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Old 12-10-2011, 10:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marineguy View Post
Bluepill,
Can you be a little more specific about what makes an older RV more expensive to maintain? I mean, a typical passenger vehicle will start falling apart at about 150k, even if it is taken care of. I would think a diesel pusher built like a bus would have a little more longevity designed into it. I'd be concerned about 150k mi on a GM 2.8L V6, not so much on a Cummins diesel. Is it the coach support systems or the drivetrain which I should expect to give me the most trouble? While I'm pretty sure what it would cost to replace the engine or transmission, no idea what a Norcold fridge compressor would cost. Making the comparison to aircraft, I would think a brand new motorhome has some issues, and a very old motorhome has a bit more issues, but the ones in between have most of the bugs worked out, and are constituted of components which are wearing out on schedule. What that mean time between failure schedule is, regarding motorhomes, I don't know. I've flown 45 year old CH-46 helicopters with 10,000 hours which were as consistently mission capable as my John Deere mower. I've also flown factory-fresh MV-22 Ospreys with 30-40 total hours which were about as reliable as a Yugo until they passed the 100 hour mark (then they were as reliable as a Chevy Cavalier, but much, much faster).
Doyle, I would like to speak to you. Please send me your number.
Thanks, guys.

I would not compare an RV to an airplane for longevity. A Cessna 172 well maintained built in the 1960's with 14,000 hours can still fly safely and reliably. It is because they were made to last. Among RV's there are very well made models and some that are not so. Seventy percent of all Airstream trailers are still on the road and they have been made for eighty years! Good maintenace is the key but that is after starting out with a good product.

If you want to save entry fee money purchasing the used product, then the wise thing is to plan to spend some of the money saved from purchasing an older unit for maintenace and repairs. According to the RVIA, the average motorhome gets driven less than 5000 miles a year. Of course, many are lived in all year so the engine and drive train might see less use than a car would for its age, but the rest of the components of the RV are used 24/7. The coach you are looking at has a little more mileage than average for being about fifteen years old. I would check for delamination, roof leak issues, or other problems. If you like to tinker around with stuff and don't mind fixing things then it might be a good purchase. If everytime something needs fixing it goes to the shop, the costs might flatten your wallet too much.
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:29 AM   #16
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looks good

its a crap shoot, it may last you 20 years with no problems, or your left on the side of the road. for me, I would think you will be just fine, keep regulater maint up, stay on top of the little things that break. later on you can always up grade, I looked at all kinds of motorhomes, didnt like what I saw(for what i want) so i converted a school bus, call me a redneck if you want(I can buy a new dp if I wanted) but I took 4 of us this summer on a 9800km trip, then spent many nights in the bush going on roads where no dp would go, plan on keeping this for the next 10 or years. so really its a matter of your own choice(and luck) you did your home work, you can do some of the work if you need to.

so set your flaps, gear up, throttle up, and fly

gbstewart
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:49 AM   #17
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The American Eagle is a great coach. I would not trust the dealer to go through everything. The problem is most dealers will not warranty a used coach, not even 30 days.
If you are new to motor homes, find a friend and go through every inch of it. Like someone else suggested, have oil samples drawn on the engine, trans, and generator and have them analyzed. Check to see if the Allison trans has been upgraded to Allison Transynd fluid (the dipstick should have a tag). You can search the forum, but this is can be very expensive.
Check the roof carefully. Most coaches in this era have a white rubber (EPDM) roof. It does deteriorate over time and is expensive to replace.
Has the TV been upgraded? The old TV's will not work with the new digital signals unless used with a converter box.
Check the refrigerator carefully. They are finicky and can be over $4000 to replace.
Check each A/C unit. They are about $1000 to replace. Check the thermostat. Try switching modes, front to rear, and run the temp up and down. Dometic used a 4 button thermostat that was prone to problems and is no longer in production. The new 5 button is not compatible with the older AC units. This can be a real problem.
Check the dates on the tires and batteries yourself.
Check the inverter. Most of these older units had a Freedom 20 that is no longer in production and parts are not available.
Do a nationwide search on RV trader for coaches like this and check the dealers pricing. Remember, no matter how sincere they are, they are 1-step above used car salesmen.
My opinion: You should search for a coach with at least one slideout. Put a Playstation in the back bedroom and your kids will love the motor home, but... Four kids are going to be a little tight in this model. Resale later on will be much better in a model with a slide.
Last, call Good Sam ESP and see if they will offer you an extended warranty.
Best of luck!
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:55 AM   #18
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I can't add anything to the diesel/chassis comments. WRT re-carpeting, I can tell you when I went to pick up my A from my carpet guy, he told me he'd give $50 to the next person who came to his shop with an RV, to go away! RVs are typically more difficult to re-carpet because the carpet is usually laid before fixtures and walls go in. My recommendation is to find someone that specializes in RVs, or who has had some experience laying carpet in them, even if you have to pay a bit more for the job.
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:32 AM   #19
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Here is a great video of a 95 Eagle which was posted in 2009.

This shows some of the nice bells and whistles.....pantograph cargo doors, large storage bays with slide-out trays, engine access etc.

And take a look at that paint job!

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Old 12-10-2011, 11:34 AM   #20
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And now the interor....lot's of space and storage for a non-slide coach.

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Old 12-10-2011, 01:51 PM   #21
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I loved my 95 Eagle. Wish I had it back
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Old 12-10-2011, 03:08 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marineguy View Post
Bluepill,
Can you be a little more specific about what makes an older RV more expensive to maintain? I mean, a typical passenger vehicle will start falling apart at about 150k, even if it is taken care of. I would think a diesel pusher built like a bus would have a little more longevity designed into it. I'd be concerned about 150k mi on a GM 2.8L V6, not so much on a Cummins diesel. Is it the coach support systems or the drivetrain which I should expect to give me the most trouble? While I'm pretty sure what it would cost to replace the engine or transmission, no idea what a Norcold fridge compressor would cost. Making the comparison to aircraft, I would think a brand new motorhome has some issues, and a very old motorhome has a bit more issues, but the ones in between have most of the bugs worked out, and are constituted of components which are wearing out on schedule. What that mean time between failure schedule is, regarding motorhomes, I don't know. I've flown 45 year old CH-46 helicopters with 10,000 hours which were as consistently mission capable as my John Deere mower. I've also flown factory-fresh MV-22 Ospreys with 30-40 total hours which were about as reliable as a Yugo until they passed the 100 hour mark (then they were as reliable as a Chevy Cavalier, but much, much faster).
Doyle, I would like to speak to you. Please send me your number.
Thanks, guys.
Chris i am at 325-573 9593
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Old 12-10-2011, 03:09 PM   #23
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The Eagle in the video is in similar condition to the one I'm looking at, except for the motor. Holy smokes, you could eat off that thing. Mine's got a little rust on the pulleys and block, but no leaks that I could see. This was definitely a driver, probably not a live-in. I think that may be a good thing. The layout is a little different on this one, with twin sofas and a dinette vice sofa + computer desk + booth. The booth would be nice, but I think the double sofas will be nicer.
I think I can trust the dealer to go over it for me. It's Tom Johnson Camping. From what I can tell, they're a pretty big-time dealer, probably didn't get there by screwing over young families. The salesman mentioned that there is no warranty, but he encouraged me to take delivery on a Friday, spend the night in their campground, then have them address any issues which come up on Saturday. The other option is for them to bring it to me at no charge, which is a heck of a lot more convenient, but has obvious disadvantages. Sure I would like to get the oil analyzed, but I'm five hours away from them so that makes things difficult. You never realize how big NC is until you drive from the coast to Asheville. I did find an Eagle 39AF near me, but the guy wanted $60k for it!
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Old 12-10-2011, 03:35 PM   #24
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My suggestion would be simply to find someone independantly qualified who can give the unit in question a thorough inspection for 2-$300. Don't be blinded by what you see/hear from the salesman as all they want is to move units and will tell you what they think you want to hear. A unit this old could come back and bite you in the rear.
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:45 PM   #25
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I just bought a 1999 American Eagle. I have been "tweaking" lots of little things, adjusting doors and hinges, oiling things, etc. So far, I have been very impressed with workmanship and materials. It will last a lot longer if you can keep it in a garage, or at least a roof. You might want to consider laminate flooring instead of carpet. Lots easier to clean and an area rug here and there warms it up.
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:50 PM   #26
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I think it could be a really good buy. I also think that you should find someone to go with you to look that motor coach over very carefully. The mileage indicates that it's probably been driven, which means it's probably in good mechanical order.

We were tired of trying to clean the carpet, and we found the ceramic tile was too cold on the feet, so we installed sheet vinyl flooring that has a tile pattern. We've had a lot of oohs and aaahs comments about that floor. It really does look beautiful. But more important, it's really easy to keep clean, it is durable, and it is not cold to walk on.
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:19 AM   #27
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i bought my lastest mh from tom johnson at the marion location. i like dealing with them
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:55 AM   #28
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