Monaco Coach Corporation offers more choices than ever in this popular diesel pusher.
By Lazelle Jones
Thomas Paine said, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." When it comes to manufacturing motorhomes, Monaco Coach Corporation elects to lead.
Monaco remains on the cusp of motorhome design. A case in point is the Dynasty, wherein for 2006 some features previously available only as options are now included as standard equipment. And buyers can choose from a plethora of floor plans (including several new ones) with two, three, or four slideouts. Furthermore, many new state-of-the-art features that previously were unavailable can now be added as options.
Aware of the enhancements that have been made to the Dynasty for the 2006 model year, I visited Monaco Coach Corporation headquarters in Coburg, Oregon, to get a firsthand look.
Since its debut in 1990, the Dynasty has been a cornerstone for Monaco. Today the coach is offered in lengths of 38, 40, 42, and 43feet, and all are 100.5 inches wide. My test unit was the 42 Diamond IV, a 42-footer with four slideouts.
The motive force for this Dynasty was a Cummins ISL turbocharged diesel, an engine that effortlessly develops 1,200 pound-feet of torque. And, oh, how quiet this coach is! Little if any sound from wind could be heard leaking past the seals around the cockpit glass, even at interstate speeds. No noise or vibration was transmitted from the road below. As for the handling, I would characterize it as superb, both at freeway speeds and along the narrow, winding highways that lace the mountains southwest of Eugene, Oregon.
Monaco Dynasty interiorSliding behind the Dynasty's tilting, telescoping steering wheel, I toggled a switch on the left panel to adjust the brake and accelerator pedals (in or out) as needed. The coach is equipped with the Smartwheel system, and the face of the wheel contains buttons that operate the cruise control, dimmer, windshield washer, etc. The massive single-piece windshield (no center post) provided an unimpeded view of the world outside. On each side of the coach, a three-tiered, heated side exterior mirror system (fish-eye mirrors set above and below a large, flat center mirror) features touch-button power adjustments for all three mirrors. Acting in conjunction with the color backup monitor, this mirror system provides clear information about what’s taking place behind and along both sides of the vehicle.
I also took a turn checking out the passenger seat. With the electric stairwell cover closed, I reclined the seat, put the power footrest up, touched the button that lowers the power-adjustable passenger-side sun visor, and settled in for a nap. A pull-out dash computer desktop (with a Corian surface) was a convenient feature.
Twin pull-down, see-through black sun shades to the right of the passenger seat match the single sun shade to the left of the driver’s seat. The driver has dual controls for both power sun shades — theirs and the passenger’s.
In the world of luxury coaches, the Dynasty is no lightweight — literally and figuratively. It comes with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 45,160 pounds and is capable of towing another 10,000 pounds via a standard class IV hitch receiver.
With a full tank of fuel, water, and LP gas (150 gallons, 100 gallons, and 38 gallons, respectively), the coach tipped the scales at 37,520 pounds (front axle — 13,450 pounds; drive axle — 17,420 pounds; tag axle — 6,700 pounds). So, this motorhome could easily have accommodated another 7,000-plus pounds of cargo before reaching its GVWR.
This kind of cargo-carrying capacity (it includes 168 cubic feet of exterior bay storage space) is more than sufficient to transport the items needed by full-timers — even those folks who take a tad more than they need.
A motorhome's weight distribution is important, and the Dynasty deserves special mention in that area. The weights of either side of the coach (for each of the three axles) were very close to one another. According to the weight ticket, the left front axle was 6,800 pounds, and the right was 6,600 pounds. The rear axles also were very similar, coming in at 8,720 pounds for the left side and 8,700 pounds for the right. The tag axles were 3,120 pounds on the left and 3,580 pounds on the right. This is fine weight distribution, in my opinion.
The coach moves well for its size. The six-speed Allison World transmission and the two-stage engine brake perform their duties with aplomb. It’s interesting that Monaco Coach Corporation (just like the auto manufacturers) performs its hot-weather testing in Death Valley, California. This, along with automatic traction control — an aid in winter or wet-driving conditions — are indications that the Dynasty is truly an all-season coach.
Excellence in handling and the smooth and ultra-quiet ride can be directly attributed to the Dynasty’s chassis and air-ride suspension systems. The Roadmaster S-Series chassis is designed and built by Monaco Coach Corporation’s own Roadmaster Chassis Division. Monaco custom-builds each Roadmaster chassis specifically for the diesel pusher for which it is intended.
The Roadmaster design borrows heavily from the successes achieved in the aerospace industry by using what is called semi-monocoque construction. Monocoque construction is similar to that used in an aircraft fuselage. By its very geometry it is able to bear, manage, and distribute the movement and stresses generated by over-the-road travel.
The suspension features 10 high-volume, low-pressure air bags, each augmented by a matching Bilstein shock absorber. Torsion bars further fine-tune how this air-ride suspension system responds to trauma from changing road conditions. Ten 295/80R 22.5 Goodyear tires put more than a sufficient amount of rubber against the road, and with the antilock braking system (ABS), stopping the 37,000-plus-pound motorhome proved to be routine.
Monaco Dynasty interiorThis level of driving comfort; the personalized tailoring of the seat and foot pedals; and the lack of interior noise all combine to make this a coach that can be driven for long distances with little if any fatigue. Match this to the fact that the Dynasty has a 150-gallon fuel tank — which yields an excellent driving range between fuel stops — and the only interruptions on a long travel day will be to have lunch or to enjoy some sight-seeing. And at the end of a travel day, occupants can really begin to enjoy the Dynasty's interior amenities.
In my test unit, two of the four slideouts were situated on opposing sides of the living area; the other two were opposite each other in the rear bedroom. Each slideout is extended or retracted at the touch of a button (two touch buttons per slideout — one to extend and the other to retract).
The slideout immediately behind the driver's seat, which encompasses a sofa and freestanding dinette, has a new "smart-seat" function. Basically, it makes sure that the driver's seat and the slideout are far enough apart so that they don't make contact while the slideout is articulated. This eliminates the potential for the driver's seat to inadvertently be left in the way, causing damage to both the seat and the slideout. The computer chip that coordinates the slideout functions moves the driver's seat forward automatically.
The coach's onboard systems — heating, air conditioning, electrical, etc. — have been finely tuned. Even if you’re not parked at an RV resort where 50-amp shore power is available, the Dynasty's electrical management system can effectively utilize 30-amp shore power. It sheds and picks up loads to accommodate existing amperage. And when it comes to stand-alone RV camping, the 8-kilowatt or 10-kilowatt Onan Quiet diesel generator (generator size depends on coach model) keeps appliances humming inside the coach.
Corian countertops in the Monaco DynastyThe Dynasty features a standard 2,000-watt pure sine wave inverter and a house battery pack that includes four deep-cycle marine-style batteries. Should the electrical system sense low voltage on the house batteries, the generator auto-start function automatically brings the Onan Quiet Diesel online and returns the house batteries to a fully charged state.
My test coach was equipped with the optional residential-size refrigerator-freezer, which the inverter routinely powered using the house batteries. The battery/inverter combo also powers everything else that runs on 110 volts in the house, with the exception of the two or three roof-mounted 15,000-Btu air conditioners (the number depends upon the model). These are centrally ducted and come with heat pumps.
An optional solar panel that provides a maintenance charge to the house batteries is available. Heating comes from conventional twin forced-air furnaces (each 25,000 Btus) or an optional Aqua-Hot system.
Luxurious materials and flawless attention to detail are found throughout the coach interior. The same ceramic tile that covers the floor in the cockpit area is used in the galley and back through the center-aisle bath. Sculptured carpet dresses the living room floor and complements the tiered vinyl material on the ceiling, which also has its own sculptured look.
The galley sports a ceramic tile backsplash and tapered glass splash guards, which combine well with the Corian countertops and sinks. The nightstands and vanity in the bedroom and bathroom are also topped with Corian. As for the wood in this coach, it was called spiced maple. Other choices are natural maple or natural, stained, or classic cherry wood. Regardless of which cabinetry buyers choose, the pewter finish on the drawer pulls and nobs is visually right on target.
Monaco Dynasty rear bedroomStepping into the rear bedroom, one notices that the entire rear wall of the motorhome is occupied by a huge wardrobe. To the right, on the street side, is the queen-size bed, with its head and flanking nightstands located inside a slideout. On the curbside wall opposite the bed is a dresser and TV, also both located inside a slideout. With both slideouts extended, this makes a roomy spot in which to relax.
Many new options have been made available in the Dynasty for 2006. They include a 110-volt electric privacy drape; a Kenwood GPS navigation system (with voice activation); a dishwashing drawer; and a 20-inch LCD television for the rear bedroom. A fully automatic satellite receiver and a new in-motion satellite system are now optional, as is a stackable washer-dryer. A Ralph Lauren Landsdown décor package has been added to the list of choices, as has the sculptured carpet and a fabric/leather booth dinette.
Two additional electronic features now on the options list are a 2,800-watt pure sine wave inverter and the Eaton VORAD Collision Avoidance System, with its new controller and side sensor.
The 2006 Dynasty is offered in many new floor plans, such as the 42-foot Diamond II, III, IV, and the Countess III.
As noted earlier, Monaco has made some previously optional features standard, such as a greater GVWR and gross combination weight rating (GCWR). All floor plans are 4 inches longer. The full-body paint (four individual hand-rubbed applications, including a final clear coat dressing) features new exterior graphics. The rear ladder is now a two-piece unit, with clips that permit it to be stowed in the basement. An additional bay has been added to the passenger side (rear) in case more battery capacity is needed; it's built to contain four more 6-volt house batteries. Of course, this exterior bay can be used for storage if additional batteries are not desired.
Other improvements to the coach include a larger generator access door and pantographic hinges on the engine access door. The height and depth of the passenger-side bedroom slideout have been increased, and the ABS braking system has been upgraded to a Series 6. The storage bays are now configured so that an all-electric exterior entertainment center can be added.
2006 Monaco Dynasty interiorAnother previously optional feature that is now standard for 2006 is the four-door refrigerator with ice maker and raised panel doors. This elegant looking and highly functional appliance beautifully matches the other features found in the galley, like the stainless-steel microwave-convection oven. A residential refrigerator is now available as an option.
The manufacturer's base suggested retail price of the Dynasty 42 Diamond IV is $326,728. As tested, the price came to $404,152 with the following options: 3M film front mask; 90-inch full pass-through slideout tray; Aladdin video coach system with integrated compass and temperature gauge; digital cellular antenna and wiring; CB radio and antenna; Sirius Satellite Radio system; in-motion DSS; home theater system; universal remote system; 32-inch LCD TV with tuner in living room; bedroom TV; residential refrigerator; washer-dryer combination; sculptured carpet; computer desk with Euro recliner; leather J-lounge; queen air mattress with remote; safe; power cord reel; solar battery charger; 2,800-watt pure sine wave inverter; four additional 6-volt house batteries; Insta-Hot water system and Aqua-Hot water system; power water hose reel; RV Sanicon system; Girard automatic patio awning; Girard front door awning; exterior sun screens.
When first introduced, the Dynasty represented cutting-edge design, luxury, and elegance. Now, 16 years later, it continues in that same tradition.
Manufacturer … Monaco Coach Corporation, 91320 Coburg Industrial Way, Coburg, OR 97408; (800) 634-0855; www.monacocoach.com
Model tested ... Dynasty
Floor Plan ... 42 Diamond IV
Chassis ... Roadmaster S-series
Engine ... Cummins ISL; 400 horsepower @ 1,200 rpm; 1,200 pound-feet torque @ 1,300 rpm
Transmission ... Allison 3000 MH, 6-speed World
Axle ratio ... 4.78:1
Tires ... Goodyear 295/80R 22.5
Wheelbase ... 266.25 inches
Brakes ... Front — disc; rear — drum; ABS
Suspension ... 10 air-bag cushion air-glide suspension (8 bags mounted outboard, plus 2 on tag axle); Roadmaster proprietary suspension
Alternator ... 200 amps
Batteries ... chassis — (2) 12-volt; house — (4) 6-volt, deep-cycle marine-style; additional 4 batteries optional
Steering ... 50-degree wheel cut
Inverter ... 2,000-watt pure sine wave
Electrical service ... 50 amps, multiplexing capability
Auxiliary generator ... 10-kilowatt Onan Quiet Diesel
Exterior width ... 100.5 inches
Exterior height ... 12 feet 5 inches
Interior height ... 6 feet 10 inches
Exterior length ... 41 feet 11 inches
Gross combination weight rating (GCWR) ... 55,160 pounds
Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) ... 45,160 pounds
Gross axle weight rating (GAWR) ... front — 15,160 pounds; rear — 20,000 pounds; tag axle — 10,000 pounds
Wet weight as tested ... front — 13,450 pounds; rear — 17,420 pounds; tag — 6,700 pounds; total — 37,520 pounds
Payload ... 7,640 pounds
Frame construction ... semi-monocoque
Insulation ... block foam
Fresh water capacity ... 100 gallons
Holding tank capacities ... gray water, 56 gallons; black water, 56 gallons
Fuel capacity ... 150 gallons
Fuel requirements ... diesel
Propane capacity ... 38 gallons
Water heater ... 10 gallons
Water delivery system ... Central water filtration system in service bay; Manabloc water system for entire coach
Furnace ... (2) 25,000-Btu electronic
Air conditioner ... (3) 15,000-Btu roof units
Refrigerator ... four-door model with ice maker and raised-panel doors (residential unit optional)
Toilet ... china
Warranty ... coach — 12-month/24,000-mile basic limited warranty; 5-year/50,000-mile limited warranty on aluminum or steel frame structure of sidewalls, roof, front and rear caps; 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty on Roadmaster chassis
Base price (MSRP) ... $326,728
Price as tested (MSRP) ... $404,152