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Old 12-18-2009, 09:44 AM   #1
2009 GTA350 TSSE Diesel
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boise, ID
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New 2009 GTA 350 (Part 2)

Continued from previous thread...

I am also extremely impressed with the Onan MicroQuite 6K diesel generator. It is under the rear queen and is barely audible up front and only emits a low hum in the rear.

Fit and finish are on par with or slightly better than other coaches in this price range, which I consider entry-level for a Class A. I appreciate the way the water and holding tanks are enclosed within the heated volume of the coach. At -7įF in the morning in Nebraska, I opened the hatch and put my hands on the bottom of the tanks and they were warm to the touch. Iím not sure what additional value the arctic package would add.

The service bay provides easy access to the city water hook-up, fresh water fill, waste tank rinse, tank drains, and low-point drains. Everything is intuitive and well marked. The side opening cargo doors are a nice improvement over all of our previous units which swung upward and latched with little spring-loaded plastic hooks which broke easily in cold weather.

All engine/transmission service points (fluid fills) are co-located and well-marked and the engine bay has a nice, bright light in it.

The 22.5Ē tires provide a smoother ride than the 16Ē and 19.5Ē tires we have had in the past and they just look right on a vehicle this size. Iím just not looking forward to replacing them!

The Corian counters with sink and stove covers are very nice but the toilet is plastic, which surprises me. I bought a porcelain toilet to replace it with over the weekend but it didnít fit. Arghh. This will take some looking into because I have replaced the plastic toilets in our previous motorhomes with the porcelain Thetford AquaMagic Plus and have been very happy. The kitchen sink is nice and deep and the pull-out faucet/sprayer is handy.

The bathroom is very nice (except for the toilet) with a large corner shower with glass doors, a nice-sized sink, and plenty of storage.

The transmission output or drive shaft emits an irritating whine from 65-69 mph when loaded. In ambient temperatures above 20įF, it generates a harmonic vibration with something under the stair which seems to focus a node on the driverís head (barely noticeable in the right seat). It is unaffected by engine RPM or transmission gear. At lower temperatures, the materials evidently contract because the vibration under the stairs disappears although the drive shaft whine is still present. I will be having this looked at under warranty.

The cockpit ergonomics are adequate but several controls are located outside a comfortable reach range. A 2010 gas GTA350 that I looked at had a much better control layout for the driver.

The mirrors are heated, remotely adjustable, and provide excellent visibility with no blind spots.

The carpet is cheap and cheesy and will not wear well but the cabinetry and ceiling finish are quite nice.

I donít care for the oval mirror in the living area and will be removing it and dedicating that wall to family photos. Anybody break theirs and need a free replacement?

The automatic leveling system is very convenient and seems to work quite well.

Overall construction seems very solid and tight; virtually no rattles or squeeks, even on very rough roads.

More cab heat comes from the Vent position of the climate control than the Heat (floor, defrost, or mixed) position. At very low outside air temperatures and driving into a strong wind, my feet got cold and I had to wear two pair of socks and cover them with a blanket. The Vent position of the cab heater and the coach furnace kept the cab plenty warm but our feet got cold because the hot air in the heater position wasnít very hot. We tried blocking half the radiator with cardboard to no avail. I have sealed many air leaks in the firewall with silicone and expanding foam, which should help, but I will be calling Forest River about the temperature difference between Vent and Heat. Once back into 20-30įF temps, the cab heater was more than adequate so this wonít be an issue for anyone who doesnít use their RV all winter like we do.

The furnace and batteries had no problem keeping us toasty warm at below-zero temperatures overnight. Neither the engine nor the generator had any problems starting at -7įF; I am running anti-gel fuel additive.

According to Cummins, the engine needs no warm up for normal operation as long as there is oil pressure. Nor is turbo cooling required prior to shutdown after normal city or highway operation, unless you stop right after pulling a long grade.

As a point of reference for others, Iím paying $560/yr. for insurance ($500 deductable) and $80/mo. for covered storage nearby.

The dealerís website said the unit came with a 10-gallon water heater and it is only six, and it specified Alcoa aluminum wheels but it has steel with chrome simulators. We called Forest River about this before I signed the check because I would really prefer the aluminum wheels but they said they were not an option on the diesel chassis. When I was reading the ownerís manual, I noticed that the gas chassis specifies wheel lug torque of 150 lb.-ft. where the diesel chassis specifies 450 lb.-ft. I wonder if this has something to do with the aluminum vs. steel wheel availability.

I removed the hot water tank drain plug to winterize before putting it in storage until next weekend. The sacrificial anode on the plug was completed corroded and calcified and I could feel a thick layer of crusty calcification inside the tank with my finger. I think the unit has been for sale during the duration of the economic downturn and has been sitting with water in it. This will be another warranty issue.

Summary likes: super engine/transmission/chassis, triple slides with bunk beds, Onan diesel generator, cabinetry, heated basement/tanks, floorplan.

Summary dislikes: carpet, cockpit ergonomics, plastic toilet.

All in all, Iím delighted so far and think this unit was a fair value for the price; I would recommend it highly. I will post updates as necessary and Iím happy to answer any questions.

Gordon
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:57 PM   #2
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Gordon, thanks again for the great synopsis. Sounds like for the most part a standard Georgetown as most of everything you have talked about is the same with our rig from the heated mirrors to the oval mirror inside, 22.5 tires, although we do have the Alcoa rims and the porcelin toilet in ours, to the low quality carpet (same with all rigs though).

Your complaint on the whine though, does it happen with a constant throttle setting or do you hear it when you accelerate or decelerate? We had the same whine on our last rig ('94 Fleetwood Flair on P32 chassis) and it turned out to be the rear differential. Could be the gear setup is a bit off. From the sound one would have though it to be something much closer to the front of the rig but not so in our case. Something to keep an eye on as one other member here had a failure of the rear diff. on his Georgetown. I don't know if they use the same axle or not, the axle on the gas rigs is made by Dana.

Let us know if you find out the problem as I am curious as to the origin.
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Old 12-18-2009, 04:06 PM   #3
2009 GTA350 TSSE Diesel
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boise, ID
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Thanks, NWJeeper. I need to keep looking for a porcelain toilet that will fit (the drain hole is too close to the wall to mount the replacement that I bought).

The whine is not related to engine RPM, vehicle speed, or selected transmission gear. It could be the rear diff but it is quiet in the back and it seems to come from under the floor behind the front seats.

I'll be taking it in in the next week or so for a mechanic to listen to. At least is it repeatable 100%. I suspect the drive shaft might need to balanced but I saw the post about the rear diff and will definately mention that to them.

Gordon
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Old 12-19-2009, 07:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interacsol View Post
Thanks, NWJeeper. I need to keep looking for a porcelain toilet that will fit (the drain hole is too close to the wall to mount the replacement that I bought).

The whine is not related to engine RPM, vehicle speed, or selected transmission gear. It could be the rear diff but it is quiet in the back and it seems to come from under the floor behind the front seats.

I'll be taking it in in the next week or so for a mechanic to listen to. At least is it repeatable 100%. I suspect the drive shaft might need to balanced but I saw the post about the rear diff and will definately mention that to them.

Gordon
Our Georgetown has the Dometic Sealand Lite Traveler 210 Toilets. They are porcelain.


http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/r...ks/dometic.htm

This link references that toilet including dimensions. I'm not recommending any vendor over anyone else but this site usually has a bit more info.
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:04 AM   #5
2009 GTA350 TSSE Diesel
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 18
Thanks for the info, cfsoistman.

I need to find out what the offset is between the backmost portion of the toilet to the mounting holes; that is the limiting factor for me. If you keep your rig at home, would you mind telling me what the measurement is?

Otherwise, I'll get ahold of the mfg tomorrow.

Many thanks,

Gordon
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Old 12-21-2009, 08:51 AM   #6
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I'll try to check it this afternoon when I get home. We had a nice 20" snowfall this weekend and have been clearing it out to get out to work.
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