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Topic: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion. (Read 1973 times) previous topic - next topic

Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

From reading the Forum in the last 3 month (Newbie), I know there are several members that can give me advice in this question.

Background:

Since a friend of mine bought an approximately 10 year old CC Allure, and came to visit us on the farm with it several years ago, I suffered from a bad case of RV Coach envy.
I certainly did not need one, but I wanted to have one, and thankfully, I could afford it and my wife indulged me.

So I studied the market, set myself a budget under $ 100K, and looked at many coaches for a year.
It was very clear to me looking in the maximum 20 year old category, only formerly high end coaches were under consideration.

So I concentrated my search on the top models of CC, Monaco and Foretravel, deciding that Newell and Prevo are out of my range.
After a year I bought a 2003 U320, after a similar old Monaco Signature turned out to have all sorts of unresolved problems.
I am quite happy with it.

Challenge:

Another friend of mine, dealing in and piloting private charter jet planes for a living, (like Falcon 50),  now has decided that he and his wife want to try the full time coach living. I mention his profession to show that he is familiar with complex, technical systems. Because he lives in a world of people for whom money is not a concern (owners of private jets), he asked me for advice what he should purchase.
(For the record, I am not a member of this group of people and neither is he)

He was first looking at Prevos, but quickly realized that if you want to but something in the 10+ year old range, you have to spend serous money.

My advice to him:

I paraphrased a post I read from Wolfe10 (I think), "think carefully through of what you really want." Until you are sure that this is the lifestyle you both want and enjoy, be conservative with your decisions and your money.

Present situation:

He took my advice, and called me today to tell me that he has been offered a 11 year old Monaco Executive with a 600 Hp engine for about $ 200K, and what is my opinion?

He is now looking in the segment of in the range of to $ 200K, and at what should he looking for at Foretravel?

I told him the senior's in my forum know that answer.

Question to the Forum:

I never looked at that market segment, and I do not know anything beyond the early 2000's FT models. What are the FT models that are today about 10 years old.
Are there specific ones one should look out for or avoid?
What are the general advantages of FT over similar CC or Monaco models?

Regards

Klaus






The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but whether or not you brought in the ship.
Raul Armesto

2003 U 320 4020 Unit 6145

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #1
#1 Monaco is long out of business.  Country Coach is long out of business.  Foretravel is still in business.  Parts, support, etc.

#2 11 year old 600 hp means an ISX.  A red eggshell engine.  Well known for catastrophic valve failure where rebuild costs are upwards of $30K.  Cummins ISX broken valve in #6 - iRV2 Forums  We would personally never, ever buy a coach with that engine.  (it also affects the 500 and 650 hp ISX models, the 650 even worse than the 600).  That's going to be a tough one at the 10-ish year mark.  If someone wants a big coach, it's pretty much going to have that.  Otherwise, it's an ISL and a smaller coach/lower HP model. 

#3 the people on this forum (well, actually, that should be is #1)
Learn every day, but especially from the experiences of others. It's cheaper!  - John C. Bogle

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #2
The first thing is this Forum. There is so much knowledge on this forum, with members willing to help.
I had a 98 Monaco Dynasty and the 12 volt wiring in it was a nightmare always something going wrong.
Both coaches handled well but the Foretavel seems smoother. The foretravel is a lot easier to work on, a lot
more room around the engine. The Dynasty front windshield is a lot higher than the Foretravel which is a lot
higher than needed and is a huge heat sink in the summer.
1999 36ft. U320 Foretravel
Build # 5436
1998 Suzuki Sidekick Sport

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #3
Ms Michelle,

That what I was asking for,

Valuable input from people who are technically sound.

Regards

Klaus
The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but whether or not you brought in the ship.
Raul Armesto

2003 U 320 4020 Unit 6145

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #4
Could be that engine is a 500 hp Detroit diesel Series 60?

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #5
Klaus,  I was parked at Xtreme some years ago and James Stallings asked me to come to the rear of my coach.  He said put your fingers to check the thickness of my open rear cap vs the Monaco Signature parked next to mine.  The Foretravel rear cap felt twice a thick as the Monaco.

Much bigger opening in rear to the engine was another thing I liked a lot.
Rudy Legett
2001 U320 4220 ISM 450 hp
1995 U320 M11 400 hp
1990 Granvilla 300 hp 3208T
Aqua Hot Service Houston and Southeast Texas

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #6
My 2006 is a 36 ft Nimbus.  I think it has a 400 ISL engine.  That is the first I heard about the ISX engines having a major problem.  I assume these problems show up at very high mileage. 

My motorhome only has 36K miles on it.  That low mileage is worrisome to me.  It was well taken care of and stored in a enclosed shop which is a plus.  It appears to have been serviced regularly.  Any problems with the ISL engines I should know about?
2006 Nimbus 336
Built 2005 may be one of the first coaches labeled Nimbus.
DEMCO Air-force One braking system.
Towing 2002 Jeep Wrangler Sport.
Road Master Falcon 5250 tow bar.

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #7
ISL is a good motor.

You can not go on any RV forum without finding issues with dropped valves on the ISX engine.

A very widely known issue.
Brett Wolfe
EX: 1993 U240
Moderator, ForeForum 2001-
Moderator Diesel RV Club 2002-
Moderator, FMCA Forum 2009-2020
Chairman FMCA Technical Advisory Committee 2011-2020

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #8
Could be that engine is a 500 hp Detroit diesel Series 60?

Not in a 10 year old Monaco Executive.  It's 600 hp per Klaus' friend.  A quick search shows that would be the ISX, and more likely the 650 as well.

Monaco used the 500 hp DD in the early 2000's.
Learn every day, but especially from the experiences of others. It's cheaper!  - John C. Bogle

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #9
ISL is a good motor.

You can not go on any RV forum without finding issues with dropped valves on the ISX engine.

A very widely known issue.

Yup, and absolutely no assistance from Cummins on the rebuild (which still doesn't fully fix the problem). 
Learn every day, but especially from the experiences of others. It's cheaper!  - John C. Bogle

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #10
Our previous coach was a 1998 monaco windsor.  We had lots of fun in thst coach.  I replaced the suspension bushings that rotted out prematurely  - big job, but not technical.  Our windshields kept shifting sround and making air gaps.  I replaced the "vinyl" top that was an ugly mess.   I filled the cracks in the cabinetry.  Much other work not related to manufacturer.  No wiring issues!  Friend's Monaco of similar vintage has delamination issues.

We now have the 1998 FT.  I know we are facing some repairs and upgrades, but the quality difference is amazing.  Much better ride, fiberglass top, and the retarder! 

Somehow, the Monaco seemed like something that would wear away.  Thr FT seems permanent.
Matt B
1998 u-320

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #11
In replying to Michelle's post, Californians and Easterners are usually like the Excedrin ad, two rams locking horns but I have to agree with her 100 percent in this case. An engine design not quite up to the demands of high output and valves not manufactured to the high standards required in an engine with high EGTs.

In the example she quotes, the engine failed not just once but twice in not that many miles and with a $30K plus price tag, that's 150 percent more than our coach cost. Now, for some people, $30K is not that big of a deal but for others, it's huge. With the increased cost of shop labor today, the "good deal" of $30K may be a thing of the past especially if the manufacturer does not step up to the plate.  RVs engines are tough to R&R and most manufactures seem to be locked into the present design.

The Monaco with the 500hp series 60 Detroit was a big improvement reliability wise and anyone considering a new or late high end RV should consider a DD13 (improved series 60) coupled to a DT12 auto/manual trans. The best cost a little more but may be less expensive in $$ and headaches down the road.

Pierce
Pierce,  Gaylie and Koda
'93 U300/36 WTBI
Detroit 6V-92TA Jake
1140 watts on the roof

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #12
From reading the Forum in the last 3 month (Newbie), I know there are several members that can give me advice in this question.

He took my advice, and called me today to tell me that he has been offered a 11 year old Monaco Executive with a 600 Hp engine for about $ 200K, and what is my opinion?

He is now looking in the segment of in the range of to $ 200K, and at what should he looking for at Foretravel?

I told him the senior's in my forum know that answer.

Regards

Klaus


I'd just like to point out that once you get into the era of the Foretravel Grand Villas, Foretravel styling is timeless and no one need know the age of your coach as long as all is kept spotless.  Comfort systems can be upgraded with smaller and lighter units, and the Foretravel Unihome and Unicoach chassis are in a class by themselves.
1992 Foretravel Grand Villa
U225 SBID Build No. 4134
1986 Rockwood Driftwood
1968 S.I.A.T.A. Spring
1962 Studebaker Lark
1986 Honda VF700C
1983 Honda VF750C
Duke, the Dog
N1RPN

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #13
I have owned both a 400 ISL and now 500ISX. Both are great engines and our Fire Department runs Cummins ISX and rarely if ever have problems. We have well over 500 fire trucks/engines in our fleet. But, they get used everyday and ran hard - which is good. Yes, there are many stories about the valve issue etc. but that has not deterred me because those engines have many many millions of miles on the road without much issue.

I bought my 2013 Nimbus with ISX500 from Pete Spahn (Forum member) and it has been an excellent coach with no issues. I too looked at CC, Prevost, Monaco etc and settled on Foretravel and have owned two now. I would not purchase a Monaco or CC knowing what a Foretravel can offer. If I were to look at another in would be a Newell - but still not my first choice.

Just my opinion

Pat
Current - 2013 Nimbus 4023 ISX500 Cummins Allison 4000
Previous - 2007 Nimbus 336 ISL400 Cummins Allison 3000
2016 Ford Explorer 4WD Sport EcoBoost 3.6
1962 Kenskil Travel Trailer
...and my other car is a Seagrave  👨🏻‍🚒
Los Angeles, CA

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #14

My motorhome only has 36K miles on it.  That low mileage is worrisome to me.  It was well taken care of and stored in a enclosed shop which is a plus.  It appears to have been serviced regularly.  Any problems with the ISL engines I should know about?

There was a recall on the Cummins ISL engines built from Oct.05 to Apr.06 for a wrist pin issue. Their engines could have premature connecting rod failure. Cummins installed a new valve cover with a crankcase pressure sensor that signals the Stop Engine light if the pressure is excessive.

Serial number range is 46543077 to 46603939.

Mine was outside that range and I never had an issue with my 400ISL.
Current - 2013 Nimbus 4023 ISX500 Cummins Allison 4000
Previous - 2007 Nimbus 336 ISL400 Cummins Allison 3000
2016 Ford Explorer 4WD Sport EcoBoost 3.6
1962 Kenskil Travel Trailer
...and my other car is a Seagrave  👨🏻‍🚒
Los Angeles, CA

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #15
I have owned both a 400 ISL and now 500ISX. Both are great engines and our Fire Department runs Cummins ISX and rarely if ever have problems. We have well over 500 fire trucks/engines in our fleet. But, they get used everyday and ran hard - which is good. Yes, there are many stories about the valve issue etc. but that has not deterred me because those engines have many many millions of miles on the road without much issue.
Pat
Comparing fire dept operations to RVs is like comparing apples to oranges. One one hand, you have fire engineers, highly trained in all aspects of diesel engine operation and then on the other hand, RV owners who only had to write a check to start driving their diesel coaches.

While it's true that a fire truck gets punished on cold starts to full throttle and RPM in just seconds, it rarely sees the high EGTs that do the long term damage. Even pumping to and extended booster at 400 psi, the actual load on the engine is small and even when pushed harder for supplying sprinkler systems, pumping a distance to another apparatus or even using the deck gun, the high engine loading is almost always of very short duration. Plus, the fire truck gets pampered with a service day once a week where everything is inspected from the engine to the tire pressures. Oil never goes past 1000 miles without a change and the emission maintenance requirements are not overlooked. .

The typical diesel RV owner climbs in his or her new coach and armed only with second hand diesel tales, drives off into the sunset. They think it's OK to idle the engine for extended periods, even though all diesel engine manufactures discourage this practice and many counties prohibit it by law. They don't turn off their engines while fueling because "they might not start" when they have finished fueling.

But, this is not the worst. They head upgrade on a hot day at high altitude in the same gear they used on the flat and depend on the Allison to choose the right gear for them. After all, diesels are at their best when "lugged," right? So, the water pump and radiator fan can't really do the job they were designed to do. Then the EGTs start to go up and with high altitude, even higher. Then, with a nice hot engine, they stop at the top of the grade and shut the engine off to take photos or eat without a thought to turbo heat sink. All of these operation shortfalls are cumulative so may not show up for thousands of miles.

After reading several horror stories on RV forums and listening to an owner at Quartzite who had to replace his engine when he lost one cylinder, the pieces are not that hard to connect. While working at the hanger, the owner's cousin just happened to stop in. He has been a diesel engine mechanic at a large shop in the Phoenix. During our conversation, he was talking about the diesel failures they see at the shop. Without asking, he said it was usually number 6 cylinder on Cummins. And the bill for almost anything where the engine has to be removed on an RV is around $30K. Even if the damage is fairly light, the cost of R&R and the labor to replace the parts usually totals more than a remanufactured engine costs.

So, comparing a mid engine fire truck with an efficient cooling system and a highly trained operator to the average diesel RV owner, you can see the disadvantage the RV engine starts with. With any used coach, the records of the maintenance with the emissions system an important part of that.

Pierce


Pierce,  Gaylie and Koda
'93 U300/36 WTBI
Detroit 6V-92TA Jake
1140 watts on the roof

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #16
In the example she quotes, the engine failed not just once but twice in not that many miles and with a $30K plus price tag, that's 150 percent more than our coach cost.

If you follow that thread, and I believe there are several others in that Cummins board as well, there are actually a number of different coaches/owners in that thread who have had the failure.  It's not confined to a single coach manufacturer, either, so it's not like one skimped out on the cooling package they designed and installed.

We got to see a Foretravel that had the failure during the initial phase of repair when the parts were being removed for rebuild.  Most things, including very large, very heavy, very oily bits, had to go out the front door after being carried through the interior of the coach. 
Learn every day, but especially from the experiences of others. It's cheaper!  - John C. Bogle

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #17
What other brand can you return to the 'factory' and have the coach serviced or repaired?  And have the parts in stock?  That adds a lot of peace of mind for me.

Larry

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #18
11 year old 600 hp means an ISX. We would personally never, ever buy a coach with that engine.
Add me to the list. Unless for resale I would never purchase!
 The Executive is a large coach. I also have zero interest in them. Seems the people on this forum have a generally helping addiction for our good old coaches. Endless spot on interest and a genuine appreciation to the preservation of our coaches. I personally couldn’t imagine a 2005 U320 not being enough coach, but that is my opinion. But the ISX is a deal breaker for me. Too much liability being self insured. 30k may not be much in regards to a 200k coach to worry about. Too much for me. Just talking about it makes me nervous. He may be willing to overlook 30k as I overlook 3k for a engine. This would have to be his choice.
Scott
If your going to be dumb, you got to be tough.
June 30, 2020
2001 U320 3610 Barn find
Build 5834

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #19
In my planned upcoming essay about the experience of being a first time buyer of a FT coach at an advanced age , (and this essay may never see the light of day, if something goes wrong this winter in our family or on the farm) there will be a chapter on "utility theory of gains and losses" on investing in a coach.
Utility theory or sometimes called "loss aversion theory" explains how  people make decisions facing uncertainty.
As I can not contribute anything to fellow members any advice for  fixing  specific technical problems, these musings are my contribution.

I have told my friend " from what I have learned from the Forum, avoid the ISX engine"

Regards

Klaus
The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but whether or not you brought in the ship.
Raul Armesto

2003 U 320 4020 Unit 6145

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #20

I have told my friend " from what I have learned from the Forum, avoid the ISX engine"



I would be cautious about making a blanket statement that someone should avoid the ISX. Depending on what size and year coach, emissions etc.  it maybe the only option in the Cummins power train family. The largest Cummins engine used in motorhomes is called an ISX, They have ISB, ISC, ISL ISM and ISX. They follow a convention that the higher the last letter of the engine model name is in the alphabet, the larger the engine. Yes, the ISX is pricey to repair If you have a catastrophic failure. Most Foretravel’s built after 2010 have the ISX.

Great discussion.

Pat



I have told my friend " from what I have learned from the Forum, avoid the ISX engine"

Regards

Klaus

[/quote]
Current - 2013 Nimbus 4023 ISX500 Cummins Allison 4000
Previous - 2007 Nimbus 336 ISL400 Cummins Allison 3000
2016 Ford Explorer 4WD Sport EcoBoost 3.6
1962 Kenskil Travel Trailer
...and my other car is a Seagrave  👨🏻‍🚒
Los Angeles, CA

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #21
Valid point, Mr Pat.

For a blanket statement, I certainly have insufficient  knowledge.

But, for telling my friend of what I have learned from the forum, I am on safe grounds.

Regards

Klaus


The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but whether or not you brought in the ship.
Raul Armesto

2003 U 320 4020 Unit 6145

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #22
If the owner had the ISX engine rebuilt, then there is nothing wrong with the engine. Not all the ISX have thrown the number Six piston. Some have performed correctly.  This is a case of checking the documentation logs on the coach. Having the engine checked for wear. There are going to be some nice coaches showing up in the near future. The culprit was the egr filter.
Our 2012 has been smooth as silk,since we got her back.
Lynn and Linda Day and Harry the pug
RIP: Tank 01-2008 to 03-2020
2012 Nimbus 42' build 6555
ISX12-500hp
2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
MC# 17723 

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #23
If the owner had the ISX engine rebuilt, then there is nothing wrong with the engine.

Not necessarily true.  It depends on what was done in the rebuild, what era parts, etc.  If you'll note, "MrD" on iRV2 had his rebuilt and it failed again, exact same failure. 

Cummins has gone through a couple of iterations of parts trying to "harden" the repair, but they don't address the fundamental issues with the ISX.
Learn every day, but especially from the experiences of others. It's cheaper!  - John C. Bogle

Re: Why buy an used Foretravel over Monaco, need help in this discussion.

Reply #24
When a valve fails because of a manufacturing fault, it's not possible to check it for condition in any kind of inspection, only to replace all of them. Valves are two piece, the stem and the valve head. They are welded together and it's this process that may not be done correctly or a substandard/contaminated metal being used for the valve or welding material. The more horsepower you produce, the more heat you create. High EGTs are part of the problem with correct timing, valve clearance, choice of gears on grades, helping to prevent valve failure. I'm sure Brett remembers VW exhaust valve failures. Part of routine maintenance was replacing the valves after so many miles.

Cylinder head design is also a part of component life. The coolant passages around the exhaust valve must be designed so the coolant has an unimpeded path for circulation. The temperature you see on your gauge only reflects the temperature at the sensor, usually at the thermostat housing. The temperature at the exhaust valve area may be much hotter and with high EGT and high coolant temperatures, the coolant may vaporize in that localized area. As a result, the valve seat may distort and not allow full contact of the valve when it momentarily seats. Incorrect valve settings may also reduce the time the valve is on the seat. Hot exhaust valve areas also mean the heat dissipation from the valve stem to the valve guide is less than the design calls for.  High enough temperatures may actually weld part of the valve or seat to each other. When this happens, the valve cannon fully seat and the valve head temp skyrockets.

So, no easy fix and even the cause is hard to pinpoint. That's why it's important to check valve clearance, timing, emission devices, operating procedures for keeping the EGTs within normal range. If there were a simple fix, Cummins would have done it long ago but since the percentage is fairly low, not much has been done. You would expect them to stand behind the failures and offer an extended warranty on these items.

When I was selling Mercedes in Germany, a higher than normal percentage of transmission failures in the S class cars occurred. All the owners got a letter from MB and every transmission in a batch of serial numbers was replaced at no charge.  They didn't wait untll the car was stranded by the side of the road to help.

High performance valves may be read about here: high preformance exhaust valve - Google Search

Cummins does not manufacture the valves used in their engines. If I owned one, I would find out the company that makes their valves and choose another company to buy my replacement valves.

Low EGTs are one of the reason Detroit 2 cycles don't break valves. The 2 cycle EGTs are never high enough to cause failures. I won't post the dyno video again but you can find on YouTube the EGT readouts for Detroits putting out almost twice as much HP as the engines installed in our Foretravels with the EGTs remaining very low.

Pierce

Pierce,  Gaylie and Koda
'93 U300/36 WTBI
Detroit 6V-92TA Jake
1140 watts on the roof