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Old 09-08-2010, 11:57 PM   #1
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Another Newbie Thread...

Folks -

Been stalking the forum for a few weeks now.

We are looking at a 390BH for the family (3 small kids and the two of us) and are in Sunny Northern California.

Very close to pulling the trigger and are down to where to buy from and which motor. We had also considered the Monaco Cayman/Holiday Rambler Neptune BH - but not sure the cost justifies the upgrades (does it?).

I talked to the usual great companies and have gotten some (what I think) are great prices! The issue that concerns me is that NONE of these dealers are local (many states away). Will I have a big problem if/when there is a warranty issue? They are all telling me no and that Forest River will take care of it - is this the case? Is the dealer being local really a non-issue? Will getting this registered in California be an issue?

The next item is should we go for the new motor or the old motor? There is a cost difference (but not that big relative to the total amounts) - but I have to believe that Forest River would have running changes in their product for the better. Any thoughts? Newer = Better?

Which motor? 340hp or 360hp? We would at times tow an F150 Supercrew or SUV. Not sure if that is going to be a problem. Again - if the cost isn't great - would there be a reason not to go with the 360hp?

Finally - how has the 390bh been - reliability wise? Has this been a solid product?

Thank you for the insights in advance!
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Old 09-09-2010, 12:12 AM   #2
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To tell you the truth, even those here that did buy their rig from a local dealer have a crappy time getting them fixed. I wouldn't count on getting good service even if you do buy local. My local dealer not wanting to fix my rig was just fine with me as I wouldn't have trusted those monkeys anywhere near my rig. I fix most things myself.

That said I understand that some people don't want to fix things themselves or don't have the ability. I wouldn't want to try and fix slides or some other things either.

If you have a problem with an appliance or accessory you DO NOT need to go to a FR dealer for repair. Find the closest authorized service center for the item in need of work.

Our local Dometic repair center is just that, an RV repair center, they do not sell RVs. They stated that they were more than happy to do the warranty repair on our Forest River product. To bad I was out of the 1 year warranty.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:04 AM   #3
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I have to agree with Ed that buying locally does not guarantee you getting it fixed promptly and correctly. This problem is universal in the motorhome industry. One of the bragging points of Tiffin owners is that they can get their rigs fixed at the factory. Well, that's fine if you live near Red Bay, Alabama, which is not exactly in the population center of the universe. The reason Tiffin owners have to go to Red Bay is that their local dealer can't or won't fix their units. Same is true for Forest River and practically every other motorhome out there. Service at the local level is always an issue with motorhomes.

As for the 390bh, we have our 2011 and have about 5,000 miles on it. We elected to go with the "old" (2009) chassis as opposed to the new 2010 chassis and engines. The reasons we wanted to go that way were to avoid the hassle of dealing with the urea, avoiding the extra 1000 pounds of weight the new engines and systems require, and most importantly, avoiding the $15,000 upcharge for the new chassis. As for problems, you will always have some with any motorhome. Ours have been more minor annoyances than real problems. Overall we have been very happy with our rig and our dealer from the sales perspective. Service is a different animal, but the price was right and everything happened as promised on the sales end. Our dealer was Buffalo RV if that helps which is also called RVDirect and RVOne.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:28 AM   #4
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I'm starting to get a better picture of the warranty situation from the above posts. I think I understand that this is really broken into the House, Chasis and Appliances.

Chasis - Freightliner - seems to be an abundant number of locations for both service and warranty. Doesn't seem to be an issue with taking a coach to any Factory Authorized location for warranty or service

Appliances - seems to be a matter of contacting the particular mfg and figuring it out from there.

House - Seems that calling Forest River and requesting warranty or help is an accepted way to go. I sense they will then ask where you are and point you to a repair center - which may or may not be an authorized dealer. Does this seem right?

(this said - as long as I get the coach in the correct condition - will I ever deal with the purchasing dealer again?)

As an aside - anyone know if there is an EXCELLENT (ok - acceptable) repair center near San Francisco Ca?

Any thoughts on the other items above? (bigger vs. smaller motor?)
Again - thank you all for your input and insight!

Thank you..

Alex
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:38 PM   #5
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Alex,
As has been mentioned, getting your selling dealer to make repairs is not any easier than taking to an independant shop. I had a few problems, also mostly minor, taken care of at non-selling dealers. I paid them directly and Forest River reimbursed me for the cost. I had 2 problems that I needed to go back to the factory for. One was a slide issue where it stripped the gear mechanism while operating the slide. This occurred twice and was repaired at local dealers twice. I could have had it repaired locally but I opted to go to the factory and have them repair it. The second was a leak in the bedroom ceiling when using the rear AC. Local dealers could find nothing wrong so this too was taken care of at the same time at the factory. Turned out that a drain tube for the AC was stapled through during construction which caused it to leak. Other than these, there have only been minor issues. I have about 15000 miles on coach and have the smaller 340hp engine. I do not tow as I find that we usually go to a campground that has all amenities we need and if we need a vehicle, we will rent one for a day or so. I think that it works out better in the long run since you use less fuel and pay less tolls than if you tow a vehicle. You pretty much summed it up when you broke down the repairs issues by chassis, appliances, house. Freightliner chassis has a 3 year/36000 mile warranty on it and the Cummins engine and Allison transmission have 5 year-100000 mi warranties. Appliances usually have a 3 year warranty on them. All in all we are very happy with our coach.
Good luck,
Tom
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:33 PM   #6
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Thank you for the responses. I think you all have put my mind at ease regarding not being able to get warranty work from the original dealer - of course now I am worried about stuck slides and crappy service from RV repair centers.. :-)

Anyone know of any other changes that are with the 2011 new motors or included with the new coach?
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:20 AM   #7
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Our dealer has a 2011 on a 2010 chassis. The biggest change I see is in the rear cap. It has a much larger radiator and, as such, a different rear end cap. Other than that, the unit appears to be the same as ours. As for the engine, I would say that if you are not towing a heavy toad, then you will probably be fine with the smaller diesel. It will take you from point A to point B without a problem.
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Old 02-20-2011, 08:39 PM   #8
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Hello Amarzano,
I live in San Jose and I am about ready to pull the trigger on a 390BH with the bigger engine/transmission since I am planning on towing a full size SUV (5600#). I am considering a Fleetwood Discovery with the bunkhouse but I am not sure the extra cost is justified. I would love to hear your thoughts on the 390BH now that you have had it a short while. Is it holding up with the 3 kids? I have 2 kids ages 5 an 6 myself. Problems? Regrets? Wish you would have done something else? Where did you buy it? Any intel/advice you would care to share would be appreciated...pm may be appropriate if you care to.
Thanks in advance.


Quote:
Originally Posted by amarzano View Post
Folks -

Been stalking the forum for a few weeks now.

We are looking at a 390BH for the family (3 small kids and the two of us) and are in Sunny Northern California.

Very close to pulling the trigger and are down to where to buy from and which motor. We had also considered the Monaco Cayman/Holiday Rambler Neptune BH - but not sure the cost justifies the upgrades (does it?).

I talked to the usual great companies and have gotten some (what I think) are great prices! The issue that concerns me is that NONE of these dealers are local (many states away). Will I have a big problem if/when there is a warranty issue? They are all telling me no and that Forest River will take care of it - is this the case? Is the dealer being local really a non-issue? Will getting this registered in California be an issue?

The next item is should we go for the new motor or the old motor? There is a cost difference (but not that big relative to the total amounts) - but I have to believe that Forest River would have running changes in their product for the better. Any thoughts? Newer = Better?

Which motor? 340hp or 360hp? We would at times tow an F150 Supercrew or SUV. Not sure if that is going to be a problem. Again - if the cost isn't great - would there be a reason not to go with the 360hp?

Finally - how has the 390bh been - reliability wise? Has this been a solid product?

Thank you for the insights in advance!
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:31 PM   #9
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Amarzano,
My wife and I just put in a purchase offer a new Berkshire 390BH. It will be delivered around the first week of April. We went with the 360HP because we will either tow a 1500 chevy silverado or a chevy traverse and both vehicles weigh over 5,000#. The 340hp is rated up to 5,000# where as the 360HP is rated to 10,000#.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:33 PM   #10
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flyr1 -

I sent you a PM - but thought I would put some of my thoughts here as well..

I think the Fleetwood has 1 advantage over the 390BH.

- Residential Fridge (Its just more what most folks are used to vs. the LP unit. Nothing wrong with the LP unit - just the residential is easier - IMHO).

One thing that concerned me on the Fleetwood was the full length slide. It just seemed long and I worried about it holding up. On the flip side the 390BH has 4 slides - so I guess there are more that could break.. :-)

If you haven't seen a 390BH yet - there is one at Toscano is Gilroy. (I saw it on the way back from Monterey yesterday).

We have had our unit for 6 months now - and still like it alot. I don't regret purchasing this over the Fleetwood. This was our first RV - so we feel that we got a lot of bang for our buck with this unit. The Fleetwood - *may* be put together a tiny bit better - but since I don't own one - I can't actually confirm that. Fleetwood was coming out of bankruptcy when we bought the 390 and did NOT have any 2010 units available at the time (only left over 2009) units - so that was a bit of a turn off as well.

We have not had any problems getting warranty repairs and the like here in San Jose. Forest River has been very good about taking care of things.

Let us know what you decide..

Good Luck and Welcome!

Alex


Quote:
Originally Posted by flyr1 View Post
Hello Amarzano,
I live in San Jose and I am about ready to pull the trigger on a 390BH with the bigger engine/transmission since I am planning on towing a full size SUV (5600#). I am considering a Fleetwood Discovery with the bunkhouse but I am not sure the extra cost is justified. I would love to hear your thoughts on the 390BH now that you have had it a short while. Is it holding up with the 3 kids? I have 2 kids ages 5 an 6 myself. Problems? Regrets? Wish you would have done something else? Where did you buy it? Any intel/advice you would care to share would be appreciated...pm may be appropriate if you care to.
Thanks in advance.
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