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Old 02-16-2013, 07:18 PM   #31
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we don't watch much TV either Greensalsa but last year we were trapped in the Florida Keys during 5 out of 7 days of summer rains. Not much left but movies. No grilling either. we are thinking about one with the bathroom in the middle and four slides. The Forest River 43" MH have nice big powerful engines compared to many other brands.
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Old 02-17-2013, 03:53 AM   #32
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My wife and I are ready to buy a pusher for the longer road trips. The fifth wheel set up is just to hard having the kids couped up in the pickup truck all day driving. We've got it down to the Charleston Bunk house tag axle. We really need the bunks for the kids and the tag for hauling all the toys. There are times when we have all 5 kids with us and that makes for a full bus. Two of them being teenagers. There arent to many choices in the bunk versions especially with a tag. I just wanted to know if anybody had any info or experiences with a unit like this one. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Thanks for the help.
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Just got back from the RV show--rain, wind, snow, and just a touch of ice on the road--well worth it!

Spent about an hour with the Forest River Representative (Bob) talking over the rig in detail.

Overall impressions remain high. We were somewhat disappointed with the bunks. They were very dark with no real light except an LED mounted on the DVD player that won't help at all if you wanted to read. Bob and I talked it over, they would throw in a reading light (just like the ones by the Master Bed). Also surprisingly, is poorly constructed storage under the lower bunk. It was not mounted on any gas pistons and would require someone to hold up the bunk while another person placed the items in the compartment. As much as we would love the extra storage, we would rather eliminate this space and gain the 4-5 inches for additional headroom in the lower bunk. As it is, the lower bunk has MAYBE 24-30 inches of clearance to the bottom of the upper bunk.

We really the construction of the kitchen cabinets and construction in general in the interior. NOTHING felt "rickety" or flimsy. Bob confirmed that they could put in a leather booth instead of cloth seats. We also talked about eliminating the master bedroom TV and replace it with more cabinets. Overall VERY good, we are VERY interested!
Thanks for the info and pics. Ive heard there wasnt any storage for the bunks. So on the new models their putting some down below the bottom bunks but sacrafices alot of headroom for the bottom bunk. I dont think that would matter much for us now cause my little ones are so small. But what about in a few years. that could be a problem. Sounds like everything else is the same. Motor, horsepower, options, floor plans, H/A, storage, colors, $ price $?? Was the price more? What was the price they were willing to go at the show? I've got 1 dealer willing to negotiate down from $229k. Dont know how much total yet. You wouldnt happen to have Bobs contact would you? Like to know when they'll be out west with the new ones. Thanks again for input. How close are you to pulling the trigger? Is it going to be the Charleston?
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:32 AM   #33
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Thanks for the info and pics. Ive heard there wasnt any storage for the bunks. So on the new models their putting some down below the bottom bunks but sacrafices alot of headroom for the bottom bunk. I dont think that would matter much for us now cause my little ones are so small. But what about in a few years. that could be a problem. Sounds like everything else is the same. Motor, horsepower, options, floor plans, H/A, storage, colors, $ price $?? Was the price more? What was the price they were willing to go at the show? I've got 1 dealer willing to negotiate down from $229k. Dont know how much total yet. You wouldnt happen to have Bobs contact would you? Like to know when they'll be out west with the new ones. Thanks again for input. How close are you to pulling the trigger? Is it going to be the Charleston?
Motor, horsepower, options, floor plans, H/A, storage, colors, and price seemed to be the same (this was our first time in one). I intend to pull the trigger late fall or EARLY next Jan / Feb 2014.

I will PM you Bob's contact information. One more really cool thing Bob is doing for us--he is researching into pulling out the drivers side couch and putting in a "pet station" / desk, so we can slide in our Veri-Kennel, that way our dog can come along.

We are evaluating the Tiffin Phaeton as an alternative and the Fleetwood Discovery 40G as a distant third. I still lean VERY heavily towards the Charleston, that said the dealer was actually pretty distant / uninterested in now three conversations I have had with them. They just either point me at the rig, the Forest River dealer, or a brochure. I am a little surprised--normally you have to fight off salesmen for months after a casual conversation.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:45 AM   #34
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Motor, horsepower, options, floor plans, H/A, storage, colors, and price seemed to be the same (this was our first time in one). I intend to pull the trigger late fall or EARLY next Jan / Feb 2014.

I will PM you Bob's contact information. One more really cool thing Bob is doing for us--he is researching into pulling out the drivers side couch and putting in a "pet station" / desk, so we can slide in our Veri-Kennel, that way our dog can come along.

We are evaluating the Tiffin Phaeton as an alternative and the Fleetwood Discovery 40G as a distant third. I still lean VERY heavily towards the Charleston, that said the dealer was actually pretty distant / uninterested in now three conversations I have had with them. They just either point me at the rig, the Forest River dealer, or a brochure. I am a little surprised--normally you have to fight off salesmen for months after a casual conversation.
Thanks for Bobs info. I'm going to give him a call this week. I also looked at those other models. Only problem is their not tag axles. Not to mention the Charleston just seems to be more of a upgraded package all around. Were hoping to be in one in a month or two. Will let you know then how it all goes.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:29 PM   #35
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Thanks for Bobs info. I'm going to give him a call this week. I also looked at those other models. Only problem is their not tag axles. Not to mention the Charleston just seems to be more of a upgraded package all around. Were hoping to be in one in a month or two. Will let you know then how it all goes.
Roger--you are moving a lot faster than me. If you don't mind, I would like to see how yours works out, options you get, options you wish you didn't get and such.

Recently, we have decided to NOT get the additional freezer. Previously, we had seriously considered this but in the end, I think we will use that space for dry food storage.

I agree about the TAG axle issue--frankly, I want it. I don't want it JUST to have it, but I get frustrated when I hear dealers and factory representatives tell me that "if we stay BELOW 42 feet, then we don't HAVE to put a TAG axle on the rig." REALLY??!! Some of the rigs are 41' 8", I understand why a rig of 35 ft might not need it, but 4 inches??!!

I would rather have and not need, that to need and not have (within reason).
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:00 PM   #36
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Just looking at the length, there is quite a bit of overhang when you go over 35 feet. If I move up to 42-44 feet I definitely want the Tag axle for stability.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:35 PM   #37
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I don't think length has much to do with it. It is there for weight. The tag axle, on the Charleston, provides for an additional 10,000lbs of weight. If the tag was not there, the weight rating of the rig would be about 32K. Mine weighs 34K. In other words, the tag axle on this rig ensures it is not overweight, and that it can take on more cargo. If a manufacturer could make a coach without a tag axle but under its weight rating and be 45' long, it would be ok. The tough part about choosing a rig to buy is they never tell you what the actual weight is. You always get the max of what it could weigh, but most dealers have no idea what they actually weigh. If you ask a saleperson what the actual weight is, they'll look at you like you are crazy, they don't understand why you would want to know that. If you are looking at a 42' single rear axle coach that has a gvwr of 40K and the actual empty weight is 38K, that is when you want to ask if bodies + gear + water/fluids will put you over that 40K weight. Having a tag with 10K or whatever the tag is rated for would likely be necessary.

The tag also helps with departure angle, but its mostly about the weight.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:15 PM   #38
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I don't think length has much to do with it. It is there for weight. The tag axle, on the Charleston, provides for an additional 10,000lbs of weight. If the tag was not there, the weight rating of the rig would be about 32K. Mine weighs 34K. In other words, the tag axle on this rig ensures it is not overweight, and that it can take on more cargo. If a manufacturer could make a coach without a tag axle but under its weight rating and be 45' long, it would be ok. The tough part about choosing a rig to buy is they never tell you what the actual weight is. You always get the max of what it could weigh, but most dealers have no idea what they actually weigh. If you ask a saleperson what the actual weight is, they'll look at you like you are crazy, they don't understand why you would want to know that. If you are looking at a 42' single rear axle coach that has a gvwr of 40K and the actual empty weight is 38K, that is when you want to ask if bodies + gear + water/fluids will put you over that 40K weight. Having a tag with 10K or whatever the tag is rated for would likely be necessary.

The tag also helps with departure angle, but its mostly about the weight.
I agree to disagree. When you go over 40' in lenght manufactures use the tag to distribute the weight evenly especially with the motor in the back. You'll see some 40' 2 axles that will porpus really bad going down the highway. I know from experience. Having a tag to balance the weight helps solve that. Also some rigs will just weigh more with options. And yes you still need room for your weight for all your goods. Thats another reason for the tag. So you do get the extra weight carrying capabilities, which I need. Obviously there are pro's and con's for everything. You just need to weigh your options.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:02 AM   #39
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@ goscubadive--very minor question what kind of mileage are you getting? I was looking for that data just to do some budget analysis...6 mpg? 7 mpg? 10?
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:08 AM   #40
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It has been a bit variable, but hanging right at about 8.5mpg.
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