Back in the late 90's I worked for an RV dealership in Tuscon AZ. Later I worked delivering new RV's for the same dealership. It was during that time that I became familiar with Fleetwood's American line of coaches. The American Eagle, Dream, and American Tradition were some of the most elaborate and luxurious RV's I'd ever seen. Occasionally I would be sent somewhere to deliver one of these highway liners to a customer, an RV show, or return them to the dealership as a trade-in.
Diesel Pusher motorhomes are generally the top of the line for any RV manufacturer. The American line is surly the best of the best in Fleetwood's lineup. It wasn't until I got my recent purchase home and did a little online research that I came to discover the history of the 1993 Pace Arrow Diesel Pusher.
The Pace Arrow line was Fleetwood's top of the line until the early 90's. The Pace Arrow Limited was transformed into Fleetwood's first entry into the Diesel Pusher market as the new American Eagle. In 1993 the Pace Arrow Turbo Charged Diesel Pusher was introduced. 18 months later it too was re-branded as the new American Tradition, another top shelf coach in Fleetwood's American line.
I suspected as much noting the Oshkosh Chassis, 8.3 Cummins engine, and Allison World 6 speed transmission. I'd driven the best of that era and this was the same running gear.
Another earmark of the American roots is the level of engineering. This Pace Arrow is equipped with an inverter capable of running everything in the coach, minus the A/C's. There are two fully ducted furnaces, dividing the 36' into two zones for maximum comfort. Combined with the automatic switching gear and 8KW diesel generator, there is some serious electronics in this rig.
There's a reason today's new American Tradition's come with a price tag north of $400,000. They are still the best of the best. Twenty years ago the Pace Arrow Turbo Charged Diesel Pusher was considered one of the best rigs available.
My first two improvements will be to discard the bulky ice maker and cabinet located behind the co-pilots seat. At the same time it's adios to the pinkish mauve carpeting. That's one thing that really didn't age well.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
True, I sold my previous motorhome in favor of what I thought would be a more economical combination. Little did I realize that no matter what combination you come up with, if it's comfortable and has most amenities, it's not going to get very good mileage.
Sure we do a fair share of that, but what we really enjoy is hitting the open road for distant regions of the country.
It was time to just take a lose on this rig, and move on to something more practical for us.
Now to the casual reader, this may have the appearance of jumping out of the frying pan and straight into the fire.
While I admit it was a sudden move, I will also say in my defense that I knew exactly what I was looking for, and luck was definitely on my side.
This $90,000 Bounder had a washer/dryer combination unit that took 3 hrs of grinding away to wash and dry a very small load. Pretty much useless in my mind.
Let's get back to today's new motorhome. I went into the dealership with a list of possible candidates taken off their well laid out website. I was most interested in a Diesel Pusher, both for their operating characteristics and their longevity.
Everything I had listed was 2000 or newer and there were a couple near that vintage with pretty good prices and low mileage.
All it took was a peek at the underside to eliminate my top two prospects. Loaded with rust, it didn't matter to me what the interior looked like. Corrosion of the frame, suspension, and engine related components is a quick route to massive repair cost.
The salesman told me he had a 1993 that was uncommonly clean and I might be interested in it. The underside was spotless, it looked like new. He said it was traded by a California couple passing through that decided to upgrade. Twenty years old, it only had 75,000 miles.
For a gas powered rig, that would be normal mileage, but approaching the end of it's life. For a diesel pusher, it's just broken in. We're talking 500,000 miles before it needs any real maintenance.
The interior matched the super clean engine compartment. Not the slightest indication that it had ever leaked or seen water damage, and the condition of the cabinets and drawers told me this wasn't a full-timer's home on road. You could see wear, but only light wear, it was well taken care of.
I was familiar with the Oshkosh Chassis, 250 hp Cummins engine, and Allison 6 speed World Transmission. This was top of the line for it's era and is still used today in many models of coach. A test drive confirmed it still drove like it was only a year or two old. Not a squeak or rattle anywhere. After 20 years there is still plenty of life left in the old girl.
With an original sticker price of $139,000 I drove off the lot for 1/5 the price. No new vehicle 25% instant depreciation for me, this will hold it's value for a long time.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Recently I posted my motorhome on Craigslist and was fortunate enough to sell it to a very nice couple from Canada.
For now, when I want to travel alone and cheaply, it will be the new and improved Stealth Van. Comfortable sleeping accommodations and three times the miles per gallon of gas.
To that end, this will likely be the last post for this blog. To continue following my exploits I suggest you follow my main site: The Stealth Van Dweller.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Monday, December 26, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Friday, November 26, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
P.S. All the damage has been repaired, happily we're on the road again.