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Old 04-27-2016, 06:56 PM   #1
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Shopping for a first RV

Hello, I m in the market for a first rig. It will be old and well used due to budget. Would love some advise . Right now the leading choice is a 1981 Brave. I have not given it a good look over or test drove it yet. But it appears to be in good shape with 80,000 miles on it. Any one have one of these? Would love to hear how well it has treated you. Any advise on what to look for? Thank you so much.
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:12 PM   #2
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My only problem with a rig that age is if a chassis part breaks who makes it for a 35 year old rig.
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Old 04-27-2016, 07:13 PM   #3
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Suggestions:

1. Find a used RV with zero evidence of water infiltration. Make sure no soft spots in floor, walls, and roof and no water stains. IMO it is just not worth the risk if there was water damage in the past but you are told "leak fixed no longer a problem". For example a water damaged roof problem can be well over $ 1,000 to get resolved.

2. Find a used RV with good tires or factor in replacing tires if not good. Make sure all have good tread wear patterns all way across. No matter how much tread tires need to be replaced 8 years after DOT date code on tire sidewall, so factor the age of tires in.

3. If buying a RV over 8 years old factor in that chassis may not have full manufacturer parts availability over 10 years out, for example people are having issues getting repair parts such as exhaust manifolds for older Chevy and Workhorse chassis engines
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:24 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info. What typ of issue's with the chassis might I run into were I would struggle to find parts? I asume the engine , tranny , brakes ect. Wouldn't be a problem for getting parts (same stuff for a van right? )
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Old 04-28-2016, 10:33 AM   #5
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If the leading contender is a '81 with 80K miles, I am assuming you are working with a very small amount of money. If that is the case, condition is absolutely the most important as repairs could run thousands including $2K for tires if older than 7 years.

Due diligence is critical. I would think you could find a Fleetwood product of early 90 vintage such as a Bounder or Coronado on a P30 chassis for not much over $5,000. And parts would be mostly available.

An older motorhome, much like an old car or old boat, can be a potential money pit if not careful. If using CL, beware of the gypsy scams which are prevalent if you move up toward Tacoma.
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Old 04-28-2016, 11:54 AM   #6
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Just be careful, have someone (RV tech) check it out. It's better to spend a little in advance than get a money pit. Best of luck.
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Old 04-28-2016, 12:09 PM   #7
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Thanks. This old brave seems to be in exellent condition , I am limited to cash on hand unless I can find a privet seller who can take a credit card. I could finance from An rv dealer. But they seem to want about twice the money for a used one as opposed to a privet seller. Just looking for somthing to get us started that wont blow up the first trip lol. Trying to get my wife hooked on the RV life . So when the kids leave she will want to sell the house and full time with me. Thats when we will buy the Dream machine. Thanks for the info . I will continue to look and keep you all posted on my progress.
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Old 04-28-2016, 02:16 PM   #8
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Thanks. This old brave seems to be in exellent condition , I am limited to cash on hand unless I can find a privet seller who can take a credit card. I could finance from An rv dealer. But they seem to want about twice the money for a used one as opposed to a privet seller. Just looking for somthing to get us started that wont blow up the first trip lol. Trying to get my wife hooked on the RV life . So when the kids leave she will want to sell the house and full time with me. Thats when we will buy the Dream machine. Thanks for the info . I will continue to look and keep you all posted on my progress.
This could be a realistic problem with a coach that is 35 years old. As mentioned, you could very well be looking at spending thousands to get this thing road worthy and up to date so it is half way enjoyable. If you can spend thousands to make this thing worthy then I would recommend saving your money and look for something newer. No matter what you end up with, these things are not cheap and always need $ going into them. Good luck.
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Old 04-28-2016, 02:43 PM   #9
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Thank you. Certainly something I didn't consider enough being a newbie. I may consider financing something a bit newer . I wonder if a class c would be a little less expensive to deal with potential issues that may arise??
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Old 04-28-2016, 03:10 PM   #10
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Thank you. Certainly something I didn't consider enough being a newbie. I may consider financing something a bit newer . I wonder if a class c would be a little less expensive to deal with potential issues that may arise??
I don't think a Class C will be necessarily be cheaper to fix, but you will probably be able to purchase a newer class C than a class A at that same cost. Good luck!
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Old 04-28-2016, 03:16 PM   #11
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We have a 1998 32' New Horizon fifth wheel for sale. It has a rear kitchen, super slide in the living area, small slide in the bedroom, solar panels and four 6 volt batteries, a macerator, upgraded tires, and a Trailer Saver Air Hitch. We full timed in it until our daughter was badly hurt in a car accident. It is located near Alamosa, Colorado. We are asking $11,900.
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Old 04-30-2016, 08:27 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Andy Mac View Post
Thanks. This old brave seems to be in exellent condition , I am limited to cash on hand unless I can find a privet seller who can take a credit card. I could finance from An rv dealer. But they seem to want about twice the money for a used one as opposed to a privet seller. Just looking for somthing to get us started that wont blow up the first trip lol. Trying to get my wife hooked on the RV life . So when the kids leave she will want to sell the house and full time with me. Thats when we will buy the Dream machine. Thanks for the info . I will continue to look and keep you all posted on my progress.
DO NOT PURCHASE using a credit card. If you buy it and it turns out to be a real money vaccuum, you'll be making payments on something you can't use. Pay cash, keep the CC for emergencies.

When purchasing from a private party you assume all of the risk. Going through a dealership, well you have some recourse depending on state laws. Our MH was a consignment unit and even though it was sold as is, the dealership was by law required to inspect and report any safety issues. I also had it inspected by a qualified mechanic.

If you can get this Brave cheap enough and spend as little as possible to make it usable, then you have something to flip or trade in when you find that next coach. Remember that when you go to finance any coach that is at the 10 year old mark, finding financing is nearly impossible because lenders don't want to touch them. Lenders have even set loan limits on brand new luxury coaches. I was told by a dealer that the cap for many is now $500k...that doesn't do much for the person wanting to purchase a coach that sells for $600K to $1.6M.
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Old 04-30-2016, 09:56 AM   #13
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I don't think a Class C will be necessarily be cheaper to fix, but you will probably be able to purchase a newer class C than a class A at that same cost. Good luck!
I agree 100% with Pepper2, would be smartest purchase.
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Old 04-30-2016, 10:07 AM   #14
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I agree 100% with Pepper2, would be smartest purchase.
X2. Our first purchase was a used Class C. The way they are designed, the house portion is more clearly separated from the truck portion, and that can make getting repairs done a bit easier. Also, the tires are smaller and less expensive to replace. But you still want one with good maintenance records. There are more things than you can imagine that will break!

Good for you for paying cash at the outset. If for any reason your experiment in RV living does not work out, you can consider it tuition in life experience and not be stuck with payments going forward!
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