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Old 02-02-2012, 02:56 PM   #29
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I bought a 2003 Fleetwood with 44,000 miles on it and 65 hours on the genny in June of 2011. It does have 2 slides and I am thankful for them. I bought it from a dealership. I absolutely love it! I can't get out enough with it. Since I'm still a working stiff and the coach is financed, I don't have the luxury of retirement income and my own time (I'm so envious of retirees ) I talked to the prior owners of the coach, which gave me incredible insight to how the coach had been used prior to my buying it. To me, that and the maintenance records that came with the coach, and my crustiness at the service manager at the dealership about any potential problems helped me overcome some of my fears, not all, but some of them. We went through every single system, light, valve, switch, you name it. It took them almost 6 hours before I accepted it. I brought dear friends with me that had been RVing for 20 years and knew what to look at.

I wish I would have demanded the tire date codes from the dealership before buying it, or crawl my butt under there and look myself, but didn't (dumb me). They put new ones on the steering axle, but the four drive tires need to be replaced as their date codes place them at 10 years old now. Even though they are Goodyear GV670, and I've driven a couple thousand miles with them, its time to get them replaced because of age, not wear.

The more knowledge you have, the better. Don't let dealers tell you 'there's no service records' or 'the prior owner's don't want to be contacted' I haven't seen anyone on here or come across a prior owner that won't be honest with you about his/her ownership and problems (if any) with the coach.

I love mine and here are some pics of it from the dealer before I bought it!

Good Luck and jump in as one user said in this thread...the water is great!

kent
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Kent - '03 Fleetwood Storm Ford F-53 V-10
With Susie (Lhasa); Angie (Shorkie) Ferbie (ShihTzu)
In Memoriam: Katie, Spencer and Zoey
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:17 PM   #30
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Our first was a 94 Bounder (Ford F53 460) that was ten years old at the time and it had 92K miles on it. We purchased it from the original owner who had the records of eveything that was ever done to it. He was a mechanic and did all his own service. The engine was rebuilt at 90K and the trans was gone thru at 85K. We had it for 4 years and traded it in with 116K miles and it still ran like a top. Our reason for trading was to move up to something a bit larger as retirement was near and longer travels were in line. The only things that went wrong the 4 years was the fridge being replaced which was quite expensive but it was 12 years old at that time and we had to drop the gas tank to fix a pinched gas line going to the generator. I did put new tires on as well but that was more for my piece of mind. All in all it was a good experience for us. Our newer one was used as well but we bought thru a dealer and so far so good except for an issue with the jacks but hey, things are and will go wrong from time to time. Hope you find the ride that you like, just have a reserve for when something goes wrong.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:25 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeatherTodd View Post
Do this quick test to see if you have the stomach for it.
Take a brand new $100 bill. Light it on fire and watch it burn to nothing. Then take another... do it again. If you can do that... youre ready to delve into the "hobby" (a lifestyle for many) known as RV'ing.
: lighting 100 bills on fire...... how funny and how true!!!
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With Susie (Lhasa); Angie (Shorkie) Ferbie (ShihTzu)
In Memoriam: Katie, Spencer and Zoey
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:28 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lincolnboy2 View Post
: lighting 100 bills on fire...... how funny and how true!!!

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Old 02-02-2012, 04:53 PM   #33
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Ours is older than your considering

Ours is older than your considering but I'll throw in my $.02.

When looking we looked at Craig's list coaches and dealer lot coaches. The coaches that had been used that year or the previous year were far and away the better coaches. After a few weekends spent driving all over looking at them if someone said it hadn't been used in 3 or more years I didn't even go out to look at it.

We ended up buying a 1994 Winnebago Brave for $10K (two years ago). It was immaculate inside and sun faded and a little scratched up outside.

My advice for looking is to open every cabinet (have your wife or whomever has the better sense of smell check for mildew from water leaks). If she smells something you can continue to look at the coach for your own learning experience but I wouldn't buy it.

Turn on and check every appliance and function in the coach. If it is winterized ask them to let you know when it will be unwinterized and you can come back then.

Take it for a nice long test drive. If it doesn't drive like a dream I wouldn't buy it. Bring a creeper and slide underneath and look at everything. If there was a tire blow out recently you will see the damage. Even if you know nothing about the underside mechanics of the coach you will still learn about the condition by doing this.

Things you can expect to do on the age of coach your looking at:
- replace tires
- replace shocks
- tune up
- fluid replacement including bleed and refill brake fluid
- change fuel filter
- service generator (include changing it's fuel filter)
- change the smoke, LP and CO detectors (they will have aged out)
- replace batteries

When you talk to the former owner ask them what maintenance they do every year and what they do for it when in storage. Most folks we talked to said they never had to do a thing to it in the X years they owned it. Tells you that it will be in pretty bad shape. Most folks said everything worked just fine when they put it in storage 3 years ago. I took this as a bad sign and bought from someone who had used it on a trip just a few weeks before we bought it.

We've put about $7-8K in ours since we bought it. This includes:
New tires
New shocks
New idler arm
New fuel pump on generator and in gas tank
New toilet
New thermostat on radiator
Tune up including new spark plugs
Two color back-up camera's added (cheap to buy from costco but way overcharged by installation guy $1K to install)
Two fantastic fans added (waste of money and again way overcharged to have installed)
New side mirrors (I wanted bigger so paid $500 to upgrade)
New LP detector
New smoke and CO alarms
New curtains in the bedroom
Two oil changes (1 each year - $200 each!)
Hard wired in surge suppressor
Tire pressure monitor system
New oxygenics shower head (waste of money)
New shower curtain

The previous owner had replaced the overhead air conditioner so that is pretty new. They also upgraded the electric and installed an inverter. I think they also put new vinyl in the kitchen. Not sure if they replaced the carpet but it is in very good shape.

Our furnace, refrigerator, hot water heater, water pump, and generator are all original but seem to be in good shape. The interior was in fabulous shape. I must say the foam on the captain's chairs, dinnette and foam mattress is way better than anything that I've seen new today.

Our expenses are high because we can do practically nothing ourselves. For example to replace the thermostat on the radiator (a $20 part) I had to pay Goodyear $200 to do it. Also running the back up camera wiring cost us $1000. My husband ran the second one himself by following the path of the first one. If you can do at least a little yourself then you will be ahead of the game getting a good quality recently used, used coach.

For our less than $20K investment we have had a ball. You can see all the wonderful places we've gone and things we've done on our blog. <big grin>
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:36 AM   #34
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Some say that owning a boat is like having a hole in the water you pour money into. Owning an RV is the same, except you are pouring the money into a hole in the road.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:12 AM   #35
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Lincolnboy2,

Other than the very sad part of not being retired, your story and MH look like a mirror image of what I ended up with. Went out one Saturday to buy a MH, looked at 10 at two dealers, called my buddy with links to what I looked at, went online and made an offer for the only one I really liked. Little did I know, he had the same year MH, but the LX model. Your floor plan, other than colors, looks almost identical to mine.

Most has 'something' I didn't like; bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, etc. My sig below, made me smile. Too much to explain here. PM me your phone # and if you don't mind, I will call you to compare notes on my dime.
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:38 AM   #36
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Quote:
Some say that owning a boat is like having a hole in the water you pour money into. Owning an RV is the same, except you are pouring the money into a hole in the road.
Exactly!
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:05 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunner View Post
Lincolnboy2,

Other than the very sad part of not being retired, your story and MH look like a mirror image of what I ended up with. Went out one Saturday to buy a MH, looked at 10 at two dealers, called my buddy with links to what I looked at, went online and made an offer for the only one I really liked. Little did I know, he had the same year MH, but the LX model. Your floor plan, other than colors, looks almost identical to mine.

Most has 'something' I didn't like; bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, etc. My sig below, made me smile. Too much to explain here. PM me your phone # and if you don't mind, I will call you to compare notes on my dime.
Sent you my home and cell.

Look forward to it!

Kent
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With Susie (Lhasa); Angie (Shorkie) Ferbie (ShihTzu)
In Memoriam: Katie, Spencer and Zoey
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