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Our journey to find the perfect DP continues

July 11, 2010 by Larry Cad · 17 Comments  
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Now that we have pretty much explored a great number of options and features you can look at on a diesel pusher motorhome, it is time to look at a few coaches that are available on the market and see how they fill the bill as far as suitability is concerned.  When I first started this phase of this project, I was surprised at how difficult it would be.  Surprisingly, even in this bad economy, there is a good selection of new diesel motorhomes available on the market.  Depending on what you want, and how much you have to spend, the selection grows to a point where it can get overwhelming and a lot of work can go into selecting your new rolling mansion.  With prices ranging from the low $100,000 range, and up to several million, with lengths up to 45 ft., the various combinations grow exponentially.

In order to keep the scope of this study down to a reasonable size, and to save my sanity, I am going to limit this investigation to only a select few of the 40 foot diesel motorhomes.  I am doing that for selfish reasons because that is what I own, what I know best, and what I would buy if I were looking for a new motorhome.  Most of the manufacturers have gone in the direction of building more 45 foot motorhomes.  This is a situation that has been driven mostly by the new EPA engines which are heavier than the old ones and thus push the weight limits of the chassis they are pushing.  Manufacturers have found it necessary to add the extra axle in order to keep the CCC of the coach up to a suitable level.  If you are considering a new coach, it is extremely important that you are familiar with the how to determine the CCC and other ratings put on by the manufacturer.  Don’t just go out shopping, expecting that they build these things to be able to carry everything you own.  I have seen new motorhomes that are already overweight before you add water to the tanks, and even if you carry more than one passenger.  It is a “buyer beware” situation.

I am not saying this is anything like a complete list of available motorhomes.  I certainly have missed some.  I have also eliminated a few on purpose.  As an example, Fleetwood makes several entry level and mid level motorhomes and they also make a luxury line under the American Coach brand.  I have chosen not to include any of the lower level coaches from Fleetwood because as near as I can tell, all are equipped with a full wall slide or do not have midship TV.  As we discussed in previous articles, I am not a fan of full wall slides and consider them almost a scam.  I know, some of you love your full wall slides, and that is fine.  I just don’t want to have to consider them in this article.  Another obvious exclusion is the Tiffin line of coaches.  As near as I can tell, none of the Tiffins have a midship TV floorplan available.  If I missed it, please let me know.  I consider the Tiffins to be a very high quality motorhome, service is great, and Bob Tiffin is a wonderful person who really cares about his customers.  However, I feel strongly about midship TV and for that reason, I am leaving them out.  The rest of the group we will be listing all have available a midship TV floorplan.  With the exception of those two items, none of the other features we have discussed are what I call a “deal breaker”.

One final note before we begin, some manufacturers offer several 40 foot floorplans, and some offer only one.  If there are several available, I am only going to talk about one specific one and leave you to investigate the others.  This is not an exhaustive discussion, but only a beginning.

The first coach we are visiting is the American Coach Allegiance with the 40X floorplan.  In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I currently own an American Coach Tradition.  I really like my coach and thus far I am very pleased with the quality and the service I have received.

The 40X is the only 40 foot floorplan in the high end coach line at American Coach.  There are several features about this motorhome that have great appeal for me.  I like the 40in TV mounted in the midship entertainment center and I really like the side aisle floorplan with the bath altogether in one room.  In addition to this, American Coach has located the frig up front, right behind the passenger seat with the rest of the galley and the dining area located up front as well.  Unfortunately this arrangement results in the dining area being located on the driver side which we have discussed in previous articles as being a bad choice.  The remainder of the salon is back past the kitchen area and consists of a sofa, a leather recliner and of course, the entertainment center.  A passenger side aisle leads past the bathroom area and into the kitchen.  This is a 3 slide floorplan and from what I can see, the TV would still be usable even with the slide closed.  It is difficult to judge how much kitchen storage is available from the online photos, but historically, that is an American Coach strong point.  An interesting tech feature is the instrument cluster which is attached to the tilt wheel, allowing the instrument cluster to follow the tilt.  As far as other features and amenities, this coach is loaded with stuff as befits a high end coach.  I was a little disappointed to find that there was a “park telephone” jack included in the features although if you read back through our previous posts, you will find that somewhere along the way, someone actually used this feature in their motorhome.  With a MSRP of $331,000, this is not a cheap motorhome.  With a lot of nice features it is worth considering if that is your price range.

That is about it for now.  In our next article we will review one of several offerings from a very well known manufacturer, Newmar.  Until then, happy camping.

Larry

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17 Responses to “Our journey to find the perfect DP continues”

  1. Orvil Hazelton on July 12th, 2010 4:37 pm

    LARRY: “Say it ain’t so!” We have a new 2010 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH . . . and simply LOVE our mid-ship television. This is now standard on most Tiffin products. I hope you’ll update your opinion of Tiffin’s products. We certainly love our’s. As always, oRV

  2. Larry Cad on July 12th, 2010 4:52 pm

    Orvil, You are absolutely correct. I am mistaken and apologize. In my preparation for this segment, I visited various manufacturers websites including Tiffin. I looked at the floorplan for the 40QTH and saw the front TV and went no further, assuming it was the only one, never realizing there was another. I am aware that Tiffin makes a great motorhome and will now include it in the series. Thanks for that correction.

    Larry

  3. norm la joie on July 12th, 2010 4:57 pm

    As far as tiffin is conserned.

    You had better look at the allegro bus, 40 qxp

  4. Dan Rambow on July 12th, 2010 6:04 pm

    I think you are being very exclusive in your limit to 40′ models. There are many fine 36-40 foot models that are better laid out that many 40′ models, including a midship TV.
    We have a new 39n Journey from Winnebago, it may not meet all your nice-to-have specifications, but remodeling the bunk-bed space into an office gives me something I haven’t seen in any 40′ model. Since I have to work on the road, this was the deal maker, period. All the other great features, including that midship TV were just iceing on the cake.

  5. George James on July 12th, 2010 6:24 pm

    I thought the lynch mob was going to get you about the Tiffins! Glad you are going to include them.

  6. Sam Noritake on July 12th, 2010 6:33 pm

    I am very new at this and have been looking at Fleetwood Providence, 40X. I guess that is an “entry level” but it does have a mid ship TV and 3 slides. I am now looking at Newmar, Ventana. For novice and not rich people do you think the Newmar will be good for fulltiming? I like the 40′ and mid ship TV, double stainless frig. Like to have an oven but am not finding that. More tile, less carpet. We have a DRV 5er right now.

  7. Larry Cad on July 12th, 2010 7:16 pm

    Dan, you are correct regarding my decision to explore only 40 foot motorhomes. In writing any article, there are limits that enter into the project. I chose this one primarily because I am most familiar with the 40 foot models, and because that is what I currently own. I am not saying that there is no value in other models, just trying to limit the scope of this investigation.

    George, I was a bit worried myself. Keep in mind, that I still plan to discuss only one model from any particular manufacturer. Again, this is an attempt to try to limit the scope of the project.

    Sam, I am rethinking my decision to not include any of the Fleetwood coaches. If someone has a standout suggestion, please let me know. You certainly cannot go wrong with a Newmar. They make an excellent product and provide good factory support.

  8. Walter Labree on July 12th, 2010 7:58 pm

    Apparently there was little research or this article was written a long time ago. Most of the manufactures are adding , if they already do not have, bath and a half floor plans. Full slides are now common in various floor plans. Midship TV’s are available on some entry diesel coaches. I have seen the Fleetwood 2011 coaches and they do have these floor plans. Oh, I forgot about the front refrigerator floor plans.

  9. Charlie Romine on July 12th, 2010 8:01 pm

    Tiffin owners speak your mind ! I have a Tiffin Phaeton 40ft. ; 4 slides with all the extras. I love it & would not consider anything else.
    When I first started reading the article Larry wrote, I almost deleted it before I got to the comment by Orvil. Larry, you almost lost a faithful reader of your articles. You need to visit Red-Bay, Alabama.
    Dollar for dollar, you can’t beat a tiffin.

  10. Barbara Kirkhart on July 12th, 2010 8:03 pm

    I too am sorry you are limiting to 40′ coaches – we have a 2009 Newmar Dutch Star 3623 (37′9″) that we love – no mid ship TV, but our front mount works just fine for the 2 of us. Also, we would not have a side hall/unitary bathroom, as we like to be able to use the two separate areas (sink vs commode) at the same time. For the person who asked about the Newmar Ventana – you should also look at the Dutch Star. Not that much more money for better standard features. We have been full-timing for a year, put on >13,500 miles, and have had very few problems.

  11. Larry Cad on July 12th, 2010 8:21 pm

    Walter, please let me explain a couple of things. I am not trying to write this series as any kind of expert. I have expressed a few opinions, but for the most part, I have been presenting ideas for others to discuss and add to. As far as research is concerned, I visited all the manufacturers websites and looked at what they have posted, which I can only accept as the latest and greatest. When ever Linda and I visit an RV show, the vast majority of our time is spent looking at the diesel motorhomes on display. In our travels we frequently stop at RV dealers along the way, including several trips to Lazydays, Tom Johnson, Tom Raper, and many others. In addition to this, we have toured various factories including Newmar, Fleetwood, Coachmen, Travel Supreme, and Monaco. In doing this we accumulate ideas about what we like and don’t like. Again, not as an expert, but as a couple who spend a lot of time in our own motorhome. I have a few things I like, and a few things I don’t like and beyond that, the subject is wide open for discussion. I am hoping to learn from others experience as well as contributing some of my own.

    One other thing I should mention, over the years, I have spent several hours sitting and talking with Bob Tiffin, about RVs, life, and other things. There is no finer person in the RV industry and Tiffin makes wonderful motorhomes and, if you read the other comments on my post, you will realize that Tiffin owners certainly take pride in their motorhomes.

    Like life, this is a journey, except we are embarking without the aid of a roadmap, or a GPS. We are taking this journey, with no agenda, just going along to see where life leads us. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. When it ends, we will be……………..someplace.

    Larry

  12. Paul on July 12th, 2010 9:33 pm

    I’m enjoying and learning from your series. One question I cannot seem to get answered; maybe you can. For the price, we are seriously interested in the Itasca 37F, with one and half baths, mid-ship TV; but it is not a diesel pusher. It is available as a diesel “puller”. My question is what is the advantage/disadvantage of diesel power in front vs. rear? Thanx.

  13. Manuel Enos on July 13th, 2010 5:56 am

    Visit the Newmar plant and you may revise your views on less than 40 feet..We own a 2000 Newmar Dutchstar and it just purrs and purrs and gets on down the road. Just had it in for its 40kmile checkup and it is perfect…38.9 feet with a full bath (I do mean full- as in bath tub) I have yet to see another like it other than a Newmar. Plenty of room for all and with one large slideout..Well layed out..Love it!!!!

  14. Frank on July 13th, 2010 6:32 am

    Hey Larry…………GLAD you decided to add Tiffin to your shopping list! Otherwise I was gonna have to quit readin’ your articles!! :) LOL

  15. William Robinson, Jr. on July 13th, 2010 3:03 pm

    Larry, you know I’m prejudice, because I own one, BUT, FW’s Providence 40X (41.5′) pretty much invented the mid-ship TV (also viewed w/ the slide closed). It is NOT a full wall slide. I’m kinda amazed you left this one out, as you recommened the 40X Alligence (AC, same as your AT) My MSRP was 260K, hardly an “entry level” rig. I waited to reply because I knew there was gonna be a lotta s#*t, just because of FW, never mind the Tiffin kool-aid drinkers, being left out! Robbie

  16. Larry Cad on July 13th, 2010 3:46 pm

    Paul, if I am not mistaken, you are talking about what is known as a “Fred” chassis where the engine is in the front (FRont End Diesel). Although discussions about the FRED are outside the scope of this series, I have heard good things about the chassis and of course, Winnebago builds a fine quality coach.

    Manuel, Linda and I have both visited the Newmar factory and we were both impressed. Newmar has a very unusual production line where they randomly build all types of RVs including 5th wheels, gas and diesel motorhomes. I have never seen anything like it, but it is impressive. Please understand, I am not prejudiced against any other RV. I am simply limiting the scope of this series to a narrow range of RVs in which I am particularly interested.

    Frank, I’m glad you decided to stay. Open discussions like this should help us all I think.

    William Robinson, I am considering doing a post on either the Providence 40X or the Excursion 40X. It does seem like a nice floorplan. I did notice that the TV can be viewed with the slide closed and consider that a big advantage as we spend nights frequently in Flying J’s and don’t put the slides out normally.

    Thanks for all the comments, they are appreciated. Believe me, I can use all the help I can get!! :)

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