Jayco Seneca heavy chassis worth it?

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SaladDodger

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Hi All
I don't even have an RV yet but borrowed and rented a few times. Probably wont buy for a couple years so I'm still the fantasy phase.

I have always liked the look of the Jayco Seneca with the heavy Chevy chassis and diesel because I thought it would be a good value and would be more durable than others.

I ask you veteran RV'ers, am I blowing smoke up my skirt? I mean with this heavy chassis type comes more expensive maintenance. I'm not a diesel Mechanic but I was an auto mechanic for years so routine stuff might be possible for me to handle. I don't intend to live in it either.

I need a reality check and real life knowledge if you all could spare some before I go to the next RV show and start getting excited over something that I would later regret spending so much more for.
 

Isaac-1

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I think you are getting ahead of yourself, before picking a type of motorhome or RV of any type you need to give some thought to how you will use it.  The Super C coaches like the Seneca don't really fit into any of the traditional stereotypes, though there is a certain appeal being based on a commercial truck chassis, though with its own share of trade offs, being relatively long for the amount of interior living space, it will also tend to have  rougher ride than an air suspension diesel pusher class A.

Bigger is not always better, for example a 45 ft diesel pusher is an awful choice for wanting to use to camp in older smaller public campgrounds in many of the national parks, some of which have length limits under 25 feet.

p.s. In general I think RV shows, particularly big RV shows are an awful way to shop for a motorhome.  Too much sensory overload, after a couple of hours everything starts blurring together, and you find yourself liking specific aspects of a given coach without seeing the big picture.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I have always liked the look of the Jayco Seneca with the heavy Chevy chassis and diesel because I thought it would be a good value and would be more durable than others.
It's now a Freightliner chassis, not a Chevy or anything from GM.  The current Seneca rides on the new Freightliner S2RV chassis  that is customized for RV use, while previous years utilized the Freightliner M2 medium duty truck chassis. About 10 years ago there were some coaches built on the Chevy Kodiac diesel chassis, including earlier Senecas.  Perhaps you are thinking of those older models?

Whether its a better value or more durable depends on what you are comparing it to.  "Yes", if you compare to most other Class C types, "Maybe" if compared to gas-chassis Class A models, and "No" if compared to Class A diesel models.

You aren't going to wear out the chassis in any of those, though.  Even the van-based gas class C's ought to do a 150k miles.  An RV is much more a house than a vehicle, so you need to focus on the livability factors and the quality of the body construction much more so than chassis or engine.
 

SaladDodger

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I don't really want a class A, This would be used mostly for traveling to destinations to visit, not really staying long or living in it. The diesel pusher appears to be to expensive for my budget. It also stood to reason that the stiffer chassis would permit better body construction.
I hadn't thought the SuperC (thanks for that) would be longer for a given living space. Good info there. looking at 24 to 27 foot so that might just put me out of that style.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Many people confuse "Class A" with "large" or "expensive, but that is merely a stereotype.  There are class A's as short as 26 feet and the cost of an A vs a C is the same for similar size and amenities.  And of course both gas and diesel models available in each coach type.

People who want travel convenience rather than living space typically choose a Class B or Class C. The size you are seeking also is more widely available in those types. 


To answer your immediate question: No, buying the larger and heavier diesel Seneca merely to get a more robust chassis is NOT worth the extra cost.  You are paying for a lot more than just the chassis and you say you have no desire for the other advantages.  A nice Class C on a Ford E450 van cutaway chassis (it's a truck too!) is plenty capable and solid for a 24-27 ft coach body.  You might also consider one of the C's based on the Mercedes Sprinter diesel chassis. They perform well and get excellent fuel economy.
 

SeilerBird

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Most people spend 95% of their time living in their RV and 5% of their time driving it. So in my mind it makes sense to worry a lot more about the house than worry about the vehicle.
 

JD Sharp

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It is obvious you should buy what you find appealing, but also look at what is the most popular. You will not own the motorhome forever so take in to consideration the ability to sell it when you are done with it. I have seen several friends who have a hard time selling their used motorhome because it had a low demand for the brand, length, style, floorplan, color or CHASSIS. So please do research on what is moving in the market.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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So in my mind it makes sense to worry a lot more about the house than worry about the vehicle.
Agree fully, but I think his concern is for the chassis ability to support the house in a superior manner, i.e. stronger, more rigid, etc.  That makes the house structure and systems last longer and stay more reliable.  That's a valid reason for a better grade of chassis, but I think the difference is probably small.
 

JD Sharp

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You are correct Gary. I just purchased a Tiffin on a Freightliner chassis and am quite impressed. We sold a 2004 Beaver with their own well built chassis but I can see the improvements that have been made in the 2012 Freightliner.
 

Lou Schneider

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One thing to keep in mind is the Super C's, like the front engine Class A's, have that long driveshaft and exhaust pipe going down the middle of the chassis from the front engine to the rear axle.

This eliminates a lot of the open space for large water/sewer tanks and pass through basement storage compartments available in most diesel pushers.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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All the coaches under consideration here are front engine and thus share the drawback that Lou described. If I understand what SaladDodger is looking at, it boils down to either a 24-27 foot gas class C on a Ford E450 van chassis or a larger Super C diesel on a Freightliner or Kodiak medium truck chassis.  The Ford E450 peaks out at a 14,500 lb GVWR whereas the Kodiak can go up to 18,000 and the Freightliners are at least 22,000 lbs and can go to 33,000.  It's apparent the Freightliners are much heavier duty, but the E450 is very capable when carrying 24-27 ft coach bodies.  30+ foot coach bodies, though, tax the E450 near its weight limits, so I would recommend the heavier duty chassis types for that size range.
 

SaladDodger

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Garys points are where my head is. The additional load capability was an interesting find when I came across it. Chassis on a class C I looked at long ago had little to no freeboard for carrying anything else, even a full water tank was pushing it. Would not have thought that would ever be an issue but it certainly is. Kinda stuck in my head ever since.
A rear engine sounds like its only available in larger models that I couldn't afford anyway.  Maybe I'm wrong, but thats the impression I have.

Just borrowed a 2018 Leprechaun and wow was it a cheap POS. Rattles everywhere and just not good build quality.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Just borrowed a 2018 Leprechaun and wow was it a cheap POS. Rattles everywhere and just not good build quality.


I get accused of being a snob on a regular basis, but those low end (aka "entry level") RVs are just what you say.  Many buyers are looking mostly at the bling and the price, and Coachmen focuses on that market.  Corner have to be cut somewhere to keep the price down.  The more expensive brands aren't perfect either, but there is a difference.
 

SeilerBird

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Gary RV_Wizard said:
I get accused of being a snob on a regular basis, but those low end (aka "entry level") RVs are just what you say.  Many buyers are looking mostly at the bling and the price, and Coachmen focuses on that market.  Corner have to be cut somewhere to keep the price down.  The more expensive brands aren't perfect either, but there is a difference.
I don't think you are a snob, if anything just the opposite of a snob. You will answer anyone's questions fairly. There is also the problem that a person who goes out and buys the cheapest RV he can find will probably not service it and take care of rattles like a person who buys a top of the line rig.
 

kdbgoat

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Yep, I own a Coachmen, and know your feelings them Gary, but I have never felt you were a snob about it. You explain what I already know, and I agree that Coachmen is built to a price point. Friends of ours will tell their new Jayco isn't any better. Just ask them. To the OP,  i don't know where the rattles are coming from in the Leprechaun you borrowed, but cookie sheets and lids for pots and pans are the only rattles I hear in mine.
 

billwild

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Another advantage even with a shorter class A would be the storage. And larger windshield. Way more than the class C's


Bill
 

sandpsycho

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The Seneca built on the Kodiak chassis is a very nice RV. A friend has one and I was real close to getting one my self. The tanks are larger then a typical class C and the trans engine gas or diesel is the same as a truck so service and parts are easier to come buy. The cons I know of are a noisier ride the engine is right near you and some added heat. The ride is also ruff being on springs but a lot of guys switched the rear to air bags to improve the ride.

On a side note, I read that GM may be bring back the Kodiak chassis. If it does happen, I'm sure it will find it's way under a few motorhomes.
 

blw2

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Yeah, i would love to have my RV's house on a larger chassis....well not exactly because it would ideally then have larger tanks, etc...
When you start getting up to 30ft and over, the E-450 is really too small.  I think the super C's really make sense when compared to a "standard C"...but against anything else, my opinion is probably not.
 

Christophersmith50

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Jumping on this old thread as we are considering a Super C.  We have a Coachmen 32BH that seems to struggle with the hills, particularly when pulling a car.  I appreciate the comments provided above but I am curious if the Seneca can hold its speed on the hills.  We are also considering a cross country trip next year and I want something I can be confident with going back and forth across the US.  Any experience from someone that had a Seneca or other large Super C.
 
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