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freestoneangler

Beaver & Safari Coaches

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We really like the floor plans of several model older Beaver and Safari coaches. Any reason not to consider these manufacturers due to issues getting parts or service? We're hoping to find a well maintained, quality DP for $50k or less.

Thanks.

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freestoneangler,

Welcome to the Forum.

Both are good quality coaches. Both coaches were part of the Monaco Company but however were not brought back after the Bankruptcy. Monaco still has technicians to be able to answer any question and most parts can still be gotten.

Good luck in your pursuit of a nice diesel unit.

Herman

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Thanks Herman. Like many I'm sure, my wife and I have done circles making the which set-up is best for us --we've been looking and researching for 5+ years now. For the longest time, we were sure a 5th wheel was the one, but since we travel with a Y-lab and my wife's back/hip can tend to give her issues when sitting for long periods, we have switched to Class A...allowing her and the pooch some freedom to move about as needed while on the road. I will be retiring in spring 2016 and we plan to part time RV travel and likely snowbird in winter. We owned a Class C years ago and in recent years just use my slide in camper for short trips...so RV travel is nothing new and we seem to do OK together in small space.

We don't want a monster unit -- trying to target 30-34'. Now it's more about gas vs. DP and what make/models are available in the used market for our price point. If you or the other forum members have suggestions on certain models and years to focus on (or stay clear of), I would love to hear the feedback. Maybe the best way to develop that list is to scan the forums member signatures, showing which rigs they own... could be a trend in there somewhere? :D

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It will be very difficult to find a DP under 35'. The overhangs dictated by steering components in front and length of drive shaft, transmission, engine, CAC and radiator (assuming rear radiator) mean every inch shorter comes out of wheelbase. Poor WB/ OL (wheelbase/overall length) coaches do not drive as well as the exact same "mechanicals" on a coach with better ratio. BTW, we have had both a 36' and currently have a 35' DP and are happy with their size-- a good compromise for us between maneuverability and room.

Below 35', I would be looking at a gas coach. There were significant improvements in gas chassis with the Workhorse W (no longer in production) and the Ford F53 beginning in 2005.

No question, you can find nice coaches in your price range. You have to decide whether newer, lower end gas, slightly older higher end gas or older DP in that same price range better fit your needs.

A good place to start comparing is the largest RV consignment lot in the U.S. Good photos of the coaches, floorplans, etc: http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/used_rvs_for_sale.htm

The next step is to get out there and look at a variety of coaches to see what best fits your needs/desires and start narrowing down the search.

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Thanks Brett. I have read about the tradeoff with shorter length DP's... like most everything, life is just a series of compromises. Our neighbor has a 42' older Monaco Dynasty and it is loaded with everything...gorgeous rig. But DW and I really don't want anything that large...just does not fit us. I notice you have a Safari... I'm starting a tally to see what if anything I can draw from those of you who have likely plowed the same fields a time or two. We have another neighbor who has the National SeaBreeze 8311 LX.... one of the better apportioned gas coaches on the size we're targeting. It has a similar floor plan to the Beavers and Safari's. One salesman I spoke with about one of these units seemed to be steering me away from National because of concerns about being able to get exterior parts if needed... seems this would be an issue on most any of the older, used coaches... thoughts?

PPL is one of my bookmark RV search sites... they are indeed one of the better ones.

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Certainly, it is a plus if the coach maker is still in business-- if just for technical support. As an example, I contacted Monaco (who bought Safari) technical support last week to find out how to disable the "inverter on when back up camera on" feature (I added a dash monitor for the backup camera instead of using the large overhead TV). Got an answer back and took care of it on Friday.

But, like many other things when choosing a coach, I view this as a plus, not a "have to have".

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We purchased a 40' 1998 Beaver Contessa in late 2004 and thought it was well built. We sold it in 2010. Ours was on a Magnum chassis with a Cat 3126, 330 HP engine. The chassis was solid and handled very well ; however the downside was that chassis has a rear radiator and is subject to fouling. The radiator and the combustion air cooler (CAC) are sandwiched together with about a 2-1/2" space between them. The fan shroud raps around the edges to cover that gap. The OEM arrangement for the crankcase breather is a hose routed straight down towards the ground terminating just below the engine. The oil mist from this hose is picked up by the air flow under the coach, mixed with dirt and dust and blown into the radiator. A common fix for this is to extend the crank case vent tube to the back corner of the coach beyond the radiator. This had not been done on ours before we bought it so the radiator was well fouled. It is virtually impossible to clean the radiator and CAC effectively in place. The assembly has to be removed by dropping out the bottom and then separated. If you find one you like with this arrangement, try to take it for a test drive up a grade and monitor the coolant temperature. If the temperature is increasing excessively, the radiator is probably fouled.

Other options for Beaver parts and technical support is Beaver Coach Sales and Service in Bend, Oregon, http://www.beavercoachsales.com/. Also, NW RV Supply in Eugene, Oregon has a lot of old Beaver and Safari parts. There quote to me for dropping the radiator assembly, cleaning it and re-installing was $2,000. Unfortunately I couldn't get it there so we paid a lot more. Good luck on your search.

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As the Very Proud & Satisfied owner of a 1997 40 foot Safari Serengeti M-4040, I would highly recommend a them. We wanted a non slideout unit, plus we liked the seperate "Throng Room" that our M-4040 affords us.

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There are or were problems with some of the Monaco Coaches I will past a list of the Monaco coaches that had a Trailing Arm issue, and a link that explains it. This is a serious chassis issue and he needs to be aware of it. Many of these coaches have had the new upgraded trailing arm installed.

Monaco Knight 2002 - 2004
Monaco Cayman 2002 - 2009
Holiday Rambler Ambassador 2002 - 2004
Holiday Rambler Neptune 2002 - 2009
Safari Cheetah 2002 - 2007
Safari Simba RD All Years
Safari Zanzibar 2002 -2005
2002, 2003 and some 2004 Monaco Knight, Cayman, HR Ambassador, Neptune, Safari Cheetah, Sahara and Zanzibar.

http://community.fmca.com/topic/569-important-safety-problem-monaco-holiday-rambler-safari-chassis/

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We just bought a 1996 Safari Sahara mostly for the floor plan. Plenty of room without the slides. I never really gave any thought to parts or service not being available, mostly because of forums like this and people like Brett.

If you think about it, Cummins, Caterpillar and Allison are still around, there are still people at Monaco that know what a Magnum chassis is and the rest is pretty much standard RV equipment.

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freestoneangler,

Here is a company that might have or be able to find what you might like. The company is Motorhomes of Texas, owned by David and Emily Robinson, in Nacogdoches, TX. Take a look at their web site and if interested contact them and ask for Mel Cordray. Mel can help with a coach in their inventory or might be able to locate a coach that meet your needs.

www.motorhomesoftexas.com

Good Luck and have a Merry Christmas.

Herman

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You might consider a Monaco Safari Trek. Trek gets the maximum useable space from a short coach because it has no bedroom. The bed is in the ceiling and comes down for use at night. It is a full-size queen bed. Since we are not towing nine feet of bedroom, we get the living space of a 38 ft. coach in a 29 ft. coach. If you can live with the bed, you will love a Trek.

Trek is a high-end coach with all the amenities of a big Monaco: real wood cabinets, inverter, generator, solar panels, etc. Early Safari Treks (1991 - 94) were Isuzu diesels, GM 7.4L gas and some 6.5 diesels. 2003 - 2008 were GM 8.1L gas with a few Fords.

We love our Trek for its roominess and the ability to dry camp and get into state parks, USFS and COE parks. If you like the Trek concept you may have to travel to get one - they don't stay on the market long. We bought ours in Iowa and drove it back to Oregon. Happy hunting.

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As an owner of two Treks, I couldn't agree more that the floor plans were the "best". We owned a 28 ft. and the infamous 33 ft. You might even want to look at the new Trek being built for 2015 by Monaco.

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Freestoneangler,

I just finished a search with nearly the same ideas that you have. We wanted to keep it short for SP and NP camping and I thought that a smaller coach would get better fuel economy. We had a 29 ft Thor on a E450 chasis. We liked the floor plan but I was bothered by the inability to get any use from the cab area when camping. So a class A with revolving seats seemed like a good idea. We loved the 30' FR3 floor plan but I was apprehensive about the f53 chassis handling. We met people that had a 29' Winnebago that had the heavy duty stabilizer added and the Bilstein shocks and it was still a handful in winds.

My cousin bought a new Fleetwood 40' and he was getting 9 mpg towing a Honda CRV. That got me looking at how much difference in weight there is between a 35 and a 38 or 40' MH. It is 605# in the Damon Astoria 3465 vs 3595 models so there is not much difference for the extra 3 feet. We ended up getting a 2006 Astoria 3595 which is 37'9". Longer than I wanted but the floor plan was perfect for our needs. We have the swivel cockpit seats and a lounge chair that is kind of not needed. This coach may get 9-10 mpg but it is diesel with the higher fuel cost and other higher cost for maintenance. The handling is superb and grades do not seem to bother it. I have seen many clean low milage DP coaches many stored under roof so they are out there but you might have to pay more for a shorter coach. As Brett pointed out by the time you get the wheels and the engine in there you are over 30 foot.

Check out the Wynns web site they went from a 35' HR to a gas drive.

Good luck in your search.

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As a recent purchaser of an extremely well maintaines and outfitted 30' Safari Sahara, 300hp Cat, Allison 6sp., I agree with most of the comments herein.

We just finished a 600mile 'initiation trip' with 7 days at a nice RV park in Buena Vista, Louisiana--a few miles north of Morgan City. We had moderate to severe gusting crosswinds (20-40 mph across the road) and mixed rain. Returning the wipers were on 5 of the 6 hours. We had NOT loaded the front and most of the payload weight was in the rear. We drove 55-60 MPH and let the fast traffic go. The buffeting from large trucks and crosswinds was bad. It required close attention to stay inlane. With steady cross wind it was no issue at all.

We towed a 2000 Saturn SL-1 and you could not tell it was back there. Other than the wind buffeting, the rig handled almost perfectly. I will renew sway bar bushings now to reduce rolling motion on poor roads a bit. (There are many very poor condition road sections on IH-10 between Lafayette and Houston, with dramatic uneveness and severe undulations 'all of a sudden' in curves and transitions.

We WILL front load and perhaps even relocate the 'house' batteries (400# for 4 golf cart size) as far forward as we can. Since I AM a very good engineer, I can design and construct whatever cradle I need. Brett Wolfe made that suggestion when I spent several extremely educational hours with him (and his wife Dianne) picking up the Cat spare parts. I predict moving the House batteries and heavy payload stuff forward will greatly reduce buffeting from trucks and gusting cross winds.

The Sahara is extremely well built and rides well. There is no wasted space and we had LOTS of room to live in.

I looked real hard at front gas engine rigs. I would stay away from the Ford Triton V-10 if it has more than 30-40K miles and was not very well pampered. I know several folks who had the engine self destruct unexpectedly from broken connecting rods, cracked pistons, blown head gasket/hydrolock on starting etc.Their fuel economy (or lack thereof) is due to the ECU which only engages the closed loop combustion control (oxygen sensor, much better economy) when manifold vacuum is 12" or higher (going downhill) as anything greater than about 45 MPH drops the manifold vacuum to 10" or less. They did not have 'knock sensors' to manage knocking on low octane fuel (you can't hear it over the engine noise) and that knocking grows to preignition and rapid piston demolition on more than short pulls. If one is driving in low to moderate altitude rolling hills, higher octane fuel is needed to prevent possible engine damage. Later versions of this engine may have knock sensors and a better ECU. If they don't, choose wisely.

The GM big block 454 V-8 is indestructible--except valve springs failing after 60K or so if operated at certain RPM. That was corrected in mid 90's I think. It is not a huge cost (less than $1000?) to replace all of them preemptively--it can be easily done through the hatch, engine stays in.

The difference in fuel costs-- gas vs diesel-- is not enough to justify the much higher price for the diesel pushers. The turbo-charged diesels ARE clean burning and maintain rated horsepower up to 10,000' or so, while non-turbocharged gasoline engines loose 40% of their sea-level power at that altitude. If you are 'going high' , either accept crawling up grades in Ist gear or go turbo-charged diesel.

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Help...I am not mechanically inclined

Have our Safari Serengeti 2000 at shop...it needs a new radiator.  It is on a Magnum chassis. #4SLAOGW2911114662.  The mechanic wants to buy an aftermarket radiator but can't locate one...he also says he can't locate the other pertinent identification info and is asking for my help.  We want to take IT on June 6 to Arizona...can anyone steer me to a place to buy a radiator?

Thanks for any help.

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