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Just wanted to get an idea of what your thoughts are on the 1999 Itasca Sunflyer 36L and the 1999 Dutch Star M-3565-Spartan. My husband and I are looking to purchase a motorhome to travel the country for a year and have decided we should get an older diesel. We are looking at potentially purchasing one of these two. Here are the specs:

1999 Dutch Star M-3565-Spartan:
84500 miles
Diesel Pusher, 300 hp Cummins engine, 6 speed allison transmission, exhaust brake
Michelin X tires, Hydraulic leveling jacks
7000 watt diesel generator
Large Living room slide,
Plumbed for washer/dryer
2000 watt Inverter
Plumbed for air brakes on tow vehicle
New: water pump and thermostat, generator full service

1999 Itasca Sunflyer 36L:
54000 miles
Cummings ISB motor
Onan 7500 diesel generator (1,154 hours)
Hydraulic jacks
Fiberglass roof
New: tires, batteries

The Dutch Star is around $6K more. They are both in great condition cosmetically, but I like the layout of the Dutch Star a little more. My question is if there is a significant difference in these RVs that would warrant paying that much more for the Dutch Star based on the specs provided? Would appreciate any insight on these two motorhomes or any issues with the year and make I should be aware of prior to purchasing. Thanks!
General Discussion / Re: Generator mount... is this right?
« Last post by Ngrinwald on Today at 10:02:12 PM »
That is great! Thanks so much!
General Discussion / Re: Solar panels
« Last post by HappyWanderer on Today at 09:56:44 PM »
In the original styrofoam packing material, laying on the overhead bunk.
Harbor Freight solar is junk, so you're not missing anything.

With the fridge on propane and LED lights, you should be fine with a 100 watt panel. Amazon is a good source for Renergy panels and controllers. Portable is good, because you can tilt it towards the sun for greater efficiency.

Ditch the inverter for charging electronics: it has a current draw of its own. Charge the phones directly from 12 volts. No reason to convert DC to AC and back to DC for charging.
General Discussion / Solar panels
« Last post by Drafter58 on Today at 09:54:09 PM »
How do you folks store your portable solar panels while traveling?

Thank Kent
A couple other questions about solar in general:

Could a solar system charge a battery all the way or just keep it topped up?  If you had a battery that was at say 25%, could a small solar system over the course several days bring the battery back to 100%?
Or would that be bad for the battery?

Would there be any harm in mounting the panel to the top of the trailer more or less permanently? So that its keeping the battery topped up year round?
Smaller solar panels can help maintain the battery while the trailer is not in use, though to power the refrigerators control electronics, run LED lights at night, and charge the battery enough to power the furnace blower fan during cooler nights you will likely need 150 -200 watts worth of solar panels minimum if camping in the spring or fall with shorter days, if not you would still need to run a generator to keep your batteries charged while camping.

Here goes the math

Knowing the exact model of refrigerator and furnace you are using would help give a better estimate, though as a general rule an RV refrigerator will consume 5-8 watts of power for the control electronics, which would run 24 hours per day.  Lets assume on the high side so 8 x 24 = 192 watt per day, lets round that to an even 200 to keep things simple.  Lets assume you have a small Suburban brand NTQ series forced air furnace, which has an amp draw of about 3 amps while running, 3 x 12.8  = 38.4, rounding again gives us 40 watts per hour, assuming running only at night, 8 hours per night, for 30 minutes out of every hour.  40 x 8 x .5 = 160 watts per day.  LED lights should be trivial in comparison, even assume you want it fairly brightly lit, a 60 watt equivalent LED light bulb draws about 9 watts per hour, let say 3 hours per night we are still just under 30 watts per day.  This all brings us a grand total of about 400 watts per day you must replace into your battery.

For mid America average spring / fall lighting levels a fixed mount flat solar panel will generate 4 to 5 hours worth of peak output per day if exposed to open sky.  Shading can reduce this considerably, battery charge losses account for 20-25% of the total solar output.  So working with a single 150 watt solar panel with 4 hours of peak output per day we get 150x4 600 watts per day x .75 for battery charge losses, and we just about break even at 450 watts of available power added to the battery on an average day.  Of course you may want to go larger in case of cloudy weather, wanting to recharge cell phones, run radio, etc.

Thanks for that.

Im still getting to know the systems. 

The fridge is a Dometic 2193. When running on propane, according to my interpretation of the manual, the propane system runs continuously without a thermostat, the temperature just being controlled by the flame setting. So I dont think thered be any electrical draw from it. It says to make sure both dc and ac power are switched off before using propane to cool.

The lights are just 2 dome lights in the ceiling. The previous owner has replaced the little lights inside with KEDs. Theyre about the size of my little finger.

The furnace is kind of a moot point. Were used to tenting it, so Im pretty sure we can get by without heat. The only time Id use it would be when moose hunting, and then wed have a fleet of generators anyway. But for arguments sake, the furnace is a Suburban NT-12SE. I dont see anything in the manual that depicts its draw.

So realistically, it would be pretty negligible use I think... I think.
Newcomers' Corner / Re: Help...Im so Confused
« Last post by Gary RV_Wizard on Today at 09:32:49 PM »
Condition is everything in a used RV.  With reasonable care, a 15 year old coach still ought to be in its prime.

A Class A with no slides or even one just slide is not popular with buyers, so they are quite attractively priced.
General Discussion / Re: I gained 10% in HP
« Last post by Gary RV_Wizard on Today at 09:24:22 PM »
HP = Torque x RPM / 5252

To get more HP from the same torque, they let the engine rev up a bit higher.  It's not quite that simple because the curves are a bit different when they do that, but that's the gist of it. If you hunt around online, you can probably find the HP & Torque vs RPM graphs for both versions.
Tech Talk / Re: Propane troubles
« Last post by Gary RV_Wizard on Today at 09:17:02 PM »
It was sort of a shot in the dark, but glad to hear it solved the problem.
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