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Darbone85737

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    13
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Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Tucson, Arizona
  • Interests
    I restore vintage British and European motorcycles
  • I travel
    With Pets

Recent Profile Visitors

1805 profile views
  1. I just today bought two Michelin 275/70/r22.5 XA2 Energy tires through the FMCA program at Tci Tire Center in Tucson. I called ahead and they had 6 in stock. They sell a lot of them. They got me in and out of the place with the new tires in less than an hour. It took me more time than that to have the oil changed in my Honda at the shop. Tires were dated 11th week of 2013. I couldn't be happier with the FMCA Michelin Advantage program.
  2. I tow a 2003 AWD Element w/ automatic. It tows fine. Read your car manual for the procedure. We use the Roadmaster Falcon 2 tow bar
  3. Newmar does keep track of warranty or recall service but not maintenance services. I learned this when we bought our Dutch Star. I emailed their customer service dept with the VIN to inquire as to our MH. Ours is an older unit which was purchased without knowing it's history (other than it had only one prior owner). I had oil/filters changed prior to picking it up. We have a Caterpillar engine in a Freightliner chassis and I had Freightliner hook up their scanner which could identify any current or past issues. It did identify an overheat condition many years ago which Newmar was able to tell me was corrected. Other than that my unit had a clean history. We've made 2 long trips (one of 2,200 miles and one of 1,900 miles) and it has been great. It drives better than I expected a 38 foot home on wheels to drive and is very comfortable. As previously stated they are solid and well made with good quality components. I can't imagine having any serious problems with a coach that has only gone 14K miles. I would take it for a drive and any serious trouble should make itself evident. If the drivetrain is in good shape the house items (heat,AC,refrig,etc) can be checked individually. Six year old batteries that have sat unused should be load tested and might need replacement soon. Cost vary according to size and quality. It's well worth spending the money on batteries. Tires for our coach (I've replaced 2) were around $ 500 each, installed. The DS is a great coach. Good luck
  4. Unfortunately it seems the onsite RV parking for the entire 2013 event has already been sold out. We checked the fiesta website this morning as wife wanted to go in 2013 and stay at the fairgrounds. The "presidential" sites (30 amp with city water) were $ 150
  5. I've had my DP serviced at Freightliner and felt I got good service. As far as I know there are no hookups there but I was only in for a chassis service and fluid/filters change. I was in and out in a couple of hours. I've never used them but the WW Williams shop also has a good reputation. I would feel comfortable at either place
  6. I bought the unit and installed it in my MH prior to driving from Eau Clair, WI to Tucson, AZ. It worked perfectly- even in one instance where the campground owner warned not to depend on GPS directions. (I had to try anyway and it brought me right to the place). The only place it did not work was in the badlands where it "could not find a car or RV route". I was told by others that this location made GPS positioning difficult (I don't know why). My only issue was operator caused. It seemed the RV was moving backward instead of forward. Once I read the instructions I set it up with proper orientation and that issue was corrected I like it.
  7. Thanks. We love Catalina State Park. Being this is our first motor home we decided to stay here for a week to get acclimated and learn how things work. Best part is it's 3 miles from our stick house so running back and forth to get those items we forgot to pack isn't a problem. The park is beautiful and quiet. You would never know you're a mile from a fairly large mall with shopping and restaurants. We also spend Thanksgiving there
  8. Settled in at Catalina State Park, Arizona after a trip from Eau Clair, Wisconsin
  9. I previously posted regarding the purchase of my 1998 coach. Thanks for your thoughtful replies. I noticed there are many other posts from people considering the purchase of their first coach so I thought I would follow up with my own experience. I did everything that I probably should not have done. I purchased the motor home on Ebay, sight unseen, relying upon the representation of the seller (a used car dealer specializing in internet sales of high end European cars and the occasional motor home) who was located 2,200 miles away. I did some research that validated the sellers claim that this coach was owned by one individual who purchased it new and traded it for another newer one. It had 79,000 miles on it which didn't particularly bother me. I felt the mileage was proportionate to the age. Too many of these things lie unused and I felt lack of use was a more serious cause for concern. The transaction required me to make a very small deposit and close the deal once I got to see the coach. I took that as some comfort as I felt I could walk away if the coach was not as represented. There was very little downside. I had never owned or even driven a class A RV so I was really taking a leap of faith here. These are complicated things with many different systems, some of which would be excruciatingly expensive to repair or replace. No one ever accused me of being the sharpest tool in the shed. Reading these forums is enough to scare the be-jeezus out of you with tales of things gone wrong, so I'm happy to share a story of things gone right. As it turns out the coach was everything I was lead to believe it would be (probably more). Items that would need attention were properly disclosed by the seller and he assisted me in getting them taken care of before I flew in. I replaced 2 tires that were 7 years old and had oil/filter changes and fuel filter changes done before taking off. The seller spent a few hours with me going over the unit, including me taking a good test run before getting down to the business of closing the deal. To say I was at once elated and scared to death leaving that shop at night would be an understatement. I spent 11 days on the road (drove about 6 or them) covering 2,200 miles with stops in places that I always wanted to see but were never convenient to visit (the Badlands, Custer State Park and the Crazy Horse memorial were amazing). All along the way I was learning how things worked and acclimating myself to running this new-to-me coach. I had one item that required attention - the failure of the cruise control to engage. After one day of driving I decided it would need attention before continuing on. A Freightliner shop in West Salem, MN was kind enough to hook up a scanner and found the switch wasn't sending signal. It turned out to be a disconnected pin connector under the drivers dash- a 2 minute fix. The folks there would take no money for their effort and declined my offer to at least buy them lunch. Long story short, I returned home after the 2,200 miles completely satisfied with how the coach performed. The 3126 Cat ran perfectly and provided plenty of smooth, quiet power. I used around 250 gallons of fuel for the trip. That included a couple of days with serious wind conditions. The Freightliner chassis was exceptionally easy to drive. The coach tracked straight and handled smoothly. I'm now camped at Catalina State Park here in Arizona. It's 3 miles from my home and we're taking a week to further acclimate ourselves with the unit in anticipation of our winter stay in Mexico. Aside from the disconnected cruise switch the only issue we've had was a little sand caught in the filter of the bathroom faucet. Now that I'm settled I plan to do a few things in the way of maintenance to ensure things continue well. The house batteries are a bit weak and will need replacing. I may just be lucky but there is little I would change in the way things went. Although I didn't do it having a thorough pre-purchase inspection is a great idea and useful in negotiations for the purchase. I did have an RV specialist look at the coach when I got back here and he gave it a positive opinion. As far as owning an older coach, I found the original paperwork from the sale of the coach when it was new. I would never be able to afford something like this new so owning a well taken care of older coach is perfect for us.
  10. I got mine home from CW this afternoon. I opted for the $ 349 model with the lifetime map updates. There is also the option of buying it without ($315) and paying for updates as you need them. I let the battery charge for a bit, hooked it up to my little ACER notepad and got registered without too much trouble. Took about 15 minutes to load the "dock" files and install them. I'm no computer geek - I just followed the prompts and it worked out. The instruction manual that comes with the unit is pretty skimpy when it comes to showing how to program in trips but I'll download the full manual from the web site. They should have included the full 156 page instruction manual in the box rather than requiring you download it. This is my first GPS. I'm sure there will be some learning curve but so far I like what I see. I loaded my RV information, reviewed the defaults for warnings and even entered a couple of locations. I'll work with it more tomorrow. The big test will come when I pick up my "new" motor home in Wisconsin, head to South Dakota and then return to Tucson. I'll have my "dinosaur GPS" (road atlas) by my side anyway.
  11. Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. I actually bought it on Ebay. That doesn't worry me as I buy and sell vintage European motorcycles on a regular basis, some with value equivalent to the coach. I only had to send them a small down payment ($250) and the balance when I show up to get it. I've had several conversations with the fellow who owns the company that is selling it. It had one owner who traded it to the company that sold it new. They don't handle anything old so they sold it to the company I'm getting it from. It was stored indoors and there is no sign of any roof problems or rust underneath. They have already changed the fluids and filters and will have it road ready when I pick it up. The only issue I've seen are 2 eight year old tires that will be replaced before I pick it up. The others are all 2011. I plan to spend a day or so in it to get acquainted before the trip back. Hope you don't mind if I put up some pictures. I'm trying to locate the original owner so if anyone recognizes it ...... Any and all comments are welcomed
  12. Thx, Brett. I think I made a good choice. I'll be driving it home from Wisconsin in 2 weeks. I'm pretty excited. Feels like the day before Christmas ...
  13. I've owned sailboats, diesel pickups and fifth-wheel trailers, but we're in the process of buying our first motor home. Finding this group has been great. We live in southern Arizona and the primary use of our coach is as a winter home in Mexico as well as a few trips to California and the western states. The coach we've chosen is a 1998 Newmar Dutch Star on a Freightliner chassis with a 3126 Caterpillar engine and 6 spd Allison transmission. It has 70,000 miles but only one owner and looks to have been stored inside and well taken care of. The coach is located around 1,500 miles away and my plan is to fly there, spend 2 or 3 days checking it out, orienting myself to it's systems and operation, and then driving it home. I have a friend who owns a motor home near where it is located who will probably help me get acquainted. I have to say this process is both exciting and frightening. I'm a mechanical kind of guy and feel pretty comfortable working on things once I've become familiar with them but I feel like I'm jumping into the deep end of a pool. Anyway, thanks for the great site and I look forward to learning more as we go along
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