The Hershey RV Show - 2017
The Hershey RV Show advertises itself as America's largest RV show, and I can't disagree with that assessment.
Over 1,300 RV's from little camper pop-ups to monster Class A diesels, and everything in between huge. If you can't find it at the Hershey RV show, I don't think it's been made yet. :D
As with everything in our journey to find our future home on wheels, the objective was to scope out the Tiffin models for the current year. Now for a lot of my friends who aren't interested in RV-ing, this will be pretty boring with some down-in-the-weeds kind of observations, but for the folks who will be reading this on some RV sites I belong to, it's pretty valuable information. As I've written before, Barbara and I will be buying a Tiffin gas motor coach in 1 year, 11 months and 19 days from the date of this posting, so today's goal was to see what changes were noticeable from the 2017 Tiffin Open Road line to the new 2018's. Now understand, I don't know as much about the other Tiffin Open Road models as I do the 36LA (our future coach of choice), but there are some changes in the whole line of gassers - it's just that most of the changes were in the 36LA.
The biggest change for all Open Roads is in the placement of the house batteries. House batteries are the ones that power the electronics of the motorhome, from lights, to the refrigerator, to the AC and everything in between that doesn't concern the Ford chassis it sits on. It appears that the batteries have been moved on ALL Open Road models to the passenger side rear basement compartment. That will be concerning for some folks who like the 31 and 32 foot models, as that compartment can be a valuable repository for someone's junk, but overall not having to take your stairs apart to service your batteries is, I think, a good thing. The batteries are on a slide which is easily released, allowing you to fill, change or service them very, very easy. And the pass-through storage above is still there, and hasn't shrunk in size.
Tiffin looks to have changed their small pantry from an adjustable shelf system behind a small door to a small pull-out pantry right next to the fridge. I thought at first that when looking at some dealer pictures online that this was going to be pretty small, maybe only good for spices and condiments, but a regular size can of veggies will fit in the new pull-out pantry. Very nice!
Lastly on all Open Road models, Tiffin has extended their flooring under and through the driver and passenger areas, removing most of the carpeting. They've kept carpet under the gas and brake pedals to keep feet from slipping while driving, but everything else is their flexible tile floor.
On their 34PA model, they've added a new support wall on the entry door which looks nice, and moves the control panel to a more reachable level for normal sized people. It also helps to block the step opening from people who might not be paying too close attention!
Now to the 36LA - our favorite! And also the model which has undergone the most changes in 2018, especially in the bathroom. Now, you can still order the 36LA with the 2017 version of the bathroom, and Barbara and I were considering doing just that - until we saw the changes up front. Earlier models had the window next to the sink in the full bath, and under the counter was a washer / dryer combo single unit. It also featured a diagonal shower to the back of the bathroom, with a spacious linen closet next to the shower. Tifin has decided to make the bathrooms in the 36LA and their bunk model 36UA identical, probably to save money on manufacturing costs and because the new bathroom works so much better. Yes, you lose some natural lighting in the bathroom with the new design, but it is still bright in there without lights on.
So now, the shower is shifted to the front of the bathroom, and is no longer diagonal, but rectangular. The linen closet is a bit narrower, but not too much so, and goes to the back next to the shower. Instead of the combo washer / dryer, the window is replaced with a cabinet that holds a stackable washer and dryer. It shortens us the sink area a bit, and seems a bit cramped at first, but it is more than manageable. They've also added a small rectangular storage cabinet next to the original corner unit, which looks like a good place to store your laundry detergent and other cleaning supplies. In addition, in keeping with Tiffin's tradition of being able to store more than any other coach manufacturer out there, they added a very generous pull-out drawer beneath the washer / dryer combo!
One other change on the 36LA; they've moved the inverter from the front driver's side basement compartment to the rear driver's side basement compartment, probably to keep it closer to the batteries. I didn't check this on all the Open Roads, but I suspect it is the same. Also, we got a chance to see the new Ocean Pier floor tile in one of the 36UA models on display, and it is a winner! Not sure how the picture will translate from real life to the computer screen, but the coloring is solidly between brown and gray; not too much of either, and it looks positively gorgeous!
Finally, I got a chance to meet and speak with the Big Kahuna, the Top Dog, the Rock Star of RV's himself, Bob Tiffin! And he is everything and more that people say about him. What a nice man who is dedicated to making your purchase something you'll love. Spoke to him about the problem Tiffin Open Roads are having with the screws that attach the dashboard to the front cap snapping off from torque, and he pulled out a small stack of papers and a pencil and wrote down the problem, and said he'd be talking to the team when he got back from the show during their daily meeting at the plant. Who knows, maybe they'll start fastening them with nuts and bolts in the near future.
He also promised to sign our 36LA when we get it built in 2019. Outstanding!
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We're Dave and Barbara Richard, and we're living the ultimate retirement experience - traveling the U.S. and Canada in style in a Tiffin Open Road 36LA Class A motor home, playing golf and stopping at every weird and wacky roadside attraction we can find.