A Significant Change
During this investigative process, we learned that the Ford F53 chassis would be undergoing significant upgrades for the 2021 model year, after being relatively unchanged for twenty-five (25) years. Ford added the much-needed suspension and handling improvements, while dropping the V10 engine. The new, larger 7.3 L (445 cubic inch) V8 used pushrods driven by a camshaft in the block to operate the valves. It shared this engine design with the older 7.6L (460 cu. in.) V8 engine (that the 6.8L (413 cu. in.) V10 replaced), as well as the current 6.7 L (406 cu.in.) ‘Power Stroke’ diesel engine. This design lowered the profile and height of the engine, allowing RV makers to lower the RV ‘doghouse’, giving more room in the driver and passenger area. The V10 had been a modular design that allowed V6, V8 or V10 engines to be built on the same manufacturing line, since they shared a common design and componentry. These engines were optimized for fuel efficiency when the engine was not working hard (such as driving an unloaded pickup truck around town). It was not fuel efficient when working (i.e. pulling a trailer or a motorhome), since it needed to raise the RPMs to get into its power band (thereby raising the noise level). Driving to get more power, increased fuel consumption. According to Ford, the new V8 is designed to deliver more power, lower in the rev range, which gives much better fuel economy while working. Because it shares a similar design to the latest Ford diesel engines, younger mechanics that are familiar with modern Ford diesel motors will be familiar with the new V8 engine’s design. This should make it easier to get service completed at most North American Ford dealerships.
After looking at a lot of alternatives, we selected a Fleetwood Bounder 33C on the upgraded 2021 Ford V8 chassis. The Bounder had moved upscale from a tier 2 (low) to a tier 4 (high end) level over the last few years, as part of the REV Group’s changes to the Fleetwood Class A gas-powered line up. This coach is similar in length to our first Bounder, a 1994 Class A, model 34J. We had enjoyed travelling in Bounders from September, 1993 until September, 2010, when we traded in our Bounder 39Z diesel model for a 2009 American Coach Allegiance 40X. Twenty-six years will separate our first Bounder from our third one, which is destined to arrive in September, 2020.
So, what did we learn over the thirty-one years of motorhome ownership that we can share with those walking a similar path?
1) Recognize and acknowledge that we change as we age: What seemed perfect earlier in life may, need to be adjusted, to reflect those life changes.
2) Technology has improved RVs. Many features that are now standard equipment, or available as options, make a RV better for all users. These range from ride, handling and safety improvements, to a multitude of convenience features in many different areas, greatly expanding the utility and usability of the RV.
3) Carefully look at a decision to ‘down-size’ and adjust to a perspective of ‘right-size’. That puts less pressure on making the decision and likely will allow everyone to come to a common ground on what is the best way to proceed. A smaller RV may seem like the way to go on first glance, however that choice may not be the best selection, even if your heart suggests it is, when all factors are considered. Look at what you do with your RV, as well as what you still want to do with it. Listen to all decision makers and users to make sure everyone is heard. Acknowledge that not every priority can be at the top of a list.
4) Try to choose a RV that does not drastically limit other lower priority, yet important, goals or plans.
5) Keep this thought in mind: The way we have always done it, may need to change. Making that adjustment may be the healthy way to a long-term decision providing happy travelling for the years of RVing left.
6) Look as much to the future as to the past to make a long-term decision that everyone will be happier with.
As I write this article, we are awaiting our new coach. Some of our near-term plans will need to change, in reaction to the Covid-19 Pandemic and its affect on travel both across National and State Borders. It is possible that this winter may be the first in decades that we do not travel throughout the south in our RV. This time will be well spent, as we will plan our RVing in our new Bounder, having made the transition by ‘Rightsizing’. We hope that you also see the benefit to making a similar transition proactively, rather than reacting to the need for change.