When RV shopping, it’s easy to get carried away looking at floorplans, bed arrangements, and appliances. But have you thought about the RV chassis?. As the frame for your RV, its design and construction will determine the type of engine your rig will have, and it will dictate the comfort of the ride and the durability of your recreational vehicle. Is it important to pick one chassis over another? A Spartan chassis or a Freightliner custom chassis can tell you a lot about your RV selection before you ever enter the vehicle.
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What Is a Motorhome Chassis?
The chassis of any motorhome serves as its skeleton or frame. Everything in an RV is attached to its structure – the engine, walls, windows, and flooring. And it serves as the basis for a safely constructed vehicle. Today’s chassis house specific motors. That’s why you’ll see certain diesel engines associated with a unique chassis. Gasoline engines will have different chassis. The chassis will support RV suspensions, and it’s even built with basement storage in mind on Class A rigs.
Because the chassis is the framework that supports everything in the RV, it must be strong, lightweight, and durable. Spartan and Freightliner are the two largest manufacturers of large class A chassis but they are not the only ones. Some coach manufacturers like Newell and Prevost build their own chassis. Coaches of the past as well like Monaco and Country Coach also built their own chassis that was custom for their floorplans.
What Motorhomes Are Built on a Freightliner Custom Chassis?
From American Coach to Winnebago, many use Freightliner custom chassis in a wide variety of motorhomes. You will find the American Coach Dream, Eagle and Tradition models all built on Freightliner. At Coachmen, all Sportscoach models use the Freightliner chassis. The Entegra Accolade’s three floorplans are on the Freightliner frame, and Fleetwood’s Discovery, Frontier, and Pace Arrow all use Freightliner.
Forest River has the Berkshire and Charleston models in the Freightliner lineup, as are Holiday Rambler’s Armada, Endeavor, Nautica, and Navigator models. The Jayco Seneca proudly uses Freightliner’s chassis. Similarly, Newmar’s whole lineup of Canyon Star, Dutch Star, Kountry Star, New Aire, and Ventana motorhomes are on them. The Renegade Valencia, Tiffin Allegro, and Phaeton models use Freightliner chassis. Thor’s entire selection of Class A rigs are on Freightliner chassis, and Winnebago’ Forza, Inspire, and Journey motorhomes also have them.
Pro Tip: We uncovered What You Need to Know About RV Frames to help make your chassis decision easier.
What Motorhomes Have a Spartan Chassis?
There’s great representation from Spartan chassis in the RV industry, with Entegra Cornerstone, Aspire, Anthem, and Reatta models using their structure. Newmar’s King Aire, Essex, London Aire, Mountain Aire, New Aire, Dutch Star, and Ventana models depend upon Spartan Chassis. Foretravel’s Realm and FS450 models do as well. Even Jayco’s Embark model is on the Spartan Chassis.
What Is the Difference Between a Freightliner Chassis and a Spartan Chassis?
Spartan chassis feel like luxury cars, with an independent front suspension that makes the ride extremely comfortable. In fact, Spartan was an innovator in the RV industry by using tag axles to make Class A driving smoother and offer better support on larger vehicles.
Freightliner custom chassis are much more prevalent in the industry, so parts and repair shops are easier to find across the country. Today, they offer four different configurations on their chassis. That includes the XC chassis that’s been around for 20 years, the SL with a tag axle made for large luxury motorhomes, and the MC front-engine diesel chassis. They have also created a front cab diesel chassis, the S2RV, for Super C vehicles. They are for drivers who want the power of a diesel engine without the traditional cockpit of a Class A RV.
Pro Tip: Join the debate on Diesel Pusher vs. Gas Motorhomes to determine which type of RV is better.
Is the Freightliner Chassis or Spartan Chassis Better?
Both Freightliner and Spartan chassis utilize diesel engines. And both chassis builders have great reputations for building strong and dependable frames for motorhomes. Although Spartan is a smaller company, no other manufacturer surpasses its record for producing excellent luxury RV chassis. But its size does make it more difficult to find parts or schedule maintenance and repairs.
Freightliner custom chassis also have a solid record in the RV industry. Because their company has Freightliner franchises around the country, parts are usually in plentiful supply. The company makes repairs in almost any big city around the United States.
Which RV Chassis Should You Choose?
When shopping for a Class A motorhome the top three things we recommend you consider are layout, layout then the layout.
Ok, that may have been a joke, but seriously the layout of your RV defines how you use it. In our opinion, it’s the most important factor in picking an RV. The chassis is the framework that will support the recreational vehicle and everything inside it but both spartan and Freightliner build a solid chassis.
If we were to choose the most important chassis feature to consider it would be the weight capacity. This will determine how much stuff you can carry or tow. Never overload a chassis and make sure the manufacturer hasn’t pushed its weight limits as well. Pick a chassis that meets your weight requirements for cargo and towing.
Ultimately the decision on a Freightliner custom chassis or a Spartan chassis will have to be yours, but we personally think they are both good options and would consider other factors before the chassis.
What type of RV chassis do you prefer? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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