99phantoms

Who Really Builds 'Em Best?

44 posts in this topic

With the intention of full-timing in about 18 mos, I’ve been looking at new diesel pushers, such as the American Coach Tradition, Entegra Anthem, Newmar Dutch Star, Tiffin Allegro Bus, etc. I see the differences in floor plans and such, but otherwise they are starting to all look the same.

So, among this type of builder, what are the real differences in technique & build quality for:

> wall & floor construction and insulation
> quality of interior features & workmanship (doors, cabinets, appliances, etc.)
> soundness of plumbing, electrical, heating & air, etc.
> safety & quietness of ride, handling, etc.
> longevity, reliability, & resale value

Objectively, who really builds ‘em best?

Are there resources available that compare real ‘beneath the surface’ differences among the large box builders?

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99, that is a very open end question. Some people think McDonalds makes the best burgers. Other think that if it is not made on Fifth Ave in NY it isn't worth eating.

My question to you is which of the above items mean the most to you. Then look to the coaches that meet your requirements. Each of the coaches you mention are all very well made in their own right. Each of them would be happy to give you a tour of their operations.

Hope you find the one that comes close to all of your wants.

Herman

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Herman, thanks.

Been to 3 factories already, but they don't answer these type questions. One tour was very superficial and kept you well away from the operation. Another was very close-up & in-depth, ... actually allowed you to get in the way.

Maybe if you know more about what to look for... but I don't. Guess I'm looking for some expert opinion.

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Hello 99,

It's funny we have been wondering the same thing. When the wife and I retire we are planning on selling the house and go full timing in a new motorhome. We have been to many RV shows and Rallies and I've come to the conclusion they all have features that you like and don't like. You have to decided who offers the most features that you like, who will give you the best price and service and which motorhome does the wife like "Happy Wife Happy Life".

Another important thing is what kind of full timing are you planning to do? Going traveling or staying at one place for a period of time. I would like to get a 42 footer but I know you will be limited on where you can camp since there are a lot of small campgrounds and cannot take a 42 ft motorhome.

I would think there is a "Consumers Reports" for motorhomes out there that may help?

Good luck on finding your motorhome. I would like to know which one you finally pick.

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Mark Quasius has written articles on several of the motorhomes you are looking at. He has visited the factories, watched manufacturing, and driven the coaches. His writings are very objective. You should be able to find links to his articles here. http://www.rvcruzer.com/index.php

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There are a lot of things to look at and compare. Some items like generators are pretty much standard throughout the large coach manufacturers. Engines are made by one of three companies so not much difference there. If one or another of the engines is important then that will limit your choices Some manufacturers use several different brands of engines. Chassis is another basic item, many of the coaches are built on truck chassis or modified truck chassis. This is one that made a difference for me. Our coach is a two axle coach but has eight air bags and eight shock absorbers. Both the shocks and the air bags are in line with the tires, not mounted closer to the center of the vehicle which improves the leverage of these control and ride features. I think this gives excellent handling and ride. Look at the exterior not for the color but for the fit of panels, nature of seams and where the seams are located. These can give you an indication of the quality and design of the coach. Look at how the slides fit in their openings and how they are sealed to keep weather and bugs out.

As to who builds them best? I'm not going to give you a name because I can't, I haven't looked at the market lately to see who is doing the best job right now. If I were shopping today, I'd have to give them all a good look, read and ask questions. I consider design to be a basic indicator of quality and assembly and fit to be an indicator of manufacturing standards and controls.

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One thing to keep in mind when reading a review of a new unit is where / how did did the author gain his insight. If the unit was given freely by the mfg for the review, how objective is it going to be? If the review is notably negative, it might be the last unit that author will be provided. I like Consumer Reports' approach where they buy the items being reviewed. That way they can be objective and beholden to no one. The expense of motor homes pretty much precludes a C.R. approach. Even talking to owners won't always get you a candid response. They might be concerned about their own service should the factory learn they'd been running the company down.

My own experience leads me to believe there are a few companies who really care about the quality of the product bearing their name. Lazy Daze comes to mind. Unfortunately, we lost a number of very conscientious builders due to economic conditions of late. There is an obvious cost in turning out an above average product making it hard to compete in a down market. Far more are only concerned about the bottom line and how they can get to market boasting the lowest prices. Many have gotten quite good with the gingerbread but woe what is behind the walls and other areas not readily visible. No different than buying a home except homes are subject to govt inspections during the build.

I think TBUTLER says it well by advising "give them all a good look, read and ask questions". My only suggestion, he should have said it in CAPS and REPEATED it a few times.

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I have to agree with Hermanmullins. Asking who builds them best is like asking who makes the best hamburger, McDonalds, BurgerKing, Wendy's, etc. Ask 10 people and you will get 10 different opinions. You can read all the opinions and you may arrive at a conclusion but when it is all said and done, it becomes your decision. We have a '99 Monaco Executive and it has met our requirements but there are others that I think I would like better. It was a matter of finding a used coach for sale by an owner who was motivated to sell and I was able to negotiate a price that suited me at the time. Again do your research and make a decision.

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Mark Quasius has written articles on several of the motorhomes you are looking at. He has visited the factories, watched manufacturing, and driven the coaches. His writings are very objective. You should be able to find links to his articles here. http://www.rvcruzer.com/index.php

FWIW: Mark's personal coach is an Allegro Bus.

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This is perhaps a bit off the subject, but I have not found any other topic this close to my question. I am considering two 2010 View Profiles: one is, despite its year, almost new as it has less than 2000 miles and less then three hours on the generator.

The other has 33,000 miles, and the dealer's asking price is much higher. From my experience with my present Rialta and from having owned boats, I know that these units and their equipment need to be operated. What are your thoughts on this choice?

Thank you.

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verjay...you might want to start a new thread with your topic, you'll get a lot more responses.

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This is such a subjective question there is no right or wrong answer. One person may have had a great experience with one brand of coach, whereas the next will have had a poor experience with the same brand/model of coach. Everyone will most likely give answers based upon their personal experience, which is what I would expect.

I would recommend Country Coach. This high end coach can be had reasonably with a little shopping, but reasonably for me may be too high for you or vice versa. Do you want all the little do dads that come with quality or are you willing to settle for slightly less.

Most of the major brands for like price point coaches are very similar in quality. If you look at a couple year older high end coach you will definitely get more bang for your buck!

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99

Have you thought about also looking at the Mercedes Benz Sprinter 3500 series Class B's? It is a diesel that gets great mileage and several manufacturers have put a lot of amenities into their models. I would especially recommend you going to the Advanced RV web site and look at their Ocean One model. When you look at what you can get on this model as compared to the larger diesel pushers, it really comes down to how large a unit do you want. As you say, you have around 18 months to decide. Advanced RV is having an open house May 2 thru 4 in Willoughby, OH and you just may want to go and see for yourself just what a elegant and unique Class B looks like and just what Advanced RV puts into their units. You won't come away disappointed.

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Mr JMGOLDEN,

I took a look at the Advanced RV website... very interesting. Do folks full-time in those? It looks a bit "cozy" for that?

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That would be a good question for Mike Neundorfer, the owner of Advanced RV. I full-timed in a 24 ft. Born Free type C while I worked. The 25 ft. Ocean One has many more features to full-time with. The batteries are awesome and the electronics are state of the art. They have configured it nicely for convenience of use. I call it the Newell of type B's. In my opinion it would be ideal for two. Give them a call and see if you want to look at one of their units. They are going to a number of shows to display their coaches this year. Mike is very customer driven and will go out of his to help you get answers to any questions you may have.

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I think a lot would depend on how much room your need. Remember all your stuff has to be carried with you. Does the Class B or even Class C have enough room to hold ALL your stuff. If so then these might be good alternatives. If not, look bigger.

How many are there of you? Souse or sig. other??? More than one person requires more space. Again, these are questions you will have to answer before actually getting down to narrowing down a rig.

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Have you thought about also looking at the Mercedes Benz Sprinter 3500 series Class B's?

I'd love a Sprinter-based class B. They look great when looking at them online. The first time I stepped into one, that dream was crushed. Even the models with the biggest bathrooms were so narrow I wouldn't be able to close door or even stand in with the door open. The aisles are cramped, the ceiling and beds generally short, and then there's the entire carrying capacity issue because of the low GVWR of the Sprinters. Just for reference, a typical class C of the same length is far taller and about 2' wider inside. Sure, there are people that full time in them, but there are people that travel the country on bicycles too.

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The class B is an interesting idea. Right now I have misgivings about the lack of space in a 43' DP. And my gf keeps telling me I'm going to have a difficult time adjusting to life without all my 'stuff'. So I'm thinking a full-time life in a (relatively small) class B might be more than I can adjust to. I do like the concept, though.

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If you believe you might lack space in a 43 foot DP, then the Class B or Class C will NOT suit you!

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Medico is absolutely right. From what you are saying, a B or C would be out of the question. But, you have 18 months to decide what you REALLY need to take with you once you make that decision. When my wife and I went full time, we sold our house and ALL our furniture, etc. We found out what we really NEEDED vs. WANTED to take with us. No regrets, and now being back in a house again, we live with less and enjoy it more.

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Dear 99

I did't see Foretravel on your list. There are many older used Fortravels out there that you may want to consider. They make all their own chassis. The roof is one piece front to back.

Don't take my word for it visit the factory and take a tour. They have been making motorhomes since the late 70's and there are still a lot of them on the road. Folks don't get rid of them they just remodel and update. There are many owners that are full timers.

I have a 1998 U270 36 ft it has 118000 miles on it. I live in Maine. My wife and I are leaving in mid April on a trip that will cover roughly 10000 miles. I have no doubt that the coach will get us there and back home in the fall.

There is also an owners forum you can go to and ask any question you want about Foretravel and a huge data base of information on the coaches.

Good luck in your search.

Norm

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99,

Go to Motorhomes of Texas website. They are in the same town as Foretravel. Nacodoches, TX, They have some nice Pre-owned Fortravels.

Herman

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Thanks Herman, I did forget to mention where the factory was. I did purchase my Foretravel for Motorhomes of Texas.

Am USN Ret RM1

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For a Foretravel (and I agree on the assessment of their quality):

Foretravel Factory

MOT (Motorhomes of Texas)

PPL (in Houston gets a reasonable number of consignment Foretravels)

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It is a personal choice! We love ours it has some quirks, this is our second one. Completely different from our first.

My parents bought only one "brand" but had 3 different models over 15 years.

It is all a personal choice.

My suggestion, go to an RV resort for a weekend rent a cabin. Walk the park, talk to as many people as you can, take notes ask for tours of their coaches, ask them the pros and cons of their coach. Motorhome owners are the nicest people you can ever know, helpful and love to share.

As far as the Manufacturer, Actually they will give you the information, ask to talk to the consumer relations Operation Manager...they will get you to the right person.

Blue Skies

Kathy

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