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Old 09-18-2013, 07:11 PM   #1
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Just starting to look...any thoughts?

Hi all, and thanks. I have read several posts, and some of my questions are unique and I would appreciate opinions and advice. We decided earlier this week to sell our boat and buy an RV. So we know absolutely nothing about them. Started looking yesterday and was a bit overwhelmed What we do want is either the Class C or Class A. We will be buying used, as our budget will be between 30k and 35k. And this is not for full timing, just here and there when we want to get away or take a cross country vacation.
We are trying to educate ourselves so we can make a good purchase.
Some of our questions. We want something that is in good shape, good quality, and will last.

1. Obviously and has been asked many times, but how do the brands of Class A stack up..best and so forth and then the Class C, same thing. And I suppose I should add, that looking at them from the used standpoint...maybe from 1995 on..not sure if what you think is best was best since then, is what I am saying.

2. Along with that questions, I have found as would be expected, newer Class C's cost more than older Class A's. So would like thoughts on that...If can get a 199x or 2000 for less than a mid 200x Class C, what would you advise?

3. Another question, is there a difference between Ford, Chevy, etc?

4. I would assume that mileage on these is not like a car. So how many miles would be considered too much?

Those are our main thoughts for right now and any input would be appreciated!


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Old 09-18-2013, 09:10 PM   #2
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Good luck with your search.

John & Cathy R.
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:44 PM   #3
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Service records, any unit you look at inquire about service records.
Used and maintained is sometimes better than stored and ignored.
Many good Class A's in great condition and affordable .
Prefer an, A , because of the level floor , and leveling systems.
High mileage on a gas MH, in the late 90's I'd say 80,000 miles
In that era, I'd be looking at GM first. JMHO.
99DSDP 3884, Freightliner, XC, CAT 3126B, 300 HP /ALLISON 3060
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:08 PM   #4
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I purchased a used MH and discovered that a class C of the same year as my class A was a bit more expensive! I also discovered that a class C is more suitable for a bigger family (more sleeping arrangements). If it's 2-4 people, you can probably find a class A that's about 6-8 years old, at a very affordable price, that would suit you better! (IMHO)

Don't feel overwhelmed, take your time, and make sure you get what you want. Ask plenty of questions, I guarantee you that there are tons of people willing to give you advice.

Welcome to RVing...and remember, RVing is not a hobby, it's a lifestyle! Happy RVing!!!
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:11 PM   #5
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Personally, I would go with the Class A. They are more comfortable and spacious.

I think that it is really important as you look at various coaches to try to find where the prior owner has fixed or upgraded things. If you see mickey mouse repair attempts or upgrades that were really not intended to be used there, you can rest assured that mechanical maintenance was probably not kept up well. On the other hand, if the prior owner appears to have been meticulous about little repairs and upgrades he/she probably also made certain that the coach was kept in excellent mechanical condition.

A lot of manufacturers have gone out of business so make sure that you can still find parts and maintenance for any off brand that you may look at.

Old or worn tires represent a large investment so take that into consideration when looking at used coaches.

I wish you luck and hope you enjoy many fun excursions in your coach, whatever that turns out to be....
Need To Get Out More....
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:11 PM   #6
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I'll take a shot at it.
First - find a layout you like. A or C doesn't matter at this point. For the cook in your family, most motorhomes are skimpy on usable counter space. Then check interior storage as well as exterior. Most people will recommend a walk around bed - beds in the rear corner of a coach usually are hard to make up and require disturbing the other sleeper if a night trip to the potty is needed. So, once you have gotten an idea of layouts you like, then start serious shopping.

For us, condition has always been more important than age. Depending on your personal fix-it areas of skill, keep in mind what things are easily fixed or can be changed (cosmetic). ALWAYS ask to see maintenance records and check to see if manuals, books etc. are still with the coach. You can probably recreate the manuals etc on line, but maintenance is critical. Walk away from sellers that can not show them and will not include them at time of sale.

Things to check, or bring a friend who knows about: batteries, tires, (date of mfgr is as important as tread wear), other mechanical. Make sure all appliances work - especially if you are buying private party.

I won't address the Ford/Chevy thing. Our older gas coaches have been Dodge and now we have a diesel.

You will get lists of 'best' brands, again, that is subjective. Don't overlook what is called 'orphan' brands. We have a National which was a respected, well built coach until they went out of business. Remember a good solid coach will hold up, and most of the time parts will be available if needed.

As you shop, your preference should emerge regarding Class A or C. Drive both to see if one feels better to you in terms of parking, backing up etc. You may find you like the pilot/co-pilot area better in one or the other.

Of all of our coaches (one C, 4 A's) mpg varies from a low of 6+ mpg to almost 11 mpg. It will depend if the coach is powered right. Underpowered is never good, especially if you plan to tow something. And, the way you drive it. We have found highway cruising at 55 mph has been the best for both our gas and diesel coaches. Terrain matters, of course, and we find the diesel does not labor over the passes here in the west. If you spend a lot of time in the 'flat land' this won't matter as much.

I'm sure others will jump in with their thoughts and opinions. These are mine and hopefully will help.

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Spokane Valley, WA
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:24 PM   #7
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Should have mentioned in my first post.
Learn every thing there is to know about CCC ( Cargo Carrying Capacity )
The weight any unit is designed to carry, many RV's out there that were over loaded from the factory; and it's up to you not to buy one.
The CCC should be posted on the build sheet of any RV you look at; usually in the back of a cupboard or closet; this is the weight of passengers and cargo that can be carried by the unit without exceeding the factory GVWR.
JMHO. Do not consider purchasing a C with under 1300 lbs CCC or a Class A with under 2,000.
No sense buying something to go on a trip and having lots of space to carry your stuff, and not being able to take it with you because it weighs too much.
If you find a unit , that has had the label removed, walk away !
I'll post a picture of what to look for.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:31 PM   #8
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Here's a picture of the weight sticker.
The member who posted this was overloaded , because the CCC was so low.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:43 PM   #9
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Hi and thanks to all you wonderful folks for the outstanding advice and thoughts. I have made many notes here.
my lady hates camping..real camping, but is open to an Rv. And we won't be doing it full time. Just a vacation here and there, or if a couple of her girlfriends come over and that want to get away by themselves for a day or so. So it will really only be here and there. But we figure we will use it more than we are the boat.
Thank you Joann for your time and detailed reply and to Skip for all your great info too and thank you for the picture. That is very good to know!
Thank you so much for all your detailed and caring posts! And we will kick a lot of tires and are not in any rush. Just trying to get started and you folks have been wonderful in that endeavor!....t
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:46 PM   #10
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Our sticker is on the wall right beside the driver. They also attached the "Altered Label" just above it.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:00 AM   #11
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I'm also new to RVing and some of the advice I received included Take your time, do not settle for the first or second "beautiful" rig. As with car shopping look for wear (both general living in the coach) and signs that there isn't a cover job. Look at the body for delamination (this can drive down the value of an otherwise good motorhome). Look and smell for mildew problems, look for signs of previous water leaks. There can be a lot of "hidden" damage from a persistent leak. Look at things like the drivers seat, a well worn seat may mean lots of driving (although I think odometer fraud is less prevalent in MHs than cars). Try out the floorplan, a standard queen lumpy mattress can be dealt with very easily a "short queen" has a few less options. A dinette can be switched out for a freestanding set at a later date, trying to add a slide can be harder. Check the fridge, make sure the cooling unit is in good working order. Make sure everything works before you sign the dotted line. Smell the unit, smoke smell to some non smokers can be hard to live with. Do not buy sight unseen. Better to travel and not buy (call it a trip) a unit you don't like then live with it. Fixing a unit can take lots of time and money, get the one in the best condition possible. If you're less mechanical (although as a boat owner I have a feeling you have at minimum basic skills), try looking for a Fuel-injected unit. They're easier to deal with in cold climates. When buying used you're buying the other person's due diligence and maintenance. Brand, chassis are less important imho. Décor can be dealt with to a certain extent (you can paint woodwork/luaun walls in good repair.) Bedspreads can be changed out. Buy the "bones" of the unit. Get the "house" systems checked out. Get to know the brands (many parts are used by different manufacturers) For example a HWH jack system may be considered better then a Lippert system.* Just let a more experienced RVer answer that one, I've heard it is but let someone else verify that. Now I pre-qualified I'm new so take my advice with a large grain of salt until verified by a seasoned camper.
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:45 AM   #12
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There is so much to this topic! Let me just add this. The most serious 'gotcha' is water damage, often w/delamination. It's generally cost prohibitive to repair in anything but very small doses, and is the number one reason RV's are scrapped. Part of your research/education should be learning to spot this damage! Where to look for it and what it looks like? I would suggest you immediately walk away if you spot anything like this - and I'll add that this problem will eliminate at least half the coaches you look at in your price range, so don't get frustrated. There ARE nice, clean, well maintained coaches available. What you're going to find is that they're the exception rather than the rule. If you think you're onto one, don't be too surprised if there's a 'road trip' involved in going to see it!

Don't even think of giving anyone even a dollar until you've touched the MH yourself!!!

On a class A, get the chassis inspected by a pro when you find something you're serious about. RV dealers are absolutely clueless when it comes to chassis, no matter what they may lead you to believe!!!! The outfit you're looking for will be used to working on semi's, big dump trucks, etc. If you don't see anything like that around, you are in the wrong place.

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