Editor’s Note: The following article, authored by Mark Quasius for the March issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine published by the Cincinnati-based Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), offers a review of Forest River Inc.’s new Charleston diesel pusher. To read the entire article click here.
The Charleston is Forest River’s flagship diesel pusher. Redesigned for 2014, this model currently is offered in two floorplans. A third layout, a bath-and-a-half floor plan, is expected to join the lineup soon. All are 43-foot coaches built on tag-axle chassis.
Recently, I was given an opportunity to review a 2014 Charleston 430BH. Like the others in this model line, the 430BH incorporates four slideouts, though it is the only floorplan available with bunk beds. The motorhome’s attractive exterior and well-appointed interior exuded a high-end yet warm atmosphere that made me feel right at home.
The Charleston is built on a Freightliner XC-R raised-rail tag-axle chassis with a 266-inch wheelbase, a rear radiator, and full air-ride suspension. An I-beam front axle with a 55-degree wheel cut is equipped with front air disc brakes, while the drive and tag axles are outfitted with air drum brakes.
A 100-gallon fuel tank with dual fills and a 13-gallon DEF tank provide plenty of fuel to the 450-horsepower Cummins ISL engine, which is mated to an Allison 3000 MH Series six-speed transmission. Dual-acting hydraulic leveling jacks from Equalizer Systems provide power-up and power-down operation for leveling the coach when parked.
The Charleston features vacuum-bonded laminate sidewalls with aluminum structural tubing and structural block foam insulation; the one-piece seamless fiberglass roof is similarly constructed. The floor consists of structural wood flooring over a 2 1/2-inch steel subfloor that is welded over the raised chassis rails. Structural foam is utilized in the floor and basement bays to provide adequate insulation.
The fuel fillers are mounted up higher than usual, which should greatly aid in eliminating the fuel spillage common to many diesel pushers while trying to squeeze those last 10 to 20 gallons in without the backsplash “burp” that often happens with lower fuel fill hoses.
The Charleston is available in five color schemes. My test unit bore the attractive Midnight Flame package. Each coach exterior is coated with four colors of Sikkens full-body automotive paint, then four coats of polyurethane clear coat for optimal gloss and protection.
The automotive-style, one-piece panoramic windshield is bonded in, rather than secured with rubber grommets. Basement compartment doors are side-hinged for ease of access, and one of the large pass-through bays contains a full-width, dual-acting cargo slide tray. Power patio and door awnings are standard and provide a great area for entertaining beside the 32-inch exterior LCD TV and entertainment center.
A keypad is mounted in an exterior grab handle. Flush-mounted frameless windows offer a clean, attractive appearance and plenty of airflow via the large panes. Overhead chrome bus-style mirrors with integral side-view cameras, polished aluminum wheel rims, and LED lighting help to complete the motorhome’s attractive exterior.
To read the entire article click here.