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Old 01-19-2013, 07:45 PM   #1
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Adventurer Driving Experience? Need Your Insights -- A Winnebago owner wantabe

While I am not yet a Winnebago owner, I may be getting close I could use input on the driving experience with an Adventurer.

I have talked with several motorhome owners and the Adventurer has been highly recommended. Unfortunately, I have not been able to drive one yet.

Two recommendations came from previous Adventurer owners who now had DPs (one was a Tiffin Phaeton, the other a Winnebago Vector). They both shared their favorite motorhome was the Adventurer and that the driving experience, while better in the DP, was not all that different.

I have driven a Thor Palazzo DP and a Thor Daybreak (Ford F53 chassis) and the Ford chassis felt like a big truck (felt all the little bumps in the road, leaned more on corners, etc) -- not the best driving experience compared to the DP (very smooth).

Since the Adventurer is also a Ford F53, should I expect a similar driving experience, or is the Adventurer a better driving experience compared to other gas motorhomes? We are looking at the 35 model.

I sure appreciate your insights!
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:08 PM   #2
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RM ...

Welcome to the forum.

We have owned 3 motorhomes: a 1985 class C (non Winnebago), a 1999 Adventurer, and a 2004 Journey.

When we bought the adventurer the first thing that I did was take it to a large vehicle alignment shop to have it aligned, then I weighed it when it was loaded like we did when we travel (with us in it) ... then redistributed some of the weight in the compartments ... then reweighed it ... then adjusted the inflation of the tires based on the tire manufacturer suggested inflation.

That helped the handling and the ride considerably.

I would be misleading you if I told you that the Adventurer rides and handles as well as our present Journey. The Journey is heavier, longer, has air suspension ... and the engine is located by the dual wheels so you would expect the ride to be different.
  • Did we enjoy our Adventurer? Yes
  • Did the Adventurer take us everywhere we wanted to go? Yes
  • Does it make any difference when you are parked whether you have a gas Ford chassis or a diesel Freightliner chassis? No
  • Is it "easier" to learn how to maintain a gas motorhome? Yes
This is my opinion ... and it is worth exactly what you paid for it ...
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:30 PM   #3
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Helpful!

HI Skigramp -- love the user name! Our mistake was taking the Thor Palazzo for a testdrive. Liked it and the floorplan is great for us. However, I am concerned with Thor's build quality. If we seriously consider a DP, I could get a two-ish year old Journey 34 for similar money to a new Palazzo and I expect I would be happier.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:33 PM   #4
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Very happy with my 2005 Adventurer with the the Workhorse 8.1 gas.
Not much more to say.
Happy Trails
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMChad View Post
While I am not yet a Winnebago owner, I may be getting close I could use input on the driving experience with an Adventurer.

I have talked with several motorhome owners and the Adventurer has been highly recommended. Unfortunately, I have not been able to drive one yet.

Two recommendations came from previous Adventurer owners who now had DPs (one was a Tiffin Phaeton, the other a Winnebago Vector). They both shared their favorite motorhome was the Adventurer and that the driving experience, while better in the DP, was not all that different.

I have driven a Thor Palazzo DP and a Thor Daybreak (Ford F53 chassis) and the Ford chassis felt like a big truck (felt all the little bumps in the road, leaned more on corners, etc) -- not the best driving experience compared to the DP (very smooth).

Since the Adventurer is also a Ford F53, should I expect a similar driving experience, or is the Adventurer a better driving experience compared to other gas motorhomes? We are looking at the 35 model.

I sure appreciate your insights!
1st: Welcome to this forum. Mostly great people wanting to help and a few... Others. Just ignore them.

We bought out 1999 37' 5" Adventurer new off the dealers lot in OK. Is it the most comfortable motor home out there? No. But for the money we could not have purchase better.

My Opinion: Decide what you will be using your Adventurer for
1. FT Living. We did that for about 5 years. Very comfortable.
2. Long touring: We toured from the Chicago area to Santa Fe, NM and San Diego, CA - back and forth - for about 1 / 2 years. Very comfortable. But in horrific winds, we got off the highway and hunkered down against the wall of a WalMart. We were being blown all over the road.
3. Lots of long weekend camp-outs: Wonderfully versatile. We keep 4 days of clothing, all the kitchen "stuff" we will ever need and toiletries in the RV at all times. It's parked on our driveway and has a full tank of gas and LP - we fill the water tank and refrigerator on the way out to a trip.
4. Escape vehicle: Due to southern CA fire season, we have been evacuated several time. This "escape pod" of our was fantastic living at the local Oceanside marina watching the local fires burning.
5. Could we spend more money and upgrade: Sure. How much do you want to spend? There are RV for every budget. But, for the money, I don't believe you can get much better.

Well that's a mouth full and, as they say "It's just my opinion." And worth ever penny you just paid for it!!!

Enjoy whatever you decide to buy.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:47 PM   #6
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Happy is good! I have not heard complaints about the Ford chassis either. I was pleasantly surprised with the power it had climbing mountain roads.
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:23 PM   #7
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Thank you for sharing the information! We plan to use it in a variety of ways: summer-long road trips, long weekend camping trips in Colorado, possible a year-long roadtrip. We have done all of this except the year-long trip in a 5th-wheel, but sold it with plans to move to a motorhome.
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kalynzoo View Post
Very happy with my 2005 Adventurer with the the Workhorse 8.1 gas.
Not much more to say.
Happy Trails
We have an older 1994 Adventurer and are extremely pleased wih it since we got it. Rides as good as we expected and is easy to drive and park. I have the 454 with a banks kit and it really motors well.

Welcome to the IRV2 Forums.
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:12 AM   #9
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We have a '96 Adventurer, f53,we love it, it's our first RV.we purchased it in Aug.'07. The layout suits us, it is used mostly for tailgating. Runs strong, average around 7 mpg. The best part is its paid for.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:51 AM   #10
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I have a 2003 Adventurer 38G on the F-53 chassis and find it easy and comfortable to drive. It doesn't have any additional suspension add ons. I will be putting on Monroe RV Shock Absorbers and probably AirLift Air Bags. I can drive with one hand easily. I would put the air bags on to level and help with lean on slow corners.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:09 AM   #11
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I had a 1999 Adventurer Diesel. A miserable driving experience would be putting it kindly. Too much rear overhang, too short a wheelbase so it was a handfull on the road.

The coach part was good. Build quality was good as you would expect from Winnebago. I liked the mid-coach door instead of up front. Also liked having a driver's door. The bathroom was impossibly small though.

The big plus of this size coach was that it could go to any state park with ease. I even took it to the beach down in Texas and parked the night on the hard pan along the ocean.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:16 AM   #12
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We currently have a 2001 Adventurer and it's been a joy to own. In over 100,000 miles we've had minimal problems. It's taken us to places we would have never dreamed of going and done it in a comfortable way.

A couple things that make for a great ride is how the manufacturer designs the interior and how they distribute the weight. Location of items like the holding tanks, generator, refrigerator, propane tank, and any other heavy items can make the difference between a vehicle that's a joy to drive and one that's a struggle to keep on the road.

Before purchasing this morothome we test drove several brands, and even rented a couple to see how we liked them. We decided on the Adventurer because it was comfortable to drive and best fit our needs. There are probably many other brands out there that might meet your wants and needs, but we chose the Adventurer becauce it was heads above the others we tried.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:32 PM   #13
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Very Helpful

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hikerdogs View Post
We currently have a 2001 Adventurer and it's been a joy to own. In over 100,000 miles we've had minimal problems. It's taken us to places we would have never dreamed of going and done it in a comfortable way.

A couple things that make for a great ride is how the manufacturer designs the interior and how they distribute the weight. Location of items like the holding tanks, generator, refrigerator, propane tank, and any other heavy items can make the difference between a vehicle that's a joy to drive and one that's a struggle to keep on the road.

Before purchasing this morothome we test drove several brands, and even rented a couple to see how we liked them. We decided on the Adventurer because it was comfortable to drive and best fit our needs. There are probably many other brands out there that might meet your wants and needs, but we chose the Adventurer becauce it was heads above the others we tried.
Very helpful -- based on your input it would be reasonable to expect differences in the driving experience of a F53 chassis between motorhome manufacturers and models.

Thank you.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:33 PM   #14
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Anyone else with experience driving a late model Adventurer and another gaser -- Adventurer about the same or better?
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:11 PM   #15
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I recently owned a 2006 Adventurer 38J but now a 43' Dutch Star. To be honest...no contest in driving. HOWEVER...

The 38J was pretty loose when I first got it. I put on 6 new tires and 4 new Koni FSD shocks that made a LOT of difference. The MH came with a front trac bar and steer assist. If I had kept it I would have upgraded the rear sway bar and added a rear trac bar.

The steering wheel play was a bit too much to drive with elbows on the arm rests when in traffic or strong cross winds. I always knew a truck was passing me.

It definitely tracked better with full water and gas. That is pretty consistent with most gassers. I really think the added trac bar and upgraded sway bar would have made a big difference.

It certainly had no problem hauling our part time stuff. What we ran into was that when loaded the rear axle was only 300# below max weight. That would not have been good for us in a full time mode.

The W24 chassis with the 8.1L engine had no problem moving us along. I kinda miss the bit of "punch" the gas engine had. I will also miss the mid-entry door for our 2 GSDs.

All-in-all, if we hadn't made a choice to go full time and wanted more features and room, we would have been happy with our 38J. It had a great floor plan and some very nice features.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:51 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMChad View Post
While I am not yet a Winnebago owner, I may be getting close I could use input on the driving experience with an Adventurer.

I have talked with several motorhome owners and the Adventurer has been highly recommended. Unfortunately, I have not been able to drive one yet.

Two recommendations came from previous Adventurer owners who now had DPs (one was a Tiffin Phaeton, the other a Winnebago Vector). They both shared their favorite motorhome was the Adventurer and that the driving experience, while better in the DP, was not all that different.

I have driven a Thor Palazzo DP and a Thor Daybreak (Ford F53 chassis) and the Ford chassis felt like a big truck (felt all the little bumps in the road, leaned more on corners, etc) -- not the best driving experience compared to the DP (very smooth).

Since the Adventurer is also a Ford F53, should I expect a similar driving experience, or is the Adventurer a better driving experience compared to other gas motorhomes? We are looking at the 35 model.

I sure appreciate your insights!
I'm not sure you got an answer to your question regarding if 2 manufacturers use the same chassis, will the driving experience be similar. I believe the answer will be 'yes' assuming both are the same F53 chassis, model year, and wheelbase.

There of course will be small differences due to weight distribution, but the chassis manufacturer pretty much determines the driving characteristics through its choice of shock absorbers, sway bars, tires, etc.

And as many folks have posted, there's lots to do to tighten and improve the ride on the F53 chassis, and they do help. Koni FSD shocks smooth the ride while maintaining handling characteristics. Trac bars tighten the chassis and body, minimizing wander on the road. Sway bars keep top side-to-side sway at bay. And they do work.

The 'However' is that there is a significant diffence in ride and handling between a F53 chassis and a DP with air suspension. The DP will win every time.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky_Boss View Post
I recently owned a 2006 Adventurer 38J but now a 43' Dutch Star. To be honest...no contest in driving. HOWEVER...

The 38J was pretty loose when I first got it. I put on 6 new tires and 4 new Koni FSD shocks that made a LOT of difference. The MH came with a front trac bar and steer assist. If I had kept it I would have upgraded the rear sway bar and added a rear trac bar.

The steering wheel play was a bit too much to drive with elbows on the arm rests when in traffic or strong cross winds. I always knew a truck was passing me.

It definitely tracked better with full water and gas. That is pretty consistent with most gassers. I really think the added trac bar and upgraded sway bar would have made a big difference.

It certainly had no problem hauling our part time stuff. What we ran into was that when loaded the rear axle was only 300# below max weight. That would not have been good for us in a full time mode.

The W24 chassis with the 8.1L engine had no problem moving us along. I kinda miss the bit of "punch" the gas engine had. I will also miss the mid-entry door for our 2 GSDs.

All-in-all, if we hadn't made a choice to go full time and wanted more features and room, we would have been happy with our 38J. It had a great floor plan and some very nice features.

Good Luck!
I appreciate you sharing your experience! I have heard the Koni FSD Sox are very helpful. If I end up with an Adventure, this will be a likely initial mod.
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:27 AM   #18
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Adventurer

WE have a new 2013 Adventurer model 32 H. I expected to have to make adjustments to steering and handling based on what I read. So far it has handled very well with no issues and those adjustments have been put on the back burner. Hope that helps
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:18 AM   #19
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WE have a new 2013 Adventurer model 32 H. I expected to have to make adjustments to steering and handling based on what I read. So far it has handled very well with no issues and those adjustments have been put on the back burner. Hope that helps

We're also looking to purchase a 2013 Adventurer to replace our 2001. I just became aware of the fact that Winnebago supposedly had a redesign of the front cap in October. None of the online or printed brochures reflect this change. There's no information I can find other than 1 sentence in a NY Times article mentioning some change was revealed at the St. Louis Dealers show in December. Just Saturday I looked online to find what I believe is the new design on some models recently delivered to dealers inventories.

We were down to the last couple details when we came across this information. Now it looks like there's more research to do. I'm hoping this was the only mid year change but can't yet be certain. Is yours the design that looks similar to the 2012 or is it the "new" design that looks similar to the Sightseer and Sonova. Also are all the other ammenities as described in the available literature, or have they made other changes that haven't been publicised?
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:32 AM   #20
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HikerDog,ours looks like the one on the Winneabago web site for the 2013 Adventurer. Everything seem to be as advertised,so far seem to be a great coach. I have read of your concerns and I am sure with a litlle planning you can get exactly what you want> Good luck
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