I've been researching and getting ready to dive into RVing. My wife and I will be retiring in a few years and desperately want to get into RVing. We plan on traveling around the country on 1-3 week trips at a time with our 75# Airedale dog. We are looking for a luxury rig that will provide reliable and dependable service for 7 or 8 years. Something in the 35-38 foot range that can tow a small car such as a Honda CRV.
After much research I have come down 2 choices that should meet my needs: A 1 year old A Class 32' Monaco Vesta PBS / 35' Monaco Vesta PBP or a 34' 4 year Super C class old Dynamax Dynaquest 340XL. Both vehicles should cost about the same but the Dynamax seems like it might have a much longer longevity.
I would appreciate your thoughts, input, experience, pros, cons etc. concerning these choices.
With RVs, it is less who makes it, than the actual condition of the coach. I'd consider finding two people: A competent auto mechanic who can doublecheck the condition of the engine, and a RV person who can check plumbing, appliances, etc.
Both the M2 chassis and the Maxx Force engine & chassis used by Monaco are going to have long lived lifes - diesel engines and associate transmissions generally do as long as they are cared for.
The Dynamax M2 Frieghtliner chassis will be easier to have serviced anywhere, a lot more truck places willing to work on the Frieghtliner they can recognize.
I've found truck shops willing to work on my GM C5500 truck chassis (which is under our Gulfstream Super C) when needed and some friends with class A's have had trouble finding shops to work the chassis. Some of the shops just don't want to work in the close quarters some of the class A's are for engines, or if they do you could pay extra.
Also, they don't have to go through the "house" portion to get to the driver seat or the engine. They can get in driver side OR passenger side door.
On a safety front, the M2 was built as a truck, so all the safety rules they are required to meet are in place (crash tests, roll-overs, etc). If you look at the truck conversions, Class C & Super C, the B pillars are still in place, this is what gives you extra OH safety in a roll-over (or roll onto your side). Most class A type motor homes don't necessarily have that level of crash safety designed into them. This is one of the reasons we went with a "super c"/truck conversion over a similar A.
We never expect to be in a crash, but the extra safety is always nice to have.
You may also want to test drive each one. The Dynamax on the M2 chassis, the engine is in front of you and should give a quieter ride than the Monaco. The Monaco the engine appears to be between the front seats, or at least like a van with about 1/2 the engine there.
I had been looking at the same two units. I strongly suggest that you drive each unit. They drive very differently. I really liked the Vesta until I drove it. My impressions were that the Vesta was underpowered and didn't ride or handle as well as the Dynamax. Ture, the Vesta will provide more "liveable space per total length of the unit, but you still have to get to where you are camping. The Vesta also has the lighter duty tranny than the DM. So the VEsta will give you more room once you get to where you are going, and the Dm will give you a better ride to and from you destination.
Thank you mlts22 & shadow boss for your input. You bring up some very interesting points.
I plan on doing test drives next month.
So far this is what I'm thinking:
Monaco Vesta Pluses:
Great floor plan
High-end luxury interior materials and furniture
Huge basement storage (161 cu ft)
Modern aerodynamic & efficient styling
Better fuel efficiency (reported 12-14 mpg)
No need to add urea with the MaxxForce engine
Smaller rear overhang which is pitched up about 6" at rear (less likely to bottom out)
Lower initial cost (I can purchase a used current year model for same price as 3-4 year old Dynamax)
Dynamax Dynaquest 340XL pluses:
Safety by design (cab up front, etc)
Better access/egress with additional driver & passenger doors
Higher build construction (built on truck frame / more rugged cage
Better frame & transmission?
Larger engine/torque (350/1000 vs 300/660)
Larger fuel tank (100 vs 51)
Larger fresh water tank (85 vs 50)
Larger generator (8kw vs 6kw)
Greater towing capacity
Better serviceability or engine, chassis & transmission from non-RV shops
If my test rides of each unit is equal I think I could be happy with either one but I am leaning toward the Dynaquest. I'm just not sure about buying a 2008 or possibly 2009 Dynaquest when I could buy a used 2012 Vesta for the same price. I am on a limited budget, will be retiring in 3-4 years & would like to keep this motorhome for about 10 years.