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Old 02-02-2016, 06:32 PM   #1
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New Motorhome buyers

We are thinking about purchasing our first motorhome, a 2007 Holiday Ramble Imperial, 40 foot tandem. Since we've never owned one, is there anything anyone could tell us to help us with our decision. Thank you
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Old 02-02-2016, 06:40 PM   #2
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If you are not mechanically inclined and have never owned a motorhome I would recommend having it inspected.

Look for/at any maintenance records, hopefully they show that the rig has been serviced regularly. Engine oil & filter is suppose to be annually or 15k miles which ever came first. Transmission also has a service interval depending on age/miles. Would suggest oil samples for engine and transmission.

Check DOT date codes on the times, normally 6-7 years max is the recommendation.

Look for any water leaks around any of the roof vents/openings and around the windows and doors.
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Old 02-03-2016, 05:43 AM   #3
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I am a big fan of owners manuals...........get them, read them, over and over............there are lots of things going on within those 4 walls, even when it is sitting in your driveway....................besides the items already touched on, you should at tire dates, cable and satellite systems, etc........I have had our coach since august 15, and am just now comfortable with my understanding of all the electrical and plumbing systems...............
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Old 02-03-2016, 07:34 AM   #4
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I would read all you can on this forum. There have been lots of discussions about what to look for in a used coach. You need to get the maintenance records and know enough about what should be done to make sure the required maintenance has been done. You need to make sure the paint is inn good shape and you do not have paint checking. You need to check the age of the tires. You need to have an independent inspection of the coach.
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Old 02-03-2016, 07:38 AM   #5
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As mentioned earlier, tire age, maintenance records. If no maintenance records, and on a Freightline or Spartan chassis, plan on taking it to a Freightline shop and have everything brought up to date, all filters, brakes inspected, alignment, etc. going to cost $800-1000
Require the dealer to perform any outstanding recalls on chassis or appliances. Other than that it's just a matter of maki g sure everything works as designed.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:17 AM   #6
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Having just closed a sale on a new to us 2006 Monaco Camelot 40PAQ, I have a LOT of advice if you're a first-time buyer. One cannot overemphasize the need for a professional inspection. I actually recommend TWO, one for the coach and one for the chassis. I paid for inspections on two coaches before closing on this one.

Coach inspection: find someone who will be thorough and uses a checklist. They should inspect everything, including fridge, cameras, etc. Cost: $300-500.

Chassis inspection: find a Freightliner or other truck service center that can read the Cummins codes. They should inspect the brakes, chassis, engine, tranny, etc. On the coach I bought, they found two recalls and took care of them. On a coach your age, expect to find worn hoses... Cost: $300-500.

Monaco specific items to watch for:
1) LEAKS! Unless the coach was stored under cover, or the owner was meticulous about maintaining seals, there will probably be water damage. My wife wanted the PAQ floor plan, and it was only available in 2005-2006, so every coach we looked at was about 10 years old. Other than the one we purchased, every one we looked at had water damage. It varied from hidden damage to mushrooms growing on the carpets. It's important someone who knows what they're doing does the inspection as repair can be very expensive- mold remediation, flooring and carpet replacement, etc. Also check the seams at the outer edges of the slide out roof for deterioration.

2) Slide toppers and awnings- If they're 10 years old and stored outside, the thread in the binding deteriorates even though the topper looks good. Check near the roof for missing threads as it starts from that end.

3) Roof sealant- Look for cracks and if the sealant has been touched up or not. It rarely lasts 10 years without attention.

4) Joint seams- Make sure the seam strip between the roof and side walls (and basement) is sealed. If the seal breaks, water gets in and the rivets holding it rust and it pulls away from the joint, letting more water in. Behind the fiberglass is luan, which absorbes water, then crumbles when it dries. I'm convinced this is what causes the walls to delaminate. Sight down the walls of the coach and look for ripples.

5) Rust- We looked at a coach that was beautiful inside, but when I crawled under and saw the chassis, we RAN from it. The structure was so rusted, they had sistered new beams to the rusted ones. The coach was stored under cover, but in New England on gravel with no ventilation.

6) Peeling clear coat- Just doesn't hold up to the UV exposure on the roof and top edges. Haven't found a 10 year old Monaco or HR without it.

There are so many systems in a motor home that there's bound to be something missed, but a thorough inspection should catch most of them. Do not count on the dealer going over it for you. I flew out to inspect the one we bought and found about 35 issues. Glad I did it! I'm sure we'll still find a problem as it is a 10 year old coach, but I think I've minimized the risk. Can't wait to pick it up in Texas in April when the DW has school vacation. Until then, I'll just keep getting more nervous reading on this forum about all the things that can go wrong. Sometimes I think motor homes must leave a trail of parts as you drive down the road. ;-). I'm sure there are many trouble-free trips in our future.

Good luck!

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Old 02-03-2016, 11:33 AM   #7
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We're not new to RVing, but we are new to motor homes. Our budget and desires put us in the 1998-2001 time frame and we don't expect a coach that old to be perfect. We expect that we'll be replacing some things and repairing others. That's just the nature of the beast. What we didn't want to deal with is expensive repairs to the chassis or engine so we are having a Freightliner dealer go over those items. That doesn't guarantee that things won't happen a hundred miles down the road, but it does ensure we aren't buying an expensive problem from the get go.

You've had some pretty good advice, get the inspections and be prepared to walk away if the coach isn't in good condition. It's difficult to do when you've spent nearly $1000 for the inspections, but it could save you a whole lot of money later.
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photopilot View Post
Having just closed a sale on a new to us 2006 Monaco Camelot 40PAQ, I have a LOT of advice if you're a first-time buyer. One cannot overemphasize the need for a professional inspection. I actually recommend TWO, one for the coach and one for the chassis. I paid for inspections on two coaches before closing on this one.

Coach inspection: find someone who will be thorough and uses a checklist. They should inspect everything, including fridge, cameras, etc. Cost: $300-500.

Chassis inspection: find a Freightliner or other truck service center that can read the Cummins codes. They should inspect the brakes, chassis, engine, tranny, etc. On the coach I bought, they found two recalls and took care of them. On a coach your age, expect to find worn hoses... Cost: $300-500.

Monaco specific items to watch for:
1) LEAKS! Unless the coach was stored under cover, or the owner was meticulous about maintaining seals, there will probably be water damage. My wife wanted the PAQ floor plan, and it was only available in 2005-2006, so every coach we looked at was about 10 years old. Other than the one we purchased, every one we looked at had water damage. It varied from hidden damage to mushrooms growing on the carpets. It's important someone who knows what they're doing does the inspection as repair can be very expensive- mold remediation, flooring and carpet replacement, etc. Also check the seams at the outer edges of the slide out roof for deterioration.

2) Slide toppers and awnings- If they're 10 years old and stored outside, the thread in the binding deteriorates even though the topper looks good. Check near the roof for missing threads as it starts from that end.

3) Roof sealant- Look for cracks and if the sealant has been touched up or not. It rarely lasts 10 years without attention.

4) Joint seams- Make sure the seam strip between the roof and side walls (and basement) is sealed. If the seal breaks, water gets in and the rivets holding it rust and it pulls away from the joint, letting more water in. Behind the fiberglass is luan, which absorbes water, then crumbles when it dries. I'm convinced this is what causes the walls to delaminate. Sight down the walls of the coach and look for ripples.

5) Rust- We looked at a coach that was beautiful inside, but when I crawled under and saw the chassis, we RAN from it. The structure was so rusted, they had sistered new beams to the rusted ones. The coach was stored under cover, but in New England on gravel with no ventilation.

6) Peeling clear coat- Just doesn't hold up to the UV exposure on the roof and top edges. Haven't found a 10 year old Monaco or HR without it.

There are so many systems in a motor home that there's bound to be something missed, but a thorough inspection should catch most of them. Do not count on the dealer going over it for you. I flew out to inspect the one we bought and found about 35 issues. Glad I did it! I'm sure we'll still find a problem as it is a 10 year old coach, but I think I've minimized the risk. Can't wait to pick it up in Texas in April when the DW has school vacation. Until then, I'll just keep getting more nervous reading on this forum about all the things that can go wrong. Sometimes I think motor homes must leave a trail of parts as you drive down the road. ;-). I'm sure there are many trouble-free trips in our future.

Good luck!

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Old 02-03-2016, 11:36 AM   #9
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Have samples of all fluid (Engine oil, trans.oil, differential oil, coolant fluid) for the chassis and generator taken and send to Blackstone Labs (see website below).You can request a test kit from Blackstone Labs in there header. They will analyse all samples and provide a status report giving results of many critical problem chemical indicators. They will critique the condition of the oils.

Blackstone Labs

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Old 02-03-2016, 12:42 PM   #10
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Now that everyone has scared the snot out of you, allow me to present to other side of the coin.

An RV can be the most fun you'll ever have with your clothes on IF you approach it with an open mind. At the same time, keeping an open mind doesn't mean allowing your brains to fall out. Like any complex mechanical device, it will need care and attention.

BTW, I heartily agree with the Blackstone Labs recommendation. I buy there test kits in bulk. Good luck and see you on the road!
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Old 02-03-2016, 01:15 PM   #11
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$$$$

one last thing, make sure you have some extra money set aside for

unexpected repairs, they're gonna happen. inspections are great

but they can't see thru everything.

Jim
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Old 02-04-2016, 09:15 AM   #12
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One last word of advice. Everything thus far is very good advice, but one thing you should do before buying is to rent one the same size or see if the owner will let you drive and try the coach for a weekend at least. Driving a Motor home that size is not the same as pulling a trailer or driving a pickup.
Mel
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Old 02-06-2016, 02:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RV735 View Post
Have samples of all fluid (Engine oil, trans.oil, differential oil, coolant fluid) for the chassis and generator taken and send to Blackstone Labs (see website below).You can request a test kit from Blackstone Labs in there header. They will analyse all samples and provide a status report giving results of many critical problem chemical indicators. They will critique the condition of the oils.

Blackstone Labs

Safe Travels and THE JOY IS IN THE RIDE
Dittos. I've used Blackstone labs for years on my trucks, cars, Boats and Motorhomes. Well worth the money.
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Old 02-06-2016, 04:19 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DD788Snipe View Post
Dittos. I've used Blackstone labs for years on my trucks, cars, Boats and Motorhomes. Well worth the money.

So after you get this information what do you do with it?


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