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  1. I have been getting information about the main differences between the exhaust brake and engine brake. Now I am confronted by the term "retarder." Once again, I wish to remind everyone that I am not American and I have known about the use of this term as to describe brake performance of Foretravel coaches. Where I live, a retarder is considered a device totally different from an exhaust brake. It is a mechanical supplemental device that can be used only on dry roads other than rainy, just humid or snowy or else the truck/RV would lose control and would turn its back around. The exhaust brake is a device that, generally speaking, makes it possible to use the compressed gasses of combustion as a power brake as to avoid having to use the service brake or at least to help and support the service brake. I am not a technician, but this is more and less the difference. In other words, in the U.S., is a retarder the same as an exhaust brake or what? Thanks in advance for any comments or technical support. Steve
  2. Hello Brett, Do not worry I did not misunderstood what you meant. I wish to get in contact with Foretravel and ask them for some specific questions with regards to the possibility to modify the floor plan of a 2001 or 2002 U295 and U320. First of all I know very well that it would be better to address myself to a 36'-38' long coach but as matter of fact, if I look at the different floor plans of Unicoaches between 2000 and 2002 the best I could see where to have bunk beds installed were infact the 40' 2002 U295 and U320. For exemple within 4020 U320 AGDS it would be possible to remove the recliner and the little table beside in the living and have bunk beds installed instead. That would mean a minor intervention to the coach interior. Unfortunately, I do not know the measures between the front seat and the kitchen and then I am not sure if this can be done or not. 2000 and 2001 models do have quite different floor plans compared to those of 2002 and seemed to me that a more massive modification to their floor plans would suit my needs. In any case that is why I will get in contact with Foretravel directly. Steve
  3. Brett, So you are a Foretravel owner and then I suppose if you change it one day, it will be for another Foretravel or at least this is my thought after reading few messages on Yahoo Foretravel Forum. I see one of the reasons is because of the steering related these coaches. Anyway, you said something very interesting: a lot of their business is remodeling older Foretravels. This is quite astonishing to me as normally a coach builder should not be that interested in manufacturing coaches able to held up that long in time. It would not be profitable in terms of future sales. I know this is not quite what Rvers wish but business is buiness. While in this case I am facing right the opposite. If I well understood Foretravel is able to collect and modifiy older coaches and keep them, say, refurbished (if you know what I mean), and then get them like brand new models. Is that right? If so, this is the very first company I could rightfully delcare "client-oriented" and also means that the general quality of the coach has to be at highest levels mostly in every single component. If so, as I need to find a floorplan that I can modify as to install bunk beds for 3 kids, this could be easy for Foretravel to do and also, they might be able to suggest an existing model better suited for such need. I do not know, I am wandering. Steve
  4. Brett, once again thank you for your help, you can be sure that I am determined to get as many elements as I can. You certainly understand that my intention is to buy a coach that I can use for several years and I do not want to take the wrong decision. It will take time. I am going to collect more information about Alpine and today I also found Foretravel. This is very interesting because I noticed this company manufactures high end coaches (they are priced $400K-$500K) and it is still "alive" and this means it must have a know how/reputation well appreciated by the market and this is not very easy in this period of economic crisis. I am curious to know the key succesful factors of Foretravel. We will see. Steve
  5. Wayne, yes, you did uderstand! I will export the RV I purchase and from warranty point of view you should know that Switzerland is not only the Country of Banks, indeed it is also the Country of Insurance companies and over here you can get for exemple an insurance called Quality 1 which covers chassis, engine and transmission while there are others that cover the interior of the RV as these are coverages studied for those vehicles used as home. Then you understand this is not going to be a problem to me and this is why I am not worried to take a flight for the US buy an american RV and import in Swiss. It seems to me that you think this company went to bankruptcy and closed activity, but the whole point to me is to understand whether Alpine from Wester RV were infact good quality/high end class RV. Steve
  6. Hello All, following all suggestions up to now, I went through new search and I have come across a brand I never heard before which should get close enough to the definition of "high end" coach. This is Alpine Coach from Western RV, which I found 2005 brochure surfing in the internet. I carefully read through it, especially with regards to their Peak Custom Chassis which they are very proud of. I understood it has electronic controlled active air ride suspension. I do not know if I misunderstood but if I am right this is a feature I never found in other coach brochures. Every electrical connection is labeled, coded and harnessed in order to allow easier and more accurate troubleshooting. Interiors are wooden made. Another key succesful factor from technical point of view is that this coach was studied as to have well balanced weight distribution: 40% front and 60& rear. This is also important especially with longer coaches as to increase stability while driving. Said that, what is the point? The point is that I found a number of these units at very low prices compared to their new retail price. Well, I had a look of the NADA guide and a 2005 40' brand new model was around $290K-$300K, while today it is not that hard to find a unit at $110K. Is that because by any chance this company went out of business and then it is difficult to sell used Alpines because of lack of after sale service and warranty problems? Other reasons? Steve
  7. Brett, thank you for your support, I think you are right when you say that a full wall slide might be more a nightmare than a benefit if I have to drive along roads like those europeans. I have been looking for multiple slide coaches as well but here I do have some more question and would be more than pleased to knowabout the experience of other RVers if possible. Well, the whole point is that it is not very clear to me what makes the difference between a mid-level coach and a high end one. Has it to do with chassis and engine HP and torque? Has it to do with the level of electric, plumbing and appliances or decors? Do not get me wrong, I know Monaco Signature or Executive are both high end coaches but I am referring to those coaches at a lower level such as Diplomat, Camelot, Knight, Cayman. In other words, where is the point where mid-class diesel coaches ends and high end class begins? Steve
  8. You may have understood by reading my messages that I am not American and English is not my mother tongue. I am from Switzerland and I am enthusiast of American Class A RVs. Both my wife and I love them as we love the American philosophy of the fulltimer. This concept does not exist in Europe as there are so many compromises to accept that make life uneasy with European RVs, even with luxury models. That is not the case with american coaches or at least many of them. Now you understand why I am doing general questions rather than specifics: I am not there to see and touch. Anyway, I do not want to make of this a handicap as I am actually the happy owner of a Gulf Stream Ultra Supreme 32' long and I have done a good experience with that but my wife and I would like to move to a much long term solution and we found a diesel pusher is the right one. The main purpose is to purchase an affordable coach that we could use for several years. There is only one major issue. Swiss law does not permit to register US diesel coaches first registered in the US over the 31st December 2006 as per Certificate of Title. This means I cannot buy and import to Switzerland a new one, or generally speaking 2008, 2009 and 2010 manufactured units. Said that, we do know what we want to have: First, flooplan. We definetely wish a multiple slide outs model but also we think about a full wall slide model such as the Fleetwood Discovery 39V (I had the chance to see one once). This is because we are 5 people (I have 3 kids) and slides give you a lot of room. Now the problem is that I read from roamingtime.com forum that many RVers blame Fleetwood because of lack of structural integrity of the full wall slide in time. Was that they were just unfortunate with their purchase or did something wrong and caused a damage to thier own RV, or Fleetwood mid-coaches are built with poor quality materials or lack of Quality Control?. Others just fell in love with it and had no problems. So what to do? Better go with a multiple slide model or we can go with a full slide also? Or full wall slides do give problems after years because of usage? this is critical to me as once I imported a coach form US, it is difficult to have a ruined slide fixed here. Second, exhaust brake. In the US you have much space and wide roads while over here just think that your narrowest county road could be compared to a european interstate as per width. Also, swiss is plenty of mountains and then you will understand a certain chassis, engine and mechanic is needed. For exemple here you cannot do without exhaust brake. I know Fleetwood mounts Pac brake exhaust brake on the Discovery, while Monaco mounts the Jake brake on its Diplomat. What is the difference between the two devices in terms of most efficient power brake at same RPM? What kind of maintenance is needed for both? Third, engine performance. I know a diesel pusher weight stands around 13/14 tons and I would like to know if the Cat C-7 of the 2006/2007 Discovery is powerful enough to push the coach up to the hill without giving you the impression to go as slow as a turtle, or may be it depends on the grade of the road. Fourth, power brake. I know in the US 6% is the max grade in interstates by the law, but what happens if suddenly I come to a road 12% grade several miles long? Would be the Pac brake efficient enough to help service brake or would be better a jake brake? Last, recent mid-level coach or aged high end? I noticed the more you move to luxury coaches, the more they are oriented to a couple rather than a family, or at least this was my impression by looking at floorplans. Would it be better to invest on a 2006 Discovery (or similar coaches) and add some more amenities/upgrades home style later on, or go with an older high end coach, let's say a Monaco Signature, aged around 8-9 years equipped with that stuff already? I hope I made myself much more clear, but to be perfectly honest with you I had to write you everything as to give you the real vision of my personal scenario. Please do not get me wrong as I did not mean to be of any worry. Thank you in advance for any suggestions with regards to the above. Steve
  9. Hello Guys, I am back once again as I was initially of the idea to address myself to a bus conversion but at the end there too many things you have to keep in mind with such complicated vehicle compared to the time I would use it along the year. It does not worth. However, I do not give up and as I have been looking at Diesel Pushers for a while, I think I might have found some good reference on the market: the Fleetwood Discovery 39V, Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40SFT, Monaco Diplomat 40SFT. The last 2 are very similar and all of them have the full wall slide in common and this is the main reason why I am looking at those. They are roomy just like a house and I can spend time with my family having the feeling as if I were at home. One major difference is that as I am looking at used coaches the discovery started with its first full wall slide in 2006 with the Discovery while HR and Monaco got them starting from 2007 models and this makes the first difference in pricing and impact on the Budget. For sure, from chassis and engine point of view both Endeavor and Diplomat are more advanced rather than Discovery but is that difference that important when you go up and down to the hills or mountains? In other words is the Power Bridge Chassis fair enough compared to the Roadmaster RR8R? Are the differences between them like an abyss or what? I appreciate some comment about that. Another point is the differences between Discovery floorplan and that of the other 2 as these ones are just the same. It seems to me that Discovery is somehow more roomy than the other 2 but perhaps this is just because of bathroom design differences. Very important is the fact that I have been hearing people talking alternatively good and bad about the Discovery while I have not heard nothing too much bad with regards to 2007 Endeavor or Diplomat. For exemple, I read about discoverys with jack hoses backwards, slides tilting (think about doing this with a full wall slide), leaking from the roof or in the bathroom, etc. Do you think this is due to the fact that Fleetwood has/had a poor Quality Control or it is just that the average quality of the Discovery is not as affordable as it should be for such class of RV? Or may be these are structural problems already sorted by Fleetwood in 2006 or 2007? I would be grateful to konw your comments about that too. Thank you very much for any help. Steve
  10. 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
  11. 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
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