Jump to content


Icon Welcome to the FMCA Motorhome Forums!

Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and signed in, you will be able to create topics; post replies to existing topics; upload pictures; manage your profile; get your own private messenger; create blogs; and more. Sign up now! Already have an account? Sign in. This message will be removed once you are signed in.


Photo
- - - - -

Diesel pusher or bus conversion?


  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 Strange73

Strange73

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 11 May 2009 - 11:47 AM

Hello, guys.

I am totally new here and have no experience, so please forgive me if you have the impression that these are silly questions. Anyway, I am a new RV enthusiast and would like to know what the main differences are between luxury diesel pushers such as the Monacos Dynasty or Executive and bus conversions such as Marathon and Prevost.

Basically, I know that the bus conversions have bus shells and different engines, but what is the added value that makes the difference? Has it anything to do with average life of the vehicles because of quality of material used, or has it to do with the fact that bus conversions are just custom built while the others are series manufactured? As I said, I am just trying to learn and I am a total beginner. Thanks.

Steve
  • 0

#2 rdlamb

rdlamb

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts

Posted 11 May 2009 - 04:22 PM

Bus conversions are a much larger unit. The frame, wheels, axles, engine, trans, are all commercial bus in size. Ergo, the cost is 3x that of the manufatureed shells from Monaco.
By the way, Monaco went bankrupt, as did Marathon. Who knows if they will reorganize and resurface. For now, you may get a great buy on either, if you can find a dealer still in business.

Overall, the bus conversion is the more quality, luxurious, and expensive.
As far as average life of the vehicle, either will go 1 million miles with nothing more than factor service recommendations.
  • 0

#3 garykd

garykd

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 394 posts
  • Location:Wellington, Florida

Posted 11 May 2009 - 07:27 PM

Hi Steve,
Welcome to the FMCA forum. The Prevost and their equivalents are made to your order. You'll get a red carpet treatment with people to lead you through the process of choosing all the components that make the coach unique to you. The high end coaches from companies like Tiffin, Fleetwood and Monaco's are production line coaches. Nothing bad about that. They are quality components and features in all the high end coaches. Newmar high end coaches are more customizable than many other Brands.

I take 1 to 2 years to find the coach that fits my needs. That is the important thing to remember, take your time. Floor plan sell the coach. A close second would be the interior decor. Consider going to RV shows. You can see many different brands and talk to the factory reps. Go to RVIA Shows and RV Show List to see if there are any shows in your area. If you are in the area, the Tampa, Florida show is the middle of every January. It is the largest RV show in the USA.

Lastly, one of the best sources of information is right here, on the forum. Ask about this or that all you want. I've owned only new class A coaches. The first was a Winnebago Brave, 26'. We have grown (or groan) into the signature coach.

I go to the Tampa Super Show every January, intent on spend $s. I have succeeded every year.
  • 0
Gary
2005 Newmar KSDP 3910
Cummins ISC 330 HP, 950 FT LBS Torque
Tow With Tow Bar & Dolly (not at the same time)
Coach & Towed Combined Weight Is 37K lbs.
NKK Life Member
FMCA
GS Life Member
Passport America Life Member
The States Visited Map Is Our Second Time Around

#4 TBUTLER

TBUTLER

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,300 posts
  • Location:Sandpipers Resort, Edinburg, Texas

Posted 11 May 2009 - 10:03 PM

Hello Strange73,

Where do you live? I ask because the FMCA Convention in Columbus, Ohio this summer (July...) is the best place to actually see the difference. Bunches of coaches, you can drive 'em and see how they handle. Walk through them, look in the closets and cabinets, the storage, the cockpit, look at the price tag and decide which coach is "you."

My wife highly prizes her pantry for storing food and dishes. If you don't want to eat meals in the coach (I knew someone who said their stove never would work! HA HA) then the pantry won't matter. Some coaches have large basement storage, others have basement space taken up with air conditioners, aqua hot water/furnace, audio/video centers, refrigerators, etc. Do you want a party machine or a home? Are you going to be driving hard for long distances or just an occasional weekend? You have lots of things to consider. Look at all the possible motor homes and pick the one that fits your needs.
  • 0

Tom and Louise Butler
2004 Monaco Windsor, Cummins 400 ISL
Roadmaster Sterling Tow Bar, Brakemaster, GMC Acadia, BikeE Recumbent Bicycles

After 9 1/2 years full time in our motor home and being Winter Texans we are now living at Sandpipers Resort in Edinburg, Texas. Now we are Summer Chickens!

"The tipi is much better to live in; always clean and warm in winter, cool in summer, easy to move... If the Great Spirit wanted men to live in one place he would have made the world stand still." -- Flying Hawk, South Dakota Oglala Sioux


#5 Strange73

Strange73

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 13 May 2009 - 05:03 AM

Tom, Louise, Gary, and the other guy (couldn't see the name),

I wish to thank you very much for the time you wanted to dedicate to this issue. I see there are many many things I should take in great consideration before I choose for this or that coach. My very first worry is that I do not want to be pulled on my leg by any vendor who is only interested in selling. For what concerns my needs I am most interested in getting a comfortable coach with quality, long life chassis and engine, which means nice power engine, recognizable chassis strenght, equipped with air cushions glide, shock absorbers, engine brake or exhaust brake (I still do not know which is better in terms of both performance and maintenance, does any idea?), Automatic traction Control, ABS. Said that, I do have 3 children and I have to say I was unable to find RVs equipped with bunk beds for them. To be honest with you, I had a look of some Monaco Dynasty and Executive but as I have important requirements but restricted budget, I was looking at 2001-2002 units. What kind of risks I am going to face in this case? Also, I saw some 1992-1998 bus conversion that I found great, apparently. Are there even more risks in this case? Are such coaches all too much old? I noticed some of them were rigenerated (interiors, change engine etc) but I am more willing to say "refurbished" as they look more like houses. In this case would it be better to concentrate on a rigenerated model or on an original one? Is it true Monaco went bankrupt and so Marathon? I also saw Country Coach which I know had found an agreement with suppliers and banks as to go on with production. Well, I do not want to bother you but I am sure you will understand the more infos I get the better I can work out a solution and I do not find any better place but this forum of fmca to get to this goal. thanks once again for your help guys.
Steve
  • 0

#6 Garybus

Garybus

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 13 May 2009 - 07:04 PM

I don't think Marathon has gone bankrupt, they have cut their production down from 50 coaches a year to 30.

Gary
  • 0

#7 garykd

garykd

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 394 posts
  • Location:Wellington, Florida

Posted 14 May 2009 - 05:02 PM

Hi Steve,
Can't find bunk beds? Go to this link to see Newmar's choices. In addition to a bunk bed floor plan, the AllStar has a rear room that you can make into anything you want. It is a huge amount of space. One floor plan even has a downstairs bedroom and an upstairs bedroom. Go to Newmar AllStar floor plans . The AllStar also has Comfort Drive. The bottom line is it is computerized steering. One needs to try it. It can not be described.
  • 0
Gary
2005 Newmar KSDP 3910
Cummins ISC 330 HP, 950 FT LBS Torque
Tow With Tow Bar & Dolly (not at the same time)
Coach & Towed Combined Weight Is 37K lbs.
NKK Life Member
FMCA
GS Life Member
Passport America Life Member
The States Visited Map Is Our Second Time Around

#8 TBUTLER

TBUTLER

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,300 posts
  • Location:Sandpipers Resort, Edinburg, Texas

Posted 20 May 2009 - 09:01 PM

Strange73,

I would have suggested a Class C for bunk beds, didn't know there was a Class A or Bus Conversion that had bunk beds until I read garykd's post. The standard saying for Class A coaches is, "Conversation for eight, drinks for six, dinner for four, sleeps two!" That would be the answer to the people who look at that great big coach and think it must sleep 20 people! Glad there are floor plans out there to fit your needs.

Again, go to an FMCA convention if you can. I have never had a salesman pressure me to buy one kind of coach or another. If you show an interest in one coach or floor plan, then they will offer help but there are many browsers at the convention and the salesmen can't buttonhole everyone. In fact, the sales people are pretty low key the first day or so. Pretty much just answering questions. With all the coaches that are usually at the convention, you could spend the whole convention just browsing coaches!

I wouldn't be afraid of an older coach if it is in good shape. We started in a seven year old coach and stayed with it for two and a half years. Once certain we were in this for the long haul, we purchased a new coach at a rally. We drove it over 7000 miles in the next six weeks. That is a good break-in run in a short time. Our last stop before parking at our winter retreat was at the dealer to get various items fixed. With the lower cost of the purchase of a used motor home comes increased maintenance costs! It would be hard for the maintenance costs to equal the cost of purchasing a new coach.
  • 0

Tom and Louise Butler
2004 Monaco Windsor, Cummins 400 ISL
Roadmaster Sterling Tow Bar, Brakemaster, GMC Acadia, BikeE Recumbent Bicycles

After 9 1/2 years full time in our motor home and being Winter Texans we are now living at Sandpipers Resort in Edinburg, Texas. Now we are Summer Chickens!

"The tipi is much better to live in; always clean and warm in winter, cool in summer, easy to move... If the Great Spirit wanted men to live in one place he would have made the world stand still." -- Flying Hawk, South Dakota Oglala Sioux


#9 SoloNoAsawa

SoloNoAsawa

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 21 May 2009 - 09:09 PM

I'm going to address ONLY the "intercity" type coaches, not transits or "skoolies." The shells used by the premium builders are intercity coaches, such as MCI or Prevost.

The main difference is that the bus shell, power train and running gear were designed to run several million miles (if properly maintained). The bus was also designed for rapid repair (the bus isn't earning if the wheels aren't turning). These mean that you're not likely to wear one out.

The other rigs are a box on a truck chassis -- not as durable, but possibly more cost-effective, if you aren't going to be using it as much.

One other advantage of the conversion is that they have a generally timeless appearance. Most people can't tell the difference between coaches built in 1965 or 2009, while RV styles change every several years.

One DISadvantage is that some campgrounds have a declared "no buses" policy. This is to keep transits and skoolies out -- an intercity coach in good shape is not likely to be kept out.
  • 0

#10 michaeldterry

michaeldterry

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • Location:Woodstock, GA

Posted 15 June 2009 - 04:35 PM

If you desire a coach with bunk beds, I would suggest looking at previously owned entertainer coaches (the bus conversions that entertainers like rock bands, etc., use to travel on their concert tours). An excellent source that I have personal experience with is BusforSale.com. John Spellings and his team are among the most experienced bus brokers in the business and always have an impressive selection of bus conversions for sale in most any configuration you can imagine.

Good luck with your search!

Posted Image
  • 0
Michael & Vita Terry
Woodstock, GA
'96 Prevost XL45 Featherlite Vantare
2005 PT Cruiser toad
+ Scooter & Harley (the "buspuppies")

#11 moodier

moodier

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 30 August 2009 - 10:05 AM

HII havehad many MH over the years and the worst ones have ever owned were purchased new.The last being a 92 Gulfstream diesel!Then bought a used Holiday Rambler which loved,The first year the 92 broke down every trip out second year only everyother trip.There was no third year!!Now drive a 65 Eagle which has providedmany wonderful years and many breakdowns too but just get it fixed and go on.Don't have the same expectations as would for a unit I bought new!Yes have paid $10K to replace the engine and several sets of tires at $400@etc.These are the costs of driving an oldder bus but if you can except them they can be great rigs!They can be purchased quite reasonably especially now with fuel costs etc.SHould have good inspection on one for your peace of mind!Good Luck!!!
  • 0

#12 dmccanna

dmccanna

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts

Posted 24 September 2009 - 10:50 AM

If I may add.......... check out www.rv.org. Before we bought our first coach, we studied all available and used the ratings guide to help us through the process. we learned plenty and saved 30% off the price of our vehicle! You may have to search a little on their page to find the ratings CD, I see they have changed their site. You will definately save the cost of the materials when you buy your first coach.
  • 0
2008 Fleetwood Discovery
2008 Sonata - Toad
2008 Goldwing

#13 jimkate

jimkate

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts

Posted 30 October 2009 - 12:03 PM

A quick note to any Canadians out there regarding this topic. I'm Canadian, and new to the RV world. I started out searching for a converted Prevost bus, or equivalent. Found out that we cannot import converted buses into Canada. We can only import buses that are in the condition as originally manufactured. Once imported, we can convert them to be whatever we want them to be. I didn't want the work of converting a bus, and I couldn't find an already converted used bus in Canada for sale, so I bought a 1995 Monaco Dynasty, and worked it up a little to be what we wanted it to be.
  • 0

#14 TBUTLER

TBUTLER

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,300 posts
  • Location:Sandpipers Resort, Edinburg, Texas

Posted 31 October 2009 - 11:45 PM

One of the things that impressed me recently when looking at the Prevost vs. the manufactured units was the difference in "livability." Our mid-line Windsor has more pantry, closet and drawer space than any Prevost coach we looked at. The Prevost are glitzy and have a tremendous "Wow" factor, but they wouldn't work for us as full-timers. They are much more durable, heavy duty frame, etc. You can customize them to be what you want but you're paying a tremendous price for that if you are looking for a full timers coach.

Consider what your needs are. Are you looking for a glitzy party coach or do you want a "working" coach? You don't need a working kitchen and pantry if you are going to eat every meal out. If your trips are weekend trips and tailgating, you don't need large closets or drawers. Are you going to drive 300,000 miles with your coach? At 15,000 miles a year, our average travel, that would be 20 years of travel and I think I can get that our of our coach easily. I don't need a coach that goes 1,000,000 miles!

I would love to be driving a coach with a tag axle and an extra 5 feet and a second bathroom (not even a bus) but the fuel mileage goes down to 4 or 5 MPG. Can you afford that? If you can, go for it. For me, it would be the straw that breaks the camels back. I couldn't keep traveling the way I want at the fuel prices today.
  • 0

Tom and Louise Butler
2004 Monaco Windsor, Cummins 400 ISL
Roadmaster Sterling Tow Bar, Brakemaster, GMC Acadia, BikeE Recumbent Bicycles

After 9 1/2 years full time in our motor home and being Winter Texans we are now living at Sandpipers Resort in Edinburg, Texas. Now we are Summer Chickens!

"The tipi is much better to live in; always clean and warm in winter, cool in summer, easy to move... If the Great Spirit wanted men to live in one place he would have made the world stand still." -- Flying Hawk, South Dakota Oglala Sioux


#15 dmccanna

dmccanna

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts

Posted 01 November 2009 - 05:46 AM

I whole heartedly agree with Butler. An acquaintance this year purchased a Country Coach Affinity this past summer and we were parked next to him as he transferred (or tried) to transfer his stuff from his Bluebird into the Affinity. The Affinity is Country Coach's version of the Prevost. IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE! They threw out more basement and interior belongings than I probably have. He sat there for the better part of two weeks trying to manage the space issue and every day took a trunk full of stuff to the garbage bin.

His coach is absolutely beautiful but has no storage. It also has no upper cabinets which reduces the amount of interior storage greatly (but makes the interior striking because of it) and only two compartments with basement slideouts. They are not full timers but vacationers and did not need all they were carrying anyways but if they were they would be in trouble. Each night as we shared an adult beverage he said he wished he had the storage that I did. Each night after a couple of beverages he actually attempted to retire to our coach (guess he had it on his mind............... LOL.) They actually are now looking for another coach again.

It is very important to know how you plan to use your coach!
  • 0
2008 Fleetwood Discovery
2008 Sonata - Toad
2008 Goldwing

#16 RichardFryer

RichardFryer

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 02 November 2009 - 08:32 PM

Tom, Louise, Gary, and the other guy (couldn't see the name):

I wish to thank you very much for the time you wanted to dedicate to this issue. I see there are many many things I should take in great consideration before I choose for this or that coach. My very first worry is that I do not want to be pulled on my leg by any vendor who is only interested in selling. For what concerns my needs I am most interested in getting a comfortable coach with quality, long life chassis and engine, which means nice power engine, recognizable chassis strenght, equipped with air cushions glide, shock absorbers, engine brake or exhaust brake (I still do not know which is better in terms of both performance and maintenance, does any idea?), Automatic traction Control, ABS. Said that, I do have 3 children and I have to say I was unable to find RVs equipped with bunk beds for them. To be honest with you, I had a look of some Monaco Dynasty and Executive but as I have important requirements but restricted budget, I was looking at 2001-2002 units. What kind of risks I am going to face in this case? Also, I saw some 1992-1998 bus conversion that I found great, apparently. Are there even more risks in this case? Are such coaches all too much old? I noticed some of them were rigenerated (interiors, change engine etc) but I am more willing to say "refurbished" as they look more like houses. In this case would it be better to concentrate on a rigenerated model or on an original one? Is it true Monaco went bankrupt and so Marathon? I also saw Country Coach which I know had found an agreement with suppliers and banks as to go on with production. Well, I do not want to bother you but I am sure you will understand the more infos I get the better I can work out a solution and I do not find any better place but this forum of fmca to get to this goal. thanks once again for your help guys.

Steve

If you are looking for a class A with bunk beds, Tiffin Motor Homes has a diesel pusher with bunk beds. It's 38 feet long and is called the "Allegro Red." I looked at one this past weekend at Vogt RV in Fort Worth, Texas. It's a lot of coach for less than $200K and Tiffin stands behind their products.
  • 0

#17 abelow

abelow

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 03 November 2009 - 08:50 PM

Having a budget that limits you to 10 yo rigs isn't really that bad. Sure, some things might be about to wear out but most of the manufacturer bugs have been worked out. We bought a '97 Safari Sahara, 36', Cat 300 hp, Allison transmission and have put 40,000 miles on it with only some minor problems. I would estimate all the repairs over the last 40,000 miles and 4 years amount to less than $1000. Compare that to the increased taxes, fees, and especially depreciation of a new or newer rig. I am happy not haveing slide outs. I am happy keeping the costs reasonable. btw, 9 to 10 mpg if I keep the speed in the 55 - 60 mph range.
  • 0

#18 TBUTLER

TBUTLER

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,300 posts
  • Location:Sandpipers Resort, Edinburg, Texas

Posted 03 November 2009 - 10:12 PM

Richard,

Yes, Monaco went bankrupt. The remains of the company have been purchased by Navistar (International Trucks) and is back up and running. The company that remains will restructure and consolidate the line of coaches. Eventually it is expected they will change to using the Navistar engines instead of Cummins. Some suppliers are still negotiating with Monaco - Navistar so replacement parts for older models may not be available soon if ever. The old Monaco was always strong in standing behind their coaches. While it has no legal obligation to do so, it is expected that Navistar will continue this tradition with the new coaches while doing what it can for the older coaches (keeping the parts supply alive and providing technical support). Warranty issues with the pre-bankrupcy coaches are a lost cause other than parts warrantied by a third party manufacturer.

One of the strengths of the Monaco product was the custom designed frame and the eight (ten on tag axle models) airbags and similar number of shock absorbers with the airbags and shock absorbers being mounted in line with the outside tires.

Regarding the exhaust brake or engine brake, the latter is much more effective. You may find a retarder on bus conversions, this works within the transmission, it is more expensive but much more effective than either the exhaust brake or engine brake. There is a detailed discussion of these three devices elsewhere on the forum Exhaust Brake or Engine Brake.
  • 0

Tom and Louise Butler
2004 Monaco Windsor, Cummins 400 ISL
Roadmaster Sterling Tow Bar, Brakemaster, GMC Acadia, BikeE Recumbent Bicycles

After 9 1/2 years full time in our motor home and being Winter Texans we are now living at Sandpipers Resort in Edinburg, Texas. Now we are Summer Chickens!

"The tipi is much better to live in; always clean and warm in winter, cool in summer, easy to move... If the Great Spirit wanted men to live in one place he would have made the world stand still." -- Flying Hawk, South Dakota Oglala Sioux


#19 wrongagain

wrongagain

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 21 January 2010 - 10:24 PM

I owned a prevost marathon conversion, so I can say first hand that over the life of the coach it will cost you about $3000.00 - $5000.00 per year, cost of ownership.
Not like a ford chassis motorhome.
Tires around $600.00 x 8
Batteries around $500.00 ea x 12
$600.00 oil changes
Air brake dryers, antifreeze, conditioners and filters.
And that is just normal wear and tear items.
Everything is big money parts like you would buy to fix a semi.
Miles of wire to go bad in places you dont want to know about.
The over the road bus A/C was a nightmare of leaks.
Forced hot water heat "wabasto" was nice to have.
No storage as it is all used by A/C systems, bus air as well as 3 house systems.
I think there was 6 air tanks and a jillion feet of somewhat leaking air hose that prevost says is normal.
Well, its not "normal" when it gets cold out and one side is up and the other is down.
Got rid of it and am still trying to decide what to buy next but unlee I win the lottery and have never ending wealth it will not be another bus.
  • 0




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users