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Old 11-13-2015, 03:03 PM   #1
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Used buyers... come on in

The DW and I recently started our search for a Class A DP MH and I would like to solicit some stories from buyers of used coaches. I am talking about the search, inspection, and buying as opposed to floor plan, power train, or features. For the most part, we know what we want.

At this point, hind site suggests I should have bought the first coach (privately owned) we looked at. The price was good, we liked it, but some tlc issues made me hesitate as I was still learning what to look for. It was bought site unseen by a buyer across the country as we drove home fine tuning our offer. How someone could buy a complex MH without looking is beyond me. He was in for a couple surprises.

We have looked at new but am leery of working out the bugs. May as well buy a late model used one and miss the initial depreciation in my opinion. So that brings up the question to you used buyers that bought at dealers. Was the previous owner information easily shared with you? Did you contact the previous owners to learn the history? Did you buy site unseen or hire an inspector?

Or, did you by from a private owner? I tend to prefer buying directly from the owner. Then I can tell if he took better care of it than I will.

Lets hear the good, bad, and the ugly.

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Old 11-13-2015, 03:42 PM   #2
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We bought our MH from Stouts RV dba Camping World of Indianapolis. The salesman was an expert who knew motorhomes. He never pressured us, and answered our every question. This was our first outing looking at MH's, and we bought the 4th one we inspected.
We are both well satisfied with out purchase, and with the extended service contract purchased at the same time.
The finance dept. tried to add-on to the purchase price at closing, and the salesman told them the agreed price. The finance person ignored him, so he turned and left the office somewhat upset. Turned out the salesman was right, and just last week(MH purchased 2013) we got a refund check from the Indiana attorney general's office-apparently there was a legal issue..
We knew what we wanted in a MH before we ever left home. This is our first and last MH because we bought what we decided on, before actually beginning the hunt.
There was no documents with the MH except the owners satchel. The only way I know the previous owners name is from a piece of paper found in the owners satchel. I suspect past maintenance records are of little value anyway, as that is no reassurance something will not fail anyway.

IMO, both of you decide what you want, settle for nothing less. If a MH meets your requirements, then has extras, OK, but I would not pay extra for them. My reasoning was, there are far too many used MH's on the market to "settle" for less than your requirements.
We had looked on-line for MH's that met our requirements and gave us a general price range. When I phoned those sellers I got an education. Some were not as advertised, some were scams, some were not willing to negotiate price, etc., but every contact furthered our buying education.
I highly recommend buying an extended service contract (it is NOT a warranty) for a used MH. These are very complicated machines with a potential for 5-figure repairs, I've never heard of anyone self-insuring to cover that potential.

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA 1SG, retired;PPA,Good Sam Life member."We the people are the rightful masters of both the Congress and the Courts - not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow men who pervert theConstitution. "Abraham Lincoln"
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Old 11-13-2015, 03:44 PM   #3
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I will chime in.. We bought our current coach used, sight unseen from a dealer 1000 miles away. After doing the show, the shopping and determining what we liked we pick out the specific coach we wanted an started looking online and found it with in a short time period.

We used a dealer, one because they had the coach we wanted and two we had a trade in.

I did a few things before we made the trip. We got the dealer to send extensive pictures that I requested, had them do a video walk through, had them send me copies of any service records, contacted the manufactuer with VIN and lastly and most importantly I had it inspected by a private party. None of this was very time consuming or expensive, but well worth it the effort.

Once we arrived we did a pretty thorough inspection of our own and spent the night onsite in the coach before finalizing the deal. The next morning we had a few issue, nothing major, just missing this or that, etc. I squeezed what I could from them on a used coach, but knew this was not a new coach and full PDI.

After all that we signed the deal and drove it 1000 miles home. No issues at all...

Once we got home, I took it immediatly to my local service center, not that is needed anything, but I trusted them and knew they would do a good job going over all the systems in the coach as well as doing a full service. I of course paid for this. The selling dealer said all the systems had been serviced, but I felt better doing it again just in case.

We have enjoyed the coach ever since, and I would have no issues purchasing used again (and probrably will).

Happy Hunting!
Jack & Tania
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In Gator Country
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Old 11-13-2015, 05:54 PM   #4
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We recently purchased a 2007 Tiffin Phaeton from a dealer here in East TN. We looked at new but found that we were looking at new Class A Gas because that is what was in our price range. When I looked online and saw the same coaches for 50% > 70% of what they were asking new (not list) I knew I did not want to take that bath. Then we looked at used diesels and the first dealer we were at everything was rough and did not seem well cared for. We then went to TN RV sales in east Knoxville and they had several really nice used coaches.

We settled on a 1 owner 07 Phaeton that had always been garage kept and was clearly well cared for. Checked for the "Big Three" issues with that generation Tiffin coach to ensure they were either taken care of or not there. Did the full PDI and by in large caught everything with the exception of a faulty Atwood Jack on the right rear that has stuck down twice. At this point there is no warranty and shame on me for not jacking it on several slightly different locations to fully vet the system. Replacement jack is $1600 so not cheap but we still saved over a $100K on a new unity that is frankly barely broke in from a drive train perspective.

Other than that the dealer fixed everything that we found with one part (drivers side camera) still on order. It also had 6 new tires on it so we have as much time as buying a new one before we have to worry about rubber. SO in the end I suggest (so far) going used. I drove new diesel pushers and several used ones, the one I bought drove better than any of them new or used. It seems to function perfectly and hopefully has a ton of life left in it before we see any significant issues.

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Old 11-13-2015, 05:58 PM   #5
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We bought our rig about 100 miles from home. Made 3 trips down to look at it. Owners manuals nor service info was not available as the previous owner for some reason kept them. Did get the manuals and a few records right at signing. Didn't have a a chance to open them till later. Oil sample taken and it revealed a high iron content that Cummins said was due to rust from not being run.
2,600 miles later a valve in #6 broke, $33,000 repair bill and Cummins picked up $10,400. Had to buy new batteries and next is tires.
Yes, we got a good price on the rig at less than half new sticker and about $50,000 under NADA. Great driving rig, very powerful, nice interior, etc. But had we had any inkling of the engine problem we'd have passed.
I like the rig, the DW --- not so much but she can live with it.
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Old 11-13-2015, 06:16 PM   #6
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WE had owned a Class C for ~7 years before we started seriously looking for a DP. We needed something bigger with slideouts. WE went to may shows and stopped and looked at many dealerships in our travels. If we saw a rig on the side of the road we would stop and look. I also spent time on line looking (Ebay, RV Trader .....). Over time we learned what we wanted and what to look for.

By chance I had to drive my parents to FL on their annual snow bird trek. I happen to see a very nice DP listed on Ebay for a very very low price (almost too good to be true). After dropping my parents off we decide to swing by and look at it. The rig was everything as described, very good condition and a very nice rig. I looked at everything that I could think or to look at and the dealer answered all our question. Both my wife and I really liked the DP but we decided to pass on making an offer then. After we got home we watched the progress of the Ebay bidding, it was getting very close to the Buy It Now price. I decided to call the dealer and make him and offer, he accepted and I did a wire transfer the next Monday.

The only real issue we had at the time was that there were no maintenance records. All the manuals were included but nothing on maintenance. The first thing I did was take it the nearest Cummins shop for a full inspection and service, they found no problems and the shop manager said the rig was "Cherry".

The rig we bought in 2008 was a 2002 Monaco Windsor 38PKD. Again, a very nice rig and we got it at a great price, it's still probably worth +80% of what we paid for it. Not bad after 7 years.
Jim J
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Old 11-13-2015, 06:40 PM   #7
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We have kept every receipt, work order, etc. for our coach.
We talked to many dealers asking for service records and
telling them we have all of ours.
Every one of them tell us they do not keep them and pass them on to the
next buyer. They just keep the manuals.

I do not understand the reasoning behind this.
They feel that most people would rather trade in than wait for
a private sale.
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Old 11-13-2015, 07:14 PM   #8
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We are still right in the middle of the purchase process.

A little background - my wife retired back in 2008 after 30 years as a registered nurse. She was 55. I really enjoyed my work and traveled all over the world and she was able to travel with me so I wasn't in any hurry to retire. Now, after 9 years in the Air Force, going to college on the GI bill and becoming a CPA, and working for the same company for 29 years eventually becoming the CFO for the past 15 years, I am ready to retire and Dec 4 will be my last day.

In Sep we looked at a couple of retirement villages in Florida and decided that wasn't for us. We came home (to Virginia) and decided to look at motor homes. We went to our local dealer and looked at several models. I'm a researcher and decided in our price range ($200,000) that the best brands for us were Newmar or Tiffin. There are other great brands but for one reason or another we ruled them out. At our dealer we looked at only new models and drove a gasser and a DP. We decided almost immediately that the DP was what we wanted.

I had said to our salesman right up front that I thought we wanted to buy a used unit to avoid the big depreciation hit that you get right up front. So, we talked to him, his sales manager and others at the dealership and we continued our search on the internet for used models.

We found a used 2008 Newmar Mountain Aire with 41,000 miles on it that a couple who lived about 100 miles from us owned. It was on a website that lists hundreds (maybe thousands) of RVs. Lots and lots of options. The couple invited us to a campground where they were parked for a week and we spent a couple of hours with them and the coach. It literally looked new inside and out. After that 2 hours we told them that we would like them to take it to a Cummins Diesel shop to run it through the diagnostics. We did that Wednesday and it passed with flying colors.

It is now parked in a local campground near our house. I've been working on getting money transferred from a retirement account for almost 2 weeks. Looks like it will be done on Tuesday of next week and we'll wire the funds to the previous owners and it will officially be ours.

We could have bought a brand new Ventana LE for what we are paying for this 2008 Mountain Aire. Yes, I believe you can tell the difference in many areas of the coach. Would we have been happy with the LE? I think so. Will we enjoy the Mountain Aire even more? Once again, yes I think we will. It's a great coach.

In the meantime, our daughter and her family want to buy our house. So we are downsizing from 3100 sq ft to about 400 and hitting the road more or less full time.

We think buying from a private owner is working out very well so far.
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Old 11-13-2015, 07:35 PM   #9
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To your question about talking to the previous owners...the salesman balked, but we persisted, and I mean persisted. He always seemed to forget to take care of it. Once we made it clear we weren't going any further without speaking to the former owner, he finally followed through. He called the previous owner and got permission to give us their name & number. We were able to speak to the former owner several times and gave him our name and number. He even called us days later to tell us some things that he had forgotten about in our earlier conversations.
Gene, Gayle, & Oliver
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:13 PM   #10
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Great replies, keep them coming.

To me the most desirable coach would be from a private seller who kept it stored inside, polished, and every penny spent on it documented. Don't ask for much do I?

Now I have bought items sight unseen including a Mustang out of Butte Montana, a snowmobile out of New Mexico, and a milling machine out of Texas, all Ebay items exceeding my expectations. But a MH would be a tough one to do. The camera lens can be misleading.

As an example, last weekend we ran up to Minneapolis to look at a new leftover 15 Entegra on our way to look at a used Travel Supreme in Iowa. I knew of an older (2003) Travel Supreme at an area dealer and although it was older than I cared for, I thought it was worth looking at just for education.

It looked quite nice in pictures and the salesman said the older couple had taken very good care of it. Once we swallowed the upchuck in our throats after seeing the horrid gold faded to green carpet and the gold floral couch we did see a well taken care of - well worn coach. The salesman kept stressing they did not want to see this coach on the December inventory report and telling me to make an offer. I told him he might prefer a good swift kick in the nuts compared to what my offer would be and declined to make one. It was worth the trip for the education however so I thanked him.

For a late model used trade in I would need to talk with the previous owner or see service records to make sure it wasn't a troublesome coach that was dumped because the warranty was up.

The search, is always the best part.

luckyd, I see you are from Kamloops. A group of us made a motorcycle trip through the Canadian Rockies last summer and spent a night in Kamloops. We enjoyed the car show and ribs at the ribfest celebration downtown. A very nice and tasty event.
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:46 PM   #11
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Buying a class A MH

Do your research, Quality over all the bells&whistles.Set a price,& try and get the most for your dollars.It may take a year, Be patient there are a slew of them for sale. As a salesman put it too me"You are trying to drive a house down the road".
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Old 11-14-2015, 12:51 AM   #12
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Know exactly what you want so your not shopping but hunting and buy from a private party .Hopefully the original owner. I found the unit that meet my needs with the exception of color. My wife flew down and I had arranged for Houston Prevost to do inspection. She was there with the mechanic and made the deal, got the keys and flew home. It was parked in a private secured building. I wired the money and he sent the tittle. This was around December. Around april we flew down and rented a car got the motorhome moved to a campground then started heading to seattle. Perfect machine that looks better then new. Had new tires and batts and all the factory spares like tile,wallpaper,leather,knobs,fixtures,towbar,lawn chairs,water softner ect.
The moral of the story is there are great rigs out there but you need to view nation wide. I would never have found this rig locally. I actually had three good contenders but as fate would have it my wife had already scheduled a quick trip to Austin TX. for another matter so I ask her if she could run over to Montgomery to check out this coach. She's been around this stuff and had no hesitation on pulling the trigger right there.
Pm if you have any questions.
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Old 11-14-2015, 03:21 AM   #13
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The motor home market is booming. Do your homework, but be prepared to pull the trigger quickly or you'll miss out on many deals.
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Old 11-14-2015, 05:49 AM   #14
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You're right in wanting the maint. records. I wouldn't consider a used coach without them. It's one of the reasons we purchased our 2000 Dutch Star over 5yrs. ago. The previous owner had meticulous records which we've kept up to date. On another note, I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss a coach because of a few cosmetic issues. Furniture, carpet and the such are easily replaced. It gives you negotiating ammunition. I'd be ready to make an offer on a good coach because there's a lot of great ones out there and you don't want to miss out.

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