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Old 08-14-2016, 07:32 AM   #1
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Thoughts about buying an older unit

I'd like to get some opinions about something.

Am considering the purchase of a 1998 Holiday Rambler Imperial 38 WDS.
It has about 63000 miles on it and has its second owner. The first owner had it up until about 3 years ago and sold it due to family health problem. The second and current owner is selling due to his health problems. The current owner put about 10,000 miles on it.....all trouble free according to him. Both the previous & current owners are "senior citizens", like me, for whatever that's worth. I have spoken to the first owner who also states that it's been trouble free.

The coach looks and drives like it has been well maintained but there are no written maintenance records available. Doesn't have any leaks and everything appears to be working OK. No accidents as far as I can determine and all paint is original and in great shape.

In fact, if you'd look at it & drive it, you'd never guess it was a '98.

I guess my big question is am I looking for trouble in considering a coach that's 17 years old ??? We've ( my wife & I ) have been motorhoming for about 40+ years and are, I think, reasonably familiar with motorhomes. I've never had a diesel before, so it would be a new experience for me.

Thanks for any opinions given !
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Old 08-14-2016, 08:12 AM   #2
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I'm surprised there are no maintenance records but if that is the case I would suggest an independent inspection to include engine, transmission, and coolant fluid samplings. This is a fairly cheap process, can be done for ~$125 and you could have the results in ~week.

Check all the filters, lots of times the mechanic will write the date on them when replaced, maybe you can confirm recent service. This includes the air filter, check the air intake system completely, make sure not loose connections and that the air filter is in good condition.

While you are waiting on the sample results I'd really look at the coach, run generator and test every appliance. Check the DOT date on the tires, a big expense when they have to be replaced especially if you go with a better brand tire. Check batteries with a hydrometer, another big expense if needed to be replaced.

As to the age of the coach, this is a higher quality HR product and will last a long time if it is taken care off. The engine and transmission have lots of miles left on them if they've been taken care of.

I own a 2002, I received no records in 2008 when we purchased, it was a repo. I did the inspection myself and didn't find 1 thing wrong, everything worked. Now have 105k miles on it.
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:01 AM   #3
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If you are a well rounded mechanical type. Electrical, plumbing, etc. No problem, If not. Then deep pockets. Lots of things that will need updating or upgrading. And Don't let a diesel scare you. You can find a good mechanic who will take care of it.
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:17 AM   #4
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Treat it like you're buying a 17 year old truck that wasn't driven a lot, and a 50 year old house.

At 70k miles, the truck is approaching its first major Preventative Maintenance mark; i.e. brakes, tires, transmission flush, all filters, hoses, belts, etc, etc, etc

With the old house, it may also be approaching PM items, roof, window/door seals, appliances nearing the end of their lifetime, etc, etc.

I am a DIYer, so I handle 99.9 % of the maintenance myself. If you need to write a check every-time a light switch quits, You may want to re-evaluate your decision.
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:24 AM   #5
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We had no records for our Dynasty at purchase and are the 3 owners. The engine had 102k on it. We arranged for a complete engine , chassis inspection with Freightliner ( no Cummins facility within a reasonable distance) at our cost. Yes it was $400 or so that we were prepared to loose if an issue was found.
It was worth every penny.
We have only had issues that are to be expected due to aging out of parts.
We are lucky that we have a family member well versed in its annual service. We are arrive and it goes up on jacks for a week while she gets piked and prodded.
There is a quality level in these older upper end coaches that just is no longer available
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:24 AM   #6
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We had no records for our Dynasty at purchase and are the 3 owners. The engine had 102k on it. We arranged for a complete engine , chassis inspection with Freightliner ( no Cummins facility within a reasonable distance) at our cost. Yes it was $400 or so that we were prepared to loose if an issue was found.
It was worth every penny.
We have only had issues that are to be expected due to aging out of parts.
We are lucky that we have a family member well versed in its annual service. We are arrive and it goes up on jacks for a week while she gets piked and prodded.
There is a quality level in these older upper end coaches that just is no longer available
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:59 PM   #7
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Didn't scare me. I purchased a 1998 last year with not one service record.
So far so good.

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Old 08-15-2016, 10:25 PM   #8
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I just bought a 94 Winnebago Adventurer. When I purchase older I always add another $5,000 to $6,000 to the ticket price. If the unit is in great shape and I can bring it up to snuff with extra money then I go for it. Often units are sold when it has accumulated combined repair bills the owner doesn't want to shell out for, in my case new tires, a brake job and fixing the electric jacks. The rest of the unit was clean and in good shape. So I went for it. I replace four of the 6 tires, new brake job, oil, filters, etc. The cab air conditioning was recharged and now I'm waiting on the parts for the electric jacks. But when people come in the unit they find it in amazing shape for a 94. Just be prepared for some surprises and assume you will get some and budget accordingly and you will have a great motorhome.
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:56 PM   #9
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When I bought my 2000 Newmar last year I was so blown away at how impeccable the interior was, that I just assumed he kept-up the chassis with the same impeccable care. Nope. Within the first year I replaced tires, shocks, radiator and a host of other things. All things I should have easily caught with a good inspection. Never again. . . . I'll spend $400 next time for a thorough inspection.
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Old 08-18-2016, 04:27 PM   #10
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I recently traded a six-year old Thor for a 13 year old holiday rambler imperial. Best decision I ever made. The quality differences of the older high end coaches are amazing
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