I couldn't find any monaco model with a desk. And I *love* the styling of the 320. It's timeless.
And the foretravel is the first coach I've seen (other than wanderlodge) that doesn't use that GOD AWFUL rv wallpaper on everything. You know the stuf that peels back at the corners to expose the cheap luan underneath. The interior styling is tasteful and understated unlike a prevost or wanderlodge. Again, timeless. I'm definitely sold on an old foretravel or wanderlodge (if I can ever see one before I pull the trigger) vs anything else.
I'm not afraid to get an air brake certification if necessary, as long as it doesn't cost a fortune. Right now I am living in PA but I am moving to Florida.
I must make the jump to top end. The question is which model in the top end. I've also ruled out Tiffin and Monaco. I've mostly ruled out Country Coach as well. I know wanderlodge is the better choice but I can't handle the interior stylings. Age and miles don't bother me, but I want the highest quality I can afford. To give you an idea, I have a 1996 BMW M3 with 240,000 miles. I'm not scared of fixing things but I don't want to encounter too many big problems I can't handle myself (because you have to pull the engine or trans, etc). More importantly when I go to do the work, I'd like to be doing it on a well maintained unit that isn't a rust bucket and has some thought built into the design.
Right now it is a tossup between a U270 36' and a U320 42', both not perfectly maintained and both not having good paper records but both clearly having conscientious owners with big wallets. I have to figure out if I want to pay $40K more for what the U320 offers - additional length, full body paint, porcelain tile floor, 40" samsung tv, walnut cabinets (highly desirable to me), desk, intellitec switches, halogen accent lighting, pantograph doors, aquahot, better bathroom configuration (toilet room), (much) bigger engine/trans, prosine inverter vs heart, in motion satellite vs none, bose system vs none, 3 a/c instead of 2, heat pumps instead of heat strips,
The U270 is what I "need" and it solves all of my current issues wtih my coach. It's bigger, more powerful, better towing, air ride, air levelling, higher quality and promotes the sense that it's worth spending money on, better equipment, etc. The U320 is my dream. I could not ever find anything I like more than that thing. It's perfect in every way except a lack of detailed maintenance records - still I'm not scared it has no bulkhead separation, foretravel just saw it, and I can get oil analysis done, and I am already budgeting for a trans failure that may or may not happen.
Also the trans temp never climbed above 180 or so, chassis A/C was nonfunctional and I believe it wasn't charged as the compressor wouldn't spin. Also the battery voltage gauge was fluttering between 11 and 13 volts though I suspect the alternator was charging fine. Any hints or "I've had that" from foretravel owners?
We actually started driving coaches. The foretravel had an insanely rough idle. Idle was set around 600rpm and the whole coach shook. Once you got on the gas the tiniest bit it was nearly silent up front. Highway driving was fine but it kept taking a long time to go from 2nd to 3rd gear. One time it seemed to take 2-3 seconds to change gears and the engine revved up in between the shift. Is this normal at all or is it time to run?
We saw a nice country coach allure with a pile of water under the microwave :( It's amazing that you can't find a coach that is problem free for this $$ bracket.
I encounter this kind of incompetence often and it's why I replaced the fuel pump in my 1998 Winnebago Adventurer in a campground by myself. Didn't take much more than a properly sloped campsite and a harbor freight jack but man it was messy, stinky and probably took some years off my life.
I've done a lot more soul searching and have decided I wanted a rig with some kind of aqua hot, pantograph doors, a tag axle and a 400+HP engine. Therefore my basic choice is between The Foretravel U320 42', Country Coach Affinity or a Wanderlodge. I'm also going to explore Monaco and Tiffin as well before making my choice.
It's funny when I started this search I was thinking American Eagle/Dream because it felt like a good compromise between what I wanted at the time (slides, quality, cost) but now that I've done the research I really feel that buying the highest quality (or at least attempted quality) matters most. I really feel like Fleetwood dropped the ball on the American * coaches despite a good attempt. I read of corrosion and rust problems (to the point of parts of the underside of the coach rotting away), huge delamination problems and other bad things. Wanderlodge is probably it but I don't feel like the steel skin is worthwhile. I feel so far like the Foretravel is the best compromise in a motorhome. I am not doing long distance commercial bus runs so I'm not sure I really need what a Wanderlodge brings to the table, and I'm not certain I can afford it either. Worse none are for sale remotely near me so I can't even check it out.
I've seen a lot of people that when comparing them said go for the Wanderlodge though. There's none for sale right now and I've figured out the U320 for sale is pretty special and it might disappear and not be an option again for quite some time. I have to tell myself it's okay if it gets sold and not be an idiot. I have a perfectly serviceable coach ;)
I've seen all the deals at PPL, in Mesa, AZ, etc and I check rvtrader, craigslist and other sites often. Once I pick the model I want I think it'll be easy to find a clean properly priced example of the coach I am looking for. My issue in this thread is to attempt to figure out what I am up against with each model to help me pick the actual model. Where I am at (Bradenton, FL) seems to have no shortage of coaches to at least go look at even if they aren't perfectly right otherwise.
We saw the Foretravel U320 today. The wife wasn't impressed. I definitely was but for the money I saw perhaps too many problems. The aquahot wasn't a radiant in floor system. The powertech gen is louder than the onan 7500 even without any load at all (it was no louder running 3 a/cs though), one of the A/C's was buzzing and I detected a bunch of previous cleaned up leak damage. The a/cs are placed such that the front end doesn't get cool (as easily as it should). The sofas chairs and seats were unbelievably comfortable, absolutely perfect. Cabinetry was top notch but no obvious place to put our dishwasher. No washer dryer unit included. I know not everyone wants these and they are small but we want one. Interior lighting and controls were amazing but the control panels didn't seem to be functioning. Bin storage was way larger than I needed. The lack of slides gave it the overall tight feeling we are trying to get away from. The dealer was 100% rigid on price too since it's a consignment unit they told me they had to fight the owner to get it where it's at because he just spent $40K on renovations in 05. Power to weight seemed good, Cummins ISM 450HP with 34K unloaded weight. With the size of water and fuel I could dry camp for close to a month.
Clearly super super high quality but I'm not sure I'm convinced to go for it over the eagle, especially when I can identify future issues right off the bat.
The dealer sure paid a lot of attention to me.
The operating theory is that things won't break as much on a higher end coach. Because maybe it is garage kept, because maybe the previous owner loved it and kept up with it. Variety of reasons. My coach lived outdoors all its life and the previous owner didn't keep up with maintenance, sealants, etc and I bought a mess for a good price. When I bought it the awning was torn, roof still leaking, and had various other mechanical problems that I systematically hunted down and fixed.
I would feel better about doing the repairs on a coach that was worth a little more, not just $ wise but to me. I don't have the emotional investment in this coach because I know I want something different. I realize an 01 or 02 american dream is quite similar to buying my coach all over again but my hope is that the chassis will be far more reliable, as will the generator. The entry door in the dream looks better, probably the knob won't fall off. The other doors like bathroom door and other stuff feels far better constructed. I don't think this is just a theory, all of the ones I looked at are in *substantially* better overall condition than mine despite similar age and miles. Mine is very similar to the average bounder of the same year. Just starting to show some age. There are a few things that are the same across all the coaches - light switches, thermostats, a/c and furnace but i have no problems with those things on my coach. The things I've had a problem with - almost all of them - are all different or higher quality on an american dream pusher.
So yeah, it's not that I'm afraid to chase the problems, it's that I want to chase problems in something that I can see myself in for 5+ years.
Is the hydro hot like the aqua hot? Using diesel or electric to do radiant in floor heat? Why? Is it that much more comfortable than 2 forced air furnaces? We will probably be avoiding cold weather by snowbirding, otherwise I would certainly be interested in hunting something like that. Is there something I am missing about that system? The BTU/$ is pretty similar between propane and diesel.
Hi all, I was hoping to get some advice. We currently have a 1998 Winnebago Adventurer 32ft with no slides and are a family of 3 living in it. We've just recently completed a 2 month adventure across the country and back and have decided we kind of like living in a motorhome, trailer or something of the sort. We have some ideas about snowbirding. I've always been enamored with Wanderlodges but as time has passed I've come to realize I can't afford one, especially not one with a slide. Then I found out how heavy the steel coaches are and decided maybe it's not right for me.
Firstly, I don't hate our coach. The Adventurer is a good coach as far as gassers of the time period go, but we have delamination damage from leaks from previous owners and various fixtures and furnishings breaking constantly to the point of being annoying. All possible chassis issues, we've had from fuel pumps to broken head. I've kept up with everything but it's just getting a little tiring chasing the issues. Just yesterday the entry door handle broke in half. The thing I really can't handle anymore is the ride, the heat, the noise. I want a good ride and I hear the Spartan Mountain master chassis is smooth as glass because of the air suspension. I haven't driven one yet. Can someone comment on how it compares to an F53 chassis of the era?
My budget is around $70K. I'd like to find a coach that is around $75K and talk it down to $65K so I can get out for around $70K with tax. I am looking for a diesel pusher and garage kept/mint condition as well as quality and features are far more important to me than age or mileage. I've narrowed down my choices to Foretravel U320, American Eagle and Dream (1999-2002 range for these) and Newmar coaches.
Firstly, I think the American dream/eagle coaches look the best both exterior and interior. I'd love the light sand color sofas with a darker colored cabinet. I love the white exterior and light graphics. I saw a Foretravel U320 I loved but I really think I am stuck on wanting 2 slides. I like the idea of the pantograph doors and generator on a slide so I'd love to find an eagle but a dream works fine if it's right. I really like the overhead tv and console configuration of the 2001+ so I really think I have to stick with that. I've looked at the newmars and I really think the styling is all around god awful. I really don't know what people are thinking with green and purple furniture and other things I find configured. But still I feel like I should consider it. I don't prefer the looks of country coach (like the higher end looking Affinity model?) but it does look good enough that if it was substantially better I would hunt for that. Any comments? Any coaches I am missing?
Then I found out the 02 eagle has the 400HP ISL for around $15K more. Is the 400HP a screamer compared to the 350? Is it worthwhile to spend the money for it? I'm concerned with having enough power that I don't slow down to the point of being a danger to others. That is the case now. I don't have to beat on my rig now, but it gets slow and I am full throttle up any real grades. The general idea is to find something overpowered so it lives a low stress life and maybe will last longer.
I was wondering if people could comment on the delamination issues. One of the dreams I saw was delaminating between the rear slide on the driver side and the rear cap. The dealer claimed there were no leaks. It was a shame to walk away because the coach was priced right and ran great. Someone claimed the newmars can't delaminate but then I saw that the checking issue they have could turn structural. Does the checking issue date all the way back to 2001-2002 ish or is that a later problem?
Are the air conditioners on these models supposed to have filters at the opening? They do in our winnebago but didn't in the one we saw.
What issues should I look for? I know about the ball joints, I know to look for leaks. I know the fiberglass roofs of 2000+ are better, but what am I missing. I don't want to miss anything with this big of a purchase. How should I go about evaluating the engine and generator. Any issues to look for or any good prepurchase inspections that are nationwide that I could take the coach to?
We took a route which I thought was pretty gentle from Yellowstone to Rawlins, WY which inadvertently left us up a rather steep incline. I foolishly decided not to disconnect our toad and we took the incline at 15mph, slow enough that the torque converter even unlocked. No damage, fluid isn't burnt but I decided I had enough and I want a coach with some power.
I'm after 8mpg towing 5000 pounds and carrying about 2000 pounds of people and gear. Can I achieve this in one of these coaches at 60mph.. 65? 70? My impression that is that I will see 1100 miles out of a tank with the generator running at half load with the ISC 350. Is this the case?
On the dream we looked at the slide wouldn't go in the whole way. Is there an issue with the slides or powergear mechanisms on these?
The cruise control of my coach drives me nuts. On all the little dips when the speed drops a mph or two the cruise control promptly slams the throttle to the floor causing it to scream into 3rd gear unnecessarily. If it just gave 60% throttle or so and allowed some slowdown it would be less dramatic and the whole trip would be more relaxing. How does the cruise and gear selection with teh allison work? Do you find you can set cruise even towing and it deals with the smaller grades without any drama? I wouldn't mind a downshift but I don't want to go full throttle unnecessarily for fun. Save that for the real grades. Can I lock the allison into 5th or 6th or program the cruise control maximum throttle or things like that?
And speaking of grades what can you do on a standardish 6% grade? Mine will run in 3rd for a little but I end up in 2nd gear after a mile or two and down to around 30mph. Do the DP's tend to run like this as well? I would suspect not as I was passed by several going at least 55mph up the grade.
What about reliability? How many people actually get the bullyhooed diesel reliability? I hear so often about 90K mile and 110K mile rebuilds of cummins engines. Sounds like a travesty on a motor that expensive. We have 1400 hours on our gas generator. How many can you get on a diesel generator that is used often?
Any and all suggestions are welcome. I just want to know what kind of wrinkles I will be getting into. Obviously I am used to a nightmare owning a 1998 gas coach. Will the nightmare continue or are these coaches pretty reliable and do the furnishings hold up under careful care?
I don't think this is against the rules, I just wanted to drop a line into the forum to let everyone know we started a travel blog. We are a 30 something couple with a toddler, dog and cat and have been full timing for 2 months now in our always problematic 1998 Winnebago Adventurer. We work in IT and I thought it'd be neat to start a blog and detailing the fun and problems we have. I'm eternally a geek so I thought it would be cool to install cameras on the motorhome and livestream our trips in real time. We also show current GPS location and some stats about our motorhome's engine health. I am working on building a timelapse video of a trip across the country and I'd like to get a go pro hero black to make an HD version for the trip back but that probably won't happen. Money and all ;)
But enjoy if you want to enjoy, http://www.geekynomads.com and the "roll with us" page is where our travels are livestreamed. We're currently in West Yellowstone and lately we've been driving on Mondays but we aim to drive on Sundays.