I don't thing you can go wrong with Monaco & Newmar. The only thing is as a full timer, I would pick a layout with the 84 inc interiour height.The extra 6 inc is really make a difference in overall space. You might have to look for 2004 + model. Good luck
Go with the Newmar as it has a Freightliner chassis and Freightliner is in most major cities across the country. We have a Journey with a Freightliner chassis and always have work done at their facilities and they do great work. The CAT engine is a great engine, we have the 350 C7 which is basically the same engine as the 330 hp. We have friends that have been full-timing in a Dutch Star for quite a few years and really love their MH. If the Diplomat has an aluminum radiator have it pressure checked for leaks as there has been some problems with them cracking. Good Luck and Happy Hunting!
Jack & Peg
USN Ret AGC
Sioux Falls, SD
06 Itasca Horizon 40KD
We have had two Newmars. There would not have been a second one if the first experience was not good...We now have a Dutch Star that is in the year model you are considering. We have had it about 6 years I think....If I had to do it again, I would buy the Newmar 2003 Dutch Star again. It has been a great dependable motorhome.
As CD said though --- get the bigger 350 engine. There is a lot of difference in power over the 330 - more than you would think. Also the Spartan IFS chassis was a deal breaker for us. We did a lot of research and talked to a lot of Newmar owners before we bought. Newmar does a lot of things behind the walls and such that you don't see that make it different.
2003 Newmar DSDP 4005 dual slide king bed Spartan 350 Cummins 2004 Jeep Liberty 4X4 tow, SeaEagle boat in basement
We recently "upgraded" coaches and looked at the Windsor and Dutch Star, Tiffin Phaeton and Tiffin Allegro Bus. Everything is based on personal taste, that said, I really really liked the Windsor's layout and finish. Very nice coach. We ended up buying the Allegro Bus which I love.
Do be sure to check the CCC in both rigs, Monaco had a series of coaches that left the factory floor with very little CCC available, with the rear almost at max. (Going on memory from this, so please do check, and my apologies to the Monaco fans if my memory is wrong on this - not intended as a slam, just a caution...)
Either engine should get you where you want to go.
But a question, unless you have determined that both of these two coaches are 'the right interiors' for you (a very big factor, as though we all talk lots about engines, IFS, side vs rear radiators, torque, solid vs rubber roofs, aqua/hydro vs WH, etc. etc. - It is the living portion we will be involved with the most!). If these are just two coaches that seem close to what you want, then perhaps keep looking. Many, many good coaches are available now, and at a price that 3-4 years ago would have had you still shopping at much lower quality coaches for the same costs.
Sometimes this shopping thing is work, and of course, the anticipation of getting it done - and on the road, does sometimes catch us up in a fever mode. If you are not in a rush, perhaps do a bit more researching and within your budget range, consider 'dropping years to gain a higher quality coach'? The ones you have identified, are solid coaches, but they are both in the middle of the pack as far as the quality pecking order.
Best of luck on your decisions, have fun along the way,
I do not own a Monaco or a Newmar. Both have built very good coaches.
I do have a bias toward a side radiator setup. The bias is because I have learned to service my engine and make some repairs to things like water pumps and alternators etc.
The side radiator provides much better access to the engine from the ground.
I believe the Windsor does have a side radiator as it was a higher line coach for Monaco, but the Diplomat does not. I think the HR Scepter was a sister ship to the Windsor in some years.
I also think a side radiator is better in the year range you are looking at as there used to be something called a slobber tube that would cause a lot of******from the engine to get on a rear radiator.
The newer engine designs do not have a slobber tube as they are a lot cleaner. My Red has a rear radiator and it is still very clean after almost 20k miles. Frieghtliner also used to undersize the radiator so that is another reason to look for side radiators in earlier years.
The side radiator is still probably a marginally better design today for access and other reasons, but with rear radiators now properly sized and slobber tubes eliminated I do not see it as significant of a make or break issue as others would state for earlier years.
BTW, you picked two good brands but I probably would expand to others that also have a good support structure available.
I have a 2005 Monaco Knight and its just like the Diplomat. Excellent Choice and there is no problems with Monaco. Have called and got parts and support since Bankrupt and have noticed no change so there is no worries there.
You want go wrong with a Monaco.