Jump to content
GR "Scott" Cundiff

What brand?

Recommended Posts

As always great info sharing on this thread:)!

I usually respond to questions like this by saying:

1) Pick your budget range, and buy the highest quality coach that meets your needs.

2) Go look at several coaches over a period time, come up with a list of Must Have and Nice to Have. Then use this to narrow down a range of year/manufacture/model that fits the Must Have and Nice to Have's the best. Then start looking for those rigs.

I'll share some thoughts on coaches too:

Alpine, American Coach, Beaver (Patriot Thunder/Marquis), Bluebird, County Coach (Allure/Intrigue/Magna/Affinity), Foretravel, Monaco Executive/Signature, Newmar (Mountain Aire/Essex, but like many years of the Dutch Star too) - These are some of the makes and models that were on our short list when we went shopping. 

>Alpine - Has a great chassis, and good build, and some had mid entry doors which some prefer over front entry. One of the better handling DP's

>Foretravel - U270 thru U320. Solid well constructed coaches. Bulkhead's issues in some years (Not a show stopper, but need to know about it, and confirm it's been properly repaired.). And another quirk about Foretravel (Old original FT, not the new FT.) is they were famous for designing uniqueness in their components, so that you have to source replace parts thru them. Vs using standardized, while still good quality, components. So part X from FT might cost $500, the same standardized part X might cost $200-250. Clever on FT's part, but for sure a factor on maintenance cost going forward.)

Country Coach - IMO, in their say 1998 - 2006 era, were some of the best coaches built. Attention to detail, marked and labeled wiring harnesses, lines and wire bundles properly attached and secured (Even in unseen locations, so not just for show.), best documentation and schematics of any coach I've ever reviewed. DynaMax chassis is one of the best in the industry. The Magna's and Affinity models are built like tanks. Allure/Intrigue are also well built, and well designed, too. But these come with mid block engines (Cummins ISC/ISL CAT C9's), vs Magna and Affinity had BIG BLOCK engines CAT C10, C12, C13, C15. (Note, the Intrigue could be optioned with a CAT C-13 in 2004-2006. Pre heavy smog, and good reputation for power, a bit thirsty on MPG:)!) The C12 is one of the best Big Block engines in an RV, at the end of their maturity line, and pre 2004 smog change levels. Good power and torque.) 

 

On engines in general, my favorite are larger block engines. Cummins M11/ISM, Detroit Diesel Series 60 and mentioned CAT C12 and C13 (C13 before 2007, stay away with 2007 smog equipped C13's.) 

I'll stop here, because I good keep giving my opinions on all of these makes and models. But what really matters is what matters to you:)! So go kick some tires over the next year, and come up with what you two feel is important to you...

Best, 

Smitty

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also second Alpine to the list, made by now defunct Western RV. I'm surprised that it took until page two for them to get a mention.

You'll have to weigh the cons of having an orphan coach but I was always very impressed with these when we were looking at DPs and the fact that they are orphans gets you some very good pricing. I believe 2008 was the last year that they were made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree, Alpine is a very nice coach. I was seriously considering one, but ultimately decided against it as they weren’t in business anymore. Proprietary parts would be unavailable. Also was really impressed with Travel Supreme but again no longer in business.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, DonCoyote said:

I would also second Alpine to the list, made by now defunct Western RV. I'm surprised that it took until page two for them to get a mention.

You'll have to weigh the cons of having an orphan coach but I was always very impressed with these when we were looking at DPs and the fact that they are orphans gets you some very good pricing. I believe 2008 was the last year that they were made.

We have one and I love ours.  Trouble is there weren't all that many built and sometimes getting replacement parts can be a little tricky.  But the ride is second to none.  We have a mid-door.  Rare for a DP, but I just love it.  We've been lucky in that Massey Truck and Diesel repair in Phoenix was willing to 'learn' about the Alpine idiosyncrasies and we have used them for maintenance/repairs since 2011.  

Edited by Barbaraok

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

We have a mid-door.  Rare for a DP, but I just love it.  

That is rare and getting more rare in class A rigs generally. While the front doors do gain a little bit of space we liked having the door mid where you didn't have to take your trash out and groceries in through the entire living space. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

That is rare and getting more rare in class A rigs generally. While the front doors do gain a little bit of space we liked having the door mid where you didn't have to take your trash out and groceries in through the entire living space. 

👍 My problem with the door in front of the wheel is lack of space, we have one and dread carrying in groceries. Our procedure is, I carry them to the door, sit them on top step, DW picks them up and takes them to the kitchen. Also, my cousins wife is obese and has great difficulty getting up and through the stairway, which embarrasses her, and me too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ray,IN said:

👍 My problem with the door in front of the wheel is lack of space, we have one and dread carrying in groceries. Our procedure is, I carry them to the door, sit them on top step, DW picks them up and takes them to the kitchen. Also, my cousins wife is obese and has great difficulty getting up and through the stairway, which embarrasses her, and me too.

 

Actually the reason for the door being in the front is to gain space. For exp. our starboard side slide begins right behind the passenger's seat, so the living area, including the galley is a good 12ft wide across. Yes we do the same with the groceries and it's really not all that far to go, especially when you're usually just replenishing a little. I get it with an obese person having a problem and have a cousin the same way, with once visiting her in our gasser, so can imagine the problem being even worse with our DP.

Edited by Tropical36
Double quote

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the comments about the placement of the door - I hadn't thought much about that, but will now add it to my thinking about a possible rig.

One thing I have thought about a lot is placement of the TV - one of the big downsides of most motorhomes is the silly placement of the TV above the front window.  I fear I will have a permanent stiff neck from cocking my head up to focus on the TV with my bifocals.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, GR "Scott" Cundiff said:

Thanks for the comments about the placement of the door - I hadn't thought much about that, but will now add it to my thinking about a possible rig.

One thing I have thought about a lot is placement of the TV - one of the big downsides of most motorhomes is the silly placement of the TV above the front window.  I fear I will have a permanent stiff neck from cocking my head up to focus on the TV with my bifocals.  

This placement of the TV is mostly with older models, like mine and some have both, with the newest thing being a fireplace amidships and with a huge TV over it. It's just a matter of what's more important to one and with ours, theirs a half bath in the hall that we like, so no place for a TV in that area. We also have two full size leather couches that oppose each other, so would have to install one of the motor driven hidden ones behind the one couch and that would be a viable option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that many of the newer DP's are placing the TV's in the actual sitting area, or on the wall towards the back side of the dining or galley area too. 

We have the over the dash TV, it was a tube TV in a 'head bumper' cabinet. We got rid of the head bumper cabinet, expanded from 26" tube to 40" newer unit. We placed ours on a swing out arm, that when we get in and set up we then pivot the TV out and angle it towards are Driver's Side Deep Slide. We have two recliners that we pull out and angle towards the front, and when in the reclined position, we have a straight shot at the TV. So no bending of the neck up to see, or turning the head towards the front required:)! 

One other thing to consider, is that front entry doors do vary in width. Our 04 Country Coach Allure is not a wide front door, probably very representative of the others here that mentioned the lugging in of items, and or access for 'substantially sized' friends or family:)! But I know that in 2005/2006, Country Coach, and man other manufactures too, went with a wider front door. Those with the wider front door and steps, are much easier to get in/out of the coach. 

It really does come down to looking at floor plans, and seeing what you want as far as a door entry position. Pro's & Con's can be found by searching many RV related websites.

When we were in Junction City and Eugene area of Oregon. We noted that many shops we visited, had Alpines in for service. (Oregon Motor Coach, Premier, are two that have some experiences with Alpines.) And Barb's mentioning Massey's in AZ, reinforces the many other positives I've read about this business. So competent help is available... The Orphaned Alpines, Country Coaches, Monaco's - all seem to have solid support groups, helping find places and parts when needed, for their rigs:)!

Since you mentioned TV'.s One thing that I've seen quite a few people do in the past couple of years. Is buy a higher end coach, that is older. With better chassis and engines in them, as well as solid overall shell construction. They then leave budget to go in and refresh the interiors to what they want. Carpet, wood flooring, tile, valances, electric components/TV's, chairs, recliners, couches, etc. - so they end up with a superior built coach, customized to their personal likes. May of the coaches in the say 1998-2006 era, have drive trains that are true Million Mile capable vehicles. And heck, even if only 500K capable vehicles - get one with 100-150K on it - and you still have 10+ years of usage ahead of you:)! 

Knowing you with your enjoyment of Solar, suspect you'll also budget for Lithium and Solar Panels too:)! 

Best to you, and all,

Smitty

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GR,

Your 10-12 year time frame places your search right in the middle of the "not-$o-Great-Downturn in the TV market when many RV companies went bankrupt and even the high-end RV companies had hard times.......lots of strange builds were ........ "Mixed-up" to chase the scarce buyers that scooped up some cheep fire sale coaches......

We have a older DP VERY simple coach (very hard to find SIMPLE DP Coaches) and it was low miles and just starting to suffer original owner neglect and very expensive-low-grade-RV-crappy-nonservice.......we cast a critical eye at the coach and determined that the bones we're good and we offered less than a cheep gas rig price and ......we got the coach for our price......

Two years later and not-very-many $$ later our DP is still less invested than a gas coach........here is the tub.......we had to travel several THOUSAND miles and inspect countless coaches to find our gem.........we sadly saw many very high end coaches that were decending into Oblivion.......many were over priced and with complex systems not aging very well.....money pits.....

Our Moto....... SIMPLE is hard to find in a DP coach but well worth the search....

Drive on.......($imple......hard to find in a DP coach)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/1/2018 at 8:37 AM, Dollytrolley said:

GR,

Your 10-12 year time frame places your search right in the middle of the "not-$o-Great-Downturn in the TV market when many RV companies went bankrupt and even the high-end RV companies had hard times.......lots of strange builds were ........ "Mixed-up" to chase the scarce buyers that scooped up some cheep fire sale coaches......

We have a older DP VERY simple coach (very hard to find SIMPLE DP Coaches) and it was low miles and just starting to suffer original owner neglect and very expensive-low-grade-RV-crappy-nonservice.......we cast a critical eye at the coach and determined that the bones we're good and we offered less than a cheep gas rig price and ......we got the coach for our price......

Two years later and not-very-many $$ later our DP is still less invested than a gas coach........here is the tub.......we had to travel several THOUSAND miles and inspect countless coaches to find our gem.........we sadly saw many very high end coaches that were decending into Oblivion.......many were over priced and with complex systems not aging very well.....money pits.....

Our Moto....... SIMPLE is hard to find in a DP coach but well worth the search....

Drive on.......($imple......hard to find in a DP coach)

I for sure like the KISS comment, as more goodies can sometime end up with more opportunities for repair:)! 

But I admit I could not figure out what kind of DP you have with a FL Chassis, M11, and 10sp transmission? Is this a 'Tow Vehicle' pulling a trailer or Fiver? Or is it a mid 90's Class A Diesel Pusher that I've missed:)!?

TIA for clarification. And apology in advance, if it was obvious and I 'Missed it:)!'.

Smitty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/18/2018 at 8:49 PM, BigD629 said:

Agree, Alpine is a very nice coach. I was seriously considering one, but ultimately decided against it as they weren’t in business anymore. Proprietary parts would be unavailable. Also was really impressed with Travel Supreme but again no longer in business.

I ended up in a Country Coach (bought it a year ago).  I was originally concerned about them being out of business, but moved ahead anyway - mainly because there's really nothing that cannot be repaired or replaced.  So far, all of my "issues" have been minor and were items that are all still readily available.  I think getting a higher quality "platform" was worth the risk.  While it's not quite the Newell / Prevost / Foretravel level, I feel it's right at the top of the next tier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/18/2018 at 8:49 PM, BigD629 said:

Agree, Alpine is a very nice coach. I was seriously considering one, but ultimately decided against it as they weren’t in business anymore. Proprietary parts would be unavailable. Also was really impressed with Travel Supreme but again no longer in business.

Being an Orphan, wouldn't deter me from buying a nice coach at the right price. In fact I just sold one, a couple of years back, that we had for 9yrs. Thing is, it wasn't an Orphan when we bought, so no one can predict, anyway.

However, a Foretravel is a wise choice and would rather have it, over an Alpine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Tropical36 said:

Being an Orphan, wouldn't deter me from buying a nice coach at the right price. In fact I just sold one, a couple of years back, that we had for 9yrs. Thing is, it wasn't an Orphan when we bought, so no one can predict, anyway.

However, a Foretravel is a wise choice and would rather have it, over an Alpine.

Agree - I'd go with a Foretravel over an Alpine and we own (still) an Alpine.  We like her and she has served us well, but the fact that Foretravel is still in business and there are facilities that can repair older Foretravels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm another vote for a high-end coach. Yes, I'm prejudiced for a Foretravel, but I would also consider a Newell. A Bluebird Wanderlodge was on our short list, but I'm glad that we didn't go that way. Both Foretravel and Newell use the airbags for leveling, while 'Birds have drop-down jacks. More than one 'Bird owner has discovered that he has made a "big impression" because the coach was heavier than what the pavement could handle.

BTW, Foretravel does have coaches with slides. With the age mentioned by the OP, I doubt that you could find a Foretravel without at least one slide. Join foreforums.com and find out about them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We recently bought a 2008 36ft Fleetwood Southwind 35A to start full-timing this April 2019. We bought it from a private owner after we thoroughly inspected it. Iy has a great layout for our needs and low mileage. We added two more 6 volt deep cycle coach batteries, a 2000 watt invertor, and automatic sun shades for the cab windows. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Jim,Sue,&Billy too said:

We recently bought a 2008 36ft Fleetwood Southwind 35A to start full-timing this April 2019.

Welcome to the Escapee forums and also to the RV lifestyle! Do join in frequently and become one of the frequent contributors. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a follow up on this thread.  I tried my best to follow the suggestions while staying in our budget but never could find a good match with the upper end units that were suggested.  We did, though, find a nice gently used rig that we liked.  We are now in a 2005 Safari Cheetah - 39', 34K miles.  To look at it you would think it was nearly new.  After a bit over 3 weeks we are still settling in and figuring things out.  Haven't had it out on the road yet, but what driving we have done was good.  We're hoping for some good years in this rig.

1.png6.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome Rig you got there ;)   Didn't realize until seeing your photos that the art work on the back was of a Tiger.      

I'm sure you'll create tons more memories in this new abode as you have in the past, we've always loved following your blog, and immensely enjoyed your overseas ventures you detailed so wonderfully.

Go have lots more fun!

 

FTW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have a blast in this round... Rubber side down, and pedal to the metal for fun:)!

From memory, check the receipts from the previous owner to see if they'd addressed the Roadmaster RR4R chassis recall. And read up on the RR4R chassis in general. (Of course, first double check my memory is correct, that the 05 era Cheetah (Assume the 38PDQ model, very popular layout, with the CAT C7 engine? Though I believe some Cheetah's had the CAT C9 available too, in the larger floor plans, and on RR8R chassis(?). 

A good source of info on the RR4R is with Source Engineering. 

But most of all, get out and have some fun, and learn your rig:)!

Best,

Smitty

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, FULLTIMEWANABE said:

Awesome Rig you got there ;)   Didn't realize until seeing your photos that the art work on the back was of a Tiger.      

I'm sure you'll create tons more memories in this new abode as you have in the past, we've always loved following your blog, and immensely enjoyed your overseas ventures you detailed so wonderfully.

Go have lots more fun!

 

FTW.

The murals were painted on many Safari's - kind of wish they had put a Cheetah on our Cheetah - but we got a Tiger instead.  Another interesting thing about the murals, anytime you see one, if you study it for a while you will see other animals "hidden" in the picture.  We've seen several in ours.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×