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> Pros & Cons To Motorhome Manufacturers, Suggestions on Motorhomes
CurleyJo
post Sep 12 2013, 10:44 PM
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We are researching which type of Motorhome to buy and I am not having much luck finding out the ratings associated with each manufacturer or brand. So far we are looking at brands that have been suggested by other RVers. We currently live in our 25R Arctic Fox travel trailer 9 - 10 months of the year.

My husband's main concern is the engine and running gear. We want definitely want a diesel pusher between 38' to 40' between 2005 and 2010. What do you have, like and dislike and why? Would you buy it again?

Can anyone give us tips, suggestions, web sites, pros or cons to the various rigs? We would greatly appreciate any information that you can pass along. biggrin.gif

Thank you in advance!

Teresa & Mike


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Denali
post Sep 13 2013, 11:41 AM
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Since you are looking for reviews by motorhome owners, you will probably only find glowingly favorable reviews. I know that the motorhome that we have been living in for the last nine years is the perfect coach, as was the one we lived in before that. <g>

The Consumer RV Group is a for-profit operation that rates RVs based on manufacturers' specifications and consumer surveys, but I suspect that the consumer surveys play a very minor role in their ratings. Take a look at their site for an explanation of how they arrive at their ratings, then decide whether it is worth paying for them. I thought it was when we were shopping for a fiver when we started full-timing.

If we were in the market for another diesel pusher we would start with Winnebago and Newmar, largely because they survived the big shakeout that occurred a few years back. I would like to believe that my coach manufacturer will be around in the future.

Personally, I would avoid a coach with an Aqua-Hot heating system, although I am in the minority there. The system is expensive, produces diesel exhaust smell, and prone to very expensive failures.

We really like the air leveling in our rig. It is also important to us to have the bedroom, bathroom, and living/dining room separate from each other, since we usually get up at different times.

I don't think that the running gear is likely to be a differentiator between manufacturers of diesel pushers. They all seem to use Cummins or Cat engines, with Allison transmissions. An engine that requires ULSD fuel can be a problem if you travel to Mexico, and one that requires DEF is something of a nuisance since the DEF filling port on motorhomes is on the wrong side at truck stops.

There are various chassis used, and the owners of each will tell you that theirs is far superior to the competitions'. I know ours is, but it's not made any more. <g>

One thing to watch for with a used coach is the age of the tires. A new set can run $3,000-$5,000.

Some people believe that you need a pure sine wave inverter, but we have been living with modified sine wave inverters for 11 years now. We have run every piece of electronics, kitchen appliance, etc. from our MSW inverters with no problem. I have read than some residential fridges require a PWS inverter, so that's a concern if you buy a coach with a RV fridge and a MSW inverter and later want to switch to a residential fridge.

Good luck on your search. It's a buyer's market out there right now, so you can get a real deal on a high quality coach.


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CurleyJo
post Sep 13 2013, 11:06 PM
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QUOTE(Denali @ Sep 13 2013, 12:41 PM) *

Since you are looking for reviews by motorhome owners, you will probably only find glowingly favorable reviews. I know that the motorhome that we have been living in for the last nine years is the perfect coach, as was the one we lived in before that. <g>

The Consumer RV Group is a for-profit operation that rates RVs based on manufacturers' specifications and consumer surveys, but I suspect that the consumer surveys play a very minor role in their ratings. Take a look at their site for an explanation of how they arrive at their ratings, then decide whether it is worth paying for them. I thought it was when we were shopping for a fiver when we started full-timing.

If we were in the market for another diesel pusher we would start with Winnebago and Newmar, largely because they survived the big shakeout that occurred a few years back. I would like to believe that my coach manufacturer will be around in the future.

Personally, I would avoid a coach with an Aqua-Hot heating system, although I am in the minority there. The system is expensive, produces diesel exhaust smell, and prone to very expensive failures.

We really like the air leveling in our rig. It is also important to us to have the bedroom, bathroom, and living/dining room separate from each other, since we usually get up at different times.

I don't think that the running gear is likely to be a differentiator between manufacturers of diesel pushers. They all seem to use Cummins or Cat engines, with Allison transmissions. An engine that requires ULSD fuel can be a problem if you travel to Mexico, and one that requires DEF is something of a nuisance since the DEF filling port on motorhomes is on the wrong side at truck stops.

There are various chassis used, and the owners of each will tell you that theirs is far superior to the competitions'. I know ours is, but it's not made any more. <g>

One thing to watch for with a used coach is the age of the tires. A new set can run $3,000-$5,000.

Some people believe that you need a pure sine wave inverter, but we have been living with modified sine wave inverters for 11 years now. We have run every piece of electronics, kitchen appliance, etc. from our MSW inverters with no problem. I have read than some residential fridges require a PWS inverter, so that's a concern if you buy a coach with a RV fridge and a MSW inverter and later want to switch to a residential fridge.

Good luck on your search. It's a buyer's market out there right now, so you can get a real deal on a high quality coach.



Dave, Thank you so much for the information. We really appreciate you taking the time to comment. It will help us a lot. I will look at the Consumer RV Group.

Teresa


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EastPAcamper
post Sep 15 2013, 10:14 AM
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QUOTE(CurleyJo @ Sep 13 2013, 12:44 AM) *

We are researching which type of Motorhome to buy and I am not having much luck finding out the ratings associated with each manufacturer or brand. So far we are looking at brands that have been suggested by other RVers. We currently live in our 25R Arctic Fox travel trailer 9 - 10 months of the year.

My husband's main concern is the engine and running gear. We want definitely want a diesel pusher between 38' to 40' between 2005 and 2010. What do you have, like and dislike and why? Would you buy it again?

Can anyone give us tips, suggestions, web sites, pros or cons to the various rigs? We would greatly appreciate any information that you can pass along. biggrin.gif

Thank you in advance!

Teresa & Mike



Mike & Teresa,

Now I know I will get some flak for this comment, but here it goes anyway, MOST of the MH's are fairly equal according to thier price ranges. More expensive ones, generally tend to have better equipment than the cheaper ones. Now this MAY not always mean that if you buy a "cheaper" model, that you will have problems with everything OR does it mean if you buy the most expensive one , that you will never have any problems. Much like the Ford vs Chevy debate with people in car or trucks, they ALL have good points and bad points.
As the last post said, most of the drive trains are pretty much the same when it comes to deisels. For the most longevity or any vehicle, it comes down to how well it was maintained, and sometimes WHO maintained them. There are services out there that are independent, that will come look over and RV before you buy. If a seller/dealer will not allow this, you don't want it. If you can get maintenence records even better, not just a hand written log book, but actual reciepts from an RV service facility. Again, I know sometimes involving a third party can get costly, but not near as costly as a major repair. Oil sample testing is also a recommendation. A sample of oil is taken and sent out for analyisis to determine if any major repairs may need to be done or not. This can also give and idea on how well it was maintained, large trucking companies use this service as well as consumers. If anyone objects to these third party inspections, they could be hiding something. Remember, you may be investing a good amount of change to purchase a motorhome, try to protect yourself from getting bam-boozled <sp>.
Lastly, make a list or options you MUST have versus the stuff you can deal without. As well as a floor plan that will suit your lifestyle. I know , we have determined that a permanent dinette booth is a waste of space for me and my wife. We'd prefer a table and chairs. Recently we have found out, that the washer/dryer combos work good, if you want your clothes all knotted up, again, I am sure I will get flak for that too. As always, ASK ASK ASK questions, whether here or other RV owners you meet, at RV shows and dealers, ASK ASK ASK.
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CurleyJo
post Sep 15 2013, 10:28 AM
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QUOTE(EastPAcamper @ Sep 15 2013, 11:14 AM) *

Mike & Teresa,

Now I know I will get some flak for this comment, but here it goes anyway, MOST of the MH's are fairly equal according to thier price ranges. More expensive ones, generally tend to have better equipment than the cheaper ones. Now this MAY not always mean that if you buy a "cheaper" model, that you will have problems with everything OR does it mean if you buy the most expensive one , that you will never have any problems. Much like the Ford vs Chevy debate with people in car or trucks, they ALL have good points and bad points.
As the last post said, most of the drive trains are pretty much the same when it comes to deisels. For the most longevity or any vehicle, it comes down to how well it was maintained, and sometimes WHO maintained them. There are services out there that are independent, that will come look over and RV before you buy. If a seller/dealer will not allow this, you don't want it. If you can get maintenence records even better, not just a hand written log book, but actual reciepts from an RV service facility. Again, I know sometimes involving a third party can get costly, but not near as costly as a major repair. Oil sample testing is also a recommendation. A sample of oil is taken and sent out for analyisis to determine if any major repairs may need to be done or not. This can also give and idea on how well it was maintained, large trucking companies use this service as well as consumers. If anyone objects to these third party inspections, they could be hiding something. Remember, you may be investing a good amount of change to purchase a motorhome, try to protect yourself from getting bam-boozled <sp>.
Lastly, make a list or options you MUST have versus the stuff you can deal without. As well as a floor plan that will suit your lifestyle. I know , we have determined that a permanent dinette booth is a waste of space for me and my wife. We'd prefer a table and chairs. Recently we have found out, that the washer/dryer combos work good, if you want your clothes all knotted up, again, I am sure I will get flak for that too. As always, ASK ASK ASK questions, whether here or other RV owners you meet, at RV shows and dealers, ASK ASK ASK.



EastPACamper,

Thank you for the advice and responding to our post.

Teresa


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docj
post Sep 15 2013, 06:45 PM
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QUOTE(EastPAcamper @ Sep 15 2013, 12:14 PM) *


As the last post said, most of the drive trains are pretty much the same when it comes to deisels.


IMHO this is far too great a generalization. There are ~35,000-45,000 lb DP coaches being sold with diesels that range in size from 5.9 -15 liters. Even though many of the horsepower ratings are similar and range from 350-500 HP, there is a huge difference between a DP using a 5.9 L engine and one using one in the 9-15 L range. Large diesel engines provide high torque outputs at low engine speeds and that provides a significant drivability difference compared to smaller engines which need to rev far higher to achieve their rated horsepower outputs.

An often cited "rule of thumb" for MH diesel engines is that you should at least have 100 HP per 10,000 lbs of vehicle weight. Engines of different displacement can have equal HP outputs, but they will not have the same torque. Without turning this into a torque vs horsepower discussion, there is a reason why more expensive MH's use larger diesel engines with greater torque.


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RLM
post Sep 24 2013, 06:36 AM
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I have had two previous MHs and both companies folded. I am now the third owner of an older Newmar Dutch Star. It has all the bells and whistles that the other two newer ones had. You didn't say if you were looking new or pre-owned. If the latter, I would stick with the companies who are still in business. Which by the way, will narrow your search considerably.
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edcornflake
post Sep 24 2013, 11:25 AM
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I had a conversation with a gentleman in Myrtle Beach this summer, he had owned 3 MHs before the Winnebago he was currently in, he said the Winnie was hands down the best he had owned. Granted this is one person's review, but I think just asking folks as you go is the best way to find out. Get some real world feedback on the various manufacturers from folks that are currently using them.
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docj
post Sep 24 2013, 07:25 PM
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Without insulting any Winnebago owners on this forum, I seriously doubt that even the company would contend that its products were intended to compete in the "high end" MH market. Winnebago products are excellent values, but the company has never directly competed in the luxury portion of the market.

Since we don't know what other MH's this particular person had owned, it's impossible to know what he was comparing his Winnebago to. There are plenty of MH's out there of lesser quality.


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BC Wanderer
post Sep 26 2013, 08:33 PM
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QUOTE(docj @ Sep 24 2013, 06:25 PM) *

Without insulting any Winnebago owners on this forum, I seriously doubt that even the company would contend that its products were intended to compete in the "high end" MH market. Winnebago products are excellent values, but the company has never directly competed in the luxury portion of the market.

Since we don't know what other MH's this particular person had owned, it's impossible to know what he was comparing his Winnebago to. There are plenty of MH's out there of lesser quality.


Hello Docj,

I own a Winnebago but am not insulted that you don't feel that they are building for the Luxury Market. ( I have a Vista. It's a gas pot "entry level" Class A. We bought it because we like what it had to offer.) We did check out some of the bigger units though, just to be nosy. I'm not sure what you consider the "Luxury" market but check this out. http://www.gowinnebago.com/products/2014/tour/ While not in the league of a Prevost, still up there in my opinion. Before making our choice, we too, narrowed our search to three manufacturers. Winnebago, Newmar and Thor. All of these manufacturers build coaches that fit our needs and have been around for a while (except Thor). Going back to the O P, The writer did not specify a Luxury Coach. I think they were more concerned with quality and the good or bad people have discovered about their units. For what it's worth, so far the only thing I don't like about our choice is the local dealer.

Darrell
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CurleyJo
post Sep 27 2013, 10:26 AM
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QUOTE(JDOLLEN @ Sep 26 2013, 09:33 PM) *

Hello Docj,

I own a Winnebago but am not insulted that you don't feel that they are building for the Luxury Market. ( I have a Vista. It's a gas pot "entry level" Class A. We bought it because we like what it had to offer.) We did check out some of the bigger units though, just to be nosy. I'm not sure what you consider the "Luxury" market but check this out. http://www.gowinnebago.com/products/2014/tour/ While not in the league of a Prevost, still up there in my opinion. Before making our choice, we too, narrowed our search to three manufacturers. Winnebago, Newmar and Thor. All of these manufacturers build coaches that fit our needs and have been around for a while (except Thor). Going back to the O P, The writer did not specify a Luxury Coach. I think they were more concerned with quality and the good or bad people have discovered about their units. For what it's worth, so far the only thing I don't like about our choice is the local dealer.

Darrell



Darrell,

Thank you for your post. You are absolutely correct in your statement, we are more concerned with the engine, transmission, and frame of the coach in the reliability department . Of course we want the most luxury for our budget biggrin.gif We are looking at Tiffin, Beaver & Country Coach. We had an individual tell us a horror story about CC but that was one opinion. I would imagine that all manufacturers end up with a lemon from the line from time to time. Since this is our first time to purchase a coach we want to be as well informed as possible.

We do not know anything about the Thor products but I will look at that line. We are trying to find a 2005 or newer 38 to 40' Diesel Pusher with 3 slides.

I posted another topic about buying through a broker but haven't had any response on it. Just curious if that is what a lot of people do to save time and the aggravation of surfing the web!

Thanks to everyone for all in the great information you have passed along! Hopefully we will get to meet somewhere on the road!

Teresa


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docj
post Sep 27 2013, 11:55 AM
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QUOTE(CurleyJo @ Sep 27 2013, 12:26 PM) *

You are absolutely correct in your statement, we are more concerned with the engine, transmission, and frame of the coach in the reliability department . Of course we want the most luxury for our budget biggrin.gif We are looking at Tiffin, Beaver & Country Coach.


IMHO "luxury" and "quality" in a MH don't necessarily go together, but they usually do. The brands you are considering build (or did build) good coaches. Personally, I would add Newmar to your list as well as Monaco/Holiday Rambler (but avoiding the year just before the bankruptcy).

However, all manufacturers have a range of products and it would be naive to think that a lower end Beaver had the same "quality" as the top-of-the-line Marquis. Similarly, a Tiffin Zephyr has little in common with an Allegro Bay. Some companies make a formal distinct between their luxury models and their "mass market" ones. For example, Monaco's luxury products began at the Windsor/Dynasty level; Newmar's luxury line starts with Mountain Aire.

Furthermore, in the RV industry overall quality of construction seems to have very little to do with "quality control" during production, so horror stories are not uncommon for almost all brands. Since you're planning on buying a used MH, hopefully, most of the problems will have already been ironed out. I would strongly urge buying a MH for which you can obtain service records so you can learn where the problems have been. We bought directly from an individual partly because of this.


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docj
post Sep 27 2013, 12:08 PM
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QUOTE(JDOLLEN @ Sep 26 2013, 10:33 PM) *

I'm not sure what you consider the "Luxury" market but check this out. http://www.gowinnebago.com/products/2014/tour/ While not in the league of a Prevost, still up there in my opinion.


The Winnebago Tour is a 44,000 lb-class MH built on a rear-radiator Freightliner chassis, powered by a Cummins ISL with an Allison 3000 transmission. That's a good, solid, dependable vehicle but IMHO it's not in the same league as a Newmar Essex or an Entegra Cornerstone powered by a Cummins ISX with an Allison 4000 (or my own CAT C-12 with an Allison 4000).

The drivetrain is the place where most MH manufacturers save money. For example, most of the Thor MH's use the Cummins ISB engine, the smallest in the Cummins lineup. Big diesels cost money but provide unmatched performance.


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BC Wanderer
post Sep 29 2013, 07:58 AM
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QUOTE(docj @ Sep 27 2013, 11:08 AM) *

The Winnebago Tour is a 44,000 lb-class MH built on a rear-radiator Freightliner chassis, powered by a Cummins ISL with an Allison 3000 transmission. That's a good, solid, dependable vehicle but IMHO it's not in the same league as a Newmar Essex or an Entegra Cornerstone powered by a Cummins ISX with an Allison 4000 (or my own CAT C-12 with an Allison 4000).

The drivetrain is the place where most MH manufacturers save money. For example, most of the Thor MH's use the Cummins ISB engine, the smallest in the Cummins lineup. Big diesels cost money but provide unmatched performance.


Thanks for the enlightenment Doc. Having people like you adding to the knowledge base makes this site the best. While a "Big" rig is not on the horizon for me (I like my little one 'cause we are less restricted in where we can go) I'm sure you have been a big help to the O P.

Darrell
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post Sep 30 2013, 12:26 PM
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QUOTE(docj @ Sep 24 2013, 09:25 PM) *

Since we don't know what other MH's this particular person had owned, it's impossible to know what he was comparing his Winnebago to. There are plenty of MH's out there of lesser quality.


You make a good point there, docj.
I know one of the previous MHs he mentioned was a bounder, and I believe one other Fleetwood, but you're right, there are many 'layers' to the RV Market, both Motorhome, and TT. It was not my intent to put Winnebago on a pedestal, just passing along annecdotal experience.

Thanks

ed
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