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Old 04-03-2016, 03:10 PM   #1
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12 to 15 yr old class A

My wife and I are considering the purchase of a used class A diesel. Our last motor home was a 97 Safari Serengeti which we had for a few years, including a year of full time. We sold it when I came out of retirement.

We are now considering a 12 to 15 year old used DP with 40k-65k miles. If reasonably cared for, that should leave 100k+ useable miles on the drivetrain. Our concern is with the age, we could be looking at replacing the systems and appliances (a/c, fridge,stove,water pump,etc) and possibly structural issues. The brands we are looking at are Newmar, Tiffen, Monaco, Holiday Rambler, Safari and Travel Supreme. Because of local service limitations, we are limiting to Cummings ISC or ISL.

Does anyone have any experience or wisdom they would like to share about ownership of older motorhomes?

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Old 04-03-2016, 03:28 PM   #2
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I can't add anything other than have you looked at the irv2 classifieds?


Good Luck

Dave & Brenda
2007 Chevy 2500 Duramax
2012 Sabre 31 RETS 5'er
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:28 PM   #3
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We have a 2002 Monaco Windsor 40 footer
It has the ISC 350 Cummins.
This year we turned 119K miles.

The coach gets a full service each year even is the mileage is
4-5K. All records have been kept since we owned the coach.
We had to replace the Aquahot after we bought it due to total
misrepresentation by the dealer.

I have heard lots of talk about "high mileage coaches".
We put 200K on a four cylinder car and do not give it a moments
notice. Why would we consider 100K on a diesel engine high mileage.

Ask for records. If they cannot be supplied, tread very lightly.
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:30 PM   #4
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We own a 2003 Tiffin Allegro Bus with the ISC 350 and Allison 3000 that we bought in August of 2013. It had 15,000 miles on it at the time and a little water damage from roof leaks. The damage was limited to wall paper pulling away and a little softness in the wood. The dealer repaired the wall paper and I repaired the roof, so I got a reasonable deal on it. Some folks say a diesel with miles that low should be avoided, but so far we have only had a starter issue and a clogged fuel filter (knock on wood). We have made a lot of upgrades to the coach, put about 12,000 more miles on it and hope to be able to keep it another ten years.

I would try to make sure the coach has maintenance records. Mine did not. We had all of the fluids and filters changed by Freightliner FCCC service in Gaffney, SC and now take it to them for annual service. All that being said, we really like the Bus. We do keep looking at new ones all of the time though. Looking is usually free and entertaining and part of the fun as long as the bug don't bite too hard.
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:50 PM   #5
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Mine just turned 18.....all the appliances are working very well (knock on wood).

I would add vintage American Eagles to your list, they were the flagship for Fleetwood back in the day. They generally were outfitted with top of the line appliances, very quiet A/C's, large tank capacities, excellent fit and finish of woodwork, Spartan chassis and all were powered by Cummins C Engines (C8.3 mechanical thru 98, ISC's from 99 on).

Build quality and owner care and p.m. trump almost everything else when you are looking at the 12-15 year old used market IMHO.

A very well looked after coach that was the builder's flagship at the time would not detract me due to the age of the unit.
1998 American Eagle 40EVS
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:54 PM   #6
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I can share my (our) experience. Long story short I always wanted a 5er. Thought that would have been the best set up for ease and being easy to maintain. We ended up proud new to us owners of a 2000 Country coach Allure. What a difference.

We go to horse show and usually boon dock. Having the DP made most sense as it was turn key and go, water, gen etc. More expense on maintenance but I do that myself.

In researching the brand to buy I read a lot about Country Coach and the quality of these coaches in the earlier years. Very well built units. I was in the mind set of buying something of high quality even if it was a few years older than something of less quality and newer. Before we bought the coach I hired an independent rv inspection firm to inspect it. Cost was 350.00 and the guy spent almost a day. Checked everything from fridge to water heater, dash heat and ac, roof etc. I would recommend that and check for rust on undercarriage if it was in the north east. You could even pull oil samples from motor and trans and have them analyzed.

As far as components inside the rv a lot of things had already been replaced, inverter, micro-concection oven, sat, tvs etc. Our unit had 81,000 when we purchased it. Cummins ISC 330. Overall unit was clean and the previous owners loved this unit, you can tell by the shape it was in. I am extremely lucky to find this unit and we really love the coach.

I guess in closing the best thing is to do the research on brand and keep looking until the right one pops up. I found pricing to be a little lower in winter months or just going into the spring for good deals. I spent a lot of time on rvt and rv trader. and googling the unit I wanted. I hope this isn't too run on but my experience. Also first time rv owner!
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:00 PM   #7
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Very much of this decision depends on your ability and willingness to repair or upgrade the aging systems that you are rightly concerned about. If you are doing the work, and not paying the prevailing shop labor rates, then I think you can do very well with a 20-year old coach. If you are planning to pay someone else to do the work, you might find that a newer coach is a better proposition. 3-5 years old seems like the sweet spot for cost vs. usefulness, if it fits within your budget. I'm a sucker for endless projects, and I don't count the cost of my time since it is what I like to do. It will probably take me several years to transform mine into what I want.

2000 HR Endeavor
2000 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40PBD
Freightliner XC, CAT 3126B
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:10 PM   #8
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We bought our 2002 Monaco Windsor in 2008, it had ~55K miles on it. It was a repo and came with no history or maintenance records but after my wife and I inspected it we decided to buy. The previous owners appeared to have taken care of the coach.

We got a great deal on the coach because of the repo, paid ~50% of NADA at the time so it was hard to walk away from.

This particular model year was built on the same chassis as the Signature, Executive, and Dynasty with full steel cage. It has most of the same bells and whistles and a really nice coach. It's a solid coach and handles and rides really good.

We have about 105K miles on it now, still running strong. We have had some problems but still feel we have a great coach. Planning another extended trip this summer.

If you find a coach you like have it inspected, hopefully it will have all the maintenance records. Get an oil sample analysis of the engine and transmission, this would be the most important for reliability and cost of repair.
Jim J
2002 Monaco Windsor 38 PKD
2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee w/5.7 Hemi
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:14 PM   #9
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My 2002 Windsor PBT was delivered in September 2001 to its original owners so it is coming up on its 15th birthday.

Frankly I would not trade it for anything newer plus it is built far better than what you will find now. I know exactly how it has been used and serviced since being new. The original owners had it for a little over two years and I have owned it since December 2003.

Personally these drive-trains will do a million miles or more without blinking an eye so that is not an issue.

However the house systems do need to be changed and updated every so often.

What it comes down to is proper maintenance and records to support the required maintenance.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:33 PM   #10
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Our 2002 DutchStar was 13 yrs old when we traded it for the CC, and frankly we should have kept the Dutch Star rather than getting the Magna. The Magna is a great coach but we spent more on upkeep/repairs in the first 3 months of ownership than we did on the Dutch Star in the total 13 years we had it!
Whoever bought the Dutch Star got a great rig!!
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:58 PM   #11
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We have a 2003 Dutchstar we bought in 09. Have spent a few K remodelling the interior and a replacing tires, water heater, TV's etc etc but we are not even close to the cost of a new coach and have 98% of everything a new one can offer. Do not regret our purchase for a minute. Hopefully we will be able use it for another 3-4 years and then some will get a hell of a deal.
Dennis & Carol
Said so long to our DSDP. Coming Soon, 2019 Unity LTV CB - 2013 Honda CRV, BlueOx Baseplate, Aventa Bar & Patriot Brake. And the 04 Bird
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:08 PM   #12
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We bought a 16 year old coach and made sure the engine and transmission had been maintained over the years. Our thought was that nothing else can go wrong that will cost as much as an engine repair. It's 16 years old so the water heater or ac unit can go out at any time, but a water heater is only $500 and an ac unit $1000. A major motor repair is $20,000. Everything's a gamble, do your due diligence and enjoy your coach.
Dennis and Katherine
2000 Monaco Dynasty
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:48 PM   #13
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Many of the engines used in the larger class A coaches can easily exceed 750,000 miles between overhauls with reasonably maintenance. Allison 3000 and 4000 series transmissions will also exceed 750,000 miles between overhauls with reasonably maintenance. Diesel generators will typically run 20,000 - 30,000 hours with reasonable care.

Diesel fired Aqua-Hot's, while complex, can run for tens of thousands of hours with proper maintenance. Propane fired water heaters and furnaces can run nearly forever with very little maintenance.

While many people like to cuss Norcold refrigerators I've never had a problem with them and I've owned them since 1998. The one in our coach works flawlessly and the one in our previous travel trailer did too.

Anything built by man will fail. When depends upon how it's used and maintained.
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:32 PM   #14
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Mines got 147k + on the clock..just did a full chassis inspection and decided to replace air bags because I feel 20yrs old is long enough. Mine easily (inside and out) has another 150k left in it. Where are you coming up with that number/expiration?

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