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Old 12-06-2014, 10:06 AM   #1
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Location: PUEBLO WEST, CO.
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Looking to buy ????? HELP!

Ok, we need to buy a class A in the range of 25-30 foot +-, at a low cost. I noticed that most of the MHs rattle apart, inside and out. Is there any one brand that is better build than others? I'm NOT looking for lots of features nor to sleep 18 people, just need the basics and needs to only sleep 2. Is one chassis better than another? Dodge M500? GM P30, I see a lot of P30s but they all look over loaded and the front tread looks real narrow. Most of the MHs I look at, the GVWR and the weight of the MH is close to the same, so if you put 2 people, some groceries and a few extra things, you exceed the GVWR.
Then I looked at a FMC, that looked like it was real well build and a great design, but it needed a ton of restoration.
Can you guys based on your experience tell me, the top 6 well build and the bottom 6 worse build. I see a ton of Bounders, Winnebago, Pace Arrows, they all look nice parked in a driveway, but they do not look well build. I'm going to go look at a mid 70's Sportscoach, on a Dodge chassis, today.

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Old 12-06-2014, 10:28 AM   #2
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Wow, thats a tall order, Low cost, won't rattle apart, and a high GVWR. If you look at most of the old MH's you mention they are maybe 20 to 30 yrs old ? just the fact they made it this far would be an testament to their construction, and the owners out there probably will chime in.

Terry and Eleanor
94 Softail / 92 FXR
79 32' AMF Skamper 5th Wheel Toy Hauler
97 International 4700 Tot'r
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:09 AM   #3
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Harley, you are right, they are 30+yrs old, most under 100K miles, some under 50K miles, and also looked at several that were under 10 yrs old and 30K miles, where interior and exterior joints looked like they were spreading, from body/chassis twist. The brand new ones that we looked at, looked like everything was so flimsy, more gadgets than you can shake a stick at. But I think if we lived in it and actually drove it cross country a few times, they would fall apart. Seems like the Winnebagos, Bounders, Itasca , feared far worse, and much sooner.
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:20 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum.

You have placed a tall order. I do not think there is anything that will fit what you are asking for. Quality is like buying oats. If you want good, clean, fresh oats you must pay a fair price. However if you can handle oats that have gone through a horse, that comes cheaper.

Best is to go out and find the floor plan you like. Anything as old as you have described will be reasonably priced. At its age you should be able to get a good indication of the condition by the mileage and a short drive.

There are some out there that will fit your wish list but you may have to look long and hard to find it.

IMO if you find something you like and the condition is acceptable - buy it. You may have to pay a fair price but the value to you when using it will be priceless.
Gordon and Janet
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:23 AM   #5
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The Travel Supremes as well as the Entegra line look like they are holding up well. They won't be cheap but they are very well built. The older Beavers also look like they have held up quite well.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:29 PM   #6
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I guess I should DE-EMPHASIZE the "LOW COST" part of my question. I have looked at used from $1500 to $25000. Sure some were abused and some were very well taken care of, yet they all seem to be flimsy and poor quality build. Sure some looked real fancy, with high end counters, etc., made to look like a home on wheels, but not well build. At first I was going to buy a medium duty step van and make an rv out of it, but with my health is not doing so well, so I need to get into something that's ready made. Can someone answer some of the chassis questions, please. Thanks, Gus
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:39 PM   #7
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In the RV world you get what you payed for. If you have plans to renovate add the costs of that too on the oldest ones. Even well built homesteads demand upkeep and general care. A little homework online will fill you in on general known brand problems. Newmar has a good reputation. There are a few others, but even then itdepends on if the coach was well taken care of. Milage as well. Good luck!

Keep in mind the builders try to minimize weight and that doesn't include the quality of a well built home. Make a list of the most expensive things you don't want to pay to replace, and then go looking for the best one you can find.
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:36 PM   #8
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Although pretty rare,,, our 28' Europa is Very well built... Yes on a P30/32 chassis.. Isata is a later model of the same... Ours is a 95, fiberglass shell, built like a tank pretty much... 90K + miles and going strong... Sure its only a 350 Chevy, so towing a car is pretty much a bad idea,, unless flat ground... BUT we average over 12 mpg @ 62-63 mph.... Best of 14 mpg... It's very aerodynamic as far as motorhomes go... Can't beat that with a stick !!! It has taken us several thousand miles, in all kinds of weather and brought us home
Monkey, pilot of a Great Dane hauler,
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:46 PM   #9
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I'm not sure how you can get both a decently-built unit that's cheap, or a cheap unit that doesn't need fixing. These are aging systems.

It's like the old re-modeling question: "Do you want it done proper, cheap, or fast? Pick two of these three options."
Rick and Sandy
2003 American Eagle, 46K miles
...from Sept 2015
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Old 12-07-2014, 12:11 AM   #10
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It sounds like you are looking at a gas motorhome from comments you have made but I would also look a diesel motorhomes.

For a well built motorhome in your price range I recommend Beaver or Hawkins motorhomes. There are probably more but these two motorhomes were built on a Gillig chassis, had top notch build quality and a good diesel engine. An early 90's model should be around 15k or less.

There are a lot of good older motorhomes so you will have to sort through a bunch to find the right one for your needs.

Good Luck
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:07 PM   #11
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I have a 1982 PA by Fleetwood had 44,000 miles and 250 hours on the genie. It has the skinny front tires and rear as far as that goes. Plan on replacing with the same size. It road terrible at first but I changed the shocks and added Air Bags @ 4 corners. Sure its not A Cadillac but its 100 % better. Its all original inside and out. It all depends on how they were cared for. I lucked out.
90% of the current raddles are things that I didn't pack correct...
If your not sure ask someone that's in the know to go with you to look.
Its going on 5 years and I have no plans on stepping up.
Happy Holidays, Tim
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:31 PM   #12
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Now for something totally different!

With a lot of tongue in cheek, humor!
We just started to look for a class A MH, a week ago, and I'm already at the end of my rope! PLEASE help this old man out.
We are in Pueblo West, Colorado, the MHs we are looking for can be anywhere, we will drive to look at them.
ME, ex-heavy equipment mechanic, so repairs are not a problem for me, I'm more than qualified to do any mechanical, electrical, plumbing repairs needed.
In my history, I have put cars together that came to me in boxes( as long as I had a picture to go by).
What has been driving me crazy this past week,,,,
1) Terms like vintage class A MH= seems to mean anything older than 2008,, uhh? So what do I call it when it's a 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, 1990's,, JUNK?
2) Finding out anything as to how a MH model was built, wood frame, steel frame, aluminum frame, insulation, etc., and no where to find the info,, yet, still waiting to hear from the forum?
3) Chassis, there is little or no information available as to what chassis it sits on(P-30? Dodge M500, Ford, FL, John Deere?), or the rated GVWR, no curb weights, and gear ratios are just a wild guess at best.
4) IMHO, it seems that the majority of RV owners, like and buy based on the shiny stuff, like outside paint job, floor layout, slide outs, awnings, and a lot of gimmicky gadgets, electric steps, and the like. Don't see many talking about utilitarian well built RVs(less pretty), great handling, durable, great mpg, etc.
5)Why is it that so many RV roofs are made of rubber membrane? Why not aluminum, steel, fiberglass. My SUV has a roof made out of steel, my van has a roof made out of fiberglass, my high cube truck has one made out of aluminum, never had a problem with any of those, but I see lots of MHs on the highway with duct tape holding the roof on?
6) Why is it ok with MH buyers to spend upward of $100K, knowing that if they ever hit 50K miles without replacing the engine and transmission, they have a great vehicle, it seems like leaks are just part of the fun in owning an RV.
7) In the last few days I became a member of this forum, to educate myself on class A's. Everyone seems real nice, and offered me some great advice. I learned that unless you spend more for an RV than a nice house, you really should not buy one! Learned that I should factor in many $$$$ for repairs and upkeep, as they cost more than fuel (even @ 6 MPG), as things leak, break, fall off, peel, rust out, burn up, etc. I also learned something I never knew, that after Oats are processed through a horse, they are cheaper, WOW, that's good to know, since an RV has like 250 horses! I also learned that hanging out on the beach with Cindy Crawford is more fun than doing the same with a bag lady, (the wife will allow me with the bag lady, and not with Cindy)damn so much to learn,,,! Also found out that people hang out at RV parks for extended periods(I assume that is how they keep from hitting that magic 50K mile mark). But for some undefined reason, older low mile RVs, are no good, so maybe using that logic, I can go hang out with Cindy Crawford on the beach, if she tells my wife that she is a bag lady? Help me here guys,, I want to go to the beach....
We want a MH to travel, maybe 15-20K miles a year, run on dirt roads a bit less bad than 4x4 roads, city streets and highways, handle any weather that comes our way and never stay overnight in a RV park, we will go to National forests, lakes, rivers, WalMarts, old dirt roads, etc. , hence the concept of a MH being self contained. That is what we been doing the last 14 years and 300K miles, in my 2000 Ford E350 ext. high top V10, still getting 11 to 17 MPG. Replaced head light bulbs @100K, spark plugs all 10 of them 3 times, brakes every year( they suck), 4 sets of tires, and one fan belt, 4 windshields(free thru insurance), oil and filter every 3K miles, Castrol and Fram under $20 (@ Walmart), and we do take it into some real shaky places that make 4x4 guys just shake their heads, and smile, when I tell them that I only have 1 wheel drive.
So I hope I did not offend anyone with this post, most of it was in jest, but I really need all of your help, in how to find GOOD info on a bunch of seasoned motor homes. I really like the shapes of some 70's models, kind of all fiberglass futuristic designs. And please don't worry, I will not park it next you at the classy RV parks, when you see us wiz by @ 65 MPH, just wave, you'll know it's us by the lousy paint job, the out of style shape, and the fact that we never spend time or $$$s in the shop. Now take a deep breath and be thankful, we will not be parking next to you, as we will be traveling with 8 Shorty Bull Dogs.
Thanks Much,
Chris and Gus
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Old 12-08-2014, 07:01 PM   #13
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Wow....not quite sure what to make of your last post folks, but as someone who has suffered with ADHD for 60+ years, I sense a member of the club!

Anyways, my first mh was a 93 Fleetwood Coronado - 28' Had about 53K on the odometer. Used it for 4 years towing a race car around without any problems. Paid $9500 for it and then gave it to my son. Had a corner bed which wife and I did not like, but it was quaint and reliable.

Purchased current 34' Bounder this summer. Only had 3350 miles on odometer and 23 hours on generator. New carpet and vinyl. Stove/oven/refer and shower were never used. Always covered. We now have 5800 miles on it with zero issues. Had to buy new tires, but we like the floor plan and the queen walk around bed. Its in exceptional condition inside and out...just older. We paid $15K for it and love it. We could have paid more but why?

My advise would be to establish how much you WANT to spend....not what you could spend...and find nicest one you can for the price. The same formula I have used to purchase several Porsches over the years. Good luck...but focus!
Bill and Debb---2010 CT Coachworks Siena 35V
1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport---Roadmaster Falcon 5250 -
1 Cavalon (Scooby)
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Old 12-08-2014, 07:01 PM   #14
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I'm really sorry you feel the way you do, but IMHO you will not find what you are looking for, just build your own, find an old fire truck that has a steel roof, maybe its a brush truck with 4X4 so you can go "run on dirt roads and handle any weather" You are going about this with IMO the wrong attitude.

Terry and Eleanor
94 Softail / 92 FXR
79 32' AMF Skamper 5th Wheel Toy Hauler
97 International 4700 Tot'r
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