New to Rv'ing
I have been lurking for a little while learning as much as possible so I can make an informed purchase decision. I first decided I wanted to buy a preowned coach to avoid absorbing the depreciation on a new rig right out of the dealer showroom. I narrowed down my choices to FR3 30DS, Ace 30.1 or Mirada 29DS. We went to many dealers, RV shows and drove several and yesterday decided on the FR3.
Our decision wasn't easy as all of the coaches offered some great features. Our first and foremost concern was the floor plan. My wife liked the Mirada floor plan the best and I liked the Mirada 50 amp service, two AC units and larger 5500 watt Onan generator. I was told by the factory rep I should also prefer the longer Mirada 228" wheelbase as almost all MH's built on the Ford F53 chassis have a 190" wheel base. Unfortunately, we ruled out the Mirada for two reasons. The main reason was my wife (she is not a short person at 5'3.5") could not move the driver seat forward enough to comfortably reach the floor pedals and we both did not care for the front seats. I didn't think the driver seat had enough leg support (too short a seat) and was not that comfortable. I also did not like the jack knife sofa. In the closed seated position or in the open for sleeping I didn't think it comfortable at all.
The Ace had lots of conveniences I really liked. The flip out passenger seat dash tray with 12volt and AC outlets in the tray compartment. Really well thought out. I liked the 32" TV adjustable bracket arm to turn the TV toward the front seats so you could easily watch TV while eating or having cocktails on the removable table that is mounted between the front seats. Very nice and well thought out. However, my wife and I thought the dinette and coach seating was cheesy and not comfortable and would not be comfortable sleeping on either. The ACE drove very nice but had very limited external storage capacity.
We both thought the FR3 was better quality and loved the sofa hide a bed with built in foot rests. The hide a bed was a full queen just like in the bedroom. I found in most coaches the queen bedroom mattress was the shorter 60" X 75" mattress. I am not that tall at 6"1" but would hate my feet hanging over the end of the bed. I also liked the leather seating and the driver and passenger seats were very comfortable. The external storage capacity was almost double that of the ACE. The ACE had only 68 cu ft verses FR3 112 cu ft a big difference especially for extended trips for a month or more. Even 122 cu ft may be challenging for long extended trips.
I do have a couple of question for the group:
Has anyone found the need to add stability adjustments or a sway bar to their FR3 30DS coach? I have read that stability adjustments were recommended on earlier Ford F53 chassis like a 2011 or 2012 and was wondering if 2014 Ford F53 chassis required same.
Also, I noticed on the FR3 that it did not have a tray with cup holders between the front seats mounted on the engine cover. Has anyone found one they could tell me about?
Can anyone tell me about the shower curtain verses the plastic simulated door? I noticed, depending on how early a model version you purchased, the shower may just have a curtain instead of the sliding shower door. Anyone have a preference and why?
Thank you all for sharing such great information and I hope to report in the near future that I am an FR3 owner and am looking forward to sharing my trip experiences this coming summer.
Now our search for a pre-owned FR3 30DS coach begins.