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Old 01-31-2012, 05:43 PM   #15
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Two schools of thought:

1 - buy the best maintaianed, newest one that you can and hope you dont need to do repairs in the near future..

2 - buy one that needs a gut and remodel, engine work, etc and fix it and have no worries for 10 years

The ABSOLUTE thing to look for is a rusty chassis and frame. Thats a deal killer. I once looked at one on a lot for over $120k that I poked my finger through the frame on! Rust fell when you closed the door
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:29 PM   #16
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Look closely underneath- If it's been "on the salt", stay away from it.

IMHO- Stay away from the older P-30 and P-32 Chevy chassis. The brakes are hopelessly poor on the P-30's and the "auto park" is a nightmare on the P-32's- Very few people can work on them.

The Workhorse W-22 and W-24 are good chassis. The 22 and 24 stand for 22,000 and 24,000 pounds maximum weight. Some had a major brake recall campaign announced recently- Make sure that the 51101-C Bosch Brake Caliper Brake Recall campaign has been completed.

I also strongly agree on sticking with a "non-orphaned" manufacturer.

You have to be handy if you buy an older motor home. The upkeep will keep you busy.

I can't speak of Ford chassis.

Good luck,
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Hubrich View Post
The Workhorse W-22 and W-24 are good chassis. The 22 and 24 stand for 22,000 and 24,000 pounds maximum weight. Some had a major brake recall campaign announced recently- Make sure that the 51101-C Bosch Brake Caliper Brake Recall campaign has been completed.
The W24 chassis doesn't have the brake issues, their brake system is completely different than the W22/W20 series. Their hydraulic parking brake system is also different (but still EXPENSIVE to repair, I know!)
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:33 PM   #18
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I purchased a 2000 National Sea View 8310 on the Ford V-10 in December of 09 with 15K miles on it. The dealer had replaced all the rubber with new Goodyear. My only problems have been repairing the Engine AC compressor. and on the coach we recovered the Sofa bed, booth cushions and frames around the windows.I am currently installing vinyl plank flooring in the salon and bath and new carpet in cab and bedroom. I have one slide on the Driver side that runs from driver seat to the middle of coach and holds the dinning booth and full kitchen. I have put 12k miles on in years of use and have had no problems with anything. Good luck on your search and if you might be interested in mine PM me and I can give you more info.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:59 PM   #19
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About 3 yrs ago,we bought our 98 winnebago adventurer,that I found on craigslist.Only 10k miles,and a repo.It was aparently parked,and used on weekends without moving it.Loved the floorplan,and it was nicer than anything we saw at the dealers,that was in our budget.So far I have installed new tires,front air springs,matress (just didn't want to sleep on a used one),2 air breakers (plumbing vent),air filters,fluids,generator fuel pump,and a lot of gas struts to hold up compartment doors.I work at a GM dealer,and I worked at a coachman dealer when I was in high school,so I can do it all myself.We love our mh and wish we had time to use it more.One thing that I would look out for is evidence of water leaks.That is one repair that I would shy away from.Good luck,and don't be in a hurry,the right coach for you is out there.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:15 PM   #20
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Thank you for sharing your experiences and opinions. Especially those of you that I see such low post counts on--I'm happy you decided to help with my questions.

I agree about the orphaned manufacturer viewpoint. I'll stay away from those that are completely gone, and demote but tolerate those that have been reformed.

For those that wrote about watching for salt and exposure problems-i'm in San Diego so there are a few with sea salt exposure but I don't think many make it to the snow.

As far as finding one stored inside versus outside I envy those of you that live places where people can afford to build a barn/garage to keep their motorhome in. In Southern California very, very few are stored inside. So sunfaded and slightly tired is pretty much a rule. Lots of dealers re-do the decals before putting up for sale. Another advantage to full body paint.

In shopping there are just so many that have been orphaned by their owners-not the manufacturers. The Pace Arrow with upgrades sold before I could see it. My latest find is a 2003 Adventurer with just 10k miles on the v10 chassis. Original owners but they can't even tell me when it was last serviced or how many hours are on the generator set. Sounds like run away time-but the asking price is 8k below 'low retail'. It is 2 hours from here and I'm trying to decide whether it is even worth having an inspector go give it the once over. They lived in it for a year when new, then one person lived in it for a year some time later. It sits in a lot in the desert and I suspect hasn't moved since last March. If I budget 5k for tires, fluids, misc. fixes can I shake the rot out of it and move ahead--that is what I'm pondering this week. I should note that this is my exact target coach in size/model/manufacturer and 2003 seems almost new when I've been looking at ads for so many older units.

I am handy and can even live with some auxiliary systems not working. Sounds like some of you have had no problems with your 'parked queen' and others have had to invest big money. I looked over the Good Sam's extended warranty information and the page that gave costs for major repairs were actually much lower than I expected. My brother paid 4k for a new tranny in his Honda Odyssey--and it looks about the same or less for a motorhome.

Things I hadn't considered are things like 'bushings' for a smooth $5k. I'm assuming the repair upgraded some things at the same time. I hope so because bad bushings seem like something really hard to find during an inspection. I'm going to scan posts on using Camping World versus a mobile inspector--you may find a fresh post from me about that in a new thread.

Seems like there are just a constant stream of 'fixes' needed on any motorhome. If they are orphaned by their owners that fix list just gets longer and if they are not doing recommended maintenance the list accelerates in time and expense. Best bet is to buy a motorhome from someone that has used it on a regular basis and kept up on both repairs and maintenance. From what I've seen offered for sale I'd guess that is <5% of those on the market. And unfortunately many of those 5% are FSBO and they want a tremendous blood/sweat and tears premium. Locally the only one I've seen that meets my requirement is priced at Retail Book, they are higher than the local dealers and think theirs deserves to be.

I'll be pondering each one that is advertised. and this week mostly whether that adventurer is worth a gamble.

Again, thanks for sharing your experiences--they are valuable to me.
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:25 PM   #21
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Just a suggestion and if I violate any rules let me apologize in advance, but you might check out a web site called crankyape.com. They sell bank repos and the prices look to be about 60 to 90 % of low retail.

Beware, the list the problems with the vehicle and repairs that they are aware of but there might be others you would have to deal with.

I looked at these closely for many months and it looks liek some deals can be had.

Caveat emptor!
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:29 AM   #22
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In the end, when buying a used vehicle of any kind, you can expect what you get, but hardly ever get what you expect.

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Old 02-02-2012, 10:54 AM   #23
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I bought my '02 National Dolphin W-22 off of craigslist. I jumped on what I saw as a good deal, and it was. I just wish I had waited because now I want something bigger.

I would counter the Orphan warnings with this: Even though National RV (the maker of my coach) is long gone, there is NOTHING on my Dolphin that is not available online. Even new body panels (which are unique to the brand) are available from a third party that bought the molds. I would not hesitate buying an orphaned brand again, if the deal was right. Do not pass up an otherwise good fit because of it being an orphan.

Also, have a look at the classifieds on THIS forum. There are some good looking coaches there.
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:55 AM   #24
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I bought my Breeze last June with 15,000 on it. I found very few things wrong. Maybe a few loose screws, but I can't remember finding anything broken. The dash AC compressor had a slight oil leak, but worked fine. It did take me a month to Dunnerize it to my liking. Little things to make RV'n easier. The only major expense was new tires.
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:52 PM   #25
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I bought my Breeze last June with 15,000 on it. I found very few things wrong. Maybe a few loose screws, but I can't remember finding anything broken. The dash AC compressor had a slight oil leak, but worked fine. It did take me a month to Dunnerize it to my liking. Little things to make RV'n easier. The only major expense was new tires.

Same here, bought my '02 Dolphin in April last year with 22k on it. Only minor, easy fix problems. Had a water leak behind the WH, bathroom vent fan blades exploded, $5 part. Had to replace a relay on the slide controller board, $22 + 5 minutes time. All minor stuff. Mine needs tires too, only because of age, not wear. I'll wait for spring to do that.

This is why I cautioned the OP against summarily writing off orphaned brands. National made a top-quality coach, and other than not being able to CALL them directly, there is nothing I can't do to maintain this coach. Only replacement body panels are unique to the brand, every thing else is off-the-shelf, and easy to find, all the way down to the brake lights and headlights. And should I ever need one (hope not!) the body panels are and will continue to be available brand new from a third party manufacturer.
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:38 PM   #26
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:35 PM   #27
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Ramblin,

My buddy has an `04 Breeze LX and his wife said they paid $20,000 more than I did and I got a better kitchen layout, a lot more storage space and other things. She wants to trade. Theirs is on the Workhorse chassis and does not have any anti-sway bars. They hate that too.
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:40 PM   #28
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My wife and I purchased our first MH in 05, it was a used 1990 Bounder 35' with no slides. The thing had been well taken care of and serviced as needed and it had low miles for its age. It was stating to show signs of wear and it did cost me some money in regards to repairs, the radiator repair was a major fix and some minor roof leak repairs. It was still running on its original tires and they showed no signs of wear or dry rot and believe me I had them checked. Now the year I got rid of it I was going to start refreshing the interior and yes I was going to put some new tires on it. The 4 years I owned it we enjoyed it and yes it did cost me some money going in. We had some great trips and some good times in that first one and sometimes I wish I had it back,,, don't miss the bathroom though!
We now have an 05 which is bigger and has 3 slides, This one was two years old when we purchased it and I beleive I've spent more on this one then I did the old Bounder, but we enjoy it immensly!
Whenever you buy anything used, no matter how close you look at it things are going to go bad. So good luck on your search and I hope you make out as well as we did with our Bounder.

Regards,RovinOn
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