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Old 05-27-2010, 09:01 AM   #1
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Advice on older motor home purchase

We have always camped in a pop-up so we have no experience with a motor home. Recently, we looked at a 2000 24' Class C which was in excellent shape inside. The owner had passed away and his wife didn't know much about the operation of the various systems. My question is this: Is it a good idea to buy a motor home that is 10 years old? Will everything still be in good order or are they worn out after ten years? There are no dealers within 100 miles of our location and we don't have any way of knowing what needs to be checked out other than the obvious like tires, hoses, belts on the vehicle. We have no idea how long the fridge, water heater, etc. last on a motor home.
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:10 AM   #2
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If the motor home is in excellent shape as you indicate. If the price is right, absolutely there is no stigma to a 10 year old motor home. Just check your tires, belts, hoses, change the oil, lube it good, check out all the water,electrical systems, look for evidence of leaks. Then go have fun.
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:18 AM   #3
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Regardless of mileage on tires, I would consider replacement if they are original. Check the date stamp on tires to be sure. If all systems are in working order and the price seems good, then go for it. John H...
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:19 AM   #4
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Ditto what Homer states. Our friends just traded in their 2000 MH which looked brand new inside and out. It did not last long on the dealers lot.
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:23 PM   #5
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Hi Misslou: Our motorhome sat for 9 years before we bought it. After 3 years and trips through California and Oregon it all works great. I agree with Homer, get all the services done, buy new tires, enjoy a few "close to home" shakedown trips to get used to and learn about your new rig, then go for it!! This is a great forum for any questions you may have.
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:34 PM   #6
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If you are unfamiliar with Motorhomes and there is no one around to inspect it i would recommend against it unless the $ is so good that it will allow for you to replace a good portion of the existing systems which may or may not be working. Gene
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:01 PM   #7
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Check the tires for age, check for leaks (musty smells, ceiling stains), check drive train for leaks and function and after purchase have everything serviced, check all appliances for function (does refer cool, fans work, air cond work, furnace heat), check for obvious leaks on holding tanks, check coach and chassis batteries, check roof for tears and all caulking. If everthing checks out you should be good, if things need attention have the price adjusted if possible or walk away if anything is major.
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:37 PM   #8
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You should for sure take it to a mechanic to verify chassis/engine condition and then go to an RV shop to have them check the motorhome portion. The RV shop would also be a good place to have them go over all of the features of the RV and how they work. This way you will know all works when you purchase the RV and have confidence in your purchase. This would be money well spent.

Hope it works out for you and you get to enjoy your first RV.
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Old 05-27-2010, 02:17 PM   #9
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MissLou,

You've received all good responses thus far but you did ask how long the various appliances and systems last on a motorhome. A good question since the fridge alone could cost over $2000 to have replaced.

Unfortunately, the answer to "how long" is "it depends". Many things like the fridge and roof AC are more likely to die from lack of use. At 10 years they could already be failing or have many more years of service left in them. If they still work well now you are probably "good to go".

My 15 year old motorhome still has the original fridge, furnace and roof ACs in perfect working condition. Since I have only had the coach a short time I can just thank the previous owners for using and maintaining them properly.
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Old 05-27-2010, 03:04 PM   #10
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Hi MissLou,
The only thing I would like to emphasize is to check out the components of the coach yourself. It is not difficult and is an excellent start on how things work.

1. Level the coach.
3. Plug into shore power.
2. Turn on the refer (electric is the power source) and let is sit overnight. Both the freezer and the fridge should be at the correct temp the next day.
3. Turn on the propane.
4. Switch the refer to propane power. You should hear the burner. Let it run for 30 minutes. The burner should not go out. You can do this via your ear from the outside vent for the fridge.
5. Turn on the generator.
6. Turn on the roof A/C.
7. Let it run for 30 minutes.
8. Try the stove. Make sure all burners light.
9. Try all the lights.
10. Connect the coach to shore water supply. Run water through all the faucets. Open the cupboards and check for leaks.
11. Fill the fresh water tank. Pressurize the system. Draw water from the faucets. Does the fresh water pump work? Close all faucets. leave the water system pressurized. As you do other tasks, keep an ear for the water pump to turn on with all the faucets closed.
12. Turn on the A/V appliances.
13. Flush the toilet several times. Put water in the bowl. Check back a couple of hours later to see it if the water is still in the bowl.
14. Run the furnace for 10 minutes maximum.
15. If the coach has slides, try them.
16. Check the roof. Discoloration, cleanliness?
17. Unhook and put everything back where it came from.
18. Drain the fresh water tank.
19. Check the engine and coach batteries. If they are maintenance free, you'll need to fully charge them, let them sit for a coupe of days and then take a meter reading across the terminals. Make sure everything in the coach is off. There will be some parasite draw, but good batteries will read fully charged after a just couple of days.

The bulk of this should take a newbie about a day to do. Consider putting aside $5K for initial maintenance catch up and unplanned initial post purchase expenses. If the coach needs tires add the cost of the tires to the $5K.
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:50 PM   #11
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Wow, if you consider a 10 year old RV as being "older", what would you consider my 1979 trailer??? ancient???

Check it fro leaks and have a qualified RV tech check all of the systems and have a mechanic check the motor, transmission, brakes, suspension and also change all of the fluids before a trip.

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Old 05-31-2010, 04:50 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the input! We are still on the fence about this purchase. My husband likes the idea of a motorhome but we still wonder if it is something we should buy or not. The price has been reduced to $14,000. The A/C works and the fridge works because she keeps it plugged in and running all the time. We would definitely buy new tires if we bought it. Anyway, thank you for taking the time to reply to my questions.
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Old 06-01-2010, 12:57 PM   #13
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We bought a 7 year old rig. Now at 15 yrs it still has all the original components except a fuel pump and alternator. We have replaced a few circuit boards and furnace motors.

I would buy this rig again, like it is today.....especially at its depreciated value of today.
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