Choosing a Motorcoach

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roadking

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My wife and I want to buy a class A motorhome to do at least a year of traveling.  From researching them I am leaning toward the Fleetwood Bounder or a National RV Seabreeze.  I know these two manufacturers have a good reputation.  I have just come accross a brand named Damon though and from pictures I have seen they look good.  Can anyone give an opinion of their quality and value to me??
 

Ron

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roadking said:
My wife and I want to buy a class A motorhome to do at least a year of traveling.? From researching them I am leaning toward the Fleetwood Bounder or a National RV Seabreeze.? I know these two manufacturers have a good reputation.? I have just come accross a brand named Damon though and from pictures I have seen they look good.? Can anyone give an opinion of their quality and value to me??

Personnally having owned two Bounders prior to the American Eagle (also a Fleetwood product) I highly recommend them.  IMHO The Bounder gives more bang for the dollar.  Weather you buy new or used I don't think you would ever regret choosing a Bounder.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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We looked at severeal Damons when we were shopping and were unimpressed. Saw lots of obvious defects and sloppy workmanship. However, one of the active members here (BernieD) had a Damon diesel for several years and thought highly of it.  We bought a National Dolphn LX and had lots of problems anyway, so who knows?  Unfortunately quality is very inconsistent in RVs and one can get a mediocre one from any manufacturer.

I think I Seabreeze is a heck of a value and wouldn't sneeze at a Bounder either.  I would choose either one ahead of an equivalently priced Damon product.
 

BernieD

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Our first motorhome was a 1998 Damon Diesel Pusher (UltraSport). While we had a lot of issues with it in the beginning the factory and the dealer were excellent in getting everything resolved eventually and followup service was excellent also. However, Damon has been sold to the Thor Group and I don't know how the service is now or the quality.
 

Ron

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Based on Smoky's experience just test driving the Mandalay which is also built by Thor I wouldn't count too much on their quality or service. ;D ;D
 

Smoky

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My own experience with Thor Mandalay was horrible.  I posted on several forums and many Thor Damon owners have shared their dissatisfaction with Thor.  Unlike Monaco which attempts to bring companies into their family, so to speak, Thor is merely a "holding company" and all they ask for is a bottom line contribution from the companies they purchase.

Beaver Santiam(Monaco), and the Newmar coaches made my final list.

I have good opinion of Fleetwood (trading in a Fleetwood trailer) and test drove the Bounder pusher and found it to be a good basic entry level DP.
 

socalman38

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I'm new to this forum, and as I am trying to purchase our first MH, I love to turn to forums like this for lots of great info and have not been dissapointed. I found our boat the same way, and after 4 months of reading, found more info on forums than any. Boat is fantastic, not a problem yet (and boat industry is as reliable as the rv industry). Anyway, thought I'd throw in a couple things to think about. Fleetwood uses rubber roof, vs Winnabago uses fiberglass. No maintenance and no fear of tears from trees with fiberglass roof (had a 04 Tailgator toyhauler with rubber roof and snagged a parkway tree, nice tear and repair). 2nd on the Winnebago (Adventurer vs Bounder) it has basement AC. Good for hot weather stops just as Colorado River in Arizona, allows the coolers to work faster in 120 deg weather. 3rd, the bathroom locations. This might not work into everyones use of an RV, but we take 6 to 8 people on trips. We're thinking about the shower at the end of the boating day and want a bathroom that is private without closing off the entire back bedroom of the rig. The kids will want to jump on the bed and play Nintendo while we're taking turns showering, and the adults are in the living area watching TV waiting their turn as well. Nights while sleeping, we would have to close everyone off to use the toilet, and the others would have to close our bedroom off to do the same. Just don't like the need of closing off 2 doors and cutting the rig in half for some private time in the bathroom. Fleetwood Southwind, Storm and Bounder all have the same layout and my wife don't like it (by the way, she's the one that figured all this out). Also the Winne uses hydraulic system for the slide out (same as the lifts) while Fleet uses electric motor. You can sit 3 people on the couch and move the slide out (the button is even on the couch) where they do not recommend any additional weight with the electric motor. I'm only pointing all these things out because my local dealer is a rental place that sells they're units as well. The salesman was very helpfull in pointing us in the right direction and showing us these comparisons. They rent all 4 of these models (as well as the Four Winn Hurricane), all with one slide, and 32-34' lengths. He knows which models are in repair more often as well, since these are late model units (2000-2003) with lots of miles (50k-80k). They all sell for around the same money, not one more than another, just depends on mileage or length. But a 32 Bounder is selling for about same as 32' Adventurer. By the way, they both book for 44600 wholesale (no options, mileage used) for a 2000. Just seems so far, that Winne is better. On a another quick note, whoever owns the Dolphin, tell me more. I'm also looking at a 96-00 Dolphin. Whats good/bad about National?
 

Smoky

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Cannot help you with National.  Never test drove one.

As for fiberglass roofs, the next step is to determine if it is a one piece roof or laid down in several strips that go the length of the coach.

Newmar offers a one piece fiberglass roof as an option, which I elected to take.

Many brands and models offer bathrooms in the back.  Be sure to check other dealers besides the one you are renting from.  I spent two years in my research and went to 10 different dealers, 5 different BIG RV shows and test drove at least a dozen coaches, cannot remember any more how many.  I was amazed at how my attitudes changed as i got free from just one or two dealers.  Dealers are VERY good at focusing you where they want you to go.  Most of them do not lie, but none that I have found are able to tell ALL the many different truths.  ;D  The best check and balance, therefore, is to visit many dealers and pit them against each other.

When Monaco told me 8 air bags was better than 4 (Roadmaster chassis vs Freightliner or Spartan chassis)  I asked the non Monaco dealers what they thought about 8 airbags.  Then when they gave me reasons 8 air bags were not as good as 4, I took their answers back to the Monaco dealers.  Then the rebuttal from Monaco would go back to the Freightliner/Spartan crowd.  This went on for months and I sort of became a sideline spectator, sitting in on a fascinating debate going on between the various dealers.

"and boat industry is as reliable as the RV industry"

;D ;D  Been there done that!! <g>
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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On a another quick note, whoever owns the Dolphin, tell me more. I'm also looking at a 96-00 Dolphin. Whats good/bad about National?

I have a 2002 Dolphin LX, which was a brand new design then.  However, you are looking at the previous generation of Dolphin.  Another  member here, George Foster, has a 36 foot National Tropical (gas) for sale at an attractive price, so you might want to contact him.  Email to  [email protected]

I had a more than the usual amount of problems with my new one, perhaps because it was a new design, but NRV came through pretty well on the repairs. National Rv in general has a good reputation and most Seabreeze/Dolphin/Tradewinds owners I talk to report they are very satisfied.
 
S

sunnie

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We are also looking for a class A. Our time table is about 3 years, but we have started our search. What do you think about the Alphe line?
 

OTHG 21s

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Roadking, socalman
Although I have had an 32 Gas Rexall Aerbus/no slide for the past three years, we have just sold that one and jumped up to a diesel pusher. Like you socalman, I researched throughout the web on different models. What a great tool! I have just recently decided on a 2001 Winnebago Journey 36DL. It has a galley/couch slide in front and a wardrobe/drawer slide in back. Both of the slides are on the drivers side.  I'm not sure if that is an advantage or not. I have seen them on opposing sides too. One quality that I liked on our Prowler travel trailer was the front and back door. We always seemed to have alot of kids with us sleeping up front. I am a early riser so it would be easy for me to slip out the back and enjoy that first cup of coffee in silence.  That's the one option that I haven't seen yet on a motorhome. Maybe there out there.. SO, I hope to be able to give some good feedback on our Journey soon. We bought out of state ( Washington) and expect to take delivery after the 4th. Have fun searching, there's a ton out there!  Greg
 

UK-RV

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Sorry for throwing this into your thread.

I am planning our big purchase for jan 06 and want to know what to expect when we get there.

I see many great looking RVs advertised by dealers, but have to admit to being a total novice when it comes down to what is best/worst and why.

Here is an example of one RV I've seen advertised.

http://rvclassified.com/rvclassified_cfmfiles/search/details.cfm?id=55697&dealerpage=yes&customerid=18454

Perhaps a few regulars can tell me if this is a good buy ?

If yes, then why ?

If no, then why not ?

How much would you actually offer a dealer for it ?

I know to a large extent it is down to personal choice, but I have to start getting a FEEL for what Im looking at.

Thanks

Paul

 

Tom

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Paul

Personally, I wouldn't offer a penny for it unless/until I saw it &/or fully understood the product line and researched invoice prices and sticker prices. One thing to remember is that pretty soon the 2006 models will be out and that coach will effectively be a year old. The dealer may try to convince you otherwise when you negotiate the price, but try getting the same dealer to buy the same coach unused from you as anything other than a 1-year old coach.
 

BernieD

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Paul

Some positives:
Nice looking
Low price

Some negatives:
Coachmen is a lower end producer without a strong presence in the market for diesel pushers, I have heard that quality is poor to middling

The engine is an ISB (smallest of Cummins diesel pusher engines) and could be inadequate to tow and climb, poor torque..

The kitchen sink is awkward, it is blocked when the slide is in. Without walking thru the coach and seeing how things are with the slides in and out there may be other issues as well.

This is just a cursory comment with what we have to work with. I am sure you will hear from others who have bought coaches recently with some good alternative suggestions.
 
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