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Old 03-03-2017, 03:37 PM   #1
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Berkshire XLT

I noticed that the XLT has a lot of nice features but there are two things I am trying to avoid. One is propane. I would rather not have a rig that uses propane at all. I see by the photos that it uses an electric cooktop but yet the specs say it has a propane tank. Is this for the furnaces or is the coach really an all electric coach?

My other bugaboo that I would like to avoid is the solid front axle. Does the XLT have Independent Front Suspension? Usually is something has that it is well stated in the specs. I'd be curious as to how anyone who owns an XLT likes them. They appear to be a good value with the various features.
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Old 03-03-2017, 05:53 PM   #2
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I noticed that the XLT has a lot of nice features but there are two things I am trying to avoid. One is propane. I would rather not have a rig that uses propane at all. I see by the photos that it uses an electric cooktop but yet the specs say it has a propane tank. Is this for the furnaces or is the coach really an all electric coach?

My other bugaboo that I would like to avoid is the solid front axle. Does the XLT have Independent Front Suspension? Usually is something has that it is well stated in the specs. I'd be curious as to how anyone who owns an XLT likes them. They appear to be a good value with the various features.
Ed,

No, the XLT is not a true 'Electric Bus' but it is as darn near to one as you can get without having a AquaHot system. I hear rumors that either the 2018 1/2 Berkshire XLT or the re-worked Charleston will go AquaHot - NO I do not have a inside track - this is just the rumor mill. But, since Dynamax (Forest River's premier Type Super C Coach) is now AquaHot it makes sense their flagship Type A coaches will as well.

The XLT (fully equipped) comes with a Induction Cooktop, Truma Tankless HWH, and 2 15K Propane Furnaces. We strongly suggest you get the optional electric heated tile floors. Since we have the 43A floor plan, we also have the Fireplace, which is not available in the 43C floor plan.

In this configuration you are virtually an electric bus. The only thing you need propane for is the Truma Tankless Hot Water Heater. Between the heated floors, the fireplace, we were good to go all this winter - in fact if you are not careful, the darn heated floors (which go up to 104) and the fireplace (which has a 95 thermostat) will flat run you out of the coach! We have come back several times where the inside temps were in the 80's when it was in the 30s outside!

By the way, the Truma HWH is flawless in performance. None of the woes experienced by the Atwood or Gerard HWH. The Truma 'just works' every time, without fail. FR was good in that they installed the upgraded Truma Comfort HWH which has a anti-freeze feature - that came in handy this winter Thanks FR!

We are full timers, so with the 30 GAL propane tank, taking 2 *long* showers a day, washing dishes, doing between 4-7 loads of laundry in warm water each week, and other assorted needs for hot water, we need to go fill the propane tank about once every 6-ish weeks - and even then we usually have 4-6 GAL of propane in the tank.


Front End:

The XLT comes with the Neway Front Suspension. While not the top-of-the-line ZF Suspension, we have found it more than adequate and very responsive to the wheel. Caveat: Unknown to us, when we picked our Coach up the front end was grossly out of alignment! We felt like we were always having to "drive" the coach. VERY uncomfortable.

A call to 24/7 provided the solution: according to them they ship the chassis aligned but when the coach is built, factory alignment and the completed coach are not the same. A trip to a FL Oasis Center for alignment (paid by Forest River) fixed that problem. Now that the front end is properly aligned, I never feel like I have to fight the wheel; just point the coach in the direction we want to go and cruise!

So, lesson learned. If you get your XLT at Total Value RV (Recommended) have them take it to the FL Oasis Center in Elkhart and have the alignment checked

The Tag axel is amazing. On I65 in Bowling Green, KY on our way to the FROG International Rally last year, as we came into the open area just before the Corvette museum, I heard this "boom" on the driver's side of the coach. I asked Anne-Marie 'what the hell was that?!' She told me it was cross winds(her weather app was clocking them at 43 MPH). I watched a Class C and 2 5ers swaying and then pulling to the side of the road. We felt *nothing* after that initial noise (and even the noise did not cause the coach to sway one inch!) even though the trees were bending and the flags were sticking out straight east. I was more than impressed with the stability.

You can find more information than FR supplies on the Chassis here:
https://www.fcccrv.com/chassis/xc/fr...xle-suspension

What other questions do you have? Ask Away.

Generally speaking we are over the moon with our XLT. As with any new Coach, there will be warts, but Forest River has never quibbled and has fixed everything to our satisfaction - even shipping us a new HDMI splitter when ours failed. Would I buy it again? In a New Your Minute! I have looked at comparable Newmar and feature and price point wise, the Berkshire XLT wins hands down.

Now that Forest River has their new parts replacement warranty plan (see my separate thread), a local RV Dealer can order and replace parts making the replacement/repair process even faster - and this is not just on the Berkshire but on all Forest River Products.
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Old 03-03-2017, 06:03 PM   #3
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Thanks Bob, that's the type of info I was looking for. The only thing comparable in price in other brands is the Newmar Ventana which has a rear radiator which I wanted to avoid. It would be nice if there was a bath and a half model out there in the XLT, but I do like what I saw on-line. I may have to take a run out to either Indiana or Michigan after tax season and see what the rigs have to offer. We do have one local dealer, Meyers, who has the Berks, but I don't know if they have the XLT. They just took a couple of their dealerships back from Camping World. They had a good rep before they sold to CW.

Ed
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Old 03-03-2017, 07:26 PM   #4
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Thanks Bob, that's the type of info I was looking for. The only thing comparable in price in other brands is the Newmar Ventana which has a rear radiator which I wanted to avoid. It would be nice if there was a bath and a half model out there in the XLT, but I do like what I saw on-line. I may have to take a run out to either Indiana or Michigan after tax season and see what the rigs have to offer. We do have one local dealer, Meyers, who has the Berks, but I don't know if they have the XLT. They just took a couple of their dealerships back from Camping World. They had a good rep before they sold to CW.

Ed
Ed,

There is - it is the 43C Floor plan. You give up the Fireplace and TBH, if you do not need the extra heat the fireplace generates (and it is significant!) perhaps this floor plan will work for you.

As a consolation prize, you could always go with the 43C and then get a Dyson Blade Hot/Cool Fan. If you opt for the Tower model (Expensive!) it will very closely replicate the fireplace.

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00B04ZP...ing=UTF8&psc=1

The XLT compares very favorably with the Ventana - in fact that is FR's plan: XLT beats Ventana and Charleston beatsDutch Star

I encourage you to talk to the folks at Total Value RV - they are in Elkhart so your Coach will only have 40 or so miles on it when you pick it up. Dave (our Salesman) was AWESOME and Ivan (VP) and everyone else there were amazing - our PDI took 3 days. Also when you buy from them you have a lifetime invite to their 6 space RV park (Water & Electric) for free!

More questions? Ask Away!
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Old 03-04-2017, 08:42 AM   #5
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Thanks Bob, we will try to stop at Total Value when we go out to see our daughter in college at Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute. I do have one other question though. How is the XLT in really hot weather? Our Berk is really tough to be in when the temps top 100 degrees. The two A/C's just can't handle the heat.

If I may draw one more comparison with other brands. The XLT seems like a better coach for the money than the Entegra Insignia. The Insignia is a nice coach but it is also uses propane and has the solid front axle. The XLT seems to be a nicer coach than the Insignia.

BTW, I see that MH2Go in Michigan also has several XLT's in stock. We may try to check them out also.

Ed
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Old 03-04-2017, 09:47 AM   #6
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Thanks Bob, we will try to stop at Total Value when we go out to see our daughter in college at Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute. I do have one other question though. How is the XLT in really hot weather? Our Berk is really tough to be in when the temps top 100 degrees. The two A/C's just can't handle the heat.

If I may draw one more comparison with other brands. The XLT seems like a better coach for the money than the Entegra Insignia. The Insignia is a nice coach but it is also uses propane and has the solid front axle. The XLT seems to be a nicer coach than the Insignia.

BTW, I see that MH2Go in Michigan also has several XLT's in stock. We may try to check them out also.
Ed,

The XLT is as good in hot weather as it is in cold! We took delivery over the 4th of July weekend in Elkhart and it performed well there in the high 80s. Then on to Alabama....

When we got to Alabama the temps were around 105 actual, but with the humidity, the heat index was between at 110-115!

The XLT has 15K A/Cs fore and aft (with heat pumps) and a 13.5K Amidships, with a computer controlled thermostat and electrical management system. We kept the coach at a very comfortable 70 with no issues. The RV park we were at had no shade and the coach was exposed to direct sunlight all day long. Even in the noonday sun it was cool and comfortable in the coach. I experimented and was easily able to drop the interior temperature to 65 (brr! )during mid-day temps of 107 The coach is very well insulated Ed!

We did notice one issue: the windshield. Even with the day and night shades down you could feel a noticeable heat gradient immediately fore of the pantry and throughout the cockpit, and the windshield was too hot to touch in the direct sunlight. We solved this problem by purchasing MagneShades for the windshield and pilot/co-pilots windows we also opted for the mirror covers to protect their finish and the mirror surface while we were parked over the winter.

With the MagneShade on the windshield, you can easily touch the windshield and the temperature in the cockpit was very close to the rest of the coach.

For additional cooling and airflow, at the FROG Rally Silver (Jim) and I installed a ceiling fan in the bedroom - that was an amazing mod!

I had been bugging the folks at the diesel division about a bedroom ceiling fan and a smart wheel--well, it turns out that the new model of the XLT sports both!

We looked at the Entegra Insignia as well and chose the Berkshire for a couple reasons - 1st was brand loyalty. We have had nothing but fantastic customer service from Forest River--from our Travel Trailer through our 5th wheel and now with the XLT. I have never heard of customer service from any other brand like Forest River's! The fact that you can go to the rally every year and get your unit fixed for free (and I have seen units have slides & roofs replaced!) is a real selling point.

None of the other brands (Newmar, Allegro & Entegra) had the floor plan Anne-Marie and I liked. The only floor plan we really likes other than the XLT Was the Allegro Zypher but, at $900K it was a tad out of our price range

We are also planning on modifying our coach this year - we got the optional free standing dinette & L-Sofa with the plan of replacing the sofa with theater seating and the dinette with a custom desk & sewing center for Anne-Marie.

Everyone told us that we would hate the L Sofa. I have NO idea what they were talking about! Anne-Marie loves the sofa--she enjoys lounging in the "L" and I have no problems either (we did buy a hassock to put our feet up on) We still want the theater seating but that will come in second to the desk/sewing center mod!

While you are out at Total Value RV, why not stop by and tour the Berkshire plant? It's not 4 miles from Total Value:
1800 West hively Ave
Elkhart IN 46517

Give Susan Seggerman a call at: (574) 522-3693 and let her know the day you will be by. They are super friendly at the Diesel Division and will show you whatever you want to see - if you go in the morning (they prefer afternoons when the workers are done for the day but I like to see the workers working!) you can see exactly how your coach is being built.

Speaking of that I also strongly encourage you to have your coach built to order - it will take @ 3 months but I feel that if they are building a coach for someone they have met they take a little more care Also we went by the Diesel Division a couple times while our coach was in production and got to see it being built - that was an awesome experience!

I have heard variable reports about MH2Go (and MHSRV in TX). I have not heard of one complaint of Total Value (save one, but that was a self inflicted gunshot wound ) Several members of the FRF have bought from Total Value and we are all very happy with the buying experience and the fact that we can use their 6 space RV 'park' for free any time we are in Elkhart. Also the PDI experience at Total Value is amazing - ours took 3 days - they only did 3 or so hours a day so we were not overwhelmed; and they went over every single item on the coach with us.
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:36 AM   #7
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Thanks again Bob. We have actually been through the plant in Elkhart as we have also toured Entegra (twice) and Newmar. All three tours were very impressive. I do like the hung wall method of both of the other two brands but our rig spends over half its life inside so that may not be as big of an issue for us as it is for others.

Our experience with Forest River customer service has also been very good. We had an issue with our weight limits on our rig. We contacted FR and after several discussions they agreed with us and had us go to Gaffney to have the modifications done to correct the problem.

Ed
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:51 AM   #8
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Thanks again Bob. We have actually been through the plant in Elkhart as we have also toured Entegra (twice) and Newmar. All three tours were very impressive. I do like the hung wall method of both of the other two brands but our rig spends over half its life inside so that may not be as big of an issue for us as it is for others.

Our experience with Forest River customer service has also been very good. We had an issue with our weight limits on our rig. We contacted FR and after several discussions they agreed with us and had us go to Gaffney to have the modifications done to correct the problem.
Ed,

So far--so good with our coach. Coming up on a year this July and it has been outside the whole time. Now, I DO take care of the coach and am pretty religious about using Aero Products on it every few months [http://washwax.com]

We found this stuff at Goshen 4 years ago and have used it ever since - we even use it on our Jeep & Car! Great stuff and the Belly Wash is JUST the ticket to clean a fiberglass roof without all the mess (and slippery surfaces!) of a water-based product!

Weight issues? Forget it with the XLT! Here is our story:

So, we were at Goshen last August. And scheduled an appointment with the weight police on Saturday before we left. We had recently gone full time in July, and had completely loaded the coach up with everything we planned to take with us into retirement. We were stuffed to the gills! After weighing us, Dave asked me if I was ready for the news. The news had not been good with our fifth wheel as we were 600 pounds overweight when we had it weighed a couple years ago. So, I was ready for the worst.

Dave told us well you're 3000 pounds. I said OMG Dave, There is no way I can ditch 3000 pounds in the coach and go full time! He smiled and said no you misunderstand, you can still put 3000 pounds in the coach and be within spec!

Ed, short of putting a pallet of bricks in the basement I don't know where I could stuff another 3000 pounds in the coach! So, my friend, don't worry about weight issues with the XLT!
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Old 03-04-2017, 11:22 AM   #9
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Bob, you're reaction to the rig is precisely what I was interested in. Have you come across anyone else who has one? I know there aren't many out there in RV Land.

I'd also be curious as to how much they are discounting the XLT's. I'm seeing 30% on line which usually is a good indication that 35% or more is possible.

Ed
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:55 PM   #10
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Bob, you're reaction to the rig is precisely what I was interested in. Have you come across anyone else who has one? I know there aren't many out there in RV Land.

I'd also be curious as to how much they are discounting the XLT's. I'm seeing 30% on line which usually is a good indication that 35% or more is possible.

Ed
30% is about all you can expect if you factory order. But, TBH I think that is the way you should go if you are getting the big mack daddy of the Berkshire line - one of our members bought a XL off the lot and it had been sitting for almost a year (he was the one that had all the angst with Total Value) lots of things go south when a rig sits on the lot - for instance chassis maintenance starts with the build date of the chassis NOT your delivery date, there was some chassis rust because the rig had been there over the winter...so IMHO factory order

There are 3 other XLT owners on the Berkshire Owner's group - so you can ping them there for their thoughts.

Not a lot of us but those of us who are owners are, I believe as a group, over the moon with our units. I know we are
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:02 PM   #11
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To add to this I can't tell you how nice it is to deal with Total Value - All of 5 miles from the Berk Factory. We asked the Factory to do a couple of things for us (no artwork on the wall so we could put our "stuff" there, and a hand rail out of he shower to help Anne-Marie; we also wanted a Queen bed instead of a King - no problem! FR fabricated nightstands so Anne-Marie had room for her 'stuff' and a CPAP and my side had room for a alarm clock (HEY! We still work ), m iPad & iPhone and rooms for other stuff as well. NICE that FR accommodated us!
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:33 AM   #12
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To those that might consider ordering an RV from Total RV in Elkhart In look at the following chart to check the sales tax exemption. Living in SC when I got the quote from Total RV the 7 % sales tax made the deal really un-doable. http://www.in.gov/dor/3785.htm
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Old 03-05-2017, 02:34 PM   #13
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Interesting chart. It must be that there is no reciprocity between IN and SC. I once bought a truck in Texas and brought it back here to NY to license it and what a hassle I had. Of course I had to pay the sales tax due here in NY but I also had to produce an original certificate of origin and a whole bunch of stuff.

When we head back out to Terre Haute to our daughter's school I'll try to stop in Elkhart and check out Total Value RV. I might also head up to Grand Rapids to check out what they have.

Does anyone know if there are build sheets or options lists available for both the XLT and the Charleston? I haven't seen any and I'm curious as to what may be available for options.

Ed
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Old 03-05-2017, 02:54 PM   #14
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Ed
There is one available but I was unable to get it to attach. The current brochure for the Berkshire models including the XLT is available on line. The build sheet for the XLT has the MSRP pricing so if there is something you particularly want to know and I will look it up on my order sheet for the XLT that is being built for me with delivery in May. Send me a PM for info.
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Old 03-05-2017, 06:40 PM   #15
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To those that might consider ordering an RV from Total RV in Elkhart In look at the following chart to check the sales tax exemption. Living in SC when I got the quote from Total RV the 7 % sales tax made the deal really un-doable. DOR: Tax Comparison Chart
Whyever did you want to register in IN?!?

When we bought form Total Value they had a check for us to cover our sales tax back in Alabama (a pleasant 3%)
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Old 03-05-2017, 06:43 PM   #16
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Interesting chart. It must be that there is no reciprocity between IN and SC. I once bought a truck in Texas and brought it back here to NY to license it and what a hassle I had. Of course I had to pay the sales tax due here in NY but I also had to produce an original certificate of origin and a whole bunch of stuff.

When we head back out to Terre Haute to our daughter's school I'll try to stop in Elkhart and check out Total Value RV. I might also head up to Grand Rapids to check out what they have.

Does anyone know if there are build sheets or options lists available for both the XLT and the Charleston? I haven't seen any and I'm curious as to what may be available for options.
Ed,

If were buying right now, I'd get the XLT; it pretty much trumps the Charleston. The only thing the Charleston has over the XLT is a safe, slightly wider door, and keyless entry.

If you are really wanting a Charleston, I would wait until later this year when (hopefully) they will come out with a new, refreshed model.
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Old 03-05-2017, 07:01 PM   #17
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Whyever did you want to register in IN?!?



When we bought form Total Value they had a check for us to cover our sales tax back in Alabama (a pleasant 3%)


Bob
The issue is not that it would have been registered in Indiana, obviously it would have been registered in SC. Indiana does not have a reciprocal agreement with SC and therefore is required to collect sales tax (7%) for Indiana. It really screws a person from the states on the list if they want to buy in Indiana and live/register in their home state. With the price of an XLT that was a huge amount of money.
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:50 PM   #18
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If I read the chart correctly, there are six states with '*' that would have to pay double sales tax. Both in Indiana and you're home stay.
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:17 AM   #19
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Bob, I'll have to see what the features on with both the '18 or '17.5 XLT's and then make a decision. The price difference is relatively mild so I'll just have to see what is available on each model. With us being in the middle of tax season my wife and I have not had any opportunity to talk about what we might want to do regarding a new rig.

Ed
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Old 03-06-2017, 07:20 PM   #20
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Are you sure about that? I just had them quote me a xl40bh that I ended up buying in SC but all they wanted to charge me was the 300$ max in SC... Ronald
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