’ing countless years ago.

I tech motor racing and teenagers advancement to a higher level of proficiency, have won a bunch of race championships, and was a Porsche club track Chief Instructor in the past, so I’d like to think I have adequate knowledge of driving / experience’s regarding the handling & setup of vehicles (+ im a mechanical engineer)…..with that said, previously I have owned two “Roadmaster” 8-air-bag” chassis DP RV’s (Monaco & Holiday rambler) which I was told are the “Porsche” of DP regarding their handling and overall drivability…….believe me when I say “THAY AINT”. The second one only had 4500 miles on it when I got it, and was almost as bad as the first.

This chassis design uses a four leading or trailing arm setup that holds the boxed framework that support’s the axles, on the boxed framework there are four airbags (one at each corner) to support the axle interface with the RV’s frame rails…… the RV is driven, each of the pivot points (qty 16) for the connecting leading/trailing arms wear, which after time make the coach “Wander” especially in windy / 18-wheeler close encounters requiring a) white knuckle grip on the wheel & b) upto ½ a turn of the steering wheel counter-steering input to keep the coach going straight…..ABSOLUTLY scary stuff.

My advice is stay well away from ANY coach that has this Roadmaster chassis. The Freightliner chassis with its different front steering arm linkage is SO much better….you can drive it drinking your coffee in one hand and holding lightly the steering wheel in the other, even in the wind & 18-wheeler’s close by.

My buddy (who was the Porsche CI before me) also had two of the Roadmaster chassis RV’s in the past….we were talking over an adult beverage one evening and BOTH said the same thing about the Roadmaster chassis (we had worked together for years and this never came up until we had both got ridden of them!)…..for what it’s worth, unless you like leading/trailing arm bushing maintenance, holding onto the wheel with white knuckles, and always making steering corrections to keep the rig straight, go Freightliner, one day you will thank me!!!!!

On a sidenote; We both have Freightliner tag axle rigs today, which with the additional set of wheels back there provides even better stability, along with greater towing capacity.

Lastly, if you are brave & buy a Roadmaster chassis, check all the leading / trailing arm’s as they have also known to break (typically due to corrosion) …as a FYI
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Old 07-25-2022, 02:39 PM   #37
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We switched from a very nice Jayco Class C Greyhawk for some of the same reasons you mention. First Class A DP was a 2013 Forest River Berkshire (37') that we loved but decided to go a little newer and swapped out earlier this year for a 2017 Berkshire a couple of feet shorter. At 35.5' it fits in my drive and is (relatively) easy to drive and park, all things considered. And a much better (air) ride and quieter with the engine 30' behind you.
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Old 07-25-2022, 03:09 PM   #38
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I have a 2004 34' Monaco Knight, 2 slides with a big block Cummins 8.3 ISC. Handles like a dream. Great power to weight ratio. I couldn't ask for more.
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Old 07-25-2022, 07:59 PM   #39
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Winnebago Journey 34 , 2 versions . They drive like a dream on wheels
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Old 07-25-2022, 11:54 PM   #40
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Now that I've had a chance to research it some more, not only will it be extremely difficult to find that 36' 2002 Country Coach Magna I referenced in my previous post, but I'm not sure you'd need one or even want one.

As others have mentioned, you most likely would not need or require a tag on such a short coach if it would even help that much. Also as was previously mentioned, having a tag on such a short coach would greatly cut into the already limited (because of the shorter length) basement storage space.

Additionally, I personally think a tag on such a short coach looks or appears awkward ...see attached image.

From what I can gather --and Country Coach owners or aficionados can correct me-- Country Coach only made that particular model called the "Magna Journey" which included the tag axle for that one particular model year. Both the model years before and after were sans the tag on the 36' models.

The 2002 Magna Journey was just under 37 feet from what I can find but some specs list the length at 36' and some 37'

They made the majority in a three slide configuration with several 2 slide units. The three slide 36-footer was the most expensive model Magna that year because of the three slides as its MSRP was over $400k back in 2002 which was even more than the 40' that had only one slide and 42' model having 2 slides from what I can recall.

At any rate, that's the only "high end" coach that is no more than 37' having a tag axle that I know of.

Again, it's the 2002 Country Coach Magna Journey (at either 36' 9" or or 36' 10" I believe) if you are going to continue searching for one.

(from - 2002 Country Coach Magna Journey 36')
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Old 07-26-2022, 05:42 PM   #41

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I went from a 2006 32 itasca gas to a 2006 pre def 40 ft Monaco DP 400 ISL it was like a dream come true, the difference was day and night, my wife and I traveled our beautiful country twice in less than 2years, there are no boundaries of where this Big Sweet can take you and the pleasure of driving her is without words. Sounds like a lot of choices out there for you. But the 2ft extra even without the tag wheel, there is nothing bullying us around on the highway good luck on your search I’m sure it will be nothing but pleasurable on the highway once you make your purchase on the excellent choices your considering
Best of luck
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Old 07-26-2022, 06:07 PM   #42
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Not sure why so many short coaches have handling issues. Whether it be porpoising or swaying side to side. I am 32’ with a 33’6” overall length. I am 11’6” high and have a GVWR of 23k. My wheelbase is 17’ which is the main reason I bought this rig. I have a gentle bend at the top of my long winding driveway. I can barely get the Breeze up there with the 17’ wheelbase.

On the highway I get a true 10mph with the toad. She will float over expansion joints most times. If we are on secondary roads and hit a good bump going slow enough she will bounce a little. I don’t get any swaying on the highway with the toad or without. I do feel trucks from time to time. It’s not consistent and it’s usually when they blow by me. I drive around 60 and when a big truck flies by doing 75-80 I feel it. If they pass me at 65-70 I don’t feel anything except shame for being a slow driver.
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