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Old 05-25-2017, 12:55 PM   #1
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$100K budget: Newer Gas Class A or Older DP?

Hi,

I joined the forum a while back and it's been two years since I visited. We were ready to ditch the house and go full-timing. Then life struck in the form of illness. I am improving and we have modified our budget and our plan. We want to get a Class A, max budget $100K. We will take several trips a year (and will have a tow vehicle), but no full-timing yet until we pay off the medical bills and we're sure it's something we're able to do (physically). I have been reading and reading until my brain hurts about what to avoid, what is best, etc. We will want to pull a tow vehicle. I know floor plan matters a lot--we want to avoid having a tv that requires us turning our heads to watch. I'd really like a residential refrigerator to avoid the problems I've read so much about with the propane ones. Other than that, we're pretty open. I have my favorites, but since we are dealing with used coaches, there may be some compromise involved due to availability and price.

So, what are your thoughts?

1) Would it be better to get a newer Class A gas or an older DP? I've found several older DPs that have put new fridges in. We are not handy so if we got one that needed a lot of work (i.e. new furniture, floors, cabinetry, appliances), we'd have to pay to have it done. Prefer not to do that but if there's someone reliable that can do the work, we'd consider it. Also, what are your thoughts about what level to get, i.e. top of the line, mid-range, or basic within a manufacturer's offerings?

2) What are things to look for? Corrosion is an obvious thing, signs of leakage/water damage, and lots of internal wear can be, too. Any other flags?

3) Any manufacturers to avoid? Or dealers? I know that parts can be hard to come by for units made by manufacturers that have gone out of business.

4) Is there such a thing as an RV inspector who can look over a motorhome before we buy to give us a better idea of its condition?

5) How do you find some of the better used models? We were set on buying a new Newmar a few years ago before circumstances changed. A used one would be great, but I hardly ever see them on any of the used RV trading sites or larger dealers.

I know insurance rates vary tremendously by location. We are in central Arkansas (north of Little Rock).

6) Can anyone give me a ballpark on insurance rates? Are we talking $100/mo, $200/mo...for a $100K unit? I hate to call insurance companies because I haven't chosen a MH yet, and then I end up on their call list...I'm just trying to get a feel for the total budget. (Neither of us has tickets or accidents on our record--one minor fender bender DH had 5 years ago is all. Good credit.) I'm calling storage places this week to find out how much it will cost for that. I think we used to pay about $90/month to store my parents' Class C that was 32' long.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. I apologize if this has been answered elsewhere or is too long. I saw another recent thread that is similar...this can be moved there or elsewhere if appropriate.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 05-25-2017, 01:20 PM   #2
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I can speak that for $100k, you are not going to get much of a gas "new coach" for full-time living, unless you get a new last years model that is deeply discounted.

Drive down to Little Rock and check out the floor plans for tv viewing. Look over the pricing and let us know what you think.

Buying a used DP and doing a bunch of fixing up sounds like a time consuming, expensive hobby, suited for somebody with lots of money and talent.
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Old 05-25-2017, 01:54 PM   #3
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Don't be scared or the norcold fridge "hysteria"!!! We have one in our coach (04) that works perfectly fine. It's only a 1% chance of the problem happening and if it hasn't happened in a unit by now it won't.
Agreed that you will get more from a used, well cared for DP than a new gas rig. A residential fridge is great but our 4 door norcold packs enough food for a week!! We do put an ice chest in the basement for extra beverage storage but I do like my adult beverages ice cold (sodas too) and ya just can't do that in a fridge anyways!
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Old 05-25-2017, 02:22 PM   #4
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Did I ask too many questions?

We're not full-timing, not yet. And I meant new-er (as opposed to brand new) Class A gas vs. older DP. I'd actually rather have one that's had some of the kinks worked out than getting a brand new one, anyway, and plus save the depreciation.

So that's my question. A 2014-15 gas model (like a Forest River Georgetown) vs. a 2004-6 DP (like a Travel Supreme or Country Coach), for example? Or a few years newer DP that is not considered as "luxury" or top of the line as say, a Newmar or Tiffin, like a Forest River Legacy (I see a 2015 340BH for $100K).

We have looked at many, online and in person, for years. We know the floor plans we like. Having had the Class C for a few years (about 8 years ago) and a friend's Class A that we borrowed a couple of times, we know what worked and what didn't in terms of the layout. Ideally, I'd love a used Newmar but I NEVER see them. The budget is pretty firm so we have to be realistic, too. So, we are looking at others. Other than the obvious advantage of HP/torque with a DP, and the purported less expensive maintenance on a gas model (especially if we got one that was newer (not new!), what are some considerations?

We're trying to figure out what experienced RV buyers and owners think about how best to use our relatively meager budget and what factors, other than floor plan, led you to your opinion.
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Old 05-25-2017, 02:41 PM   #5
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I don't think the maintenance costs should be a factor. DP service is done YEARLY unless your putting on over 25000 miles a year. costs me under $300 a year, chassis and gen. Gas powered every 5000 miles at $60-100 each time. difference is not a factor.
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Old 05-25-2017, 02:54 PM   #6
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Seven years ago we went through the same thought process and decided that the route for us was the older DP. Ours was 10 years old when we bought it. It's now 17 years old and has 108,000 miles.

Yes, we've put a lot of remodeling (and repairs) into ours but I have a detailed spreadsheet and even counting every dollar we've invested, including some luxury upgrades like Ekornes Stressless furniture, we're a long way from what a reasonably high quality newer gas MH would have cost. Without insulting others on this forum, the brands of gas MH you mentioned are "entry-level brands" and can't be compared with the brands of DPs you mentioned. Forest River vs Country Coach?? Not even in the same league.

The one thing to realize is that if you buy an older DP and fix it up, as we have, then you are probably not going to get much for it when you eventually sell. We look at ours as something that has enabled us to see the US and Canada in a way nothing else could have. When we eventually sell it, if we get back a few dollars, that will be great but we're not counting on it.

Lastly, the reasons for having a residential fridge rather than a Norcold or other RV fridge is that the residential provides 50% more storage space in the same "footprint" and it keeps stuff in the freezer really cold like it should be. As for the fire issue, it is ridiculous to say "if a fire hasn't occurred by now, then it won't" when, in fact, the aging of the system contributes to the chance of fire. The fact that an appliance is working is not a predictor of whether or not it will continue to work.

Sure, not every Norcold catches on fire, but six months ago an RV in our home park was totaled because its Norcold did catch on fire and it even had had the so-called recall. That sure made a believer out of me!

If you have specific questions feel free to PM me.

Joel (AKA docj)
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Old 05-25-2017, 03:07 PM   #7
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Linda,
First off, glad to hear you're improving from your illness. It sucks when life throws a curve ball and suddenly everything changes.

As far as your questions. There's so many variables in choosing what direction you're planning to go with the type of RV You'll end up getting. You have a descent budget to get yourselves something that will work for what you want to do, be it a newer gasser, or an older diesel. If you've been reading these forums a lot then you've probably already read a lot of what you need to consider, but there is so much info on here, and lots of individuals with an encyclopedia of knowledge and it can be overwhelming to take it all in. A few things come to mind after reading your post. First, is your budget cash, or is that an amount you'll be financing? The reason is that you will not be able to finance an RV older that 10 years old is my general understanding. You may be able to find a local credit union or bank who will finance something older, but from everything I've read on here 10 years seems to be mentioned quite often as the general rule of thumb for Max age of a financed RV. Something to consider if you're financing.

Two things to now consider. New gasser vs older diesel. You're going to be hard pressed to find a new Newmar gasser unless you're willing to get one that's a few years old. There's definitely other options out there like a Tiffin, or a Fleetwood Bounder, or Holiday Rambler Vacationer that you can get the TV set up you're wanting. If you're not planning to travel too far from home, then a gasser may be a fantastic option. Something in the 36' plus range for length is what I'd be looking at for full timing. Now here's a potential problem as I see it with getting a gasser that's only a few years old - Depreciation! I'm not in any ways an expert, but unless you just get a phenomenal deal on an RV, my concern would be that if you have the motorhome for a few years and then decide that the RV life isn't for you then there's a good possibility that you're going to owe more than it's worth if you financed it, because it's going to keep depreciating in value each year that you own it. Now, with an older diesel pusher you would probably be in a better position to recoup more of your investment and not take as big of a financial hit if you decide you're not going to take the plunge and be full timers. There are some nice diesel RVs out there below you're budget. Monaco comes to mind as a good bang for the buck. The problem with this option is you mentioned that you all aren't very handy. I'd be hesitant to get something older if you don't want to pay to have things fixed and maintained, and aren't really wanting to do the upkeep and maintenance things yourselves. At some point there are things that are going to get old and need to be fixed or replaced. Now there are RVs out there that have been updated and well maintained, and with the internet it's easy to get on rvtrader, ppl, Rvt, etc (all those are .com sites) and see what fits in your budget.

When you figure out the direction of newer gasser vs older DP and do finally find a potential deal then there are definitely individuals in pretty much any city who can do the type of inspection you want done prior to purchasing a unit. Think of them as the same exact thing as a home inspector. You can also have the engine and transmission fluids analyzed for their conditions. I've read about a few different places that do that, but don't recall the names. Something you could google, or an rv tech/inspector could recommend. The goal is that whatever you purchase you do all you can to avoid purchasing a lemon and inheriting someone else's head ache!

The last thing I'll bring up is if you're pulling a toad to make sure that whatever you get is going to be able to handle whatever it is. Generally a DP is going to have more carrying capacity and better performance pulling a toad than a gas unit. The main point here is to make sure whatever you end up with will have the capacities you'll need to go full timing in as far as weight and storage.

For $100,000 there's definitely an RV out there that will be great. It's just a matter of taking your time and figuring out what direction you want to go, and then find it.

Good luck with your search, and keep us posted!
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Old 05-25-2017, 03:55 PM   #8
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Personally I would much prefer an older DP instead of a new gasser! JMHO!
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Old 05-25-2017, 04:16 PM   #9
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We were faced with the same choice 4 years ago and opted for the used DP, 08 Expedition. It has worked out OK, for us but we have had to spend a fair amount of $$ on repairs that would not have been needed on a new gasser.

I also have to disagree with some of the other posters, having a DP does cost more to maintain than a gasser. You have more filters to replace that cost more than the gasser's filters. (my air filter alone is nearly $100) I've had 3 failures in the air ride system that were cheap for me to fix but would have been expensive for a non-shade tree mechanic to pay to have fixed.

Personally, I'd advise you to keep the money in your pocket and take some very nice cruises every year. Hell, go see Europe! Asia, South America....Glamping is OK, but if I had a "Do Over" I sure wouldn't buy an RV.
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Old 05-25-2017, 04:20 PM   #10
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Linda,
Now, with an older diesel pusher you would probably be in a better position to recoup more of your investment and not take as big of a financial hit if you decide you're not going to take the plunge and be full timers.
This is true. I think you can look at this not only as a gas vs. dp comparison, but a how do I want my money to work for me comparison as well. You have your choice between a newer RV that will depreciate quickly. (I know you said not NEW, but NEWER, so some of the depreciation will have already happened.) OR an older DP that has basically gotten at or near the bottom of its value, and that you could probably sell for very nearly what you paid if you desired. That said, you could also do this with a gasser a few years older.

We've always had gassers (we are not at the point where we want or need a large DP, not sure we ever will), but I did recently sell our older gas model for a new one. From the perspective of someone who's not handy, I do like having the newer model, but rvs are quirky beasts and always seem to need tweaking of some sort or another, so I suppose my advise it to purchase the highest quality rv that you can afford regardless of engine. So imo that would leave out entry level manufacturers. I'd be looking to score a great deal on a higher end manufacturer.

Since you've decided not to full time at this time, I think you should determine if that might ever be on the table again, and go from there. What would work for you now, and what you might think the future will hold? Now that I've written a book on that, I think only you can answer #1.


#2. I don't care how else it looks, any water damage and I am out.

#3. Oof, this is a loaded question, but after touring just about every model out there, I was left for gassers looking at Newmar and Tiffin (and to a lesser extent the makers of super Cs like Nexus, etc, but the floor plans didn't work for us). There are a number of super high quality DPs these other guys have mentioned.

4. Yep, nrvia.com

5. Get in touch with dealers and let them know what you are looking for. Often the trades are sold before they even go on the lot, that is how our Tiffin dealer works. I could not find a used one for the life of me for more than a few grand less than new, and we didn't want to wait any longer so we ordered. A couple years older and you can find some.

6. In CA, I pay under 1k, for full coverage on a new Tiffin gasser. I would think in AK it would be cheaper. Storage here is about 100/mo not near the city.
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Old 05-25-2017, 04:23 PM   #11
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I vote older DP, remember the newer it is the faster it depreciates even when you are not using it. If you are not full timing, I find it hard to consider buying anything that is depreciating by a thousand dollars a month or more while sitting in storage.
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Old 05-25-2017, 04:46 PM   #12
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I vote older DP, remember the newer it is the faster it depreciates even when you are not using it. If you are not full timing, I find it hard to consider buying anything that is depreciating by a thousand dollars a month or more while sitting in storage.


X2 great perspective.
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Old 05-25-2017, 05:08 PM   #13
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$100K budget: Newer Gas Class A or Older DP?

I was also going to suggest an older DP. If your lucky might find one in the 70k range leaving 30k to upgrade or repair. That is the approach we took. So far no regrets and my biggest expenses were upgrades and replacement of wear items batteries and tires which will happen with any coach.
Also in a slightly older coach than you suggested there are plenty of Newmars just might have to travel. When I was searching I used a 500 mile range which greatly increased the choices.
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Old 05-25-2017, 05:53 PM   #14
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We were faced with the same choice 4 years ago and opted for the used DP, 08 Expedition. It has worked out OK, for us but we have had to spend a fair amount of $$ on repairs that would not have been needed on a new gasser.

I also have to disagree with some of the other posters, having a DP does cost more to maintain than a gasser. You have more filters to replace that cost more than the gasser's filters. (my air filter alone is nearly $100) I've had 3 failures in the air ride system that were cheap for me to fix but would have been expensive for a non-shade tree mechanic to pay to have fixed.

Personally, I'd advise you to keep the money in your pocket and take some very nice cruises every year. Hell, go see Europe! Asia, South America....Glamping is OK, but if I had a "Do Over" I sure wouldn't buy an RV.
I've been on cruises, and I've been to Europe. I wouldn't consider it as a desirable location in this day and age but to each their own. (Pack your flak jacket.) South America and/or Asia hold no interest for me. Besides, any flight over 6 hours greatly reduces the chances the trip will be fun.

We have pets and hate to board them or leave them behind, even with friends....so RVing is the perfect way for us to travel and have them with us. I like how I only have to pack once, have the ability to go to multiple locations without waiting in airport security lines, the ability to do my own cooking, and meeting so many nice people on campgrounds. We have family scattered all over the US and I do genealogy research, so I need to visit more locations here; no passport or seasickness pills necessary.

I guess you're a member here to help research your numerous repairs; it certainly isn't as a proponent of RV ownership. Sorry you've had so much trouble.
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