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Old 11-27-2014, 11:54 AM   #15
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Tom, I think you and I are having a meeting of the minds.

Since I want a low 30's dp, I think the lower side of my budget is not that helpful, but what I will have to deal with = pushing me longer. Every $50k step up is just what it is.

In the 39ft plus rigs the choices are amazing and despite so many people telling me about their road to buying up, I have found a number of people buying down. Will see what this spring brings.

Sounds like you are getting on top of your game.
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Old 11-27-2014, 12:15 PM   #16
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Wow, what an exciting time! Butterflies? ;^)

Regarding the maintenance/lack of records, if it checks out with your diesel tech, I'd go for it.

I'm sure you'll likely hear the same from him, but just in case, without maintenance records, you'll need to bring all scheduled maintenance up to date. Nothing wrong with that at all from where I sit, as it gives you a perfect starting point for future maintenance requirements.

Start looking into all the filters, serpentine belt, etc. and plan on buying 2 of each. First set to install, the second set to carry with you. Really! Then just replenish your supply as you use them.

Do not forget about UN-scheduled maintenance, as you're going to need to go through all that as well. Keeping this thing waterproof is absolutely critical on a coach this age! Unless you're storing it under cover, you'll want to get started on this ASAP. I think it's a safe bet all factory sealants are getting pretty dried out by now. If it's not obvious they've been redone, well, you can take it from there. Best of luck. Hope it all works out well for you! -Al
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Old 12-03-2014, 01:39 PM   #17
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Purchase Progress Update

Howdy, thought I would give an update of my journey to buy a used coach.
Got the 1996 Beaver Patriot to highly recommended small diesel shop and they spent two hours going over engine, transmission, brakes and chassis. They found a leaky timing cover and a leaky rear main seal on the engine. All else got a clean bill of health. Samples of engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant were taken and sent to lab for analysis, results due tomorrow.

The seller and I were able to reach an agreement on the repair and if the fluid samples do not reveal any problems am going to purchase the coach.....PENDING final on lot inspection of all systems up and running, repairs completed and the AS IS fully transparent.

I will keep everyone posted.

As always thanks so much for the input, direction and support.
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Old 12-04-2014, 11:59 AM   #18
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I think you're doing really well on this one. Those late '90s upper-brand no-slide coaches are maybe the high-water mark in qualty/price. Good luck.
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Old 12-04-2014, 10:41 PM   #19
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Right now I'm debating on a 97 Monterey 3604, no slide or a 99 Contessa, same floorplan but it has a slide. Only 28k mi which worries me. Poor thing sat for much of its life. Looks like around a $10k price difference between the two...
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Old 12-05-2014, 07:28 AM   #20
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Knowing what I know now, I'd go for the slide. Already made that mistake.

Re: a coach that's been sitting around? So what? Maybe it needs a more thorough check out, but you will probably end up with a coach that might have less wear, and hold it's resale better. I'd be paying attention to the upholstery, to see if it's worn, wondering if the coach had spent it's life "on site" being lived in.

I'd MUCH rather be checking out a coach with too few miles on it than I would the opposite...

One way or the other, there are very few "perfect" coaches for sale. They're all compromises to some extent.
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Old 12-05-2014, 07:48 AM   #21
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Lots of good advice here--relatively speaking, you dont have a large upfront cost involved here, as compared to a new or newer coach so you have already reduced your risk /reward equation in that regard. Once you get past the obvious issues of tires, engine and tranny condition, genset, etc, you have to be realistic about the less obvious.

Having travelled more than 12 years now, and over 150k miles, I continue to be amazed at how little I "need," but how much I "want" in a coach--ie, slides are highly desireable but not absolutely essential. Lets face it--in "doggie years" [smile], you are buying a pretty old coach--as reflected in the price. Once reasonably assured about the vehicle systems, you will have to concern yourself with the residential systems--heating, cooking, cooling, water, sewer, electical [120v and 12v], etc; will all have to be examined and refurbished.

Less obvious--all of the fuel, water, coolant, brake, air, hydraulic fluid lines will have to looked at--even setting around, rubber and steel deteriorate. On a car its only a few feet--on a coach it can be 40ft or more and the manufactures find the worst possible places to hide these components.

Any coach, of any age, can be either a blessing or a curse--mechanically. If you have good mechanical skills, older coaches make for a great hobby and a wonderful sense of personal pride as you bring them back into shape. If you are not mechanically inclined, they can be a "money-pit" with years of frustration ahead for you....
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