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Old 10-06-2014, 04:22 AM   #1
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Average yearly maintenance cost

I'm thinking about buying a diesel pusher or gas powered Class A 38-40 ft... anything in decent shape for $20K or less. please tell me in total what I should expect to pay per year in maintenance for the whole thing including refrigerators heaters engine routine maintenance etc if I Drive an average of 6,000 miles a year in it both diesel and gasoline? I'm trying to see if I can budget for this. Thanks for your input! Brian
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Old 10-06-2014, 04:55 AM   #2
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Lot of work.....?????

Quote:
Originally Posted by teacher29681 View Post
I'm thinking about buying a diesel pusher or gas powered Class A 38-40 ft... anything in decent shape for $20K or less. please tell me in total what I should expect to pay per year in maintenance for the whole thing including refrigerators heaters engine routine maintenance etc if I Drive an average of 6,000 miles a year in it both diesel and gasoline? I'm trying to see if I can budget for this. Thanks for your input! Brian
Glad to meet you and welcome aboard
Now........in the 20k and under price range,38-40'........I am going to say any unit in this price range will need quite some work, time and money. As far as yearly stuff.......Just like a auto, just costs a bit more to maintain. As far as un-forseen break downs.......? Figure on 6-8 mpg. Who knows Good luck in your venture! and again.....welcome!
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:07 AM   #3
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Thamks. What should I look for in say a 1998 Beaver w/116k miles? what questions should I ask what particular thing should I pay attention to the No or have a heads up at least of what my expenses might be the first year? Other particular things on these cases that go wrong?
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:54 AM   #4
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check the date code on the tires... replacing them can be pretty expensive
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Old 10-06-2014, 07:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by teacher29681 View Post
Thamks. What should I look for in say a 1998 Beaver w/116k miles? what questions should I ask what particular thing should I pay attention to the No or have a heads up at least of what my expenses might be the first year? Other particular things on these cases that go wrong?

Brian,

Expenses will likely be higher than normal the first year unless complete maintenance record are available and you can see that all items are up to date.

Here is a list of most of the maintenance points on a typical diesel coach:

Complete base line service for Cummins diesel motorhome:

Engine: filters to be Fleetguard
1. Oil/filter
2. Fuel filters (2)
3. Coolant filter if equipped and test/ adjust SCA level if standard coolant. Change coolant @ 5 years. Add extender at 3 years if OAT type coolant.
4. Air filter if over 3 years old. Inspect plumbing between filter and turbo inlet for evidence of dust. Inspect CAC plumbing.
5. Inspect hoses & belts.

Transmission: filters to be Allison high capacity.
1. Change filters @ 36 months & top up.
2. Change fluid @ 48 months or test sample.
Always use TES295 fluid as approved by Allison. If the OEM fluid is not synthetic then the change interval is 12 months for both fluid and filters.

Chassis:
1. Complete lube including lifting front axle from ends to unload king pins.
2. Including 3 zerks on steering column and one zerk on steering box.
3. Change Hydraulic filter & top up.
4. Change air dryer cartridge @ 2-3 years.
5. Grease front wheel bearings 3-5 years or change to oil hubs & inspect.
6. Change differential gear oil @ 3-5 years.
7. Inspect brake surfaces.
8. Inspect oil level tag axle hubs.
9. Inspect both chassis & house batteries. Make sure all connections are clean & tight. If flooded lead acid, check & top up with distilled water monthly.

Generator:
1. Oil/ filter
2. Fuel filter
3. Air filter
4. Perform valve lash, belt/ hose replacement and generator unit service before 2000 hours. Replace thermostat and coolant @ that time.

AquaHot:
1. Replace fuel filter
2. Replace burner nozzle
3. Exercise tempering valve.
4. Inspect coolant level at top of AquaHot unit and at expansion tank.

Inspect and clean all battery terminals.


All above items may not be installed on all coaches.





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Full time since '07
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Old 10-06-2014, 10:58 AM   #6
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Any DP or gas you can find for 20K and under probably will need a lot of maintenance to start of with.

All replacement of belts & hoses will be due. All filters & fluid, steering, front hubs, rear axle, fuel, engine, transmission etc. will need done.

PPL has only 1 DP under 20K for sale and 6 under 30K & 4 of them with a slide.
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:02 PM   #7
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Odds are that any DP in that price range will be a money pit, at least to get it up to snuff. It might be a little better with a smaller gasser but even then it will need a fair amount of cash to get right.

That being said...most any "bargain" unit (especially in that price range) is a bargain because it needs something (or a lot of somethings) whether that is new tires, batteries or just getting worn out. Nothing is 100% but that is the way it tends to be.

Also, it is hard to get financing on something in that price range because it will be well over 10 years old. What ever financing you get will probably be at a very high interest rate. If you are doing cash...forget all of that.

Going back to your budget range. If you do find something you can work with, plan to have a $10K budget just to get it going. If you are handy you could get away with a fair amount less but tires alone will probably run over $3K as a starter. Then there will be all the "little" things that will add up quickly.

The bottom line is that IF you can find something that is workable in that price range AND if you are prepared for a lot of elbow grease to augment repairing the rigs systems, you MIGHT be way ahead as long as you get a few years of use out of it. BUT...you should have a very experienced RV mechanic (that YOU choose, not the buyer) inspect any purchase to help eliminate the unsalvageable situations.

Sorry to sound like such a "downer".
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:20 PM   #8
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Whatever coach or price range you look at.......
be sure to get all the receipts for work done.
Any responsible owner will have kept a record of service
done also.
DO NOT JUST ACCEPT A SALESMAN'S WORD.

Sounds like you are already looking at a certain coach.
Heed all the above advice.
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:04 PM   #9
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Brian.....You might want to rethink what you want to buy. As others stated, with a $20K budget, you won't find much that doesn't need a lot of work or will be reliable. For the size RV you want, how about looking at a TT or Fifth wheel. Less systems, and easier to repair a truck than a motor home.
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:20 PM   #10
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As others have said....a $20,000 MH is one that is ready to be parked to be used for a hunting camp or in someone's backyards as a spare room. There is no telling how much annual expense would be involved in one that is in a "worn out" price range.
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teacher29681 View Post
I'm thinking about buying a diesel pusher or gas powered Class A 38-40 ft... anything in decent shape for $20K or less. please tell me in total what I should expect to pay per year in maintenance for the whole thing including refrigerators heaters engine routine maintenance etc if I Drive an average of 6,000 miles a year in it both diesel and gasoline? I'm trying to see if I can budget for this. Thanks for your input! Brian
teacher
I have owned my DP for 13 years and drinen it 105k miles.
I have spent nearly $15,000 on repairs and maintenance.....not including fuel tires and accessories).
That's an average of $1153.85 per year.
Mel
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by teacher29681 View Post
Thamks. What should I look for in say a 1998 Beaver w/116k miles? what questions should I ask what particular thing should I pay attention to the No or have a heads up at least of what my expenses might be the first year? Other particular things on these cases that go wrong?
If that Beaver is in that price range and is safe to drive, the only thing I would ask is...where do I sign?
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:53 PM   #13
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At that price point if you want something in decent shape you're likely looking at gas power. For a diesel in the late 90's you'd probably need another $ 10K.

I think maintenance on our DP has run around $ 1,500 - $ 1,800 a year, not including fuel. We drive around 6,000 miles a year. That includes the ordinary lube/fluid/filter changes and the occasional items needing replacement due to age. This year is was a vent fan, awning tensioner springs and the convection/microwave.
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Old 10-06-2014, 02:49 PM   #14
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Brian,

Expenses will likely be higher than normal the first year unless complete maintenance record are available and you can see that all items are up to date.

Here is a list of most of the maintenance points on a typical diesel coach:

Complete base line service for Cummins diesel motorhome:

Engine: filters to be Fleetguard
1. Oil/filter
2. Fuel filters (2)
3. Coolant filter if equipped and test/ adjust SCA level if standard coolant. Change coolant @ 5 years. Add extender at 3 years if OAT type coolant.
4. Air filter if over 3 years old. Inspect plumbing between filter and turbo inlet for evidence of dust. Inspect CAC plumbing.
5. Inspect hoses & belts.

Transmission: filters to be Allison high capacity.
1. Change filters @ 36 months & top up.
2. Change fluid @ 48 months or test sample.
Always use TES295 fluid as approved by Allison. If the OEM fluid is not synthetic then the change interval is 12 months for both fluid and filters.

Chassis:
1. Complete lube including lifting front axle from ends to unload king pins.
2. Including 3 zerks on steering column and one zerk on steering box.
3. Change Hydraulic filter & top up.
4. Change air dryer cartridge @ 2-3 years.
5. Grease front wheel bearings 3-5 years or change to oil hubs & inspect.
6. Change differential gear oil @ 3-5 years.
7. Inspect brake surfaces.
8. Inspect oil level tag axle hubs.
9. Inspect both chassis & house batteries. Make sure all connections are clean & tight. If flooded lead acid, check & top up with distilled water monthly.

Generator:
1. Oil/ filter
2. Fuel filter
3. Air filter
4. Perform valve lash, belt/ hose replacement and generator unit service before 2000 hours. Replace thermostat and coolant @ that time.

AquaHot:
1. Replace fuel filter
2. Replace burner nozzle
3. Exercise tempering valve.
4. Inspect coolant level at top of AquaHot unit and at expansion tank.

Inspect and clean all battery terminals.


All above items may not be installed on all coaches.

Steve Ownby
Full time since '07
Steve,

Excellent list! Please add alignment to the list (about $350 on my coach).

On Saturday afternoon, I dropped my 2003 Travel Supreme 41' DP coach off at Valley Freightliner in Mt Vernon, WA. for a wheel alignment and drive train inspection. They are a Spartan chassis certified service facility and have a good reputation.

They called this morning. This is what they found:

- The alignment was out of spec (towed out, not in)

- The differential seal was leaking and needed to be replaced. The "yoke" (not sure what that is) may need to be replaced.

- The air system filter had never been replaced.

- The transmission filter appeared to be out of date and needed.

Overall, this will cost me about $1,000. If the coach steers better and gives me peace of mind, it's well worth it.

This brings up a key point about inspections and maintenance - just because a dealer has a service facility does not mean that they are well-qualified to service the chassis and drive train. Our coach came with meticulous maintenance records and the owner had it serviced every year by an RV service facility that was supposed to be top notch. Unfortunately, the items listed above are just the latest in a list of things I've repaired myself or had repaired.

I love our TS. It's a great coach (pics if you interested: New RV - DanClark), but it's not perfect. It's like all other coaches - a combo of a stick built house and a vehicle. That leads to problems. A hassle, but normal.

Suggestion... If you can, have the coach inspected by a reputable dealer AND a chassis-certified maintenance company. It will save you time, money, and grief.

Regards,

Dan.

p.s. I had the alignment done because the coach was wandering a bit. Keith (the service rep at Valley Freightliner) said that the toe out on my coach could cause that wandering. I'm looking forward to testing the handling.

p.p.s. We only owned our coach for four months, but so far we've spent about $1,900 on it (including the current $1,000 repairs). I'm guessing that the on-going cost will be about $1200-1500 per year in maintenance.
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