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Old 11-13-2018, 11:43 AM   #1
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Ride and Handling of XLT 45A Compared to Aspire/Dutch Star/Allegro Bus, Etc.

Good Morning All,

As I continue my quest for my 1st diesel pusher, the Berkshire 45A XLT keeps coming up. I really don't want to be misled by the nice pricing and make a mistake buying on price mainly. I am seriously considering the Berk 45A XLT, the Entergra Aspire 44R and the Dutch Star 431o...all bunk models.

I am concerned with not only build quality, but ride and handling as well. I know that the tires on the Berk are 275's the Aspire 315's and the Dutch Star 365 (front) and 315 (rear and tag). Can anyone comment of the ride and handling of the Berk compared to the others mentioned? Are the tire sizes an important consideration in this who;e equation?

Any and all feedback with be appreciated.

Thanks,

Warren
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Old 11-13-2018, 01:58 PM   #2
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Well. I had the same delema with the same options when purchasing my coach.

The things that I looked at and considered was.

The Spartan vs the Freightliner. Well the Spartan is supposed to be superior in design and have more storage. After my purchase. I am happy with the overall handling of my Berkshire. Especially with proper tire pressure inflation. I don't think the Spartan could handle much better if at all. As for the extra storage. That doesn't matter to me I don't use all of my storage as it is. They say the Spartan has less flex. That might be true but I don't see any flex issues with the Freightliner.

The second consideration for me was the slides. Now the other above mentioned definitely have a better design. They close inside flush with the coach and therefore have a better seal and have less road noies which can make a big difference when driving down the road and fatigue.
As to the Berkshire closes up against the coach. This definitely causes more problems with the slides seeling enough.

Another consideration was the in floor heating. The Berkshire has it but it is only a electric wire running under the floor witch is not very effective on cold nights. The others use Aqua hot and dose a great job heating the space in the coldest of nights.

I also really like the integrated awning on the others mentioned. I like the roof line better and the amount of awning space they are able to get from that design. The Berkshire doesn't have that there for the Awnings tend to be fairly small.

The cabnets in the Berkshire are far superior to that of the above mentioned. They are sold wood and the others seem to be made of flimsy lament.

I did like the floor plan and design of the Berkshire over the others.

One thing that I wish I would have done that might have made the difference is the warranty process of Forrest River compared to the others. The others warranty process is much better than Forrest River in my opinion. Definitely look at that because you WILL have many issues that need to be resolved no matter what coach you buy. How they handle that could make the difference. I'm still not sure if it would of for me but if there was 1 single thing that would have changed my mind it would have been that.

Although $100,000 can buy a lot of repairs and upgrades.

To me I didn't think the cost difference was worth it so I bought my Berkshire. Overall I am happy with my purchase.

Although if I had known then what I know now how difficult it is to get warranty work done with Forrest River. I very well might have changed my decision. But now that my factory warranty is up and everything is finally fixed though much time, money, and frustrations. I don't have to deal with them anymore!! And can move on with my life. I'm glad I bought it.
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Old 11-13-2018, 02:59 PM   #3
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The best advice I can give you no matter what coach you buy is
Buy from a place you can get to farly easily and regularly. Ask about there process for warranty repair. Do you typically have to leave it for a day, a week or a month in order to get something fixed. How far out are appointments when something happens. Can you stay in the coach thought the repair process if need be.

Find a rv park near the dealership and plan on staying a week or so testing things out. Ask them what their process is in fixing the things you find wrong during your stay. because you will.

Before you take full delivery of your Coach is the best time to get things fixed. Plan on staying in a hotel or hopefully they allow you to stay in your Coach on property. So you can continue finding issues. Test everything alot. Put in and out all slides 100 times and if it does not seal perfect Everytime or operate smoothly make them fix it. Tell them you will be doing this when picking up the coach. Level the coach. Retract levelers multiple times like 15 or 20 times. Check for and hydronic fluid anywhere. If there is make them clean it and find the leek. Personally make sure everything is fixed perfectly. Do not take there word for it. Get on the roof. Make sure all Awning toppers are tight and straight with no wrinkles at all. If they tell you it's normal, it's not. make them fix it. Spray large amounts of water all over the coach for a long time. Make sure everything is draining properly and no puddling on the toppers or any we're. Make sure there are no leeks.

They will hate you and think you are ridiculous but this is you best time to get anything fixed. You will regret it if you don't. Your are buying a $300,000 plus item make sure everything is perfect. Don't get in a hurry because you are excited and want to get on your way. Because let me tell you it is one hell of a process to get anything done after that. It will more than likely take months from time of discovery to get anything done after that. And if you are away from home it will most likely cost thousands of dollars in hotels.

Seriously take 10 showers check everything alot and thoroughly.

Good luck.
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Old 11-14-2018, 09:52 AM   #4
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Thanks Mickey! Appreciate your guidance!
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Old 11-14-2018, 10:20 AM   #5
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Newmar's Dutch Star is it's namesake model - they are very popular for many reasons, but the ability to customize and the manufacturer's attention to detail is several, along with their great service center, and the ability to pick up your new coach FROM the factory itself, with several days of professional post-delivery attention and helpful education, especially if you are a brand new 'diesel' platform coach owner.

Thor's ENTEGRA brand are excellent coaches, but are more 'stock' units, with no customization, only potential 'options', as with most other coaches.

Forest River's diesel coaches are very nice, and I've delivered a few to dealers myself, and are a great value, which is probably the biggest difference. A personal preference, at least to me though, is it's lack of full roof-mount box awnings, like the others.

All-in-all, though, if you like the floorplan of one more than the other, that might be what should tip the scales, as no matter the name on the outside, the 'livability' of the coach is probably much more important to you and your family, for the long run.
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Old 11-14-2018, 04:00 PM   #6
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They all have their issues with quality. Even the expensive ones. The ones you mention have many prices points. If I had it to do over I would change to a Tiffin. The main reason being the ability to get repairs and customer service. Bob Tiffin still runs Tiffin and they have been known to do more after warranty work than any manufacturer I know about. You can still visit Red Bay factory and go see Bob Tiffin if he is in on any day. Try seeing the CEO at any other factory. Tiffin is still a family business. Example: I was at my repair shop today and they had finished a repair on a Tiffin that Tiffin authorized. They had sent Tiffin an invoice and had not received a check. Right during the call Tiffin paid my repair shop by credit card on the spot so he did not have to wait any longer. Not many factories will do that for repair shops. Repair shops like Tiffin because they pay bills on time.
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Old 11-14-2018, 07:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k9jkfham View Post
They all have their issues with quality. Even the expensive ones. The ones you mention have many prices points. If I had it to do over I would change to a Tiffin. The main reason being the ability to get repairs and customer service. Bob Tiffin still runs Tiffin and they have been known to do more after warranty work than any manufacturer I know about. You can still visit Red Bay factory and go see Bob Tiffin if he is in on any day. Try seeing the CEO at any other factory. Tiffin is still a family business. Example: I was at my repair shop today and they had finished a repair on a Tiffin that Tiffin authorized. They had sent Tiffin an invoice and had not received a check. Right during the call Tiffin paid my repair shop by credit card on the spot so he did not have to wait any longer. Not many factories will do that for repair shops. Repair shops like Tiffin because they pay bills on time.
I have spoken to a lot of Tiffin owners that say that although they do have there fare share of problems. Tiffin dose do everything to make sure it is as easy as possible to get them repaired. For you as the customer and for the repair shop. They will overnight parts. Allow you to get mobile rv tech to fix and pay for the repairs quickly
The shops are more ready to work on a Tiffin waranty issues than most any other coaches because of these things. It sounds like Tiffin is the gold standard for warranty issues.

Like I said before look at warranty protocol for each company and factor that in with your decision making process.
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Old 11-14-2018, 09:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjazzarajr View Post
Good Morning All,

As I continue my quest for my 1st diesel pusher, the Berkshire 45A XLT keeps coming up. I really don't want to be misled by the nice pricing and make a mistake buying on price mainly. I am seriously considering the Berk 45A XLT, the Entergra Aspire 44R and the Dutch Star 431o...all bunk models.

I am concerned with not only build quality, but ride and handling as well. I know that the tires on the Berk are 275's the Aspire 315's and the Dutch Star 365 (front) and 315 (rear and tag). Can anyone comment of the ride and handling of the Berk compared to the others mentioned? Are the tire sizes an important consideration in this who;e equation?

Any and all feedback with be appreciated.

Thanks,

Warren
Warren,

I hardly ever post here, but I have had my unit since new in 2012. I would urge you not to get caught up in the "Nice Pricing" of a Berkshire. Our unit is not a tag axle, but you need to test drive the units that you are interested in so you can decide what rides better. There is a reason why The Berkshire is soooooo much less money.

I will say that we will never purchase another Forest River Product again. This is not a popular opinion on this site but it is my opinion. We have been shopping Entegra and Newmar for about 3 years now. My problems with our unit have never been related to Freightliner, and the Entegra units are only Spartan, and there are many Happy Spartan owners as well as Freightliner owners. You need to seriously look at Entegra, Newmar and Forest River to compare build quality. A floor plan that works for you and your family is most important. When you walk into a unit, within a few minutes you will know if that floor plan works. After you decide on a floor plan I would urge you to test drive them and decide what drives and rides the best for you.

When we purchased there was no Tag Axle available in the Berkshire line, but I have driven Tag axle models from Entegra, Forest River and Newmar. If i was going to purchase a new MH today The Dutch Star would be my first choice. I know all RV manufacturers have issues, NONE OF THEM ARE PERFECT!

Again, there is a reason the Berkshire is cheaper.
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Old 11-15-2018, 09:48 AM   #9
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Thank you very much for your honesty. I will drive them all for sure.

Regards,

Warren
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