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Old 09-17-2015, 03:10 AM   #1
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Advice Needed for Buying our first RV

Greetings. Our first contribution.

We really are plain RV newbie, and we now are decided to buy an used class A diesel pusher 38/39ft long and with 3/4 slides.
We remarked that fleetwood discovery seems popular, and fits quite well the bill, not excluding Excursion and Expedition models.
To be well prepared, we gonna take the 2 days workshop at Freighliner training center, allowing us to also meet owners with tips, bells and whistles.

Aware that a used MH cannot be perfect, we are not afraid of having to repair/fix/maintain/enhance many kind of issues, as engineer.

We read RV buying guides giving advices when you inspect and test the targeted unit, but what would be your best advice?

One more thing to add, is that we prefer buying in area like Florida/Texas/Arizona, understanding that end of winter seems a good timeframe.

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Old 09-17-2015, 05:55 AM   #2
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario
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I'm sure many of the senior RV members will offer suggestions, but I will give you feedback from a rookie. We just bought ( couple of months ago) a 30 ft 2 slide 2005 motorhome. Let me tell you, that is one big learning curve! If your as green as we were with no experience in RVing what so ever it is very overwhelming, all there is to learn. If you have no experience at all a 38 ft. with 3-4 slides sounds like a huge step for a first timer. Definitely take the course. YouTube everything there is to learn before you pick up the RV. It will be a little less intimidating when you get your new motorhome.
What year is the coach? You "may" want to consider an extended warranty if it is an older model.
Good Luck!

2010 Tiffin Allegro Bay 35TSB
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
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Old 09-17-2015, 06:18 AM   #3
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As a Fleetwood Discovery owner--our second RV, first Fleetwood, both purchased new, I can say that I'm quite happy with the level of quality given price. Ours is a 2013 40G, which is their DP bunkhouse model, and it works for our family. The only thing I really dislike about this RV is the couch... the seat pad is just too darn small to sit without sliding out. I solved it with two portable foot-rests, which helps. Otherwise, I think it hits a nice sweet spot --you get a lot for the money.

You mentioned TX and FL and AZ. We live in TX but bought our RV in AZ from LaMesa RV. They have a shop in Tuscon and also in Florida. I had a good experience from the AZ store and would go back there again for our next RV purchase to at least give them a shot. I do suggest that, if possible, you buy from a shop that you live near. Getting these RV's serviced is NOTHING LIKE what you think it will be based on how you service your automobile. Trust me on this one. RV shops love to sell RV's. They hate to service them, or minimally they are understaffed and you'll have long waits before they will look at yours. They REALLY HATE to service one that they didn't sell. My local Fleetwood shop flat out told me that they wouldn't work on my RV when I had a couple of warranty issues because I didn't buy it from them. No kidding.

Having said that, it wouldn't totally limit me from buying out of town again for three reasons. First... you can save thousands of dollars. Second... it ticks me off that the industry accepts this practice, so I'll buck the system! Third... I can do a lot of things myself and mainly require help with the "big stuff," which would likely require trips to my Freightliner (chassis) shop or possibly Fleetwood directly if I really needed to. Also keep in mind that you MAY be able to locate a local mobile RV service company. This is essentially a guy with tools that'll come to you. Some are certified by various RV manufacturers and can even do warrant work. I haven't located any near where I live, but you may be more fortunate. If you find one, establish a relationship right away. These guys live by their reputation, and they tend to care more about your satisfaction than the guys working in an RV-sales shop.

Take your time, read a LOT, ask questions here. Know that these things are so expensive that most buyers researched their purchase quite a bit and are happy with what they have. Or.. they are mentally invested in their purchase to the extent that they "love" it out of self preservation! This means that if you ask about XYZ RV, those owners will (for the most part) tell you that they love theirs. So read carefully and try to find known issues. For example... our brand new Fleetwood Discovery had to go back to the factory within the first year for full wall slide repairs. It's not uncommon, though maybe not so common that I'd call it a "known issue." I won't pretend to be unbiased myself, but I try my best to at least acknowledge it!

Also try to read through forums about the manufacturer, and how well they take care of their customers... and their general model. Some brands are awesome with owners, answer their phones, send technical schematics, give advice by email or phone... others are less so. Some brands tend to have a following of happy customers who are willing to travel to the manufacturer every year for repairs. They are treated well when they are there, but it can be a long haul and a long visit. If that appeals to you, then go for it. If trips to the manufacturer aren't your cup of tea, seek brands who supervise their local shops adequately enough.

Finally.. if you do end up with a Fleetwood Discovery, they have a pretty active users community that you should join. It is low-tech compared to this forum--just an email system. But I gain valuable, Discovery-specific knowledge from the participants there constantly. Friendly folks too. I suspect some other brands may have their version of this too...
2013 Fleetwood Discovery 40G, Cummins ISL,Freightliner Chassis, Allison 3000.
2017 Ford F150 Lariat toad w/
Blue Ox Aventa tow bar and M&G Braking System
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Old 09-17-2015, 06:35 AM   #4
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I'm 8 months into owning a 2015 Excursion 33D and owned a 27' Toy Hauler TT in the past. I don't regret the Excursion, but am starting to question some of my reasoning for buying it.

1. New does not mean less problems. I think a good 4 or 5 year old coach with service records may have more bugs worked out than a new coach. It is a PIA to get things fixed. For example, a fan in my fridge went out last week. Here's a summary of my experience: a) Scheduled a warranty service from Whirlpool; b) Called the local shop to make sure they new it was a motorhome and was told they do not work on motorhomes; c) called Fleetwood Customer Service and he called Whirlpool RV Service and they called the local shop to tell them to work on the RV; d) I pulled the RV out of storage to my driveway so it could be repaired; e) Service Tech shows up and says they do not work on RVs and his dispatcher did not tell him it was an RV; f) I called Whirlpool using the number Fleetwood gave me as he called his manager; g) It was explained that they would work on it from the front, but if it required getting to the back the fridge would need to be pulled out for them; h) Problem was identified, parts ordered and I returned the RV to storage; i) The part is in and I will pull the RV out of storage and back to my driveway so it can be fixed this afternoon. I just want to point out that understanding there will be bugs does not necessarily prepare you for the level of frustration to fix even small problems.

2. I though I would be uncomfortable driving anything larger than 34'. It is surprising how quickly you become comfortable with the size. In fact, the only thing that I'm not comfortable with is the handling in wind. I believe I would be more comfortable in a big TAG axle that would be good in the wind.

3. Buying a well cared for 5 year old coach would allow me to get far more quality and luxury for about the same price. I have a friend with a new Dutch Star 4369 that I plan to push for an upgrade in about 5 years. It is night and day between his coach and my entry level.

4. I though we would like camping in the woods in more of a wilderness setting, but after nearly two months of traveling over the summer, we seem to prefer the RV resort settings in a nice area. For example, Sunny Brook RV Resort in South Haven, MI is fantastic because there is so much to do in the area. I mention this because I know some people limit their options do to perceived size limits in some parks. Recommend you put some deep thought into what you want to do and get the best you can afford for that type of travel.

Good luck and safe travels.
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Old 09-17-2015, 10:24 AM   #5
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I purchased my first motorhome about 30 years ago. My decision was to by the least expensive one I could find that was in reasonable condition. My thought was if it turned out we didn't like motor homing we could sell it and not take a real financial beating. We have had several motorhomes since then, each one bigger and fancier. Worked well for us - it gave us a chance to get a better feel of what we wanted or what was important to us in a motor home.
Bob, Sandi & Marmaduke the Big Pug
SW OREGON 2004 Journey 39K, 330 Cat
If towing: a 2006 Mini Cooper or 2015 RAM Limited 4X4
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Old 09-17-2015, 10:31 AM   #6
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We bought used, 38' Country Coach DP with no prior RV experience except a rental 20 years prior.

Purchased in Oregon in January. (Country Coach and Monaco had big presence in the Eugene, Oregon area. Still many service entities there.)

We still use the rig 13 years later.

I would buy another CC in a heartbeat if it were 2006 or older. High quality rigs with well planned features. But definitely not an off road capable machine.

I would question buying a used rig in Florida. Possibly a Concrete Queen (lived in with low miles) and high humidity area affecting the interior materials.

Have fun shopping. Expand your horizons. You are preparing better than we did.
1995 CC Magna #5280
C8.3L 300hp Cummins, 31,000lbs
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Old 09-17-2015, 11:16 AM   #7
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We ventured into RV'ing by me buying a new Class C at a dealer Auction. We had been looking so I knew the value (even though it was new and had the MSRP sticker in the window). Initially my wife wanted a small Class C ~24 ft or less. The one I bought was a 31' and although it was a learning curve to drive not a big deal. My wife drove if more then me.

After owning it for ~9 years we started to look at Class A's, at that time didn't really know or care about the differences but over time we learned that there is a HUGE difference in fit and finish along with how well they are taken care of. Here's what we did
  1. Stopped at a lot of RV lots in our travels, just to look and learn.
  2. Started to pay attention to For Sale By Owner in the paper
  3. Used several websites to look, EBAY seems to provide a good method of searching and narrowing the search.
After looking for ~+2 years I happen to see one listed on EBAY in Florida while I was driving my parents there for the winter. It is a 2002 Monaco Windsor 38PKD model. Me and my wife decided to go look as the pictures posted looked great and the suggested price was very low (make you wonder sometimes). We went out of our way to go look at the rig and it was a very nice rig that had been taken care of an was a REPO (the R word sometimes scare people off). I crawled over, under, into every compartment on the rig. The interior was flawless, the exterior in very good shape, and it appeared it had been well taken care of. The engine ran smooth and all appliances worked.

This was in late 2008 when the economy started to crash and people ran into hard times, lots of RV's taken back. We ended up paying about 1/2 of what it was worth and still have the rig. No doubt in my mind we got a heck of a deal.

My advice to look and ask questions, narrow down a floor plan you like, narrow down a brand/model that you like and then start shopping for that rig. If you find one that looks good have a competent RV person do an inspection. Big ticket items like engine and transmission can have oil sampling done for <$50 that will tell you of problems. Once you confirm the rig is worth buying negotiate an acceptable price.

Although the rig we bought has depreciated it is still worth ~+80-85% of what we paid for it. If I found a similar deal to day I would jump on it.

Jim J
2002 Monaco Windsor 38 PKD
2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee w/5.7 Hemi
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