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Old 07-23-2011, 11:35 AM   #1
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recommendations for a pre owned DP

We are seriously looking to go FT and think a DP is the way to go. We will have also have a toad. I would welcome any suggestions on what DP brand to buy used 2007-2011. Budget is <160K, we want 38-45 footer.
Thanks for your input!
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:18 PM   #2
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I expect you'll merely get folks touting the brand they own...
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Old 07-23-2011, 02:14 PM   #3
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I would look at the highest end coaches I could find in the Tiffin, American Coach, Monaco and Newmar lines in your price range. The models I would be looking at for that age and price would be the Allegro Bus (Tiffin), American Tradition (American Coach), Camelot (Monaco), and Mountain Aire (Newmar). You might be able to find a nice Holiday Rambler Endeavor (rough equivalent to the Monaco Camelot) in that price range. Don't overlook any of the Beaver coaches that you might run across in that range. If feasible, go for the tag axle. Pick the floor plan that works best for you and go from there. In DPs higher mileage doesn't count as long as the maintenance was done as required. If you can find a higher end model than those I have mentioned, don't overlook them.
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Old 07-23-2011, 02:18 PM   #4
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In the Newmar line a Dutch Star is also good. I've been seeing 2006 Essex's (above the Mountain Aire) in the low $200,000 range too. Yes, I know that's over your budget but just to show what's available. A new Essex will list over $600,000.
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:58 PM   #5
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Take a look at Used RVs, Motorhomes for Sale, and Consigned sales - PPL Motor Homes and N.A.D.A. Home Page for some price guidance. Don't be afraid to look at coaches that are advertised above (even well above) your price. Sometimes an item is priced high to permit some room for negotiation.

PPL shows the floorplan and some pictures for each unit. Checking their site daily for two weeks will give you a pretty good indication of what's available in your price range. Go visit every dealer and RV show you can. When you are in a coach that appeals to you, spend time in it "doing" your normal activities. "Prepare" a meal; "set" the table; "wash" the dishes, "use" the toilet and shower; "make" the bed. you get the idea.

If the coach still appeals to you, have the sales person bring the slides in. Then try to get to the refrigerator, the dining area, the bathroom, and the bed. The reason for this test is to see whether you have to put out any slides in order to access those areas of the coach. Some day you will be traveling and want access to those points. Life is easier if you don't have to put the slides out just to make a sandwich.

If the coach still is appealing, ask to see the maintenance records. If they are missing or incomplete, it doesn't mean that the coach is necessarily a bad deal, but it should raise some red flags.

Keep some of your budget back for repairs and upgrades. The upholstery might be in excellent shape, but if you don't like the color you will want to change it. The dealer isn't likely to do so at his expense. On the other hand, if the asking price isn't too far out of line, he might if you agree to his price.

Remember that if the dealer doesn't make any profit on the sale he won't be around the next time you want to buy. PPL is mainly a consignment business, and I haven't dealt with them, so I don't know how much negotiation room there might be. Read their website carefully so you know how to deal with them. There are many coaches for sale, so don't fall for the line that "this one won't be here tomorrow." If it is actually sold, chances are that the sale was already in the works before you saw it.

Do your homework and enjoy the search. After being in a dozen or so coaches you will know what you want.
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Old 07-23-2011, 04:13 PM   #6
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The method that I have found to work for me when considering a vehicle purchase is a process of elimination.

First, make a list of possibles IN YOUR PRICE RANGE. It's too easy to get upsold. Give yourself a "target" maximum, and then establish an Absolute Maximum that would only apply if you get an incredible deal and/or fall madly in love. Include sales tax, DMV fees, equipment that you will have to buy for your purposes (ie Toad tow bar and brake equipment). Add extended warranty costs if you are going that way.

First "filter" for your list is "Must Have" items. Eliminate any unit that lacks these.

Next filter is "stuff I'd really like, but can live without if necessary"

Last filter is "Everything else being equal, I'd prefer to have this equipment or option"

Edit your list, and share it with your salesperson. It will keep them on track with your wishes, and help keep them from wasting time. Be willing to listen to any advice that they have about your choices, but keep in mind that making a sale of an in-stock unit is a priority for them.

Collect any literature that the dealer has, and take lots of photos of the units that you look at. It's easy to forget which model had what features, etc. Index your photos by making your first shots of the outside with brand name and model.

BTW, we purchased our current MH last January and really love it. If you find one, give it consideration.
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Old 07-23-2011, 04:28 PM   #7
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As expected, you will get many suggestions. If I was in your situation, I would certainly consider a used Foretravel. You can get a nice used coach for the money you suggest. The other brands mentioned are nice but Foretravel's are high end coaches built very well. Foretravel builds their own chassis. Check Motorhomes of Texas for a sample of what is available.
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Old 07-23-2011, 06:32 PM   #8
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As others have said... Floorplan first. My personal opinion is that chassis and engine choices are "nice to have" but never deal breakers.

Really sit in it and think about "okay, how are we going to watch TV?" And as others have said "can I get to the bathoom if I just pull off the road?"

Holding tank capacities may be critical to you if you want to boondock or dry camp (at racetracks, for example) a lot.

Once you've got those things, then of course it's about condition. Don't buy things that aren't in tip top shape -- or discount wildly if they have issues.

Last of all, no matter how great the condition is, leave yourself 10% of your budget to change/fix/modify things you didn't think of before you drove off.

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Old 07-23-2011, 07:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb0zke View Post
Take a look at Used RVs, Motorhomes for Sale, and Consigned sales - PPL Motor Homes and N.A.D.A. Home Page for some price guidance. Don't be afraid to look at coaches that are advertised above (even well above) your price. Sometimes an item is priced high to permit some room for negotiation.
I don't place much stock in NADA. I'm trying to sell a boat. NADA has my model priced way below the price being asked by everybody on the internet, omits half the factory equipment and omits all the owner added options. After that experience, I put in the data for my MH. Just the opposite, all three of their prices are many thousands over what I paid last year.
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Old 07-23-2011, 09:12 PM   #10
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The only price that really counts is what a willing buyer pays a willing seller. However, if I check four places and find that all four list a particular DP between $45,000 and $55,000, should I really believe the seller who is asking $60,000 for his? Maybe I should, and maybe I shouldn't. His coach may really be a jewel, and well worth what he is asking. At least I've gotten some price guides on which to base my offer. Going the other way, when we go to buy our FT rig, we may have to sell our mpg ourselves. If so, I'll use NADA, PPL, and any other source I can find to help me set a price.

No one place has an "official" price for used equipment, but many places put their asking prices on the Web for people to compare. Using as many sources as possible will help both sellers and buyers to have realistic prices in mind.
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:07 PM   #11
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There are lots of good motor home makers. They key is finding the one that fits what you want to do with it. I spent three years looking for one when we bought last time. It was worth the weight. If you are going to full time you need to be very sure that you can live with the floorplan, the coach has enough CCCs for your needs, has durable house components. When I was looking I bought the disks from the RVCG. They were extreamily helpful and they list in their ratings if a coach is rated for full time or part of the year. Here are a few things I would look for

1. IMHO it is better to have two spaces to "hang out" if you are traveling with one other person. My wife hangs out in the back of our coach a lot of the time and I in the front. Unless we watch TV and then we are both in front.
2. Durable materials like solid counter tops, well built seat materials.
3. Pass through basement storage with slide out trays.
4. Dual pane windows and high insulation rating. My roof is rated R20.
5. Lots of CCC capacity.

As far as brands. The top brands by general acclimation may not be the ones you like when you go look. I do agree with the suggestion previously posted that PPL has a great web site and fair pricing. If you are close to them go look there and drive a bunch of the coaches. Do look at quality of construction. Compare walls thickness, hinges and latches of cabinets and definitely basement storage doors. Full printed operator books and drawings are very important. If you get stranded and need repair you will need them. I also recommend a good extended warranty policy if you buy used.
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:05 AM   #12
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Figure out what is most important to you first. What are your "must haves" for example? This is very much a "copy-cat"" industry so what you will find is that in your price point, most of the different models are very comparable. If you are going to go FT, things such as interior and exterior storage will probably be of great importance. A 42' model with a tag axle and Aqua Hot can actually have less basement storage than a 40' w/o aqua hot(just for example). I would be happy to help you in any way that I can. I own an RV and also work in the industry 50 hours a week. I'm sure my user name gives it away. I am NOT here to solicit business, my goal is to do nothing more than to see what others are discussing and dealing with through their travels. You would have to initiate the contact first but I would be happy to help in any way that I can. There are several great choices out there in your range.
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:25 AM   #13
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I expect you'll merely get folks touting the brand they own...
Very true, it's called confirmation bias.

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Old 07-24-2011, 09:50 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by cfyanes View Post
We are seriously looking to go FT and think a DP is the way to go. We will have also have a toad. I would welcome any suggestions on what DP brand to buy used 2007-2011. Budget is <160K, we want 38-45 footer.
Thanks for your input!
Every time this subject comes up, which is often, you get the same responses, which in a lot of cases is unreasonable and and not really necessary. If you are not intelligent enough look at something and tell if it is what you want, then maybe their advice is important. My suggestion has always been, look at a Marathon Prevost Conversion, to see what the very best looks like, then go down the scale till you reach your price range.

Jim E
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