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Old 04-03-2016, 02:50 PM   #1
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First Time Buyer Mistakes

I'm a first time buyer...er shopper right now. I can already tell that I am going to end up spending much more than I started out to spend.

I was originally looking at Class C... but now I'm sold on Class A.

Looking at Gas but can feel the 'creep' towards just blowing it up and getting a diesel. Never have to wonder what I missed out on that way

So for all you experienced folks.. what are your top tips for 'buying mistakes' to avoid? What did you regret in your early purchases?

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Old 04-03-2016, 02:54 PM   #2
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Went through exactly what you are going through now, bought a DP as new as we could afford at the time and have not looked back! Been a wonderful Coach.

2000 Newmar MADP 4060, 350ISC, Spartan MM, IFS 2011 Jeep JK, M&G Braking, 2014 MTI 27' Hog Hauler, Wireless brake control, 2006Ultra & 1989 Springer
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Old 04-03-2016, 02:56 PM   #3
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Don't take your checkbook

Don't get serious until you've looked at dozens of coaches. This will give you an idea of options and value.

Once you get serious set a strict limit on what you want to spend. You can look at coaches priced higher then that limit knowing you can negotiate down but you have to be able to walk away if you don't get to that price.

Make sure during negotiation that you have the right to an outside inspection and the ability to walk away.

Do not put any money down until it passes inspection and you decide you really want it.
Jim J
2002 Monaco Windsor 38 PKD
2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee w/5.7 Hemi
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:02 PM   #4
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That's a tricky question. First, do you have or have you owned an RV prior to now?
If this is your first, unless you have a fairly large bag of money, I would suggest a small used class C. This will get you on the road without a big investment. Use it for one or two seasons to get a feel for what you want and need. Then, go shopping for THE rig.
Don't forget, Class A DP'S are the most expensive in terms of maintenance and unless you plan to use it a lot, not a good investment. IMHO
Dennis & Carol
Said so long to our DSDP. Coming Soon, 2019 Unity LTV CB - 2013 Honda CRV, BlueOx Baseplate, Aventa Bar & Patriot Brake. And the 04 Bird
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:11 PM   #5
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Everyone says the first consideration is floor plan.

I say, buy from a private owner who has maintenance records showing fairly consistent use over the life of the coach. You don't want one that has sat for years unused.

Other than that, spend weeks reading everything you can get your hands on (iRV2 forums, FMCA, DOAI...) about owning coaches and the plusses and minuses of each.

Watch youtube: Chris & G have gone through class Bs and now are in a class A. They are very honest about the mistakes they made when buying (they really didn't make many). Gone with the Wynns have an interesting channel and how tos, they have a Class A and are trying to move to a boat (They make as many boneheaded moves as Chris & G but don't highlight them as much). Technomadia have an old Bus and are very focused on technology (and apparently are made of money). RV Geeks have the best channel about how tos, how to drive and maintain the class A. Wanderlust Estate drive a vintage class A that they are trying to maintain. An many more...

The search is part of the fun.
2005 Discovery 39s Cat C7 330hp, AF1 brakes,
2013 Silverado Crew Cab Toad, Blue Ox Towbar
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Old 04-03-2016, 03:16 PM   #6
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A lot of people will tell you the third unit you buy is usually the right one. We bought a really nice little Class C on the Sprinter chassis with the Mercedes diesel 3.0. It was great, just to small. It didn't sleep well at all. Our second was a 34 foot FRED, way underpowered, just didn't fit the bill. Out third is a Phaeton 40QBH.....love it. 380 hp cummins, 1050 ft lbs of torque. Sleeps great! All three were new coaches, so we lost a little chance in all the trades. I've heard the phrase "get your last one first" and you'll never be sorry.

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Old 04-03-2016, 03:58 PM   #7
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My first RV was the Eagle.

She will also be my last!

Diesels are great fun to drive.
1998 American Eagle 40EVS
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:09 PM   #8
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Been through eight RVs, including two Pop-top Vanagons, a 5th wheel, two Airstreams, two diesel pusher Class As, and a Class A gasser.

For the time, each was a pretty good choice. Sure learned a lot with each.

If you spend enough time looking, thinking, analyzing, reading, thinking some more, you might be able to nail the right choice for you to start with on the first purchase. There is so much to consider that I suggest you take a couple of months and scour the RV forums daily, reading, asking questions, reading some more, learning, thinking. Do enough of that and you'll be ok!

A quick review of what RVs we've been through and where we are now is here:
2016 Bay Star 3124 ~ Can we join?
2017 Newmar Ventana 4369
2016 GMC Sierra SLT Crew Cab
Blue Ox Alpha Towbars & AirForce One braking
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:11 PM   #9
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Beware of tires. Try to find coach tires that are not over a few years old. If the tires are older then try to bargain down the price anticipating that you will need to replace the tires. And going diesel is your best bet for power and longevity.
Mo Fred, U.S. Army Retired
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C12 CAT 455 HP, 40 FT, Towing 2012 Mazda III
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:14 PM   #10
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I bought a Thor 30.1 and hated it. To much noise from the engine. Wife and I had to yell at each other just to have a conversation. The noise gave wife and I both headaches.

Now have a Thor Palazzo DP. We love it and so quiet now!!!
Dave + Linda
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2010 Honda CR-V toad and Roadmaster Sterling
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:16 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by b1ghwx View Post
I'm a first time buyer...er shopper right now. I can already tell that I am going to end up spending much more than I started out to spend.

I was originally looking at Class C... but now I'm sold on Class A.

Looking at Gas but can feel the 'creep' towards just blowing it up and getting a diesel. Never have to wonder what I missed out on that way

So for all you experienced folks.. what are your top tips for 'buying mistakes' to avoid? What did you regret in your early purchases?
Just out of curiosity, what part of the country are you in?
Scot & Laura Kellersberger
Newmar 4 wheel drive Dutch Star 3891, 2005 GMC Canyon. Demco Tow Bar & Baseplate U.S.Army (ret)
1985 - 2006
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:39 PM   #12
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Take your time and do your research before you buy anything. We spent over two years looking, going to RV Shows, dealerships, test drives ect, reading on this forum. Like you we had an Idea of what we wanted, but ended up with a much better, and a little bigger MH than we were originally looking for.

Read everything on this forum that you can. See what people complain about with their brand, what kind of problems they had and how they were resolved. How people were treated by the dealership/manufacturer before and after the sale. You will start to develop a sense of what quality is to you, for some it's price, for others it's peace of mind that you bought a quality made MH, from a dealer/manufacturer who will take care of you. Then go out and look at all you can, and you will start to see the difference and understand what people are talking about when it comes to the quality issues that arise. You really need to look at the lower end ones to see the difference, so you can appreciate the more expensive ones, but always remember you get what you pay for.

What you will find is at the base price of say the lower end MH's, by spending a few thousand dollars more, you can buy a much better quality MH that you will love, rather than just get by with. I have never subscribed to the idea that you have to start small and work your way up to find what you really want, to me that is a waste of money. Even if you don't get hit with a big depreciation, the least you will lose is the tax/license, which at these price points is a lot of money. So I have always tried to buy my last MH first. That's not to say we will never buy another one, but we love the one we have and will keep it for a very long time. When I think back to the first MH we considered buying I cringe as that would have been a huge mistake. But we took our time, had patience, and walked away from a lot of dealerships we just didn't trust. The salesman for the most part will rely on you being exited about buying, and seeing all the glitter, instead of what you really need or want. They will sell you anything and try to convince you it's the MH for you, only you can decide that. A floor plan that works for you is very important.

Gas vs Diesel is always going to be a big debate with no real answer because there is no right or wrong answer, it is really up to the buyer what they want and how they plan on using it. We went with gas for several reasons, one being I can do all my own maintenance and I hate having other people work on my stuff unless I absolutely have to, and another our same MH with pretty much the same amenities was about $100,000 more in the diesel model. Our gas model is actually very quiet at highway speeds, and drives great. Sure it gets a little noisier when climbing grades but not enough to bother us. They all get you to the same place and once you are there they pretty much all do the same thing.

The other big debate is going to be New vs Used, again no right or wrong, just a preference. And don't listen to all the naysayers who say if you buy new it will be in the shop all the time for the first year or so getting the bugs worked out. Again you get what you pay for and that can happen, but we have had ours for two years, over 250 nights spent in it, about 12,000 miles and it has only been to the shop twice, for a microwave recall, and some minor adjustments and switch replacement. Both times we took the MH home the same day. If you buy used you can find some gems for sure, but you can also end up with someone else's problems. Also they will say buy used to avoid the depreciation and let the original owner eat it. Sure you can save some money, but depreciation is very over exaggerated, and if you buy the right MH and keep it you will never realize the depreciation. They all depreciate and in 15-20 years they will all be worth a lot less than what you paid.

Sorry for the long post, just what I learned along the way and what helped us to find a MH that we love. Good luck and remember looking for one is half the fun.
Mike & Charlotte
2014 Newmar Canyon Star 3610
Orange County, California
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:41 PM   #13
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After another short camping season where it seemed like every time we were able to go out it rained we decided to get out of the tent and into something with wheels. Over the course of 2-3 months we went from wanting something simple - a tear drop trailer, to wanting a little bigger trailer - something with a bathroom, to looking at Class B and C and finally went to a Class A. This being our first RV and not having any experience driving something like that we started looking at the small Class As.

I know nothing about diesel so went with gas. From what I read they were more expensive both to buy and in upkeep. And I don't like the smell. For a 30' and not towing anything heavy I think that was the right decision for me.

We did our research. We watched YouTube and read blogs. We went to RV shows. When it came down to it, the floor plan and the axle weight were what lead us to our final decision. There are plenty of ~30' Class As out there but not all of them can carry the same amount of weight.

For the 2 of us, 30' is the perfect size. Another blog to look at is We're the Russos. Although we are just weekenders, they are full timing in the same model that we have.

We are hoping to one day retire (10 years out) and go full time. This more than meets our needs right now. Somewhere before retirement we will probably trade up for something a little larger.

Figure out how you plan to use it - week ends, full time?
Occupancy - 1, 2, more, pets?
Be informed - blogs, YouTube, shows.
Pay attention to the stats of the models you are looking at - axle weight, tank capacity, etc.
Picture yourself using the floor plan and see what you like and don't like and see if there is a floor plan with the majority of your likes.

Good hunting.
It is by the beans of Java the thoughts acquire speed,
The hands acquire shaking, The shaking becomes a warning.
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:46 PM   #14
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2 gassers then DP not regrets on any of them.

2007 Fleetwood Revolution LE 40V
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