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Old 02-21-2014, 04:12 PM   #1
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Buying an older rig for full timing

Hi all,

I've been asking a lot of questions lately, so please forgive another post.

We've pretty much decided on Newmar, but we don't want to break the bank and pull too much out of our retirement funds for the purchase, so we're trying to keep the cost of the rig to around $130,000'ish. We'd like to get a tag quad slide with 400 Hp or greater, but to meet those requirements we'll have to go with something around 2005.

My question is, how many of you have purchased a 10 yr old rig (or older) for full timing? I'm a little concerned about the cost of maintenance and wonder if we should invest more upfront to help offset those costs on an older rig? Although we thoroughly trust the Newmar brand, (they offer exceptional quality for the money), reliability still boils down to care and maintenance by the previous owners. I'm hoping we can find a rig with impeccable maintenance records and evidence of tender loving care.

As always, we very much appreciate your input, and thank you in advance for your help with our research!


'06 Newmar Dutchstar 4320 400hp Cummins on a Spartan tag-axle chassis w/ 2014 CRV
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:42 PM   #2
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Well since hind site is 20/20 .... who knows.... I have scene brand new high end coaches on the side of the road.. and have had ancient RV' s fly by.... If we knew what was going to happen... it wouldn't be the adventure it is. Set your budget..then add 10 percent.. If the RV gits your needs and the budget....go for it... Best of luck.... D

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Old 02-21-2014, 06:58 PM   #3
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In general, the older and more feature-rich rigs will cost more to operate/maintain/repair than a newer and simpler unit. As already mentioned, you should budget for expenses on any rig that's out of warranty.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:23 PM   #4
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As noted, more bells and whistles, mean more frequent visits from Mr. Murphy. When looking at older units, look for signs of water intrusion and also lack of maintenance. First ask to see all of the maintenance records.
Check the date code on the tires. Max is 5 years old.
Low generator hours will probably lead to generator problems.
Low mileage is not good, especially with poor maintenance.
Check for wear like used for full time living.
If the unit smells musty, there are probably water leaks.
Check the frig fro proper operation on gas and electric...same for the water heater.
Pull the furnace and check the heat exchanger.
Check all plumbing and also fill the water tank and both the gray and black water to check for leaks.
Check the roof for sealant.
If the side walls have bubbles or bulges...pass on the unit.

Have an independent tech do a through inspection on the RV systems and also a good mechanic check the chassis on a motorhome.

Have fun looking.

Amateur Radio Operator (KE5DFR)|Full-Time! - 2012 6.7L Ford Crew Cab Dually -2013 HitchHiker Champagne 38RLRSB - Travel with one Standard Schnauzer and one small Timneh African Gray Parrot
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Old 02-21-2014, 09:24 PM   #5
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Take a look at Travel Supreme Select or Limited Coaches they sure do offer a lot of quality at a very reasonable price.
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:14 AM   #6
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I would suggest this move for an accomplished handyman! Older coaches and somebody like that are made for each other! I would add that once the maintenance has been brought up to date (all of it, not just the scheduled), a well built coach in good condition will have a service life that can be extended for a LOOONG time?

Same thing might be said for a not so accomplished handyman who is able and willing to learn?

Problem I see might be in a situation where you were trying to bring the coach up to snuff while on the road or living in it already? Not having access to the proper tools or a place to work on it might put a damper on the potential for it to be something you would enjoy doing? -Al
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:27 AM   #7
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I bought a 1996 Newmar Mountain Aire and have never regretted it. I made new tires part of the deal after seeing that some of the tires on it (and they looked great) had date codes of 96 on them. I've had all new brakes put on it for my own safety as well as having the roof resealed and coated (there had been no leaks of the roof just one at one of the marker lights on the front).

The thing is, I fell in love with the layout, had never heard of a Newmar before I saw this one, then started doing the research on here, went back and looked at the MH several times, didn't need one this big and worried if I'd ever be able to drive it. I already had a 1973 Winnebago Indian (23 foot) and hated driving it, every truck on the road felt like it was pushing or pulling it off the road. I can drive this baby sitting back with one hand. Have been full timing a little over a year now and I have never, not one little bitty time, regretting buying my Mountain Aire. If someone offered me a Provost or Foretravel in place of what I currently have, I wouldn't take it. I've yet to see anything out there that I like better.

Take your time, look at lots, do your research, fall in love with a rig, and don't let anyone tell you that an older MH is too old.

Good luck
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:00 AM   #8
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My wife and I are in our third year of FT and recently purchased on 05 Monaco to continue our travels. We went this route to enable us to get a higher quality unit than what we had seen new for the same money. It made it initial 2500 mile maiden trip with only one minor problem. The unit had owner history and maintenance records. Buying an older rig has both good and bad points. The good is the money saved from a new unit. The bad could be the repair of worn or neglected items. You can protect yourself somewhat with a aftermarket warranty but they are real expensive. My advice is to look the unit over very carefully and determine if it came to replacing a part or parts you could handle the repair costs. Items do wear out and need replacing. Tires, brakes, suspension, transfer switches, water pumps, etc never last forever. Audio visual components may be in great condition but technology had advanced to the point of making them obsolete and not compatible with newer systems you may want to add. I would budget about $10K for initial costs of updating the service items and covering improvements, new TV's etc.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:14 AM   #9
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Hi CWinLV,
I have an 05 Newmar KSDP (your budget will allow for a higher level coach). The coach has 91K on it. The coach gets routine maintenance and replacement of items that wear out. There has been no unscheduled or unusual repairs needed.

Routine maintenance can run a bunch of bucks, depending on what needs to be done. However, one needs to budget for the maintenance. Buy the Newmar. They are still in business, use industry standard parts and their coaches have a reputation for lasting a long, long time. You'll have many happy memories waiting to be made.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
Low generator hours will probably lead to generator problems.
Low mileage is not good, especially with poor maintenance
Great advice, thanks! I'm just confused about the generator hours and the mileage. I always thought low hours / low mileage was what we should look for in a coach. What is considered too low and why? Can you give us more insight into your suggestion? Again, thanks so much!

'06 Newmar Dutchstar 4320 400hp Cummins on a Spartan tag-axle chassis w/ 2014 CRV
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by falconman View Post
My wife and I are in our third year of FT and recently purchased on 05 Monaco ...
How are you enjoying that Monaco?

'06 Newmar Dutchstar 4320 400hp Cummins on a Spartan tag-axle chassis w/ 2014 CRV
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:02 PM   #12
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Christy - Well kept motorhomes last a long time. Our coach is now nearly 12 years old and it looks like it is two years old. Everything works well. The most troublesome thing in our coach has been getting the slide seals done right so no leaks. That is a common problem that many of our RV friends have also had with many coach brands. Ours is a very high end model. The build quality is very durable. Things like a very thick clear coat on the exterior paint. Solid counter tops and table tops. Ours are Corian and we had it all buffed and it looks new. Our chairs are all leather covered. My point. When you are looking at older coaches make sure they are built to last.

Don't pick a brand before shopping unless you have a very good reason. We have lots of friends with lots of different kinds of motorhomes. Nearly all of these friends like their motorhomes. It would be my opinion that there are lots of very good brands out there and Newmar is only one of the better ones. What matters is that the motorhome you decide to buy is the floor plan best for your needs, that you are comfortable driving, and that particular coach is well made.

Be sure to keep in mind that companies such as Newmar make lots of different models. Some very good, and some a lot less good. Make sure you get one with a long enough chassis for the house. The capability to handle the CCC's you need. And this is critical for full timing. You need! lots of carry capacity. And make sure the one you buy has enough power to get you comfortably over the hills you plan to go over without overheating. Three of my close friends have Dutch Stars. Only one of the three of those would make a good full time coach because of shortcomings in the areas I just mentioned as being needed (This is my opinion only).

When we were looking at coaches 4 1/2 years ago I bought every book and visited every web site I could find on coach quality. I found the information from the RV Consumer Group the most complete. It has information for every model within brands on basics like chassis length, CCC capacity, motor power and so on.
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:46 PM   #13
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For what your budget is, you should very well take a look at the classifieds right here in this forum. There are some very nice units for a lot less then you think, both gas and diesel. All kinds of floor plans as well. Good Luck and we'll see you at the next sunset!
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:38 AM   #14
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Would someone clarify the gentleman's comment that low generator hours and low mileage can be problematic? I thought that was what we are looking for! I'm confused...


'06 Newmar Dutchstar 4320 400hp Cummins on a Spartan tag-axle chassis w/ 2014 CRV
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