Lil Quail

Over the past few months, I’ve been in search of and finally purchased an RV. I took delivery of the Coachman Orion 20CB (aka: Lil Quail) on April 10th and have been learning the routines of RV life, setting up house and filling it with all my stuff.

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Now, instead of calling it the Lil Quail, I should refer to it as the Stuffed Quail. (My friend Susan provided the pictures above.)

While I thought that spending money on a new – rather than used – RV was a good idea, the jury is still out.  Like most folks, I thought that new meant problem-free.  When it comes to your home on wheels – new or used – there are no guarantees. Warranties, yes; guarantees, no.  In fact, don’t count on it – it will save you a lot of frustration.

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Before I dive into some of the “issues” I found, let me tell you what I like about the Lil Quail:

  • The Ford Transit van chassis is easy to maneuver.  It seems more stable than the van, and I feel like I can go just about anywhere I want to.
  • The cockpit of the Transit has great visibility forward and to the sides.  There isn’t a big overhang above the cab like most Class C RVs.
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  • The backup camera is a good guide when you are in reverse and acts as a rearview mirror while you are driving down the road.  The side cameras are activated when the turn signals are on.
  • The little V-6 engine seems to be peppy enough to haul the Stuffed Quail without a groan.  (I haven’t traveled many mountain passes yet, so I reserve the right to change my opinion.)  So far it gets about 12mpg.
  • The manufacturer put a Maxxair Fan in the sleeping loft above the cab.  With another one above the bed (in the back) making it easy to get good air circulation without using the air conditioner.
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  • The bed, with the upgraded Serta mattress, is very comfortable.  Since it is tucked into the corner of the coach, it is a little hard to make but is spacious and supportive.
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  • I should have mentioned the bathroom first, especially since I switched from the van to the Quail because I wasn’t “comfortable” with daily van life – especially boondocking.  The shower works great, and toilet even better.  Emptying the holding tanks was a breeze (thanks to the YouTube videos!).
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  • The closet space and drawers are perfect for my wardrobe.
  • It is easy to organize the rest of my stuff in bins located in the overhead cupboards.
  • There is extra storage under the sofa and lots of space in the area over the cab.
  • Having an exhaust fan over the stove helps keep the humidity lower when cooking.
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  • The refrigerator is huge and quiet!  It can run on either electric or propane and is positioned at the right height (for me) with a cupboard above.
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  • The counter extension in the kitchen is handy, I use it way more than I thought I would. The rest of the kitchen works well, although I have an idea to make it even better (see “issues” section below).
  • I took the pedestal table out and replaced it with a smaller, adjustable-height table which makes the “living room” feel more spacious and allows the j-lounge bench to act as a sofa.
  • I love all the windows.  They let a lot of natural light and air pass through the coach.
  • With a real heater, air conditioner, different lighting zones, generator, and a six-gallon hot water heater, I feel like a princess!  The van didn’t offer such luxuries, so I’m still getting used to these.
  • Quail 1 - floorplaln

I’ve only been in Lil Quail for a few weeks, but here are some of the “issues” that cropped up early on:

  • The craftsmanship on the lower-end (under $100K) RVs leaves a lot to be desired.  The factory uses light-weight materials which get dinged up and broken easily.  I don’t know if there is any way around it unless you pay an arm and a leg for a custom-made unit.
  • As part of the de-winterization process, I was instructed to turn a couple of valves at the rear of the hot water heater.  The vague instructions indicated that the panel under the stove (see below, left) was to be removed to access the valves.  As I was attempting to get the knobs going the right way, I imagined how handy it would be to remove the two drawers between the access panel and the hot water heater.  My brother came to my rescue and figured out how to remove the drawers (lifting the little black flange on the left of the drawer down, and the flange on the right down).  Confusing?  Yes, but once you get the hang of it, they come out easily.
  • When he got the drawers out (bless him!) not only did he notice that there were a lot of loose screws on the drawers (there are loose screws everywhere!), there was also a water leak near the water heater.  I got it fixed, but what would have happened if he didn’t see that leak?  I shudder at the thought! 
  • There were areas around the door frame and in the bathroom where I could see daylight (upper part of the pic below).  Since rodents are prone to seek warm, comfy places to nest, I figured it was a good idea to caulk these spots to deter the critters and keep the cold drafts out.
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  • While we are in the bathroom, there is one tiny little problem.  It doesn’t have a lot of storage.  Like most other RVers, I use the shower for storage.  The dresser and hamper fit perfectly and can be easily removed to take a shower.
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  • To better utilize the limited counter space, I would have put (and later may install) a different sink and cooktop.  With covers for both, the countertop would be more streamlined and efficient.
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  • So far, I can’t get the TV remote to talk to the TV.  It will occasionally, but not consistently.  I don’t watch TV, so this hasn’t been a problem – yet.
  • The vinyl flooring was spotted and crappy.  When I did my walkthrough, I thought the cleaning people had missed it, but after trying all types of cleansers, the spots would not go away.  Rugs have taken care of that for now, but at some point, new flooring might be the ticket.
  • I had an extra house battery installed at the dealership.  They threw it in the bay without much to keep it from shifting around, so my brother (Thanks so much!) found some pieces of lumber to help secure it.
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  • There isn’t much of a reference guide for this particular coach.  I’m learning a lot by viewing YouTube videos and consulting with Viktoria of Small RV Lifestyle.com.  She has a few blog posts about her Orion, check it out when you have time. (Tell her I said hi!)

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Sunset at Boyd Lake State Park near Loveland, CO.

Do I miss the simplicity of the Sprinter van – yes!  But after staying in the Lil Quail for the past few weeks through extreme winds, days of rain and the threat of hail, I am extremely happy with this RV and look forward to spending many years enjoying the comfort and reliability!

As with any RV, there are a lot of moving pieces and parts.  I presume that I will become even more familiar with the Lil Quail in the next few years, but for now, it is time for us to giddy-up to Yellowstone.

Yellowstone NP

Please come along for the ride as the summer adventure begins!

 

 

8 Comments on “Lil Quail

  1. Sherry, I’m so glad you have found a new vehicle to carry on with. I really enjoy reading about your adventures. I think of you lots and am so grateful for the little time we had together before you started with huge change of lifestyle. Keep on keeping on.
    Best of luck,
    Katie

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    • Hi Katie, It’s so good to hear from you! If you get a wild hair this summer (or fall) come up to see me. I can give you directions and even have a spot for you to sleep. It would be fun. Yellowstone Forever (my new boss) has some terrific classes, too. If you are interested, please let me know.

      Thanks for staying in touch and have a great summer!

      Hugs,
      Shari

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  2. So glad you had the time to spend in Greeley to get to know Lil Quail and all of her kinks – and a wonderful brother to help you! Sorry we weren’t able to connect again before you headed north but I’ll catch up with you somewhere along the way.
    Hugs, Jeanne’

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    • Hi Lil Camping Buddy! I look forward to seeing you this summer or fall. Tell everyone hi for me while you are Split Top next week!

      Hugs,
      Shari

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    • Hi Geri,

      Thanks for following me the past year or so. I look forward to a time when we can spend more time together. Maybe you and Arnold will become snowbirds? Or, I will see you during Thanksgiving in the future.

      Take care and tell Arnold hi for me!

      Hugs,
      Shari

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  3. So excited for you. FYI – to keep the mice out Mike and I stapled screen around some of the larger openings used to bring the wires, cables etc in from the bay area to the inside. We always made sure we had a variety of fuses on hand.
    I know your guardian angels will be with you.
    Janet

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    • Hi Janet, Thanks for the tips about the fuses and screening. I need to pick some up before I leave here. Thanks, too, for breakfast, the travel iron and emergency contact forms you gave me the other day. It was great to catch up with you!

      Have a great summer and tell Mike hi for me!

      Hugs,
      Shari

      Like

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