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Old 10-19-2015, 08:23 AM   #1
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CHEAPEST Motorhome for Coast to Coast Trip?

I posted this in "just conversation" because it is NOT a real question. I have no intention of buying the cheapest RV I find - I'm also not currently planning a coast to coast trip.

Just one of those odd thoughts that struck me as I was reading through for sale ads and planning to one day own a motorhome...

So, the question is this...

If you had to make a trip in the USA from the West Coast to the East Coast what would be the lowest price you would feel safe buying an RV for.


Before you answer...

1. no trailers. Must be RVs that can be driven - mostly Class A or Class C.

2. not a family deal - "my uncle sold me his old Prevost for $5,000"

3. must be mechanically sound and all systems work - anyone can buy a $5,000 RV that "needs a mechanic or 2 years restoration"

= WHY? =

The main reason I ask is because when looking at RVs I see someone selling an RV for $9,900 and my first two thoughts are - Guess I would be repairing it constantly... and... probably wouldn't make a long trip in THAT...

So, what price would you draw the line? $20,000? $30,000?

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Old 10-19-2015, 08:34 AM   #2
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Kind of too many variables type question. If I had to look for something to make the coast to coast run there are a lot of used C's around in the $40-50,000 range that would probably be fine out of the box. I'm thinking maybe 4-5 year old units that folks upgraded from with around 20,000 miles on them. Older than that and the price goes down but the needs go up. OTOH it would still be marketable with another 10,000 miles on it so one could re sell after the trip.

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Old 10-19-2015, 08:38 AM   #3
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Current RV; 1996 Class C tioga. Paid 9,500. 38k miles on engine. Ready for cross country IMHO.

We've owned for a little over a year and added/repaired/updated;

Floor, genset, solar, vents, etc.
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Old 10-19-2015, 09:40 AM   #4
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We're planning a 6 - 7 thousand mile "loop" around the western states next spring/summer. We'll be in our 1991 Tioga Class C w/59K miles on it. We paid $5,800 for it (3 months ago), updated the maintenance, did some serious cleaning and trust it completely to make this trip. However, my brother-in-law has a 1987 Holiday Rambler (Class A) that he paid $8,700 for and I wouldn't be comfortable driving it to the end of his driveway. I really don't think price has a lot to do with reliability.
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:33 PM   #5
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I think an older class C 10-20 years old, that has been maintained and kept up, would be a good choice. Most older ones have big block V8 engines (454 Chevy, 460 Ford or 440 Dodge) and are not worn out, even with 50-80K miles on them. I could easily buy one under $10K and with a good PM and looking things over would take off cross-country with only basic tools. All parts are pretty easy to get for these, so no need to carry enough to rebuild the engine, trans and chassis along the way.

BTW, you read of all the problems people have with new RVs and warranty repairs, not so sure an older one is any less reliable!
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Old 10-20-2015, 07:16 AM   #6
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FWIW I see the real problems as maintenance and parts that age out. If somebody wants to run a wrench and replace the rubber you can go older. I'd take a towed for parts runs if nothing else. ;-)
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Old 10-20-2015, 12:57 PM   #7
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If I was looking for a reasonably priced, with few frills, one from here might be in the running. Yep, been driven lots of miles but from what I've seen, are in pretty decent shape with only some possible interior updating you might want:Cruise America: Buy a Used RV or Motor Home

All Fords though the 5.4 powered units might be a little sluggish but the V10 (6.8) powered will get the job done
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Old 10-20-2015, 01:08 PM   #8
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Buy me a 2 yr. old Corvette, spend 6 - 7 days on the road, stay at decent hotel every night, sell Corvette when done. Likely $$$ ahead. Fuel cost on MH would exceed hotel bills.
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Old 10-21-2015, 09:16 PM   #9
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The Corvette thing makes the most sense to me but I would like a vintage car. We bought an 89 Mobile Traveler 30" class A 4 years ago for $3750 and 27000 miles on it. We put 3000 miles on it and lived in it for one year. Only problem was a roof leak and a gen that would not always start after getting warmed up. We sold it for $3900 after three years. I think it had a 454 but I never did see the engine,had no reason to remove the inside cap.
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Old 10-28-2015, 11:16 PM   #10
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Year and a half ago I purchased a 92 Gulfstream Ultra with a 460 and 34,000. I have driven it 4500 miles and have done nothing mechanically other than change the oil. I have put tons of money in otherwise but not because anything was needed. I have every paper on the motor home from original sticker to all repairs.
I have put new smoke overhead vents, resealed the roof, taken out a few windown and recaulked them, put in a new bed out of ultre heavy duty foam as well as new dinette foam in the seats, a new tv, a setup to add air to the inside rear tires, and a half dozen other smaller things and this winter I plan on cutting a wall to make getting into the corner bed easier.
I would not be afraid to drive it anywhere.
I also looked at 50 or so RV's before I bought this one 6k and have been offered 8k but I'm not selling.
I do a lot of minorish repairs myself.
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Old 10-29-2015, 09:38 AM   #11
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I guess the answer partially depends on your definition of "CHEAPEST". If you buy a low cost unit and then have to bump money in too keep if going, what initially seemed cheap might end up costing great deal.

One approach might be to find the best deal possible on a nice used coach that's in great shape, use it for the trip and then resell it after. This way your coach cost is only the depreciation during your term of ownership and you will be better situated to enjoy an upgraded level on amenities. Of course a great deal depends upon your skill and getting a good deal initially and selling it at a good price after.

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