Western RV has added a 40-foot quad-slide coach with nearly 400 square feet of living space to its offerings for 2005.
By Lazelle Jones
Western RV has expanded its lineup of diesel-powered motor coaches for 2005 with an intriguing new addition: the 40FDQS, an Alpine Coach Limited Series floor plan with four slideouts. This motorhome measures 40 feet long and 102 inches wide for travel; when the slideouts are extended, the interior living area becomes almost 13 feet wide between the street-side and curbside walls. Unveiled at FMCA's convention this past March, this quad-slide motor coach addresses the growing demand for living area and luxury appointments by creating an additional 80 square feet of interior space (versus a non-slideout 40-foot coach), producing a total living area of approximately 390 square feet.
It’s important to know something about the foundation and powertrain of this coach, as the loads associated with four slideouts and the distribution thereof affect over-the-road performance. To begin with, at Western RV, a one-size chassis does not fit all floor plans. Western RV uses the Peak Custom Chassis, a formidable superstructure that is designed and built in-house. The raised-rail chassis is custom-configured to meet the individual requirements of each Alpine Coach floor plan, be it 34, 36, 38, or 40 feet long. For ease of handling and comfort of ride, the 40FDQS has a weight distribution of 60 percent rear and 40 percent front.
The Peak Custom Chassis is assembled using a tried-and-true process called Huck-bolting, a process that for decades has provided reliable service for the heavy truck and railcar industries. Starting with 50,000-psi steel, the constituent parts (brackets, outriggers, steps, wheel wells, room slides, and bulkheads) that are used to create the chassis are laser cut for a precision fit. After assembly, the chassis is dressed with a coat of tough polyurethane paint. A final undercoating is applied to the wheel wells. The suspension includes the Neway custom-tuned Active Air Ride system, Bilstein self-adjusting shocks, and a front axle stabilizer bar. Western RV has elected to equip the Peak Chassis with all-wheel antilock hydraulic disc brakes. The company explains its choice this way: “Brake shoes located inside brake drums can experience brake fade due to heat and dust buildup. With hydraulic calipers and rotors, the brake lining heat is dissipated through cooling fins that are exposed to outside air. The heat generated during braking is not held in. In addition, hydraulic brakes create pedal feel similar to your automobile.” The Peak Chassis also features an illuminated service center; all electrical cables, harnesses, and hoses are labeled and coded for ease of troubleshooting.
One engine is offered on all Alpine Coach units, regardless of model: the Cummins 8.9-liter ISL 400-horsepower turbocharged diesel engine, which comes standard with a Jacobs two-stage compression brake. This power plant develops 1,200 pound-feet of torque and meets all of the new federally mandated emission standards. It is coupled with an Allison 3000MH six-speed transmission. This coach has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 33,000 pounds and a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 43,000 pounds.
An HWH hydraulic system provides the motive force for articulating all four slides and also powers the standard four-point hydraulic leveling system. The system features fully automatic touch-button controls, so setup and preparation for leveling at a campsite is, as the name implies, “as simple as the touch of a button.” Two sets of controls, one for the front slides and one for the rear slides, are located fore and aft.
The dimension of each slideout room is more than respectable. The front galley/sofa street-side slide measures 14 feet 2 inches long by 21 inches deep. The opposing slideout, which contains the dinette and a luxuriously upholstered lounge/recliner chair, measures 9 feet 3 inches long by 31 inches deep. The bedroom’s street-side slide houses a king-size bed, plus the lavatory portion of the adjacent center-aisle bathroom and measures 10 feet 5 inches long by 23 inches deep. The curbside bedroom slide measures 7 feet by 20 inches. Within this area is a spacious vanity makeup table and a 20-inch flat-screen DVD/television combo with cabinet.
Also new for model-year 2005 in the Alpine Coach quad format is the location of the washer-dryer combination. It is housed at the very rear of the coach and shares the back wall with a large sliding-door wardrobe. This configuration opens up the coach-wide bathroom area, permitting the addition of a second vanity/lavatory in the private water closet.
Another feature, which previously was optional and is now standard for all 2005 Alpine Coach Limited Series models, is a 3M Film Front Rock-Guard on the front of the motorhome, which gives additional protection against possible paint damage. A padded vinyl ceiling is also now standard, a nice feature that provides ease of maintenance/cleaning, added insulation, and greater noise abatement. Available on every Alpine Coach Limited is a new electronic system called Surge Guard that protects the coach’s electrical components from voltage drops or spikes when connected to shore power. Now standard is the auto-start feature on the 7.5-kw Onan Quiet Diesel generator, which automatically turns on the generator when battery voltage falls below a predetermined level. Also new for 2005 is an eye-catching transitional full-body exterior paint and graphic scheme that is available in the customer's choice of five premium color groups for all floor plans.
Five interior décor choices are offered: Mood Indigo (blue), Sherwood (green), Brandywine (spice), Platinum (silver/gray), and Woodlands (earth tones). The standard interior hardwood choices are either Natural Maple or Tuscan Maple. Optional hardwood choices are Vintage Cherry, Natural Cherry, and Heritage Cherry. A feature that the pilot of this palace on wheels no doubt will appreciate is the new color backup monitor. Western RV also has gone to solid wood pocket doors. Located at both ends of the bath, these sliding doors sequester the bath from the rear bedroom and from the front of the coach. An optional 30-inch Sharp LCD high-definition television with a high-definition satellite receiver is available for 2005. For this model year the Alpine Coach Limited offers an optional rear ladder.
As an added owner benefit, all 2005 Alpine Coach models feature a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty on certain major chassis components and a five-year/36,000-mile limited warranty covering body construction.
The base suggested retail price for the Alpine Coach Limited 40-foot Front Door Quad Slide is $284,694. Options not noted above include a Hydro-Hot heating system, which replaces the conventional forced-air furnace and the LP-gas water heater; an A&E Power Pro Sensor Awning with remote control, which retracts should the wind reach a specified speed; ceramic tile in the living, bath, and cockpit areas; cockpit seats with integrated three-point seat belts; a residential side-by-side refrigerator; a 50-watt solar panel; a power cable reel; folding dinette chairs; an UltraLeather upgrade on the Flexsteel Sofa/E-Z Bed and recliner; and a battery fill system that automatically feeds distilled water at the touch of a button to the house batteries when water needs to be added. Also offered are two 15,000-Btu roof air conditioners with heat pumps and a range-oven upgrade.
So what is the target market for this new quad-slide Alpine Coach? We asked Burk Morgan, vice president of marketing at Western RV, and he explained it this way: “The Alpine Coach appeals to the buyer looking for a luxury, high-end, diesel-powered motor coach, with features that are normally found in much more expensive coaches."
Western Recreational Vehicles Inc., P.O. Box 9547, Yakima, WA 98909-0547; (800) 777-4133; www.wrv.com.