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Buying 1st Class A DP. What options to look for?


breister

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We are looking to purchase our first Class A DP and wonder what options are "cant live without" vs "would be nice to have"? IE: Fuel filler on both sides, slide out storage bay trays, engine HP, etc. Want to buy around a 2004 model year around 40'. Leaning towards Newmar Dutchstar, Winnebago Vectra, Monaco Windsor, Travel Supreme. Any thoughts on each of these brands would be helpful as well. Thanks for any help you all can give.

 

Brian

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The 2003 american Eagle that just came up for sale on this forum under RVs for sale would fit in your list as well. Its a very high quality coach on a Spartan chassis and it looks like a nice buy with some very nice options. From looking at the list the seller provides it has every "must have" that I can think of.

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I can only say that we live our Monaco Dynasty. Its a step up from the Windsor but we did look at several of those. I might have liked basement air but I think that loses some storage in the bays. We have a 350hp cummins and love the power. It gets very good milage. I defiantly would prefer having a fuel opening on the driver side. With only one on the curb side fueling is a little bit of a pain when we aren't in a big to luck stop.

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What I couldn't live without is a large block diesel with a real compression brake. That pretty much puts you in at least a Cummins ISL or ISX or a CAT C12/13/15. Compression brakes take all the stress out of driving in the mountains and don't let anyone tell you that an exhaust brake does the same thing. It does, but only sort of. An exhaust brake reduces exhaust flow so the engine can't spin but a compression brake actively uses the power of the engine to slow it down. There's a big difference. I think my CAT can utilize ~300HP in stopping power with its Jake.

 

As for driving a big block, high torque diesel vs a small block one, both will get you where you want to go but the effortlessness of the big diesel is hard to describe. Ours moves us out from a stop almost as easily and fast as a car and it just loafs along on the highway. We don't get in the far right, truck lanes going up mountains because we have trouble going that slowly. :P I realize that this technically is a nice to have, but getting the compression brake pretty much puts you into a large diesel, anyway.

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I also like the Monaco coaches, but I have learned through my research before buying that one has to be very careful of various chassis of the Monaco's depending on the year models. Evidently there are several models that have a very serious trailing arm problem that could break the trailing arms and cause severe accidents. You can see some of the information here: pdf.gif Monaco_Trailing_arm_flyer_9_18_09.pdf 308.24KB also this evidently is not limited only to the Monaco line of coaches but also affects some other well known coach Manufacturers as well, depending upon the chassis they used in various models of their products. there are replacements available and the best I have seen so far are the ones that can be purchased through Jim at Engineering resources. Several of the RV forum sites have information about this serious problem. So check that our for sure. I know that I am going to. I am not worried if the chassis I buy will have it, I only know that it can be a bargaining chip in my stack and I am more than willing to replace wit the units from Engineering Source in (I think) Eugene, Oregon. not cheap but evidently the breaking of one can be as one driver put it "a real ride from hell"

 

Regards,

Robt65

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  • 1 month later...

We are very happy with our 2002 U320 36' foretravel. Has a 450HP Cummins M11 with a 6 speed Allison Trans and Transmission retarder. No Jake brake. More HP per foot and wieght than any other Class A on the market. Cabinetry is solid wood and coach chassis is custom built. Aquahot for hot water and heat. Great paint. Air bag suspension - no jacks.

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You're a few months too late to purchase our 2004 Newmar Dutch Star. :) We bought it new and it served us very well. If you're considering Newmars they allow many custom items so you'll probably find things in a used one that you would not have thought of having. We had them add over 100 items to ours....many very small like extra electric outlets or more or different lighting. Also silly things like a solid wood headboard rather than the padded fabric ones but we liked the look better. Cabinets were solid, too. I guess the big one for us was a custom desk area. The bay slide out trays were great especially for full-timers who carry everything. It's easier to find things. We also had cubby holes in the bedroom closet which were behind the clothes bar. We only had 370HP Cummins on Spartan but we were in the western mountains all the time and it had plenty of power. Good luck!

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No on the fuel filler both sides. Not important, I have never used the PS filler on my coach.

Yes on the slide out tray, but that could be added later. Great place to put your tool chest for easy access.

Floor plan, one of the most important.

Good maintenance records.

Tire age. Tires age out before they wear out. Tires should be changed every six to seven years.

Engine HP. A 350 HP will get you anywhere you want to go. Anything above that is just icing on the cake.

Obvious signs of water damage, yellow flag. Make sure it was properly repaired and request a warranty.

All appliances in working order. A/C, furnace, fridge, stove, microwave, etc.

Batteries. Without knowing how well maintained they were I would negotiate for new ones if over four years.

As for the interior, that is a personal assessment as to what your willing to accept for the price paid.

 

These are my personal opinions from things I have picked up from reading various forums over the last couple of years. These opinions are offered free of charge of take them for what they are worth.

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