Used Coach Quality

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KandT

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Jul 27, 2016
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Yes another one from me still figuring out the used market.

Ok - so we looked at what many would consider a lower tiered brand yesterday (I won't mention the name) and found many of the house components were indeed pretty low quality despite being a higher end model of this coach.  Some sort of compressed wood where solid wood would have been used in a higher end coach.  Plastic trim that wasn't adhered.  Basement door that felt pretty cheap. 

My question is when looking at a higher end coach like a Phaeton (would be in the 2008) or so vintage for my price range, are there things I cant see that make it a better coach?  In other words, do they use better components?  It seems most use Atwood water heaters, HWH levelers, domestic this and that. 

Do the higher end coaches come with higher end changes to the chassis etc????  Different suspension additions or is the fiberglass walling better?

Thanks all!
 

docj

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Oct 16, 2010
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Your question makes it sound as if you expect to see higher quality across the entire model line of a particular manufacturer when, in fact, there are, for example, major quality differences between a Phaeton and an Allegro Bus, both of which, of course, are produced by Tiffin.  Yes, there are things that are found in higher end MH's but they aren't found throughout the product line.  The most basic of these "extras" is that the more expensive coaches in a manufacturer's line are always fitted with larger engines compared to those used in the less expensive models.  Engine size may not interest you, but large block diesel engines are much more expensive machines than are the small block engines, such as the Cummins 6.7L ISB used in entry- and mid-level diesel MH's.
 

Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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SW Louisiana
These older higher end coaches can be a bit of a double edge sword, many were early adopters of technology that may now be no longer supported, things like centralized lighting control systems, or other automation, slide systems, etc.  So some degree of caution needs be used when you investigate particular models, even down to the particular unit, as changes of brands and models of these systems don't always align with year models.  Having said that there is usually a reason for a coaches higher original price, which may include heavier, chassis, bigger engine, better interior and exterior materials, solid surface counter tops, real wood cabinets, Aluminum or Fiberglass Roof or side walls with full body paint, hydronic heating system, etc.

Also be aware that the product range spread, and point in the market of a given manufacturer may have changed over the years, some on average have moved up-market over the years (Tiffin), others have been on a long slow slide (Holiday Rambler).  Some brands may have produced only mid to upper tier coaches (Foretravel, Country Coach, etc.) , others may have ranged from entry level on up through mid-upper tier depending on the model (Holiday Rambler, Winnebago,...). 
 

thelazyl

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Nov 9, 2018
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Molalla, Oregon
Isaac-1 said:
These older higher end coaches can be a bit of a double edge sword, many were early adopters of technology that may now be no longer supported, things like centralized lighting control systems, or other automation, slide systems, etc.  So some degree of caution needs be used when you investigate particular models, even down to the particular unit, as changes of brands and models of these systems don't always align with year models.  Having said that there is usually a reason for a coaches higher original price, which may include heavier, chassis, bigger engine, better interior and exterior materials, solid surface counter tops, real wood cabinets, Aluminum or Fiberglass Roof or side walls with full body paint, hydronic heating system, etc.

Also be aware that the product range spread, and point in the market of a given manufacturer may have changed over the years, some on average have moved up-market over the years (Tiffin), others have been on a long slow slide (Holiday Rambler).  Some brands may have produced only mid to upper tier coaches (Foretravel, Country Coach, etc.) , others may have ranged from entry level on up through mid-upper tier depending on the model (Holiday Rambler, Winnebago,...).

Issac - I'd like follow up on your comment.  We currently own a 2003 DP and are window shopping for a possible upgrade to something newer and bigger within the next 3-5 years.  Are you aware of a listing of components of technology no longer supported?  I am wondering - if I shop for a DP in the used year range of 2008-12 I'd like to be able to identify those components deemed outdated.
Thanks, Mark
 

Larry N.

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May 26, 2010
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Westminster, Colorado
I don't have a list, but the Aladdin coach monitoring system in Beavers and Monacos (mid-2000s) is hard to find parts for, and hasn't been made for a number of years.
 

zmotorsports

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Dec 10, 2010
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Utah
Like already mentioned, many things are variations between models in the same manufacturer's line up.

For example in the Monaco line, if you were to compare a Diplomat to a Dynasty to a Signature there are some subtle differences and some very major.  The bottom line is what design characteristics are most important to you, the shopper.  Some wouldn't notice the difference and others will notice every little detail.  Both the Diplomat and the Dynasty in the mid-2000's come with the Roadmaster chassis, ISL engine and Allison 6-speed so what's the difference?  The Diplomat being on an RR8R chassis and the Dynasty being on an S-Series (semi-monocoque) chassis which to me are quite substantial differences yet to someone else because you can get similar floorplans in either they won't think the difference are so great.  Same between the Dynasty and the Signature even though they are on the same chassis.  The Signature will have the larger engine/trans and more "fluff" in the interior but basically the same chassis and fit & finish to the interior with a few more luxury items.

To me the chassis and drivetrain were the most important followed by floorplan whereas to someone else it may be floorplan, floorplan and floorplan in order of priorities. 

Some technology or luxury items are not what I would call necessary but someone else won't have a coach without it, such as the Aladdin system that Larry mentioned.

Mike
 

UTTransplant

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Jul 20, 2014
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Cedar Falls, IA
Like Docj said, there are lots of significant differences under the skin, but there can be some big differences in the systems too. For example, I have a mid-low level Tiffin diesel, a RED. Our unit has regular propane heat and a regular water heater, but the Phaetons and Busses have floor heat using an AquaHot system that also supplies them hot water. Big difference. There are also significant design differences between my unit and the more expensive ones in flooring, upholster, and general decor. The bigger units also have a much higher probability of being all-electric. Our unit has options available for some of the items that are standard on the higher level units, so it can get confusing to compare sometimes. For example, the 2019 units have AquaHot and all-electric as options on the REDs now. The more upscale units also generally have a greater carrying capacity related to some of those under the hood? differences.
 

ArdraF

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Feb 12, 2006
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10,693
It's hard to see some of the quality differences underneath, but here's one example.  We bought a Monaco Executive on factory order and were in the process of choosing colors and fabrics.  We wanted blue inside which was not being used that year.  I went through various fabric samples and found one we liked.  When I showed it to the interior designer she said "No, you don't want that one.  It was in lower end models and it won't hold up very well."  She went out to the warehouse and found a better quality fabric which we still have, 15 years later.

Another example was an unseen difference between the lower end and higher end lines.  The Executive and Signature supposedly had a more substantial "cage" around the driver compartment than the Dynasty and lower end models.  That helped me decide on the Executive because I had seen a picture of a large piece of construction equipment on a flatbed trailer that hit a bridge and fell over onto the Executive driving next to it.  The impact was mainly to the Executive's front end.  The driver and his granddaughter in the passenger seat were unharmed and his wife who was farther back in the coach had some minor injuries.  I was amazed that there was so little damage to the Executive.

The things you can see generally are the same across brands and models, such as Splendide washer/dryers, microwaves, refrigerators, and the like.  The productls may be upgraded in higher end models but the products are pretty standard.  What distinguishes one RV model from another may be less obvious, such as real wood cabinets instead of pressed board, drawer glide hardware, carpet quality, perhaps subflooring, and things behind cabinets.  And, of course, items in older models may have been modified or replaced.  When something breaks after 10-15 years you can almost bet you won't be able to find an exact replacement because items no longer exist or they've been upgraded.  Just trying to find a replacement that will fit and/or work in the same space can be a challenge!

ArdraF
 

Isaac-1

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SW Louisiana
Another couple of things to keep in mind,

1, Some of these high end systems require more ongoing maintenance than others, take for example diesel fired  Hydronic heating systems many (all?) of which require annual professional service.

2, Some things are easier to update than others, Microwave ovens, and tube style TV's are easier to update than something like the polished brass color shower enclosure.
 

JD Sharp

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Jun 20, 2009
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234
Location
Ferndale, WA
We owned a 2004 Beaver Monterrey and was an excellent coach. Many high end features such as solid maple cabinetry, auto air leveling,  Hydronic diesel heater and High torque Cat engine. We decided to sell and get a newer Tiffin Allegro Red. You can see the cost savings in cabinetry, light fixtures, flooring and wiring but the technological gains in a 2012 model are very noticeable. Easier to start, drive, and fuel economy increased from 7.5 to 10.2 MPG (towing). So you don't have to buy a Newell to get a good motorhome, just read customer reviews of their coaches.
 
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