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We were recently invited to take a tour of Coachmen’s Class B production facility in Middlebury, Indiana. We’ve done Class B factory tours on a few occasions now. In a lot of ways, the process of putting together a Class B motorhome is the same from manufacturer to manufacturer, but we saw a number of things at Coachmen that warranted a second look. Have a look at the video and see what we mean!
Three main things that really stood out to us:
Even without our guides, it would have been obvious from the tour that Coachmen has spent a lot of time thinking about how to better insulate their two Class B models, the Galleria and the Crossfit. They were using multiple products, layering them, and even trying some things we’ve never seen before.
- Rockwool Insulation: We’ve been seeing people add this product to their own RVs, and Coachmen has apparently been listening. This material (which you can buy at home centers) is fire resistant, water resistant, and has great sound absorbing and insulating qualities.
- Radiant Barriers: In a number of places, Coachmen has incorporated radiant (reflective) films into their insulation scheme. There’s a foam/radiant sandwich in the roof, radiant layers in the flooring, and even the hush mat has a foil film on it.
- Phase Change Insulation: This is one we’d never seen before. Coachmen is incorporating this material – which you can think of as a heat storage and management layer – into the walls and ceiling of their motorhomes.
- Attention to Detail: In a number of places, we saw insulation tucked into openings small enough that most wouldn’t pay attention to them. We also saw insulation added above the factory headliner, which is actually a pretty big deal.
Almost everyone would like to improve the way their RV drives and handles. Coachmen is taking steps to address this directly from the factory by incorporating product from SuperSprings International. The products they use depend on which chassis they are building on. On the Galleria – which is built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis – they include enhanced bump stops, both front and rear. On the Crossfit – built on the Ford Transit van – they install a helper leaf spring in the back and a coil spring helper in the front. While we didn’t personally test out these products in a before and after way, we have used both Sumo Springs and helper leaf springs in the past, and found both of them to help with handling and load capacity. It’s nice to see them added on from the factory (because that would be one less thing on my “mods-to-do” list).
12 Volt Air Conditioning
This was pretty interesting. Coachmen is now installing 12-volt air conditioning units in their Class B motorhomes. The unit they are using is by ProAir, and it’s a roof mount unit, not an undermount. It’s got a claimed 20,000 BTU rating, which is considerably bigger than your typical RV air conditioner. Those of you who were at the Tampa RV show recently got the chance to hear one of these running in the Coachmen display, and it was pretty quiet.
But the big deal about the 12 volt air conditioning is that it will allow you to run the AC without needing a generator or inverter. For those of you who choose coaches without lithium battery systems, you would even be able to run this air conditioner while driving – again, without a generator. The thickness of wiring to the unit was not too bad (I asked), at only 2ga. In an informal test, I saw the unit pulling amps in the 50-60 range, which isn’t too bad at 12 volts (but granted, this wasn’t in summer). I suppose we’ll have to wait to see what people say about the performance, but I like that they’re trying new things like this at Coachmen.
So those were the big ones, but you’ll hear and see other tidbits as we go through the factory tour in the video. Have a look, and let us know what you think in the comments below!