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Old 10-05-2015, 09:49 AM   #1
Lost in the Woods
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Vallejo
Posts: 238
Seneca J-Ride Conundrum

To understand the difference between a full timer Class A 40 ft dp vs a Seneca ride seems unresolvable to me as it so difficult to get a well rounded demo ride...which I will be going on in a couple of weeks.

I know the Seneca is over 20,000 pounds and close to 40 ft length with air bags on the back. But it seems Seneca had to go with air ride as an upgrade since adding air bags to the front of the chassis just doesn't work well as the chassis front end is a truck front end. Aftermarket front air bags go only so far, but how far instead does the air ride take the Seneca???

When discussing Class A's from gas to diesel, the bottom line focus of the ride seems to be how wind affects the motorhome and also how you get tossed up and down in certain rough road conditions like going over a bridge. When you are riding in a 20,000 plus, 40 ft, tag axle, you get the "best" ride I'm constantly told...unbeatable as I'm told.

Just how best is the Seneca with the upgraded air ride is still an unknown to me. Maybe it is close enough not to matter??? Just go buy one, right, and quit bringing up the subject!!!

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Old 10-05-2015, 08:17 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Akron
Posts: 2,148
I have never owned a DP, I traded up to my 2014 Seneca 37TS after owning two Ford van cutaway Class C units. I can only say I am very pleased with the ride and handling compared to my previous Class C units.

Despite being quite taller and longer than my previous units, I feel more secure in windy conditions that before. Certainly I feel some buffeting, but it has never been so severe I was concerned. And the "passing blast" from semis is mostly a thing of the past. With my Fords I had to make sure I was "hanging on" and prepared to correct! Not so with the Seneca.

The overall ride is better too, I credit that to the longer wheelbase, weight, and the Airliner rear suspension. My wife could not lay on our rear bed and rest while travelling in our prior units, it would bounce her right out of bed! She has taken a few naps in the Seneca driving the same roads we did with our older units. She says it certainly is much better than before.

Are there better rides in some coaches? Perhaps. But I am very pleased with the ride of my Seneca moving from a Ford-based Class C. Please don't think I am "knocking" the Fords, I loved both units I owned and they gave many years of great service. But the Seneca is in a different class of unit I am glad I can now afford. I did not want a Class A, I drove fire trucks for 33 years and wanted a truck-based unit. It is diesel and chassis service (which I will do myself) should be easier that any gas or diesel Class A.

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Old 10-05-2015, 09:20 PM   #3
Lost in the Woods
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Vallejo
Posts: 238
I really appreciate your reply Rob. I probably have gone as far as I can now to resolve my questions. I too like the idea of this Super C for the maintenance.

It is accepted by many people that the smart buy is the long used dp. And certainly there is a point to that for full timers, yet appreciating that some people can do a lot with less. However, there is also a point that the Seneca fits a particular niche.

All about matching current needs, making compromises, and guessing at ones future needs. At one point I thought I was down to a new class A vs a used dp.

Now it seems I'm down to a used Newmar dp vs a new Seneca with the air ride "VS" a semi hauler with a 5th wheel (just hate the idea of backing in and the daily car limitations of the last idea).

Not willing to sell my house or go full time, but maybe for 2 to 4 months once in a while like to Alaska, pushes me kind of towards the Seneca...
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Old 10-05-2015, 09:42 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: North Central Texas
Posts: 428
You will have to make some tradeoffs in your comparisons.
DP ride may be a little softer but not much with the 2015 and newer Senecas. To get a noticeably better ride you will need a DP with IFS and Tag axle…add $100K or more. I got pounded driving US 42 south of Sturgeon Bay, WI in my Seneca and I got pounded on I10 in LA in my DP.

I give the handling edge to the Seneca. Much easier to drive, no push from passing trucks. You can get that with the tag axle DP with IFS also but you can't improve the driving position. In the DP you are off center with the steering wheel. I am less fatigued driving the Seneca.

2019 Renegade Valencia 38RW
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Old 10-05-2015, 09:59 PM   #5
Lost in the Woods
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Vallejo
Posts: 238
Thanks Walt for your reply. In a few weeks I will set up a demo ride. Timing of my purchase decision is unknown at this time. Meanwhile a new Boxer puppy is coming home in a couple of weeks.

Yes, always about trade offs and compromises.

I would say that if one buys used from a private party, like a 2008+ Newmar Dutch Star, you can get comfort drive and a 40 ft with IfS and Tag for less than a new Seneca.

Since I'm an rv inspector and service tech, always that option is on the table...which makes it a much harder decision than if the decision was between a new Newmar dp vs new Seneca, and I didn't have that skill set.

So, no, I don't have to pay $100k to get those benefits, nor have to suffer the warranty delays.
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