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Old 10-15-2014, 10:17 AM   #1
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Downsizing from Class A 36' DP to 27' Sunstar

Hi all. Been a member since 2011, but have never posted. Now, we are interested in input regarding downsizing from Winnebago Journey DL GD DP, 36', 2002, to something smaller for just the two of us now that the three kids are grown up and on their own. We think we like the Sunstar 27N, but have heard/read some negative things about how well they handle the road and ride. Looking for anyone with experience with a Sunstar or Winnie comparable less than 30'. Also looking at Newmar Bay Sport with similar length. We are nervous, but just cannot maintain the DP any longer although it is in great shape (like new inside) and only has 53K on it. Thinking we want something smaller and simpler. Just completed a trip from Detoirt Metro area to Vancouver CA and back. Great trip, but never put the big slide out once! Unit was 3/4 empty. We live more simply and do with a lot less when we have no kids to worry about! Please, what do you all think about such a move and the drive-ability of the 27' Class A units.
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Old 10-15-2014, 10:31 AM   #2
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A belated; Welcome to , iRV2.

I hope other members will chime in with opinions and information to help you with the downsizing.
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Old 10-15-2014, 11:03 AM   #3
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I have a 2013 Winnebago Vista 27N. The handling was ok without modification. It went where you pointed it, no wandering, no rut following. A bit of push-pull from passing big rigs and some side to side roll going into driveways or when the road edge dipped. It had a choppy-harsh ride over rough roads. I did the "Cheap Handling Fix" to tighten up the suspension and that made the ride a little harder. Then I replaced the factory Bilstein shocks with Monroes. That really smoothed out the harsh ride. I am pleased with the way it handles and rides now. I usually tow a Honda CR-V. Plenty of power towing and doesn't change the handling. I really like the maneuverability that a short coach gives.

(Before this Vista I had a 2013 Thor ACE 27.1. It wandered all over the road; every bump or rut sent it off in a different direction. Every bump or pothole in the road felt like the coach was dropping off a one foot ledge. For that and because of major quality issues, I traded it in on the Vista.)
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:57 PM   #4
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all I'm gonna say is that you really should drive the gasser to see if you can tolerate the lack of the air-ride suspension you are used to. No matter how many mods you do to a steel-spring chassis, it isn't going to compare favorably to an air ride DP.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 10-16-2014, 09:43 AM   #5
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We when from a 2006 Itasca Meridan DP to a 2014 gas class A MH and had to get use to the engine noise. The new ones are better. We just came back from Colorado over 10,000 pass. The coach did great. But at time noise was high. If you monitor the road and keep it in 4 and 5 gear noise is fine. Ride was very good.
Also gas mileage was down to 5 or 6 MPG. The DP got a consistent 8 to 8.5 MPG. I drive both the same way.
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:20 AM   #6
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In spite of the attributes of a DP, you may be making a good move for your desires. Many people here will say bigger is better, and one just must have a DP, and, that's certainly good if that is what a person wants, but you are pleasing yourself, not others. There will be tradeoffs going to a smaller motorhome, but you seem to ready to understand these. I suggest renting something in the length you are considering; just to experience the gas chassis. Anything built in the last few years will be on a Ford chassis since GM/Workhorse left the market, so reading the Ford forum should provide additional details.

Regarding your question of drivability for 27 ft. units, I have driven our two Safari Treks ('95 27 ft. and '99 29 ft, both GM chassis. One diesel, one gas) a total of 165,000 miles, and am generally satisfied with the handling. However, a rear track bar on a leaf spring rear suspension is the best single upgrade item I can recommend. Explanation: the rear axle is suspended and located only by the leaf springs, and they can be deficient in side-to-side location; resulting in tail wag in side winds and when being passed by a big truck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 15650street View Post
Hi all. Been a member since 2011, but have never posted. Now, we are interested in input regarding downsizing from Winnebago Journey DL GD DP, 36', 2002, to something smaller for just the two of us now that the three kids are grown up and on their own. We think we like the Sunstar 27N, but have heard/read some negative things about how well they handle the road and ride. Looking for anyone with experience with a Sunstar or Winnie comparable less than 30'. Also looking at Newmar Bay Sport with similar length. We are nervous, but just cannot maintain the DP any longer although it is in great shape (like new inside) and only has 53K on it. Thinking we want something smaller and simpler. Just completed a trip from Detoirt Metro area to Vancouver CA and back. Great trip, but never put the big slide out once! Unit was 3/4 empty. We live more simply and do with a lot less when we have no kids to worry about! Please, what do you all think about such a move and the drive-ability of the 27' Class A units.
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:54 PM   #7
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We helped a friend thru this process lately, downsizing from a one slide 37' coach. He was moving to a new home too, where off street parking was a max of 31'.

After talking with him and his wife, and walking thru a few Super Dealers RV Events at the local stadium parking lot. (New and used rigs were brought in by four local larger dealers. Allowing the ability over a three of these events to see many different RV's. They narrowed it down between spending a bit more for a newer Unity (Great cabinet work, fuel efficient, and they felt plenty of room for the two of them. The concern I had for them was the capacities of the Grey/Black/Water tanks. But they said they were a 'Park to Park' style camper, and very seldom did more then a weekend of any kind of boondocking. So to them no concern about tank capacity. They liked the power and handling of the Unity by Pleasure way, which is classified as Class B.). Their second choice was the above mentioned Trek (Husband liked the power of the 8.1 but was not real keen on the MPG. The wife thought the larger interior space over the Unity was a plus, for if they wanted to entertain and have grandchildren with them (Something the husband was hoping to avoid!).

They ended up buying a Trek, can't recall the year, but it was middle of the 'good years' according to a fellow Trek owner they talked with. It's a non slide, but they would have bought one with a slide without concern, if they had found a good clean one first. They've made several trips in the Trek, and no complaints.

Maybe worth a follow up look.

Best of luck on your hunt,
Smitty
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Old 10-17-2014, 10:55 AM   #8
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Gasser does just fine

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBP View Post
We when from a 2006 Itasca Meridan DP to a 2014 gas class A MH and had to get use to the engine noise. The new ones are better. We just came back from Colorado over 10,000 pass. The coach did great. But at time noise was high. If you monitor the road and keep it in 4 and 5 gear noise is fine. Ride was very good.
Also gas mileage was down to 5 or 6 MPG. The DP got a consistent 8 to 8.5 MPG. I drive both the same way.
Can't agree more with this reply. Went from an 37 ft 05 DP, that I had to have when new, to a 39 ft 14 gasser. Got all the bells and whistle of a high end Winnebago for 150K less. My experience in handling, mileage etc, is identical. F53/V10 is a great combination. I can do all routine maintenance myself. Had no business owning a DP with my limited mechanical knowledge. DW is happier with the two additional slides and me, with the 30 minute in the driveway oil change.
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Old 11-17-2014, 06:43 PM   #9
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We downsize from a 1999 American Tradition that we put 180,000 miles on, our 2nd Tradition. We bought 2014 27N in February and have almost 10,000 mile on it. Does not ride or drive as well as the Tradition but cost about 25% of the cost of a new Tradition. We now have more Kitchen Counter space, as much basement storage and a larger wardrobe. Gave up a couch but the front seats rotate 180 degrees and with 3 slides it works for us. Bought new a 1996 34 foot Southwind on a Chevy chassis, can't believe how much better the Ford is, of course much newer. Lots of power, get to listen to the motor now but adding 5 Star tune helps a lot. I don't feel that it has any steering or handling problems I need to address
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