The easiest things you have control over are tire pressure and tire brand. All the E450's I have had came with Michelin tires, which is known for a smooth ride and easy to balance. The main thing is tire pressure. You don't need 80 psi in the rears unless you're at the max rear allowable weight. If you have a 32' coach, you might be there. If it's a 23' you probably are 2,000lbs under RAWR, and could get by with quite a bit less psi. As many have said, weigh the coach, and go to Michelin's web site for psi guides that will tell you what pressure to run for your weight. On my 32' coach, just going from 80 to 75 psi is quite noticeable.
Having said that, it's still going to ride hard cause it's a crude truck with a lightweight hollow box on the rear filled with every rattily, banging device known to man.
My first MH was a Minnie 31K (or might have been a C" then). Floorplan was a little different then. Had a CRT TV over the fridge, but the rest was about the same. The biggest thing we didn't like was the shower that is basically in the hall.
I now have a 2014 Leprechaun 319DSF. I have had a water leak, as have others, but as of now it is fixed. It is not hard to fix if you have a dry garage to work in, but I understand that not everyone wants to or can do this type of work. I do believe if you ordered a new unit, you would not have a leak problem, as the factory has made great efforts to eliminate this problem. I looked at the Minnie but there were just too many things about the Leprechaun that I liked better.
The main things I like about the Leprechaun:
1. Shower is not in the hall, like Winnie, Jayco, and Sunseeker. It is in the bedroom, angled at 45 degrees towards the bed. You have a separate pocket door that closes off the entire bath/bedroom. So, one person can be taking a shower, and another in the toilet/sink room with that door closed. All the others require you to swing the toilet door open to close off the bedroom shower area, so the person in the toilet room has no privacy.
2. Coachmen has no external step. For the way we camp, this is great. No noisy step that you have to wait to come down, or makes noise when you use it, or you might leave down when you pull off. Just step into the coach.
3. The 40" TV coming up out of the counter is at the perfect level for watching from the couch. Plus it's big.
4. The 32" TV on the outside is in the perfect location as well. It is just really nice to be sitting under a 21" awning with such a nice TV arrangement available outside.
5. The fireplace. The ambiance of the fireplace at night is fantastic. It also will heat the coach down to around 45 degrees outside. So, little or no furnace coming on while you're trying to sleep.
6. To me, appearance matters. The interior treatments, colors, wood, ultraleather, solid surface countertops, etc are the best looking there is in the available class C's.
Even after having a leak, I still am glad I bought my Leprechaun.
For the reasons above, plus others (like what I think is the best looking full paint), I just don't want the others. Each buyer has their own list of needs/wants, and for me nothing else excited me like the Leprechaun.
Regarding downsizing, I have had 4 class A motorhomes. Things I like about C's:
1. Lower roof height. The Leprechaun is 10'10". There's almost nowhere it won't go.
2. 16" wheels. You can change your own tire on the road, and have your tires balanced by any good tire shop.
3. The cab is all Ford engineered. Doors on both sides for ease of getting in and out, especially when arriving and setting up camp, gas stations, rest stops etc. Both front windows go down. Really nice when driving around a campground, state park etc. Safety equipment, such as airbags crush zones etc all Ford engineered. I like the cabover. This is where you can throw jackets, packages etc.
4. The sun is always in your eyes in a Class A, so they put shades on the side windows and huge sun visors on the front. The cabover is like a giant baseball cap-keeps the sun out of your eyes.
Anyway, that's my opinion. By the way, other than the one water leak which I had no problem fixing, my coach has been completely trouble free.
Some of the areas described in your post need clarification. On a Leprechaun, the roof begins sloping at point A-where the awning rail meets the front cap trim. The roof on the Sunseeker appears to continue straight, without a slope, to the front cap. So the big difference is the awning rail stops at point A on the Leprechaun, and then the cap trim begins at that point, while on the Sunseeker the awning rail extends all the way to the cap, which would be more like point B.
The cap trim on both units is two pieces: A metal trim with screws, that covers the cap/body seam. This is an unattractive piece of metal. That metal trim is then covered with a vinyl trim cover, which is what you see. The problem is twofold. One, the metal trim may or may not be watertight to the body. If it is, it won't leak. Two, the vinyl cover may or may not be water tight. If it is, then it won't leak, as no water will be getting to the metal trim. If the vinyl does leak, and the metal seal is watertight, still no leak, just water under the vinyl. When they leak, it means the vinyl leaked, and the water then got past the metal trim (thru screw holes, or where the contour of the cap was not sealed completely with the similar, but not exactly same shape, front of coach).
Both units have the unfortunate situation of terminating the awning rail into the front cap seal. Leprechauns at point A, Sunseekers at point B. I don't understand why these are not separated, at least by 1/4 inch, with some sort of molding cap that won't allow water from the awning rail to enter the trim cover (vinyl piece). I also don't understand how you could have a piece of trim that by design traps water (the two piece metal/vinyl trim). IF there were weep holes in the vinyl trim along the bottom of the front cap, then if any water did get in, it would just go back out, and not sit there for days looking for a way to get into your coach.
I'm working on all the above theories. I do know that Forest River is aware of all this as well. They are working with the existing components, and putting their emphasis on ensuring that the cap to body seal is water tight. Also, just from looking at your pictures, it would appear that the Sunseeker has less of the two piece trim, and there is no Point A as on the Leprechaun, which is where the water appears to enter on the units I am familiar with.
It is not hard to make the vinyl trim watertight, nor is it hard to make the metal trim underneath water tight as well. While some of us have had this problem with Leprechauns, I have not heard of it on Sunseekers. This post has been around for a while, and not one Sunseeker owner has mentioned a water leak. The Sunseeker is a slightly different design, and I do believe it is built in a different plant. If I were you, I would not worry, and would just be getting excited about your new RV.
When I first bought my MH, I paid and RV shop to seal it. It was a complete waste of money. I would have done a better job cleaning up before putting on fresh lap sealant and they didn't even touch the windows.
I am a fan of Eternabond. It unrolls like a tape, but it adheres like crazy and is a great solution for all your top seams. Put it on under the metal trim and it will be water tight for 10+ years, with no need to re-apply between. You do need to have a metal roller to really get it to stick, but it's awesome stuff.
When you say put it under the metal seam, are you referring to the awning rail where the roof meets the sides? I hadn't heard of using it that way, but it sounds like a good idea.
Correction: Apalachee's website is: www.myarv.com. Go to shop services on the left side, and then click on "intrusion care". Talked in detail with them today. This is something they do every day. They have worked on Coachmen's, and are not "intimidated" (my words) by the challenge. I am however, a worrier, so we won't know for sure until it's been repaired, and survived several heavy rains. (Fortunately, I picked this time to read up on stress and anxiety!)
Just got in from a busy day. I'm replying to GollyCollie and tvchen. I will PM you regarding specific questions, but I think this thread has value to the RV.Net group, so I'm answering here now.
I took delivery 10/28/13. I had driven down to Winter Garden to look at this particular unit on 10/24/13. I really liked it, as no other class C has an interior this nice. I have had several RV's, all of which had problems, regardless of the price, so I looked it over closely, and decided to buy it. We arranged for me to take delivery 10/28. (following Monday). Over the weekend, I logged onto RV.Net to see if there was any posts regarding Leprechauns. Lo and behold, there was GollyCollie's post. I read it carefully, and made notes to ask GRW at delivery. So, at delivery I said I had read a thread on RV.Net regarding water leaks in Leprechauns. I had no idea at that point that GollieCollie had bought from the same dealer. (Your coach was there I guess, but I did not see it). I mentioned to the salesperson as well as the service advisor that I had read about cab leak problems with Leprechauns. Both just poo pooed the question, and said that they always check all roof seams before delivery, and fix anything that looks amiss. I could see that some additional sealant work was done, and the bunk was obviously dry, so I took them at their word.
Since my coach leaked the first time it saw any rain, I can assume the repair was done without verifying the result. Additionally, my coach was on the showroom when I bought it. I assumed that was because it was "special", but obviously for a different reason. I've been too busy today to contact GRW, but I will in the next couple of days.
Regarding the RV, I went today to Apalachee RV Center in Auburn GA, about 40 minutes from my house. Apalachee is an independent RV center that I have used before when I backed a TT into a tree. They are worlds ahead of any RV dealership I have ever frequented (I've had 13 RV's in 15 years. My Dad had them for 30 years before that). Check their website at www.myrv.com. I have an appointment with them 12/3/13 to find the leaks, repair as required. Dealing with Apalachee is nothing like dealing with a dealer. I will be paying them their labor rate, non negotiable, for whatever it takes to guarantee the unit is leak free. This will be at least $1,000, and up to $2,000. It could be more than that if their leak test determines that more deconstruction is required. Whatever the cost, it will be far less than what I would lose on a trade, and the fact is there isn't anything I would rather have than this unit without leaks. So, that's my plan for now. Other than the molding around the cap, there is no difference between a Leprechaun and any other rubber roofed RV. An experienced RV repair center should be able to test, verify, and repair this RV. That is my primary goal. Letting GRW know what's going on is secondary to me at this point. Possibly later, if repairs are not successful, then dealing with GRW might move to the forefront. That they misled me, and withheld information that they knew would cause me not to buy, is without question. But, I'm in Georgia, don't have a lawyer in Fl, and at this point I'm still hopeful I can get what I originally bargained for for just a few more dollars.
Well, it leaked. We didn't have near as much rain as forecasted-mostly just drizzled all day. As mentioned, I had the front panel off so I could monitor the area during the day. By 6:00PM, the rain was just mist, and the front cap was dry. Around 10:00, I decided there wasn't enough rain to really check this problem, and went out to lock up and call it a night. I inspected the area one more time, and sure enough there was water about 1/4 inch deep. I quickly dried everything up, and put the coach back in the garage. Set a fan up to blow on the area, and a dehumidifier in the coach.
The water did seem to come up from below. I felt all the vertical surfaces of the inside of the cap, and everything was dry. My coach has had the "repair" mentioned, as you can see that the molding has been removed, sealant or putty applied beneath, then reattached and the exterior of the molding sealed with silicone. I've inspected that very closely, and I cannot see how water could get in that way. I also removed some of the vinyl insert of the awning rail, and it is dry there. At this point, I have no idea where the water is coming from.
I'll contact the dealership tomorrow and let them know of the situation. It's quite obvious the problem was known, and I bet they were happy I was out of state. I would just take the hit and trade it, but there isn't any other Class C I like as much as this one.
At this point, I might be PM'ing a couple of you for more specifics on repairs and dealing with GRW. I really needed another project.
Did he tell you where those other leaks are?
The one that he mentioned in particular was in the rail above the awning. He said he believed that there was entrusion happening there and that the water then traveled under the rail up to the front and then into the cap. I hope Azdel does what they say it will or those walls are in trouble.
When I saw those railings I did not have too much confidence in them so I laid a bead of dicor at the rail and roof junction. In fact I also laid a bead between the plastic trim (in front of the awning railing)up to the point where the trim meets the front cap). I also pro-flexed all the screw heads inside the rail. I believe I mentioned this in one of my earlier posts.
Regarding the sealant work you did, what made you choose Dicor to seal at the rail/roof junction rather than Pro-flex? Also, it seems to me that water that gets into the awning rail (under the vinyl insert, where the screws that hold it on are), should have a way to get out. If you remove the vinyl insert, it's easy to see that water has been in there. Has anyone considered adding weep holes to the vinyl strip, or better yet drilling a few small (1/8" or less), holes thru the awning channel, and up into the area of the rail where the vinyl insert rest? If there wasn't any water ever allowed to stay in the rail, there wouldn't be a problem with it passing thru the screw holes. Of course, this doesn't address water entering behind the rail from above-that area would still need to be resealed as discussed above.
Hasn't rained hard yet, so have just been thinking about what actions I might take after I see what happens tonight. Even if I don't have any leak occur, I still plan to add whatever protection I can.
I posted earlier that I have a 2014 Leprechaun 319DS. From one of your videos, it appears we bought from the same dealer. (Winter Park location for me). I also mentioned there were signs of leak repair when I checked after seeing your post.
I am fortunate to be able to keep my MH in an enclosed garage on my property. Today it is supposed to rain all day and thru the night, so I am on my way out to park the MH outside. I have the screws out of the forward trim piece, and the cushions and trim piece removed. Will check it all day and night to look for water intrusion. Laid awake thinking about it all night, wondering what my plan of action would be it there are leaks.
Other posters are right. This is a serious problem for Coachmen, that I believe could be corrected on future models during production, by using the correct materials and attention to detail at these roof intersections and seams. I did a check on RV Trader, and there are a great many Leprechauns on dealer lots right now. How many of those are leaking? Will report what I find tomorrow.
Thanks for your reply. Mine is identical to yours (bunk, not an entertainment center). I removed the trim piece and all was dry, but the insulation was missing, so someone was in there indicating it must have leaked at some point. I will do as you suggested-remove the trim piece and let the RV sit in a downpour while I look for a leak. I don't think a sprinkler can flood the entire roof enough to uncover any possible route for the water to take. Just need a day of heavy rain and a good book. Wish us both luck!
Just wondering how the repairs came out? I have a 2014 Leprechaun. It appeared to have had some repair work done in the areas mentioned. Specifically, you can see where Pro Flex has been applied around and under the junction of the awning rails and the trim pieces that extend down the cab over. There are no leaks presently, and I questioned the selling dealer, who assures me that they have done no repairs to the unit while it was on there lot. (which was two months). Their only explanation was that Coachmen must have caught a leak and made the repair, or done it as a preventive measure. Maybe they have started to respond to the problem. Any other input from Leprechaun owners regarding front cap leaks, sealing techniques etc would be appreciated. For those that recommended Eternabond, that doesn't really apply, as it appears the water is funneled directly into the molding from the awning rail.
I've had two DP's, and two gas coaches. If I was going to buy another, I'd go gas. The DP's are quieter, but that just means you hear the rattles better. I particularly didn't like the entrance being in front of the passenger seat. Or, that you had to get under the rear closet to access the back of the engine. Finally, I wouldn't consider financing an RV. That to me would just make any problem or shortcoming in the unit stand out. The above are reasons I'm happiest with a TT. Got a nice, quiet pickup truck, and an incredibly inexpensive unit compared to a class A for the room you get.
I'm always amazed at the responses to post like these. "If you need a diesel, you need more than a 1500." What if you like diesels? Certainly Chrysler has considered this, as there are at least two gasoline engines available for gas enthusiast.
On the Grand Cherokee, this engine is rated at 240HP, 420lb/ft of torque. Highway EPA is 30. Max towing is 7,400lbs. I'm thinking that tow rating is more a function of the unibody GC than the engine.
On this forum many people speak of the lack of stress, quietness, ease of maintaining speed etc when pulling their 10-15,000lb 5th wheels with diesel trucks. Why shouldn't owners of 6-8,000lb trailers be able to enjoy the same experience? I don't want one-my trailer is 5,100lbs and gas is fine-but I don't mind the sound of a gas V8 at high RPM's. Many people do mind.
I looked at I-Pods, and think they are "cool", but the deal breaker for me was there is no full size awning. Everybody uses their RV differently, but for me setting up camp and putting the awning out is the highlight. Eating, drinking, having a cigar, whatever, with protection from rain and sun. There are a lot of 14 to 16' trailers now that have dry baths, stand-up headroom throughout, weigh the same, and cost less.
We have a 2009 Puma 25RS. We love it. It has lots of storage places in it. We love the rear couch area and the room that it has. Just the two of us and our puppy dog. No problem with it camping or finding a spot, without slides we don't have to worry about trees in the way.
Ditto. Had a 30RKS, downsized to a 25RS (2012). I think Puma's have the best looking interiors in their price range. I ordered mine with the woodgrain floor, and it is very elegant. This is the best no slide floorplan available. Never any problems with either unit.