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Old 01-07-2013, 10:05 PM   #1
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Buying an older DP Class A

I'm looking at an older (1995) Tiffin 40'. It appears to be in excellent condition & was well maintained with records. It was a high end unit in it's day and would allow us a high quality unit that we can afford. The previous owner updated and added upgrades. Low mileage and stored inside. What should I look for? We intend on taking a 3 month trip across the country & back. Looking for advise.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:28 PM   #2
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We bought a 1994 Monaco Signature a year ago! We have had some maintenance but in general, it has been good to us.

Going through the maintenance records, we saw a bill for $16k for a transmission rebuild and new radiator and CAC. Also a bill for $6k for a new cylinder head.

If those things had happened in the year after we bought it rather than the year before we bought it, we would be pretty disappointed.

Have the drivetrain checked out thoroughly, including an oil analysis if you can.

Paul
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:48 PM   #3
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Howdy and welcome to the forum. Be sure to check the date codes on the tires. A new set of tires will be a substantial amount of money.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:49 PM   #4
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I agree with Paul. I would have the drivetrain inspected by a diesel mechanic. Cheap insurance. I bought my 1st RV in July and it's a 1992 dp with the 5.9 cummins and I love it. Good luck
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:00 AM   #5
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An oil analysis even if just done yearly on your own rig is well worth the cost! Can let you know if there is something starting to go wrong so you can catch it early!
But on a used rig I'd insist on it even with perfect maintenance records. Even on the trans too.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:02 AM   #6
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Hello, I agree about the diesel mechanic, tire age, and oil analysis, but I'd have the mechanic also check the brake pads and system. Those are the 'big ticket' items that you want to be sure are O.K. House systems, like A/C, fridge, water heater and furnace, generator, etc should all be checked to be sure they are in good condition. Looking at the condition of the batteries and connections can give an indication of how well it's been cared for. If there's no signs of roof or side panel leakage, you might have found a deal!
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:58 AM   #7
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You are on the right track with a high-end coach that is a little older.

We have a beautiful coach with high end amenities, which, in general, all still work. We love it and don't hesitate to take it anywhere.

Paul
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:32 AM   #8
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All true but, in spite of all the inspections there will be things that are either broken, don't work quite right, or you absolutely hate. If you think of the coach as a combination of a 17 year old house and a 17 year old car you'll get the idea. After 17 years things begin to fail. Expect to replace things like faucets, toilet seals, etc. Have a close look at the carpet, fabrics, etc. Just like in your house, fabrics deteriorate with age. Be prepared to spend time and money to make it the way you want it ... then, after being prepared to spend an additional $5000 (or more) do you still want it?

In my case, after all the work (I can, and do, most of the work myself) I'm very satisfied with our purchase of a 1997 coach. Especially since there is absolutely no way I can afford/justify a new vehicle.

Just be prepared, like buying a house, you'll be doing quite a bit of "Huh ... I never noticed that ...."
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:53 AM   #9
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It's a heavy MH. You mentioned nothing about engine (size) or number of transmission gears.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:04 AM   #10
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This move not for the faint of heart, or those that aren't planning on doing the majority of their repair work? If you can bring yourself to do it, bucks spent for bang received factor doesn't get much better if you get a good one!

You're betting a lot of money on your ability to learn as much about that coach as possible without owning it first! What you don't know about, you'll have to hire experts you can trust - 3rd party experts!

My personal priority would be regarding the presence of any type of water damage/rot/delaminated areas. Big flags go up with the presence of anything that might be described like that! A coach stored indoors may not show anything like that - but it's still very possible! Especially in the floors?

I don't trust myself to inspect the chassis components, I had that done. After explaining what I was doing, the shop charged me for a "safety inspection" which involved having it on a hoist to enable a good looking over. The 250. they charged me for a clean bill of health bought enough piece of mind to allow me to consummate the purchase! Best money I ever spent.

The CAC inspection mentioned earlier would be part of a good plan I would think? Not only are they pretty well known for being plugged (lack of air flow through them causing cooling problems) but they're getting old enough where replacement is not unheard of?

If looking at a DP, I'm sure you've considered all the scheduled maintenance involved - but you should also be considering the unscheduled maintenance? The condition of all the weather seals/gaskets on all windows, the condition of any/all caulking, paint/decals, roof, hoses, belts, etc...

Mine was in what I would call pretty darn good condition, but despite that, it took me about a year to get caught up on it.

Best of luck!
-Al
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:34 AM   #11
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Bought our used Mountain Aire last year at 38 cents on the dollar. Could not be happier with it. So far, so good...nothing major and we fix the minor things ourselves. Hey...these things were never perfect, not even when new. I feel like thanking the original owner for taking the $120k hit on depreciation...and taking such good care of such a beautiful coach.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwhittle View Post
We bought a 1994 Monaco Signature a year ago! We have had some maintenance but in general, it has been good to us.

Going through the maintenance records, we saw a bill for $16k for a transmission rebuild and new radiator and CAC. Also a bill for $6k for a new cylinder head.

If those things had happened in the year after we bought it rather than the year before we bought it, we would be pretty disappointed.

Have the drivetrain checked out thoroughly, including an oil analysis if you can.

Paul
16 grand for a trans rebuild? 6 grand for a cylinder head? please tell us what shop that was so none of us go there
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:02 PM   #13
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My cylinder head for my Cummins ISC cost $13K. I watched them do the work, they were an ASE Cummins certified shop. It just was that hard to get at it and do the work, etc. Parts from Cummins cost $6K alone with the repair shop taking no cut.
A new radiator from Spartan cost $2400 plus shipping not counting installation. Diesels can be expensive if they break.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:36 AM   #14
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The actual transmission was much less, but a big expense was the new radiator to replace the one that broke and mixed coolant and trans fluid necessitating the rebuild.

I found an old receipt for one rear brake rotor/pads/axle oil seal for $2200. I was able to get both sides done for $1600, but I had the luxury of not being on the road and picking the repair shop.

Paul
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