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Old 04-28-2013, 08:26 PM   #1
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Buying a preowned Class A diesel pusher

For a newby what should we look for in a preowned RV? What really matters, mileage or age? What experience have the Cummins 400 and 500 hp uses had with the engine? Lastly, what should one expect for fuel economy and annual repair cost on a high end coach?
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:53 PM   #2
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Mileage is not as much of a factor for DPs vs. gas rigs, but DPs cost more for annual service than gas. I average between 9-10 with my 2002 Tiffin Phaeton (CAT 330hp); measured 9.6 mpg going across Texas this year.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:13 PM   #3
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Mileage is not as much of a factor for DPs vs. gas rigs, but DPs cost more for annual service than gas.
After owing many gas rigs and now Dp's since 2000 I really don't see that much difference, but I do my own work too.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:31 PM   #4
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For a newby what should we look for in a preowned RV? What really matters, mileage or age? What experience have the Cummins 400 and 500 hp uses had with the engine? Lastly, what should one expect for fuel economy and annual repair cost on a high end coach?
When you're buying used, as I did 7 years ago, the maintenance care exercised by the previous owner is more important than mileage or age. A well maintained high end coach is worth the search. In my experience the Cummins ISL 400-450 and the ISM 500 are both capable of fuel economy in the 7 to 8.5 range in the hands of a conservative driver. The Cummins ISX 525 to 650, the Cat C13 and the Detroit Diesel are generally in the 5.5 to 7 range. A cruising speed which will hold 6th gear & keep the rpm level a couple of hundred above peak torque will return the best MPG.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:42 AM   #5
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First, Welcome!

If you do it yourself an oil change should run about $70-100 for oil plus filter. Annual Fuel filters, two, $50-70.

The house stuff is cheap compared to the drive train. Average use is 5-7k miles per year. Be wary of one that has sat unused. Consider a maintenance/extended warranty for a year or two to give you some peace of mind.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:51 AM   #6
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Be very aware of the date codes on the tires. light lenses that are faded is a dead give away that it sat outside most of it's life.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:59 AM   #7
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Used

Don't be afraid of used diesel RVs. Most RV owners will tell you the first 2 years you own them you are working the bugs out. Most well cared for motors aren't even broken in until 30,000 mi and are good for 100,000-200,000 mi plus. If it is well cared for and you are happy with the interior/exterior go for it. There is a huge market for RVs 10+ years old (most banks won't finance ten year old RVs), so the trade ins are very low. You can buy a RV that cost $250,000 10 years ago for under $75k...and it probably has 40-70,000 mi on it. Unlessyou really are fond of a certain dealer buy from an individual. Most RV owners will tell you everything they have done to their RV and what it needs next.

One of the big items to watch is tires. Learn to read the date codes stamped on tires. RV tires rot before they wear out. You can have a beautiful looking tread on tires and have three blowout the same day. Five years is fine on a tire, but check them often. At ten years throw them away. A new batch of tires will set you back $600 ea.

You can't buy an RV and worry about the mileage. 6-7-8-9 mpg is the norm. Think about all the hydrocarbons the Hollywood types burn in their jets and realize if you move your RV only every few weeks it isn't that bad. Most families cannot live in a Prius.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:50 AM   #8
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If you're looking at a coach that's on the fixer upper side of things, the one without water damage (delaminated interior/exterior walls, soft wood, rot, water stains, etc.), in the ceiling or the walls, will almost certainly be the better buy. Any of the above generally a good reason to keep looking. Educating yourself to spot damage like that a super good move!
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:31 AM   #9
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I would also add that a full fiberglass roof would be on my check list. 2005-2007 luxury MH's are going for good prices if you look. Strong factory support is a must with me. Our first DP was new in 1996 and we have had four used since with no major probs. All of which were upper level and taken very good care of.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:25 AM   #10
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we bought our '97 newmar last fall { had a few 5ver's and class c and one clas a gas} we decided after lokking at personall sales to go with a dealer as they {at least here] make sure everything is working and can get you chassis service vs personall sales.. as stated above it can be hard to get financing on older rigs...our local credit union was very good...the book on ours thru nada was about 50g and last yr they were asking 60for this coach...but put on reduced and wanted 45 we made deal at 38... and all systems good new batts and tires real good....it has the standard gel coat cracks ect but i am good at painting with my hvlp system and sanders...
in our search it was impossible to find anything with records..but if it looks cared for you have to go with gut feeling...ours has the c8.3 and upped from 325 to 350 or 375 and has lots of power and no smoke when cold..jeff
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:27 AM   #11
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In a past life I was a proponent of high horsepower, gear fast, run slow when it came to diesel mpg. Your comments suggested keep the horsepower in the 400s and stay away from the 500 and up for best mpg. Did I understand you correctly? Thanks for your replies.
Also, what has been your experience on the mileage of consumables like tires, brakes, oil changes, etc.?
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:34 AM   #12
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Thanks, 366 Muffin. Question: who where to manufactures of the coaches you purchased used and your experience with each? Did you purchase from an RV dealer or other source?
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:10 PM   #13
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Thanks, 366 Muffin. Question: who where to manufactures of the coaches you purchased used and your experience with each? Did you purchase from an RV dealer or other source?
If you have not owned a DP before, here is a site that you will find very helpful. I used it to buy my 03 and it was the best $150 I have spent in a while. It will help you to understand the differences in the makes/models giving you the tools to help make an informed decision. There are some in this forum that do not agree but as a newbie that a had no clue where to start, I found it an excellent source and in the end we are very happy with our final choice.
My word of advice, you should be at least somewhat mechanically inclined to own one of these or it can get expensive.

http://www.rv.org/

Good Luck on your search.
P/S, bought ours private. Got it at a good price after some tough negotiation. It needed some work which I did most of it myself. IMHO, if you find a Newmar in decent shape, you will be happy. These things are built to last.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:28 PM   #14
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If you have not owned a DP before, here is a site that you will find very helpful. I used it to buy my 03 and it was the best $150 I have spent in a while. It will help you to understand the differences in the makes/models giving you the tools to help make an informed decision. There are some in this forum that do not agree but as a newbie that a had no clue where to start, I found it an excellent source and in the end we are very happy with our final choice.
My word of advice, you should be at least somewhat mechanically inclined to own one of these or it can get expensive.

http://www.rv.org/

Good Luck on your search.
P/S, bought ours private. Got it at a good price after some tough negotiation. It needed some work which I did most of it myself. IMHO, if you find a Newmar in decent shape, you will be happy. These things are built to last.
I don't disagree with this advise, just remember that the ratings of RV.org are just one tool. It's pretty easy to get focused on these ratings but please remember that the ratings are derived from printed literature only. There is no driving or physical inspection. The founder of RV.org has some very specific beliefs that you may or may not share.

I do agree that it is a worthwhile resource.
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