Targeted to RVers looking for an entry-level diesel pusher motorhome, this new offering boasts a raised-rail chassis designed in partnership with Spartan Motors.
By Mark Quasius, F333630
The 2019 Embark enters the marketplace as a new Type A diesel pusher motorhome bearing the Jayco brand name. The new entry benefitted from the engineering and production technology that trickled down from the company’s luxury-diesel Entegra Coach division.
Several floor plans are available in the Embark lineup. The initial floor plan, which I tested, was the 37MB, which is a 37-foot-10-inch motorhome with a midbath design. It is joined by two 39-foot-11-inch models, the 39T2 and the 39BH. Both of the longer models incorporate a bath and a half, but the 39T2 offers two sofas in the living area, whereas the 39BH has a set of bunk beds tucked into the center of the coach.
Jayco has targeted the growing entry-level diesel pusher market with the Embark and partnered with Spartan Motors to design a chassis specifically for this model. According to Spartan Motors officials, the K1 raised-rail chassis designed for the Embark underwent the most extensive testing ever for a Spartan RV chassis. Tests of the extended cooling system, brakes, ride and handling, and durability resulted in an excellent chassis.
The K1 360 chassis features a 360-horsepower Cummins B6.7 engine with 800 pound-feet of torque. An Allison 3000 MH transmission increases the towing capacity and gives the Embark an edge over many other entry-level diesel pushers. The Watson & Chalin independent front suspension reportedly affords a tighter turning radius and greater roll resistance than similar motorhomes. The 46-millimeter Bilstein shocks also were custom designed for the Embark, resulting in a smooth ride with excellent handling characteristics.
The K1 is a rear-radiator chassis with a 32,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating and a 42,000-pound gross combination weight rating, providing a 10,000-pound towing capacity. Both the 12,000-pound-rated front axle and the 20,000-pound-rated rear axle are fitted with pneumatic ABS drum brakes.
When we tested the coach with full fuel, full water, and a driver on board, it crossed the scales at 27,440 pounds, with 10,520 pounds on the front axle and 16,920 pounds on the rear. This gives an approximate cargo carrying capacity of 4,560 pounds.
Michelin X series Energy Z 275/80R 22.5-inch tires are fitted on polished aluminum wheels. The Embark has a 100-gallon dual-fill fuel tank and a 10-gallon driver-side DEF tank that makes it easy to refill with pump DEF while at the fuel island.
Additional X-bridge bracing between the frame and basement subframe stiffens up the chassis and improves handling. Bead-foam insulation with a rating of R-8 fills the vacuum-bonded, high-gloss gel-coated sidewalls. The floor includes vacuum-bonded layers of Darco underbelly material, as well as a welded aluminum frame, R-9 bead-foam insulation, and 5/8-inch Structurewood.
The one-piece seamless fiberglass roof rests atop 3/8-inch plywood and 4-inch arched aluminum roof trusses. Reflective FlexFoil combines with R-24 fiberglass insulation in the roof and also is found in the front and rear caps (R-22). The front cap and the windshield frame have a steel reinforcing hoop.
Equalizer-brand dual-acting (power up as well as down) hydraulic leveling jacks come standard.
The Embark is available in a choice of three full-body paint schemes. The attractive Desert Dusk design emblazoned the test coach; Night Flight and Summer Solstice are two additional offerings. Halogen high-beam and low-beam headlights are standard, as are halogen fog lights. LED lights are used for the markers, turn signals, and docking and accent lights.
The power patio and power entry-door awnings feature LED lighting. The heated chrome mirrors incorporate side-view cameras. Power entry steps and a keyless entry system provide access to the coach.
The 8-kilowatt Onan Quiet Diesel generator is mounted on a slide-out tray in the front cap.
A 3M protective film mask helps to guard the front of the coach from stone chips. Frameless windows feature dual-pane tinted safety glass, and the slideouts rest flush with the side of the coach when retracted.
A 39-inch LED TV is located in a weatherproof compartment on the patio side of the RV.
The test unit featured Mineral interior decor, one of two choices, with high-gloss maple cabinetry. Leatherette-covered furniture and a polished tile floor come standard. LED lighting is used throughout the coach.
Manual roller shades with nighttime privacy and daytime solar shades grace the windows in the living area. The cockpit has powered front sun visors and privacy shades.
The Embark features a tilt and telescoping Smart Wheel steering wheel, with integrated cruise and wiper controls. The dashboard offers the usual array of instruments and controls, and everything is visible from the driver’s seat. Dual USB ports allow convenient connection spots for consumer electronics. Other cockpit amenities include six-way power captain’s chairs and an in-dash entertainment center with GPS navigation and Bluetooth capabilities.
In the test unit, the standard sofa bed was replaced with optional theater seating, which includes a power recline feature. A 50-inch LED TV is located in a cabinet above the optional electric fireplace and mounted on a pullout arm that swivels to provide optimum viewing. A sound bar and Blu-ray player supply entertainment options in addition to the TV viewing choices afforded by the Winegard Rayzar Z1 TV antenna, and a Trav’ler automatic satellite dish can be added if desired.
The comfortable booth dinette is equipped with a solid-surface table that lowers to create additional sleeping space. The optional Winegard Wi-Fi extender antenna with 4G/LTE boosts Wi-Fi signals and creates a local hot spot for all of your wireless devices.
A convenient wall-mounted touch pad controls various coach systems, such as lighting, the fresh-water system and waste-water holding tanks, HVAC temperature controls, the generator, and more.
The spacious galley area is finished with a solid-surface countertop. Storage is available in a base cabinet unit, as well as in overhead cabinets. The overhead cabinets include space for the 30-inch convection-microwave oven. A dual-basin stainless-steel sink is recessed into the countertop and coordinates with the brushed-nickel faucet, which has a removable sprayer. An electric induction cooktop is mounted just to the left of the sink. Attractive glass tile lines the wall behind the sink and cooktop.
The large stainless-steel side-by-side residential refrigerator is located just aft of the galley, next to a large pantry. A power vent fan with rain sensor provides ventilation for the coach interior.
The bath has a sliding door that eliminates clearance issues caused by hinged doors when the slides are retracted for travel. The vanity has a flush-mounted sink basin and a solid-surface top. A mirrored medicine cabinet hangs above the sink and is flanked by storage cabinets. The fiberglass shower stall is equipped with a glass door and topped by a skylight. A Thetford Aqua-Magic toilet, with foot flush, occupies the opposite end of the bath. A second power vent fan is located in the bath.
The polished tile floors continue into the bedroom. A walk-around king-size bed with a comfortable, thick foam mattress nestles in a slideout, with a window on either side for cross ventilation. A 32-inch LED TV, Blu-ray player, and a sound bar are located in the slideout opposite the foot of the bed. That slideout also includes plentiful storage space and a vanity area.
The rear of the bedroom contains a large wardrobe with an adjacent laundry center that provides room for an optional stackable washer and dryer.
Basement and Utilities
The Embark has numerous basement storage compartments. In the test coach, one large pass-through bay was equipped with an optional slide-out tray to make it easy to load and unload gear. An optional Dirt Devil central vacuum system also is located in this area. Several compartments provide access to coach utilities such as the electric power cord, the hydraulic leveling jack system, the propane tank, and the driver-side DEF tank. The wet bay held the usual controls for the coach plumbing systems, including water tank filling, black tank flushing, winterizing, and holding tank dump valves. A whole-house water filter and a paper towel dispenser also are located in this compartment, as is the macerator holding tank dump system. The 100-gallon fresh-water tank is joined by a 62-gallon gray-water tank and a 41-gallon black-water holding tank.
Two large L16 series AGM house batteries help to meet electrical needs. A 2,000-watt true sine wave inverter provides 120-volt AC power for the residential refrigerator, the convection-microwave oven, and numerous receptacles throughout the motorhome. The 50-amp shore power cord connects to an automatic transfer switch that also serves the 8-kilowatt Onan Quiet Diesel generator.
The 35,000-Btu propane furnace and the 10-gallon propane/electric DSI water heater are fed by a 16.5-gallon (70-pound) propane tank mounted in a forward driver-side basement compartment. A pair of 15,000-Btu ducted roof air conditioners with heat pumps provide cooling or additional heat as needed.
The features and amenities found in the Embark place it a cut above many entry-level diesel pusher coaches. The attractive full-body paint and fiberglass, reminiscent of previous Entegra Coach designs, makes for a sharp-looking vehicle. The interior décor and features also are impressive. The seating was comfortable, and the galley had plenty of storage and all of the amenities needed for prepping on-the-road meals.
Driving the Embark was a pleasant experience. The acceleration of the 360-horsepower Cummins engine was brisk and fitting for a coach of this size. The motorhome was quiet during travel, with no rattles or wind whistles. The work that Spartan did in conjunction with Jayco to custom-tune the chassis apparently paid off, as the coach exhibited excellent handling. The Watson & Chalin independent front suspension delivered on its promise to improve roll stability and was smooth as silk on bumpy pavement. The tight turning radius, combined with a 37-foot-plus overall length, helped to perform sharp turns with ease. This is one of those coaches that you really need to drive to appreciate.
Combine all this with Jayco’s two-year/24,000-mile warranty, and it appears the company has hit a home run with the Embark.
Specs ⋅⋅2019 Jayco Embark 37MB
Jayco Inc., 903 S. Main St., Middlebury, IN 46540; (574) 825-5861; www.jayco.com
Spartan K1 360 raised rail, rear radiator
Cummins B6.7, 360-horsepower @ 2,600 rpm, 800 pound-feet torque @ 1,800 rpm
Allison 3000 MH six-speed automatic
4.88 to 1
Michelin X Line Energy Z 275/80R 22.5 LRH
Four-wheel ABS pneumatic drum brakes
front — Watson & Chalin independent front suspension;
rear — Hendrickson
Bilstein, custom, 46-millimeter
Smart Wheel, tilt and telescoping
chassis (2) — 12-volt;
coach (2) L16 AGM
Onan Quiet Diesel, 8,000 kw
37 feet 10 inches
12 feet 10 inches
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 12,000 pounds;
rear — 20,000 pounds
(weighed with full fuel, full water, driver)
front axle — 10,520 pounds;
rear drive axle — 16,920 pounds;
total — 27,440 pounds
OCCUPANT & CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (OCCC)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 62 gallons;
black water — 41 gallons
100 gallons; 10 gallons DEF
16.5 gallons/70 pounds
10 gallons, DSI
(2) 15,000-Btu; with heat pumps
Whirlpool residential; water and ice dispenser in door
coach —24 months/24,000 miles, limited; chassis — 3 years/50,000 miles
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS TESTED