Our Gas RV – Reducing Squeaks, Rattles & Engine Noise
If you’ve kept up with our Gas RV Experience series you know it’s been quite the roller-coaster. From the insanely loud engine (in comparison to our diesel), to loads of squeaks and rattles, and of course our transmission complaints. Last update we solved the Ford Gas RV Chassis Suspension Issues and now we’re discussing the repairs to reduce our engine noise and the annoying squeaks and rattles.
So hop in, buckle up and join us for our first drive as we leave the factory service center in Coburg, OR and head for the town of Florence and the beautifully rugged Oregon coast.
What did you think? We think it sounds a lot better than our previous videos. If you want to go back and watch the older ones here’s the link to Our Gas RV Experience – Noise, Ride & Performance and Our Gas RV Stabilizers – Do They Really Work.
Why don’t you like your new Gas RV?
We keep getting asked some form of this question, and we can understand why people might think it if they haven’t followed our Resurrecting Dinosaurs Series. Remember we’ve come from a series of three diesel RVs over the years and this is our first gas motorhome. Gas vs. Diesel is a debate that will never end so I won’t go into detail, but I’ll just say a gas coach takes some getting used to.
Part of the reason we’re in this coach is to test the all-new design for 2016 and report our feedback to Fleetwood, but most importantly for us is to provide our opinions to you! We felt switching to a gas motorhome would greatly increase our knowledge of this much less expensive RV chassis and what we experienced would be worth sharing.
Now to the question above, we absolutely love the layout and floorplan of this motorhome, in fact it’s the best floorplan we’ve ever had in an RV. Since we’ve come from the diesel RV world we can easily point out some of the items that could use some extra attention on a gas RV chassis. These are our opinions, sure not everyone will agree with us, but our feedback has already made positive improvements on Fleetwood coaches. Beyond that, we hope all the RV manufacturers are keeping up with our Gas RV Experience, taking notes and creating better motorhomes because of it. We put this information out there 100% to benefit everyone, not just the mfr. of our coach.
I hope that provides some insight to why we are so opinionated when it comes to the issues we point out on our new gas RV. It has nothing to do with one brand being better, or worse, than another brand but rather it’s about making the experience better for all consumers looking to purchase a new gas RV.
Loud RV Engine Noise
No matter what, if the RV engine is in the front you’re going to hear it. We loved our Monaco Vesta (Front Engine Diesel RV), but when I stepped on the pedal there’s no mistaking the engine is right underneath. The Bounder (Front Engine Gas RV) is pretty much the same except the gas engine whines at a much higher pitch, almost screaming at me for putting pressure on the pedal. We alerted this to Fleetwood and they came up with what they told me is a new “insulation pack” to quiet the engine noise and help keep the heat from rising into the cabin.
Since we had the insulation installed in Eugene we’ve driven through the mountains, the forest and now we’re on the rugged coast of Northern California. I can say with confidence the engine noise has been reduced and the ear piercing scream has been downgraded to a loud whine.
What is the Insulation Pack?
I asked Fleetwood what they used for the insulation pack to see if anyone can make this upgrade to their RV. They told us the insulation pack is “just Lizard Skin and it works great!” OK…what is Lizard Skin? After a little online investigation I found out that Lizard Skin is a type of spray on ceramic insulation used for sound dampening and/or heat control. Anyone can purchase it and spray it wherever their hearts desire for an improved quiet ride.
To do it yourself you’ll want to get a bucket of Lizard Skin Sound Control and a Super Pro Spray Gun Kit. And that’s it! For a few hundred bucks you can have more than enough sound dampening stuff to spray more than just the engine cover (aka Dog House).
It’s supposed to be an easy Do-it-Yourself job. Take off the dog house surrounding the engine and add the Lizard Skin and it should help quiet the engine noise and reduce the heat that seeps through the dog house. I was warned not all gas RV engine covers (aka dog house) have enough room to add this material, you should always confirm there’s space before installing and make sure you spray the insulation as indicated in the instructions so it doesn’t come loose and cause damage. Once I found out they just used this simple spray stuff I was bummed they didn’t spray more! If you’re going to add Lizard Skin (or similar product) to your coach I’d spray it in the generator bay, under the wheel wells and everywhere else that seeps in annoying noises.
If you’re not into spraying stuff then we’ve also been told Dynamat Xtreme works well for general sound deadening and the Dynamat Hoodliner works wonders for engine noise and heat. I’ve used Dynamat in the past for my car audio systems and it worked well, but beware, this stuff is expensive, a small pain to install and it’s heavy so make sure you understanding what you’re ordering before you hit the purchase button.
What is the Decibel reading from the engine?
On our original video in Alaska a few people suggested I install a decibel reader app on our phone, I did, and sadly the news is rather grim. Our decibel rating while traveling down the road at 55mph hovers around the 85db range. Even when the engine is whining at full throttle the db range doesn’t change much, which tells me the ambient road noise is an equivalent problem to the engine noise. The only solution I can come up with is installing more insulation in the wheel wells (I think the spray foam would be a helpful start, adding insulation under the flooring at the factory in the drivers’ area. At the end of the day we’re driving a square box down the road, so unless proper aerodynamics is considered, better seals on the windows, thicker windshields, better entry doors and a host of other items I’m guessing the decibel level of the ambient road noise is never going to be satisfactory.
Transmission and Cruise Control
We have not had the time to research the fixes that many of you suggested. I hope we can find the time in the coming months and create a video with a good solution for these issues I notated in our Alaska Video. That said, Ford has officially announced the 6spd transmission for the F550 / F53 chassis and that should provide a valuable solution at the factory level in late 2016 and 2017 Gas RV models.
Why we had so many dash squeaks
First of all this is a test coach, one of the first 2016 Fleetwood Bounders off the line, the factory made huge changes and we added a lot of custom design upgrades along with huge technology modifications. We picked up our spankin’ new RV with 9 miles on it, loaded it to the max GVWR and headed for Alaska. This is something we don’t recommend on many levels: a) buying the first new model coach off the line is never the best idea since all the “kinks” haven’t been worked out. b) a proper shakedown trip should be within a few hundred miles of your preferred service center because there will be items that need repair after those first few miles. c) you shouldn’t load an RV to the max GVWR because it’ll effect the ride, braking, fuel economy, etc.
The extra squeaks and rattles came from a few screws falling out of the dash which happened early on driving some rough dirt roads in Alaska, in fact I think we lost 3 screws on the road to McCarthy, AK (but oh baby was it worth it!).
Needless to say our testing provided one insane shakedown trip, putting at least two year’s worth of wear and tear in a short six months, compared to the typical RVer. We drove well over 200 miles of bumpy dirt roads, took it through the mountains, parked it in the salty beach air and everything in between. Our feedback has been given and we’re assured that many of the adjustments have been made to the 2016½ 30th anniversary Bounder model update. Which is exactly why we agreed to switch from diesel and test a gas RV, to help make a difference.
Please don’t read this and think the squeaks and rattles are gone forever, we’ve owned enough RVs to know that’s simply not the case. We’re driving a house down the road, things will shake loose and new squeaks & rattles will eventually be found. For the time being, we’re just happy to have a quiet ride.
Is one RV brand better than another for a quiet ride?
From our experience we’ve found they’re all pretty similar when it comes to squeaks, rattles and engine noise. Granted we haven’t driven every RV out there, or every type of Motorhome, as far as I know there could be a Super C out there that’s quieter than a rear engine diesel!?!
As far as brands go this is our quick go-to answer when it comes to quality class A RV’s (in the $100k – $200k range): Winnebago, Fleetwood, Tiffin & Newmar seem to have a good reputation among fellow travelers and service centers alike. We’ve driven a few from each of these brands and we can agree, we have also driven other brands that are not as quiet. If you’re looking at higher end Motorhomes the only one we’ve had personal experience with is Monaco, so you’re on your own here.
As I mention in the video the only “whisper quiet” coach I’ve been in was a new Prevost conversion, I couldn’t stop smiling all the way down the road “wow” I remember saying “this is what it’s supposed to sound like at 60 Miles per Hour!” When you’re paying substantially more than $1,000,000.00 for a new motorhome I guess you can expect very little road noise, almost no squeaks or rattles and absolutely zero engine noise. Considering that’s way out of my budget I can live will a little noise while we’re en-route.
What do you think? Share your RV noise experiences and tips below to help people trying to make that big decision on what to purchase. Class A gas, diesel, class C, B, Super C and everything in between, we wanna hear it! Thanks for sharing, we’ll see ya on the road.
Thanks for all the information. I have always traveled by motorcycle until i bought my RV. Now i tow the bike and have enjoyed my 2018 Fleetwood Flair. The info you shared about squeaks and vibrations was great. because it is so new, I am not sure if i can do anything about the suspension but it sounds a lot like your rig. I plan to call fleetwood next week and ask a technician. I am from Ohio and lived in San Diego so i have traveled a lot of the same roads as you. Safe travel.
Well I have a 2006 Fleetwood Bounder 36E. The noise issue, moving dashboard and squeaks along with suspension.
I have done the following.
I removed the dog house engine cover. Insulated the entire inside with half inch thick fiber and foil insulation. I also removed the carpet covering the dog house. I applied tow layers the first being a butyl rubber foil 3/16ths of an inch thick. Then covered that with a foam 1/8th inch thick cover using spray adhesive. Carpet went back on. So my pre project complaint on the first summer was 120 degree edges around the dog house and so warm the cab did not cool down in Texas Heat. Noise was the other issue. So i dropped the heat by more than 50%. The noise was very tolerable and found most of the noise I now get which was overridden by the dog house proximity is coming from the large fiberglass dash which is on top of the engine and front of the RV. I think some easy insulation here would best serve as well for hot and cold.
Suspension. Did a lot of reading. So it started with changing the shocks which were 10 years old approx. Helped but sway was a big issue along with steering and getting a work out mentally and physically for hours behind the wheel. I replaced the bushings and flipped the front sway bar. This helped and ran that condition for about 12 months. Then I had SUMO SPRINGs front and rear along with the secondary rear sway bar. I just drone another 150 over the weekend and I can take off ramps at or slightly under posted speed. The steering I took care of myself with the steering stabilizer. Makes the drive more or a pointing activity versus rut and white knuckle wheel movement. It was worth it. There are a lot of gotchas’ with ownership. None of which are easy to find. It sure would help if quality were the second job priority behind safety in coaches.
The dash has been a battle. First through the finding of the screws from the side wall of the bus to the dash were oval shaped and not holding. I put in several new larger washer backed bolts and used 3M marine adhesive which is still breakable but is vibration resistant. Quelled all but the recent 1/2 in movement which may be the dash supports or the frame carrier. More for the fall.
Grill humming and noise was another. The hollow tubes of the grill humm at speed. More like irritate the driver into a raving idiot in a few hours. Imagine that toy your son or daughter has that makes noise and something inside you cringes on the slightest hint. Then drive with that on 11 for a few hours cross country. You would leap out the window to fix it. Best bet is search around. I found the answer and used some tie wraps on a 500 mile run. Found the issue and will replace the grill useless except for accent with something nice.
There are no class a gas that even comes near the cheapest diesel, first it’s the air ride, then the superstructure chassus, much more ridgid and then the engine, with my 350hp HR it was 39ft. long and was the old 8.3 cummins with plenty of power. My diesel was a 1999 compared to my new 2017 winnebago vist 29ve with the ford v10, complete junk compared to my old diesel. I just turned 10k and ready to get rid of it, even after spending $ on banks upgrade, suspension upgrade and steering. But it is still whinning and always shifting gears at the slightest wind change or a hill. I am very disappointed and will be returning it to lazy days in Tampa, where i bought it. They are also NOT made to tow anything because of the underpowered problem and also the terrible braking, not air like the diesel. So as far as it goes they are not made to go anywhere near mountain roads, period! This is my fourth motorhome and last, i think driving my newer toyota highlander to whereever and just staing in a motel will work. I have been doing my ohio to california for 15 years and it is getting very annoying, to the point where today my wife and i decided we are going to fly, no more driving 2300 miles over some of the worst roads in the world, this is not the America that i was used to because the $ is not there for all the infrastructure but patching the roads especially in the midwest and the east, terrible roads. Even the air shocks might not help anymore? But in the end do not waste your money on any class a motorhomes if you are going to drive alot, you will regret it. Maybe the smaller classb diesel might work? Sorry but i had to vent especially after driving 5p0 miles thru the midwest and the terrible roads, i mean I70, I40, I44 all are useless unless if you stay in the left lane because the transport trucks tearup all the roads, but if you stay in the left lane you can stop from tearing your hairout. Good luck but please rent one before you buy you will not regret it!!
Tony, I couldn’t agree w/you more. We’re new Class A owners; purchased a gas RV for economy. It anyone out there reads this, think “school bus over railroad tracks” and you’ll have an idea of how noisy it can be. My husband drives and insulated the doghouse but the ambient noise from the rough roads makes traveling so stressful that, by the time we get to where we’re going, we’re exhausted. Continuous noise like that grates on your nerves. We also tow a small pickup w/toe bar and have all the balancing accoutrements but the ride is like night & day when you tow vs. don’t toe. We’ve only made 3 trips (Florida to Upper Peninsula, and 2 fm Florida to Virginia) and I’m ready to yell “uncle”.
Driving an RV through scenic vista’s should be a wonderful and relaxing adventure. Instead, we find that the MOST unpleasant part of RV’ing is all of the noise when actually driving it. Engine noise, chassis noise, wind noise, and numerous squeeks and rattles.
While the RV manufacturers seem to have worked on improving many features of their RV’s, they have done NOTHING to reduce the noise, and therefore, improve the RV’ing driving experience. We would gladly pay an addtional $5K for the cost of a motorhome that was substantially quieter than our existing one. And frankly, rather than holding onto our existing motorhome, we would upgrade to this new quieter motorhome, immediately.
We upgraded sway bars and steering which helped sway and control. We also Upgraded shocks and chassis bumpers, neither item helped with ride. $5,000 spent.
Still searching to soften ride. Ideas welcomed omwd
Having a new technology suspension system installed on my 2017 38Q Adventure. This will change the ride from feeling like a school bus, eliminate sway, provide more control in handling and be safer on the road. It’s capable of automatically making changes to the suspension in 40 milliseconds. The company is called Liquid Spring. (http://liquidspring.com/) They have been installing these systems on emergency vehicles such as Ambulances and are now getting into RV. Mine will be the 4th to have it done. Anyone interested can contact me. Cost is $10,000 to $12,000 depending on chassis. Check YouTube for Liquid Spring videos. Here is one of them. https://youtu.be/Uc6SIN3vKiY
Hello to both ~~
Would like to know what you think of the wide length on all winnabagos being 8ft 6 and a half inches wide and against the law in about 8 states to drive one on state roads. Seems to me that no one knows this!!! The fine print usually contains this warning. Is it really a concern??
I was wondering if the insulation pack substantially reduced the heat coming through to the cab? We have a 2004 35ft Bounder that we haven’t gotten to use much as we ended up being caregivers for my mom with her dementia for 7 yrs. Now that it’s just the 2 of us again (along with our fur babies), we would love to get out and travel more. The heat that comes through that dog house has always driven me nuts, so it would be great if that insulation pack really works to reduce that heat. I was very impressed while watching your video to see how the noise was reduced. Love your videos…thank you for sharing your adventures! 🙂
I did help a nice bit, but I would suggest even more. Engines just put off a lot of heat. Even in our diesel pusher you could feel the heat from the floor back in the bedroom after a long drive.
I love listening to and reading about your experiences! We started RVing when we were young too. We brought out three little ones with us on all vacations! We’re still young even though the kids are all grown up now.
One noise tip from me would be to put small dish towels or non slide material I between your pots and pans, lids and dishes while driving. Small material between spices and stuff that rattles in the cabinets. That works wonders and you can just leave them there even when your parked!
Jason & Nikki, once again I want to pass on how much we enjoy reading your travels. We keep hearing in the RV world the nickname Fleetwood Leakwood…. Have you had any problems with leaking? there is a lot we like about the Fleetwood Bounder 35K, but fear leaking and spending too much time in the shop. Any feed back from your or your readers would be most welcome!! Thank you
Thanks for the love Staci! Leaking can happen in any brand of coach and I am not aware of one brand being better or worse at specifically leaking. We have not had any issues with leaking in our Bounder but you should be aware no coach is perfect and no matter what RV brand you choose, you will spend time in the shop. Just like a home, things break, need tweaked or just wear out…only in an RV they happen far more often because you are driving that house down the road and expose it to all kinds of conditions.
Yesterday, I picked my Bounder up from the dealership after having some warranty work done. While it was there the dealer installed the isolation pack under the doghouse. I can’t believe how much more quiet it is and it stays cool to the touch. Its made a huge difference, I’m glad I saw your video.
That’s great to hear…especially knowing it wasn’t just us that thought it was so much quieter! However, now that it’s getting cold outside I am kinda missing the extra foot heater. 😉
Can you give some advice about towing a vehicle with a tow bar and with a car dolly?
Here you go:
Hello Wynns! You do a real good job! Very nice videos and pictures.
Concerning the engine noise in a front-engine Class A RV: Well, it’s still surprising how noisy a 100000+ Dollar vehicle could be…. There are so many real good materials on the market to quiet down the engine-noise and if the manufacturers would invest 15 minutes more in production-time and a handful of dollars you could reduce the engine noise to a modern limousine level. You can capsule the engine completely and reduce noisy vibration on the front-cap etc. besides a nice sporty-humming you hear nothing from the engine. I used aixfoam-products (www.aixfoam.com) on my 2008 Adventurer and I even could listen Mozart sinfonias during driving. Costs: $300 and two days of working in snail-shell.
But honestly said: The engine noise is only one of several weak points of an antiquated construction. Starts with the V10-gas-engine and ends with those things called Bilstein shocks. You have such a good choice of very modern RV-floorplans and attributes like induction-oven, residential fridges, solarpower etc. but all this is built on an antique ruin called Ford F53 Motorhome Chassis. That’s why sharp tongues say that the engine noise is just there to suppress the squeaks and rattles of an insufficient rigidity of the whole construction. That’s why we were changing to a diesel-pusher.
My dream is:
I saw in Europe a nice city-bus construction (40ft, 80 passengers, GVWR 42000lbs), based on a Integral-Monocoque-Air-Ride-Construction: The 4.8L Inline-4-Cylinder-Biturbo-Diesel-Hybrid-System delivers 770hp maximum/320hp continuous and 1180 lb.ft. of torque maximum/885 continuous, a 12-speed automatic gearbox (12-forward gears, 4 reverse gears), automatic-retarding-brake-energy-system etc.
And this bus has a 28% better fuel economy than a common diesel bus (imagine that you might reach 13-15mpg on your 40ft RV) and an interior noise of 60dB at 65mph. This is like a luxury Mercedes S Class (59.8 db) or BMW 750 limousine (59.6db).
The price of this city-bus is about $80k. Additionally you have to rent the huge lithium-ion battery (something for you Jason!) with a monthly payment of $500 (with the advantage that you don’t need to pay for the replacement or maintenance of a $65000 battery equipment). Means that it’s nowadays possible to build a 40ft Motorhome for $1200 per month (equal retail price of $250k) which rides smooth and silent with a mileage of 15mpg.
That’s what I call a target for a motorhome manufacturer….
Merry Xmas folks!
It was fun visiting Oregon while sitting in my chair in Ohio! Thanks for the (quieter) ride!! 🙂
Now that you’ve got a few miles on the upgrades ie, stabilizers, engine sound proofing, etc. What is your feelings about these now. Has the ride really improved that much? How bout the noise level. I had all the ride enhancements you had, plus some others. I didn’t have the dog house insulation done. My impression was that all the improvements helped, but it was what I had hoped for. On a scale of 1-10. I’d say beofre the upgrades the ride was maybe a an 8 and afterwards maybe 6-7 at best. It was a deciding factor on buying a diesel pusher, which I wouldn’t trade for the world. Thanks and love your website.
hello wynns let me start by saying thank you so much for all the information and products that you have tested and approve.That alone has save me time and money on what to get and invest in wont to add than you for switching over to gas rv and giving us updates and improvements on it. i have a gas rv a newmar canyon star and i look forward to all the things you do to yours. question ? propane how is it working out for you ? was there any issue in alaska finding a place to refill it ? is there any upgrades you are going to do ?
Have you considered 3M Thinsulate(TM) to help reduce your engine and road noise? It is engineered for vehicles and used by OEMs like Honda. It is easy to DIY install. We are located in Hood River, OR and you are welcome to stop by to take a look at the material. Or we can ship a sample. Feel free to call me.
Thanks Hein, we are familiar with 3m products but didn’t know the thinsulate was installed on cars too (we have it in our gloves and jackets, etc). Sounds interesting. We’ll have to get back with you in the future.
first I must say I love your videos they are giving me tons of information prior to jumping into the RV world.
My question s about the 2016 Thor ACE 29.3. you did a compare buy and gave the Thor model t thumbs, do you know how similar that model year is to the 2016? I see in their documentation that they added a third track to the slide out. wondering if that fixes one of the things you did not like. the unit is going for $75000 which isn’t bad. please let me know if you have any additional comments on the model or recommendations.
Jerry And Chris Belongie
Hi Guys! We want to thank you for your videos and all the information we have gotten from you. Not to mention how cute you guys are.l We have just put in our offer for a 2006 HR ambassador DP and it was accepted! We will be in for a crash course to learn everything we don’t even know we need to know, you have been an inspiration and great help to us.
Jerry and Chris
Thank you so much for taking the time to say hi! Safe travels.
My big concern with the Ford gasser chassis is still the vibration that comes through the steering wheel. After a 20 minute test ride in a Newmar Baystar on the Ford chassis, my arms and hands were buzzing from the vibration. I then drove a gasser unit from Jayco (Precept I think) and the same result, tons of steering wheel vibration. You guys don’t seem to be having problems with steering wheel vibration. How do you compare steering wheel vibration between your Excursion and this unit? The air ride suspension on my 2004 Winnebago Journey seemed to greatly dampen vibration coming through the steering wheel. I haven’t found any mod that helps with steering wheel vibration on the Ford chassis. Again, steering wheel vibration doesn’t seem to be affecting you guys. For me, the steering wheel vibration was a deal breaker. I eventually went with a truck camper on a Ford F250 and the ride is very smooth. No steering wheel vibration at all. Added air bags to the rear and I have some of that “floating ride” feel of a diesel coach.
Rick, ours is a Ford gasser Chassis 22,000lb (2012 Tiffin Allegro), the vibration is usually only present on rough roads, so we don’t have the issue you describe often, certainly not as part of our regular driving.
Gordon, B.C. Canada
I have a, 2011 Bounder on the same chassis equipped with Michelin 235/80/22.5 tire that are balanced, & have virtually no vibration on the front end of the unit. I am quite happy with the Ford chassis. It has its
quarks, as Jason says. but otherwise happy. I get anywhere from 6 to 10 IMPMPG, depending on the road
& wind conditions. Enjoyed following your travels & comments. Keep up the good work.
Steering stabilizer, like shock absorber. 2013 Ace, 20k miles- hardly any vibration. (Some worry some popping noise occasionally- all lube points done- seems in torsion bar ?)
Sorry double post.
Hi guys, great and informative videos! My wife and I love watching and hope to purchase a FW Bounder very soon. We appreciate you guys field testing for Fleetwood and it’s great to see them listening to their customers suggestions. I was wondering if FW would consider building on the 24K chassis instead of the 22k? Since these coaches GVW gets maxed out pretty quick with the 22k, the 24K would be a nice upgrade. I know Tiffin and Newmar use a 24, or 26k chassis but I don’t like the floor plans they offer. Your thoughts?
Hey guys! Love your videos!
Since most folks seem to get very close to the max GVW, I wonder if Fleetwood would consider building the Bounder on the Ford 24k chassis? I know Tiffin and Newmar use the 24k and 26k chassis in their gassers, but their floor plans are not as nice.
Another great video! Love the ride a-longs. Thank you and safe travels.
Another nice job guys. Love the cat on the dash. I agree that the gas vs. diesel debate is getting more difficult. We love the floor plan of our Tiffin Allegro 36LA. While Tiffin makes an Allegro RED diesel that is similar in size to the our gasser they don’t build one with a floor plan similar to ours. Looking at Fleetwood’s offerings the diesel Excursion is similar in size to the Bounder but has completely different floor plans. I think were they to build an Excursion with a floor plan similar to the Bounder 35K they would sell a bunch of them. The diesel I have been the most interested in lately is the Fleetwood Expedition 38K. Very similar floor plan to what we have now with a lot more room due to the use of a full wall slide. It has larger fuel and fresh water tanks but is only about 20 inches longer. Let’s say I could get one for $175,000. Our Tiffin gasser was about 120,000. That’s a difference of $55,000 dollars. That’s a lot of money for people like us. I came very close to buying a Fleetwood Discovery 40X a few months ago. They were offering us $82,000 for our year old gasser. The Discovery was $190,000 for a difference of $107,400. Had we bought the Expedition 38K the difference would have been $92,400. The point of that is to let people know that it is really advantageous to buy the “best” RV for your needs on the first try. You probably should drive a DP and a gasser on the same day if possible. In the end you can do a lot of mods to a gasser to make the driveability much better. It will likely never ride or handle as well as a DP but if it is acceptable to you then you are saving a ton of money. I am still exploring suspension mods for our gasser to make it ride better. I will be installing Sumo Springs and Koni shocks and if that doesn’t help with the ride I may try the Kelderman air suspension. That adds air bags and softer leaf springs. The softer springs put more load on the air bags than if you just added the air bags as some other companies offer. The idea is that the initial bump is absorbed mostly by the air bag. The kit installed runs over $5000. The reviews I have seen are mixed with some loving the much improved ride and others that can’t tell the difference. It is a shame that coach manufacturers don’t do more to improve ride and handling from the factory. But if you really can’t afford a DP don’t let that stop you. They certainly can be much improved over stock. I think in the end I would rather keep our gasser and add many of the mods that you have done to your Bounder such as the solar panels and the lithium batteries and the hybrid inverter.
There are some great gas motorhomes out there. Once it is parked you cannot tell whether it is gas or diesel. I do think the folks who advise buying a used DP make a lot of sense. The issue with that, for us, is that many of the floor plans we like are relatively new and aren’t easy to find on the used market. In the end I’d rather have a DP but not for $94,000 more than our current gasser.
My all time favorite class A was the 2007 Monaco Safari Trek 29′ RBD. The Trek is the coach where the queen sized bed drops down from the ceiling, yielding an additional 7′ of floor space (i.e., effectively a 36′ coach). It was very well built and insulated with very low road noise. I had Henderson’s Lineup (Grant’s Pass, OR) install torsion and sway bars, as well as the SuperSteer and a set of Koni shocks. I also had AMSolar (Eugene, OR) install 600W of solar on the roof (4-150W panels) and a set of AGM batteries. We towed a 2006 Grand Vitara (4000 lb) car everywhere. Up to Alaska where we spent a month, across Canada, up the St. Lawrence to the Gaspese Peninsula, and down through NY and the Atlantic seaboard to the Carolinas. Trek also made a 28′, but we wanted the 29′ because it had the W22 chassis with the Allison 1000, 6-speed, Tranny and a low rear-end ratio (an advantage of the engine’s 460 ft.-lb. torque) that combined to produce great gas mileage. The other thing I really liked was a driver’s side door … very convenient for fueling and quick checks. I thought we would keep it forever, but my wife acquired Primary Progressive Aphasia which affected balance as well as speech … she started having a hard time with the bed. So we sold it to get a 2011 32-foot diesel Monaco Vesta very much like the one you had. Not as good a floor plan, but mechanically a very good coach … but I still miss the Trek.
We too love the Trek, and still think our Vesta is the prettiest coach on the road. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for bring Fleetwood’s “guinea pigs” and improving Fleetwwod’s product offerings. I hope they also make it to their American Coach line. Thank you, too, for giving a list of top motorhomes brands based on what you’ve heard from others. My motorhome dream list only has models from those manufacturers. 🙂
I am recently retired (YAY!) and have purchased my first R V. (Mostly thanks to you guys!) After years of perusing all the options and watching all your wonderful videos, I decided on the Thor Citation SL Sprinter. I went to Arizona this past August to check out an R V dealership in Tucson but noticed La Mesa right across the road so popped in there first. I found exactly what I was looking for, for myself and 3 doggies (1 Chihuahua 2 Puggles) AND at the best price I had seen! So I scooped it up and drove it home; with help from my daughter; to Long Island New York. Not an enjoyable drive at all due to the time constraints of my daughters life. I was a bit apprehensive about the diesel engine (the smell) but was pleasantly surprised at the lack of diesel fumes! I was also upset after our first stop, to open a few upper cabinets only to have screws fall out on top of my head! I fixed them my self and have moved on. Another thing that I would mention is the lack of access to the rear dual wheel air valves. A straight up newbie screw up, but from what I gather after reading other posts, if you request the air valve extensions be thrown into the deal when purchasing a new R V they generally comply. Oh well, next time.
I bet you guys wish you had that engine muffle barrier before your Alaska trip! Oh well, water under the bridge. Right!
You guys seems to be all over the place lately! (I’m not a stalker but I do enjoy watching your red dot on the map) Alaska, west coast, east coast, west coast, my head would be spinning! Oh to be young again!
Stay safe! xo Joni
Hi guys, it does sem to have less engine noise but I just don’t know why they don’t insulate the hell out of the firewall, floor and dog house from the get go. I would gladly pay extra for that. I had a winnie alandon back in the eighty’s and I tore up the floor and insulated it with expensive sound deadening as well as the dog house which made a major improvement. The firewall was already done well from the factory.
I’m not a fan of spray on sound deadening, they are doing this because it’s cheap and fast.
Had they put the good stuff in your noise level would be a good 20% less, also a good floor barrier would be the ticket to a quite cabin which I also did in my 50 ft Ocean Yacht, yes it does add some weight but it’s minimal.
The one thing I don’t agree on is there is no difference in mfgs, I have owned many class A’s and so far I think Monaco’s put out a quality coach but they are a bit pricier. My coach is an 2005 which I purchased new, I’ve down a lot of interior upgrades to suit my needs. It is as rattle free as it was when new. This is hard to belive but it’s never been in the shop for anything other than tires and oil and grease service.
Enjoy your presentations videos and pictures. Your comparisons are particularly helpful. I also view the Dave and Brenda Bott website here: http://www.outsideourbubble.com
Sorry to hear about people’s “double pained” window issues. I only have single panes in my Class A RV..
On the issue of sound levels, one has to wonder and be concerned about the long term noise issue. OSHA regulations kick in when exposures go above 85 dB. Even 30 minutes exposure at that level can lead to long term hearing loss.
Marc and Julie Bennett
Hi Guys, getting caught up on your vids tonight and appreciate the updates on your latest enhancements. As always, you do a fantastic job and we continue to learn a ton from what you share. Glad to see the insulation has improved the noise level and the screws have fixed that awful squealing sound that was so evident in the Alaska video. Driving on rough roads like you did up there over the summer would have really given that coach a beating! No wonder it lost a few screws, so that would have made a huge difference tightening that dash up again. The drive (road) noise you are experiencing now is much more similar to what we hear when driving our gas coach. We have to say we are impressed with how responsive Fleetwood seems to be in implementing fixes based on your feedback. That was a really smart move on their part – to collaborate with you on their Bounder and share the experiences with/get feedback from your audience. Have a good one! Marc & Julie
You buried the lede:
“As I mention in the video the only “whisper quiet” coach I’ve been in was a new Prevost conversion, I couldn’t stop smiling all the way down the road “wow” I remember saying “this is what it’s supposed to sound like at 60 Miles per Hour!” When you’re paying substantially more than $1,000,000.00 for a new motorhome I guess you can expect very little road noise, almost no squeaks or rattles and absolutely zero engine noise. Considering that’s way out of my budget I can live will a little noise while we’re en-route.”
Alan & Karen De Filippo
Thank you for this and other great videos. My ninth Motorhome is currently being built by Winnebago. I have returned to my orginal roots and it is a Class B, and I have pushed hard for many options.
Who did you have install your solar and lithium batteries? It’s a new technology and there are few experts in this area.
Northern CA beaches are our favorites. Redwood trees and ocean. Strongly suggest Patrick’s Point State Park and the seafood restaurant inTrinidad and Richardson Grove State Park.
Home to see you on the road.
The De Filippos
The Fleetwood service center installed our upgrades but if you go with Go Power for your solar, call them and they can help guide you to someone who can handle the install as they know our setup and what it takes.
I know that some coaches either come with, or have the option for double pain glass windows. I was wondering if you have any experience with them, and if that makes any difference in noise, or rattles. I’m sure it must make a huge difference in comfort in really hot or really cold conditions.
We do have the double pain windows (all of our coaches have had them) and like them. Because we have never had anything but double pain, I can’t comment on the difference.
Joe the computer guy
As always great review. Nikki has a new ‘do’? I have a ’16 35K and do feel the heat on my feet. I am definitely going to look into this. Did they do the lizard skin only on your doghouse? I have the 5 Star tune and confident you will cut the noise considerably with it. The couple hindered dollars it costs is worth it’s weight in gold! Any insight on how they removed the squeaks? I do have some on mine and would love to silence them some.
I am thinking about upgrading to lithium as soon as my warranty s up in May. Can you guys provide any specs and/or the manufacturer of yours? I could really use the weight savings. Less than 18 months before I complete the downsizing, retire and hit the road full time.
Thanks for all you do for the rest of us!! You are appreciated as are your friends Chris and Cherie
William (Bill) Weaver
Trying to compare a gas to a diesel motorhome is apples and oranges. I have owned 2 gas class C and a gas class A and now a class A diesel pusher. The diesel pusher is a different animal. Concerning engine noise, the diesel has higher torque and can run at a lower RPM at the same speed and acceleration. Most pushers have air suspension verses mechanical and produce a better ride and less rattles. Pushers being higher end coaches have better insulation which reduces road noise. For a given length, the pusher usually has a longer wheel base, wider track, and weighs more than a gas coach. This makes them less subject to crosswinds and trucks passing. And guess what, the pusher costs more. A lot more. Funny how that works in life. Thankfully there are people who can afford a new pusher or I could never afford the used one that I have.
First off, you two are the cutest. 🙂 I don’t normally watch videos (I’m a big “read it” fan) but I ALWAYS am happy to watch yours. You are entertaining, informative, and who doesn’t love the kitties?
I was thinking during the first portion of the vid that the coach makes should just suck it up and make engine insulation part of the normal package, and then: boom ~ you said they are planning to do so (if I understand correctly). Well done, Fleetwood, well done.
I’ll be traveling full-time when my Tiny House Truck is finished, and I’m wanting as many free or very inexpensive places to stay as possible. You came through again for me there.
How well did the insulation pack keep the heat from radiating from the doghouse into the cab?
Thank you for another very informative video. Every time we are camping, we tell everyone about your excellent videos and give them your web address. Your videos are professional and don’t waste time on non essential information. Always looking forward to the next video.
I loved the scenic view while driving down the road. The fall colors look so beautiful.
IPhone app. is worthless you must buy a dB meter if you want accurate readings.
Ditto DebInVenice. We are thinking Class A diesel, but open to a Class A gas with improvements if the costs are substantially less. And the next question being: are you going back to a diesel once this test is over?
Many thanks for your blog and videos which we enjoy besides educating us future (1 year and counting) Rvers.
It’s funny you mention the Super C. I’ve owned a Winnebago Adventurer (basically a Winnebago Bounder), and now own a Foretravel rear engine diesel. My step father owns a 2003 Renegade which has a freightliner super C type front end. It’s not what I would call silent up front, you definitely hear the engine on a super c but it’s not so grating like it is on a gas class A. It’s much more of a pleasant noise and very much less road noise in general. Excellent sealing because the engine is fully forward of you so no heat comes through. I’d much rather have a Super C than any other front engine coach I think.
Excellent video as usual Wynn’s !!! I will be going to the factory in Decatur in February for a few items I have on a list. One of the things on my list is to see how much they will charge to add the insulation package for me. I am hoping it is around $800 plus or minus a few hundred. I think if you install the 5 Star tune you will really see a difference in your engine noise with the added insulation and overall performance of the engine and shifting patterns. I also am going to ask them about the bedroom slide. The new 30th anniversary bounder has the windows in the side walls instead of the headboard wall. I really like that set up and wish Fleetwood would have notified me of the change when my coach was on the line in July. I would have elected it for sure. Enjoy the fall and we all will await your next big adventure. I still am a firm believer that the new Bounder line is one of the best gas coaches on the market. The things they have changed to be competitive with the diesels of comparable length and layouts is outstanding, from the electronics to the cargo configuration. The engine debate will go on till the end of time and both have valid points unless money is not of any concern then it will be a Provost for me……. Come on lotto LOL
I bought one of those sound-meter apps for my phone, and I discovered (I’m an engineer) that there’s a problem with either the app or the phone’s mike circuit – – the meter simply never gets over about 85-88db. I’ve tested it with truly loud environments (next to a hair dryer for example) – – 85db. My conclusion is that the meter app is only useful below 80db for accurate measurements. I haven’t come up with any other ‘tool’ yet, but for sure this meter app is NOT good for road or engine noise quantification.
Keep the videos coming! Always enjoy watching. 2 comments: My 2001 Tiffin Allegro Diesel seems very, very quiet driving down the road no matter the circumstances and… I can easily drive this Freightliner Chassis vehicle with my left hand (thumb and first 2 fingers only) for miles and miles. Seems to be no effort at all. My Caterpillar engine just wants to run and purr and run and purr. One bit of advice might be to buy a used diesel. Just do your research. Great travels to everyone and hope to see you all on the road!
Thanks for letting us ride with you. Paul and I are going fulltime and value your experience, although, we have been using our Meridian Itasca and before that a Fleetwood Discovery for several years. We are not newbees but we always learn something from you two. Love it.
I’d be curious to know if after adding the costs of all the upgrades you’ve added to the Bounder to improve performance, is the price still much less or just a little less expensive than an equivalent diesel pusher.
They laid out all the costs here: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/gas-rv-stabilizers which is what great about the Wynns articles, very detailed including costs! Bottom line looks like $2,452.70 or about $47,000 less than a diesel pusher upgrade 😉
I can tell you what we have found. We looked around did our homework and compared. We went with our current 2016 Bounder 35k. We compared diesel to gas motorhomes, all similar in floor plan, length, options etc. We found the average difference in cost was somewhere in the neighborhood of about +60k for the diesel rig. Now we are planning on upgrading the suspension same as Nikki and Jason, do some noise reduction work same as Nikki and Jason and bolt on some performance upgrades from Banks, so far not like Nikki and Jason :). That being said, the cost is going to be near 5k for upgrades.
Great video, please keep up the good work, it’s really difficult to find these kind of honest reviews of RV driveability and noise. It seems light-years away from the auto industry with consumer reports etc. I love my new RV, but it almost hilarious how noisy, rattly and wandery it is.
I like working on mechanical things, this is a new project for me, so I get some enjoyment out of fixing it up myself, and I have had to do a bunch already (Weather striping around doghouse seal which made a huge difference in noise). I can’t imagine someone who is not mechanically inclined buying their first RV, it could really be a nightmare of taking it back for service multiple times and realizing you need suspension upgrades to make it driveable.
My first upgrade will be rear track-bar(panhard bar), sound like you guys haven’t done that yet, you should really look into it. Ford puts a front one on at the factory but neglects a rear one. Pretty sure the rear end of my RV is sliding side to side on the leaf springs causing it to be pulled around easily. After that wheel balancers (Centramatics) then sway bars and steering stabilizer. Really front and rear track bars and properly sized and adjusted sway bars should be standard from the factory with these live axle chassis, should not have to be added by owner after the fact.
Hope you guys get to try out a 6-speed soon, mine feels really good and does not seem to rev as much keeping noise down.
Nice work guys. There seems like there’s a real gap in critical and accurate motorhome evaluations, you guys are the first to tell people what it’s like to use a MH before they sell down $100K+!
The Dynamax Class C we have, while being the same crappy E450 that everyone else uses, is reasonably quiet going down the road. Maybe the van design is a little better for engine noise. We took your advice and installed a Safe-T-Plus centering spring, what a massive difference it made!