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Old 01-22-2015, 02:22 PM   #1
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Why Forester?

I am a data sheet comparison Freak. I can blame it on my OCD and what I have done in my career.

A little background on our story, Tent campers who moved to a PopUp, but when our family expanded again, the set up time while ensuring the three little ones stayed out of trouble proved a bit taxing, and when we stumbled upon a 25' class C with bunks, we jumped at it. Maybe a bit too soon. The main bed is an air mattress that never keeps air in it.

As we plan longer trips (FL to Alaska), our current rig is not going to work well for us. As we have a larger family, we need to be able to tow a decent sized vehicle, which had us looking at Super C's. Seeing the Forester has above the 5000lb normal towing capacity, we perked up and began looking at it.

So enough fluff, here are some of the features that caught my eye on the Forester 3171ds that make it a top contender for our family. Sure some are not uniques, but features that matter for us.
  • BUNKS
    • One TV OUTSIDE of the bunk area. Not a flip down unit or some wall mounted unit at the end of the bunk that can be kicked by a child on a bad day.
    • A seating area with BELTS that is away from the driver and passenger allowing a separation of youthful conversation and the more adult topics. Also no cricks in necks from laying and watching TV. Only one remote that might be lost.
  • Hard bedroom door
  • Single fuel for Gen and coach (propane demand is much lower)
  • Main TV is not on the slide side.
  • A dinette (we have missed having a table to sit and eat at)
  • Soft touch ceiling (should prevent the typical echo chamber effect)
  • A light outside the coach near all the hookups
  • The hookups are not hidden under a slide
  • No Folding stairs to break
  • A WHOLE HOUSE Water filter
  • Big Fresh water capacity
  • Bigger Black and Grey than most in this class
  • Over 80cu ft of external storage, AND a compartment under the bed.
  • Rear and side cameras all show in a screen mounted where a Normal rear view mirror is located verus stuck in the dash.
  • Minitub that we can use for the kids, the pets, OR if we have huge pots and pans to wash...
  • Storage, Storage, Storage. FR should really take a measurement on the CU Ft of cabinet/drawer space as this unit has tons of it and crushes most competitors we have seen. This is not just in the main living area but also in the main bedroom as well.
  • They Bundle a Dyson minivacuum....
  • Bathroom counterspace. In others ther is a sink and about 2" on either side.
  • With the outside TV option, you get more cup holders.
  • Better access to storage behind bedroom TV
  • Leveler Option that is not as expensive as doing it yourself later.
  • A USB charging station that actually has a place nearby to put your devices while they charge. (I may swap this out with an auto sensing more powerful unit, but I am geeky like that)
  • BIG WINDOWS
  • Quad Slides on bunkhouse
  • Black Tank Flush as part of a bundle
  • Cedar lined closets
  • Pass through storage
  • underbed storage

Things I wish were standard:
  • Levelers
  • Flush fit windows
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Old 01-22-2015, 05:10 PM   #2
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We did extensive research on Class C's before deciding on the Forester. We knew we didn't want to pay extra for a Super C and found the Forester had a higher tow rating than other C's. We have towed our Jeep Grand Cherokee with no problems. It's a nice unit.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:39 AM   #3
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The bunkhouse floorplan is fairly standard between manufacturers so you have to get picky when looking at the same floorplan and two manufacturers.

I have a 2013 3011 which isn't a direct comparison but things that I noticed when I purchased my Forrester that might compare with the one you're considering are:

Air suspension in the back

Rig was in alignment from the start and was a breeze to drive compared to my old 25 ft C.

Quieter as you already mentioned but there is more to it than the insulation. The brackets and mounting hardware in my forester are heavier than the hardware in my last rig. While not as stout as some other rigs I looked at the added beef in the brackets cut down on the squeaks and rattles for the empty rig rolling down the road.

Vinyl floor in the main traffic areas

Heated tank areas with an arctic pack setup.


So what about things I've noticed that I really like of over the last few years:

External black tank flush

Outside shower for dog and kid cleanup

Garbage hole in the counter with external access to the trash can to change the bag. Keeps the mess under control and the dogs out of the can. I don't know if the bunkhouse has this option.

Foam and fabric in the bunk and dinette is holding up much better than our old unit (Thor).

Factory service center. It's in Indiana and I'm in North Carolina but for the big repairs I'll take a drive. I'll be posting about my experience with their service center soon

Rumor has it a dyson vacuum is an option for the rig. I have a compact model that we carry with us from the house and if I had an option to have one included on a new rig I would jump for it.

The drawers and cabinets are fairly typical fare but the luon and aluminum construction is a big plus in my book. I don't have to worry about delamination or mold in the walls.

Folks downplay the cedar lined drawers and cabinets but I can say that after two years my rig still smells new inside and that's after heavy usage by two teens, two parents, and 2 -3 large dogs. I'm sure the cedar is part of the reason for that.

The cushions are zippered and lined so when something is spilled you can take the cushion out and wash the covering. The coverings have held up well to washing as well. Getting the plastic wrap back in place and back into the covering is a bit of a trick though.

I like the fiberglass roof. It's less work to take care of than a rubber roof. Older units had an issue with leaks between the front roof and cap but that has been addressed in the new rigs.
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:06 PM   #4
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Another element that I found as a huge convenience is that all of the TVs are 12V, meaning no need for generator just to watch TV.

The Dyson vacuum is part of an equipment bundle that includes heated remote mirrors,backup camera with monitor, GPS Navigation, Vacuum, Surround Sound with Subwoofer, and black tank flush kit.

As we have done some longer road trips, we have taken notes on quite a few usability issues with our current coach. Many of the dang wouldn't it be nice if, are included in this model. The one gripe, which is a minor one, is sink and drawer access while rolling, but for that one element, we get so much more.
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:07 PM   #5
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We would make levelers standard, but it would not change the total cost. Those are what we call a "pass through option". If you compare them to aftermarket levelers, they are 1/3rd the cost. Mainly its labor...we cover our cost on them, but because they are installed "on-line" there is no labor cost. So its a phenomenal deal if you want to spend the extra money. For us, it is a "sales benefit" not a profit center.

As for flush windows, we still have some people out there that are resistant to change so we did not want to change everything out quite yet. As they become more mainstream we may look at it again.
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:49 PM   #6
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Bclemens, I know they are pretty inexpensive versus what I would have to pay to get them installed afterwards. TO put them on my current rig, it is well over $4k and to get that price involves a significant road trip. This is why I called out the options as a plus due to the cost. Getting under my rig for the stabilizing jig is a serious PITA, but hey it was less than $200.
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Old 01-28-2015, 01:00 PM   #7
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Are you sure about the Dyson on the Forester? I didn't see that option in the list and the 2015 that I just saw at the RV show didn't have one (3011ds). I know you can get them on the Sunseeker.
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Old 01-28-2015, 02:14 PM   #8
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Dyson is a relatively new addition. This is called the "Preferred Package". It will be available on Sunseeker & Forester. It may not be in the brochure as it was a special purchase and part of a package we offered to dealers at our big fall wholesale show.
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Old 01-28-2015, 02:56 PM   #9
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Sharks, as Mr. Clemens stated it is new and was included in our new Forester we took delivery of this past November. It nice and compact and works great.
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Old 01-28-2015, 03:01 PM   #10
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I may have mentioned this before, but I tested it at home for a year before we added it into the preferred package.
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