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Old 04-07-2016, 10:04 AM   #1
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New Here, and a question about older Class A

We own some property about 25 miles from our home that we camp on. Right now we have a ratty old 1977 19' trailer that we have been using as a base camp for three years. We want to change that up and get a motorhome that we could drive up there, stay some time (probably a week at a time) and then drive it back home so that it stays parked safe here. Our budget is pretty tight at about $20,000. Right now we are looking at two models:

1997 Winnebago Adventurer 34
1998 ALLEGRO 34'

This is an unusual situation in that we don't expect this MH to be driven long distances, but of course it does need to be reliable to drive regardless.

Any thoughts on getting into MH ownership with one of these two? I realize that 2000 or newer would be better but those tend to blow up our budget.


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Old 04-07-2016, 10:10 AM   #2
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Lots of us here have 20+ year old coaches that are trouble free (or at least no more troublesome than a newer coach). I don't think that a 2000 model year that is 'only' 16 years old would be inherently better than a '96.
I wouldn't let the age alone scare you away, just do your best to find one that looks likes it's been taken care of. Getting repair and maintenance records would be nice.
Look at lots of them, buy the one that 'speaks' to you.

1996 Fleetwood Southwind 34'
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:41 AM   #3
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Ours us a 2002 so a bit newer then what your looking at but id not be afraid of something a bit older if seems to have been taken care of as Podivin mentions. Be sure to go over all of the rubber parts (hoses, belts, gas line, etc) as those tend to get brittle with age. Cheap to replace and a real pain when they fail on the road. And of course check date codes on the tires. If they are 7 or more years old replace them no matter how good they may look.
2002 Four Winds Infinity 37', 2 slides, F53 with V10, 22,500# chassis, CHF. 4 of us and a German sheperd.
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Old 04-07-2016, 01:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for the good advice. We've been shopping models online for some time and have figured out about what size and features we want. Then we narrowed our search to those two I listed. We plan a road trip next week to do some shopping in person. We may find and purchase one, or we may learn that we should further refine our process. I'll post back here when we have some progress.
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Old 04-07-2016, 01:45 PM   #5
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Hi Bryan

There is nothing wrong with a MH that has a few years on it if it has been well taken care of. Before buying get a qualified RV tech to inspect it so that you don't wind up with unpleasant surprises. Of the two you mentioned I think the Allegro is a better MH.

Good luck with your search and let us know what you decide on.

Happy Trails!!!
Tony & Ruth........... FMCA#F416727
Newmar Dutch Star 4320, Spartan MM Chassis, Cat C9, Jeep Grand Cherokee,with Hemi, hooked up with a Blue Ox Aventa LX, and Brake Buddy.
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Old 04-07-2016, 01:48 PM   #6
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In 2009 I sold a 1997 Class C that I had to a friend's Dad. I did most of my own maintenance and kept up with oil changes etc. My friend has his own garage and I had him do some of the more complicated jobs on my coach. When it was time to see he brought his Dad over to look at it and they bought it on the spot. I just saw them the other day them, he still uses the coach and likes it.

So if a coach was taken care of and has the maintenance records I wouldn't be afraid of it.

My old coach was a gasser, my current one is a diesel. The diesel are much more expensive to own and operate. Yearly maintenance alone is 3X as much and anything that breaks costs an arm and a leg.
Jim J
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Old 04-07-2016, 02:21 PM   #7
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Bryan, maybe do a search on ebay and see what used MH's are selling for there. I think for $20,000 you might be surprised on what you can get. Maybe also check Craigslist, but be very careful of the scammers. If it is not local I'd be a little hesitant but there are some good deals to be had there. Also as mentioned above go over it very carefully, there are some really oldies out there that will serve you very well. Good luck in your endeavor.
Ken in Nebraska
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:16 AM   #8
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A cautionary tale I read on this forum a while back. Person was looking for MH, found one on line right price, etc. It had been sitting awhile but owner assured buyer it ran the last time they tried. Buyer looked at it, handed over the money and tried and tried to get it running but could not. Finally opened the engine cover and found all of the wiring burned up. When buyer said something like "I thought you said it ran fine?" buyer was told "it did until it caught fire."
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Old 04-08-2016, 10:53 AM   #9
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Oldie but a Goodie

Don't let age be a factor so much. We were under the $20k budget as well for our first coach. We found a good deal on a 1998 National Sea Breeze gasser and are loving it. Just beware of a deal that looks too good to be true because it is! I saw a couple of those on craigs list that turned out to be scams. We have just completed our lond maiden voyage of 2400+ miles with only a couple of minor coach plumbing issues. I had a private rv inspector as well and they even impressed the dealer. We walked away from a deal that we really wanted because they would not hold the coach long enough for us to get it inspected despite the offer to leave a 10% deposit. If you are handy and mechanical, you might be able to find a somewhat of a fixer upper deal that will scare away most buyers.
1998 National Seabreeze 1330 Limited Chevrolet P37 chassis 7.4 Vortec 2014 Jeep JKU Sport Toad
Me, Beautiful DW, sometimes kids & grandkids
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:10 PM   #10
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Our Motorhome is a 1992 Holiday Rambler and I would drive it anywhere. We bought it in 2008 with 45000 miles and by 2012 it had 135000 miles . In 2016 it's still going strong and we plan on keeping it another 20 years . Do your research and find a good unit, then just maintain it. Have fun and enjoy the adventure.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:57 PM   #11
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I sometimes think people put too much emphasis on maintenance records. I maintain my MH, not too good on record keeping, but I could cook up a perfect looking record at sale time.
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Old 04-09-2016, 05:34 PM   #12
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If you take your time, you can definitely find a nice class A in the '96-'97 range for well below $20K. We bought our '97 Aerbus, 36' w/slide, tag axle and 60K miles for $10K. It had sat for a little over a year as the owner passed away and it just needed some serious cleaning. It came out beautiful and other than an exhaust manifold leak, it ran perfect. I took a chance as the widow didn't know much about it and the records were limited. My intuition told me it was a good unit and it is. Good luck!
'74 F350 44K,'79 11' Mitchell Camper, MINT All Original
'79 Mitchell 25' Class C, 460 46K, MINT All Original
'97 Rexhall Aerbus, 60K, 460, F53, MINT All Original
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Old 04-09-2016, 07:28 PM   #13
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There is an ap called KSL classifieds. It's local for Utah area, but it wouldn't hurt to download it and see what's out there and price ranges. Hundreds of revs on there
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Old 04-10-2016, 09:54 AM   #14
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One thing no one has mentioned is to check all the systems out to make sure they are all in working order.

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