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Old 09-10-2015, 07:16 PM   #1
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When do you stop putting $$ into MH?

I've got a 96 Itasca Suncruiser 34RQ w/ 454 TBI and 1 slide. We've owned it for 6 yrs now and will have it paid off in 4 yrs. We are wondering when to stop putting money into it and get something newer.

Over the 6 yrs we've had it I've put on 6 new tires, installed laminate floors, rebuilt the whole 3 pc. driveshaft, installed flat screen TV's front and rear, front air bags in springs, converted rig over to 50amp to run both a/c's and added auto transfer switch, installed new slide out cover. Just got done installing re-built heads, new radiator, hoses, belts, fan clutch, coolant sensors (3), headers w/ magnaflow muffler and catalytic converter.

Just don't know about putting in any more money into it if something should come up. It will be 20 yrs old next year but it runs great, 70-75 this last Labor Day weekend. Had to keep letting up on the gas as it just was in its sweet spot cruising.

Any thoughts?? Thanks.
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:01 PM   #2
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Sounds like this is mostly upgrade money, normal maintenance costs, not dumping cash into a money pit that keeps breaking. The real question is, do you still like it and does it fill your needs?

My coach was brand new when we got it and we've replaced the couch, added satillite , exterior LED lights, getting ready to put in a new bedroom TV. I'll probably keep adding stuff for as long as we own it.

If you want something bigger,newer and it won't break the bank I'd say go for it. But it sounds like you've got this one just about where you want it.
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:08 PM   #3
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:14 PM   #4
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Sounds like you're familiar with your rig, and that you've made some changes to make it more to your liking?

I have no first hand experience with anything newer than our '94... we've definitely had our share of problems, including a mishap with the air cleaner that ruined our engine...

That said, most folks in the campgrounds driving newer stuff seem to have all the same issues as those of us driving vintage rigs. The only difference is the price/payment difference, and the shine... neither of which is inherently right or wrong... just a matter of what you want and what you can afford.

My thoughts... for what they are worth (probably not much)... is that there is a great deal of value in knowing your rig inside and out. But that's coming from a guy who has to do all of his own service, maintenance and repairs in order to even consider living the RV dream... for others, the cost of RVing does not play as big a factor...

I can tell you this... had I spent more money up front and bought a nicer RV right out of the gate, I still could have dusted the engine... at which point I'd be making payments on something I would then have to also pay to repair. There's something to be said for debt free Rving... but just my $.02...

-cheers
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:45 PM   #5
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Piker, you described my relationship with my old Bounder perfectly.
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:52 PM   #6
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I have owned 5 coaches. I must have a mental problem. Every time I get the coach fixed up like I want it I trade it off and start all over. I believe that I am getting over my mental problem because I plan on keeping my current coach until I can't drive any more, I have learned my lesson.

Don
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcgribks View Post
I've got a 96 Itasca Suncruiser 34RQ w/ 454 TBI and 1 slide. We've owned it for 6 yrs now and will have it paid off in 4 yrs. We are wondering when to stop putting money into it and get something newer.

Over the 6 yrs we've had it I've put on 6 new tires, installed laminate floors, rebuilt the whole 3 pc. driveshaft, installed flat screen TV's front and rear, front air bags in springs, converted rig over to 50amp to run both a/c's and added auto transfer switch, installed new slide out cover. Just got done installing re-built heads, new radiator, hoses, belts, fan clutch, coolant sensors (3), headers w/ magnaflow muffler and catalytic converter.

Just don't know about putting in any more money into it if something should come up. It will be 20 yrs old next year but it runs great, 70-75 this last Labor Day weekend. Had to keep letting up on the gas as it just was in its sweet spot cruising.

Any thoughts?? Thanks.
I have several thoughts. You have an older MH which you have kept up with maintenance wise and are closing in on the last payment. Does the floor plan work for you? Are you happy with what you have now? What is the condition of the undercarriage? How many miles are there on the MH?
Do you want to impress someone with a new unit? How much are you willing to spend to upgrade? Do you want another 10 or more years of monthly payments to face? How far do you want to go in upgrades? Want to stay with gas or switch to diesel? Longer more spacious unit? How about all the fancy doo dads so many seem to have problems with? Vacu Flush? Auto this and auto that? Or, are you willing to accept more basic and less troublesome systems?
I could go on and on but it wouldn't really influence your decision. What you have to do is sit down and do a real spread sheet of what you have available to spend on an upgrade and see if you have the extra funds to do so without cramping your present lifestyle.
I'm no expert but have had some exposure to buying campers. Since 1976 I have owned 11 tow tow behind campers, a class C and now have a 2002 Fleetwood Storm class A. I bought this class A last May with 29,000 miles on it which had been stored inside since delivery when not being used. It has never seen a winter road and is spotless inside and out as well as underneath. It is basic but really fits our needs. To date I have spent just over $100 on repairs. I am not counting general maintenance items like filters, oil and fluid change costs. Everything has been changed so I am off to a fresh start. Many of these will not need attention again as long as I own it.
I don't use the MH as much as I would like to but surely enjoy it when I do. My whole family goes along most of the time we are out and about. They have campers and tents but it all centers around our MH. The farthest away I have been is 160 miles from home for a NASCAR race weekend.
I have no desire to live anywhere else or spend long periods of time away from home. I will remain a weekender. I have an average sized home with 200 acres of land to recreate on. I have no intention of living in a box for a long period of time.
I know I haven't answered your original question but hopefully I have given you some food for thought.
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:54 PM   #8
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Hey OP, how many mile on her? Look at it this way, if you like her keep her, wouldn't it be nice not to have a payment
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:57 PM   #9
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We bought our current coach in late 2008, it's a 2002 Monaco Windsor, a very nice coach. We got a heck of a deal on it an luckily we didn't have any major problems the first 4 years. Basically normal stuff, other then upgrades the only thing that really broke was the water heater.

The last 2 years though have been trying. Generator replacement soon followed by the ECU for the Transmission, Front AC motor (who knows when the whole unit will fail), followed by EMS circuit boar, then radiator replacement and CAC rebuild, one of the 12 volt disconnects failed, and just last week had to replace the exhaust manifold.

What else can go wrong??? Who knows as this type of rig is complicated and we are building miles on it, currently have 102K miles.

I guess I know when the time will be right, I won't have any money left.
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:21 PM   #10
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I've got a little over 62,000 miles on it now. It's probably sat outside most of its life. Outside body is in good shape. No de-laminating that I can find just decals faded etc...
Front end is not too loose but it does wonder a little.

Just sometimes it feels a little cramped especially the bedroom trying to get dressed. The front couch is a magic bed but my girls 10 & 12 are getting a little big sleeping together. But overall it's not too bad a rig. If we keep her I'd probably like to re-build the whole front suspension (for peace of mind) including getting rid of the P30 air bags in the springs. Added all that up today and depending on where I got the parts it would be $2,000-$2,500 plus my labor to install.
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:22 PM   #11
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You've done way more than I ever would, now that you've had to do the top end it's time to dump it before the bottom half goes.
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I have owned 5 coaches. I must have a mental problem. Every time I get the coach fixed up like I want it I trade it off and start all over. I believe that I am getting over my mental problem because I plan on keeping my current coach until I can't drive any more, I have learned my lesson.

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Old 09-10-2015, 09:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by jcgribks View Post
I've got a little over 62,000 miles on it now. It's probably sat outside most of its life. Outside body is in good shape. No de-laminating that I can find just decals faded etc...
Front end is not too loose but it does wonder a little.

Just sometimes it feels a little cramped especially the bedroom trying to get dressed. The front couch is a magic bed but my girls 10 & 12 are getting a little big sleeping together. But overall it's not too bad a rig. If we keep her I'd probably like to re-build the whole front suspension (for peace of mind) including getting rid of the P30 air bags in the springs. Added all that up today and depending on where I got the parts it would be $2,000-$2,500 plus my labor to install.
Well I guess you have some decisions to make, sounds like you are out growing your coach with the kids.

With 62,000 miles, what was wrong with the heads and radiator? the other stuff you have done seems like normal wear and tear and preventive maintenance.
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:45 PM   #14
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Sounds like you got her just about done. It did make me smile when you said you keep putting money into her. I've had 4, there's always 2 things I want or need to get done. It's my hobby tinkering and fixing, relaxes me. I've found the major things like a bottom end on the motor are the most reliable, unless you have a 454 with over 100k on the odo.
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