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Old 04-05-2016, 06:16 PM   #43
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All good advice here... I'm not sure if this was mentioned, so I'll add:

Be sure to check out the weight ratings for the rig. You not only want to know how much stuff you can carry, but because each axle will have a max capacity, you may be limited in where you can load your stuff and whether you can travel with full tanks. There are lots of threads on IRV2 on this subject so I won't try to summarize here - but do your research.

As an example, we have a Jayco class C - the biggest coach they put on the Ford E450 chassis. Lots of basement storage and interior storage. However, because it's a big coach, it means that the chassis / axles have less available carrying capacity. It's been okay for what we do, as we always camp with full hookups and I am careful about how we pack, but there are folks here who have had rude surprises when they check their weights. And you definitely do not want to travel overweight for safety reasons.

I don't know whether we will have another rig after this one - hopefully this one will see us through till the kids are out of school. But I've certainly learned a lot from our ownership of it (and the TrailManor before it) and that will inform my process if there's a next time.

Best of luck to you!

P.S. - edited to add: decide whether you are a DIY-er or more of a check writer. Neither one is better of course, but understanding how you plan to maintain & repair your rig may help you decide whether a rig suits you and your budget.

Steve & Carol

2000 Jayco 3230K Designer
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Old 04-05-2016, 07:12 PM   #44
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We bought our Class A, a 2008 Winnebago Destination - DP, about two years ago, after about a year of research, RV shows, dealer visits, et al.

The search really began two decades ago and spanned two pop-up trailers, a tent trailer, and a fifth wheel. Vehicles include Chevy G20 conversion van, Trail Blazer & a 2500 HD with the 8.1 L gasser. The last combo, 2500 HD & fifth wheel was supposed to be the last, only became the next to last? The rig towed great but never saw a gas station it didn't like.

So the search was on for a Class A. Narrowed it down to the Freightliner chassis, Cummins Diesel & a Winnebago coach. Well, that is the past oriented justification. We did look at used and new, but never found the quite right one. And settling was not an option. One spring day, exasperated after a fruitless and frustrating search, we turned once again to online searching. On eBay, we found the one. In Alabama. We are in Maine.

We contacted the seller, had a pleasant conversation and put in a contingent bid at the asking price. (Which was $nnk below comparable year group models.). To this day, I sense that the seller chose us because we wanted the unit v wanted to flip it. The next day, the auction was closed. The next weekend we flew down to seal the deal. Walking away was still an option.

The coach was immaculate. The chassis exceeded expectations. And the deal was made.

We could not be happier. We are still working and can only get in one full road trip a year. There are weekends, we get in it to just go for a ride, in between as frequent as possible extended weekends tha annual roadtrip. Destinations so far have included Eastport, Maine & Niagare Falls, NY. This year, the big trip will be to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Follow your heart, listen to your head & Know What You Want to Afford. We could have spent more but found what we wanted in a used coach.

Choose wisely & enjoy the road.

Bob & Patty Smith
2008 Winnebago Destination
Both USAF, RetIred
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Old 04-05-2016, 07:17 PM   #45
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Great info here. We looked for about 1 1/2 years and almost bought a travel trailer, but eventually got a Fuzion chrome toy hauler (a good bit above our original price point). After putting 43 nights in it in 8 months, we have now better realized things we like and don't like. You can sit in a unit on the lot and imagine camping in it and watching tv, cooking etc, but until u do it, it is hard to really know how well it fits your camping style imo.

As such, we r looking at class a's now...have looked at many dp and gas units and frankly, it all comes down to how much you want to spend. The entry level pushers cut some obvious corners to save cost and once you start looking hard you can tell this. The higher end gas units (newmar and tiffin that I have looked at it) appear to be a cut above some others, but pay special attention to cargo carrying capacity, towing capacity and storage. This is where the dp's have significant advantages (only important if you need them). Instead of jumping into an entry level dp or higher end gasser now, we r going to wait and keep looking and testing units until we know for sure. Also allow us to get more funds built up to (most likely) get a mid size 38-40ft dp. Wife doesn't want used, so for us, new it will be. Good luck in your search!
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:03 PM   #46
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Although I am not a seasoned veteran like a lot of others on here I do have one suggestion. Be patient and be flexible. Every so often we are presented with a true bargain, the trick is to know it when you see it and it definitely won't be sitting on a dealer's lot. It will be word of mouth and a friend of a friend. There will be some reason for a duress sale, like a new baby on the way, loss of job, eminent foreclosure, etc. You will need cash in hand and be ready to overlook minor imperfections. This will only work if you are a DIY kind of person. It may not be THE perfect floor plan but you will never know which floor plan is perfect until you have spent a little time in it. No, it may not be a 45' Prevost DP, but if you can get it for less than half of NADA it leaves quite a bit of room to upgrade.
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:39 PM   #47
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Of course quality is an important factor and so is floorplan, overall length, space, storage, power. Are you looking within your budget?

Any buyer who follows through with most of the suggestions made previously here will certainly do great!

All I would add:

Since you're not likely to be able to camp in it before buying, spend a considerable amount of time in the rig before buying.

Not just 20 or 30 minutes.

Eat first, then bring something to drink and go sit in the living area for an hour or more. Bring a note pad if that helps. While you're sitting there, relax back as you would want to when in camp and spend the time using your imagination...

Where would your significant other be, where would the dog(s) be? If you have kids, where would they be?

Do you need a space for dog bed(s)? Or a dog crate?

Where would the animals' feeding station go?

Imagine what meal prep and eating would look like in that space. Cooks/chefs should look around and determine where pots and pans would go. What to use for the pantry?

How's the view to the TV.

What if you wanted to replace the sofa with a great pair of medium size recliners? Is the sofa a good 87" or so which you would need for that? (To us this was critical as we don't 'do' RV sofas... Gotta have two very comfortable recliners.)

Go stand in the shower... Is it sized and shaped well for you and your size?

Is the bed long enough for your height? Wide enough (do you want a King?). Do you like to have some things beside the bed? Where would they go? Are there power outlets by the bed?

Are there power outlets by the driving position?

Spend a good bit of time imagining yourself living in that space for a moderately extensive period of time? Would it be comfortable enough? Is the storage space adequate?

If you have a variety of hobbies that involve some gear, envision where that would go. Radio gear, cameras and related equipment, guns, ammo, computers? You're not going to want to stuff that all down in the cargo bays.

If you have kids, where would all of their stuff go?

Lastly, how comfortable are you in that seat now that you've been in it for an hour or more?

If considering a motorhome, will you want to tow an 'away' vehicle (aka toad)? What is the towing capacity of the motorhome you're looking at? What is the weight of the toad you would want to pull?

At any given length, a motorhome typically will have the most storage space of all the RV types, with the 5th wheel coming in 2nd, and trailers a distant last, primarily due to the exterior storage bays benefitting the motorhome. How about inside? Be sure to check that out.
"Be kind... everyone you encounter in life is fighting battles that you have no awareness of."
2016 Newmar Bay Star 3124 w/ 2016 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unltd Hard Rock
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Old 04-05-2016, 09:32 PM   #48
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Man this is a wealth of info. My first RV was a TT, since I thought I could not afford a MH. After 2 trips I sat down and decided to take the plunge. What I really wanted was a MH. For me dealer service reputation was as important as rig choice. What I really wanted and think I still do, was and is a class A. Good dealer only had entry level one which was in my price range but drove horribly. So, I settled for the C. TT was nice. C is nice although expected higher quality paint job and other things. If I ever get the chance to trade, I may have to settle for dealers 4-6 hours away in order to get the A that I want and can afford. I am currently looking for an independent RV service place with a good reputation, but not finding much nearby. If you are not prepared to fix most things yourself, access to a nearby reputable source for service is crucial, IMO.
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Old 04-05-2016, 09:55 PM   #49
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Be practical and realistic about the total cost of ownership. Factor the owning/operating costs of the first year into your budget, particularly for a used RV. Insurance, fuel, planned maintenance, unexpected maintenance, upgrades, tires, etc.

Know what things will cost to avoid surprises down the road. For example, DP tires will cost $500 to $600 each. Used DP's sometimes come onto the market when the owner is faced with thousands of dollars in costs. If you have someone do an inspection for you, ask for an estimate of maintenance costs for the
next year or two. Based on personal experience and accounts of others on this site, $10,000 is probably a reasonable start-up maintenance budget for a used DP.
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Old 04-06-2016, 04:54 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by TwelveVolt View Post
Be practical and realistic about the total cost of ownership. Factor the owning/operating costs of the first year into your budget, particularly for a used RV. Insurance, fuel, planned maintenance, unexpected maintenance, upgrades, tires, etc.

Know what things will cost to avoid surprises down the road. For example, DP tires will cost $500 to $600 each. Used DP's sometimes come onto the market when the owner is faced with thousands of dollars in costs. If you have someone do an inspection for you, ask for an estimate of maintenance costs for the
next year or two. Based on personal experience and accounts of others on this site, $10,000 is probably a reasonable start-up maintenance budget for a used DP.
In my case it was alittle more than $10000, but much of that was due to newbie mistakes (new roof and some body work).
2005 Discovery 39s Cat C7 330hp, AF1 brakes,
2013 Silverado Crew Cab Toad, Blue Ox Towbar
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:31 AM   #51
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It's always a roll of the dice as a first time shopper.

Having previously owned a boat....only to find out I was the only one in the family that really wanted it...I wasn't in a hurry to go all out nuts on our first rv purchase. We started with a 30 ft 5th wheel...

Five years later...and over 300 nights of use...I was convinced that we thoroughly loved this lifestyle. Only then, could we justify throwing more resources into this lifestyle.

No regrets really. While we owned the 5th wheel, I had made a list of things I thought would make life much better. More air conditioning, bigger fridge, a sink you could brush your teeth over without smacking your head against the vanity, no more 15" China bomb tires, generator, larger grey tank...to name a few. Then we slowly waded into the Class A DP...and it's been a dream. There are always a few sacrifices. Higher initial purchase price, higher upkeep cost, and not being able to stay in a few of the State Parks that we truly enjoyed before, due to the length/weight of the Class A.

It's really hard for us to spend your money for you without knowing how much you're going to use it, and how...
Charlie & Ronni plus the Sammies...Conner & Ginger.
2016 Ventana 4037
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:41 AM   #52
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You have not said how many people or what you plan you plan to do with it. Full time? Travel the country? Local weekend trips? Park it at a site for a season? Without that info any suggestions people make are just an indication of what they like and not what you want or need.
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Old 04-06-2016, 06:22 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by ProjectPro View Post
Our biggest mistake was not having the underside checked out by an expert. The inside looked like new after Lazy Days PDI detailers were done, and everything inside worked as it should (except we couldn't check out the washer/dryer because we weren't at a sewer site).
I found examples of ProjectPro's discovery at the famous Alvarado, Texas "volume dealer," and at their competitor up the road.

'Problem is, the big dealer buys undercoating by the rail-car load, and slops it liberally across the bottom before buyers and their inspectors have a chance to look. At the smaller dealer, I'd settled on a beautiful Holiday Rambler Imperial with a mid-cabin big screen TV that isn't blocked by retracted slides, a drop-dead gorgeous black leather interior with side hallway. I went back before putting money down with coveralls and a creeper. Underneath was like a shipwreck: you could actually peel off layers of metal with fingernails!
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Old 04-06-2016, 06:39 AM   #54
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It's been mentioned already, but I cannot overemphasize the importance of an independent inspection if you are buying a used coach. They will ALWAYS find enough wrong to pay for themselves, at least on the coach side. I recommend you have both a coach and chassis inspection, which will be different people. We walked away from two coaches after inspections.

One thing I wished I'd done was a Carfax report- I found out after that our coach had been sold at auction at one point, plus it also showed how many owner. Also, claims made on service contracts are shown, but no detail, just 'electrical warranty' or something like that.

We got lucky when we bought our first class A- a gasser off Craig's List. We didn't have any inspection, I didn't even drive it! After the cheap handling fix, it drove fine and we really enjoyed it. It had been owned by smokers, and while we got 90% of the smell out, we knew it wasn't our 'final' coach. We used it for a summer and learned out musts and wants for our next coach, a used DP. Out of the blue, we got an offer for it and sold it for more than we paid for it.

The more flexible you can be on your 'musts', the better deal you can get. Be patient, too, as others have said. We weren't, but at least the second time around we took the time to drive the coach and have it inspected. Picking it up in 10 days...
Walt & Bonnie
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05 Prius on Demco Kar Kaddy SS (for now)
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:58 AM   #55
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We did not do anything smart and rational, but got lucky.

Decided our first MH would be a Country Coach 38' Magna.

Shopped for a 7 year old rig.

No inspections, just a test drive and 4 year mechanical warranty.

Bought it 14 years and 70,000 miles ago and probably paid too much.

Still have and use it.
1995 CC Magna #5280
C8.3L 300hp Cummins, 31,000lbs
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:16 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by MRUSA14 View Post
NOT! A front diesel is much different than a DP. It will ride differently, handle differently, and you will have the noise and heat of the engine in the cab with you, instead of at the rear where it belongs.

X2 on the heat and noise with engine up front! Another disadvantage of a coach with the engine up front, irregardless of whether it is a diesel or a gas engine is that the "umph" has to get to the drive wheel in the rear, which means a drive line from front to back, which takes up space "pusher" owners use for storage! Also more drive line to lube etc.

Have you perchance asked the current owners why they are selling? Looking at purchasing a pusher perhaps???

Scot & Laura Kellersberger
2001 Newmar 4 wheel drive Dutch Star 3891, 2005 GMC Canyon. Demco Tow Bar & Baseplate U.S.Army (ret)
1985 - 2006
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