A novel floor plan with a galley island and an adjustable dining table, plus loads of premium features, make this motorhome worth investigating for RVers interested in a diesel pusher.
By Mark Quasius, F333630
Floor plan innovations debut on a regular basis in the RV world. Many times, the changes are small, but occasionally a standout comes along. The latter is the case with the 2022 American Dream 39RK. I recently explored this motorhome at the American Coach production plant in Decatur, Indiana. I witnessed how these coaches are built, and I had the opportunity to drive one. I came away impressed on all counts.
The 39RK is one of four floor plans in the American Dream line. It is a 40-foot diesel pusher with quad slides and a floor plan that hits a home run in every area. The 39RK has a center island in the galley, typical of many fifth-wheels but unusual in a Type A motorhome. When I first looked at the floor plan on paper, I figured the interior would be tight with the slideouts retracted, but once I saw the coach in person, I was impressed by its relative roominess.
Built on American Coach’s exclusive Liberty Bridge foundation, the American Dream incorporates an exclusive bridge-style construction with I-beams rather than the raised-rail construction and C-channel structure typical of diesel pushers. Designed to give the chassis more strength and rigidity, it also provides a few more inches of basement storage height. This bridge is set on top of the front and rear clips supplied by Freightliner Custom Chassis and fastened with huck bolts. This design positions the fuel tank in the middle rather than up front, thereby reducing the front axle weight and eliminating fluctuations in handling as the fuel level changes.
The rest of the chassis is all Freightliner XCM, with the Ultrasteer steerable tag axle, V-Ride rear air suspension, ZF front axle with independent front air suspension, and a 56-degree wheel cut. The American Dream has all the latest electronic safety features: antilock braking system, electronic stability control, and automatic traction control. The Road Watch suite includes adaptive cruise control; a collision mitigation system; and pedestrian detection. The latter two automatically apply the brakes if needed. In addition, the OptiView digital instrument panel, controlled by the DriveTech system on the steering wheel, displays the forward warning system and blind spot warnings, as well as the tire pressure monitoring system.
The 39RK is powered by the Cummins L9, 450-horsepower diesel engine, with 1,250 pound-feet torque, coupled to an Allison 3000 MH six-speed automatic transmission. The front antilock disc and rear drum brakes are complemented by a three-speed engine compression brake. The American Dream also is equipped with BrakeSync, which connects to a pneumatic auxiliary braking system on a towed vehicle. As noted, the 150-gallon diesel fuel tank is located midships; a 13-gallon DEF tank is in the rear. The fuel tank can be filled from either side of the vehicle.
The 39RK has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 47,000 pounds; a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 62,000 pounds; and a 15,000-pound-rated Class IV hitch. Axle ratings are as follows: front, 17,000 pounds; drive, 20,000 pounds; tag, 10,000 pounds. Averaged results from scale readings of similar units had typical weights of 13,200 pounds on the front axle, 17,200 on the drive axle, and 8,300 on the tag axle, which gives the vehicle a healthy occupant and cargo carrying capacity (OCCC) of 8,300 pounds. The placard on the review motorhome showed 39,237 pounds as the unloaded vehicle weight and 7,763 pounds for the OCCC, so those axle readings should be very close.
HWH hydraulic leveling jacks can be deployed when at a campsite, but the Valid air leveling system also can be used when desired. A pair of auxiliary air connections are available in the front streetside bay.
The company’s Extreme Vacu-Bond lamination is used for the sidewalls, floor, and roof, along with structural aluminum tubing and high-density foam insulation. Vetroresina composite fiberglass is used on the outside; it has no wood backer that could absorb moisture or cause sidewall delamination.
While most manufacturers set the sidewalls on top of the floor, American Coach uses the company’s proprietary Powerlock system. An interlocking bracket is fastened alongside the floor framing. The lower edge of the sidewall has a matching bracket, and when the wall is lowered into the bracket, it locks in place. Screws are then run through the joint to further secure it. A similar locking connection is provided at the top where the roof mounts to the sidewalls. The slideouts are powered by HWH hydraulic slide mechanisms.
The test coach was finished in the Nighthawk full-body paint scheme, one of four choices. The attractive front cap was covered with Diamond Shield protection and equipped with LED headlights. Frameless tinted windows and window awnings are standard on the Dream, as are a roof access ladder, keyless entry for the door, and power basement cargo door locks. The large roof-mounted power awning is equipped with LED lighting, as is the optional awning for the rear patio area. Heated power chrome mirrors are suspended bus-style with upper brackets to minimize head bumps when walking around the coach.
The basement cargo compartments are made of welded steel and covered with 3/8-inch-thick, water-resistant polypropylene material. This, along with LED lighting, brightens up the compartments. The large pass-through storage compartment can be equipped with an optional 90-inch dual-action sliding cargo tray that extends out either side of the coach. A 36-inch/54-inch split cargo tray is available for those who choose the basement freezer option. Finally, an exterior entertainment center comes with an LED TV and sound bar.
The review unit featured Navy Pier décor, one of three choices. Four woodwork finishes are available, from a beautiful wood grain American Chestnut to a modern painted look. The coach I tested was finished in the Rushmore selection. The front overhead comes standard with cabinets, but my personal choice would be to order the optional 43-inch LED TV to help break up the aesthetics of all those cabinets if one of the painted finishes is chosen.
The flat-floor slideouts execute well in this coach. The entire floor is done in plank-shaped porcelain tile cut to create a seamless appearance between the main floor and the slideouts. The heated floor has separate controls for the rear and front.
LED lighting and quartz countertops are found throughout the coach. The Apex Ultraleather furniture is very comfortable, and day-night shades provide privacy and relief from the sun’s rays. The cockpit and windshield shades are powered. The ducted air-conditioning system includes decorative ceiling treatments with hinges to provide access to the intake duct filters for cleaning.
The main living area boasts a 70-inch sleeper sofa in the street-side front slideout. Above the sofa hangs a 50-inch 4K LED TV connected to the HDMI entertainment system matrix. A 72-inch-wide theater seating ensemble is placed in the curbside slideout, directly opposite the sofa and TV. The standard theater seating can be replaced by an optional sofa with an ottoman or with a pair of reclining chairs.
The galley and dinette are what really make this floor plan work. As noted, the fixed island is unusual for a motorhome, because they block access to the rear of the coach and the bathroom when slideouts are retracted. However, the special dinette in the 39RK eliminates this concern. In fact, I found aisle access in this coach to be better than that of many motorhomes without an island.
The patent-pending Adap-table dinette begins as a wide breakfast bar, with room for two chairs; they can be placed on each end of the bar or in front of it to face the large window. The breakfast bar position allows full walk-through access to the rear of the coach with the slideouts retracted. A release lever turns the bar into a table that extends farther from the wall and affords dining room for two. Or, the table can be rotated a full 90 degrees to seat four, when occupants retrieve two folding chairs that stow in the bedroom. Because quartz would make the table too heavy for the adjustment mechanism, the tabletop incorporates solid-surface material.
The island adds a ton of space to the galley area and is a cook’s dream. It holds a two-burner induction cooktop with a pair of quartz covers and pop-up electrical outlets with USB ports. Below are storage drawers and a cabinet, as well as a beverage cooler. Placing the cooktop in the island frees up space on the galley counter. A dual-basin stainless-steel sink comes with a tall residential faucet that has a pull-down sprayer. Quartz covers are supplied for the sink.
Beneath the overhead cabinets in the galley are several cupboards and drawers, plus room for an optional drawer-style dishwasher. The overhead cabinetry holds a Samsung convection-microwave oven. Opposite is a 20-cubic-foot Samsung residential refrigerator with an ice maker and water dispenser in the door. The four-door refrigerator has an extra drawer that can be used as additional freezer or refrigerator space. All galley appliances are finished in black stainless steel.
The bathroom has a mirrored medicine cabinet; a vanity with a quartz top and a solid-surface sink; and a ceramic-tiled 39-inch-by-34-inch shower with glass doors, a fold-down teak seat, an overhead rain shower, and a hand-held showerhead.
A separate room contains the Tecma macerator toilet as well as an emergency egress door. The wall behind the toilet is fitted with sturdy basket-style shelves. Nonslip rubber matting is mounted on the bottom of each shelf. In the event of a fire that blocks access to the coach entry door, a latch can be pulled to lower that portion of the wall as a ramp with steps to exit the RV instead of trying to go out a window.
A slight step up from the bath area takes you into the rear bedroom, which sports a 72-inch-by-80-inch Encore Series adjustable king-size bed with a custom-made memory-foam mattress from Wolf. The bed articulates with a power lift to raise the head portion for reading or TV viewing. The overhead cabinetry incorporates a CPAP-ready compartment. Each nightstand has wireless charging pads for smartphones, along with USB and 120-volt power outlets. Opposite the foot of the bed is a large dresser and cabinet area, along with a 40-inch LED TV. The back wall holds a wardrobe and a laundry center with a stackable Samsung washer and dryer.
The cockpit area is laid out quite nicely. The six-way powered seats – which are heated and cooled – can be rotated to the rear when entertaining, and each includes a power footrest. A wireless charging pad on each end of the dash keeps smartphones ready.
A console to the driver’s left contains controls for the leveling jacks and the Valid air leveling system. The center console on the dash holds a pair of 10-inch touch-screen color monitors. The left screen serves the entertainment/GPS navigation system; the right interfaces with the rearview and side-view cameras. Beneath the monitors is a row of rocker switches to control functions such as the cockpit shades, entry door lock/unlock, generator start/stop, and the dash heating and air-conditioning.
Freightliner’s OptiView dash displays engine parameters and other information. Menus are accessed via the DriveTech controls on the steering wheel, allowing drivers to retrieve information without taking their hands off the wheel. The right-side steering wheel stalk controls the Allison transmission, and related information is displayed on the OptiView dash. Keyless push-button starting is standard. The Select Drive system allows the driver to adjust steering effort, and it compensates for crosswinds and road surface runoff to make for a comfortable day of driving.
Any 120-volt electrical needs are met by a 50-amp system, featuring a power cord reel, an Onan 12,500-watt diesel generator with automatic generator start capability, and a Magnum 2,800-watt true sine wave inverter. The 12-volt system uses six AGM deep-cycle batteries; lithium-ion batteries are an option. A 300-watt solar panel and a 30-amp charge controller are included as part of the Technology Package option. A Pro Mariner trickle charger keeps the chassis batteries topped off when parked at a campsite.
A Vegatouch multiplex panel from Firefly Integrations controls most every accessory, including lighting, shades, utilities, slideouts, and the entertainment system.
The utility bay holds the controls for the fresh-water and waste-water systems, and it contains the whole-house water filter, the exterior shower, and the aforementioned power cord reel. A small touch-screen panel interfaces with the Vegatouch network to allow access to the plumbing system as well as any nearby lights. The UViaLite air purification system is a unique touch. It uses UV light to provide airflow through the black-water holding tank and kill foul odors and pathogens, eliminating the need for chemical treatments.
The coach incorporates an Aqua-Hot 450D hydronic heating system, which also provides unlimited on-demand domestic hot water. A Dirt Devil central vacuum system shares the Aqua-Hot compartment. Three 15,000-Btu air conditioners provide plenty of cool air via a full-length, insulated duct system. The front and rear units have heat pumps.
In addition to the solar equipment mentioned earlier, the Technology Package option includes a JBL premium audio system, a King Extend cellular booster, and a Wi-Fi Ranger Sky Pro 4 with LTE. Plus, the coach comes with a Winegard 360 over-the-air antenna. Winegard satellite systems are optional.
The American Dream 39RK has much to offer. The fit and finish of the test unit was flawless, and the level of features packed into this coach makes it a premium RV. Handling, performance, and ride were excellent. The V-Ride suspension made for a stable ride with excellent roll resistance, while the UltraSteer steerable tag axle and 56-degree front wheel cut allowed for some really tight turns as tested in a parking lot. Freightliner’s RoadWatch software worked flawlessly, and I was able to adjust the Select Drive steering effort to my personal preference via the OptiView digital dash and DriveTech controls.
The most outstanding feature on this coach is the floor plan. It all comes together with the Adap-table dinette and the flexibility and aisle space it provides. The large drawers and cabinets provide more than 127 cubic feet of interior storage. RV owners in the market for a 40-foot diesel pusher will want to include the 39RK American Dream on their list.
SPECIFICATIONS | AMERICAN DREAM 39RK
American Coach, 1803 Winchester St., Decatur, IN 46733; www.americancoach.com
Freightliner XCM with Liberty Bridge
Cummins L9, 450 horsepower, 1,250 pound-feet torque
Allison 3000 MH six-speed automatic
4.78 to 1
Michelin XZA2 Energy 315/80R22.5
front disc, rear drum antilock brakes
front — ZF independent front suspension, air;
rear — V-Ride, air
Sachs, custom tuned
Select Drive power steering
chassis — (2) 12-volt, 1,900 cca;
house — (6) AGM deep cycle, standard; lithium ion, optional
Onan 12,500-watt diesel with automatic generator start
39 feet 9 inches
13 feet 1 inch
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 17,000 pounds;
drive — 20,000 pounds;
tag — 10,000 pounds
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
OCCUPANT AND CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (OCCC)
7,763 pounds (as tested: full fuel, no water, optional accessories)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 75 gallons;
black water — 50 gallons
150 gallons; 13 gallons DEF
Aqua-Hot 450D hydronic heating system
Aqua-Hot 450D hydronic heating system
(3) 15,000 Btu, two with heat pumps
20-cubic-foot four-door residential
Tecma porcelain, macerator
coach — 1 year/5,000 miles, limited;
structural — 3 years/45,000 miles, limited;
chassis — basic drivetrain, 3 years/50,000 miles;
engine, 5 years/100,000 miles; transmission, 5 years/200,000 miles
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
AS-TESTED SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE