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Old 06-08-2014, 11:37 PM   #1
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2015 Solera 24R New Owner Observations

Hi all,

We purchased a new Solera 24R about 6 weeks ago and finally took her out for a weekend trip to a local campground. Here are our observations on the Solera as first time RV owners.

1) The Solera is pretty small if traveling with more than 2 people. Our family consists of my wife and I, a 3 year old and an infant. While we like the Solera, we think that if you have kids and are doing any extended traveling or camping a larger motorhome would be much more comfortable.

2) The propane tank is too small. I realize this small tank is based on saving weight for passengers and gear. If you have a propane generator and plan on using it while driving to run the house A/C, plan on stopping for propane a lot. Of course diesel generators are now an option again so if you plan on using the house A/C you might want to give the diesel generator some consideration.

3) The MB Sprinter driving experience is awesome! We drove just about everything before choosing Solera. The Ford F350 & F450 Class C gas models seemed too bloated although offered more room on a larger chassis affording more weight but sacrificing mpg. We also drove some gas and diesel Class A's. We really liked a few of the diesel pushers but their larger size kept us coming back to the Class C. We like to drive our Solera on the weekends for family outings in place of our car because with the Solera you get your own bathroom, refrigerator, etc. and more space than even the largest of SUVs. If we were just buying a motorhome for traveling long distances or weekend camping we probably would have gone with a larger RV.

4) The quality of the Solera seems pretty solid. Our friends have a expensive diesel pusher and it seems thar FR has done an excellent job incorporating finishes that you see on much more expensive units such as full body paint, ducted A/C vents, Black water tank flush and many more.

5) Sleeping with a family. I think the Solera 24R does a good job giving everyone a place to sleep for a mini motorhome. I really love the queen size mattress in the rear although my wife and our infant took it over this past weekend! I slept in the over cab bed with our 3 year old and was fairly comfortable even being 6'1". The length and width of the bed was acceptable however the foam cushions weren't that comfortable. Maybe getting a 3" memory foam topper would help. I think as our kids get older we will be able to put them in the over cab bed or the dinette and I'll get to sleep on the queen sized bed with my wife. We also considered setting up a pack and play for our infant on the floor but that would have made getting to the bathroom a little difficult at night.

6) MPG has consistently been in the 13-14 mpg range. I heard as a diesel engine breaks in MPG improves but I'm not counting on it. I'm satisfied with this MPG and am aware that keeping highway speeds around 60-65 mpg keeps you going longer between fuel stops.

I look forward to any comments or suggestions from other owners.

Brian
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Old 06-09-2014, 08:48 AM   #2
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I'm not sure of your camping style, so it depends on what your idea of the "RV" expierence your after with your family. Some of the best features are maneuverabilty and fuel econmony. One suggestion is set the cruise to right around 59 mph when on interstates, and you will gain almost 1 mph in fuel economy or about 7%. I have found that is the optimal fuel efficiency range for my MB Solera. Also, doing a little math you will discover how much you really do not gain time wise, by traveling at 5 mph faster. Also, it requires much less lane change issues, and a much more relaxing drive.

Did you try just using the MB air cond to cool the coach when in flight, that will stretch the propane. Never has been a real issue for me, just an adjustment.
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Old 06-09-2014, 08:57 AM   #3
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Thanks for the suggestion on the speed on the interstates. We live in Louisiana and the summers here are pretty hot and humid. I guess I just want my kids to be comfortable like I'd like to be.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:04 AM   #4
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Yeah, I agree. Wonder what people did back in the late sixties and early seventies before A/C.But maybe it would build "character"!
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:50 AM   #5
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I too purchased a new Solara just 45 days ago.
I have a 3 year old and an 8 year old. We have had 8 different RV's but this is our first Motorhome. We have had 35' 5th wheels, a couple of tent trailers, a bunk house trailer, and a cab over truck camper. Our favorite before the Solara was our Lance Cabover truck camper.

We decided on the 24S because we knew it would be tight for a family of 4 to hang out inside. The bed is not comfortable even with a 3" memory foam cover. I'm 6'2" and that little bed is a little too small for me and my wife. It's a sacrafice I was willing to take to get the extra room. I have slept over the cab a number of time and I sleep great up there. When we are traveling to our destination we usually like to stop along the way if we see an attraction the kids like. The Solara makes this possible just like our Lance did. When we are camping, I want to be outside. When I had a huge 5th wheel, my wife would hang in there watching movies with my daughter ( only one at that time). To me camping is about exploring and being outside. This is just another reason that the Solara is perfect for our family. A quelity camper that has everything you need in a compact package.
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:56 AM   #6
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In my previous MH (Jayco Granite Ridge) I had to run the generator/ house ac to cool down the coach while driving. In my opinion not necessary in the Solera - plenty of cold air from the MB! And I am talking down in most southern part of FL.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:36 PM   #7
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Keep them coming

I'm really enjoying reading your posts. Keep them coming.

We pick up our 2015 24R July 1st. I'm ready...
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:12 PM   #8
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Congrats on the new MH. We have driven our Solera every weekend except one where it rained literally all day and night. We do a lot of exploring and it's great to just get out on the road and be prepared for anything we find interesting. I keep the Solera plugged into a 15 amp outlet while at home so I can leave the fridge stocked and ready to go. I also bought a AC voltage meter
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So that I could quickly see that I am getting shore power and not running the fridge off of propane.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecopco View Post
Thanks for the suggestion on the speed on the interstates. We live in Louisiana and the summers here are pretty hot and humid. I guess I just want my kids to be comfortable like I'd like to be.
Ecopco
We also live in Louisiana and are blessed with the oppressive heat and humidity. We usually start our trips with the house AC on in the summer but once out of town and up to speed on the interstate we are able to turn in off. The MB AC works really well and keeps my wife wrapped in a blanket and the kids comfortable in the back.

PS. make sure the vents on top of the dash are closed.
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:41 PM   #10
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Guage

Ecopco: Thanks for the idea on the guage. Lots of great ideas here. - Gary
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:32 AM   #11
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Another way to quickly check AC power on is to look at the microwaves panel. If it is lit you have power.
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Old 06-29-2014, 06:12 PM   #12
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We also have a new 2015 24R. Here are my observations and responses to your questions.

On the Propane/AC issue. I agree with what someone said above. We used to have a larger motorhome and had to run the generator while on the road in the deep south for the kids in back - but that was because they were so far back - quite a distance from the dash AC - and the Ford chassis AC wasn't all that strong. With the Solera, the kids are so much closer to the dash air and the air is so much stronger, that we've never had an issue. Our propane seems to last forever.

Size - we are a family of 4. Our kids are almost 13 and 10. They both sleep in the overhead bunk - and love it. My husband and I love the slide out queen in the back. I've even napped on it crosswise, when it has been slid in. We also camp for the outdoor experience and tend to only spend time in the RV when we're sleeping or getting ready in the mornings. For meals, usually my husband and one child will cook part of the meals outside while I cook inside with the other. If we do eat inside, all 4 of us fit at the dinette easily. (We love that there is no support post under the middle of the table like our old one - we always fought for foot space). We all take showers in the RV when we're not in a campground with a shower house - with no issues. One tip: we are going to put a fold down door stop on the living side of the bathroom door so that we can flip it down when it's open 90 degrees. That way, all of the vanity and bathroom floor space can be used by someone changing with almost total privacy - without having to fight with the finicky accordion divider (have thought about installing a curtain there instead because we hate the accordion so much).

Storage - we find the outside storage to be exceptional. We travel to softball tournaments nearly every weekend and can fit plenty of chairs, canopies, gear, etc. For inside storage, the only shortage we've found are drawers for clothes. We don't hang our clothes (T shirts, jeans, shorts, etc.) so we needed more drawers. To solve this, I went and bought 2 hanging closet "sweater organizers." It's a hanging soft-sided vertical set of shelves that we can put folded items and towels.

As our final tip - my husband says to watch your head when the rear slide is out. About 3 times now, he's been working getting stuff out of the storage compartments and walked around the back of the RV and hit his head on the bottom of the bedroom slide. The last time he was actually unconscious for a bit. We've decided to place "obstacles" and tie caution tape to the bottom of the slide.

And - make sure if you get a bike rack, that it's one that can fold out of the way when fully loaded. That will enable you to simply fold the rack out of the way if you need to put the slide out for a brief stop over.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:20 PM   #13
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Knutter, the foam pipe insulation that you can buy in sticks ( like the floaty water noodles ) have a slit all the way down. Slide them on to the sharp edging around the slide. You may forget and bump your head but it is a heck of a lot softer.
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Old 09-07-2015, 12:56 PM   #14
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Hmmmmm...I'm on this thread first to check an answer I need which I think is answered?
Q = can we run the gen and house A/C plus MB A\C while running down the road? Seems like we can, eh? However, as all agree, to me it seems that the MB A\C is very efficient...will check my vents on top of the dash tho. Why push air where you don't want it, right?

One concern re the genset while driving...does it continually suck up oil from the sump in spite of the oscillations of the unit while driving? Would hate to burn it up or start
a fire from lack of adequate oil flow within!!? I've "heard" of a few horror stories...just saying! Any thoughts re this would be appreciated...cheers! [STAY COOL!]
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Old 06-22-2020, 07:40 PM   #15
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Cool

Hi all!


I just found this very old thread. I just bought a 2015 Solera 24S, with 19K miles on it. Very excited to pick it up! I wondered if any of you in this thread still have your Soleras and how you feel about them after 5+ years! I'd really like to talk with some fellow (or former) Solera owners.
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Old 06-22-2020, 09:07 PM   #16
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2012 Solera S. About to turn 100K miles. Two trips to Alaska, one to Maine, Canadian Rockies, Utah National Parks, Colorado for Christmas, etc, etc. Just returned from our first post coronavirus “shelter in place” trip - to Washington state.
Really glad we bought the vehicle 8 years ago. The experiences have been priceless.

Vehicle has not been problem free. Several “teething problems” with the “house” part in the first 6 months or so (slide out failed weld, dash radio issues - needed updated software from the radio manufacturer, tv noise issues - needed ground loop isolators, needed to redesign the shower door latch, etc). Eventually the house problems got sorted out - still occasional longer term issues (Dometic 310 toilet design issue, refrigerator gas solenoid failure, etc).

Mercedes chassis issues have been a surprise. Turbo failure do to “improperly installed adapter ring”, electronic stability control module failure, transmission/torque converter failure, EGR valve and EGR cooler failure, glow plug failures, to name a few.

I rented a Ford based Motorhome before we bought to see if we would enjoy RVing. I really enjoy driving and riding in the Mercedes much more than I did in the Ford. Suspect, from what I’ve seen posted here and have heard anecdotally the Ford wouldn’t be any more reliable (though maybe cheaper to maintain and repair).

WRT the Mercedes part - some suggestions-
-Be very careful where you have maintenance done. Specifically the turbo adapter hose/ring needs knowledgeable care during a routine fuel filter change.
-Be sure your transmission gets serviced in a timely manner (fluid and filter change). Maybe at 50K miles. My Mercedes dealer claimed to have done all required maintenance but had not done the transmission- which failed (chatter) at about 85K miles.
-Expect to replace glow plugs at ~90K miles.
-Be sure to only use the Mercedes recommended oil.
-Get and carry an OBD2 reader. Knowing an MIL light is just a glow plug and not something destroying your engine is quite valuable on a trip. Resetting fault codes for exhaust back pressure (EGR valve or needs a DPF regen) to get out of limp mode so you can drive to a shop really helps.

Again, really glad we bought the Motorhome and the experiences have made the hassles worth while. Enjoy!
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Old 06-23-2020, 08:10 AM   #17
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I am a full time RVer in a 2014 Solera 24S. I've been very pleased with this motor home. Mine has 43,000 miles. All MBS service performed at the MBS dealer. Minimal problems. A bolt in the underside of the slide fell out (people on this forum helped me troubleshoot and repair), the refrigerator board and heating element failed, backup camera control module replaced, toilet replaced, and the DVR/CD has never worked on the Jensen radio. I've added a Helwig anti-sway bar, Bilstein shocks and Sumo springs to improve the ride. You might consider having your loaded rig weighed. It holds far more weight than you should carry. Enjoy your new rig!Click image for larger version

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Old 06-23-2020, 10:18 PM   #18
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Wow, thanks for the great info! Glad to see your rigs are still going and you're still enjoying them.


Have you guys ever had any issues with finding someone to work on your Sprinter chassis if you're on the road? I have heard that not all MB dealers work on Sprinters and that if you break down somewhere it might be hard to find someone to work on one. This seems a little hard to believe considering how many Sprinter vans are out there.


I'm sure I will have a lot more questions but thanks for responding!
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Old 06-23-2020, 10:20 PM   #19
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Also, Charlene - do you camp with your kitties?
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Old 06-24-2020, 02:22 AM   #20
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I take mine about 40 miles away to the nearest Mercedes dealer who has a large enough bay to service it. When we needed service on the road, we were able to find Sprinter service centers. In all but one case we were able to drive to the Sprinter service place we found via internet and cell phone.
- Freightliner of Oklahoma City did a great job getting us back on the road in 24 hours after our turbo failure. We were able to drive to them. Rented a car and a hotel room.
- Mercedes of Tacoma, Washington was not able to fit the vehicle on their lift, but was willing and able to replace our bad glow plug without a lift while we waited (a couple hours in their excellent waiting room). Drove to them also.
- Mercedes of Sacramento CA - was able to diagnose Electronic Stability Control Computer failure. We were towed there on a Holiday weekend. Vehicle would not shift out of first gear. Left the vehicle, rented a car, and drove home (maybe 150 miles). Repair took about 5 days, as I remember. Delay for part (from east coast) and for Service Contract approval.

Those were our “on the road” experiences. Some failures occurred when “waking up” the vehicle prior to a trip, or when periodically exercising it between trips. In those cases I was able to drive to the dealer here. In one case (EGR valve) it went into limp mode. I was able to clear the codes with my OBD2 reader, get out of limp mode, and drive it normally to the dealer.

We have been able to find Sprinter service centers in each case. Have not been forced to use a non-Sprinter shop on the road yet.

FYI, Jim
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