Fleetwood finds more living room in its first quad-slideout motorhome endeavor.
By Lazelle D. Jones
No doubt many RVers would agree that the slideout is a compelling attribute. Once single slideouts became accepted in motorhome design, RV manufacturers took the next logical step: crafting double-slideout coaches. These days, many motorhome models in production offer floor plans with two or three slideouts. Of course, once the triple-slideout motorhome was achieved, it was obvious what would come next. Today several manufacturers, including Fleetwood RV, C985, offer motorhomes featuring quad-slideout floor plans.
The quad-slideout Discovery 39L diesel pusher underscores how Fleetwood RV continues to bring improvements and innovation to its recreation vehicle product line. Prior to 2003 Fleetwood already offered several Discovery floor plans, ranging from 35 to 39 feet, with two and three slideouts. But when the Discovery 39L was introduced at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, in December 2002, it became the first Fleetwood model with four large slideout rooms. The 39L remains in the mix for the 2004 model year.
These four slideouts are not merely cosmetic creations that offer an illusion of more livability. The motorhome's slideouts, including the two rear slides, are sizable areas that yield real, usable space. The opposing front slideouts are massive. The streetside unit is 158 inches long by 30 inches deep, with a floor-to-ceiling measurement of 68 inches inside. The interior of the living/dining area slideout is standardly appointed with a sofa bed and a dinette. Options for this slideout include a larger sofa sleeper, a table with two swivel recliners, a freestanding dinette with four chairs, and a computer workstation. Overhead, cabinets line the interior of the slideout above the sofa bed and dinette; wood choices include birch, maple, and cherry. When the slideouts are fully extended, all foot traffic areas are flush to the floor.
The galley slideout includes a loveseat (immediately aft of the passenger's captain seat), with optional Ultraleather upholstery to match the optional Ultraleather fabric on the sofa bed and the cockpit seats. The galley includes a standard two-door refrigerator-freezer, but an optional four-door model with ice maker is available. The panels on the refrigerator doors match the wood grain of the cabinetry. The solid-surface countertop is finished off with a smart-looking bullnose edge, and the three-burner cook top is hidden with a split cover fashioned from the same solid-surface material. The total length of the galley slide is 168 inches, and when both forward slides are extended, a cavernous space that measures 12 feet across is created. It’s important to note that the galley is still fully usable even when the slideout is not extended.
All four slideouts feature Power Gear electric mechanisms. The only requirements to extend or retract the slideouts is that the coach be level and the engine be running. Setup (extending all four slides) takes no longer than two minutes. The topper awnings that extend and retract with the slideouts prevent debris from collecting on the top of the rooms. They also effectively direct water away from the tops of the slideouts when it’s raining.
The coach is equipped with a one-touch automatic leveling system, also from Power Gear.
In the rear bedroom, the curbside slideout holds a window seat with four large drawers underneath. Above and to the rear of the window seat is a 20-inch television; a 27-inch TV with a home theater system that replaces part of the window seat also is offered. The head of the queen-size island bed, along with two nightstands, is housed in the streetside slideout. A large cedar-lined wardrobe and dresser-drawer extends across the rear of the coach and is equipped with organizer-style shelving for increased storage.
Fleetwood has created volumes of accessible exterior storage by building what is the equivalent of two large coach-wide storage bays. Utilizing the company's patented EZ Store system, the bays move in and out with the slideouts, allowing access to the gear stored inside, regardless of whether the slideout is extended or retracted. Each of these bays runs nearly the full length of the slideout. On each side are three large insulated bay doors, equipped with gas struts, that provide easy access to items stowed inside, including long objects such as fishing poles or ski gear. Behind the forward slideouts on both sides of the coach are smaller, yet still roomy, individual storage bays. The interior of the bays is made of a composite material that can be cleaned easily should the need arise.
The Discovery is built on the Freightliner XC-Series chassis and powered by the 330-horsepower Caterpillar 3126E turbocharged diesel engine coupled with an Allison 3000MH six-speed transmission. The coach features a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 27,910 pounds and a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 37,910 pounds. The fuel tank holds 90 gallons and can be refueled from either side of the coach. The fresh water tank has an 86-gallon capacity, and the gray water and black water tanks hold 50 gallons each. The LP-gas tank holds 38 gallons (all LP tanks have an 80 percent shutoff valve so they do not reach full capacity).
Whether you enjoy staying at a luxury RV resort or prefer a more primitive, stand-alone campsite, this model is equipped to accommodate both. A 50-amp shore power cable, a 2,000-watt inverter, and a 7.5-kilowatt diesel generator provide the necessary power to run appliances and accessories. For interior climate control, the Discovery features a dual 20,000-Btu and 25,000-Btu heating system with floor-ducted registers placed throughout the coach, as well as dual 13,500-Btu roof air conditioners that share a common plenum, allowing the front unit to be operated at night without disturbing those asleep in the bedroom. Fan-Tastic Vent fans are located in the galley and in the private water closet for additional air circulation. Manually operated patio and entry awnings are standard, but power-operated versions are optional, employing both a remote and an interior control.
The 39L and other Discovery floor plans convey a residential feel. For example, the wall-to-wall printed plush carpet is designed to pre-empt traffic wear patterns, while the laminate tile in the entry, galley, and center-aisle bath is low-maintenance. In addition, granite-patterned solid-surface countertops are found in the galley and bathroom area. The valances surrounding the pleated day-night shades are sculpted from complementing fabric textures and colors. Buyers can choose from three interior décor packages.
In the galley, a beveled mirror serves as a splash panel and provides a low-maintenance surface that creates the illusion of an even larger area than it already is. A floor-to-ceiling pantry with wire-basket drawers that glide in and out is capable of holding large quantities of canned and dry goods. A plethora of drawers, cabinets, and cupboards surround the dual-tub porcelain galley sink.
The center-aisle bath features a large six-sided shower with a seat. The private water closet houses a porcelain toilet and storage cabinets. Nestled behind louvered doors in the bath area is space for the optional washer-dryer combination.
The manufacturer's suggested retail price of the Discovery 39L is $176,400. Optional features not mentioned earlier that allow the individual to tailor this coach to meet individual tastes and needs can include power sun visors; a DVD player; an AM-FM stereo with either a cassette/CD player or a six-disc CD player; a bedroom radio; a central vacuum system; a covered DSS auto-locating satellite dish; a front mask; a spotlight with remote control; and many other layout and fabric choices.
For RVers who appreciate the expansiveness that multiple slideouts provide, the quad-slideout Discovery 39L, and other Discovery models, merit attention.
Fleetwood RV, P.O. Box 7638, Riverside, CA 92513; (877) 308-7644, http://www.fleetwoodrv.com/.