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Old 12-14-2012, 08:19 AM   #1
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Internet shopping for rv's - lack of good info

I have begun serious shopping for a motorhome. Currently shopping on the internet to see what is out there, compare prices, etc. I eventually hope to narrow down my choices to a few models and then I will go looking for one.

I have noticed that internet adds rarely list details like chassis type, engine type and hp, holding tank sizes, generator output etc. They generally list only things like "fold-out couch", "double door refrigerator (but not the size), "lounge chair", "lots" of storage, etc. Do most people that shop for rv's really not care about the engine, chassis, holding tanks, etc? I am finding myself having to first find a model for sale that LOOKS good and THEN having to search for a brochure or online owner's manual to find out the info I really need to know.

Are dealers just lazy, or do shoppers really not care about the mechanicals when they shop?

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Old 12-14-2012, 08:45 AM   #2
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The Internet is a great place to begin your research. Bought our first class A thru the search. Word of caution or information would be a better term, it takes a lot of due diligence! Everyone, IMO, cares about chassis, torque, etc. at least those that have some experience. We started by asking questions of RV coach owners. This forum is a terrific route to a successful purchase. Most dealers post short listings in an effort to get you, the customer to contact them personally. We did, and received great pics, and specs on MH that we liked. Long story short find the floor plan that you will be comfortable living in, then be sure the coach is equipped with the proper amenities, HP to weight, etc. etc. Finally be prepared to travel, look, question, talk to many dealers or private owners. If buying used, use a third party inspection that is qualified, if buying new, shop rates and terms they are at their lowest. A new class A 2012 most likely could be purchased this time the year for 25 to 30 percent off MSRP. best of luck keep us posted on your adventures it's going to be fun and very educational!

Clay & Pebble.. Miss Butter our sweet Goldie (Jan. 2005-Jan. 2015) Sissy our Border Collie
2012 Providence 42 M. Spartan Chassis, 450 ISL
Ford Edge toad, RM All Terrane, TST TPMS, SMI Air Force One, RVM95....
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:02 AM   #3
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I know exactly what you are experiencing. Drove me crazy when motor home shopping on the internet. We've purchased two and sold one, all on the internet, from and to private individuals.

Yes, many dealers are lazy and just want to dangle a bright shiny object out there to get a potential customer to call or come to their lot.

That said, there are others that are in tune to the on-line market and do a pretty good job of describing their units. Large consignment dealers are the best. I used PPL in Houston extensively for research. Not only do they describe the units well but they have some sales history recorded on the site that will help establish an actual fair market value.
PPL Motor Homes
I was tempted more than once go to Houston to look at units listed on their website. You'll learn which sites offer the best info and how to screen ads on sites like Craigslist. Our two purchases were off Craigslist. The secret there is the terms you include in your search. Be ruthless in rejecting ads that don't offer specific, concrete information.

This is not the best time of year to be looking in terms of ad volume. However, sellers are likely to be a little more motivated to negotiate given the onset of winter.

Good luck! I thoroughly enjoyed cruising the internet ("crazy" notwithstanding) looking for our motor homes and believe we got good deals by being patient and reviewing large numbers of ads from many sources.

Dave & Cathy, 2002 Country Coach Affinity, 42', #6103, CAT C12, 2003 Cherokee Overland
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:12 PM   #4
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Totally agree with the replys above, but I had a different experience about the detail of chassis mechanicals.
The dealers will often list the basic info for the chassis like, just the engine size...they expect you to ask about the details (like 8.1L gas is in the Workhorse W20-W24)...

I recommend that you focus on floorplan and the Diesel vs. Gas decision and the rest will follow.

BTW...we went to Texas for our previously used Class A and our pick-up truck...these things were simply cheaper in Tx than where we live.
Kim and Steve, Mustang LCDR (Ret), '07 Damon Outlaw #1193
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:36 PM   #5
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The problem with many internet ads is they are written by "Sales Experts" who, in many cases have never set foot in an RV... They only include the information they THINK you want in the ad.

Even private sales the add may be written either by a hired ad writer or by looking at other RV for sale ads and copying the basic format.

E-mail the seller and ask. However a suggestion.

Create a "Throw away" E-mail account, one you can toss at will. Cause odds are there are some web crawlers out there and when they find you are "interested" they are going to flood it with ads for RV's that do not exist.

Yup, You will have to deal with my agent, Wire 10,000 to hold your purachase and bring the rest in cash to pick up your non-existant rig from my agent who also does not exist.

(I hope the powers that be understand I'm re-wording the standard scam some to show the facts.. I am NOT selling an RV but that said, if you want to wire me 10 Grand for .. Well.. Nothing... I won't object )
Home is where I park it!
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:00 PM   #6
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When you go to a dealer, talk to a salesman and ask what kind of motorhome that person owns, I find that very few even own one Kind of makes it difficult to have a proper conversation.
2001 34' Alpine Coach
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or a couple of different trailers
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:50 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info on PPL's in Texas. That is a great site with great info about all of their rv's for sale. And every rv has a floorplan! I sure wish all dealers would do that! Or at least the national search services like RVT.
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:56 AM   #8
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I think sometimes the individuals doing the selling don't have the information at hand when they write their ad. I know I didn't when I first listed our Airstream and had to go back and add pictures and such. Still not sold although I have gotten good at emailing pictures when people ask for them and give them the cell phone number to call for details.
KAS (RVM49) Rexhall owner/Spartan. "Hey! I got a glass!"-- GES
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:52 AM   #9
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I don't rely on the seller's information for the basics of the MH. I have started with the manufacturer's brochures to learn as much as I can so that I can ask specific questions about the model. I now have a short cut to Newmar brochures and use it often.

Another thing I have done is to build a spreadsheet to compare MH. It includes information on number of slides, bed size, wheel base, engine model, horse power, UVW, estimated CCC and a few other items. I also have a column where I give it a score of between 1 & 5 on how interested I might be in it based on what I find. Hey, I'm cursed with being anal retentive.

Finally, I pester the hell out of the good folks on IRV2, especially the Newmar forum. I think I might have some fans that are pulling for me to find my next MH so I will just SHUT UP!

Absolutely agree about use of a "throw away" email account! If you get involved with Craig's List, don't let your significant other near your email. I got LOTS of pretty girls sending me interesting pictures asking about my "package".

I also use a Google phone number that has some good phone number blocking capabilities. It also allows me to dial from that number to protect my real cell phone number.

I think both PPL and MHSRV are two places to shop if you are doing a cash deal. If you have a trade in you will be very sad at what they offer. Their business is high volume, low margin so you can get some really good cash prices.

Hang in there!
Don, Sandee & GSD Zeus. Gardian Wings earned are GSDs Gunny (7/11/15) & Thor (5/5/15)
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Old 12-17-2012, 02:15 PM   #10
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After you decide what you want, then you can do some serious internet shopping because you have all the details...know what you want, know the options and know the pricing. When in doubt, ask for the build sheet, it has everything on the coach listed. We bought ours without ever seeing it in person.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:48 AM   #11
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Yes, I am definitely trying to narrow down my choice to just 2 or 3 motorhomes before I start to look for one to buy. The biggest issue is the models that have optional chassis and optional engines. I will have to call or e-mail each time to find out which chassis/engine configuration the particular model has. It would be so much easier if I could just read the ads and find out.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:55 AM   #12
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We did an internet search for over 6-months prior to being informed by a savvy salesman that the internet sales department is there only to lure potential customers into the dealership...therefore only limited information is given out on the advertising.

We finally had to breakdown and go and visit dealerships in the region we were looking. We narrowed our search by choice to the Continental United States...in the private market and we narrowed our search to a 500-mile radius for our dealer searches...(all dealers carry the same product).

At the end of our search we found our Fleetwood Bounder locally...I will say that going on the several trips we took to California, Utah, and Arizona were fun trips...I enjoyed the hunt.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:20 AM   #13
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I also have been looking for a MH. Of coarse the more I look the more I learn. Some of the gas MHs I have checked out are being built on a very short wheel base. That concerns me. Seems like in windy conditions there would be much more sway etc. For an example, a 34-36 ft MH on a 208 inch wheel base. We are now swaying more toward a used diesel Vs a new gas MH. Now we find other things that we have a difficult time finding out about. I would be nice to have a furnace hose fed into the basement compartment where the tanks are located. One Manufacturer at an RV show said they had great heat in their tank area as long as the MH was going down the highway because it was all electric. However, in Wyoming it gets cold and sometimes we may be heading south and a couple of nights we may be in cold weather with NO hookups because most RV parks are closed in the winter. I had a sales person tell me if I found a used diesel on their lot they would run a hose into the tank compartment. I guess that is an option.

We are so rural in Wyoming it is difficult to just visit a lot of RV dealers.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:52 AM   #14
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We have been looking at a 'new to us' MH to replace the one we have now. We found one that was interesting to us and sent the dealer request for more info. They did responed , sort of, about how nice the MH was and that with a down payment they could 'hold it for us'! They never did answer my questions nor provide the data on the MH was equiped. Guess that they figured that we 'were just' trolling' and no serious about buying. We will be going to the 'lower 48' this spring on vacation and looking during that time. I was trying to locate MH's that we would be interested in to save some driving. Guess this is one dealer that we 'might' be able to cross off this list of one to check with.

2009 38' Diplomat
CSM- retired, wife as co-pilot
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