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Old 10-11-2016, 11:16 PM   #1
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Questions for M2 Seneca owners

I originally posted this on ivr2 but then found this forum, which I think will be better answered here....


I am looking at a 2016 Seneca 37FS. I plan on going to take a look at it on Saturday, but trying to do all my research up front so I am comfortable and confident with filtering the real from the BS that the sales guys are going to lay on me. Most of my questions have to do with the 2016 model so hopefully there are a few owners here who may know the answers to my questions. However some of the questions might be able to be answered by anyone with an M2 chassis. Ok here we go....thanks before hand for reading and replying...

Do these units have an air hookup for things like tire inflators, air tools, etc?

Does it have an air horn or just the plan car horns...can you add one if not?

Built in trailer brake? If not, is it difficult to add one?

Does the instant on hot water in the 2016 units suck as much as I have been hearing about or is that just on older units with that option (if that exists)?

I see a CB antenna on the drivers side in pictures, but dont see anything about it in literature...does it have a CB radio built in or just an antenna?

What all does the inverter power? Specifically, if I am dry camping, during quiet hours, can I still use the microwave or induction cooktop?

I hear 120v outlets on these units are limited in quantity and location. How many are in the bedroom? Are there any near the dinette?

With the main TV basically at the head (or foot) of the upper queen bed, how do you deal with it not being destroyed by kids feet while sleeping?

How cold have you been and still be able to run the heat pumps?

Is the 6.7 really a big enough engine for this thing? Can it really tow 10k lbs and still run well? (My towable will be a 24' flat bed hauling a jeep and an atv...prob around 7500-8k total).

I am reading that we only have exhaust brake and not a real engine brake. Can the exhaust brake do a good job of holding this rig going down a mountain or am I going to risk burning up brakes riding them? (For those that might know the area...think highway 550 from Silverton CO to Durango CO.)

It has a built in Sani-Con turbo macerator. I have never had or used one before. Are they really that handy to have or is it just one more thing to break?

Do I have to fill both fuel tank independently or are they linked so I can fill from one and it will flow over to the other?

Pure opinion question...how would you rate the quality of these units? i.e. once you got the initial bugs worked out, how has the unit been since then.

Next loaded question...is there anything I should keep an eye out for...wether if something breaks easily or often or just wasnt designed right and I should "modify/reengineer" right after I buy it?

Last question...do you love or regret your purchase?


WOW...I did not realized I had so many questions until I started typing and another one kept creeping up. I am hoping you guys can help me out so I can make an informed and wise purchase.

Thanks so much
Ryan
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Old 10-12-2016, 05:56 AM   #2
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Hi Ryan, welcome to the Forum!!

Some background on myself. I am relatively new to owning a RV, so I have limited knowledge, so I will leave some of your questions to the "experts" around here. I use the term experts in all seriousness. The members of this forum are exceptionally well informed and very helpful.

I bought my 2015 Seneca FS in March. I use it primarily for towing my drag car. There are several differences between the 2015 and 2016, I am not completely familiar with the 2016 features, but many around here are.

To the questions I feel qualified to answer:
Built in trailer brake? If not, is it difficult to add one?
No trailer brake built in. Not hard to add one at all. There are several threads around here in JOF to answer any questions, including wire colors and pictures. I added one in less then 2hrs, and it works very well.

Does the instant on hot water in the 2016 units suck as much as I have been hearing about or is that just on older units with that option (if that exists)?
I don't have any trouble with my instant hot water. You will get differing opinions on this, so be open minded. I live and play close to sea level, and apparently the system may not so be great at altitude. If you decide to go away from the instant heater, there again, are several threads on who did what and why.

Is the 6.7 really a big enough engine for this thing? Can it really tow 10k lbs and still run well? (My towable will be a 24' flat bed hauling a jeep and an atv...prob around 7500-8k total).
My trailer is roughly 14,500 lbs (I know I am far exceeding the towing capacity) Flat towing, the 6.7 has absolutely no issue. Gets up to speed well and maintains 65mph with what feels like minimal effort. With overdrive off (there is a switch on the dash to turn it off and on) it handles even fairly steep hills well if you start at speed. Problem I have encountered is there are a lot hilly roads (not mountains by any means) with stop lights at the bottoms. From a standing start, I can't get over 35mph until I get over the top. Once my Cummins and Allison is out of warranty, I am going to get a Cummins remap of the engine for more HP and Torque. Overall, I am very impressed with the power and feel of the Seneca when towing my very heavy trailer.

I am reading that we only have exhaust brake and not a real engine brake. Can the exhaust brake do a good job of holding this rig going down a mountain or am I going to risk burning up brakes riding them? (For those that might know the area...think highway 550 from Silverton CO to Durango CO.)
I have very limited experience towing the mountains. But I will say, the exhaust brake is very effective. I can slow my overweight rig to 20mph on the exhaust brake alone, and it's awesome. Many people around here tow in the mountains, I am sure someone will have some better info.

Do I have to fill both fuel tank independently or are they linked so I can fill from one and it will flow over to the other?
Independent fill. This is my biggest gripe with the Seneca (as it is with a lot of people). The fuel gauge in the Seneca is awful. The first time I drove it, I filled up with a 1/4 tank left showing on the gauge. With 74 total gallon capacity, I expected to put ~50 gallons in. I was able to get only 28 gallons in, and that was filling it to the tippy top. Again, there are plenty of threads about this. But yes you have to independently fill. And one of the mitigation techniques of the poor gauging is to fill the passenger tank first (which actually seems to help). Since I do mostly dry camping (at the track) I can't just use the mileage to know when to refill, so I have to trust the gauge. But my rule of thumb is, once the light comes on, I need to get fuel in 50 miles. Even then, I can only squeeze in 50-55 gallons.

Pure opinion question...how would you rate the quality of these units? i.e. once you got the initial bugs worked out, how has the unit been since then.
I really love my Seneca. We are very happy with it. It has some quirks, like window switches dying unexpectedly. But overall, I am very happy and don't regret the decision to purchase at all.

Things I am grateful for with my Seneca:
1. This forum. I can learn anything I need to from this forum. The members are awesome and always willing to help and offer ideas and advice.
2. Jayco customer service/warranty. Had to make 2 calls to Jayco for relatively small things. One of my tail lights stopped lighting. One phone call and I had a new assembly at my door 2 days later. I wanted to do the swap myself (it's easy) but they offered have a dealer do it. Second call was for my slide that was slightly misaligned. They told me to take it to any dealer, and they will take care of the bill. Have yet to take it in to be serviced, but so far I am extremely impressed (which seems to be the popular opinion here on JOF)

Best of luck.

-Robbie
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Old 10-12-2016, 08:03 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyRoRyan View Post
I originally posted this on ivr2 but then found this forum, which I think will be better answered here....

Do these units have an air hookup for things like tire inflators, air tools, etc?
Not stock, I added one myself.

Does it have an air horn or just the plan car horns...can you add one if not?
Electric horn, very weak IMHO. I added triple trumpet air horns and air fill station with regulator as mentioned above.

Built in trailer brake? If not, is it difficult to add one?
No, but Freightliner did provide a trailer brake wiring connection under the dash.

Does the instant on hot water in the 2016 units suck as much as I have been hearing about or is that just on older units with that option (if that exists)?
I have a 2014 with the first generation Girard HWH and it was terrible. I did my own swap out and installed a 10-gallon Atwood XT heater. That has worked flawlessly.


I see a CB antenna on the drivers side in pictures, but dont see anything about it in literature...does it have a CB radio built in or just an antenna?
The antenna is a combination AM/FM/CB antenna, there is a module behind the heater controls where one can plug in a CB coax. Some who have installed CB's have stated it is not an ideal setup.

What all does the inverter power? Specifically, if I am dry camping, during quiet hours, can I still use the microwave or induction cooktop?
My inverter powers the convection microwave and the cabover and rear bedroom TV's only. I have a propane cooktop so I cannot comment on the electric cooktop.

I hear 120v outlets on these units are limited in quantity and location. How many are in the bedroom? Are there any near the dinette?
I have the TS floorplan, there is one 120-volt outlet in the bedroom on the rear nightstand. Near the dinette there is one on the wall near the refrigerator I use when I plug in my laptop sitting at the dinette. Mine has none in the slideout the dinette is located. Cannot say if Jayco added any since 2014.

With the main TV basically at the head (or foot) of the upper queen bed, how do you deal with it not being destroyed by kids feet while sleeping?
I have two very active grandsons (6 and 8) who travel with us frequently and we have never had any TV-related issues. And they both sleep in the cabover when they are with us. I even upsized that TV (to 40") and it has never had any damage-related issues.

How cold have you been and still be able to run the heat pumps?
Around 40-42 degrees mine cuts out and propane heat is the only option.

Is the 6.7 really a big enough engine for this thing? Can it really tow 10k lbs and still run well? (My towable will be a 24' flat bed hauling a jeep and an atv...prob around 7500-8k total).
The recommended towing limits are predicated on how much you load up the coach. If you are near full gross on the coach you only have 5K left in the GCWR (28,000 GVWR/33,000 GCWR). That said, I carry a lot of stuff and my coach (with full fuel, propane, and water) was only around 25,500 on the scales.

I am reading that we only have exhaust brake and not a real engine brake. Can the exhaust brake do a good job of holding this rig going down a mountain or am I going to risk burning up brakes riding them? (For those that might know the area...think highway 550 from Silverton CO to Durango CO.)
I was in Colorado earlier this year and I also think the variable-vane turbocharger exhaust brake works fairly well. Not as braking-powerful as the fire trucks I used to drive equipped with a Detroit 60-series engine with a three-stage Jacobs engine brake, but I have never been dissatisfied or had any braking issues. And the 2014 models have hydraulic brakes, not the full air brakes like the newer Senecas.

It has a built in Sani-Con turbo macerator. I have never had or used one before. Are they really that handy to have or is it just one more thing to break?
I have the traditional 3" hose sewer, but based on feedback from other owners I am considering adding a macerator since when I get home it would be nice to dump at home where I would have to pump it uphill. Now I have to pay to dump at a local camground unless I have dumped and flushed at my last stop, hard to do traveling with young kids (and old people!).

Do I have to fill both fuel tank independently or are they linked so I can fill from one and it will flow over to the other?
Yes, you must fill both sides. There is some transfer as you fill, but not enough to matter. But I now appreciate going to the truck diesel lanes with pumps on both sided since I flat tow, it was very difficult navigating my former gas Class C around some station's gasoline pump islands.

Pure opinion question...how would you rate the quality of these units? i.e. once you got the initial bugs worked out, how has the unit been since then.
Quality is very subjective, but I can tell you it is far better than my last new unit which was a 2006 Chateau (Thor). I have had some issues, many of which I have skipped the dealer and just taken care of myself. And I have made many modifications to mine to make it "my own".

Next loaded question...is there anything I should keep an eye out for...whether if something breaks easily or often or just wasn't designed right and I should "modify/reengineer" right after I buy it?
Search this forum for posts from me, you can see many of the upgrades I have made. I will even attach my most current list for you to review. Any questions, please ask.

Last question...do you love or regret your purchase?
My wife and I LOVE our unit!


WOW...I did not realized I had so many questions until I started typing and another one kept creeping up. I am hoping you guys can help me out so I can make an informed and wise purchase.

Thanks so much
Ryan
I have attached my mods list, some of them I have documented with photos in other posts. Search on my user name Robbbyr (yes, three B's!)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 2014 Seneca 37TS mods October 2016.pdf (56.1 KB, 20 views)
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Old 10-12-2016, 09:28 AM   #4
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Mine is a '14 so I can not answer most of the other questions but:

I am reading that we only have exhaust brake and not a real engine brake. Can the exhaust brake do a good job of holding this rig going down a mountain or am I going to risk burning up brakes riding them? (For those that might know the area...think highway 550 from Silverton CO to Durango CO.)

We took a trip all through Colorado this summer. We chickened out and bypassed that section of 550 but the engine brake was more than enough for our Seneca towing a highly modified (heavy) Jeep Wrangler 4 door (without toad brakes).



Is the 6.7 really a big enough engine for this thing? Can it really tow 10k lbs and still run well? (My towable will be a 24' flat bed hauling a jeep and an atv...prob around 7500-8k total).

I could always use more HP but it has done everything I have needed.



Last question...do you love or regret your purchase?

Love it even though we have not got to use much this year.
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Old 10-12-2016, 02:54 PM   #5
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Thanks guys for all the answers. It moves me more toward the idea that this may be the coach for us. I am glad that there are people out there who are comfortable with modifying their coach and know the in's and out's of it well due to this. I will keep yall updated and let you know what happens on Saturday.
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:20 PM   #6
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Good luck!
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Old 10-13-2016, 01:24 PM   #7
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I can verify the heat pump does lose effectiveness around 40F as noted. Nice to use electric and save propane though when it does work. We've been as low as 23F this trip in CO and no freeze up issues yet. Put a couple cube heaters in critical compartments and with furnace on have had no issues.

Exhaust brake works great in the mountains. Towing jeep and due to flaky brake assist in the jeep I've not had TOAD brakes but honestly don't notice not having them.
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Old 10-13-2016, 01:57 PM   #8
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Agree with what Rob said but feel need to comment.

The horn sucks. Air horn would be nice but a better electric horn might suffice.

The on-demand HW heater was the pits. Mine was adjusted for sea level where I live and at 7000 ft it did not heat. When it did work DW couldn't get it adjusted to suit her. Go for the 10 gal.

Power to weight ratio is better on Seneca than heavier DP's with same engine. Noticeable difference to me. Did great in Rockies towing circa 5000 lbs.

The dual side tank fill is a minor PITA when off beaten track and truck lanes nonexistent. Punt and fill from one side if you have to.

The only build quality issue was cab to body attachment. On rough roads the right side banged and showed a gap. Not able to have hangers lie perpendicular to rod because closet wasn't deep enough was an issue for me on 30 day+ trips when we maxed out space. Bedroom with king mattress cramps dressing space and Jayco would not change to queen bed. I think it was Rob that rebuilt his bed. Other issues like mattress quality, TV that died I don't consider to be build issues.

I'm in between love and regret. I would certainly look hard at Dynamax and Renegade if I were to purchase again. I am happier with the super C than my DP.

Oh, I find there to be enough electrical outlets but the kitchen outlet placement is not ideal. Coffee maker and toaster with short cords are not happy there. I suggest to Jayco that instead of the whole drawer assembly sliding out just have a work surface slide out. That would enlarge the drawers there and allow for different placement of outlets.
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:37 AM   #9
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Bedroom with king mattress cramps dressing space and Jayco would not change to queen bed. I think it was Rob that rebuilt his bed.
Yes, I shrunk the king to a standard queen. And it is not the shorter "RV Queen" installed in many other motorhomes. We love the room my work reclaimed. Bought an 8" pocketed innerspring mattress for it and last night was the first time we slept on it. I can tell you today was the first time I did not wake up with a backache!

I also engineered a way to install bed lift struts even though the bed slides across the platform when the slide moves. Now I am very satisfied with whole "bed experience"!
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Old 10-14-2016, 02:59 PM   #10
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Hey all...one more question...can anyone give me a ballpark of what this thing costs to insure? Am I looking somewhere in the $100 or less range per month or like several hundred dollars a month? I only have insured by 5th for things like wind and hail etc, it is covered normally by my trucks coverage as the towed vehicle. Since this wont be, I am just trying to get an idea of total cost of ownership.
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