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Old 07-23-2014, 06:30 AM   #1
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Decisions, decisions - National or Winnebago

Hello,

My husband and I are looking to buy our first RV and have found 2 recently that look very promising. We have very different styles when it comes to looking for one - he would have bought one at the first RV lot we went to and I like to research each one to try and make sure we donít get something that is known to have problems. We are looking only at used and would like to keep the price at 50,000 to 55,000. He wants diesel for resale value and because heís worked on and sold diesel engines for most of his working life. I want something very clean, nice kitchen area with good storage, good bathroom layout and Iíd really like one that doesnít have an overwhelming amount of gold fixtures but it seems in our price range the older units were of the time that gold was very much in style. Both of us want the living space to be comfortable for watching TV (couch potatoes that we are). Like to stay under 40í as I would like to drive it but feel that smaller would be easier to drive for me. Right now we would use it on long weekend trips but would plan a 2-3 week trip per year later on a few years. Anyhow, weíve found two units that might fit the bill: 2003 National Tradewinds 7375 LTC (37í) with 59,000 that has new tires and is exceptionally clean, looks like it was stored inside and the inside while having lots of gold is still very nice and a 2004 Winnebago Vectra AD (39í not sure if that is the correct model - AD, itís on consignment lot and he didnít have much info) - it has 98,000 miles and is not as well kept inside or out as the National, carpet would need to be replaced and some other cosmetic things inside. Iíve researched both and donít find any glaring red flags on either. I know National has been out of business for a while but have read that their coachs are considered well made, above average quality for the time they were made. Winnebago, of course, has been around forever and Iíve read you can still order any part on any coach if needed.
So I was wondering what the opinion is on either of these coaches? Should we buy the brand that is still in business or does that not matter much? Not wanting to have buyers remorse as this is a big purchase for us but I fear I might research myself right out of buying one.
Any insight offered would be much appreciated.
Thanks!
Misty
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:52 AM   #2
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YES - One thing to consider is that National is NO longer in business. Many lending institutions will not even lend on such coaches. I would go with the Winnebago, just for the reason that you probably get many of the parts still for this coach. I have owned several used Winnebago's and was Never disappointed.

http://www.winnebagoind.com/products...Vectra-bro.pdf
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:16 AM   #3
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Everyone has a different opinion. I don't see owning and orphaned coach (national being out of business) as being an issue. I've owned a 2001 Dolphin since 2009 and would consider another. I've never had an issue find parts. Most of the interior parts (furnace, refrigerator, water, etc) are generic and available from good suppliers. Either at a store or on-line. It may take a little more work than just calling up Winnebago but not much. If you do your own work I wouldn't worry to much about it. If you normally take it to a dealer to have everything done then you would probably be more comfortable with the Winnebago.
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:22 AM   #4
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Condition, condition, condition.

Replacing carpet in a mh is a bigger more expensive per foot job than in a house.

If you will diy the carpet then you can also replace the brass stuff.

Lots of us enjoy our orphans and you may get more for your money.
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:28 AM   #5
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I likewise do not think that an orphan coach is a bad deal. Few parts for a coach from the original manufacturer anyway, and no RV manufacturer stocks their custom parts for RVs that are out of production anyway. Besides, the companies that originally built the Monacos and Fleetwoods of that period are also out of business. The brand names continue, but the OEM is long gone.

I've owned a National RV coach and am OK with them, but in most cases I think a newcomer to RVing might be happier with a Winnebago product. And it is nice to be able to call the factory and get some advice, even if parts are not available. However, in a 10+ year old RV the condition is a huge factor and you have stated the Tradewinds appears to be much better. If that holds up when you have reviewed the Vectra closely, I would lean that way.
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:35 AM   #6
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Glad you're aboard.

I would urge you to read through this thread and take the action you decide upon regarding the inspection. Pre-purchase Inspection Reveals $30k in Hidden Defects

Hope that helps. Best of luck on your decision. Enjoy your adventures and be safe.
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Old 07-23-2014, 01:04 PM   #7
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"and no RV manufacturer stocks their custom parts for RVs that are out of production anyway."

I owned a 7 years old Winnebago and could order ALL and any part needed..... whether a screw, cabinet parts, etc. Even outside cabinet doors.

I owned a 3 year old Fleetwood and could not even get a outside light cover from them.

Have the Diesel engine inspected...... YES YES YES!

Just saying..............
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:04 AM   #8
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Talked to a buddy of mine who had a 10 year old Winnebago that had gotten into a accident. He ordered ALL parts to repair the body damage. Winnebago Still had them and the dealer had them shipped ASAP. Coach - Repaired, painted and back on the road in less then 3 weeks. NO hunting for parts, All manufacture parts and it looks Great!

Just Saying...........
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Old 07-24-2014, 10:42 AM   #9
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Either one would be nice coaches. However, if the care and maintenance of interior and exterior is lacking, was the same done for the power train. Ask to see all maintenance records of both units.

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Old 07-24-2014, 11:40 AM   #10
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I have a 2006 Winnebago and have needed to scrounge for parts as items were no longer available. These were 3rd party items, but Winnebago and the dealer could not help find replacements.
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:12 AM   #11
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Misty,

Here's another angle to consider. Since this is your first RV purchase, like many of us, it will likely NOT be your last RV purchase. So many of us learn allot about our likes and dislikes in the first year or so of ownership. Then, so many of us end up purchasing again within a year or two.

The resale value or trade-in value may be a consideration in your decision. I'm guessing that the Winnebago may have a broader resale appeal.

cheers,
Joopy
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Old 07-28-2014, 10:34 AM   #12
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Thank you all for the thoughtful replies.

Got a bit of a run around from the salesman on the National. Waiting to see if the consignment lot accepts our offer on the Winnebago (contingent on clean report from an inspector) today.

Jupiter - I think you're right that this won't be our last RV purchase, need to find out what we like and don't like.
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:00 PM   #13
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Sorry to jump in on MistyAnn's question, but I'm in a similar search for my first Motorhome and when I read the original post the first concern I had was the miles on the Winnebago. However, none of the feedback even mentioned that as an issue.

So my questions is am I being overly concerned as I limit my search to MH's with about 50,000 miles or less. I know the engine will last way more miles than that but won't the miles effect everything else in the coach?

Thanks,

Craig
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
So my questions is am I being overly concerned as I limit my search to MH's with about 50,000 miles or less. I know the engine will last way more miles than that but won't the miles effect everything else in the coach?
Miles affect the chassis mechanical parts but not the "house" parts. Actual wear & tear is all that matters there and you can see that.
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