Two More Finds! Dutch Star by Newmar or National Tradewinds?

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Bayrat

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Just this morning came across a new trade at a local dealer. It's a 1998 Dutch Star 3890 with 52,000 miles. I can't find this model in the NADA pricing but it's within the range we are looking at now. It has a diesel generator, another plus. Based upon the pictures it's clean. I'm on the Newmar site looking for archive brochures but not having much luck with that either.

A second rig just in on consignment by the same dealer is a 2001 National Tradewinds. It looks from the pictures like a high end rig. It is priced at 30K above the asking price of the Newmar but the dealer mentioned it's a "has to" sell due to personal issues. It has 54,000 miles on it.

Admiral and I are going to look at them Sunday afternoon. If my fellow board members have advise relative to what to look for in either o these please let me know.

I know, I'm a PITA with this  ::)

Thanks again.
 

Jim Godward

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Bayrat,

I don't know if they go back that far but somewhere on the Newmar corp. site there are brouchures for many past years models.  Skip on the Newmarowners site knows the exact locations so ask there.
 

Jim Godward

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Tough decision but given the choice i would probably go with the National.  I suspect it has a larger engine and a better carry weight, i.e., a higher gross weight and about the same actual weight.  You would have to check in the Mhs to be sure.  The newmars before 2001 tend to have a small grossweight vs carry weight.

My guess is the gross weight on the '98 is 29,000# VS 31,000 or 32,000# for the National.  Both are good manufacturers
 

Bayrat

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Thank you Jim. We are holding off until tomorrow to look so that I can go in there as prepared as possible with all the information to make an informed choice. The National does look really nice but the price is also quite a bit higher than what the book shows as retail. I'm getting tired of dealing with private sellers whom want full retail price (or more) in "as is" condition. At least I would have dealer support with one of these.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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You generally do NOT get dealer support for a consignment sale. The dealer only gets a sales commission on the consignment - he does not warranty it or repair problems before or after the sale unless the seller (or you) pays for it. If you want dealer support, choose the Dutch Star.

I wouldn't call a Tradewinds an upscale model vs Dutch Star, but the three years newer brings a lot more features and amenities to the table. Motorhomes were rapidly going upscale in that time frame, so newer ones tend to look a lot sharper. And cost more too!

That said, a Tradewinds is a good coach and one I would certainly consider.
 

Bayrat

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Well, another day and the search continues.

The  Dutch Star turned out to be an auction buy, I would guess perhaps a repo, it was a mess inside, poorly cared for. Looked good outside but the broken cabinetry, dirty carpet and upholstery and items not working along with six tires which will need to be replaced due to age made me walk on this one. Other than it was not rusty below, it reminded me of the 2001 Ultimate I looked at a couple of weeks ago. We were very disappointed as I had planned on making an offer prior to seeing it.

On the other hand, the Tradewinds is a consignment coach being sold by an elderly couple. It has the propane genset, not the diesel as they had originally told me, that was a disappointment. Inside needed cleaning but nothing was busted up as in the Dutch Star. Someone had replaced the flooring in the salon area with a cheap wood of some sort, I am thinking it would have originally had carpet there. It looked terrible and in fact they had the faux planks running perpendicular to the side walls so it looked really odd. Also had tile in the galley area through to the head. Not certain if that is original equipment either. Otherwise, it could be cleaned up. They could not start it as all the batteries were dead. Wouldn't you think the dealer would have tried it since he knew well in advance I was coming today? Underbody was clean except the 300 HP Cat was pretty well soaked with what appeared to be motor oil from top to bottom so something is leaking but most likely not serious. This rig had six year old tires, no cracks but I would imagine next year would be looking at 3k to replace them.

Just for my own information, originally when I had asked about quality coaches in my first thread, Tradewinds was mentioned but it sounds as though they don't stand up against the top guns such as Monaco or Newmar?

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I did not mean to imply its not a good coach, but it is a mid-level diesel in terms of price and amenity.  National RV made other models that were more upscale.  Monaco makes coaches in all price ranges, so one cannot say that any Monaco is better than a Tradewinds.  Ditto for Newmar, Fleetwood, etc.
 

Bayrat

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Gary RV Roamer said:
I did not mean to imply its not a good coach, but it is a mid-level diesel in terms of price and amenity.  National RV made other models that were more upscale.  Monaco makes coaches in all price ranges, so one cannot say that any Monaco is better than a Tradewinds.  Ditto for Newmar, Fleetwood, etc.

Wow, thanks for the clarification, I assumed that the name brand itself meant quality. Glad I checked again, this has been quite the learning process. I feel like one of the newbies on a boating forum asking for information relative to which boat is best.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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"best" and "upscale" aren't the same thing. National RV built a pretty good coach in terms of quality and reliability and value for the dollar. Like most manufacturers, they offered different price ranges and both gas and diesel versions, but most of their offerings were geared toward the low and mid price ranges.  Note I said "most", not "all".  Tradewinds is just one of national RV's brand names.

Monaco and Newmar focused more of their models in the "upscale" price spectrum, so they tend to have better quality interiors and more features, including some that make maintenance easier. So in that sense, most Monacos and Newmars will be "better" and "more upscale" than some other brands, but one cannot say that every single model made by them is "better" than any other model from someone else. I see you have also discovered Country Coach, another manufacturer that focused on the higher end models. Country Coach was owned by National RV and was, in effect, their upscale, up-market brand.  Fleetwood has a similar line up - their low and mid range models bear the Fleetwood label, while their upscale line is labeled American Coach.

An analogy would be to compare Ford and General Motors. Both corporations makes a range of models. Some Ford models, e.g. Lincolns, are better and more upscale than some GM models, e.g. Chevrolet, but the opposite is also true, e.g. a Cadillac vs a Focus.
 

Bayrat

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When I try to compare these I'm more concerned with the quality of construction and the ease of service, access etc to components. Nice cupboards are a bonus but not necessarily what makes a good coach to me and the admiral, we are more into good solid construction and functionality. Well done wiring, good quality components and most important a coach that is built to last with sturdy framework, well supported window frames, materials that won't dissolve if a water leak occurs, that kind of thing. We were totally turned off by a 2004 Fleetwood at the Syracuse show that had a water leak in the corner of the large helm window. I poked my fid completely through the dissolved wall material to the outside panel of the coach (appeared to be glue board). I guess that is what makes the Winnebago so popular.

Please forgive my ignorance in all this, I have been learning as I go.
 

Bayrat

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Update: The sales manager called me a short time ago and apologized for the condition of both coaches. I don't think he was happy that they were not properly staged and running when I arrived especially given they had a couple days notice. It seems the National Tradewinds owner is going to pull his rig out of there so the dealer is hustling to relay my offer from yesterday. We shall see.
 

Bayrat

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All of a sudden I have several more, a dealer called me with another Dutch Star, a 1999 model that he claims is immaculate but the mileage is higher at 76K. Price is $30k . The guy with the National dropped to within $1500 of what I offered.

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I include cabinetry when I am looking at quality of construction. Particle board or MDF cabinets don't hold up well in RVs, because of moisture and vibration as well as wear and tear.

In the terms that you defined for qualities you are looking for, I would be looking at primarily Monaco & Holiday Rambler, Newmar,and  Country Coach. Plus the bus-based coaches built on Prevost, MCI bus chassis or the custom built Newell. If solid underpinnings are your priority, the later set would be my choice.
 

KodiakRV

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Bayrat said:
... They could not start it as all the batteries were dead. Wouldn't you think the dealer would have tried it since he knew well in advance I was coming today? Underbody was clean except the 300 HP Cat was pretty well soaked with what appeared to be motor oil from top to bottom so something is leaking but most likely not serious...
You must be a bigger risk-taker than I am.  I would not make an offer on a coach with an oil-soaked engine that I had not even seen run...
 

Bayrat

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KodiakRV said:
You must be a bigger risk-taker than I am.  I would not make an offer on a coach with an oil-soaked engine that I had not even seen run...

Oh not that much of a risk taker, I clearly stated that the coach would need to pass a shop inspection and a test drive by yours truly  ;D but by doing it this was I was able to get the ball rolling.
 

Bayrat

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I drove the Dutch Star and it ran fine although it seemed a bit shy on power. The thing smelled as thought the black water tank was leaking and there were a number of switches and other items which were broken. Tires are old and starting to crack. Dealer tells me that $30k is wholesale (his offer to me) and that he will fix everything that is mechanically wrong with it but not any cosmetic items. So that leaves me with $3000 in tires, a broken counter and oven top cover along with carpet, broken latches here and there and basically a complete scrub down of the interior and furniture. Not certain if this is worth pursuing.

The National has the fiberglass roof which appears to me to be too easy to flex inward where it rolls around and meets the side walls. Is this normal? There is plenty of calking at that joint so I am wondering if there is soft wood under that glass. Otherwise it's a nice coach.
 
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