This article covers why we would actually prefer an older bus, 2007, over newer models – say 2010 to 2014. . . and why a step-up of only two years – from 2005 to 2007 – was a good deal for us.
(Written by the wife, Carolie, with all facts provided by the obliging husband, Steve.)
First of all, going from a 40’ bus with six tires, to a 42’ with eight tires (“tag axle”) gives us a lot more room and more storage. But the bus handles almost identically because the wheel base from center of the front wheel to the center of the duals is only 6” longer. Neither of us would ever want a 45’ bus, the biggest one made, because they are a challenge to drive, to turn corners, and to find RV parks to accommodate. So many RV parks were built after World War II, when RV’s were 30’ tops.
Replacing a 2005 Allegro Bus with a 2007 does not seem like much of an upgrade. But the 2007 was just new enough to have major upgrades, yet still old enough to have features we wanted that are becoming extinct – such as a queen size bed. Since about 2010, the king size bed has been a no charge option, and most all buyers are taking it. As the years go by, it’s getting harder and harder to find a used RV on the lot with a queen bed. The king bed might be fine in your home, especially if you have a big dog in the bed with you. But in an RV, the king leaves absolutely no room left to walk around the bed, and no night stands! How can you live without a nightstand for your Bose radio?
We prefer a queen bed with two generous nightstands and spacious floor area, and now we have it! If you factory order a bus, you most certainly can have queen bed. But we cannot afford a custom build, and we don’t think it’s financially smart to drive one off the showroom floor anyway. So when we say “new” we mean “new to us”!! A new bus like ours would cost over $400,000, but we paid just $159,000 in 2014. What a deal!
Second feature disappearing – gas range. The new motor homes lean toward all electric, or the new induction surface. They are dropping the gas refrigerator and gas range. Who wants to cook with induction or electric? Not us! We are gas or nuthin! We have a 10×22” ribbed grill pan that covers two burners and we use it weekly to make divine steaks and tender crisp veggies – indoors with no muss or fuss. Yes, gas ranges are a pain to clean, but its so worth it. And hey- we’re retired now.
Third feature gone – dual gas/electric refrigerator. If you want to really enjoy the RV life, leave the crowds behind and go “dry camping” in the desert or beside the ocean. This means you have no electricity to plug into. Old style RV refrigerators could handle this – running on electric in town, then switching to propane out in the country, “off the grid!” How can you beat that? We refilled our propane tank once a year at most. (RV’s that heat with propane are a major headache in cold weather.) All the new RV’s use large, all-electric household type refrigerators that the uninitiated female RV shopper swoons over. But you might have trouble dry camping with this electricity hog unless you start your generator every morning to recharge your nearly dead household batteries. (It also depends on how much tv/computer and coffeemaker you use.) One workaround is to have solar panels on your roof, but the reality is, the sun does not shine every day.
(Editor’s Note: Whoops! We actually did have to settle for an all-electric refrigerator on our new ’07, but we took it because the seller had upgraded this bus with four 120-watt solar roof panels We should be able to dry camp without over-using the generator.)
Fourth feature – A bus without a dishwasher is becoming very hard to find. We actually prefer to handwash our dishes for two, and we get the bonus of a huge, deep storage area for all our pots and pans, directly under the stove, sooo handy! But darn it – we had to take a dishwasher on our new bus. I now have pans dispersed everywhere – in bedroom closet, under bathroom sink, above sofa, in hallway. Fun!
Here are the major benefits we enjoy by stepping up from 2005 to 2007 bus:
–Three air conditioning units instead of two. This is a critical benefit. We could barely keep our bus cool in the Oklahoma summer. It can be 100 degrees and humid there for weeks, and it doesn’t cool off at night. Our AC was working nonstop to blow air out of the ceiling vents, and it is so loud you have to holler at your guests, and turn your TV way up.
— 10K Onan generator vs. 7500. The new one is single speed, more powerful and super quiet instead of noisy. You don’t even know its running.
–3000 watt Xantrex modified sine wave inverter, versus a 2000 watt Xantrex modified sine wave inverter.
–Bigger house battery bank. The 40′ bus has four six-volt lead acid batteries. The 42′ bus has six six-volt lead acid batteries.
— Side opening basement doors. This is a biggie for us. To access your bay storage on the 2005 bus, you had to kneel down and crawl underneath a top opening door, which was horizontal to the ground. It could not open any higher because it would hit the open slide above. It is hard to lift 50 pound tubs when you’re on your knees and can’t get any leverage. The new bus has side opening doors so you can remain standing, no more kneeling on worn out cartilege-free knees. No more bumping your head when you stand up.
–A separate washer and dryer. 40’ buses have a single, European-style combo unit, which is small and slow. You can’t put more than one sheet in it at a time, so it takes three separate loads to wash your sheets.
— Longer couch for guests. Two can sleep on our new, jackknife style sofa bed. Before, one sleeper had to lie diagonally to fit.
— Spartan chassis (larger radiator capacity for hill climbing).
— Tag axle (more carrying capacity and better driving in the wind).
.–Three windows in bedroom. Steve has his own window for the first time, and we are enjoying cross ventilation).
–Hydro-Hot (new name, Aqua-Hot) Even tho this feature is included on both our old 40′ and new 42′, I have to mention it because it is so critical we could not live a day without it. Hydro-Hot gives us unlimited hot water on demand for showers, and instant cozy heat when we get up in the morning, from the diesel heater booster. This is all radiator hot water heat that doesn’t dry you out like a gas furnace.
Here are additional upgrades the seller added to this 42′ bus:
- — Complete solar setup with four 120W rooftop panels and a 60V controller. This will allow us to watch TV, use our computers, make coffee, and keep the refrigerator running when we are dry camping.
- MCD Shades with all-electric remote. This divine upgrade is standard on Tiffins from 2009. It’s truly heavenly to have MCD shades, especially if you’ve lived with the old curtains.
- The seller upgraded our new bus to a 3000 watt Magnum pure sine wave hybrid inverter instead of 2000w modified sine wave. We now have more power and cleaner power. It automatically supplements with power from the house battery bank for overload demand, whereas our old bus would just pop a breaker.
- The seller upgraded from six lead acid batteries to eight six-volt maintenance free AGM’s. Steve once tried to make me look in a tiny mirror and add water to the old batteries up to a line I couldn’t see at all, without overfilling or splashing acid on my hand. I ended up shaking and crying, “Do it yourself, Steve!”
- The seller removed a dreadful large box in the clothes closet that just ruins your ability to hang and store clothes. This box is an electrical cabinet holding two breaker panels and a 12V fuse panel. The box is way bigger than it needs to be anyway. The seller cut a hole in the floor and moved two of the panels into an empty space under the closet floor, adding an access door. Then he relocated the fuse panel onto the far right wall in the closet. What a HUGE improvement this is! Now we have an unobstructed closet like we had in our 2005 bus.
- The seller installed See-Level Gauges with read-outs both inside the bus and in the wet bay. The usual factory gauges for black and grey tank levels are notorious failures because their sensors are inside the tanks, collecting muck. They like to read “full” no matter what your true level. See-Level gauges are outside the tanks and shoot through for accurate readings.
- –Two roll out bay drawers instead of one. These are wonderful for accessing your stuff.
- — SilverLeaf Engine Management System with read-out on dash. This monitors all engine functions and is programmable to display favorite.
- –SWM equipped Winegard satellite (with multiplexed wiring, you can watch two different shows at the same time and record several if you have two DVR’s.)
- Bose sound system added to both front and back.
- A Kenwood Stereo unit with Garmin GPS was installed in front dash to replace the factory radio/CD player. This thing is amazing! It gives you an IPod input port, wireless telephone, GPS navigation, XM radio as well as AM/FM, and a USB port.
- In the wet bay, four heaters have been added to keep our water lines from freezing when we are stuck in snow, as we have often been. Two are pad heaters under the fresh water tank. Two are forced air heaters by the hoses and valves.
- Norcold 2.12 cubic foot basement freezer added
- The seller hard-plumbed a water line from the city water source into the black tank. so you can flush and clean your black tank with fresh water at the flip of a switch, instead of hooking up a garden hose.
- Seller added a fresh water pressure gauge inside the wet bay. This allows you to monitor the city water pressure coming in and to add a regulator if needed.
- You must protect all your RV electronics from electrical surges. The standard solution is to buy a $300 surge protector and plug it outside between the power pedestal (“current bush”) and your cord. These hang unprotected in rain and weather, and, sadly, are sometimes stolen. The seller equipped our bus with a Progressive Industries Electrical Management System (EMS) hard wired safely inside the electric bay.
- Most RV’s come standard with a whole house water filter, and a second for the refrigerator. This bus has two additional filters. Thus, our kitchen water is double filtered and our refrigerator door ice/water is triple filtered. I cannot tell you how wonderful this is for the clean flavor of the coffee and iced tea we make daily, no matter where we drive to in the country. In our old bus, we went from one crazy water flavor to the next. Sometimes we hauled heavy gallons home. Now we feel so spoiled, and we are drinking a lot more water.
- Seller modified the Hydro-Hot system to make it easier to service. My husband worked on the Hydro-Hot in our old bus and had to crawl to the back end of a small bay over three days. He came out bleeding and miserable. On the new bus, the seller moved the vacuum cleaner out of the Hydro-Hot bay, onto the ceiling of the next bay, out of the way. Then he moved a wiring panel on the back wall up, creating a large opening below, directly into the Hydro-Hot. We can’t live a day without the heat and unlimited hot water from our Hydro-Hot, but they do need servicing annually and can wear out. Most commonly, a cracked drain tube (loss of antifreeze) or dead heating element.
- The toilet has a maintenance switch that holds the flap open but that switch is impossible to access – it’s up inside the back of the toilet where you can’t get your head to look. Our switch has been moved out within easy reach.
- The outside front steps have a switch. If you leave the switch on, the steps will open every time you open the door, and retract every time you close the door. Most people prefer to keep the steps out all the time while parked. Because if you accidentally have the steps in, and then turn the step switch off, you can actually step out of the bus with no step below you and fall! This happened to our guest because we had turned the ignition key on. (Lawsuit?!) There is a light but it is tied to the step switch and only comes on when the steps move in and out. Our steps are always out, and our light has been rewired to come on whenever we open the screen door. This is a much better, safer scenario for a complex system.
So, in summary, we are very happy with our “new to us” 2007 Tiffin Allegro, 42’. This is only the second RV we have owned, and we fully expect it will be our last one. We are going to live in this “BessyBus 2” from now until the cows come home to roost. Please get in touch if you have any questions at all!
Carol & Steve Dwyer
Nov 17, 2014