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Old 07-20-2013, 05:52 PM   #1
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The confusion/frustration begins!

DW and I do not currently own an RV but we have pretty much decided that a used class A DP is in our future. We have been studying this and other RV sites trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible. We are not quite to the point of laying down the $ to purchase one just yet. However, we are at the stage where we want to see as many different brands and styles as possible to try to find that perfect (for us) coach.

We live in the Chicago suburbs where you would think there should be an abundance of new/used units to look at. I have scoured the local Craig's list for months and there seem to be very few that would even interest us enough to take a look at. Truthfully, I do not want to bother an individual seller since we are basically tire kicking at this time.

Today we visited a fairly large dealer who sells Fleetwood and some others I am not familiar with. We looked at 40' Fleetwood Discovery and we loved the floor plan but $220,000 is way beyond our budget.

They only had a couple of used units, but I was excited when I saw that one was a 2006 42' Monaco Dynasty. What a disappointment! The interior was filty and totally worn out. It must have been owned by full timers or else people who were very hard on the unit. The second unit was a 2005 or 2006 Bounder. It was also worn out.

We stopped at another location we saw on the way home that had a lot of used units. It turns out this location is primarily a repair shop. He didn't have a single older unit to show us. He seemed very knowlegable though. Apparently he used to work for Monaco. His advise to me was to not purchase any used unit unless the company was still in business. Apparently, it is nearly impossible to get some of the more specialized parts for these older coaches since the company is out of business. That was sort of a downer for me as a used Monaco was at the top of my list due to the many accolades I have read about them. He said we might consider a used Winnebago as they can really support the older coaches with spare parts.

I have called around to other RV dealers in a 75 mile radius and they basically have nothing much on hand to warrant the trip. I guess I will have to delay my motorcoach browsing until I have made the decision to buy one and make a trip to Florida or Arizona with check book in hand. O.K. enough whining on my part, I hope I can keep the dream alive.

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Old 07-20-2013, 06:07 PM   #2
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Welcome to iRV2! You'll get plenty of helpful advice here. I can't comment on the RV market in the Chicago area, but if you are prepared to travel to Florida or Arizona, you might also consider Motor Home Specialist in Alvarado Texas, just outside of Fort Worth. They are great people to work with, and have some great deals. Their web site is

Texas RV Dealer, Used RVs for sale, motorhome sales, new RVs

I have no connection with them other than being a two times satisfied customer!

Bruce Dickson 2013 Thor Challenger 37GT, 5 Star Tune, Safe-T-Plus Steering Control with Air Trim, Roadmaster front and rear Sway Bars, SuperSteer rear Track Bar, Crossfires, 2012 Honda CRV on Blue Ox Aventa LX tow bar. Full timers since Jan 2012.
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:13 PM   #3
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Don't be discouraged. Live your dream. Be patient and keep looking. Try rvtrader.com. They even have an app for IPad. Try looking around for any RV shows. There are plenty of them throughout the year. I am not familiar with the Midwest RV scene but I am sure if you search the Internet you will come up with dates. There are plenty of decent rigs out there foresale. I brought my first rig from an estate sale with just 12K on it. The rig was in awesome condition. It was gas but it served the family well on a coast to coast trip lasting 1.5 months. I finally brought a diesel pusher brand new after I being in Texas through 100 degree heat. The family wanted better AC and I wanted more power on the hills. Good luck!
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:21 PM   #4
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Check out the Thor/Four Winds Mandalay model. This particular model is out of production, but the company (Thor) is still here.

We have an '06 Mandalay and are very happy with it.
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:53 PM   #5
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Just looked at a Mandalay 42 A and it was a beautiful coach. It only had a 360 hp cummins and thought it should have more power. The interior was beautiful and it was loaded with high end options. It was a rear radiator too and that gave me some pause. If it had a 450 cummins with a side radiator it would have been added to my list of next coach.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:33 PM   #6
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Part of your problem is your limiting yourself to what's local, you need to branch out double, triple or more to find that perfect rig for you.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:54 PM   #7
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I have to agree with Mystery about a side radiator. After a TT,& couple gasser As, we moved up to a used DP. Looked at a couple Monacos & Fleetwoods with rear radiators & could not imagine an easy way to replace a fan belt or alternator, something I've had to do with every vehicle I've ever owned. Then looked a a Dutch Star with a side radiator, belts, alternator& water pump right in front of my face. nuff said.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:56 PM   #8
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We had to fly from Regina to Florida to get ours.............Then drive it back 2800 miles.
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Old 07-21-2013, 06:50 AM   #9
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We were in the same position as you over 3yrs. ago. Do a lot of looking on line to get a feel of what you might be looking for in a floor plan. look at www.pplmotorhomes.com and look at all the DP's they have on consignment. It's a good place to start, but there's many web sites to look at. After a good year of looking I found mine on www.rvtrader.com, and had to travel from MD. to KY. to pick it up, this after I found an RV Tech to completely check it out b-4 I ever saw it. It has worked out for us as we've been on the road for over 3yrs. now.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:22 AM   #10
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There is no question that Winnebago is a good bet for a used rig (I believe you are focusing on used....good idea to avoid new coach depreciation). After owning two Winnebago's, moderating the Winne Owners forum on IRV2 for several years, and visiting the Winne factory, I think there are few manufacturers who provide better support for used rigs.

That said, don't limit yourself to Winnebago. We just traded a Winne Journey that gave us 8 years of good service for an orphaned Country Coach. I would not have bought the CC if they had not resumed operations as a factory service center and provider of parts and technical support.

I agree with the others here that you need to expand your search and be willing to travel a bit to see a good selection of rigs. I will tell you that in spite of how good the internet photos look, we saw coaches that were nasty in person. You have to be prepared to deal with that sad fact.

I also agree on the side radiator issue. If you are willing to pay someone else (many $$$$$$$$$$$) to do service/maintenance on a DP, no problem. However, if you are planning to do some yourself and like doing that sort of thing, a side radiator is the way to go IMO.

You might want to check Tom Johnson's RV website. They have a good inventory of used DP's in varying price ranges. They have two locations in NC and are a high volume dealer since they cater to NASCAR teams, drivers, and fans. We were pleased with the deal we made with those folks. They had a number of used Monaco DP's when we were there and several listed now.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:26 AM   #11
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We bought a local (Mich) older used one 8 years ago just to see how we liked it. After 2 winter trips to Fl, we were hooked. Spent almost 2 years looking around Mi with no luck. The next winter we took our title to Fl and found one in 2 weeks.

I'm not familiar with Monaco DPs or know if they have "specialized" parts or not. I just know all MH mfgrs use RV suppliers for just about everything except body parts. I know I would eat my hat (or worse) if I had an orphaned MH that I couldn't use because of a part.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:41 AM   #12
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Being just down the road in central IL, I know the feeling. We were pretty lucky that we found both of our MHs at a dealership just east of Indianapolis. Clearly, if you are looking at dealership purchases, the south through the southwest is king.

I wish I would have consider some of the high volume consignment/used MH operations in the south. They can have some great deals if you do your homework and use a good MH inspector service to check them out if you don't have the expertise (that was us) or the time. I need to balance that out with the fact I was such a novice when we bought our first MH last year that we didn't know what we should have known. We probably suffered a little bit from that but in our specific case we were able to trade our first purchase back to the same dealer for our DSDP and it worked out pretty fair. We got lucky I think.

I think the advantage of the large volume dealers is that you can buy in fairy cheap (relatively speaking) and not get such a beating if you find you got the wrong MH and traded up fairly quickly. Of course, that assumes you got the right price in the first place.

If you are prepared to buy from an individual I think there is even a better chance of getting a good deal provided you do your homework. Sometimes they have unrealistic prices...move on. Sometimes the units have sat "forever"...get a really good deal or move on.

Any used rig will entail money up front to get it ready...I don't care how good the dealership or individual says it was maintained. Pay close attention to tire age.

Hope that is a good starting point to get you thinking.
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:09 PM   #13
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I wouldn't worry about the company being in business. The only problem parts are body parts. Most of the equipment isn't manufactured by the RV manufacturer. my chassis is a Chevy with a 454, I can buy parts at my local auto store. the oven, fridge, water heater, TV you can buy online at one of the many RV stores, even Amazon. I bought a linkage for my broken steps from the manufacturer of the steps when it broke. I replaced the kitchen faucet with a faucet from Home Depot. My unit is a 1996 I bought for $10,000 with only 12,000 miles on it an I love it. It's a $75,000 unit. The only problem I had was finding the rear trim piece, but I brought it to an RV repair place and they were able to fab it for me.
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:15 PM   #14
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The RV market in the Chicago area is horrendous, I agree. You might try Winnebago Motor Homes in Rockford.
RV Dealer in Rockford, IL Winnebago Motor Homes
We bought our Aspect from them a while back, they had some nice used units, Class A and C.

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