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Old 02-03-2012, 04:17 PM   #1
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How old is too old?

My wife and I are contemplating the purchase of a used 38-40 foot diesel pusher. In looking at the choices that present themselves, is there an age that we should avoid, i.e. prior to 2000 or whatever.

Also, we've noticed that in many cases, units that are as much as 10 years old have comparatively few miles on them...is that typically a sign of a person having an RV and not using it, or that the unit is a train wreck mexhanically?
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:27 PM   #2
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It's mostly a technology question. For example:

Diesel engines built after 1/1/2010 have EPA requirements which has most engine manufacturers requiring Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), which requires filling an additional tank with Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF).

Diesel engines built after 1/1/2007 and before above, require a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) which may add to maintenance costs.

Diesel engines built before 1998 are mechanical fuel injection systems. There are advantages to electronic fuel injection systems, providing superior fuel economy.

There are also specific issues with specific engines, which I will not (nor can) go into. However, there are lots of resources on this forum to search on specific engine issues.

In general, a diesel coach should last you a lifetime, as most people average about 7K miles/year. Therefore there should be lots of low and mid-range mileage coaches out on the market.

Good luck on your search.

P.S. There are exceptions to all of my above items as all manufacturers did not use the same technology to meet EPA requirements, for example.
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:28 PM   #3
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gschwob, when shopping for a RV keep in account some people might of parked their rig months at a time at a campground. Or many RV'ers boondock (dry camping for free) which is very typical in the southwest, again low mileage. Besides how many miles are on the unit, check the generator hours too. They should coincide with engine hours. Make sure you look at the tires in relation to miles but more so the interior wear and tear. Things like the gas and brake pedals Good luck.
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:24 PM   #4
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Hi gschwob,
Welcome to iRV2. At a high level, 2004 through 2006 the RV industry was pushing coaches out the door faster than they could build them. Quality suffered. Many of those "bugs" have been closed by the previous owner(s). However, these are the years I would have the most concern about.
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:28 PM   #5
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vincee is a little off on the gen hours matching the engine hours, no one would
run the gen all the time while driving. and, I've rarely seen an engine hour
meter on a motorhome. I agree with pusherman on his comments. you
should investigate maintenance logs, very important.
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:49 PM   #6
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One thing, 99 to 2000 is when slides started to become mainstream. Slides add a LOT of space inside an rv, along with some complexity and perhaps a greater chance for leaks and problems.

Personally, I would never give up even one of our 4 slides.
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:58 PM   #7
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Send a message via Yahoo to frederick w
I realize that people put less miles on a MH than a car, but some of the worst cars I had on the lot were low mileage ones.
After you drove them out for a while, then you saw the problems. Some reasons for low mileage.

Sitting a long time between runs; not good.
No money to travel and or unit not serviced to travel.
Dislike of the unit.
Affraid of its reliability.

PS: I think this thread would fit the one a few
lines down from this one ( 10-12 old MH) thanks.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:17 PM   #8
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Very low mileage is not a good thing - sitting too much does indeed cause problems. But 5000-7000 miles per year is quite common for RVs and they are fine as long as the maintenance is kept up. Oil and filter changes, other fluids and filters, etc. need to be done on a calendar basis even if the miles are low.
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Old 02-04-2012, 06:50 AM   #9
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I was in the same boat as you. I talked to a lot of folks and as you can see by the number of replies you get everyone wants to help. The more I investigated the more I found out that I was ignorant of what I was ignorant of. I suggest that you go to rv.org pay what they are asking to join. I did and it was the best $150 I have ever spent. (I don't get a cut or any deals. If you're starting new this is a great resource) Once you read through their book and look over their reviews of coaches go to oodle.com and plug in what coaches you're looking for. It will search sites all over the US for what you're looking for (dealers and private listings) and email you every day with up dates. Plan on doing some traveling to look at coaches your are interested in. When I first started looking I was impressed with all the flash, 4 slides, fire place, 4 TVs, etc. But with rv.org information I learned what to look for in a quality coach that would fit my needs. There's a lot of good looking coaches out there that are crap. Take the time do your research and find the ones that will fit your needs and budget first then look at your wants.
Good Luck have fun.
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:39 AM   #10
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We just bought a 1995 Beaver Marquis with a Cat 3176 and built on a Gillig Chassis. It's a very well built coach and parts are readily available. Only been on one trip so far, 2,200 miles and it drove great. I would not be afraid of late 90 ,coach's if they are from a well respected manufacturer.
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:51 AM   #11
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to clarify my comment on the generator hours and engine hours, the meaning was if the RV has 5800 miles on it but the genset has 680 hours on it obviously they used it parked or dry camping more than it was driven. Or wear and tear on everything besides drive train. I just looked at a used Georgie Boy (looking to upgrade myself), 2007 with 10,200 miles on it. Generator has 74 hours. That is what I am speaking of.
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:02 AM   #12
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A Mixed Bag...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gschwob View Post
My wife and I are contemplating the purchase of a used 38-40 foot diesel pusher. In looking at the choices that present themselves, is there an age that we should avoid, i.e. prior to 2000 or whatever.

Also, we've noticed that in many cases, units that are as much as 10 years old have comparatively few miles on them...is that typically a sign of a person having an RV and not using it, or that the unit is a train wreck mexhanically?

I've seen some 1990's coaches I'd own, some 2009s that I would hesitate taking, if they were offered free of charge.

Read, ask questions, go for rides.

I bought a 3-slide high mileage 2005 Fleetwood from a friend and have had a great first year. He "upgraded" to a 2005 Newell and hated it. Then, my buddy sold his Newell and found another Fleetwood, a 2001. He's been using the daylights out of the new rig, a Discovery with an interior so pristine it looks showroom-new. His is a Freightliner and mine is a Spartan. We have mutual friends who own Prevosts, both of those guys think Fleetwood turns out a good product for the money.

My two biggest gripes: Fleetwood used vinyl wrapped frames on cabinets that year, and installed atrocious Hehr GTF (Guaranteed To Fog) windows.

As you can see from my signature, I'm moving up to a tag and 4th slide* soon; meanwhile, we enjoy every moment in our Excursion.

* Not for those features, however: DW wants pass-thru basement storage, side-opening basement doors, a fully-enclosed bathroom. I personally like Monaco's ride; but, that's just icing on the proberbial cake
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:08 AM   #13
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Our 06 purchased last June had 17,400 miles on it. Dishwasher had never been used and after taking it in for its first service, shop said all they could find needing done was new alternator belt. As others have said, depends on the coach, its prior owner and the care they gave it.
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:13 AM   #14
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I must admit that I am a bit biased on this subject, as our 1998 American Eagle 40EVS (one slide-living room/galley) has been essentially trouble free in 3 years and 27K miles of ownership.

In 2009 when purchased the coach had 47K miles on the clock and around 1750 hours on the generator, so less than average miles per year and sufficient hours on the generator to indicate regular use.

I am a big fan of the Cummins C8.3 mechanical engine. As they were designed to run on LSD fuel (500 ppm sulfur) vs. today's ULSD (15 ppm sulfur) I use a lubricity additive to protect the fuel delivery system and have not had any lift pump problems which is about the only problem people encounter with the older engines.

Look at older coaches that were the flagship for their manufacturer at the time as they will be well built, good fit/finish and use top shelf materials. It will be a plus if the manufacturer is still in business for factory support.

Another plus for a vintage DP is that the depreciation is minimal and depreciation is probably the largest cost in DP ownership.

Dave
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Cummins C8.3 325 HP
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