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450 LXI
11-18-2013, 23:45
Post: #1
450 LXI
Erika & I have been thinking of a new coach the past few months . Erika thinks its time to buy a Prevost with 3 slides Smile Now , I say it is true we could afford the Prevost but why would we spend upward of 200 k on one when we could own a 3 slide Blue Bird for half the price ?
So I go on to say that there is this perception that the Prevost is a better coach , with less issues than the Blue Bird . I continue that it is only due to BB no longer being in business and a few minor issues that have driven down the value of the BB .
So my question is if one could own a 450 LXI would you buy one ?
all coaches have issues , but are the issues of a 450 LXI , not worth the trouble ??

al perna
2000 LXI
ormond beach fla
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11-19-2013, 11:21
Post: #2
RE: 450 LXI
There are a few issues that weigh on my mind, and as you know Al, my coach is for sale and I'm undergoing the same thought process as you and Erika; that is, Prevost, Newell, or M450. These issues have all been mentioned before so we're not breaking new ground here. In my opinion there are three high order bits worth considering: Support, Parts, and Safety.

Support really shouldn't be any different from any of the other birds yet in my mind there is a distinction. The M450 owners support group is more of a black box. The public, meaning non-owners, have limited visibility into the issues and the fixes, and we all know as with any motorhome there are issues and fixes. Consequently, new owners have no choice but to put Allan Barbee and Johnny Anderson on the payroll, and I do mean the payroll. These guys have set up shop and as far as I know they charge annual subscription support fees. Luckily for new owners Allan and Johnny are here and available and willing to help. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

As an example of parts availability, the suspension system is a concern for me. There seems to be no support from Arvin Meritor. When an owner needs a bushing, or a ball joint, or an upright, or a control arm, they have nowhere to go except custom fabrication at exorbitant prices. Maybe things have changed with AM, again please correct me if I'm wrong, but if they have we the buying public haven't heard about it.

Lastly, there is an elephant in the room regarding safety and we may as well introduce her. Perception is reality and this is far from a scientific study, but the whispering undercurrent is that the accident rate per unit vehicle is higher than what we see in the general Wanderlodge population. Some of this may be do to operator error: excessive speeds, lack of maintenance, excessive loading, etc; and some of it may be do to uncontrollable environmental conditions: debris on the roadway, roadway hazards, etc; but there may be more going on and the NHTSA's recalls citing axle overload and the owners upgrading to 365 tires tends to suggest something more.

Speaking of the recall work, well I think Ross covered that pretty well and we now know the extent of the modifications to the bus.

I may be off-base with my statements, but if I am I'm not alone and I'm going to shoulder that burden right on the lack of M450 public discourse. It could very well be that the owners know better and I'm simple ignorant, If that's the case then please come forward and enlighten me; because of the above I've decided to only consider a Prevost or Newell or simply modify my LXi for my family's needs.

(Disclosure: Wanderlodge Gurus has no financial stake in the sale of buses or the sale of parts).

david brady,
'02 Wanderlodge LXi 'Smokey' (Sold),
'04 Prevost H3 Vantare 'SpongeBob'

"there is no perfect forum there are only perfect forums"
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11-19-2013, 14:06
Post: #3
RE: 450 LXI
Owners like you Rich are turning the tide. You and the other second and third owners do post about M450's issues and fixes. I'm of the opinion that this can only help, but there's room to grow. I gather from your post that Arvin Meritor has stepped up and they are providing parts and support for the suspension components?

In terms of ride, handling, and feature set, clearly the M450 is superior - that's never been a question. After all this is why folks are considering an 'upgrade'. We expect greatness from the M450. The chassis, suspension, and house integrity should be right up there with Al's other choices and should easily eclipse the other birds. In many ways Wanderlodge succeeded, but I personally need more convincing about support, parts, and safety.

An example is the market for vintage birds. These 35+ year old birds are still humming along running panhard dogbone ends that are the same as my LXi's! Blue Bird has been criticized for not progressing fast enough and falling behind the competition, but lucky for us their stodginess in selecting Ridewell year after year has allowed our old buses to stay on the road. What does the future bode w/o Arvin Meritor's support?

david brady,
'02 Wanderlodge LXi 'Smokey' (Sold),
'04 Prevost H3 Vantare 'SpongeBob'

"there is no perfect forum there are only perfect forums"
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11-19-2013, 16:11
Post: #4
RE: 450 LXI
Richard ,

it was great to spend a hour or so talking about your 450LXI. It sounds like you gave her the care over the years she needed . I am sorry to hear you are no longer RV ing , but thankful that a well cared for high quality coach is available . You shared that your coach was one that the genny was relocated to a side bay and your front area was closed off . You also said your steer weight was in the 15,400 range depending on drivers weight or so.
Could you share what issues in the 30k plus miles you had and how they were addressed ? would be nice to have some back ground on this BB Masterpiece Smile

al perna
2000 LXI
ormond beach fla
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11-20-2013, 21:31
Post: #5
RE: 450 LXI
Rich ,

I guess I just love sharing good news about a 450 being available . you know I could have kept this all to myself, but that isn't what our BB Family is all about Smile

I have a 2000 LXI for sale also , I would need to sell if I am to be the new owner of Rich s 2006 450LXI . so If any one wants a well kept LXI send me a note as I just may be coming by your area . Smile

Like Rich said there is a learning curve , but I think that goes with any coach we own .

al perna
2000 LXI
ormond beach fla
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11-21-2013, 13:21
Post: #6
RE: 450 LXI
(11-19-2013 13:41)Bird Owner Wrote:  David,

I can't speak for Newell or Prevost but can say, without a doubt, that of the three types of Wanderlodges I've owned (1990 PT40, 1999 LXi43, and M450) the M450, hands down is the best of the bunch. I have not needed Johnney or Allen's service but have relied on technicians from Coachcraft (many x-Blue Bird employees) and Parliament/Coachworx for competent service. I am sure there are others as well. 95% of the "package" is not Blue Bird specific. Cat or Detroit, Allison, Meritor, Bendix, Girard, etc, etc, etc. All parts ARE available, you need to know where to look. The M450 is, every bit a bus, (read the 500,000 mile report) and my local bus mechanics love to work on it. I'll stick with Blue Bird until I no longer own a coach.

Rich,

Again, doesn't it depend on the lens you're looking thru and the use-case of the owner? We've been over it before but I guess it bears repeating. Some owners want a coach to drive to Costa Rica, so limited electronics, weight and light offroad use may be foremost on their minds. Other's may want a coach that's County, State, and Federal Campground compatible where length issues are a large consideration. Other's may not be very hands-on so they want a coach that has a manufacturer standing behind the slide-out systems and behind the other coach systems, suspension for instance. I could go on. The point is each can only be rated as good, better, or best in terms of how it meets the needs of the owner's use-case. Not to speak for you but I think what you're saying is that for your needs the M450 was best. Remember, at some point assuming we're still in the game we are all either buyers or sellers.

david brady,
'02 Wanderlodge LXi 'Smokey' (Sold),
'04 Prevost H3 Vantare 'SpongeBob'

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11-21-2013, 21:39
Post: #7
RE: 450 LXI
(11-21-2013 13:21)davidbrady Wrote:  
(11-19-2013 13:41)Bird Owner Wrote:  David,

I can't speak for Newell or Prevost but can say, without a doubt, that of the three types of Wanderlodges I've owned (1990 PT40, 1999 LXi43, and M450) the M450, hands down is the best of the bunch. I have not needed Johnney or Allen's service but have relied on technicians from Coachcraft (many x-Blue Bird employees) and Parliament/Coachworx for competent service. I am sure there are others as well. 95% of the "package" is not Blue Bird specific. Cat or Detroit, Allison, Meritor, Bendix, Girard, etc, etc, etc. All parts ARE available, you need to know where to look. The M450 is, every bit a bus, (read the 500,000 mile report) and my local bus mechanics love to work on it. I'll stick with Blue Bird until I no longer own a coach.

Rich,

Again, doesn't it depend on the lens you're looking thru and the use-case of the owner? We've been over it before but I guess it bears repeating. Some owners want a coach to drive to Costa Rica, so limited electronics, weight and light offroad use may be foremost on their minds. Other's may want a coach that's County, State, and Federal Campground compatible where length issues are a large consideration. Other's may not be very hands-on so they want a coach that has a manufacturer standing behind the slide-out systems and behind the other coach systems, suspension for instance. I could go on. The point is each can only be rated as good, better, or best in terms of how it meets the needs of the owner's use-case. Not to speak for you but I think what you're saying is that for your needs the M450 was best. Remember, at some point assuming we're still in the game we are all either buyers or sellers.

Actually, this started as a "what's better" luxury coach discussion, not all comers; Prevost, Newhall, and M450. Like others, I have considered all 3. In comparison walks through at shows, the M450 was the best layout and decor style we found. Style is in the eye of the beholder. I actually prefer slightly the Prevost H3-45 body style over the M450 and all Prevost and Bird body styles are better than the Newall.

In the short time I have owned my 450, I have found it to be heads above the Blue Birds of before. I can still get it repaired when I need it. I am still learning so I have Johnney Anderson on retainer. If I had a recent vintage Prevost or Newhall, I would have an equivalent Johnney on retainer if they exist. My repairs are made with a Platinum card unfortunately. Given a choice of one, I would drive any of the three but I started with Blue Bird and will stick with one as long as I can. When I can't, Prevost might be my next choice.

Tommy "2 Shoes" McCarthy
2006 M450XLI Big Grin
Gardnerville, NV
Near South Lake Tahoe
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11-21-2013, 21:57
Post: #8
RE: 450 LXI
Thanks for getting us back on track Tommy. You're right, Al is specifically asking for a comparison of one manufacturer to another: Wanderlodge M450 to a similar Prevost. He's not asking for a comparison of PT's to LXi's to M450's. I guess that's where I got tripped up. My apologies.

david brady,
'02 Wanderlodge LXi 'Smokey' (Sold),
'04 Prevost H3 Vantare 'SpongeBob'

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