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Old 10-26-2017, 09:35 PM   #1
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Default Thoughts and Observations on Driving a Luxury Class A DP

This past week I helped my bro-in-law out by driving his class A motorhome from CO to FL, about 1850 miles total. Towed a car, and my sister-in-law also drive a vehicle caravanning with me. His is a nice luxury 42 ft, tag axle, 400 hp rated Cummins (ISM I think, but did not check close enough), Allison 6 speed auto trans. It is actually a 2006 model but very good condition and only around 42K miles. He bought it with 23K three years ago and it was always stored inside. It's a Travel Supreme, which was a pretty high end model, but they did not survive the 2008-2009 downturn. He snowbirds each winter. He had some work commitments and could not drive it himself. I had help from friends driving my cars and stuff out for my recent move; so time to return the favor and pay it forward, so I volunteered to drive it for him. I retired little over 2 months ago, so I had the time available.

So anyway, here are some of my thoughts and observations driving it:
1. It really does feel like driving a bus.
2. Also feels like being in a greenhouse with the huge windshield and large side windows. Dash air has a hard time keeping driver's area cool compared to my T/C.
3. I miss my air seat.
4. The Allison auto works pretty good and shifts smoother than my automated manual.
5. I don't like having only one door on pass side to get in, not only for driving, but to also get into the motorhome. My T/C has the two cab doors, and the side entry door into the motorhome area.
6. Four slides opens up real big inside, wish I had more than the two my T/C has.
7. Engine torque was not bad, it cruises effortlessly at 70 mph. But the smaller engine did slow down more on longer hills. My T/C just pours on the torque and does not slow down nearly as much.
8. Real quiet up front driving, not that my T/C is loud, but the class A is quieter with the pusher engine configuration.

I can see where people like the Class A's. Not my style and I still prefer my T/C. Not sure if more people would buy the T/C if they did a comparison. They are the same in some ways, different in others.

2005 Kenworth Showhauler 45 ft total length
twin screw, 450 hp ISX, 10 speed Ultrashift
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Old 10-27-2017, 06:36 AM   #2
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I've got an idea that a truck conversion seldom comes into consideration for most RV buyers. The reasons are many, but based on what I read over on the RV forums it is the "floorpan first" approach to purchasing that probably contributes most.

If safety, power, handling characteristics, ease of maintenance, and value were the first considerations, I believe you would see many more TCs on the road!

2006 Renegade/Freightliner Coronado 43', Detroit, twin screw, 12spd
2001 Ford Excursion PSD
2017 Ford F450
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Old 11-01-2017, 01:01 PM   #3
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38Chevy454 -

Re: the pusher impressions....

You say it cruises nice at 70, but what was the MPG? abysmal in comparison?

Friends of mine tell me their Allison auto trans in their pusher is CRAP...he complains in his Newmar Essex 500hp coach that NONE of the gears are really right....too many "over drives" and not enough "gears" to truly getting things rolling (basically it a dog off the line, and geared too tall on the interstate)....all this while achieving 6.5-7 mpg if he drives it like the throttle is a raw egg about to crack under even the slightest pressure.

Petrel -

I (too) often hear that conversions are never considered because they feel they give up some seating/living space to the cab - I think they don't realize the over (cab) sleeping or storage advantage/gain and I don't think people realize the cab seats swivel.

Additionally they don't know the advantage of air ride cockpit seating.
Don R.
'04 Haulmark (M42386) 42', 2 slide, 10kw - Pictures
'04 F350 CrewCab Longbed 4x4, 50g aux tank & gear vendors dbl over
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Old 11-01-2017, 03:29 PM   #4
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Thought of something else, the Class A was full air susp front and rear; my T/C is air only in the rear. My front is conventional leafs. The full air ride in the class A is probably a bit softer. That is subjective, I prefer a bit harder ride with more road feel myself.

MPG at 70 is probably around 7.5. I did not check specifically, but the display showing instantaneous mpg seemed to vary around that range. Also that is approx what it got for mileage based on filling up, although it was not full when I started. Say 1850 miles and approx 240 gals at the same fuel level equals 7.7 mpg. It would go higher in the 9-10 range when I went slower like 60-65 range on some 2 lane highways. I certainly did not have the bad mpg some class A people experience.

Interesting side note, the Class A has around 140-150 gal fuel tank. Fill from both sides, but only 1 large tank. My T/C has the two saddle tanks like typical trucks and I have around 180 gal capacity.

Class A trans is a 6 speed, and I will say that in a drag race the class A would outrun mine. Some due to lost time with more and slower shifts in mine. Some due to weight differences, my T/C is a little heavier. RPM at 70 mph would be around 1850-1900 in the class A, I turn around 1500 at the same speed. I coincidentally also get approx 7.5 mpg at 70 mph. I like having the extra gears, but I would not say the Class A was having problems with incorrect gear.

I have heard slang term for our T/C with the overhead bunk called "moving vans" by some of the Class A folks. However when it comes down to it, I think many go with the Class A because it is just what everyone else does. The herd mentality at work.
2005 Kenworth Showhauler 45 ft total length
twin screw, 450 hp ISX, 10 speed Ultrashift
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Old 11-01-2017, 05:15 PM   #5
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Another big reason people often don't consider a Truck Conversion is because they've never heard of one. And most conventional rv dealers haven't heard of them either. And don't know anything about them.
'03 Freightliner FL112, 295" wheel base, with '03 United Specialties 26' living quarters, single screw, Cat C12 430 h/p 1650 torque, Eaton 10speed , 3.42 rear axle ratio
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