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Old 10-28-2015, 06:10 PM   #1
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Exclamation What are the 3 or more things to look for in buying a M/H first timer

Going to buy a class A M/H, Newmar maybe, last M/H was a 25 ft class C, many years ago, retiring now. Heard many disappointing investments, Trying to avoid as many as possible. Plan on traveling as well as camping. One friend told me to not have the toilet and shower together, and make sure you can service, or access the engine, that is the kind of stuff I am looking for. Appreciate any experience or insight you folks might have to keep me from making a dumb decision.
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Old 10-28-2015, 06:54 PM   #2
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1. Select a floor plan the wife likes.
2. Engine power & brake system - Class A, C or Truck to pull 5th wheel.
3. Storage space

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Old 10-28-2015, 06:58 PM   #3
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Look carefully for rust problems under coach. Agree with Doggy Daddy to make sure you both like the floor plan. Make sure your cargo capacity is big enough. Maint. Records...
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:05 PM   #4
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Check date codes on tires, tires should be replaced after 10 years REGARDLESS of wear or mileage because of safety.

If a used coach, age is a problem for everything, engine seals, any rubber gasket or plastic part. Low mileage means nothing for these kinds of parts.

Service records, especially for a DP.
Can you take a knowledgeable friend with you (with motorhome savy), just as a second pair of eyes. Really too much to check at one time.


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Old 10-28-2015, 07:07 PM   #5
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In no particular order

1 - Quality of components
2 - Storage
3 - Engine, Brakes, & maintenance

Other fulltimers I've talked to say storage is of primary concern, even before choosing a solid RV. It helps narrow the choices down. If not fulltiming then would replace Storage with Alternative power, i.e. solar panels or good generator
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:13 PM   #6
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I bought a Class A in June, just got it out of the shop yesterday.
New Tires all-around, Electrical Management System, Wi-Fi Antenna, Boaster and Router, On-Demand Hot Water Heater, Air Bags Up-Front, Shocks all-around, and the LP system and appliances Checked out completely, Sleep Number bed to install still.
I'm in over $5K over what I paid for the RV. And haven't been anywhere (except on the phone).
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:23 PM   #7
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Floor plan and maintenance records are key, especially if you are looking at used coaches......Without a maintenance record, you are left to extrapolate the care of the inside/outside of the coach to the overall mechanical maintenance. For a DP, low mileage is not always a good deal--5000 to 7000 miles per is probably a well used and maintained coach. Side radiator and "jake" brake are probably better engine options. Engine manufacturers stuggled to "perfect" the EGR exhaust/polution systems on 2008 and later engines--assume the issues have been resolved but 2008 thru 2011 were bad years for DP engines.....
PS...more power {HP} the better--no one ever complained of too much HP!!!!!!
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:38 PM   #8
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I agree with Floorplan & Maintenance Records. Also check tire date codes. One thing we has on our list as a must (based on our previous experience with TT's) was that the coach had to be COMPLETELY usable if the slides were in. Example. In our travel trailer, with the single slide in, you could not access the bathroom. That was a no go in our book.

But probably the MOST important item, provided you like the coach is to have it INSPECTED by someone who is NOT affiliated with the seller in any way, and inspect BOTH the chassis AND the coach for operation, condition, and necessary repairs.

Good luck with whatever you decide!
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:42 PM   #9
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Like the commercial says, "quality is job 1!" Look under it, pull out drawers and look under the cabinets. How is it built? Did they use quality components? An rv that falls apart and fails constantly will not be fun. A floor plan doesn't mean much if your constantly fixing the thing.
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:46 PM   #10
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DW and I just went through this.

First time motorhome buyer, retiring at the end of the year and want to do some traveling. We both travel a lot in our jobs and are sick of airplanes, hotels and rental cars.

First we had to decide what size coach. I was reluctant to go to a tag since I've never dealt with a vehicle this big. We looked at and drove 34 - 43 footers.

Second was the floor plan. There really didn't seem to be a big difference in units in the size we were looking at. The big difference is in the quality of the different brands.

The other big concerns were side vs rear radiator, engine size, towing capacity, etc.

We decided on a 36 - 38 Newman, Ventana or Dutch Star if we could find one in our price range.

We watched the usual sales sites for units that were new to the market, seems like nothing was coming up. Finally found a fairly new, one owner Dutch Star 38 that met our requirements. We called the owner right away and sent a deposit the next day. On inspection it more than exceeded our expectations.

Cliff notes - Figure out what you want, look for the right unit and when you find it jump on it!!!
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Old 10-29-2015, 02:01 AM   #11
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This question is asked a lot on this forum; seems like every day or two ... so one of your best resources is the above drop-down SEARCH box (3rd category from right) to find these previous threads/posts of very detailed Lists on Buying a MH. Good luck in your search.
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Old 10-29-2015, 06:45 AM   #12
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This is a bit condensed, but find a MH with a floor plan you like with the following amenities and everything else will take care of itself.

1. Aqua-Hot
2. Air Leveling
3. Tag Axle

Optional 4. ISM or C-12
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Old 10-29-2015, 07:10 AM   #13
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If I had to narrow things down I would start by researching the heck out of brands, models, and issues. Know who makes a good unit and who doesn't. Know who requires you to go to the factory and wait for weeks and months for service. Know what price you should be paying for new if that is your route or for used. One dealer at the Hershey show likes to brag that they can get an extra 10% off the uninformed and that's a lot of dough on a $300,000 coach.

Also don't get sucked in by bling. There are a lot of coaches that look good but are mechanically not well made. Do not make any impulse decisions. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of shopping without realizing that you are buying a pig in a poke. Set your budget and stick to it. That may be one of the hardest things you can do when you see something and it's only $X more a month.

One last thing which is where I screwed up twice. Find out the carrying capacity of the unit and see if it may be sufficient for what you need or think you may need. Oh yeah, enjoy the search. It can be fun and exasperating at the same time.
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Old 10-29-2015, 07:25 AM   #14
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Here's some tips that were not covered.

1. Video tape any coach that looks good and if you have an extra set of eyes having those comments recorded so you can review will help. Also once you really start looking sometimes it's difficult to remember exactly which unit had features that you did and did not like. If you have it narrowed down to 2 or 3 then it gets a bit easier.

2. Something else that is never often talked about. On our first TT (mistake) we traveled from AR to FL. In 1 week we went through three weather seasons. There was not sufficient storage space for all the changes of clothes we needed and did use. All RVer's will experience that but only when you take your first long trip. For sure you won't experience the storage and clothes hanging issues in a parking lot where you see your dream coach for the first time.

3. Once you reach the point of really considering a coach make sure you know everything works and works well. Try both AC's if you have a 50-AMP unit. Try the genny for at least an hour while you work all the electrical items. We had the rear AC unit (seldom used) in one coach that broke twice in the time we owned the coach and neither unit had over 10 hours on it. We discovered a leak in a shower glass after we used it for the first time. That was a 300 mile round trip for them to slather some silicone on the glass. Yes all the water ran just fine but we didn't spray the walls down and check for leaks. Make sure the hot water tank works on propane and electric. They told us everything was check but it's their word against yours.

4. There's a not very good story of a poster on these forums who's new coach had a road vibrations and it had well under 3,000 miles on it. He spent 4 months of time, visited different several Ford dealers, tire shops 6 to 9 times or more visits and it's still not fixed. He's contacting a law firm as we speak. Nobody could find or fix the vibration.

5. Make darn sure you put the coach through its paces. Have another set of eyes and ears listen for noises and vibrations as you drive at all speeds. If there is something wrong don't accept until it's fixed and meets your approval. Once you sign you are relying on the dealer and the manufacturer and in his case that has not worked out. If they don't have your $$$$$ they will work much harder to seal the deal. Most times if they do have your $$$$ your unit will set on their lot for weeks at a time with no parts on order. I can't remember the number of times I read about those exact same things happening.

We took a trip to ME in our 1999 Dutch Star and about 600 miles into the trip I began to hear the differential gear noise that I have heard several times before in other vehicles. After we got to ME I took it to a Ford truck shop and yes it was diagnosed as a bad ring and pinion in the DF. Detroit was having model change over and the person responsible for determining and giving approval to change it was not available. That sounded very fishy to me but what could we do?? They said to drive it back to AR and have a shop in Tulsa fix it. We did and all went well.

6. It's the nature of RV repair that a customer who buys from a dealer will during the busy times get first preference. If your selling dealer is 100-300-500 or more miles from you that can and will be an expensive issue.

7. Access your repair abilities. What can you fix and what can't you fix. Some RV'ers can't even change a fuse or fix a defective door hing. Driving 500 miles for 50 of those simple items will put you at an serious inconvenience while you amass a long list of simple repairs because you can't fix them. Yes it would be nice if the coaches were perfect and simple things wouldn't break but they do and will break and need repaired.

We're lucky. I can fix almost anything on our RV. If I can't fix it I know exactly what has to be done to fix it. We had a major window (used a lot) that just would not open easily. The DW could not move it. WBGO tried three times with no success. Then the warranty ran out. Funny how that happens. Then Lippert was called, they made the window. They said that their warranty ran the same as WBGO's and said NO. I wrote a nasty e-mail to Lippert and soon was told that they would as a good faith gesture (yea right) send us a new window. That's something they should have done in the first place. We did get the replacement window in about 3 weeks.

Before Lippert had decided to replace the window I decided since nobody was stepping up I took the window out reworked the gasket which was replaced, made a few other changes and guess what??? The window works just fine. Then Lippert e-mailed me about the replacement. It's fixed and we still have the replacement if needed.

Best of luck on your search.


TeJay (Tim) Auto Instructor 35 yrs (4-yrs USAF) Liz: RN/ WBGO 2014 Vista 30T/ F-53/ CHF/5-Star/Koni/Centramatics * Bella- Golden/Cocker mix & Louie-The cat / All Retired
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