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Old 05-22-2014, 02:51 PM   #1
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Picking a Motorhome

So now that our kids are a little older we've decided to downsize our motorhome (currently a 2007 Tiffin Zephyr) and get one with bunks, so we aren't just piling three kids in a bed each night. We've narrowed it down to the Berkshire 400BH or the Tiffin Phaeton QKH. We have a good price from a dealer to the Berkshire (which we test drove and liked) and are waiting to see if the Tiffin dealer can match something similar, which might make our decision easier :lol: but in the meantime we can't make up our minds. We've done the pros and cons (we like the floorplan of the Berkshire a tad better... which is really important to us) but the Phaeton is probably a little higher quality (which is also important in the long run). I'm starting to panic thinking that which ever one with go with I'll always think about the "one that got away..." When we got our first travel trailer I knew the moment I walked in it that it was the right one. The Zephyr has been great, but it's just not the right motorhome for a family with three growing kids (our kids are ages 11, 9 and 7 now).

This motorhome is the one we will be keeping for many, many years so I want to really think it through. What factors do you/did you consider when purchasing your motorhome?

Thanks
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Old 05-22-2014, 03:08 PM   #2
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kelsma,
If the floor plan works for you, then that would be my main consideration along with customer support. Seems that it is in your price range, so that shouldn't be a factor. Don't know what the price difference between the Berkshire and Tiffin is, but I believe you get the best bang for your buck with the Berkshire. I have found the customer service from Forest River to be very good and you don't need to go to Red Bay to get to the factory. I am on my second Berkshire and so far I am happy with my choice (have only had my second one for 5 months).
You might want to take a look at these threads to get some other feed back on the comparison.
Good luck,
Tom


Jumped from Tiffin to Berkshire

Berkshire vs Allegro Red
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Old 05-22-2014, 03:27 PM   #3
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I looked at floor plan mostly and the ability to close the bedrooms down so dad can stay up late! Look at many and thought the upgrades to the 490bh was good for bringing it up to the tiffen's level. We love our 400bh and are glad we chose it. Enjoy tour shopping.
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Old 05-22-2014, 03:31 PM   #4
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Don't know first hand, but I've read on here that a few FR purchasers actually thought that the "fit and finish" of the Berk was better than the Tiffin. Seems shocking to me, but that's what at least a couple have said.

I can almost guarantee you will get a better price on the Berk.

As far as CS, FR has been awfully good to ALL of us. I bought mine titled (but never used) so had no legit FR warranty. Still, they have taken quite good care of me; Randy will bend over backwards to help us.

Finally, I DO see about 100 times as many Tiffin coaches on the road as I do FRs, if that would make a difference in your decision.

Good Luck

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Old 05-22-2014, 04:09 PM   #5
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Kelsma03,

Does Tiffen offer a annual RV Rally where technicians from the plant come around and fix things that may have gone wrong or malfunctioned during the year for free?

I only mention this to demonstrate how well Forest River takes care of their owners - and not to slight Tiffen, which happen to be made just up the road from us

Take a look at the Berkshire layout - the outside waste, water and filter control panel. Nothing like that on other MHs and I bet Allegrobus included.

Berks are built on a freightliner chassis and..by the way you DO know why the top of the line FR MH is called Berkshire? To honor Warren Buffet (Berkshire-Hathaway) who bought Forest River flat out because of their performance and loyal customer base.

Good Enough for me! We love our 5er and perhaps when we get a bit older will move up to a Berk 360/40
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Old 05-22-2014, 06:06 PM   #6
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Kelsma03,

Does Tiffen offer a annual RV Rally where technicians from the plant come around and fix things that may have gone wrong or malfunctioned during the year for free?

I only mention this to demonstrate how well Forest River takes care of their owners - and not to slight Tiffen, which happen to be made just up the road from us

Take a look at the Berkshire layout - the outside waste, water and filter control panel. Nothing like that on other MHs and I bet Allegrobus included.

Berks are built on a freightliner chassis and..by the way you DO know why the top of the line FR MH is called Berkshire? To honor Warren Buffet (Berkshire-Hathaway) who bought Forest River flat out because of their performance and loyal customer base.

Good Enough for me! We love our 5er and perhaps when we get a bit older will move up to a Berk 360/40
All good points. Thanks!
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:38 PM   #7
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Our search was narrowed down between the same two (except 390bh) and we went with the Berk. It's great for my 3 kids, love the solid doors to shut off each section, and the underneath storage is cavernous. Mileage has been better than expected and as everyone else stated, it will be hard to match the customer service. Good luck with the hunt; exciting times.
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Old 05-22-2014, 09:40 PM   #8
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The big three, with Tiffin, is not excitant with the Berkshire. I looked at both before I purchased mine. (2013 390 BH). I also frequent the Tiffin forum as we share some similarities with them. I am always astounded why such a much more expensive coach has more problems. You obviously know the quality of Tiffin having owned their top of the line Zephyr, the problem I had with Tiffin was having to go to Red Bay for repairs and not knowing how long the wait would be before they actually did any repairing.

My choice was easy, once I compared price and quality. I do notice that the 400BH is a little more pricey than the 390 though.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:43 PM   #9
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This is my first post to this forum as a new Berkshire owner! Not sure if you've made a decision yet but I thought I would share my experience! In March I bought a 2014 Berk 390 BH. We love the layout and has proven to be extremely efficient for our family of 4. We have a 14 & 10 year old. The bunks are awesome and they can be closed off once we're up in the morning. We've used it almost every weekend. Last week we were at a horse show for my daughter 103 degree outside temp, no hook ups. We were off the grid for 3 days, ran the generator the entire time and the coach stayed cool inside and functioned with no issues! We are extremely happy with our choice.
Now let me tell you our experience with the manufacturer. I bought the coach from Motor Home Specialists in Dallas from Mitch! We live in California so I flew in and picked it up and drive from Dallas to the San Fran Bay Area. During the trip we found several small things that needed repair. The largest item was that the wardrobe slide motor pulled off the wall making the slide INOP! I made one phone call to Mitch at MHS and he took care of everything. The coach spent about 3 weeks in the shop but when I got it back everything was better than new. There was never one second of dispute or push back! They took care of everything without hesitation. I couldn't be happier with our choice and feel like we have a support system to help out when needed!
Best of luck on your decision!
Stephen
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:29 AM   #10
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Stephen,
Congrats on your new Berkshire and welcome to the Forums!! Hope you have many fun, memorable and trouble free trips with your new coach.
Again, congrats and welcome!
Tom
ps- just keep an eye on that mailbox by the driveway! (LOL!!)
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:31 AM   #11
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Welcome to the forum Stephen, nice coach!! And I have to agree with FR service. I frequent the Tiffin forum often and they always claim that Tiffin is the only MH manufacturer that backs there product. They are wrong. FR has a great support team.
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:24 AM   #12
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Thanks!
Yep, that took the wife, kids and back up camera to navigate!
The audio with the camera comes in handy with this unit!
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:47 AM   #13
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congrats on the new MH Looks great....enjoy
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Old 06-04-2014, 02:32 PM   #14
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Hi Kelsma03, One thing you will find is that there is never a shortage of friends who are willing to comment and help here on this forum. I did a great deal of research and comparison before buying our 2013 390FL. The value for the dollar swayed us toward Forest River and the service we have received to this point has sealed the deal. Good luck with what ever you decide. Frank
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:45 PM   #15
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Congrats and welcome Stephen.....
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:55 PM   #16
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Congratulations and many happy miles of rving!
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Old 06-14-2014, 10:35 AM   #17
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Just an update: we decided on the Berkshire. The 400BH floorplan is just too perfect for us. We will be picking it up the week of June 23, getting through my 9 year old son's district championship baseball weekend and then off for a weekend of camping at Cedar Point. Can't wait to hit the road in the new coach.
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Old 06-14-2014, 10:46 AM   #18
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"keeping for many many years"...are you sure?

You're changing now because the kids are older and need separate beds (we did the same). As they become teenagers they may want to camp less (aka be home with friends..bring friends camping is a 'something little kids do' so our 13 year old has decided this year).

once they're 16+ they'll prolly camp less. this is based on my family, friends, etc. YMMV and it would be interesting to see what the community says (i'll go start a thread on that!).

So if this 'pattern' is one, then you're 7 year old will 'quit' camping in 6-7 years and you'll be ready for a different MH.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:00 AM   #19
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Which one

Funny if this was posted on the Tiffin Forum the comments would have been the total opposite. No one has to go to Red Bay for any repairs. If it is major perhaps and if major repair was required on Berkshire it would go back go factory as well. So much misinformation on all forums. Don't believe everything you read. There are 10x more Phaetons on the road as Berkshire so there will be some more negative comments.
Ps I am proud owner of Tiffin gas coach and the Georgetown is not even in the same league even tho priced similarly. I tried to stay loyal to forest river having a Rockwood and Cardinal in the past.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:43 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by prof_fate View Post
"keeping for many many years"...are you sure?

You're changing now because the kids are older and need separate beds (we did the same). As they become teenagers they may want to camp less (aka be home with friends..bring friends camping is a 'something little kids do' so our 13 year old has decided this year).

once they're 16+ they'll prolly camp less. this is based on my family, friends, etc. YMMV and it would be interesting to see what the community says (i'll go start a thread on that!).

So if this 'pattern' is one, then you're 7 year old will 'quit' camping in 6-7 years and you'll be ready for a different MH.
6-7 years is many, many years in my book. And the bunk area can be used for storage so there's no reason if the kids aren't with us we couldn't still use it.
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