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Old 05-24-2011, 06:53 AM   #1
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Buy a used Motorhome

We want to buy a used motorhome. Can someone give us advice - are we better off buying an older motorhome with low mileage (1990 - 20,000 miles) or a newer model with more mileage (2000 - 60,000 miles). I would love to hear what everyone thinks.

Thanks
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:01 AM   #2
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You should get many thoughts on this. The only used motor home we bought from a camping friend so we knew its history.
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:22 AM   #3
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Hi queen_of_3,
Welcome to iRV2. Floor plan sells the coach. The first thing to consider is the floor plan. Set the coach up for travel, living and sleeping. Does it fit you? Next is how are you going to use the coach. Is this for full time, 1/2 time, a few long trips (4 weeks or more) or weekend RVing? The more it will be used, consider a diesel powered coach. A diesel will carry more weight then a gas powered coach. If the coach will be used quite a bit, the stuff you'll need will start to add up. Next is the condition of the coach. Looking for something to fix up or in outstanding condition? Once you determine there is something to purchase, have the coach checked out by a certified RV Tech. Have the chassis checked out by a shop that is an authorized servicer for the chassis, engine and transmission.

As to odometer miles, they are more important on a gas powered coach than a diesel power coach. For me, over 75K miles on a gas coach is okay only if you are a weekend RVer. For a diesel engine, properly maintained, miles do not mean much.
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:59 AM   #4
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IMO, the most important factor is coach quality. A mid to late '90s Country Coach, Monaco, Beaver or Foretravel would be a better choice than a newer Winnebago. Diesel power is far superior than gasoline. Floor plans are a consideration but most MHs are basically the same. This is especially true on older coaches. Manufacturers started designing unorthodox plans in an attempt to gain market share, not to improve livability. Addition of more and more slides is a good example. A MH with one or two slides provides a satisfactory level of comfort. Four slides adds little except cost. Remember, each slide adds about $25K to the cost of a new coach.

Jim E
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pairajays View Post
A MH with one or two slides provides a satisfactory level of comfort. Four slides adds little except cost. Remember, each slide adds about $25K to the cost of a new coach.

Jim E
Now I disagree with you here....Slides open up the floor plan and allow more living space. I have 4 slides and wouldn't think of having less...except maybe having a full wall slide, then 3 would be OK.
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pairajays View Post
IMO, the most important factor is coach quality. A mid to late '90s Country Coach, Monaco, Beaver or Foretravel would be a better choice than a newer Winnebago. Diesel power is far superior than gasoline. Floor plans are a consideration but most MHs are basically the same. This is especially true on older coaches. Manufacturers started designing unorthodox plans in an attempt to gain market share, not to improve livability. Addition of more and more slides is a good example. A MH with one or two slides provides a satisfactory level of comfort. Four slides adds little except cost. Remember, each slide adds about $25K to the cost of a new coach.

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Old 05-24-2011, 01:05 PM   #7
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Condition, Condition, Condition.

Condition and service history are more important that miles, IMO (especially if you are talking 60,000 or less). You can (especially if looking at older gas coaches) spend more than your original purchase price in repairs in a flash if you aren't picky about condition.

Low mileage can also mean "not used much" -- which is not a good thing if it means that no one checked the RV during winter and spotted a leak that had started months earlier.

Floorplan is also important, but in my experience it has never been too hard to find several units with acceptable floorplans (which then gets you back to condition)

Steve
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Old 05-24-2011, 01:25 PM   #8
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All of the above is good advice. However, I also tend to disagree with Jim over the number of slides. The slides are part of the floor plan. If you don't need the room and would be happy with fewer slides, the greater number of choices. Many of us, like Charles, need and/or want the extra room provided by the slides. You did not mention how much you intend to spend on the motorhome. This in itself can widen or narrow the available field. Where are you and how far are you willing to go to purchase this coach? These, and the above, are factors that should be considered in making your choice.
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Old 05-24-2011, 01:29 PM   #9
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In jan. of 2007, I bought a 1999 Pace Arrow. It had 29,000 miles on it. I have had only one failure. I checked it last year with OBDll scanner.It showed a code for speed sensor. I bought a new speed sensor $26.00 at NAPA. I tend to disagree with the guy who said to buy a super high line motorhome. Wheather it is a used car or motorhome, If it is top of the line, it has all the little extras. The more bells and whistles, The more things to go wrong.
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Old 05-24-2011, 02:51 PM   #10
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I buy from local family owned businesses. Many years ago when we lived in Ocala. Fl we would deal with TriAm, and Trade Winds. They were both very fair, and had good customer service. I now live in Daytona Beach and deal with Robbin's Camper Sales. They are honest, fair and great service. I never have to worry when I buy from them. They are not high pressure, and will tell you if it is not the right rig for you. I have friends who bought from other dealers, but have Robbins do the work, due to the quality, service, and fair price. These are the type dealers that we need to support. They know your name, and care that you are happy when you leave.
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Old 05-24-2011, 03:50 PM   #11
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Best suggestion I can give is research, research, research. We just bought a 1999 36.6' Fleetwood Southwind with 43,000 and 2 slides and a new Banks platform (didn't know what that was before I started looking) for less than $25K. It came from Arizona, so no harsh winters, but it is somewhat sunfaded. We've taken it on to short week long runs and no problems so far. However we looked and researched for about 5 months prior to buying. Literally looked at probably 1,000 motorhomes for sale. Some on craigslist, some on ebay and some on dealers lots. By the time we bought we knew what we needed to suit our needs.

We bought now with the intent of full timing in a few years. That will allow us to make any upgrades and repairs before we need to use it more.
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Old 05-24-2011, 04:00 PM   #12
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I agree with Slawson re research and SteveLevin re condition.

After 6 months of solid research we bought a 2001 Safari Panther. Top of the line for Safari the last year they were in business. Great coach, teriffic features and lots of high end bells and whistles.

I bought from a wholesaler in Texas who assured everything was is good condition. We have all the books, but not the service records. Wholesaler bought from a major RV dealer who had on their lot (at a really high price) for over 2 years. Only use in that time (as shown in carfax report) was a monthly visit to dealers shop for washing, wax, or minor maintenance.

Six months later we have invested over $12 k in upgrades, and catch up maintenance. Included new shocks, brakes on all four wheels, tiger track and searingassist, exhaust system, etc. Had the dealer before sale do oil and radiator flush. Now discovering regular preventative maintenance might not have been done on other components, so having hydro hot, generator, fuel filters, etc. done so that ALL pm is done and I know it is done correctly.

Bottom line do the research, find out the history and see what maintenance was done.

Would I do it over again. Yes because we like the coach and I think I still have a good vaule, including the maintenance $$$ since I paid about 50% of low and 35% of standard blue book price.

Good luck
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Old 05-24-2011, 04:14 PM   #13
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queen_of_3, I have our MH for sale. Take a look. It all depends on what your looking for. However keep in mind that the older you go even with low mileage, the fridge, furnace and all the operating systems may be close to needing repair or replacement. Also depends on your budget and how much you want to spend.

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Old 05-24-2011, 04:18 PM   #14
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queen_of_3, It all depends on what your looking for. However keep in mind that the older you go even with low mileage, the fridge, furnace and all the operating systems may be close to needing repair or replacement. Also depends on your budget and how much you want to spend.
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