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Old 01-30-2014, 11:19 AM   #1
M2D
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Optimal Age for Purchase of a Used High Quality Fiver

When you are talking about the high quality brands recommended here is there a reasonable expectation of how long they will last? Is there an optimal age at which to purchase so as to be relatively sure of having a good five years or so of enjoyment out of one?

Of course I understand that there is due diligence to be done in checking required maintenance and being prepared to do appropriate upkeep yourself.

Learning loads here every day,

Michele
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:30 AM   #2
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I would set my budget and then start working backwards from new to see what my allocated funds would buy. As far as "how long do they last", our Doubletree RV (now DRV Suites) Mobile Suites 5th wheel is pictured below (ignore the pink flamingoes - the photo was taken at a Texas Boomer rally.) Click on the photo to enlarge it for a better view. We will have owned it 10 years this coming August, and I have no reason or inclination for giving it up just to have something newer. It's still sound, comfortable and suits our needs as well as it did when we bought it in August 2004.

We don't use our rig for full-timing - I'm still a working stiff. Whenever not in use, it sits in covered storage. Therefore, taking our rig as an example, I'm not sure that age necessarily equates to condition.

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Old 01-30-2014, 11:40 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by M2D View Post
When you are talking about the high quality brands recommended here is there a reasonable expectation of how long they will last? Is there an optimal age at which to purchase so as to be relatively sure of having a good five years or so of enjoyment out of one?

Of course I understand that there is due diligence to be done in checking required maintenance and being prepared to do appropriate upkeep yourself.

Learning loads here every day,

Michele
I don't think there's an age limit per say. Rather I would look to the appliances and systems in each coach you are considering and compare them to the current standards.

Televisions for instance have come a long way in the last 5 years. Over the air analog transmission is all but gone, and it's extremely hard to read any text transmitted in the new format and translated to fit an analog screen.

Previous era satellite dishes are generally not upgradable to receive HD transmissions.

You may have trouble finding parts for some previous generation appliances like refrigerators, cook tops and furnaces. The day of the basement air is also gone.

None of these things individually should be show stoppers if you're considering an older coach. However they should be taken into consideration for both the price you're willing to pay, and the probability they will need to be repaired or replaced during the time you intend to own the coach.
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Old 01-30-2014, 01:00 PM   #4
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The day of the basement air may be gone, but I wish it would return. The new AC units are terrible. All of them. :(
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Old 01-30-2014, 01:50 PM   #5
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We just purchased our 2003 Teton. It is in better condition than anything we have seen on the market today. Now we didn't look at custom New Horizons, Continental Coach, Space Craft. Yes, we replaced TVs, had to replace Washing machine, sound system receiver. These things should be expected on older units. We would not trade for anything on the current market. Only paid 30,000.
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:42 PM   #6
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High End Units are built to last!!

As others stated, you might have to upgrade things like TV but that is expected.

Our King of the Road Royal Villa is as solid and nice as the day she came off the show room floor. 2006 year.

It has decals on it and the starboard side is starting to show some fading.
We do have a brand new set of decals for it if we decided to put them on at some time.

However, a full body paint job is not ruled out either. Just from my perspective, if you purchase a quality built 5r, it will last you for many years. I am thinking of putting in a laminate floor as we seen another who did it and looks fantastic!
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:49 PM   #7
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Jack, what's wrong with air in new units?

First I have heard of anyone complaining of air in new units.

I know our King (06) has two on top and I never run but one. I have not paid for the conversion of our home base CG for 50 amp so I just run the 13k unit and it cools just fine even in 100 degree temps.

Another reason for having a well built unit.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:17 AM   #8
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Not sure there is an "optimal age" to purchase. I have been shopping for a late model (5-6 year old) 5'er and found the selection to be rather slim. Not many units were built when our economy was at it's lowest point and consequently there are few used units to choose from of that age. That being said, there are good sound older trailers out there. Most appliances don't get used enough to wear out but refrigerators have a life of about 10 years and tires need replacing at 6 to 7 years.
Hey, I just talked myself into buying new!
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:37 AM   #9
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I don't believe there is a 'rule of thumb' for buying a mid to high level 5er. Whatever they use for construction is usually only minimally higher (maybe!) then the entry level end of the spectrum. Where you find the differences is in the interior fit and finish as well a furnishings. They all have Atwood appliances They all have one of 2-3 brands of suspension and brakes They all have one of 2-3 brands of hitch. Some are 'prettier' painted and decaled(sp?) decorated outside while others are plain white fiberglass or (shudder) easily dented aluminum. If you like it, it works with your truck, the price is right then you buy it assuming that there is no physical or water damage or non working items. If you use it, be prepared to maintain and repair that costly rolling home whenever it need some TLC.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:43 AM   #10
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have a 2000 horizon, just few minor things need to be done, an has the central heat/basement air. heat on floor an ac on cieling, great, but i didnt know they stop doing this, but also to add, depends on wht type/state its in, im in florida an seen a lot of 1980+ rv's still runniing the road. just never know.
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Old 01-31-2014, 07:38 AM   #11
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I don't believe there is a 'rule of thumb' for buying a mid to high level 5er. Whatever they use for construction is usually only minimally higher (maybe!) then the entry level end of the spectrum. Where you find the differences is in the interior fit and finish as well a furnishings. They all have Atwood appliances They all have one of 2-3 brands of suspension and brakes They all have one of 2-3 brands of hitch.
Suffice it to say that I disagree strongly. Examples: Particle board versus heavy plywood floors and roof. Vinyl covered particle board versus solid wood cabinetry. Cheap plastic versus residential quality sinks, lavatories, faucets, etc. Plastic versus porcelain toilets. Laminate versus solid surface countertops.

Higher quality units have thicker walls and more/better insulation. Compare the frames (for example, mine has a 15" stacked rectangular box section frame) running gear, axles and brakes, etc. Higher end units will use better quality support systems - instead of a single stage "dumb" power converter, mine came with a 4 stage Progressive Dynamics 80 amp power converter. Instead of marginal China Bomb tires, better units will have higher quality, conservatively sized and load rated wheels and tires.

That's one of the problems with the market today. Lower line manufacturers will load their units up with decorative "foo-foo" and try to sell them against the full-timer 5th wheels, and novice RVers walk in, are impressed by how nice it looks inside and the low price and never give a thought to the underpinnings, hidden construction and support systems that ultimately determine the quality and longevity of an RV.

Rusty
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Old 01-31-2014, 05:02 PM   #12
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Wow, Amen to that Rusty!!! You are spot on!!!

Quote:
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Suffice it to say that I disagree strongly. Examples: Particle board versus heavy plywood floors and roof. Vinyl covered particle board versus solid wood cabinetry. Cheap plastic versus residential quality sinks, lavatories, faucets, etc. Plastic versus porcelain toilets. Laminate versus solid surface countertops.

Higher quality units have thicker walls and more/better insulation. Compare the frames (for example, mine has a 15" stacked rectangular box section frame) running gear, axles and brakes, etc. Higher end units will use better quality support systems - instead of a single stage "dumb" power converter, mine came with a 4 stage Progressive Dynamics 80 amp power converter. Instead of marginal China Bomb tires, better units will have higher quality, conservatively sized and load rated wheels and tires.

That's one of the problems with the market today. Lower line manufacturers will load their units up with decorative "foo-foo" and try to sell them against the full-timer 5th wheels, and novice RVers walk in, are impressed by how nice it looks inside and the low price and never give a thought to the underpinnings, hidden construction and support systems that ultimately determine the quality and longevity of an RV.

Rusty
I had wanted to respond after reading the previous post and Rusty took care of that. He is exactly correct! I have owned 6 RV's in my life. 3 of them 5th wheels and each time moved up in the higher end. You learn over time of ownership of doing repairs, maintenance, replacement that not all things are created equal. Far from it!
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:57 AM   #13
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Sorry Dave you are wrong ,I agree with Rusty 100%
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:27 PM   #14
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Rusty is correct. The RV industry produces pretty shoddy products when looked at in the context of yachts, and automotive production. Why is that? Because consumers demand (and buy) "flash" at a pricepoint that in general precludes the use/addition of high quality "infrastructure" elements. If a manufacturer wants to compete then they have to hit a certain pricepoint AND include flash. Something has to "give" in order to do that. And it is typically infrastructure.

RV appliances are a joke. Why people accept them is a mystery - perhaps because they see no alternative. To a very large extent you DO get what you pay for in an RV. There is a REASON that a Forks, New Horizon or Spacecraft costs what it does. And believe me, it is not because there is more "margin" in them. In fact, there is less, and that is WITHOUT a dealer network that "saps" margin.
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