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Old 12-04-2010, 07:26 PM   #1
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So far, so good.

My wife and I purchased a new 2011 Sunseeker 2300 from Freedom RV in Spokane, WA and took delivery yesterday. Thus far, we have been pleased with all aspects of our purchase. Every employee from our sales representative to the gentleman who conducted the walkthrough has acted in a professional and courteous manner. After reading some of the horror stories on the Internet regarding handling and shoddy workmanship, we were somewhat dubious about what to expect from the product itself. Happily, we have found the overall construction, the cabinetry and upholstery, and the fit and finish to be of high quality. At least from an aesthetic standpoint, the unit is quite impressive. Our first impression could change, of course, after more intensive use; but so far, so good.

The drivability is also much better than we expected. We encountered a variety of driving conditions on the 75-mile trip home from Spokane to Sandpoint, ID and the Sunseeker handled very well under all circumstances. The trip included everything from driving on bare pavement on a freeway to what can best be described as a bobsled run. Of primary concern to us was the effect passing trucks would have on the steering. We were happy to discover that the effect was slight and easily corrected for.

Unfortunately, seasonal conditions being what they are in North Idaho, we have found it necessary to shelter the Sunseeker in a neighbor’s barn for the winter. We only had about a day to savor the experience before tucking it away in anticipation of the next snow storm. However, we do plan on driving it (and exercising the generator) on a monthly basis this winter, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. Next spring we plan on building a pad and shelter on our property so we can keep it on site.

We were a bit surprised, though, about the chassis on which our Sunseeker is built. On the Forest River website and in the brochure the dealer gave us, the specifications for the 2300 appear to pertain to the Ford E450 chassis. Our Sunseeker is built on a Ford E350 Super Duty chassis (equipped with the 6.8 L V-10 engine). We are now trying to obtain the specifications for our Sunseeker as built so that we can determine how much cargo we can safely carry. In particular we are interested in Unloaded Vehicle Weight, GAWR Rear, GAWR Front, GVWR, and Cargo Carrying Capacity. Although the chassis is different than the one we expected, so far, as far as the handling is concerned, we have no complaints.

Now to get busy planning all those camping trips for next year!
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:29 PM   #2
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To update my previous post, after perusing the written materials that were given to me at delivery, I found a document (2011 E-Series Incomplete Vehicle Manual) which lists the GVWR and GAWR’s for the E-350 Super Duty chassis. However, it did not list the Unloaded Vehicle Weight (as built weight) for the unit itself.


It is my understanding that the current value for the Unloaded Vehicle Weight given on the Forest River website for the Sunseeker 2300 pertains to the E-450 chassis. I assume F.R. will eventually update its website to reflect the value for construction of this model on the E-350 chassis. Then I will be able to get a more accurate estimation of the Cargo Carrying Capacity.
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:15 PM   #3
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There should be a sticker inside 1 of the kitchen cabinets that lists all of the weights, including the CCC. There should also be a sticker on the drivers door listing the GVWR and the GAWRs of the chassis. You could also run the rig across the local rock quarry scales or CAT scales to get a true weight.

Quite frankly, if I had ordered this rig with the promise of an F450 chassis, I would be upset if it came with an F350 frame. If it came off the lot, then I wouldn't have a complaint. All of the Sunseekers on the Forest River site list a GVWR of 14,500 lbs.

Kudos to you for being concerned with the weights......if only all campers did that.
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:26 PM   #4
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Sometimes you just cannot trust those stickers in the cabnet of the RV. I would go weigh it myself empty.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:06 PM   #5
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Sometimes you just cannot trust those stickers in the cabnet of the RV. I would go weigh it myself empty.
this can be true but at least it would be a ballpark number that the OP could go by.
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:31 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input.

As a matter of clarification, when we ordered the Sunseeker 2300, the chassis was not specified on the order form. We were given the option of equipping it with either a Ford 6.8L or a Chevy 6.0L engine. As indicated previously, we opted for the Ford engine.

We assumed we would be getting the E-450 chassis because, to the best of my knowledge, the specs on the F.R. website for our unit pertain to that chassis. However, as the disclaimer at the back of the brochure that was given to us by the dealership states:

All specifications contained herein are based on the latest product information at time of printing. Forest River reserves the right to make changes in colors, materials, equipment and specifications at any time without notice and assumes no responsibility for any errors in this brochure.”

Apparently, that pertains to the website information as well. As they say, caveat emptor.

The general manager also sent me an email that said, in part, “Ford and Chevy constantly make changes on chassis so the manufacturer gets what they get and generally don’t know until it’s there……I doubt there is much difference between the new chassis, but we will find out for you.”

I don’t know what would be considered “much difference” between the E-350 and E-450, but there is definitely a difference. The website lists the following spec for the Sunseeker 2300: GVWR = 14,500 LB. The GVWR for our unit is listed at 12,500 LB. Apparently this reduces CCC by about 2,000 LB. I understand that weighing the unit empty and comparing that weight to the GVWR will give me a more precise value. I am just trying to get a rough estimate at this point.

I have checked inside all the kitchen cabinets and cannot find a sticker listing the weight related specs. As stated previously, I did find the information for the GVWR and GAWR’s in the information the dealer gave me.

The general manager also wrote in his email, “Sunseeker has come light years in the past 2 to 3 years and they will still have problems like any manufacturer, but nothing they won't stand behind 110%. When Warren Buffet took over the company, he made a lot of changes, so I am quite sure you will be pleased.”

As I have indicated, with the exception of the unexpected chassis switcheroo, so far, so good. I would suggest, however, that anyone ordering a Sunseeker 2300 and wanting the E-450 chassis should make that abundantly clear in writing.
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:16 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Al Fresco View Post
As I have indicated, with the exception of the unexpected chassis switcheroo, so far, so good. [/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3]I would suggest, however, that anyone ordering a Sunseeker 2300 and wanting the E-450 chassis should make that abundantly clear in writing
I think that would be a grea idea for anyone ordering a motor home. I realize that Forest River puts the change disclaimer in their literature, but changing a chassis to a lower model would not be acceptable in my book.

The good thing is that the Sunseeker 2300 is the smallest and lightest unit available in that line, so there should be plenty of CCC even with the 12,500 lb. GVWR.
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:31 AM   #8
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Here is a link talking about teh differences in E350 & E450

E350 vs E450 - iRV2 Forums
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:48 PM   #9
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mtnguy – I agree the substitution of an E-350 chassis for an E-450 chassis does seem a bit outside the bounds of what would normally be expected. Nonetheless, Forest River does include the disclaimer with its literature which allows it to make essentially whatever changes it wants. I realize it is difficult to keep websites and brochures up to date. However, it seems like some kind of process could be implemented whereby F.R. could notify dealerships of significant modifications (such as a downgraded chassis that is different from the one that is advertised). (Presumably someone at F.R. knows how to send emails.) The dealer could then alert the buyer to any such changes and the order could be put together accordingly.

I am confident that our unit will have sufficient CCC for our needs. It will be used by just my wife and me for camping trips of not more than a week’s duration. Be that as it may, this experience is kind of like ordering what is advertised as a foot-long hotdog and being served one that is substantially shorter. It may taste good, but there is still the nagging realization that you didn’t get what you thought you had paid for.

jaxfl– Thanks for the link. . It appears the gas mileage may be marginally better and the ride may be somewhat improved with the E-350 chassis as compared to the E-450. My only real concern is that the lighter-duty E-350 may lead to more chassis-related problems in the future. Time will tell.
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:35 PM   #10
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UVW is really a useless number to pursue. Load the MH up like you want to go camping including water, food and all the people and go to the scales. Be sure to have full fuel tanks too and get front and rear axle weights and if possible get each wheel position weighed. It is not uncommon for MH's to be overloaded on one wheel due to design. Once you have those numbers you can determine how to arrange/remove stuff to keep you under the chassis limits. Don't be too surprised if you exceed the chassis limits the first time through the scales. Class C's are notorious for being overloaded IMHO.
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