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Why are there not more National Coaches on the Road?


robt65

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I am new to Coach RV'ing. I am thinking seriously about purchasing a 2002 National Tradewinds 374 LE Diesel Pusher with a 7.2L Caterpillar® 3126, 330 horsepower, 860 lb/ft torque @ 1,440 RP, coupled with an Allison® MH 300 six speed automatic with 2 overdrive gear. I really like the layout especially being a bigger guy (6'5.5 and 270 lbs. I would have the dining table and chairs switched out for a nook style to double as a bed for one of our daughters. Floor plan can be seen here: http://www.rvarizona.net/new_galleria.asp?pov=4004441

I would appreciate any comments both pro and con about the coach from previous owners of folks who really know something about this particular manufacture. I would also be changing out the current 7000 lb hitch for a 10,000 hitch for pulling a trailer loaded with a 2012 Chevrolet 2500HD Crew Cab.

 

Thank You,

Regards

robt65

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We are driving a 2007 Dolphin. Significant Difference in that mine is a Ford F53 gas, V-10, 362 HP, BAnks Power chassis. We bought it in 2012, five years old, 28,000 miles.. We have had zero problems with the Chassis. The manufacturer, National RV, is out of business. They did use standard parts & components, and seemed to be better than average in design & layout. Things that we have repaired have been Rear camera (Jensen), Refrigerator (Norcold), steps (Kwikee - Previous owner banged up), and slider motor (Power Gear - WE banged up).

 

I think National made a good product, used quality parts & components, and avoided shortcuts in manufacture - I love their shower in our unit... component states it was made in their facility in Perris, CA, and it is a great shower for our 36' unit.

 

I would say, watch the age - I think two components that we replaced, Camera, and Refrigerater heating elements, were age related. Other than that, I would have no problem buying a national product.

 

Good luck!

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Thanks Jim and Alice,

 

Appreciate the comments for sure. I will indeed make a point to research the complete maintenance history on those items. I also wonder about the trailing arm problems that the Monaco units have had in the past. Does yours have a Spartan Chassis? I am not educated enough about the Spartan Chassis to know one from the other. So I am hoping to find from someone a bit more about this chassis. I think I am still going to make the investment of the replacement trailing arms that Source Engineering makes and one can have installed.

 

Again Thanks for the information.

 

Regards,

Robt65

Kentucky, Texas and Querétaro México.

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First, welcome to the Escapee forums. We love to help and support RV folks here so we are happy to have you join us.

 

National was a builder of a good quality RV but had financial issues and failed mostly due to trying to stand behind the products after the received a batch of bad sidewall materials from a company that then closed and left them holding the bag alone. They closed their doors as no buyer could be found.

I am new to Coach RV'ing. I am thinking seriously about purchasing a 2002 National Tradewinds 374 LE Diesel Pusher ............ I would also be changing out the current 7000 lb hitch for a 10,000 hitch for pulling a trailer loaded with a 2012 Chevrolet 2500HD Crew Cab.

 

You need to be careful in a change such as this and make sure that you know and understand the weight ratings. Replacing the hitch will not change the designed maxim combined weight (GCWR) for the chassis to be able to handle safely. Weight limits are based upon the structural materials of the chassis, the power train, the brake ability and any number of other things. I'm not sure what you Tradewinds is rated to tow but it is probably not enough to do this if you carry anywhere near the gross rated weight. In addition, pay attention to the amount of weight that you will be adding to the rear axle and it weight rating.

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like Kirk states, the truck you are intending to tow might be a little heavy for this. if it is 4 wheel drive I would tow it 4 wheels down and not bother with the trailer. The combination of trailer heavy enough to tow a 3/4 ton crewcab is significant and combined with the truck adds up to a lot of weight. That weight is not only hard on the hitch but you will certainly feel it behind the MH.

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As mentioned, you will find this coach will most likely not fit your needs when towing that heavy of a trailer/truck combo. A trailer large enough to fit a 3/4 ton crew cab, will by itself add considerable weight to the rig. Then add the weight of the truck and you are asking for trouble. Either major drive train problems, or even safety issues while traveling. As Kirk mentions, the towing capacities of coaches are set by the manufacturers to allow safely towing the weight while not putting undue strain on the chassis and drive train. You would likely defeat both with that combo.

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Does yours have a Spartan Chassis? I am not educated enough about the Spartan Chassis to know one from the other. So I am hoping to find from someone a bit more about this chassis.

 

No, ours has the Ford F53 chassis. I have heard of the Spartan Chassis, and I am sure someone in this forum has experience with it....

Jim

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Thanks to one and all who addressed the weight issue portion of my question. I do appreciate it for sure, so now I have to figure a way to take that truck along. My truck is adapted for use by a person with a disability (A left footed accelerator) and the coach will also be adapted for such a device. Would any one have any suggestions as to how I may accommodate the towing of this truck or is it entirely out of the question even with a more powerful RV Coach and already installed heavier hitch?

 

Thanks Again,

robt65

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The ability to tow is part of the designed weight limits of each motorhome. There are diesel pushers out there which have the ability to tow the heaviest of vehicles but they tend to be the bus conversions with larger engines and higher design weight limits. What you need to do is to look at the GVWR of each such unit subtracted from the GCWR to determine the safe weight of what you will be towing. Also many will have a number for the maximum towing weight which if available should be observed.

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