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Old 07-15-2012, 11:58 AM   #1
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If you had to do it again?

I am considering the purchase of a class A. I have narrowed it down to a 34 ft pusher with 4 slides. It will meet what I think are our needs to travel and possibly full time after a few seasonal trips. I have seen some brand new models that are very tempting, but the price is high. Unfortunately, some of the features of the new model are missing on older units. I was curious if you experienced members were to start fresh --- What would you do differently? Would you buy new, slightly new, or overall an older unit? What manufacturers would you chose and what chassis is your pref?

I know this is a wide open post , but heck its been raining all week here!

Tiffin RED 34
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:07 PM   #2
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Well first I can't comment on a DP as you can see we have a gas chassis but in regard to new vs used, I would purchase used every time. The depreciation on a new rig is just to hard a hit for me to swallow. As far as how old??? I would try to stay within 3-4 years of production. JMHO

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Old 07-15-2012, 12:08 PM   #3
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If I had it to do over again, I would buy slightly used instead of new.

We new in 2007 largely because most older units we saw didn't have 7' ceilings. I'm 6'6" tall and refuse to bump my head as I walk through my own coach.

We bought an Itasca Ellipse 40DP and have been really happy with it after 4 years of full timing. But if we were to do it over again I think I would take a much closer look at the Tiffin Phateon... largely because I love their styling.

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Old 07-15-2012, 12:16 PM   #4
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We are happy with our coach, but we were total "greenhorns" and really didn't look very long before we got starry-eyed and bought the Bounder. We will only buy new, so a DP was not in the budget. (This was our first RV of ANY kind, so we didn't even know if it was something we'd enjoy. ) Since we're vacationers and not full-timers, the gasser suits us fine. I now think we should have traveled a bit and looked at more brands before we bought. Locally we only looked at Winnebago, Itasca, Newmar and Fleetwood.
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:18 PM   #5
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You raise a lot of issues..we travel in a 34 pusher. We are in our 5th rv, I always buy used to minimize my loss of depreciation. If we were going to be full time, I would much prefer a 5th wheel. We travel in a coach to maximize our travel time while we still work, and the fact that we generally don't stay in anyone place more than a few days. With our previous trailer, we got tired of the outside effort of moving every several days.

What brand largely depends on what you like. However, I wanted to stay with a product that I thought could be repaired in a lot of places so I looked for Freightliner and Cummins. I might be completely wrong though as other brands might be easily serviced, I went on recomendations of the private shop that i have used for years as to which coaches he thought were really superior.

My wife and I wanted less slides, so that the space was pretty much as usable on the road as when at camp. Further, we wanted fewer opportunity for failure.

Hope this helps...

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Old 07-15-2012, 12:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by SarahW View Post
We are happy with our coach, but we were total "greenhorns" and really didn't look very long before we got starry-eyed and bought the Bounder. We will only buy new, so a DP was not in the budget. (This was our first RV of ANY kind, so we didn't even know if it was something we'd enjoy. ) Since we're vacationers and not full-timers, the gasser suits us fine. I now think we should have traveled a bit and looked at more brands before we bought. Locally we only looked at Winnebago, Itasca, Newmar and Fleetwood.
Were I you, and in your position, I probably would have picked those brands as well.

Being in a different position, I'd buy older, save depreciation and buy a more expensive used coach. Would still probably pick the same models to choose from though.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:30 PM   #7
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In today's market, I'd buy new as the discounts are deep. With the warranty and the updated electronics (TV's especially) I think it's worth it. If anyone is buying a Class A because of the "investment" or because it's "cheap", go buy something else! I wanted a good deal, but peace of mind with a bumper to bumper warranty for a year was also very important.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:52 PM   #8
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I never buy used unless I just cannot afford new, especially vehicles and houses, so to answer your question we would buy new again. Normally, if we cannot afford new we wait. If we were to full time (and we are only half time now), we would buy as big as we could afford, with the latest comfort features. Everyone's needs and wants are different. Yours may mean smaller used might suit you better.
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:11 PM   #9
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hhmmm If we had to do it all again:

- would have negotiated a little harder with our dealer. We had been shopping around for a few months and found a GREAT RV ... but I think that finding that RV that seemed to be perfect for us, clouded our negotiations a little bit. You have to remember that YOU have **ALL** the power when buying an RV ... it's your hard earned dollars that are being spent and there is NO lack of inventory in the marketplace.

- would have shopped around for a few more months .. and this is a hard one to settle on. When does shopping around enough, become shopping around too much?

- would definitely have a 3rd party/independent appraisal done. I spent a LOT of time in the automotive aftermarket industry and with the help of forums like this one, took a hard look at the RV and had quite a few things written into our deal (new propane tank, new tires, repaired windshield and more), but there are certainly some things that I missed as an RV newbie -- things that I know better about for our next (maybe?!?!) purchase at some point

- maybe put a little more down on the purchase ... although we put a decent sized down payment and got a fair rate on financing for the remainder, so we're still happy in that aspect. While we still have a few more years to pay on the financing aspect, it's still less per month than our car.

- shopped a few more dealers outside of our "easy" travel area. We shopped mostly at dealers that were close to where our residence(s) are ... CT and RI. We did a lot of internet searches, but mostly found similar products at similar prices. I don't think that it would have hurt our search to take a few days here and there to go slightly outside our "easy" travel area to see what deals we could have made with a non-local dealer. At the end of the day, we bought used, so the dealer only had to provide a 30 day warranty anyway.

- thought a little more about a diesel pusher. In our budget range, there really wasn't much to be had, but after living with our motorhome for over a year, I wonder a bit about if we used more savings to put down on a DP would have kept us (mostly me) out of the desire to have a little more room, power, etc. BUT on the flipside - diesel and gas are very close in price right now, so there's not much savings there. The mileage, from what I have gleaned from talking to other diesel owners isn't all that different. Yes towing capacity and generally CCC and interior space a *typically* better on a DP - but in the long term, unless you're full timing it might not be enough of a plus to spend the extra $$ ... plus service and support are usually exponentially higher on a diesel.

- floorplan, floorplan, floorplan ... think about how you're going to use the RV, how long your going to spend in it at a time and make sure that you your partner are TOTALLY in agreement with it. That said, we LOVE our floorplan and especially the useability of the kitchen. We have spent a LOT of days and nights in our RV - we pretty much lived in it full time from June 2011 - May 2012 and for almost ALL aspects, our floorplan was GREAT. What do I wish for -- a couple more feet in length that would make it easier for us to live in and run our business from. Don't get me wrong, at 31+ feet we had enough living space for 2 adults and 2 labradors .. but if we had another 5-6 feet, maybe with a 2nd couch or even bunk space (that we would convert into kennel space on the lower), we all would have been that much happier

For us .. and me in general .. I'm optimistically waiting for the days when we can head out of home base again for months at a time and see the sights, and family and friends, that this great country has to offer.

Best of luck in your search!!
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:52 PM   #10
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We purchased our full timing coach in the spring of '06 and it was an '03 model. We could have bought a new very nice mid range DP for the same price but we went 3 years old and got a top of the line coach. If I were back to square one and doing it all again I would do exactly the same thing.

I would make a short list possible coaches in the 3-5 year old range. I would list my must haves such as AquaHot and tag axle and my wife would do the same. To tell you the truth, If I could fine the coach I have today, I would take it in a flash. It has been close to trouble free and a pleasure to live in. Last year at this time we did some interior remodeling and put in a residential frig. Our TVs have been up dated and all that was for about the same as 6 months depreciation on something newer.

My chassis pick is what I have, a Roadmaster S Series semi monocoque. It is one of the items on my short list.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:14 PM   #11
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Since I know exactly what my next coach would have, I might by a used one a few years old as long as it was like new with low miles.

One of the first things I would say about your purchase.....34' is way too small for fulltiming at a later date. (Some will argue it's perfect because they have one, but there is no storage and interior size can cause you to start hating each other in a short time.

Some of the 34's use to come with a propane generator to save space.......NEVER buy a coach with a propane generator.

We bought a brand new 36' in 2005. A big concern for me was a big motor. We got the ISL 400 which is one of the best engines both in size and performance out there. As DP's got more popular years ago, they steadilly increased the engines from 275 HP, to 300 Hp, stalled a while at 350 HP and then most of the midline coaches went to the 400 Cat or 400 Cummins. They've pretty much have stopped at this size with the exception of adding another 25-50 HP to the ISL to make it more desirable with the smog additions. Enough about motors.

Our 36' has been great, but I wish I had bought the 38' that was available at the time. It would have been only a few dollars more and had an extra slide and more storage.

Some of the Class A gassers will laugh at people in DP's who complain about a lack of storage, but if you decide to full time, you'll need room for multi season clothing and a host of other items not taken on short trips.

For us, anything over 40' would cause some limitations for the camping we do. For several years, a lot of 40' coaches were 41'11", 42'3" and so on. They also were on single rear axles and overweight. It wasn't until the last couple of years that the RV manufacturers realized that they may get spanked for selling a coach that was illegal with a single axle.

My biggest suggestion to you is to get at least a 38' or a true 40'. My perfect coach would be the 39' Monaco Dynasty that they made in 2008 and 2009. It came with tag axle, big motor, side radiator, Aqua Hot and measured a few inches under 40'.
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Old 07-15-2012, 05:23 PM   #12
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I feel if you have time and not a lot of money I would buy used. We had only so much to spend and found what we wanted and the price was right. I am capable of fixing most problems and there are always something to do, but I do not what to get bored.
Bob & Rita Bazley, the pups Tia & Kali ( shi-poohs)
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:11 PM   #13
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I will only buy used (2002-2008) because of the new emissions required on newer diesel engines. I will not buy a coach less than 40' (42-45 is better). The extra room is great and you generally do not have to worry about poor handling with the longer chassis. My personal minimum is 3 slides, 2 in the living room and one in the bedroom. Four is better.

I like the longer Monaco Roadmaster chassis, the Spartan K2 chassis, and the longer Country Coach chassis. A tag axle is also on my minimum list.

I would prefer a rersidential refrigerator, but if it was the right coach I would change it myself. I also prefer a queen bed for the extra room in the bedroom. A gas cooktop is mandatory (but I'm willing to change it out). I like the booth dinettes that convert into a bed, but they are difficult to find. I will just update the TV's to LED/LCD units and the VCR to a Blu-Ray player. I also like the work desk on one side instead of two couches.
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Steve Ownby View Post
We purchased our full timing coach in the spring of '06 and it was an '03 model. We could have bought a new very nice mid range DP for the same price but we went 3 years old and got a top of the line coach. If I were back to square one and doing it all again I would do exactly the same thing.
We, too, could have bought a much newer coach if we had wanted an "average" or "entry level" one. We made a conscious decision that we were willing to buy a 10 year old in order to get one near the top of the quality pile. Sure, there were even fancier units available, but we'd have to go back even further to get them at the same price point.

We're not sorry we went the route we did. We wouldn't want to give up the solid walnut cabinetry, the hydronic heating system, the huge 12-liter engine, etc, etc. You don't specify what features "were missing from the older coaches" but there is hardly anything that can't be changed or added. We now have a residential fridge and new flooring and have replaced the standard RV furnishings with high quality, extremely comfortable, leather ones. Even including all the work we've had done, there's no way we could have gotten a MH of similar quality new today for less than half a million dollars even if you could find someone building one. So all our remodeling expenses are a drop in the bucket.

Don't get too caught up in the concerns about which manufacturers are out of business or whether you should worry that Cat doesn't sell RV engines anymore. These vehicles are all basically trucks and we have had excellent service experiences at truck centers around the country. The Cat service network is just as extensive as the Cummins one since there are many thousand Cat-powered trucks on the road.

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