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Old 03-07-2018, 02:38 PM   #1
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First-Time Prospective Buyer (Many Question)

New to the forum and a prospective RV owner. I have read many posts with individuals asking some similar questions, but not exactly the answers I am looking for and most answers are from a few years ago. So here goes:
We are a middle-aged couple that just had our first child. We have some friends with young children (3 and 6 month-old twins) that recently purchased an older gas Class A RV and came to visit during a 6-week trip. After talking with them, we were sold on the benefits of traveling with children in an RV. Our parents are in Fort Worth (8 hour drive from here) and Charleston (12.5 hour drive from here). With a new grandchild, we will be taking multiple trips throughout the year to see them. Both sets of parents live in smaller homes, making the RV a perfect solution for room, comfort and ease. In addition, we are looking to make 4-6 long weekend trips per year within an 8-hour trek. Finally, we are planning to take a week-long vacation per year utilizing the RV. I’m estimating 7000-10000 miles annually and a total of 30-45 days per year in the RV.
I would like to go with a 2000-2006 Diesel Pusher for multiple reasons (ride, diesel motor, towing capability, longevity of the engine, mileage, etc.). The reason for the year specifications is due to cost (looking to spend an absolute max of $45,000, preferably $40,000. For the right coach, I would be willing to go $45,000. Some of the options that we like are: booth-style dinette that folds into additional sleeping room, a couch (hopefully that folds out as well), at least 2 slides, and a washer/dryer (wife’s must have, I would be interested to hear everyone’s thoughts). We are also looking to flat-tow a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Another question I have is in regard to where I can fit. I read a post from 2014 that mentions that anything larger than 35’ is almost impossible to fit into the campsites available in national and state parks. Is this still the case? What is the largest size we could fit into a national or state park? We would obviously like to be in something larger, but also want to be able to visit anywhere we choose, especially state parks.
I have also read many different opinions on insurance. What would a good estimate to use for insurance be when calculating annual costs?
With the stipulations and wants listed above, what are your thoughts? What make/model would you recommend?
Thanks in advance for your insight and advice.
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Old 03-07-2018, 03:09 PM   #2
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RV insurance is still based on local rates, so check with providers for a rate. You can save a bit of money if the insurance goes down when you notify the insurance company it's in storage, just be sure to notify them when you use it.

While some older campgrounds in National parks are small, many others do not have limitations. Fishing Bridge, in Yellowstone, comes to mind. It's old and is limited to shorter RVs, it's also the only CG in the park with full hookups. Most other state and national parks are O.K. unless you plan on buying a 45' RV.

I think your estimate for a diesel pusher from the mid-2000's might be a bit low, especially if you want all the trimmings. While diesels have heavier air suspension, the maintenance costs are also much greater than a gas powered RV.

Also search the forum (using the search box at the top right with the Google logo) for threads about the towing a Jeep Cherokee. Some model years have electric power steering and require modification for towing.
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Old 03-07-2018, 03:22 PM   #3
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Cost for upkeep and scheduled maintenance needs to be taken into consideration. Check the date of your tires and make sure they are not over 7 years. Diesel's generally take 22.5 inch tires which could cost you $3,000.00 to replace. I think you could do fine with a 37' or less.
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Old 03-07-2018, 03:41 PM   #4
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Hello Hambone,

Anytime people ask about used coaches I always pull up the popular 'for sale by owner consignment' outfits in Texas to see what they have available. They have quite a few in that price range with the minimum amenities that you mentioned. The diesel coach units range from 2002-2007.

I have never purchased a consignment or used unit as I like new. But many people find good buys on the used market. In the years that you are looking into, maintenance is paramount. Look closely and have the unit looked at by a professional.

If you are somewhat handy mechanically, that is icing on the cake.

Good luck,
Mark
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Old 03-07-2018, 04:51 PM   #5
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I am reasonably handy. From reading posts on here, I feel that oil changes, filter changes, greasing, and many of the smaller systems upkeep is within my wheel house. While I understand the costs of upkeep are greater, the benefits of diesel over gas seem to outweigh the added costs. I'm currently budgeting $2,500 in maintenance. This would not include repair costs, which I'm hoping to avoid as much as possible by having the coach inspected by an independent 3rd party.

Any make/models that are highly recommended for what I'm looking for? Any make/models I should stay away from in those years?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-07-2018, 05:42 PM   #6
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Take a look at this thread:
2003 Monaco Windsor 40PST

They are headed in the right direction.
Best of luck!
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Old 03-07-2018, 06:36 PM   #7
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Hope you find the perfect rig for your needs!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 03-07-2018, 07:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HamboneTHW View Post
I am reasonably handy. From reading posts on here, I feel that oil changes, filter changes, greasing, and many of the smaller systems upkeep is within my wheel house. While I understand the costs of upkeep are greater, the benefits of diesel over gas seem to outweigh the added costs. I'm currently budgeting $2,500 in maintenance. This would not include repair costs, which I'm hoping to avoid as much as possible by having the coach inspected by an independent 3rd party.

Any make/models that are highly recommended for what I'm looking for? Any make/models I should stay away from in those years?

Thanks in advance.
I like the Monaco product from the year that we had and before. Our 2008 was purchased in Jan. 2007 while the RV market was hot and the units were made well.

I like the Roadmaster chassis as the air bags are on the 'outside' of the rail making it more sturdy. You might have to make some compromises if you find a perfectly well maintained coach at the right price.

Keep in mind that adding a booth or W/D shouldn't be a deal breaker if you find the 'otherwise' perfect coach.

Good luck!
Mark
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:44 PM   #9
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I found what appears to be some really clean used models in the price range I'm looking for:

1. 2002 Monaco Diplomat
2. 2004 Coachmen Cross Country 372
3. 2005 Coachmen Cross Country 372
4. 2003 Fleetwood Revolution 40'
5. 2005 Coachmen 376
6. 2004 Fleetwood American Tradition 40J

Any thoughts on those models?
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:05 PM   #10
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Nothing specific here but I would try to stay away form Diesels built after the environmental changes but staying below 2007 should insure that. I found a 2000 Tiffin Allegro Bus 35R in the mid 30's with a Cat 300 HP 3126 with 85,000 miles and it fit our needs but no washer dryer. I do my own mountainous and have no problems. Just a little bigger.
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Old 03-08-2018, 12:22 PM   #11
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Consider looking at the Diplomat, Revolution, and Tradition. Realize, you are looking at rear radiator coaches. If doing your own work, you will not like a large radiator blocking your access to the engine. Even changing a fan belt is a pain. The rear radiator also tends to collect oil, dust, and trash from the engine compartment and may not vent properly with a trailer connected directly behind it.

My suggestion: Look at Monaco Windsor, Dynasty, and Executive; Holiday Rambler Imperial and Navigator; Beaver Patriot and Marquis; Country Coach Intrigue and Magna; American Eagle; Travel Supreme Select; and Tiffen rear radiator models.

Make your search nationwide and learn to rank order by price, lowest first.
Good luck!
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Old 03-08-2018, 06:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vito.a View Post
Consider looking at the Diplomat, Revolution, and Tradition. Realize, you are looking at rear radiator coaches. If doing your own work, you will not like a large radiator blocking your access to the engine. Even changing a fan belt is a pain. The rear radiator also tends to collect oil, dust, and trash from the engine compartment and may not vent properly with a trailer connected directly behind it.

My suggestion: Look at Monaco Windsor, Dynasty, and Executive; Holiday Rambler Imperial and Navigator; Beaver Patriot and Marquis; Country Coach Intrigue and Magna; American Eagle; Travel Supreme Select; and Tiffen rear radiator models.

Make your search nationwide and learn to rank order by price, lowest first.
Good luck!
So no love for Coachmen? I've been doing a lot of research, and I'm not finding anything negative about them. They seem like a lot of bang for the buck and reasonably priced. It seems that anyone with a used Monaco either has a terrible floor plan or wants an arm and a leg for them.
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Old 03-11-2018, 04:03 PM   #13
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We bought a 2006 Coachman Cross County 382DS in December 2015. It had 17000 miles on it and we could not be happier. Has the floor plan we like and had a W/D installed. Have only put about 10,000 miles on it but getting ready to go back to Fla. for Easter and then plan on leaving middle of May for a 3-4 month trip to New England then up through Canada to Alaska. With a return trip through Yellowstone and Western NP's and take the Southern route back to Georgia. Love Coachman!!!!
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Old 03-11-2018, 05:06 PM   #14
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I would look at Tiffin, Newmar and Country Couch. Very important - make sure you get a complete set of maintenance records AND make sure that the required maintenance has been done. Doing an oil change once per year does not come close to what should be done. You want to know that the previous owner was meticulous in their care of the RV.

Also look for paint checking in the sidewalls. Most coaches in the years you are looking at have that issue. How bad it is is based on how dark the colors are and if it was stored under cover when not in use.

Look at the year the tires were manufactured. They should be replaced about every 7 years.

If it is a rear radiator, see if the slobber tube was extended so it did not throw stuff all over the radiator. I have a rear radiator and I would have no problem buying another one with a rear radiator.
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