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Old 04-06-2016, 03:34 PM   #1
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Sweet 16 and Getting Older

I've really been over agonizing about if replacing my 16 year old 1999 Winnebago Chieftain is my best option or not. I'm 61 and DW is 69, so we are optimistically assuming another 6-10 years of long distance RV travel. Although the DW is in love with a shiny new rig, I just can't see the upside to financing another RV when the current rig is in great shape for so few years of use.

I don't know if this is the right forum for this question, since I didn't think my rig rates as a classic yet. My question is what should be my concerns with a rig that's fast approaching its second decade of service?

Two different Ford Truck Dealers have given it a clean inspection last year and this year. My RV tech has no concerns with it either, but I worry about how aging plastic pipes, old wiring, and sun drenched fiberglass panels are going to hold up to tens of thousands of more planned miles.

I am deeply grateful that our used rig has given almost 20,000 miles of trouble free travel, but I'm not fool enough to think that's any indication for the next 30k we plan for. So after all my long rambling, what are the issues that are specifically associated with an aging RV?
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Old 04-06-2016, 03:44 PM   #2
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You ask good questions and I may not have the answers for you. That said, I traded in my 1997 Adventurer because I was tired of driving that P30 chassis with crappy brakes. Yours is a Ford and may be of much better standing than mine was. Nothing else was mechanically wrong with mine, everything worked because I always fix things and keep everything up to date, etc. The graphics was fading and peeling off and not much to do about that other than spend a grip to re do them which I chose not to. Mine had no slides either and we wanted more room. When I drove the new Ford with the 22K chassis and 22.5 wheels I really could feel a huge improvement. Also, my dash a/c would not do much to cool us when the going was hot but this new one works great. It really depends on what you want moving forward and if you plan on using it like you say then perhaps you would be happy upgrading. Good luck with your adventure.
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Old 04-06-2016, 04:44 PM   #3
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Of course I like the idea of flashy new rig, but the idea of $150,000 unnecessary loan seems a high price to pay for some bling. The wife's a nurse and I'm a bus driver so at our pay scale that's a serious chunk of change.

Our rig is very comfortable except for mountain driving with a 3 speed auto transmission. The floor plan still works for us, in fact we mostly look for similar floor plans. We've done lots of upgrades, flat panel TV, all light fixtures replaced with LED, Bluetooth stereo system throughout, etc. It was when trying to decide if putting in new powered recliners to replace the sofa was justified that I seriously started questioning buying new or finding out what it's going to take to get another 30,000 safe and trouble free miles out of her.
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:08 PM   #4
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If you buy a new one it could take 2 years to get the bugs out. Maybe not, but if you've read the threads by people that have bought new there is a good chance that all will not be as it should.

You could look at later model used ones that have the upgraded features and hopefully have most of the issues worked out. That could save you from $50,000 to $80,000.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:24 PM   #5
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I don't have as many issues with my 20 year old MH as those with new ones
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:32 PM   #6
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Everyone's gonna have a different approach. I'd look at it this way:
1. Do I expect any major repairs in the near-to-mid term? Engine burn any oil? Compression still within spec? Maybe have an oil analysis done... Transmission routinely serviced & working normally?
2. Is the coach envelope still good and tight? Roof tight? Is the membrane (if it is TPO or rubber) in need of replacement ($$$$)? Any water damage anywhere? Any delamination of fiberglass walls? Any significant chassis rust?
3. Interior finishes still presentable (to your eye)?

If my answers to 1, 2 , & 3 are positive (all's well), then I'm in a position of deciding whether I just want to trade up for the fun of it... Maybe everything on my old rig works fine, but I just want to start fresh & new with the latest instead of trying to upgrade piece by piece...

If the answers to 1, 2, 3 are a bit more mixed that may change your calculus... but I'm guessing that if your rig is basically solid, it will almost always be less expensive to fix whatever goes wrong than buy new. (That doesn't mean that forking out $$$$ to fix some issue will feel great, but it will still be a lot less than your debt on a new one.)

My $.02 - FWIW...
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifemember View Post
I don't have as many issues with my 20 year old MH as those with new ones

You know, when I talk to people at campgrounds and try to help newbies with minor repair and learning issues I'm often struck by the same feeling you have. I don't know if I'm lucky in my rig, biased in my comparisons, or just ignorant of the issues.

I think all my worrying really comes down to nothing more than "you pays your money and you takes your chances." I know that no one here has a crystal ball to tell me which choice will lead to the best outcome.

I just wish I had a better idea of what kind of issues to be prepared for. Perhaps I've already listed most of them in my original question, old plastic pipes, dried out wires, brittle sun worn fiberglass. My wife tells me I worry to much, maybe she's right. (Don't tell her I said that!)
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steverino View Post
Everyone's gonna have a different approach. I'd look at it this way:
1. Do I expect any major repairs in the near-to-mid term? Engine burn any oil? Compression still within spec? Maybe have an oil analysis done... Transmission routinely serviced & working normally?
2. Is the coach envelope still good and tight? Roof tight? Is the membrane (if it is TPO or rubber) in need of replacement ($$$$)? Any water damage anywhere? Any delamination of fiberglass walls? Any significant chassis rust?
3. Interior finishes still presentable (to your eye)?

If my answers to 1, 2 , & 3 are positive (all's well), then I'm in a position of deciding whether I just want to trade up for the fun of it... Maybe everything on my old rig works fine, but I just want to start fresh & new with the latest instead of trying to upgrade piece by piece...

If the answers to 1, 2, 3 are a bit more mixed that may change your calculus... but I'm guessing that if your rig is basically solid, it will almost always be less expensive to fix whatever goes wrong than buy new. (That doesn't mean that forking out $$$$ to fix some issue will feel great, but it will still be a lot less than your debt on a new one.)

My $.02 - FWIW...

The answer to 1, 2 & 3 are all very positive, no oil burn or drip, transmission oil inspected and healthy, interior is blemish free and near factory fresh. Only issues are edges on decals starting to fray, speedometer won't go passed 40 (I use a GPS speedometer anyway), and the high fan setting on the dash A/C is inop (dash A/C still cools us up to outside temps about 105)

I guess I really like my rig, but I don't want to be broken down halfway to Alaska in three years just to realize I was asking to much of the old girl.
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:44 PM   #9
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I thought of one more thing... and maybe you're already doing this.

Replace stuff proactively. For example, this spring I'll be changing all radiator / coolant hoses (along with the coolant). They all still look fine. But ours is about the same age as yours, and I figure I'd rather decide when I'm gonna change things (i.e. at my convenience in my yard) than let fate do it for me.

Maybe making a list of those sorts of things and then assessing them will put your mind at ease. All our pipes are plastic too, but they don't appear at all brittle to me yet. I did have to put a roof on (big job, all DIY) but I figured even with the effort and expense I had to do it if we were gonna keep her. And trading up was just not in the budget.
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raining Star View Post
The answer to 1, 2 & 3 are all very positive, no oil burn or drip, transmission oil inspected and healthy, interior is blemish free and near factory fresh. Only issues are edges on decals starting to fray, speedometer won't go passed 40 (I use a GPS speedometer anyway), and the high fan setting on the dash A/C is inop (dash A/C still cools us up to outside temps about 105)

I guess I really like my rig, but I don't want to be broken down halfway to Alaska in three years just to realize I was asking to much of the old girl.
Then maybe make sure you're well covered with a roadside assistance plan, carry some key spare parts along, and enjoy. Folks with new rigs have their share of breakdowns too.
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:52 PM   #11
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It really depends on the amount and type of driving you are planning on over the next several years. 30,000 miles will be quite a bit of driving and I think you would enjoy it much better in a New MH for two reasons. One if you drive the new Ford chassis MH's you'll notice an improved ride, and performance. Second it may give you peace of mind while you are out enjoying the last several years of RV'ing, rather than feeling like you are now. Also you and your wife may enjoy the upgraded interiors, electronics and advanced technology of the newer MH's and how much easier it is to enjoy using it.

Personally I would not worry about the threads here where people say you will spend months if not years working out the bugs with a new MH. You only hear the reports of others who have had problems, or those that have heard from a friend of a friend ect. You don't hear from the hundreds of others who bought a new MH and didn't experience any of the problems you read about on IRV2. We personally have not had any issues other than a microwave recall, and some minor adjustments, all in which we took the MH home the same day we brought it in, and have had no problems since. So that is way overated in comparison to those who have no major issues. There are thousands sold every month, and you only hear about a few that have had issues. Those shouldn't happen but as in anything that is manufactured by humans, things can go wrong. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 04-06-2016, 06:05 PM   #12
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My only concern with mine is if the engine blows. I have a few cracks in the plastic stuff. Sum I replaced like the refer door and the refer vent cover.
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Old 04-06-2016, 06:51 PM   #13
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If you are retired or close to it and have the means, I say do it. When we draw our last breath, nothing matters but the memories we created. You worked hard, enjoy yourself. You both like the idea of the shiny new coach, you cant enjoy it when your gone. I bought a new 2014 and had a punch list of things that needed fixing. Most were small adjustments and minor fixes. Once the few bugs were worked out in the first few months, the coach has been flawless.
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raining Star View Post
Of course I like the idea of flashy new rig, but the idea of $150,000 unnecessary loan seems a high price to pay for some bling. The wife's a nurse and I'm a bus driver so at our pay scale that's a serious chunk of change.

Our rig is very comfortable except for mountain driving with a 3 speed auto transmission. The floor plan still works for us, in fact we mostly look for similar floor plans. We've done lots of upgrades, flat panel TV, all light fixtures replaced with LED, Bluetooth stereo system throughout, etc. It was when trying to decide if putting in new powered recliners to replace the sofa was justified that I seriously started questioning buying new or finding out what it's going to take to get another 30,000 safe and trouble free miles out of her.
Keep in mind that you can find a fairly new coach that has been well cared for and not have to pay a full price for a brand new one, something else to consider.
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