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Chinook vs. coachmen starflyte

January 5th, 2018, 7:29 am

Realizing that this is a chinook forum...has anyone done a comparison between the chinook and a coachmen (dynamax) starflyte in terms of build quality and features? On the surface they seem to be very similar RV's. Mark in San Diego.

Re: Chinook vs. coachmen starflyte

January 5th, 2018, 9:23 am

I did a "slight" comparison in a couple of ways.

First off, when I was RV shopping the first time around (bought a campervan that time), I looked at a 1997 Chinook Premier in person, and a comparable (late 90's) Starflyte in detailed photos. I decided against the Starflyte (which looked VERY clean and well taken care of, so that wasn't the issue) without looking at it in person for a couple of reasons, but here were two things I didn't like in comparison:

1) It's not a full molded fiberglass body. From what I can tell, it's molded fiberglass "panels," that are joined together with seams (some on the roof even, I think). There look to be quite a few seams. No idea what is under it for structure or how that's done. This, for me, is the major/huge difference.

2) The bathroom (wet bath) just had paneled walls, again with seams/caulk/water entry points at all the corners and joining points. Minor compared to #1, but kind of the same theme in miniature.

Another factor was that I didn't really mesh with the layouts. Either the kitchen was really small, or there was an odd "extra" area in back, or etc. (varying layouts). That might not be a factor for you.

A few years later a friend bought a (different) Starflyte and ended up having quite a bit of hidden water damage in the overhead, possibly from leaking seams (but it could have been just roof vents or etc. too). He wasn't a savvy RV buyer, so it's likely this could have been detected before purchase, but still..... there are seams up there (in addition to the normal openings for AC/vents that even Chinooks have).

I do like the side door, but that was the only thing of substance I preferred. And they look fine from the outside, albeit slightly different than the Chinook.

(Same basic chassis as the 21-er Chinooks, so no news there.)

Re: Chinook vs. coachmen starflyte

January 5th, 2018, 10:29 am

The process I went through when trying to decide what RV to buy, had similar considerations as you may be encountering. I wanted an RV that was small enough to go dispersed camping in remote places, as well as retain it's value over time.

So, wanting to be in the 15K to 25K range, it boiled down to 1990's Class B units which were fiberglass that had held up really well. Of course, the one piece fiberglass no seam Chinooks quickly rose to the top. The only other candidates that came close, were the Coachmen Star Flyte and the Gulfstream BT Cruiser. Both of these units have vertical seams on the front and back caps, as well as horizontal seams all around the roof. Had the price been right and the maintenance done on these seams, I would have considered either of these. The drawbacks are the wet baths in both are too small and well, not waterproof. The bath in the BT Cruiser was better. Small kitchens with zero counter space too.

Ultimately I decided on the Chinook because it met almost all of the criteria. The only thing I don't like is having to break the sleeping sofa down each morning and resetting it up each night. I think I might have a long term solution for that too.

Re: Chinook vs. coachmen starflyte

January 5th, 2018, 12:04 pm

I have seen several of the 1998-2001 starflytes advertised as "one piece fiberglass body" Does anyone know for sure if that is true or false?

Re: Chinook vs. coachmen starflyte

January 5th, 2018, 10:33 pm

I think you can tell quickly if it is one piece or not by the pics. There is an obvious seam in the front and back, and one across the top. Maybe they mean one-piece is the panel above the cab? Or it is one-piece after the panels are glued together???? I only looked at a few, and all of them are not one-piece.

Re: Chinook vs. coachmen starflyte

January 5th, 2018, 11:23 pm

I would say "false." It's not a one-piece molded shell as the Chinook is, but rather some sort of fiberglass panels with seams (which are visible).
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