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Old 06-23-2009, 10:47 PM   #1
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Please Help Us Focus (What do we buy?)

With hundred of models of used Class A motorhomes to choose from we need some help focusing.

Here is our story. We live in WI and have sold our home (at a $125k loss!) and want to buy a MH to spend the next 8 months in. We are in our 50’s and have 2 small dogs. Our family lives in Southern CA so thought we would spend the winter there to see if we like it enough to move there. Our plans are not to do a lot of sight-seeing but rather park somewhere and do volunteer work. We plan to pull a car.

Given our loss on the home sale, we need to stay under $40k for a MH. I have spent some months on Ebay, Craig’s list and other internet sites. It seems like we can buy a nice, 2000 - 2001 diesel pusher for mid-thirties or a similar age gas model for about $8k less. The other option would be a 2002 - 2004 gas for mid-thirties.

Diesel examples: 2000 Journey 2 slides, 48k miles, w/d, sat dish $35k; 2000 Journey 1 slide, 93k miles, $31.1k; 2000 H Rambler Endeavor 1 slide, 74k miles, $35.3k; 2001 Fleetwood Expedition 2 slides, 51k miles, $36.2k These are all from sellers with great ratings.

Plenty of gas units with slides (Pace Arrow, Southwind, Gulf Stream, Cruise Master, Adventure 99-2002 in the mid-twenties and Coachmens for even less.

So question 1 is diesel or gas?

How do the costs of ownership differ? (maintenance & repair costs, mpg etc.)

Question 2, if gas – Chevy Workhorse or Ford?

Someone said that the newer workhorse chassis have bigger tires and wider wheel base than the Ford so handle better. Is that true and if so what years of MHs have the newer chassis?

Someone said the Chevy is better on gas and that the Allison transmission is best. Any opinions on that?

I purchased the RV Consumers Group Rating Guide and very few Class A gas units that originally sold for under $250k have high ratings (except Nationa & a few obscure brands) Any opinions on their ratings?

Any help you can give us will be greatly appreciated.


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Old 06-24-2009, 03:43 AM   #2
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You have taken a great loss on your home ?? You want to buy an RV (a DEPRECIATING asset ??) Are you sure you have studied carefully what you are doing??

I would suggest you head back to the "financial drawing table" and re-evaluate !!


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Old 06-24-2009, 05:54 AM   #3
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Well in M.H.O. I used to deliver the Work Horse Chassis built in Union City IN. 2002 to 2005 they made a really good product,the 06 07, what killed them was there warrenty and factory workman ship. the G.M. 8.1L and Allison is still the best. Also i would go inside the factories when delivering and I like the Winabago built in Forest City Iowa.top notch work.I used to go in Fleetwood in Riverside Cal. was not inpressed.delivered the Fords and being a ford man myself I would buy WorkHorse.the ford is to soft a ride,weak springs. just my H.M.h.O.
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:08 AM   #4
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In my opinion the decision on Diesel or Gas rests on two issues. One is how far do you intend to drive the MH. The second is how heavy is the MH. The farther and heavier the MH the more the decision goes to Diesel. The less miles and lighter it goes to gas.
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:20 AM   #5
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You have left out a few details that would help with an analysis. The most important question; Do you plan to keep the Motorhome or just consider it a convenient place to stay for a period of time?

If it is an interim solution to a final decision, a Motorhome is rather expensive. If you only plan to stay in it 8 months and then get rid of it, don't do it. You could easily spend $40 K and then another $5-10 K in repairs on a used unit and that would not be totally abnormal.

If you are just looking for a cheaper place to stay for 8 months, consider a cheap used trailer.

Now if you are going to keep it and travel, it depends on how you travel. If you go from point A to point B and stay for 6 months each, go newer, cheaper and gas. You get more for your buck. If you travel a lot then diesel may be more appropriate.

Hands down, diesels are more expensive to maintain but they hold their long term value better. Gas depreciate faster as a % of purchase over time. The bunk about diesels lasting longer being the reason for the financial decision is just that, bunk. A dollar is a dollar and all considered, a 36 foot diesel over time including purchase, depreciation, operation and maintenance will cost you a lot more than a gasser.
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:22 AM   #6
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Motorhome maintenance costs can be pretty high, especially on older used units, plus insurance costs are high, too. Since you're planning on under a year of using the RV, perhaps a travel trailer or fifth wheel would be more economical. Then after the 8 months, if you don't want to remain an RVer, your loss to sell should be less than on a motorhome.

None of my business, really, but that's what this forum is all about....helping out our fellow RVers. Best of luck and WELCOME to IRV2
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Old 06-26-2009, 02:51 PM   #7
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i should of known you were a fellow wisconsinite.. welcome aboard. we love our chevy diesels. we have a super c and a 1 ton dually pickup. both have the allison transmission and can be worked on at the chevy dealerships. i don't think class A's can be worked on just anywhere.

the diesels will pull a lot more weight without really trying. the gas may have problems going into the mountains. just my thoughts... so don't get all flamey on me. the diesel will also get better fuel mileage (should anyways).. but, the initial cost of a diesel could out way your fuel in a gas coach (depending on what you use the rv for).. just something to keep in mind.. others feel free to chime in.
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Old 07-01-2009, 02:50 PM   #8
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Thanks & Winnebago Question

Thanks for all your information. One unit we considered was a 34' 2002 Winnebago Voyager in great shape. RV Consumers guide, however rated it very poorly because of the shortness of the wheelbase (190") compared to MH length. (rating 49 out of 100 for hwy control) Winnebago continued to sell this through 2007 with same bad rating.

Is this something to worry about? Owner had spent $500 for a steering stabilizer(?) so maybe he had issues with the hwy control.

Thoughts? Thanks

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Old 07-01-2009, 08:14 PM   #9
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Before we went fulltime I read RV Consumer guide. Since then we have talked to a lot of people that have the same opinion of RV Consumer guide. Forget about it! It would be interesting to know if anyone in that orginazation ever was in an RV.
In my opinion you are on the right track, ask a lot of questions and don't be bashful. The Winnie sounds like a good start. If you are in this for the short turm,1-2 years, I would look at a bigger class C. The initial investment is less and you can still pull a small car. (chevy chassis)
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:51 AM   #10
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We recently bought a Ford V10 class A, a 99 Pace Arrow, after considerable shopping. Unit is very clean, in great shape, and cost us 34k. I looked at enough "craigslist bargains" to only suggest "run and hide!!"

We are currently in the middle of a west coast trip, 2 weeks plus done, 2 weeks to go, with our 2 son's.

My wife doesn't like the class A. Sitting on the far right corner behind that big windshield scares her to death.
The "getting over the mountains" thing is pure bunk. The issue with this v10 chassis is gearing, not power. 3rd gear = 50 mph, will pull a 3-4% grade.
More grade than that, she'll downshift to 2nd, you pretty much gotta slow down to 40mph to keep the rpm's @ 3500 or so. I'm at half throttle, and she will go faster, but pulling 4500 rpm for 5 minutes climbing a mountain seems hard on the equipment.

what she really needs is a gear between second and third.

The Fords went to a wider track in 98 or so. These handle MUCH better, but still sway a lot on the corners.

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