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ERIC@BABIN.COM

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR UPGRADE

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We've been doing a lot of traveling in our 2017 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 36U.  Because we spend SO much time traveling, we are thinking we may want to "upgrade" to a larger coach.

We are looking at :

     -2012 or newer

    -40' or larger

    -Tag axle?

     -A Coach that is better for entertaining.... we need a sitting area that would allow 8-10 folks to sit and converse easily.

 

In researching over the past couple of weeks I think we may have it narrowed down to Tiffin or Entegra.  Any suggestions regarding these would be appreciated.  Customer service and the availability of service and repair is an important consideration.

 

I also would love your thoughts on tag axle vs. non-tag.  Our current Fleetwood (non-tag) rides pretty rough.  With that said, maybe I should also ask which drives smoother..... Frieghtliner or Spartan?

 

While I'm stacking questions into one post.... what about a financing recommendation.... right now we have Bank Of The West and have %5.99 for 20 years.  Anything better out there right now?

 

Lastly, we are trading our Fleetwood in (obviously) and still owe..... we are waiting on appraisals from Lazy Days (Tampa) and MHSRV (Alvarado TX).   If anyone has recommendations on where may be a better place to trade / purchase I'm interested in that information as well. 

 

I find FMCA forums are the best for discussion and advice so, thank you in advance.

 

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8-10 people?  Sounds like you need a Prevost VIP Coach....look at Prevost-Stuff.com

I have an American Coach 45 foot and would be hard pressed to seat 7 comfortably !   I live by the 6-4-2 rule.  Can seat 6, feed 4 and sleep 2.  Anymore, take it outside! :D

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I will have to agree with Carl on a 40'+ coach that seats that many folks inside.  We can seat 9 in our floor plan but that would be a little too cozy for me.

We just went through our DP search last fall.  My only suggestion would be to locate a Tiffin, Entegra, and Newmar in floor plans you like, and ones that have tags.  Then take a test drive in each one.  Generally speaking that is what we did and there was no way I wasn't buying the Newmar.  But that's just me, and this is my first DP.

I think if you are looking at 20 years on the note you may be able to get around 5% or 5.2%.  As far as trade in goes we only had appraisals from Lazy Days in Tampa and North Trail in Ft. Myers.  Lazy Days offered below "low retail" and North Trail gave us over $10,000 above high retail for our trade in coach.  In addition Lazy Days wouldn't reduce the price of their unit nearly as much as North Trail did.  This was just our recent experience between these two large Florida dealerships, you may not get the same results.

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You will be paying more at Lazy daze in Seffner (Tampa) than anywhere else I know!  Made 2 mistakes there, never again!!!

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Ours would seat 12 up front 10 could see each other other two in the booth would be facing the wrong way, our coach is 41'2". I'm with Carl on this any group this large take it outside under the awning.

To answer your question above Spartan in the model years you desire. My reasoning, as an EX Fire apparatus technician Spartan builds a superior fire truck chassis, some of that robustness carries into their RV chassis for longevity and dependability. Don't get fooled by a Freightliner chassis renamed "Powerglide" or "Roadmaster" in today's markets, this is a marketing scam to charge you more for less.

 Found this comparison on the web;

Diesel Pusher Motorhome Chassis Comparison

 

We have a friend that says he can't tell the difference between the way his Buick Century and a BMW drive. Another friend thinks his small Toyota pickup rides really nice. scratchead.gif They are nice folks, but they simply don't notice the difference between extremely different vehicles. 

Then there are some of us, like myself, that notice significant differences between very similar cars; like between our 1984 Mercedes 300SD and 1984 Mercedes 300CD, even though they have the same chassis and suspension design.  They're even the same color! cool.gif

Some people have suggested comparing specifications of the different chassis. That only works to a limited extent. Some auto & RV manufacturers are experts at cloning specifications yet the results are dramatically different than the vehicle being copied. How many car makers would have you believe that their compact sporty sedan drives like a BMW 3-Series? All of them! But, none can match the little Bimmer.

The same holds true with motor homes. The manufacturers of less expensive MH's go to a great deal of effort to convince the prospective buyer that their $175,000 DP is virtually the same as a competitor's $250,000 DP.  The truth is that the differences between brands is less than the difference between price points.

Entry-level DP chassis are similar: steel springs, small engines, light GVWR, etc.

Mid-level DP chassis are similar: air bags, air drum brakes, medium-size engines and GVWR.

High-end DP chassis . . . yes, they are similar too: air suspension, side radiator, large engines and heavy GVWR, usually semi-monocoque, disc brakes and tag axles.

What I've noticed that each chassis manufacturer tends to it's own characteristics (think personality) that reflect both the overall design and the sum of the parts. Here's my spin on the players. Partially to avoid Ford/Chevy (or Mercedes/BMW) arguments, I've used all GM brands as an automotive comparison.

Dynomax: A proprietary chassis of Country Coach began in 1998 after Gillig left the RV market. Semi-monocoque, all-welded all-steel construction, including suspension mounting and adjustment, all IFS. A premium chassis with excellent ride & handling.

Freightliner: A dependable chassis with a focus on price, like a Chevrolet. Freightliner got into the RV business in the mid-90's when it purchased Oshkosh. Very popular in the entry level to mid-range DP's. Tends to ride softly and wallow more than the other chassis in its price class. 

Gillig: A popular chassis for expensive, high-end DPs (Beaver, Country Coach & Foretravel) until 1997 when they left the RV market to focus on their school busses. Each of these DP makers responded by developing their own proprietary chassis. A very heavy-duty traditional raised-rail chassis with a Cadillac kind of ride and handling. 

Magnum: A proprietary chassis brand of Safari. Starting with the Safari line in the mid-90's and migrating up the Beaver line in the late 90's. A wide variety of innovative chassis ranging from lower-middle level to the very high-end Prevost wannabe Beaver Solitaire. The higher end Magnum chassis used on the Beaver Patriots, Marquis & Solitaire were equipped with 8-bag like the Monaco, but with larger air bags for a better ride. 

Newell: Proprietary chassis semi-monocoque chassis for very high end Newell DP's. 

Peak: A proprietary chassis for Alpine. A relatively new design Huck-bolted raised-rail chassis with rugged features similar to the old Gilligs. Uses heavy-duty 4 wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Touted as a high quality mid-range coach that appears to have hit its target.

Roadmaster: The proprietary chassis brand of Monaco Coach. Purchased from Chrysler Corp in 1984. Makes the widest variety of chassis from entry-level through high-end semi-monocoque DP's. The entry level RSR & RR4R chassis are similar to their entry-level competitors--nothing wrong with them but nothing remarkable. Their mid-range & up chassis are known for their 8 air bag suspension (10 with tag axles), yet their high-end S-Series doesn't have IFS. The widely spaced, but small air bags provide crispest handling as well as the firmest ride of any DP I've driven. I prefer calling the Roadmaster RR8R & up chassis the Pontiacs of MH's. There is no such thing as a 30,000# Porsche! doh.gif

Spartan: A specialist chassis builder that makes MH & fire engine chassis exclusively. Very good customer support. While they do make an economy chassis, they are more known for their high quality components in the mid-range to high-end DP's. I think of the Spartan as the traditional Buick; well-built with a good compromise of ride and handling. 

TravelRide: Foretravel's proprietary semi-monocoque chassis that came after Gillig. Another 8-bag premium chassis with excellent ride & handling characteristics.

 

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Quote

Comparison Chassis.

Thank you Joe.  Only chassis I have not had, is the Peak.  Brett can talk about that one!  Not much to add....they are all good for their own applications!  I do miss Gillig and Magnum! :(

My current Spartan K2, should be a K3 on a 45' coach, a tad to much sway because of the weight.  Mine should also have had the DD500 instead of the Cummins425 for the same reason!

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My coach of course has a FL chassis.  Maybe it is the comfort drive system, don't know.  But if any of you drove my coach "wallow or sway" would never be in your description of how it handled.  I don't know, maybe if I climbed behind the wheel of a Newmar on a Spartan chassis I would wet my pants because it drove so nice.  My only experience with a DP is that mine goes down the road like a heavy Cady in all road conditions with very little effort from me.

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19 hours ago, WILDEBILL308 said:

You might do better selling it through ppl.com.

Bill

We travel too much to do that.

17 hours ago, manholt said:

8-10 people?  Sounds like you need a Prevost VIP Coach....look at Prevost-Stuff.com

I have an American Coach 45 foot and would be hard pressed to seat 7 comfortably !   I live by the 6-4-2 rule.  Can seat 6, feed 4 and sleep 2.  Anymore, take it outside! :D

I didn't say I wanted them to be "comfortable".  LOL. 

 

15 hours ago, ISPJS said:

I will have to agree with Carl on a 40'+ coach that seats that many folks inside.  We can seat 9 in our floor plan but that would be a little too cozy for me.

We just went through our DP search last fall.  My only suggestion would be to locate a Tiffin, Entegra, and Newmar in floor plans you like, and ones that have tags.  Then take a test drive in each one.  Generally speaking that is what we did and there was no way I wasn't buying the Newmar.  But that's just me, and this is my first DP.

I think if you are looking at 20 years on the note you may be able to get around 5% or 5.2%.  As far as trade in goes we only had appraisals from Lazy Days in Tampa and North Trail in Ft. Myers.  Lazy Days offered below "low retail" and North Trail gave us over $10,000 above high retail for our trade in coach.  In addition Lazy Days wouldn't reduce the price of their unit nearly as much as North Trail did.  This was just our recent experience between these two large Florida dealerships, you may not get the same results.

^^very good info.... thank you!  I'll research North Trail.

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Many are not aware that Freightliner makes an SL chassis which is comparable to the Spartan, I've had both.  They put it on the higher end coaches.

 https://www.fcccrv.com/chassis/sl/

JMHO, but I would not limit my search to just two brands.  There are lots of nice  larger coaches out there from American Coach, Newmar, Winnebago, and more.

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20 hours ago, ERIC@BABIN.COM said:

 

On 4/17/2018 at 6:51 PM, WILDEBILL308 said:

You might do better selling it through ppl.com.

Bill

We travel too much to do that.

 

You need to explain how that is a problem? You drop the coach at PPL and you go travel and they do the work of selling it? 

Is this like what you are looking for it looks like a nice upgrade.

http://motorhomesoftexas.com/coachrv/foretravel/2009--phenix--45--P1277

Bill

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09' Foretravel...to much $$$.  I looked at it, 7 days ago...2 hr. R/T from Gladewater.  We are now in Rayne, LA. Had my Allison and drive train serviced yesterday pm...by RV Mobil Lube from Houston, Texas (rvmobilelube.com).  Great service, reasonable, knowledgeable and does Gassers and DP's! 

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On 4/17/2018 at 8:04 PM, manholt said:

I live by the 6-4-2 rule.  Can seat 6, feed 4 and sleep 2.  Anymore, take it outside! :D

I like this rule, added it to my short list....

 

Patrick

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6 hours ago, WILDEBILL308 said:

You need to explain how that is a problem? You drop the coach at PPL and you go travel and they do the work of selling it? 

Is this like what you are looking for it looks like a nice upgrade.

http://motorhomesoftexas.com/coachrv/foretravel/2009--phenix--45--P1277

Bill

I travel in my coach.  Can't drop it off. 

 

 

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On 4/17/2018 at 8:04 PM, manholt said:

  I live by the 6-4-2 rule.  Can seat 6, feed 4 and sleep 2. 

Yup: Drink 6, eat 4m, sleep 2.  Good rules for a motorhome (Yes, if outside, numbers increase to the size of the bar and skill of the cooks).

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On ‎4‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 8:21 PM, manholt said:

Eric.

Where are you at?

Today Gulf Shores AL.  Next weekend Panama City Beach, then back to Gulf Shores for a few days, then down to Key West until June 11.  Then off to San Diego, Olympia, Chicago, Tulsa, Nashville.... well, you get the idea.   Does that answer the question?

 

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Eric, prior to heading to Key West you may want to check North Trail's site online.  Their busy season is just winding down so I am guessing they will be stocked with some pretty nice newer trade-ins.  If you don't see anything interesting on their site you may want to still call.  Many times they will have one they know is coming in or one that is there but just not on their site yet.  They are right on I-75, easy on and off for a big coach.  If you do decide to stay over to look around there try Upriver RV Resort for your camping needs.  It is one exit away from North Trail and has 110' long paved pull thru sites.

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On ‎4‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 8:33 AM, ISPJS said:

Eric, prior to heading to Key West you may want to check North Trail's site online.  Their busy season is just winding down so I am guessing they will be stocked with some pretty nice newer trade-ins.  If you don't see anything interesting on their site you may want to still call.  Many times they will have one they know is coming in or one that is there but just not on their site yet.  They are right on I-75, easy on and off for a big coach.  If you do decide to stay over to look around there try Upriver RV Resort for your camping needs.  It is one exit away from North Trail and has 110' long paved pull thru sites.

We talked to them (North Trails).... Lazy Days, and LaMesa......

Lazy Days were very overpriced.... but, you already knw that.

North Trail was great.... but, they just didn't have what we were looking for in stock.

We went with LaMesa RV Port St Lucie.

They gave us a fair trade value and fair deal on 2014 Itasca Ellipse 42QD.  (Winnebago Tour).

Drives great.... very nice coach inside... a few small issues with it being a "used" coach but nothing that I can't work through!

I appreciate all the great input!  Thank you guys!

 

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Carl, 

Your coach has a sway/lean in the long highway curves or leans when you make a curve, not a 90 in city traffic??? There is a solution.  My Panther leaned a lot particularly in long turns and more so if a little to fast shortly after entry. Source Engineering makes a restrictor valve to install each bag that reduces the sway and lean appreciably.

 

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I'll look into that.  Yes, it does!  I know that entry point well...you would think, on a K2  chassis, that would not be a issue!!!:angry:

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