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Old 01-25-2012, 09:19 AM   #1
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We are going full time and just getting started

We have never had an RV and only rented a couple of times but we have decided to go full time and have started looking for a good rig. I have been reading and researching on this great site for a while but this is my first post. I can ask specific questions in other threads but would like to get some general ideas about our RV search.

We have decided to go with a Class A in the 32' to 35' range with a gas engine. Our dilemma is that we have about $10k + in cash and would like something in good condition. If we buy a rig for cash we won't have any payments but I am finding it difficult to find what we want at that price. There are some in the late 80's, 90's that are less than $10-15k but it seems if I want a slide or two the price goes to at least $20k. I am not sure if we need the slides but they would be nice. When did slides first show up in motorhomes?

We wouldn't be opposed to financing a small balance but our credit union won't lend on anything over 6 years old and we can't afford anything that new so it looks like we need to pay cash. In looking at rigs I am sure we can find something we like under $25k.

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Old 01-25-2012, 09:38 AM   #2
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If $10K is your total reserve and you spend it all on the motorhome you'll kind of be in a jam if something was to go wrong with it. I don't mean to get personal and you may have more $$$$ all I'm saying is to have a reserve for something going wrong. Trust me these things are not bullet proof and something eventually does go wrong and they are usually not a cheap fix. If your handy then that may help some as performing your own maintenance and repairs. Finding a motorhome with a slide at that price may be tough but I'm sure there is one out there. If you do find one have it checked out by a qualified technician unless you feel that you can do that on your own. Try rvonline.com, pplmotorhomes.com or for that matter search the classified here on the site. I don't want to be the doom and gloom and can only hope you find the rig your looking for and be able to explore our great country. I'm sure others will be along with some suggestions as well. I wish you the very best of luck and hope all works out. Now get shopping.

I almost forgot

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Old 01-25-2012, 10:16 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum and congrats on your decision to go FT. Not to burst your bubble, but, I think you will have a hard time finding something descent for $10K. If you are in the right place at the right time, you could get lucky and find one selling to settle an estate or get one being repossessed by a bank, but that would also probably be a newer model.

Slides are great, but I don't have one now and I am content. Had one in our last MH and they do add space, but also can lead to additional maintenance if they go bad.

Don't abandon the plan, but maybe give yourself a little more time to find the right one. Go to dealer's lots and go through many just to get an idea of what you would be comfortable with. Good luck, and keep us posted...
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:36 AM   #4
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Thanks John, I appreciate your opinion on slides because that is what I wanted. I am not sure either and I was wondering about extra maintenance and possible leaks on older slide units.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:38 AM   #5
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Welcome to IRV2!

It may be difficult to find a Class A with a slide for less then 15k. They started putting slides in gassers appx 1995 as an option. (varies by coach builder) More then likely a early coach with a slide is going to have a tag axle (extra rear axle to handle the additional weight) This can add to maintenance costs for tag axle tires and brakes.

I would suggest you look for something built on a Ford chassis as they can handle a larger payload then the early Chev P-30's. 1991 to 1997 the Ford chassis came with the 460 V-8 engine, reliable especially if you can find one that has the after market exhaust header upgrade. Otherwise look for a 1999 or newer Ford chassis with the V-10 which will have even more payload capacity. I would suggest finding a 1999 or newer Ford chassis because the added GVWR will allow you to store enough gear for full timing. Probably will not be able to get one with a slide though in your price range.

I have seen single slide V-10 Ford chassis MH's in the 20k and up price range. You could get a great deal on a non-slide model as they are not as desirable, but would be harder to resell later.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:58 AM   #6
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Thanks so much John, great information and I agree that I may just need to forget about having a slide. I also would prefer a Ford.
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:00 AM   #7
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Hi folks! Welcome to IRV2! Sure glad you decided to join us! Having a 5er I am not able to be any help on finding the MH, but there are lots of folks on here who will be able to advise you. I understand your not wanting to go in debt. We too have been thinking of going to a Class A, but like you don't want to go in debt for it. Good luck on finding a rig that's just right for you! God bless!
Joe & Annette

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Old 01-25-2012, 12:44 PM   #8
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Based on expensive experience don't go too old on a 460. We had an '85 with all the complex smog gear, a carburator and the OEM exhaust manifolds. It was a 26' Class C and we averaged about 6mpg at sea level an less than 5 in the mountains.

We had the warped manifold problem (a $1200 fix - remachined and reinstalled) and major brake problem due to engine-room temps (an $850 problem).

In just less than two seasons, we reckoned each night's camping cost about $400!

At least go new enough that the 460 has EFI and the manifolds are Thorley or one of the other "bunch of bananas" tubular type.

We had similar ideas, but not going full time, just trips of 2 to maybe 6 weeks. We took out a home equity loan to finance the rig in our signature. We got a pretty good deal two years ago. The seller was the original owner from new and he and his wife had taken excellent care of it. Just under 12,000 miles and 48 hours on the generator at the time of sale. They'd had to give up the lifestyle for medical reasons. They had financed it from new the same way, and priced it to generate just enough to pay off the loan. It was about $8K below NADA.
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Old 01-25-2012, 05:03 PM   #9
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Welcome Olypentax, glad to have you on the forum. Good luck on your search. I really don't have any advice to give you there.
Travel well, travel safe,
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Old 01-25-2012, 05:20 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone. Frank I appreciate your thoughts on the older 460's and I am looking for an EFI engine.
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Old 01-25-2012, 05:28 PM   #11
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Welcome to IRV2. We have a 5er so cant give any advice except to say Take your time, learn all you can before making a decision. I met a couple last year who were full timing. His rig didn't have slides and although it was a bit older it was in great shape. He said, and I'll never forget it "the reason I bought this rig is because I want to be able to afford it". He was speaking about tires and maintanence. He didnt want too spend a huge amount of money in the future. Good advice I thought.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:52 PM   #12
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You can definately find something around the $25k range you mentioned. Maybe even find someone who will take your 10k down and owner finance the rest for you.

Drop this in a google search:

site:craigslist.org "class a" slide

Turned up several below 20K with slides by owner all over the country.

Don't give up, and good luck to you.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:33 PM   #13
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welcome, this is the place for rvs, you might have to kick in a few extra $$ to find something you like and in good shape. rember this can turn into a real money pit, I couldnt find anything that was in good shape and for how I camp,so I made mine, what about a class c? prices are lower, bit more bang for your buck?

good luck

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Old 01-25-2012, 08:18 PM   #14
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Thanks again for your replies.

I have looked at some C's and they should also be cheaper to maintain but a couple of things that an A has is a higher GVW that can carry more weight, tow our Toyota Avalon and has more usable living space inside the coach. There is just 2 of us and we are older so we would not use the bed over the cab. I think the configurations of the A's is better for our needs, more like a home.

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