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Old 10-10-2019, 11:42 PM   #1
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So I really don't want to be just like the other 5 million people who ask, "should I buy this" or "what is the longest running engine". But I really have no choice... sorry.

So my wife and I went to look at a 1998 Dutch Star 3883 today. We have never had an RV. I tend to go overboard with things, and jump right in with both feet (after excessive research of course). She wants a class C. We are planning a trip to Glacier and Yellowstone and Colorado next year. Maybe a few other smaller excursions also. But then we plan to sell in 18-24 months (unless we love RV life) and hopefully not lose too much. I'm worried about hills/mountains with a gas. Whatever, haven't found a "C" I'm in love with yet. Today however, the Newmar. It's in great shape, a bit outdated of course. We are handy and can do floors, walls, tile etc. It "needs" nothing. fired right up. generator too. A/c blows cold, dash too. Tires 18 months, roof last year. But now the elephant in the room. 326,000 miles. I understand that a ran diesel is better than a sat diesel. But I'm worried it's due for some major problem. Like the guy in the thread I just read, 32,000 mile coach, who pulled into a Cummins dealer late one night with a warning light on the dash, only to get a phone call a day later telling him $11,000.

I told my wife that we should have an emergency fund just for this RV if we get it lol! Do you all, with vast amounts more experience than I, agree? I've read people who would never buy one with over 100k and people who wouldn't buy with less than 50k. I'm not afraid of high mileage vehicles... when I understand them and can fix them. A DP is a whole other animal.

What do you think? OH, 1 more thing, kind of a big one to me. This is by far the nicest DP we've seen that we can afford without financing.

I look forward to any input as this is foreign territory to me.


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Old 10-11-2019, 12:20 AM   #2
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Some of the best advice I got and followed in my recent purchase is to get inspections. You can take it to a Freightliner or Spartan specialist and have it gone over. You can also have samples of the major fluids sent to a lab and they can tell you the condition of the coolant, engine oil, and transmission fluid to see if there are problems. That’s a lot of miles on brakes, suspension, air bags, fuel system, and the like. Not all that old in my book. I’d not let the miles scare me off and it is about how much too. My inspector said there is no such thing as a bad coach if you get into it right.

I have a 2001 Dutch Star and it runs and handles great. The Newmars are very well made and it shows. I had it gone through and it cost me many hundreds but I was able to show the results to the seller and get some traction on the price. At least break even on the costs and a high awareness of the workings. I’m handy and motivated so not too worried. You sound similar.

Good luck.

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Old 10-11-2019, 05:37 AM   #3
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I hate being "Debbie Downer", but a 20 YO coach with space ship miles, is going to be a money pit, IMO. Unless the seller can provide proof of a major engine overhaul recently, I would not consider this coach, unless it was almost free. I know, there are those who claim a diesel is built to go a million miles, but they can't do that without LOTS of PM and at least one overhaul @ big bucks.

You are right to be concerned about the mileage, and should look carefully at the service history and details about chassis builder, engine and tranny make & model, etc.
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:12 AM   #4
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short block may last forever but the accessories like turbo, injection pump, water pump, alternator, radiator ..... are wear items and will need attention. That isn't even considering the wear and tear on the suspension and transmission. I would never consider this for a cross country RV but if it were only going to be used locally it could be a cheap way to get started.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:23 AM   #5
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The ability to resell an extremely high mile rv would not be good. It is really going to limit the people who would buy it. Too many miles in my opinion. Even if it had most of the major components replaced, a large bill can come from many places on a diesel. I had a gas rv for five years. There is nothing wrong with a gas rv. No engine brake is probably the biggest thing bad about a gas rv. The advantage is you get a much newer rv for the same money. The cost to drive is similar because diesel fuel is more expensive to buy. The house is the same when you are camping. You could replace the entire gas engine for the cost of a fuel pump or compressor on a diesel. For a few year run, I say buy a gasser. Less risk, and who knows, maybe you will like it so much you decide to get a diesel and keep travelling.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:49 AM   #6
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The other thing is the appliances. These don't last for ever and are expensive to replace. Another would be the generator and propane system. I would keep looking because there are a lot of good deals out there and you just have to find them.

You can spend the money now or spend it later.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:02 AM   #7
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RV diesels are considered to be 500k engines rather than million mile, but that's between major rebuilds. As has been mentioned, most all the bolt-on components have life spans more like 75k-100k, so some things on this coach have probably already been replaced multiple times. And yes, things like injector pumps can run $8k-$15k. I would want to learn a lot more about what has been replaced in the last couple years and the state of maintenance on the rest.

For me, the question would be whether I can get a less-used rig for $25k-$50k more and not have to put aside as big a reserve or worry about major wear on primary systems like transmission or steering. Sitting in a truck repair shop in East Nowhere for 2-4 weeks while they find parts and do major repairs is not my idea of pleasant retirement.

As for the Class C vs Class A DP, you and the wife have to engage in some serious talk about your wants & needs. C vs A encapsulates so many different aspects of RV life that you have to break it down to figure out what is really driving a preference for one vs the other. Further, a lot of it is perception rather than fact.

I personally would want the Class A cause I find any C to be cramped for longer term travel, plus the cargo carrying capacity for a C is minimal, especially in the 29-31 ft range. The van chassis is pretty much maxed out just carrying the RV body.
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:37 AM   #8
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This is not something we are planning on living in. The idea was, basically, a larger, more comfortable vehicle for a few trips with 3 teenagers and a 50lb dog. I like the "security" that the DP provides (but sitting on the side of the road in Montana because the lift pump went out seems not fun).

My wife likes class C's because they are much easier to find sleeping capacity for previously mentioned teens and dog. As it was, I was planning on building some sort of bunkbed/jackknife couch for more sleeping options. She also likes those because they seem familiar to her, like the old conversion vans her parents had growing up. The DP seems like a Peterbilt or a Mack Truck to her.

We both like the storage of the DP's. That Newmar had such huge basement storage that I feel like we could bring our whole house! I like the Heated tanks for winter camping and the size for boondocking.

I appreciate the feedback. Still don't know what I'm going to do. Maybe this thing will sit there for a few weeks, she'll get desperate, and I can pick it up with the idea of spending 10-15k right off the bat. Or maybe I'll find a better option. Or maybe I'll say, "Screw It!!" and go out and spend more than I want to because I went and looked at some flashy RV and got woo'ed by the salesman.

p.s. this would be a whole lot easier if there were 187,000 people on here with 500k miles on thier coaches who said "Go for it, it'll be fine"
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:51 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by 1fast4door View Post
She also likes those because they seem familiar to her, like the old conversion vans her parents had growing up. The DP seems like a Peterbilt or a Mack Truck to her.

We both like the storage of the DP's.
My wife is the same. She has driven a conversion van for 28 years and likes the familiarity of a class C (Super C actually). However Primarily on the storage issue, I convinced her they are not really practical for our purposes. Also we found an equivalent Super C to be more expensive in what we are looking for (in part because they are all newer).

Her conclusion: "All right, but you are driving"

Our tentative plan is to drive no more than 4-6 hours a day after we go to RV living, so I would probably drive all the time anyway. Eventually she agreed that she will learn to drive a mortorhome as well so she can drive if we ever have to drive at night. I have terrible night vision.
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Old 10-11-2019, 01:08 PM   #10
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My recommendation is to keep looking. I base this on your statement that you want to resale it and the 326k miles. After a few more years you would probably have to pay someone to take it.

The probem you are up against is most folks are conditioned that vehicles are worn out at 100k miles and unfortunately this carries over to RVs.

I also would dread a trip with three teenages in a cramped Class C. Remember, you give up 8-10' of living space for the front engine and cab.
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by vito.a View Post
I also would dread a trip with three teenages in a cramped Class C. Remember, you give up 8-10' of living space for the front engine and cab.
This is a good point about the loss of living space (32 ft is really 24ft if space while a 38ft DP is 36 or 37ft). As far as the kids go, I am not too worried about that. We have always done road trips in the mini-van. My thoughts were that even a small "C" is bigger than a Honda Odyssey... but. We don't sleep in the van, we stay in hotels ($$$) or with friends (whatever the opposite of $$$ is) That is what started this line of thinking, "let's get a motorhome and take like 3 weeks off in the summer and go to Glacier National Park". That turned into also including Yellowstone, then a couple weeks ago my wife spent $850 on concert tickets for July IN DENVER!!! well, looks like we are making a loop. Vacations are always such a rush with the family and trying to do as much as possible in a week is a bit stressful. So extending the time, and taking it slower is what I'm looking forward to. Is that the secret to RVing, taking it slow?
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Old 10-11-2019, 04:14 PM   #12
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Newbies try to do too much in a trip. As you get used to the lifestyle you will slow down and take things more leisurely. That makes rv life more enjoyable.
But as far as a coach with that many miles, breakdowns will be common. And it will be extremely difficult to resell.
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:40 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by spdracr39 View Post
short block may last forever but the accessories like turbo, injection pump, water pump, alternator, radiator ..... are wear items and will need attention. That isn't even considering the wear and tear on the suspension and transmission. I would never consider this for a cross country RV but if it were only going to be used locally it could be a cheap way to get started.
The above is really the issue. Yes, diesel engines are designed to go 500K or maybe even a million, but that is usually done in semis running 125K a year with constant servicing. A motor home with those miles will be worn out. Even if something like a starter or lift pump as been replaced, there's 50 more similar items that will also need replacing. You can also have issues by just changing drivers/driving habits. One guy babies it for 326K and the next guy drives it differently and things will start to fall apart.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:27 PM   #14
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Don't forget the immediate cost of setting up a tow car either. 15/16 thousand seems to be in the ballpark for the seller. But I would make that your starting point for deductions of what you think needs fixing, you should be able to pick it up for less. I have a 2000 3865 and this post encourages me to be confident of getting to 200k miles, which would be the very end of my RV days. Don't you think it's been taken care of to get that many miles and start right up? Gotta go with what the gut tells ya. God luck!

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