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Old 05-14-2010, 11:10 AM   #1
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thinking of buying a used class A

Hello everyone,
My name is Jay and I live in Ohio. My wife and I are wanting to buy a used class A gas motorhome for under $20,000. We need one that sleeps 6 because our grand daughter always goes with us and about half the time we take my wifes parents too.
We've been looking at a lot of RVs and kind of narrowed it down to about 3 different ones:
1995 Pace-Arrow 37p
1994 National Sea Breeze 133
1995 Fleetwood Bounder 33ft
I would really appreciate any advice or suggestions about these or any other RVs because I don't know anything about class A motorhomes.
Thanks
Jay
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Old 05-14-2010, 12:09 PM   #2
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Hey Jay welcome to the forum. For four adults and a child you will need as much space as possible. Do any of your choices have slides? On a rainy day, a 33 footer with no slides will seem like sitting in a closet. Just my food for thought.

Let us know what you choose to do and then let us know where you're doing it.
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Old 05-14-2010, 01:09 PM   #3
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Hi Jay,
Welcome to iRV2. Floor plan sell the coach. Once you find the floor plan that meets your needs, then purchase the longest/larges coach you can afford. Before purchasing, have the coach checked out by two different certified techs.
1. Certified RV coach tech. One can purchase this service from Camping World or and RV dealer.
2. Certified automotive tech for the engine/drive train and chassis. You can also purchase this service at an authorized service center for the engine/chassis that carries the coach.
3. Lastly, see if the coach qualifies for a one year service plan from one of the many companies that sell these plans. Good Sam would be a place to start.
Once you have this information about the coach you are considering, then you can make an offer to purchase.
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Old 05-14-2010, 01:51 PM   #4
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Old 05-14-2010, 02:25 PM   #5
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Hello fellow Buckeye. Welcome to iRV2. You've come to the right place to answer your questions.

Since you have that many people to accomodate, I would seriously take Jim's advice to find a coach with at least 1 slide out. I think you will need the room & will be very glad you have one. Also, the biggest coach you can get for your money will pay off in the end for space considerations.

Is the granddaughter small enough to sleep on a folded down dinette? That works really well for children under 10 or so. Not so great if they're bigger or have long legs.

Take Gary's advice on having it checked out. This is very important on older units. If the seller has any service/maintenance records for work done on the coach, that's ideal for seeing how it was maintained.

Once you have your coach, check out the North Central & Pond Piggie Forums for area campouts. We'd love to have you join us.

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Old 05-14-2010, 02:48 PM   #6
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ohligerj, Welcome aboard and you've come to the right place for answers.
Basic good advice already given.
My wife and I moved up from a 34' Bounder with no slides to an 05 Southwind with 3 slides. Not saying you would need 3 slides but with that number of people I'd be looking for at least one!
Now that we have the 3 slides I don't think I'd ever go backwards!

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Old 05-14-2010, 04:10 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. I would like to get a slide out but for under $20000 its hard to find one in decent shape. My grand daughter is only 7 so she will fit fine on the dinette-bed or on the sofa sleeper when our folks aren't with us.
We are leaning towards buying the 37ft Pace-Arrow, we love the way its laid out and it has everything we want. I'm just a little scared because its so much bigger and has so many more" things" than what we are used to. Our old camper was just a pop-up so this is a giant step up!
The dealer said they don't automatically do a appliance check on their RVs older than 97 so we would have to pay $900 to have them check them out and that would just tell us if they work or not and how much it would cost to fix anything. I don't have any idea on who could check out the motor they don't do anything like that at the dealership.
The Pace-Arrow also has a tag axle is that good or bad?
Thanks
Jay
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Old 05-14-2010, 04:21 PM   #8
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Jay, welcome to the forum. Please check your Private Messages
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Old 05-14-2010, 05:33 PM   #9
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Hi Jay,
The manufacturer installed a tag axle to carry the weight of coach. It is not good or bad, it is just there. Never have the selling dealer check out anything. That would be a conflict of interest. For the coach, is there a Camping World nearby? If so, you can purchase a coach check out service from them. If you can not purchase the service, do it yourself. Does the fridge and freezer get cold and freezing (have the dealer level the coach, plug in shore power and turn on the fridge the day before you come to do the following inspections. Make sure the plumbing does not leak. The water pump, toilet, shower, hot water heater, etc. all work. And they work on electric and propane, if so equipped. Does the roof A/C cool? If it has heat strips, do they heat? Does the furnace work? Get up on the roof and look at the seams. When on the roof be sensitive to soft spots. They will feel different than the rest of the roof. When in the coach, look up, especially in the closets and cabinets. Is there any sign of water leaks? From a chassis view, what engine and chassis does the coach have? Find the local authorized service center for those items and purchase a checkout service from them. You will need to find them anyway. All the fluids and filters (engine oil, tranny, brake, coolant, etc.) will most likely need to be changed.

Find the tire manufacturer date, it is on the side wall. If the tires are older than 7 years, you'll need to consider the cost of replacing them.

Drive the coach at highway speeds. How does it feel? How does it sound? How does it shift, accelerate, stop?

Now that you have tried all the plumbing, dump the tanks! Yep, hookup the hoses and pull the valves.

I suggest this only because one does not want any large cost surprises once one takes possession. There are always going to be things to fix. You just do not want any big ticket items right away. Or negotiate a lower price because you found one of these big ticket items is broke.
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Old 05-14-2010, 10:12 PM   #10
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I would run far far away from a dealer who refused to give you a wakl thru and appliance check.

I bought my 99 pace arrow from a camping world, and while I'm not exstatic about the deal, they did guarantee everything would work, and gave me a good tech's half day walkthrough and training session to make sure everything did.

Mine is 36ft. over 30k, newer than 95, and has a slide. More than 4 people in it would be crowded.

Walkthru, warrantee (everything will work till you clear the camping world parking lot) or not, I've still put nearly 6k into the bus over the past year, including 6 new tires, and a new cooling unit in the fridge.
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Old 05-15-2010, 12:29 PM   #11
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Hello again everyone,
Thanks so much for all the helpful advice. I am planning to go and give the 95 Pace-Arrow another look and test drive on Monday. Everybody tells me they aren't that hard to drive but I'm still a little nervous. The dealership has a Camping World on site but the $895 appliance check is thru the dealership and it includes any repairs needed. If the test drive goes well I think I'll pay for the appliance check and make arrangements to have it taken to a mechanics and have the motor and chassis checked out. Is there anything specific I should have the mechanics check? And if the mechanic thinks everything is OK is there anything I should have them do while they have it in the shop?(like change the fluids )

Just a little side note to fellow Ohioan NLOVNIT. Your camping pics looked like fun. If we get this RV we will definately have to get involved. By the way, you've probably heard of the place we're considering buying our RV at, its Sirpilla's in Akron.
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Old 05-15-2010, 03:24 PM   #12
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Hi Jay,
The tech should know what to check. Ask to see the check list so you know what you are buying. Unless there is hard evidence the fluids (see my previous post) and filters have been changed, consider having that done. Have them give you the tire manufactured dates. Don't be driving on tires over 7 years old. The rest is normal checks like brakes, shocks, bushings, front end joints (steering), rust?, fluid leaks, etc.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:54 AM   #13
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Hello again everyone,
The other day we happened upon a 95 Winnebago Vectra. We took it for a test drive, checked it all over, fell in love with it and ended up buying it.Thanks to all your advise on what to look for I feel very confident that this is the right RV for us. So I'm no longer "thinking of buying a RV" but now a proud RV owner!
Thanks again,
Jay
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:58 AM   #14
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Now let the fun begin...load that grand daughter and DW up and go someplace this weekend. I still remember spending the first night we brought ours home in our hay meadow. Boondocking within sight of the house, not a bad idea.
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