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Old 12-27-2013, 05:26 PM   #1
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How Old is Too Old or Too Lived-In

I will be purchasing a used diesel Class A or a truck conversion, hopefully sooner than later. Class A's are more abundant and easier to shop for, truck conversions are fewer and further between. I have looked at some really nice 2006 - 2009 Class A's with very low miles (20-30K). I have found some very nice 2002 - 2005's with higher miles (60-90K). I ocassionally run into to an older rig with very low miles.

Assume that everything in the discussion is withing my budget and in excellent condition. I know as far as the truck chassis, even the highest range of miles is still very low. My questions are;
1) What would be considered excessive mileage on the coach itself?
2) Fulltimer or vacationer?
3) Are there mechanical issues like slide technology? I am aware of DEF DPF model years.
4) Are there limitations for financing and insurance?

For example, I found a 2009 Dutch Aire with 87K mi. That's almost 20K / year. Then I found a very nice 2003 Essex, condition "Excellent", with 96K on it's 500HP Cummins.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:00 PM   #2
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Scottybdivin

IMHO, since you are considering used Class A DPs, you can't go wrong as long as you do your homework, get as much past service history as you can and check it out. As far as mileage goes on a DP, the coach will be history before the diesel, if it is well maintained. One thing with the DPs they will pull the hills much easier that their gas counterparts and normally allow you to pull heavier toads. As you have found out there are many good older MH with low mileage that are in very good condition and don't have all EPA stuff as the newer ones--even have crankcase breather tubes(prior 2007 I think).

So, look at floor plans that you like and will meet your needs. Also, it is important that you decide what type of traveling/staying put, is in your plans as then size might be a determining factor if you plan on staying in a lot of the older Fed, State and BLM Parks where a longer MH may not fit. Are you going to stay somewhere a few day and role to another location or are you going to stay put for weeks and/or months on end, are you going to stay at RV Parks all the time or are you more adventurous and will be dry camping without hookups?

If you consider an older one as we did, then it can free up dollars to remodel or put in the travel budget. Four years ago we bought a used 2000 Fleetwood Bounder DP with 37000 and have been extremely happy we went that way. Just a word of advise, even if you read, study and ask a ton of questions, once you have a MH the learning will continue for a very long time.

Hope I have helped you feel comfortable that no matter which way you decide, find something that works for you and GO FOR IT!

Happy New Year and Good Huntin' for the DP

Tom and Barb
2000 Bounder 39Z
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:18 PM   #3
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You may find a coach with very low miles that has been "lived"
in for several years. The running gear has sat for several years
but the systems have been used 24/7.
You may also find the opposite. A higher mileage coach with very
little use of the systems. As stated... a diesel will usually outlast the coach
if well maintained. Check service records. Most people should keep a
record of all service done, work done, anything replaced.
If you cannot get any records, keep looking. There is always another one
around the corner.
We keep records of everything, including how much water is added to the
batteries every month.
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Old 12-28-2013, 08:05 AM   #4
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tnrvers, thank you for your input. Sounds like you found the right combination of gently used but reliable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luckyd View Post
You may find a coach with very low miles that has been "lived"
in for several years. The running gear has sat for several years
but the systems have been used 24/7.
This would be less desirable to me than the higher mileage. As you mentioned the engine and drive train will outlive the coach. How many miles per year would you consider excessive? I still work full time, but I pulled my 5th wheel 9K miles the 1st year. That didn't seem excessive. 20K / year seems excessive to me.
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Old 12-28-2013, 08:30 AM   #5
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When looking at older coaches, which may represent excellent buys, you need to start at your bank to find out how far back they'll go with their financing. MANY are very disappointed with that info. It's one of the reasons older coaches drop in value so much when they get to be a certain age? Buyers are limited, pretty much, to those that can pay cash? Best of luck!
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Old 12-28-2013, 08:56 AM   #6
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Older motorhomes need maintenance. Are you good at repairing minor issues? If not I would look at late models. It seems lots of little items can need attention. The more mileage the more bouncing around, things loosen screws bolts and rivets can break. Good luck
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Old 12-28-2013, 10:19 PM   #7
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How old can be a tough question.It simply boils down to how well the units have been maintained.Since 2004 I have owned 6 fifth wheel campers , 5 travel trailers and one coach. Most were purchased thru insurance company auctions.

The repair work was basically a winter time hobby.I would buy unit,make all repairs and family and I would use camper until it sold.

My last fver was an 3 yrs old when I purchased it .The unit had been hit in the rear.Basically light damage and very repairable.The trailer must of had terrible owners as the interior of the coach was basically worn out from abuse and neglect.
The fver before it was 7 years old when I bought it from a couple in Northern Ohio.sickness had forced sell of camper.The camper was as good as new inside and out .The previous owners took great pride in caring for it
.
Imho age is not as important as much as how well unit has been cared for and maintained.
I currently own a 96 model bounder.biggest problem with it was lack of use for me I enjoy tinkering with it so over the last year I have taken a medicore coach and have repaired/remodeled until I have an excellent unit.My actual cost have not been very expensive But I have invested a lot of time.I now have a coach I feel confident to drive any where.DW has told me this is a keeper so I guess its home to stay .

As for age,on a gasser try and buy new enough that it is fuel injected .they tend to be more efficient.plus many problems can be diagnosed with a scanner.
On Diesels look for something that is a Pre-emissions engine.If you will do a little research you will find that most of the problems with newer diesel engines are directly releated to Epa required emission control items.
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Old 12-28-2013, 11:20 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the input. I do OK with minor repairs, electrical, plumbing, etc. I have already learned that even new RV's require repairs. I installed a hardwired EMS and replaced an ATS and water pump, plus tracked down some loose wiring, over the 1st year. I'll do anything within my comfort zone to avoid a trip back to the dealer. I am also pretty well acquainted with diesel engines, since I have been using them in both my business and personal life for more than 30 years. I haven't even owned a gas vehicle in almost 20 years. We've been a "two diesel" family over that time. No offense to our gasser friends, but a gas MH is not on my radar.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:23 PM   #9
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I purchased a 2001 with 14k miles. It was lived in but looked after. The coach drives like new. But I literally had to work on everything else to get it perfect.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:40 PM   #10
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If financing you'll have a problem with any coach over 8 to 10 years of age. Unless you know your banker very well and since banks have been bought out by larger solvent banks the "mom pop" hometown banks usually don't exist! Best of luck.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:01 PM   #11
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re: financing an older coach- We financed our 1998 Dutch Star w/ 78K miles through a credit union. They financed 90% of the purchase price. We've been doing renovation of the interior a bit at a time (new countertops, plumbing fixtures, new washer/dryer, window shades, added sliding shelves to the pantry, cabinet pulls, etc.) and have been updating all maintenance items (2 tires, 2 batteries, fluid and filter changes, air dryer, powder coat and replace hardware on awning arms, new slide topper)

We've done almost 10k miles without issue and love the thing. We wanted a class a DP without having a lot of money invested. I don't think you can generalize and need to look at each coach on it's own merit. A liveable floor plan is probably the most important consideration and quality of coach build the next. If your coach has good bones you can always update and renovate the interior.
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