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Old 02-25-2013, 12:36 PM   #1
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1 yr review of Coachmen 28DDS from a Newbie


Well it’s been fun year and since purchasing our first RV I wanted to document some of the good and bad with this unit and our experiences overall during the first year of ownership.
We purchased this unit used Feb 2012 (a few months old) and the plastic was still on the mattress. There was a real cost advantage to doing this in my opinion. I think it was more of right place, right time. Can’t say enough about our dealer…they have been great through the entire process. I have yet to take it back in for service, most of the little items that have gone wrong I have handled on my own. Overall the entire experience from Purchase down to the options to camp in the Midwest has been great. One of the best things about an RV is the opportunity to spend time with friends and family un-interrupted by outside factors and technology.
Brief review of the unit and the observed quality:
My Coachmen Catalina 28DDS is an old school type RV…meaning wood framed construction with aluminum siding, Fiberglas insulation and plywood floor. This design I have learned is heavier for the size at 6100 dry from the factory…loaded and ready to go it’s close to 7K. Still 3K under my tow rating for my ½ ton Ram but I feel it’s right on the edge. The Floor plan consists of a basic bunkhouse layout with a super slide in the living area that contains the table and jackknife sofa. The unit has a Short Queen up front with full and twin beds in the rear.
Having nothing to compare it to my opinions are rather limited to my little world…however we looked at many other New units and will say that the Coachmen Catalina line seems to be built fairly solid. I have had some issues that have required some attention. The Manual tongue jack failed on our 2nd trip….Luckily I had all the WD bars and hitch set up before it gave up the ghost. A trip to Cabala’s and a new LCI Electric tongue jack solved the issue. The frame for the jackknife sofa busted and was replaced by a much sturdier 2x4 frame in about an hour. Also, the main cabinet door hinge under the sink for pots and such pulled out…a larger screw fixed this issue. All told including the jack (I was planning on anyway) total cost for the repairs have been less than $300.00 and the jack itself was at least 80% of this number. So I have been happy on this front.
Mods:
With anything these days there are always things that can be done better once you have a feeling on how things work. Lots of these items have been picked off this site and highlight the benefit of being involved on this forum
1/4 turn ball valves on all low point drains
Flip Foot Jack on Tongue
LCI Electric Jack
Larger Fire Extinguisher at Doorway and in Forward Storage Compartment
Rain Sensing Fantastic Brand Fan in Bath
Fantastic Fan in Front Bedroom
Vent covers to allow circulation of air when its raining
Multiple Batt LED Lights in storage Compartments
Insect Screens on all Appliances
RE-built sofa frame
4" Mattress Topper (So So So much better than factory mattress)
Grab Handle on Entry Door
Carpeted Entry Stairs
Lexan Cover for the Screen Door
Telescoping Shower Curtain Rod
Battery Disconnect Switch
Wingman Antenna for better TV Reception
Upgraded Shower Head

Some of the not so good…
One of the biggest hurdles for me was actually towing the unit down the road. It’s still an unsettling feeling lugging this thing down the interstate…pack the family along for the ride and the nerves are out of control. At least that’s the way it was for the first few trips. Since-I have logged about 1000 miles while towing and it’s a much more comfortable experience because I know what to expect. The hitch provided by the dealer (Husky Centerline) has been OK…it’s a bit cumbersome and towards the end of the season I have noticed the pins that hold the bars to the head have nearly sheared off. I purchased two new pins but it is still a little concerning. The design of the centerline incorporates two large pins that hold the receivers onto the head….at some point one of these cotter pins disappeared. The hitch does a OK job on controlling the sway…there is still some room for adjustment and I will tackle this early before our first big trip I have also found a very big factor is how the unit is loaded…Paying attention to the weight behind the axles has really been a big factor in the “white knuckling” aspect of towing.
Still not sold on this hitch but will adjust it a bit more this season and make a decision on what direction to go after a little more time with it.
Overall we have been extremely happy with our choice to enter the RV world. It’s been a fun experience, albeit a lot of work but fun. We think the floor plan is great for our growing family and generally for cramming a bunch of people into for whatever the event. There are some things I would change and would like for a future unit. An outside kitchen, Separate bunkhouse room and U-shaped dinette are about it. Problem is that that will require a larger truck so…..you know how those things work!
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:05 PM   #2
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glad you are enjoying your Catalina! You have really done several great mods.

Curious, what shower head did you go with?
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:24 PM   #3
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Glad you like your Calalina. Nice list of mods.
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:57 PM   #4
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We bought our 12 dds used last February as well! I don't know who used it but it looked as good as the new campers we have bought. I couldn't find any wear, anywhere! I too added a power tongue jack as well as a upgraded bath fan and vent cover. I added a flip down monitor in the bedroom area for watching tv/DVD's while in bed. I did also put some spring loaded hinges on the bathroom door so it could be easily removed and stored while traveling to make bathroom access easier with the slide in. Losing some weight would have been an option as well but the hinges were easier. Overall we really like the camper as well and find it a good fit for our family of six and our budget.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:20 PM   #5
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Same here we got our last April and love it. Pretty much same mods with A few exceptions , put a switch for the electric part of the HW tank inside trailer and also rewired the entertainment unit and put a shelf to acomidate the satellite reciver also put a kill switch under the cabinet for the electric awening as the little ones like to play with it. Not too many complaints like wise all taken care of by myself first weekend out go to empty the kitchen sink its all over the floor, fittings on drain were never tightened and the other one was the staples for the carpet on the slide out were stick up too much, taped down with a hammer problem solved. Great unit don't regret it at all.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeeplj8 View Post
glad you are enjoying your Catalina! You have really done several great mods.

Curious, what shower head did you go with?
Sorry for the delay...went with the oxygenetics from camping world
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Old 03-14-2015, 11:28 AM   #7
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Figured I may as well update this post.....seeing how we are starting our third year with this unit next week. I had a lot of good things to say two years ago and for the most part I still do.

I still feel like the unit is a great entry level RV with great value for the money. There have been some issues as we have put the miles on. I'll condition this statement by saying that the new Coachmen's I have seen at Shows are not on the same quality level as my 2011. It appears things have gone down hill....Just my Opinion.

Updates three seasons in:

The Replacement LCI Tounge Jack failed after only one season. Junk. Junk. Junk. Replaced it with a Husky Brute w/ball bearings and it works great. Keep it covered with a bucket when not in use.

Replaced the rear axle and all the bearings. Not as expensive as you might think. Also repalced the China Bombs that wore out within 1000 miles due to the axle prob. Went with the maxxis Route and went up a load range. Noticed a big differnace in how it towed.

Lost a wheel bearing on my new axle. Took the bearing, hub, breaks and drum with it in the process. Didnt loose the wheel, but almost did.

Finally dumped the troublesome Husky Centerline. Nothing but problems with it for 2.5 years. I did not feel safe towing with it. Went with the Equalizer 4 point hitch and dont regret it at all.

As far as things going wrong with the trailer, there have been very little. We spend 20-30 nights in it a season. I had one water line kinked behind the outdoor shower that apparently was there from the time it was built. It devloped a pin hole that cought right away spilling no nore than a cup of water. Quick re route of the hoses solved this problem.

I replaced all the aluminum rivets in the entery stairs with bolts. Why would any mfgr use rivets for this service is beyond me. Easy Fix and minimal $$.

I burned out my Electric element in the water heater. Need to fix this.

Experiance and a good hitch have taken out most of my nervousness about dragging this thing down the road. We have some pretty neat trips planned this year and rather than dreading the drive I will enjoy it. Compared to the price of gas 3 years ago, my wallet will enjoy it too.

Spending money on the RV has slowed down....that first year was a killer. Everything that I saw I had to have! You know the sickness. Each season I have a day that I try to eliminate things from the RV that we dont use. What an excersize in frustration.


All in all we have had good luck with this trailer. There have been some expendatures that I didnt expect. Out side of the axle repair, i dont think that it really is any different than most of the issues seen on outher brands. I dont know what the previous owner did with the trailer so thats the cost of buying used i guess. We did find a unit we really liked at the winter show this year, first time we have found anything that would make us trade ours off. Typical story there....need a bigger truck. Might take the plunge on a 3/4 Ram this year. The 6.4L Hemi and the low gas price has me thinking.....
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Old 03-31-2015, 10:53 AM   #8
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We have the 28dds also, a 2012 model, so I figured I could add to your review.
This is our 2nd Coachmen TT and over all I'm very pleased with the quality.
I too have had tire issues. I have had a large bulge appear, I noticed it in the mirrors and thought I had bent a rim! Changed that tire and will do the rest this year.
I bought a cheap power tongue jack right away and have had great service from it. I caulked all the openings and cover with a bucket when not in use.
The one big thing that I am not happy with is the fiberglass or whatever it is on the front cap. I developed a leak from around the front marker lights that ended up causing some delamination of the front. I have had no damage to the inside but now it has a visual flaw that drives me crazy.
I was shocked to see the hole drilled for the wiring of these lights was over an 1"round! It is barely covered by the lights. I caulked the snot out of both of them and the leak is gone but the damage is done.
Im not going to jinx myself and say anymore good things as it will all go to pot if I do!
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Old 03-31-2015, 06:50 PM   #9
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1 yr review of Coachmen 28DDS from a Newbie

Thanks for the update. Good to hear things are going well.
When we upgraded our camper last fall, it was suggested we should consider switching over to the Husky... My thoughts were that my Equal-i-zer has been good to me this long, I'll stick with it... Glad I did.


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Old 04-29-2015, 01:50 PM   #10
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I also have the 2012 28DDS and my family and I are pleased with it. Taking a long trip next month to Gulf Shores Alabama from Kentucky that we are looking forward to. Has anyone replaced their camper tires with actual car tires?
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