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Open Roads Forum  >  Class A Motorhomes

 > Going FT, considering bunk mods, other things...

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Ph.Dad

Galveston, TX

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Posted: 02/17/12 02:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Our search for a motor home has boiled down to the ability to add bunks in a 40' Diesel Pusher while maintaining some privacy for the master bedroom and keeping a good flow in the living space. We also have to fit under an $80K budget.

Attached is a very rough sketch of two different floorplans I am considering. The red 'X' area is where I would put the bunks.

The coach with the longer wall slide is an Alfa See Ya Sooo Long, founder edition, 2007 with a 330HP Cat that has 22K miles.

The other coach is a 1999 Gulf Stream Tour Master Millennium Edition with a 450HP Cummins that has 52K miles.

Here are my thoughts:
[LIST]
  • The Tour Master has much nicer appointments and features inside. Feels very luxurious. Our moods and ability to live fulltime as a family will depend somewhat on overall size (Alfa wins), but also on the built environment (GS wins). I'm not sure which to place more value in.
  • I love to cook, and the kitchen in the GS appears far superior
  • The Alfa is famous for having tall ceilings (7'6"), wheras the GS is a full foot shorter (6'6"). Being 6'4" myself, I fear I will feel a bit more cramped in the GS. However, the GS has a mirrored ceiling, which gives the illusion of more height. Again, not sure what I will think in the long run.
  • GS, with the more powerful engine, will not labor on hills as much. We will change locations every month on average, so will do a fair amount of driving.
  • Slide depth on both coaches is 36", so the living space 'feels' exactly the same on either. This is where I imagine I will spend the bulk of my indoor time with the kiddos.
  • GS has a larger water heater and a 2' deep tub that is nearly large enough for two adults. This is a plus for bathing our kids. I imagine this can be added to the Alfa pretty easily, but still an additional expense.
  • Alfa is newer by 8 years, but given that neither engine is approaching high mileage then I consider the age a moot point.
  • Alfa has larger windows (because of the higher ceilings). This, again, will probably make it feel roomier even though floorspace is nearly the same. Then again, it will be harder to heat and cool. Not sure which coach wins here.
  • Undercoach storage seems pretty equal between the two, so I think that is a draw.
  • GS has larger tank capacities across the board, which will help if we boondock extensively. Not sure how important this is because I don't know how much water to expect to use per day, nor how quickly we will fill the waste tanks. Still larger seems better to me.
  • The Alfa has the longer slide (by 7 feet), but most of the extra space would just be a hallway passing through the bunkhouse.
  • The GS has solar panels on top. Will we actually use these?? It seems with a generator, an inverter, and shore power that solar will take the back seat.
    [/LIST]

    I appreciate any and all thoughts! We hit the road in June. Thanks for your time.

    -Paul



  • rgatijnet1

    Florida

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    Posted: 02/17/12 02:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

    8 years newer means 8 year newer electronics, generator, AC units, appliances, furniture, windows, window coverings, flooring, paint, roof, etc. Mileage on the engine is one thing but the rest of the items may have been used a lot if the previous owners full timed with little movement. I would go with the newer unit.

    bsinmich

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    Posted: 02/17/12 05:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

    That was around the end of the Alfas. They had problems with sidewalls and a lot of other problems before they finally folded. That is one of the reasons they sell so cheap. Check extremely close on the sidewalls for checking and delamination. There is no factory to go for help.


    2003 Newmar Mountain Aire, Workhorse W22, 2008 Saturn Vue, Falcon 5250, & US Gear Unified Tow Brake

    OnaQuest

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    Posted: 02/17/12 04:50pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

    Just a thought on major modifications to install bunks. Kids grow up very very fast. A little inconvenience, when they are young, (i.e. sleeping on fold out couch or dinette bed) could be a small price to pay for having a severely modified coach, five or ten years form now, that no longer fits your needs, and one that no-one else wants.

    Kids are very adaptable. Bed time could be an adventure rather than feeling exiled to a wall bunk. Just my thoughts.

    Don't over think this thing or you may just miss out on some real family memories.

    sowego

    northwestern corner of the Nebraska panhandle

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    Posted: 02/17/12 04:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

    I would agree a newer coach may be a better plan but both have a nice layout.

    Your bunk placement on the top floor plan--with the slide in going down the road, the bunks may not be accessable whereas in most bunk models we've seen they are still open for use. That may not be an issue but something to think about. Also you will lose most of your closet space.

    I'd not let these two coaches be your only choices. Keep looking because there are bunk models out there that may not need to be modified for your purposes.


    2002 Tiffin Phaeton
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    Ph.Dad

    Galveston, TX

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    Posted: 02/17/12 05:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

    OnaQuest wrote:

    Just a thought on major modifications to install bunks. Kids grow up very very fast. A little inconvenience, when they are young, (i.e. sleeping on fold out couch or dinette bed) could be a small price to pay for having a severely modified coach, five or ten years form now, that no longer fits your needs, and one that no-one else wants.

    Kids are very adaptable. Bed time could be an adventure rather than feeling exiled to a wall bunk. Just my thoughts.

    Don't over think this thing or you may just miss out on some real family memories.


    Great thoughts! I only intend to have this coach for a couple years, so outgrowing is not a concern. Aware of the resell downsides, but that all depends on finding the right buyer. We want our kids to have a little space they can call their own. The couch or dinette is not an option, nor is mommy and daddy's room. Also, we tend to wake earlier than our children and do not want to be tripping over them in the living space while preparing coffee, etc. We're trying not to overthink, but you're talking to a married couple of a Phd and a Physician. All we do is think!

    Mr.Mark

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    Posted: 02/17/12 06:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

    Ph.Dad, you are SO close to PPL motorhomes in Houston. Lots of choices in your price range. They have a '98 Monaco Signature that looks like it has ample room for a bunk installation. Their asking price is $88K but the unit only has 65K miles.

    The Signature was Monaco's top of the line so it should have a good fit and finish...and, they are still in business! The coach number is D786 and it has a 450 hp Cummins and a slide in the living room.

    Good luck!

    MM.


    Mr.Mark
    2008 Monaco Dynasty, 42.2 ft., 4 slides, 425 hp clean-air Cummins diesel
    2013 Honda CR-V EXL, AWD, w/Nav, SMI Air Force One vacuum-assisted braking

    Ph.Dad

    Galveston, TX

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    Posted: 02/17/12 06:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

    Mr.Mark wrote:

    Ph.Dad, you are SO close to PPL motorhomes in Houston. Lots of choices in your price range. They have a '98 Monaco Signature that looks like it has ample room for a bunk installation. Their asking price is $88K but the unit only has 65K miles.

    The Signature was Monaco's top of the line so it should have a good fit and finish...and, they are still in business! The coach number is D786 and it has a 450 hp Cummins and a slide in the living room.

    Good luck!

    MM.


    I was at PPL last weekend and will be there again tomorrow. I'll give that unit a second look. Thanks.

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