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Old 12-03-2014, 07:30 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by SteveLevin View Post
When it comes to older motorhomes, it's all about condition and maintenance. NADA values tend to reflect the "typical" old motorhome, which will be in pretty sad shape after 20 years. You don't want one of those at ANY price!

Don't forget about things like a/c units, fridges, etc... they have a finite lifespan that you are very much getting into now... if they are still original on a 1996 model, you'll be fortunate not to have to replace them in the next handful of years...


If you find an older motor coach that is being used regularly, has been upgraded regularly, has had regular maintenance, hoses, belts, tires, etc. are kept current, then I believe that coach is worth more than NADA. Why? Because that coach is probably in as good a condition or better than a coach half the age. I know that our coach falls into this category.

If you find an older motor coach that has been sitting, is in factory original condition, still has original hoses, belts, tires, etc., then possibly NADA or lower might be OK. Just realize that you'll spend at least the amount you pay for the coach to fix it up so it is reliable again.



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Canada, eh?
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Old 12-03-2014, 07:54 PM   #16
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I think that some of what happens is that many of the people who buy new drop a pretty big loan on the rig and that often they are upside down on their loan compared to NADA and want to clear their loan. So, one of the first things to do is to ask them if they have clear title, otherwise it will be hard to drive a good bargain as the loan is higher than NADA.

It seems that the best deals are in the longer older rigs. There is also a new trend toward shorter rigs because, among other reasons, some of the older owners want to continue, but with much shorter length rvs, so the market is tighter for the shorter used diesels...but that just means more effort to put into it.

It has taken me about a year to understand enough to narrowly target a specific manufacture.

But, really, one probably could do very well with less information and one place to look for a rig with a variety of mfg is Houston Rv's Used RV's Motorhomes, RV Service & Sales Houston, Texas Heard mostly good and they do some nice things like put in hardwood floors in the used rigs they sell. I may yet use them myself. But, one does absorb some risk the less you know about the mfg and their history if you don't have a target mfg regardless where one buys.

A good verification of good condition probably is the most important part of the process anyway and satisfaction with floor plan. After all, buying used really opens the door to personalizing your rig...harder mentally to just tear things up a bit when it is new.

A great deal is not such a great deal if an expensive fix is required that you discover after you buy, because you failed to do you due diligence...though there is still some risk there regardless.

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Old 12-04-2014, 01:59 AM   #17
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I have to agree with most of the views on here. I bought a 1989 Tioga Class C. I am a mechanic by trade and woodworker by hobby and there is very little that I would not tackle when it comes to working on my unit. I would never consider it if I had to pay someone to fix everything that went wrong. If you aren't that familiar with the workings of the unit, take someone along or hire someone to do an inspection and know what you are getting into up front.
Rick and Mimi
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Old 12-04-2014, 03:21 AM   #18
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Welcome and glad to meet you!
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Old 12-04-2014, 05:25 AM   #19
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Good luck with your search.
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Old 12-04-2014, 06:09 AM   #20
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When deciding to move from our 5'r to a class A dp, I went through a somewhat abreviated process and bought my first unit on impulse (96 Allegro Bus). The urge to finalize a deal sometimes blinds you, and gets you to take short cuts when it comes to decision making . We really enjoyed that unit and in fact still own it; however I got some surprises shortly after getting home with the mh. I have no problem with buying an older unit and have done it twice and will probably do it again; however I now take a much more relaxed and measured approach. As previously stated, previous owner's maintenance records and manuals are very important as is the ability for you to do the 'little things' yourself. It helps if you have friends or acquantences with mechanical or technical exp. who can give you some assistance or advice. Unless you have a good shop that you trust it can get very expensive at $100 plus per hour.
If you have limited or no previous experience with a class A motorhome, (gas or dp) it makes perfect sense to to start with an older unit. You can make a lot of mistakes and not break the bank if you don't have a lot invested in the original purchase price.
Most important when buying (unless solo)...Always consider the point of view and likes/dislikes of your partner .
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Old 12-06-2014, 09:16 AM   #21
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I probably paid to much for mine six months ago but it seems to be in very good shape and had lots of stuff done to it recently such as tires,windows,carpet and tile. We looked at a lot of rvs and some were real junk at a even higher price. We paid average retail from what nada lists.

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Old 12-06-2014, 02:57 PM   #22
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When we bought our 2000 Pace Arrow, we were in somewhat of a hurry to leave the cold winters of Missouri. We looked at several and found the one we bought on craigslist, it had 43,000 miles on it and had been taken reasonable care of. Almost new tires and spare, no major body or chassis damage and all systems worked, almost. When we got to Texas we found that the fresh water system had issues. Took me several months to figure it out and get it working. Used the pump and filled the tank every few days for almost a year. We paid 2,000 under NADA, because the owners wanted to sell. I would like to trade it in for a longer rig or would consider selling it out right for enough to pay off the loan and put a little in my pocket for down payment for a longer rig. 33 ft is a little short for full timing. I too, would never buy a new rig, to many good deals out there on gently used ones..

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Old 12-07-2014, 11:12 PM   #23
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I bought used when I wanted to test the waters. Leased/rented a few times answered some of my questions, researched, kept my eyes open and ended up with a 1996 Pace Arrow with 12400 miles on it. Paid cash for it, tires, belts, hoses, recaulked the roof, a couple other things. Has well over 20K on it now, so far so good. Yeah there have been some little issues but for the most part it has been great.
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Old 12-10-2014, 03:45 PM   #24
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We have a rule of thumb when buying airplanes (75% of which are 30+ years old) that you'll spend 10% of the purchase price on the first annual inspection. I bought a 1996 Safari figuring that I'd spend about that getting things right. Tires, hoses, interior mods and the things that didn't work when I bought it (only the backup camera so far). Being able to do the work yourself is the deciding factor. If you have to pay someone to do minor work on subsystems, then an older motor home is not for you.
Jerry & Jeanne
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:29 PM   #25
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We bought a 2000 Allegro Bay three years ago and have done nothing but routine maintenance and a few upgrades. There is nothing wrong with buying an older motorhome in general. It's all about the condition it's in.
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Old 12-12-2014, 07:15 AM   #26
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Maint. records!!!! With an older coach it's paramount. When we sell ours the new owner will have ALL reciepts to what I've had done to it. I wouldn't feel right if I didn't give them the history. We bought our 2000 DSDP in 2010, and besides a few inconveniences, it has served us well in the last 4 1/2yrs. And a new owner will be getting a great coach that has been babied since we've had it.
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Old 01-19-2015, 06:25 AM   #27

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We bought a 2002 Georgie Boy a couple of years ago and she is a Gem. The older couple that had it really looked after it. He had all the records and was willing to do anything for us. It looked new inside and WE LOVED IT from the start. Have had a lot of fun with it and yes, have had to fix a couple of things, like the bedroom air conditioner, but replacement was easy and not bad in price if you do it yourself. Have also done a few upgrades too. Love this site. It gives lots of ideas. Don't walk away from an older coach. Look it over really well and know what you are looking for. Ours is a gem and hopefully yours will be also.
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:22 PM   #28
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We live in the Pacific Northwest and I would say that how the rig is stored makes an enormous difference. Having watched two older gas rigs go steadily downhill, we got covered storage when we bought our current (and much nicer) rig. I'd estimate that each year of inside storage in the NW is the equivalent of 3 to 4 years of outside storage. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that outside storage in the SW could also lead to problems from relentless UV exposure and high temps - one "campground acquaintance" said every rig that spends 2 to 3 years exposed in the SW will leak like a sieve due to dried caulking.

The problem, of course, is that you are dependent on the honesty of the seller, and if it has had a couple of owners, whether that info was passed along.

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