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Old 03-21-2014, 12:21 AM   #1
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Best quality Used Motorhome to buy?

If you were single and going to look for a older model used motorhome in the $25-50,000 range and most likely produced in the mid-late 90s, what would your ideal choice be, make/model, length, engine type, etc? I am alone with dog, so I can sacrifice size for convenience and price. I would be concerned with keeping the future ongoing costs to as minimum as reasonable. I will be living on $1200 per month, so don't mind the initial investment being a bit more in order to get a used coach which is the most reliable and secure.

At present I am thinking about going full time for the few remaining years of life. I would enjoy true luxury and pampering myself if I do go ahead and sell my things and do this. My research right now has led me the Foretravels. New they seem to be roughly half a million dollar homes which can be found with low mileage diesel pushers in the price range I mentioned, years 95-99.

I first was attracted to Safari's and then Beaver's which I found some gorgeous ones for as low as $20-30k. But after comparing what each cost new, they don't seem to be in the same class as Foretravels. I am assuming the more costly MHs are truly better than low or mid level ones.

There seem to be a good number of what looks like mint condition ones on the market. I suppose those that pay nearly half a mill for one would try to keep it like new and maintain it perfectly.

So, what would be your perfect older MH to look for? What other high end makes are there out there.

PS. By the way, hello to all. This is my first post here. Heard it was the forum to join.
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:32 AM   #2
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I think there are a lot of good coaches out there that would work for you, but my concern would be your monthly budget. Stuff breaks on any motorhome, no matter how much they cost when new. With a DP, you could eat up several months of your budget on a mechanical issue with no sweat. You would also want to tow a car so you can get around. More $$s. If it were me, and it was just me and the dog, and I wanted to see the country on a budget, I might consider a smaller class C, or a B+. Cheaper to work on and you can eliminate the need for a toad. Will they be as roomy or comfortable as a class A? Probably not, but something to think about. Now, if you have a reserve for unplanned expenses and want to go DP, the upper end Monaco models (Monaco, Beaver, Holiday Rambler), American Coach or Newmar would be worth looking at.

My 2 cents.
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:01 AM   #3
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I think there are a lot of good coaches out there that would work for you, but my concern would be your monthly budget. Stuff breaks on any motorhome, no matter how much they cost when new. With a DP, you could eat up several months of your budget on a mechanical issue with no sweat. You would also want to tow a car so you can get around. More $$s. If it were me, and it was just me and the dog, and I wanted to see the country on a budget, I might consider a smaller class C, or a B+. Cheaper to work on and you can eliminate the need for a toad. Will they be as roomy or comfortable as a class A? Probably not, but something to think about. Now, if you have a reserve for unplanned expenses and want to go DP, the upper end Monaco models (Monaco, Beaver, Holiday Rambler), American Coach or Newmar would be worth looking at.

My 2 cents.
I agree with you alot, and have fallen in love with Coach House 27' class B/C RVs They are the perfect size for me, maneuvering about, and still have a feeling of luxury in your living areas. The initial cost however would be more than a full size Luxury used Class A. Here is an example: Coach House
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:04 AM   #4
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I agree with you alot, and have fallen in love with Coach House 27' class B/C RVs They are the perfect size for me, maneuvering about, and still have a feeling of luxury in your living areas. The initial cost however would be more than a full size Luxury used Class A. Here is an example: Coach House
Where will you store your stuff. Those things have tiny storage compartments.
Same with Class Cs
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:17 AM   #5
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Greetings and welcome to the forum! I am inclined to believe a used Class A can be expensive to repair and operate unless you have the mechanical aptitude, tools, and desire to the majority of the work yourself. I purchased a used, one-owner, 1997 American Eagle diesel pusher three and one half years ago and am throughly pleased, yet have had to do a lot of smaller mechanical repairs. I would advise you to be prepared by having $20-25,000.00 in reserve especially if you do not know how to work on what you buy. I bought the 1997 model specifically because it was the last year model which came with a purely mechanical Cummins diesel engine, which many state, and I concur, is nearly "bullet proof". Purely mechanical means this old Cummins engine has no electronics (to fail) and is pre-government mandated emissions. If you decide Class A, I would certainly consider an older and similar Cummins engine mated to an Allison transmission. Bottom Line, if you are not able to do routine maintenance, a Class B or C gasoline model would likely be less expensive in the long run since its repair and maintenance costs would be similar to a car or truck. GOOD LUCK!
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:35 AM   #6
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..... I am alone with dog, so I can sacrifice size for convenience and price. I would be concerned with keeping the future ongoing costs to as minimum as reasonable. I will be living on $1200 per month.....
I don't know what your personal goal is here. Travel around, stay in one place most of the time, etc.

If you plan to stay in one place for longer periods of time, and considering your budget, You may want to consider a good truck and a TT versus a MH. This may provide you with good transportation as well as the ability to travel as the budget allows.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:06 AM   #7
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Some great advice has been posted. A smaller C or B+ might be worth some study for costs, and not needing a toad.

We researched and wanted the quality, fit and finish, the large tanks and long list of standard features we could not find anywhere in our price range.

We found our first Foretravel a 93 36' U225, bought and sold it 2 years later for your bottom number. Our next Foretravel is a 98 36' U295 for less than your top number. So with some shopping you can find a Foretravel, from 90 to 99, 36' or 40', and either the Grand Villa Unihome, or Unicoach bus style.
Our 98 has the Cummin's 8.3C mechanical, with 325 hp, and tows our truck. There is a forum member on Foreforums.com in a 93 GV, 36, with only a motorcycle on the rear bumper. He has had a great two years traveling. I met another owner, 89 36', no toad, had been out 8 months, trying to make do on less than your budget.

But your budget will be tight. I had a leaking rear wheel seal, parts and labor, $540 for 4 hours. 2 or 3 new house batteries, $400-700 each. Tires, 6 @ $400-700 each. Thing add up so have a reserve for repairs and replacements as suggested.

Know a 99, 36, U320 sold for $38,500 on Ebay. A 93, 40, U280 with new interior, refer, tires, airbags and more sold for $30,000. A 95, 36, U240 sold for $17,500. All recent sales.

Good luck.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:09 AM   #8
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If you look at gas rather than diesel, you can likely move up to something in the early 2000's with your budget and repairs/maintenance at least for the running gear will be less. I have been looking at well and have pretty much settled on a 2005 Newmar.
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:07 PM   #9
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Here's a place where you can learn an amazing amount of information about RV's in general and specific. rv.org It will cost a bit but it will be the best money you spend on an rv. I was just rereading all the material the other day and I'm still amazed at the information.
Good Luck and happy hunting.
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:15 PM   #10
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I have some friends that have one of these older Grand Villas. If I were in your shoes this is exactly what I would look for in reasonable condition. If you need to spend a little bringing it up to par then I would do it.

I don't know what they are asking for this one but here is a look at what I am talking about. I have seen them around for what seemed to be good prices well within your limits.

It is a classic.

Used Motorhome For Sale Arizona - 1990 Foretravel Grand Villa Used RV For Sale AZ - YouTube
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Old 03-21-2014, 02:28 PM   #11
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I have some friends that have one of these older Grand Villas. If I were in your shoes this is exactly what I would look for in reasonable condition. If you need to spend a little bringing it up to par then I would do it.

I don't know what they are asking for this one but here is a look at what I am talking about. I have seen them around for what seemed to be good prices well within your limits.

It is a classic.
This is exactly what I had in mind and have found several for sale around the country as low as even the mid to high $20k range to $50k.

To answer some of your statements, I have thought and know exactly what you have brought up regarding size, class, d vs gas, etc. To help with the continued brainstorming with me, I am all alone in the world. By that I mean, no kids, no known relatives, no close friends left alive. I do have a lot of accumulated stuff, but it has no meaning or purpose any longer as I approach my demise since I have no one to leave any of it to. Even the family pics and momentos are just a burden to carry around and try to keep safe. They will end up in the dump in a few years. I say that for I could use a larger MH to continue to keep some of it till my death, or just scrap it all now and be free of it and the thoughts it rekindles.

So, after selling my large mobile home for roughly 80-100k, I will have some savings left for emergency after I buy a nice used RV under $50k. I don't plan on parking it in an expensive RV park each month, but rather drive it wherever I want each day, week, and month, parking in rest stops, gyms like 24 hr Fitness, Costco lots, state/national parks, or wherever I can get a safe nights rest. During the day I will be exploring and enjoying the beaches, lakes, and sites of the area until exhausting that and moving down the road.

I recently did exactly that in a 22' VW Rialta which I enjoyed for a month. I think I will enjoy it even more with more room and luxury in a permanent life change. The rest stops along the mountainess highways and byways where extremely nice and beautiful. All through the NW, from So Dak to Montana, Oregon, and No Calif, I woke up in the most scenic places after pulling over along the highway in the middle of the night.

It is a debate in my mind now as to go small 27', like a high end Class B (Chinook or Coach House), go medium large like a 28-30' Trek with a Magic Bed, or shoot the moon so to speak and get a luxury "Foretravel" 36-40' and live like a king for the same price as the smaller mentioned units.

Now the gas vs diesel question is still a puzzle to me. Sounds like over and through mountains, a diesel is the way to go; also cheaper in the since of petrol. Yet, maintenance cost will eat up the fuel savings if only in routine oil changes and servicing. This I need your input on to help me decide.

I am old and somewhat limited by disability, so the least bother and problems the better for me. I do not want a headache. Just want what will help me enjoy my remaining few months or years.

These 40'ers look enormous to me, and I really don't need to be walking long distances just to go from one room to the other. I don't even really need a slideout in a bigger coach, and was thinking that maybe it would be better not to have one since it would be one less thing to go wrong or have to bother with.

Seat comfort while driving, and ease of driving and maneuvering should probably be high on my list of needs. Never driving a Class A, I wonder if a 28' Trek would be just as easy to drive/park as a 27' Class B like a Chinook or Coach House. The concern there is that one can purchase a class A for 1/3 or 1/4 of the price of a low mileage high end class B, $25k vs $75k. $50,000 would buy a lot of gas or fuel, yet since the Class B is more like a car/van/truck, it would be so easy and cost effective to maintain.

Lots to think about.......that is why all things considered I originally asked: What is your perfect dream machine? Brand, size, engine, etc
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Old 03-21-2014, 03:02 PM   #12
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we got a 1999 national tradewind with a 300 hp diesel and tow a toad. we have 3 dogs and this seems to fit the bill for us. just my 2 bits worth
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Old 03-21-2014, 03:11 PM   #13
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Sissy Boy... You would have many MHs to select from even if you stay under $25K.... but if you span up to $50K and take that shopping .... many of the bigger diesel pushers become available.

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Old 03-21-2014, 03:39 PM   #14
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Bob,
Not that I have traveled so terribly far or for very long periods of time. Putting myself into your position I've several observations.
1. Since you're retired and not in a hurry really to go any where, you don't need the most powerful engine. So you probably could get a really nice older rig gas powered for less money. Take your time over the hills-- an extra few minutes--just doesn't matter that much!
2. As you get even a bit older larger rigs can be (for some) even more of a challenge to maneuver into store lots for shopping or other areas. I used to have a 24 ft class c that was great. I could park almost anywhere a full sized van would park. I could weave it through cities and park and often over nighted in city neighborhoods. Often you will see a class c in the 24 foot range in front of a regular city house. I never bothered with a toad with this rig-- I just drove it where ever I needed to go.
If you make this choice you will be held to your word that you're going to dispose of most of your goods. (Think I would choose to put a few things in storage ) A small storage area rented on a yearly basis could be a wise investment till a little more time has passed and tells you of the correctness of you decision to downsize.
Think you're on the right track to study various rigs those fortravels were nice and I bet one can be found-- but the right class c can be good, for one person the trek with the drop down bed could be good cause you still would have a smaller rig to drove around but more deluxe than a class c, Think the biggest complaint about the treks I 've heard is when there are two in the rig the bed up or down question seemed to be a problem. But a man alone could have it "His way".
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