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Old 06-14-2018, 03:14 PM   #1
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A new Member with Questions About Buying

My name is Tom and I'm from Tucson, AZ. I do not own a RV yet, but am seriously considering it and I'm looking for advice.

I have found in the past that forums like this are a great place to start and can really help people avoid making costly mistakes.

I currently have a house in Tucson and my wife runs a vacation rental business in Tucson with a condo we also own. I still work as an electrical engineer, not retired yet. But I work in Chandler, AZ and commute 92 miles each way every day.

Yesterday, I was offered an opportunity to work in Palmdale, CA for a large aerospace company. But at this point in our life, we can't just sell everything and move there. Plus, I don't really want to retire there. I'm happy with Tucson.

We have checked the housing prices in the Palmdale/Lancaster area of CA and they're no lower if not higher than Tucson, so I really don't have a huge desire to buy a house there. But the idea of buying and living in a class A RV full time (probably just me) would work for temporary housing. And even with an RV payment and rent at a RV park, it would probably be a lower total cost than renting even an apartment in the area.

I really don't want to buy a new motor home and take the depreciation. But I also don't want something super old and funky smelling - sorry to put it that way. How old is too old?

Is it better to look at buying from dealers or from a private individual? Do I go with gas or diesel? Not really towing a lot other than my car. And if it's just me, I don't need a ton of storage space.

Sorry for all of the questions, but what is the group's opinion on doing this? Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-14-2018, 04:44 PM   #2
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We originally bought our first motorhome to get out of the Sierra Vista hotels when working in the area for extended periods, and nothing to show for it.
Even with just the one of us there for several weeks it was nice to have a 36' class A with the different rooms.

We would leave the motorhome in S.V. for the time needed and travel home by car on the weekends.

Of the 3 motorhomes we have had over the years we always buy used from private party, and usually about 5 years old and keep them on average another 5 years.
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Old 06-14-2018, 04:48 PM   #3
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I believe you're thinking correctly, no point taking all the depreciation of a new unit. In addition, many new RVs have as many issues as a used one because they don't have good quality control before they go out the factory door. A used unit has had the repairs done by the first owner to get it in sometimes better shape than a new one. There's a large gap between new and "old and funky smelling." I'd start by looking at used RVs. If you're just mainly planning on parking it and living in one location, you might look at a trailer or 5th wheel rather than a Class A. Many Class C units can be quite livable for one or two people.

Enjoy the search, you'll learn a lot about what's out there and what you like and dislike.
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:08 PM   #4
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Glad to have you here with us.

Its not so much the age as the condition. Some people have taken excellent care of an older MH and some have neglected a newer one. If youre not planning a lot of traveling a gas unit will do fine. If you can find what will fit your needs from a private seller it has the advantage of talking to the owner and getting a good feel for it. They will most likely have the service records for it too.

Happy Trails!!!
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:44 AM   #5
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What is your budget for the class A?

Do you know where in Ca you are going to park and all of the cost associated?
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Old 06-15-2018, 09:58 AM   #6
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My concern is do you plan to travel in this motorhome, or just park it somewhere for a few years. Motorhomes need to be driven to keep all the drive train bits in good working order, otherwise you are likely to try to start it up and drive off in a few years to find the brakes have seized up, the radiator is over heating, and there is something strange going on with the engine.



If you are planning on driving it some, then yes a motorhome may be an option, but don't let age for the sake of age scare you off, as there are a lot of 15 to 20 year old high quality, well maintained coaches out there, though you may have to sift through some worn out, poorly maintained coaches to find them. Personally I believe in buying from private parties, as used dealers bring little to the table other than having a number of coaches available to view at one location. Also it is often better to buy a slightly older upper end coach than a newer entry level model. These upper end coaches are built with better materials, solid wood cabinets out lasts particle board, full body paint out lasts vinyl graphics, fiberglass shower stalls outlast plastic, ...


Regardless of condition, I personally have a few cut off model years for various chassis, and engine combinations. On gas coaches this is 2001 for Workhorse / Chevy as that was the year the 8.1L vortec engine was introduced, and for the Ford F-53 platform it would probably be 2006, though, I might consider something as old as 2001 if the price was right. On diesels it gets more complicated with a general preference of being pre-07 of some type to avoid dealing with EPA mandated emissions equipment, DPF, DEF, etc. that can be very costly to maintain. Exactly which one is a topic far to complex to be covered here.
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:13 AM   #7
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Hi Tom! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Hope you find the perfect rig for your needs.

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 06-15-2018, 11:12 AM   #8
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Thank you all for the warm welcome and excellent suggestions. Ill try to answer your responses.

My budget for the motorhome is under $50k. I do plan on also driving the MH regularly on vacations. I am very mechanically inclined and understand what letting a vehicle sit can do to things like engine seals. Ill dig deeper into the various drive trains, engines, and manufacturers as I go along.

I have looked at the RV parks in the area out there and have seen the price ranges. The very popular tourist areas next to the mountains go for up to $70/night (way too high) to the area around the Mojave spaceport that runs about $250/mo + electricity. There are multiple parks in between.

Im in no hurry to pull the trigger on this, I have some time. So my wife and I will begin our search this weekend.

Thank you all again for the help!
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Old 06-15-2018, 12:49 PM   #9
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Were going to look at a low mileage 2000 Fleetwood Bounder 36 today owned by a private individual. It looks to be in very good shape, and has about 32000 miles. Is low mileage a worry?

Ive also found a 1999 Rexhall 25 that Im interested in, but the owner has posted only one picture and stated that the carb needs to be fixed. The price is very low for this unit, under $10k. Is this unit something to avoid, or can a carb be repaired/replaced pretty easily?
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Old 06-15-2018, 01:16 PM   #10
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Condition is more important than mileage. Something that has just sat for years is likely going to have problems.

A 1999 anything should have fuel injection, not a carburetor. If it does, it is very old technology. Finding someone experienced to rebuild an old carb is difficult. Also 25' is kind of small to full time in. Beware of the the thieves on Ebay and Craigslist. Some call them scammers but they are just simple thieves.
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Old 06-15-2018, 01:30 PM   #11
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You might want to check out campgrounds in the area to be sure that there’s a workable destination for your new RV. Safety, ease of commute, cost, and restrictions (RV type, age, & size) might limit you.
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Old 06-15-2018, 02:21 PM   #12
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OlYeller beat me to it, I can't imagine a 1999 with a carburetor. Also, read the date marks on the tires, any over 6-7 years old will need replacing even if the tread looks good. RV tires age out before they wear out. A full set of 6 19-22.5" tires can run $2500-3500.
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Old 06-15-2018, 02:40 PM   #13
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Good not to be in a rush.

Always new motorhomes coming on the market. A good deal for pricing on a unit in good shape is the NADA low , without adding any options that may be included. Most sellers are looking for a higher price. Remember it's easier to buy a motorhome then to sell one, so be patient.

As far as private seller vs dealer, consider both. For us I assumed we would get a unit from a private seller, but ended up getting an excellent deal on the model we were looking for from a large reputable dealer(about 700 miles away).
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Old 06-15-2018, 06:46 PM   #14
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We went to two RV dealers today and made arrangements to see the 2000 Bounder on Tuesday.

We saw a 2011 Bounder 36R at La Mesa RV for $60k. We also saw some Winnebagos and some Itascas. We do like the floor plans of the Bounder. But the price and terms on the Bounder at La Mesa did not trill me at all. $6000k down and $556/mo for 15 years. That’s 10% interest. No warranty. The only warranty is everything works when you drive it off the lot.

I still want to see the 2000 model. No it won’t have flat screen TVs and 1 and 1/2 baths, but I could pay cash.
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