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Front-end Diesel vs. Pusher?

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It's been a few months since my first posts - we sort of cooled off to the whole idea until after I retired. Now, 1 month retired, starting to do research again for possible first MH purchase and came across post on another site expressing satisfaction with the FRED that I believe Tiffin has. He thought the added weight in front makes it easier to control tracking especially in windy conditions. Anyone else with an opinion on the pros and cons of the front-end diesel?

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It's been a few months since my first posts - we sort of cooled off to the whole idea until after I retired. Now, 1 month retired, starting to do research again for possible first MH purchase and came across post on another site expressing satisfaction with the FRED that I believe Tiffin has. He thought the added weight in front makes it easier to control tracking especially in windy conditions. Anyone else with an opinion on the pros and cons of the front-end diesel?

Welcome back. If I understand you right, this will be your first MH. This will be close to purchasing your first home. And it is good that you are doing the research. Have you thought about renting a MH before you purchase one. Yes they are a little costly to rent, however it is a small investment if you don't like RVing. If you do you will get a better understanding as to what you would like in your HM. I for one hope you will enjoy getting on the open road to see and visit this wonderful country of ours.

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FRED's fit in a notch between gas and DP(diesel pushers).

Yes, they have diesel engines (small but adequate size), smaller series Allison transmission, leaf spring suspension vs air on DP's, hydraulic vs air brakes on DP's, etc.

I see them as a step up from a gas chassis, but a step down from a DP.

But, as Herman wisely said, only you can determine what coach/chassis fit YOUR needs. Some have a great time in a 20 year old gas rig, others "have to have" a 42' coach with 4 slides. Same as stick houses-- find what you like and can afford.

And even as a certain price point, you can go new lower end or used higher end.

Brett Wolfe

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It's been a few months since my first posts - we sort of cooled off to the whole idea until after I retired. Now, 1 month retired, starting to do research again for possible first MH purchase and came across post on another site expressing satisfaction with the FRED that I believe Tiffin has. He thought the added weight in front makes it easier to control tracking especially in windy conditions. Anyone else with an opinion on the pros and cons of the front-end diesel?

We have a Jayco Seneca 36fs, front end diesel. The motorhome is extemely easy to drive and manuver in the campground. The engine is noisier than a pusher when driving, and the generator is in the rear when sleeping. I think with a front engine , you might have more towing capacity with less wieght in the back.

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Given the smaller diesel engine of the front engine diesel motor home, the hydraulic brakes and smaller transmission that Brett mentions, I would be very surprised if such a coach had a higher towing capacity than a rear diesel motor home. Weight in the rear of the motor home is a non-factor when it comes to towing. The tongue weight of any load being towed will be a small fraction of the weight of the towed load. In the case of towing a car, most tow bars place almost zero weight on the coach (half the weight of the tow bar itself). Towing capacity is related to power of the engine; strength of the transmission, the chassis frame and the installed hitch receiver; and the braking ability of the towing vehicle combined with any braking contributed by the towed load.

For my money, I'd just as soon have the engine in the rear. Conversation in the cockpit is quite easy. Having the generator in the front is also ideal for sleeping if you have to run the generator during the night (to charge batteries for the furnace, etc.). I find the ride and handling to be very good for a vehicle this size. Large motor homes weigh between 12 and 40 tons, depending on the type. It isn't a sports car. My front tires have more weight per square surface contact inch than my rear tires. One major factor that affects handling in wind is the length of coach that extends beyond the rear axle. This also affects the handling of the coach when large vehicles (tractor trailer trucks) pass. If handling is better with a front engine coach, I would think it would be marginally better.

Think of the motor home as a very large heavy lever. The longer the coach extends beyond the rear axle, the longer the lever arm any force will push against. The fulcrum for this is the rear axle and any push on the rear will move the front in the opposite direction as it turns (or twists) around the pivot point, the rear axle. A longer lever arm makes it easier to move the coach since it multiplies the force. This factor also applies to sway caused by the toad if you have one. I feel our coach move occasionally if a large truck moving much faster than me passes. The kind of trucks that produce a large bow wake are not fuel efficient and there are fewer of them on the road today. There aren't that many windy days on the road, even driving in mountains and deserts, we've only had a handful of extreme windy days in eight years on the road. I have never noticed any sway with our coach caused by our toad. There is a recent post dealing with the issue of sway caused by a toad. I don't remember the kind of coach but I suspect it is one that has a large overhang beyond the rear axle. I would consider this a major factor related to handling of any vehicle.

I'd look for a rear engine coach which has a short portion of the coach extending beyond the rear axle. Besides renting a coach for an outing, be sure to test drive any coach you are considering purchasing. In addition, test drive as many chassis types of coaches as you can before you purchase one. This will give you a better idea of how each type of coach handles. When test driving a coach, remember that it is likely very lightly loaded with only the fuel needed and no personal gear stowed. Adding weight to the coach will affect the ride, handling and performance. Balancing the load when it is finally added also has a lot to do with ride and handling.

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Hi brdtim,

A coach is a long term purchase. You'll spend more time in the coach, at campgrounds, than you will traveling down the road. My point is you may be focusing on the wrong feature (FRED). Find the floor plan that suits your needs. Make sure you have adequate NCC and towing capability for your specific situation. Once you do this, your choice, of coach will become very clear. What powers the coach may not even come into consideration.

After 31 years of RVing we now have a diesel powered coach. The only reason for this is that no gas coaches could meet what we agreed were our RVing requirements for the next 10 years. Seat belts for 8, comfortable sleeping for 6, towing capability of 10K lbs and a NCC of 7K lbs. For me, I could care less what powers the coach down the road.

Consider defining your needs. Show stopper needs only. A maximum of 5 needs keeps one focused. Find a selection of coaches that meets these needs. Your purchase decision will become very clear.

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