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Old 07-13-2010, 07:53 PM   #1
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Older model vs. high mileage

I am a wannabee and am interested in a Class C. I have a friend who purchased a 20 yr old rv with low mileage and it is a mess. Now I know that the quality of the vehicle, maintenance, etc is going to be part of the answer but if all things were similar, would you get a 1990's rv with low mileage or a 2000-2005 with high mileage in order to meet the budget?
Does anyone know about those high mileage ones sold by Cruise America?
Do any of the rallies (example, upcoming one in Louisville, Ky) have used ones for sale or do the companies mostly bring out their "higher end" inventory?
Thanks!
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:18 PM   #2
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Hi Abby1313, welcome to IRV2. We will be in Louisville too. In talking to our dealer here in NC, they will be there with new coaches. However, they can talk to you about their used inventory.

As to older vs high mileage, it depends a lot on the engine/tranny combo. If you are looking at a diesel, definitely go with the higher mileage. The older coaches tend to have a lot of problems from sitting and not being exercised. While most of us don't put a lot of miles on them each year, the systems need to be operated and maintained regularly. Even if it were a gaser, I would consider the higher mileage coach if it was in good shape (mechanically).

You will find newer technology in the 2000-2005 units that could save you a lot of money if they are in good working condition when you buy it.

Hope things work out for you,
Dave
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:35 PM   #3
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With class Cs you'll be looking at mostly gas. Good rule of thumb, go with the newest with "decent" miles you can find within your budget. With a gasser you would want one that had been "exercised" with about 8-10K per model year. So an 05 would have between 40 to 50K miles. You'll have lots of life left in it. My .02.
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:57 PM   #4
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(my $.02)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegasdan View Post
...With a gasser you would want one that had been "exercised" with about 8-10K per model year.
I agree with your basic point 100% but I question the specific numbers. 8-10,000 mile seems a high allowance to me for average year over year use.

If I were buying a 5-10yo Class C (or A) I wouldn't want less than 15,000 miles or much more than 50,000 on the ODO (3-5000 per year -avg)

The biggest issue with this sort of thing is that a real high use year(s) and then several sitting idle years.. is a far more likely scenario. Beware.

Good service records (including receipts for the inevitable repairs) will indicate if the rig has had the preferred steady accumulation of miles over those years on the herky jerky "run hard and put up wet" history.
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:29 PM   #5
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Nationally the average rv has 5k miles on it. Realizing this is 'average' there is a wide standard deviation. Now what do you consider high mileage? Diesels, which you will be hard pressed to find in a class "C" aren't even considered to be 'broke in' until 100k.

As previously state there may be a mechanical reason why an older model has low mileage. There is such a thing as 'lot rot'. Plus expenses to bring it up to date right off the bat. Tires come to mind.

An older high mileage will probably have all the bugs worked out of it. Even if properly maintained may develop new problems. That being said, the decision is yours.

Personally I would stay away from rigs that have been in hack service (Cruise America, 1-800-RentMe, and the like). Those who have used them were likely not to have any sense of ownership and thus didn't care how they were used.

My advice would be to ge as much motor home as you can afford right from the get go. You will be glad later that you didn't scrimp on anything.

Regardless, remember it is a buyers market so don't compromise.
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:30 PM   #6
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Good advice

It seems that most of you concur with me that it's better to go newer although I think I'm probably thinking of much higher mileage than you...I have about $20,000 tops that I can spend so will have to temper size, year, mileage to fit in that range. I need to get something and spend some time on the road to see if I really love the lifestyle enough to sell my house. Keeping up a house and spending time on the road simultaneously can be a double whammy financially so I need to start out at the lower end of the rv range but don't want to go so low that it's all problems on the road. But I've been obsessing about this for several years so am tempted to do what it takes to try it out. That's why I was looking at the rental stuff; high mileage but newer and usually has some type of warranty.

Most of the class C's are gas powered so I am interested in how those engines hold up over 100,000 miles.....

I have asked a couple of rv places around here if they would check out an rv for a fee if I bought one from a private individual and they don't really do that. I guess I could get a regular garage to at least check out the engine....any input on buying from an individual vs. dealership?

Dave, I'm seriously thinking about floating to Louisville (about 8 hrs from here) just as sort of a mini-vacation so will be soliciting info. from anyone who will talk to me there. Will see if I can find those from the irv2 network maybe.

Thanks for the info!
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:40 PM   #7
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Our second rig was purchased from Cruise America's lot in Denver. It had just at 100,000 miles. The interior was basically new because they put in new carpet over the stock linoleum floors,new tires, new mattresses, new lounge chair, and new seats up front. The generator gave us trouble on the first trip, diagnosed at another dealership as low compression from a worn engine.. They replaced it with a rebuilt one at no charge to us. We drove it over 40,000 miles in the next 4 and a half years, and loved it. I did routine mechanical things myself, and took it to a mechanic only once to replace a rear wheel seal, under $100 cost. We replaced it only because we wanted a class A with basement storage. Keep in mind that those units get oil changes from their fleet mechanics every week or two. Ours was a Ford V8, an engine known for long life. Best of luck, hope you enjoy whatever you get and use it a lot, HarveyP
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Old 07-15-2010, 12:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abby1313 View Post
It seems that most of you concur with me that it's better to go newer although I think I'm probably thinking of much higher mileage than you...I have about $20,000 tops that I can spend so will have to temper size, year, mileage to fit in that range.
I'd like to suggest that you actually have about $10,000 to spend. Maybe $12,000. The balance is for strategic and tactical reserves.

About half of that leftover for the strategic things that you can sorta plan on needing. Tires, brakes, suspension, engine tuning, appliance repairs, windows, roof, etc. Even an RV "that doesn't need a thing" will still need all sorts of things.

The advantage of this is that you KNOW exactly what the status of your brakes and tires and belts and fluids and every other little thing really and truly are. In the course of doing this work there will be many opportunities to "upgrade" and to "expand" on the mission beyond this sort of catch up maintenance work.

Beware of this mission creep.

The other half is for the things you didn't count on happening or needing. As Forest Gump said... $hit happens... including mission creep.

$10-12 is still plenty enough to get started with...
especially if you are a CASH buyer in today's market.
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Old 07-15-2010, 03:41 AM   #9
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What ever you are seriously considering, I would highly recommend you have a qualified RV technician and an ASE mechanic to inspect the entire coach. This could save you thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars if there are underlying problems that only these trained people could find. Maintenance is going to be your friend on this matter as your budget will not get you into the high end quality issue. Keep doing your homework, don't get into a hurry and you will find a dream of a deal during these economic times.
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Old 07-15-2010, 05:48 AM   #10
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do your home work, stay in your budget, take all the advise you can, look , buy what you like and not what someone else like. don't be afraid to ask alot of ? and be sure you have someone with you who knows what to look for , as there are people out there who dose this for a living. double check triple check, older can be better if you do it right,
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Old 07-15-2010, 08:51 AM   #11
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Like a boat or a "driver" classic car, all motorhomes are going to suck money on a pretty regular basis. You just have to be prepared for that, it's always something.
Particularly the first year, you will find lots of lil things and a few big ones that need fixing.

The rental rigs, and also mid sized class c's in general, are going to be pretty basic. Not a lot of extras, options, or luxury's. CA rigs don't even have a television.
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Old 07-15-2010, 07:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarveyP View Post
Our second rig was purchased from Cruise America's lot in Denver. It had just at 100,000 miles. The interior was basically new because they put in new carpet over the stock linoleum floors,new tires, new mattresses, new lounge chair, and new seats up front. The generator gave us trouble on the first trip, diagnosed at another dealership as low compression from a worn engine.. They replaced it with a rebuilt one at no charge to us. We drove it over 40,000 miles in the next 4 and a half years, and loved it. I did routine mechanical things myself, and took it to a mechanic only once to replace a rear wheel seal, under $100 cost. We replaced it only because we wanted a class A with basement storage. Keep in mind that those units get oil changes from their fleet mechanics every week or two. Ours was a Ford V8, an engine known for long life. Best of luck, hope you enjoy whatever you get and use it a lot, HarveyP

You've pointed out several of the things that were making me lean that way if in fact the company did what they say they do on their website (refurbish, at least some minimal warranty for the few months after driving it off the lot. I don't expect one with high mileage to be without some maintenance but my concerns was the engine so sounds like yours did fine; don't know if current ones have same size. Thanks for this information....I'm definitely keeping this as an option as it looks like the Cruise Am. in Manassas keeps an inventory.
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Old 07-15-2010, 07:37 PM   #13
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I had the $20,000 in my head as including the initial cost and then some initial "repairs" / "upgrades" (nothing major on either) the latter of which I thought might be $2-$3,000. Sounds like I'm underestimating there. And though I'd hoped there wouldn't be a continual "sucking" sound on the money flow, sounds like there might be. Life is full of risks though so after doing what I usually do (and what you all have suggested)....i.e. research, ask questions, beat the subject to death....you'll see me in these forums a bit I imagine....am hoping my path crosses something I can live with financially and live in for extended trips.
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Old 07-16-2010, 12:33 PM   #14
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Sharing my experience

Hi Abby,

You and I are very similar. I've wanted to RV for years and decided to take the plunge this year without having so much as rented one. I looked at Class A's primarily in the $10K-$20K range. In the end I bought a 1994 with 60K miles for $10K.

Once you get over 10 yrs old they all needed the same stuff any ways. Everything I saw needed new tires so budget in about $2K for that. I also put new shocks on, had the brake lined drained and refilled, had a new generator fuel pump installed (it failed 10 min. after I bought it), had a new starting solenoid installed (it broke on our first big trip) and am now having the gas lines inspected and will probably have to replace them along with the charcoal canister.

Basically, all in I'm about $15K. Here is what it looks like.

Motorhome - $10K
License, taxes, registration, plates - $1K
Insurance - $268
Good Sams roadside assistance - $1xx (can't remember)
Shop bill $3800 includes:
Tires - $2k
Shocks all round - $900? (can't remember exactly and receipt is with RV which is in shop - there was a broken bolt that had to be welded so additional labor time plus they way overcharged on parts)
Brake line drain and refill, cruise control eval, leveling jack eval, exhaust leak fix, generator service and parts, alignment
Inspection and shop bill $250
This is from the shop I had do an initial inspection. They also put on an air bag extension kit for an exorbitantly inflated price.

On the road alignment $250
The first alignment was horrible so had to stop mid trip and get it redone. Also had starting solenoid fail at same place.

New curtains $100

Part for crank out window that doesn't work $15 (don't know how much it will cost to install)

Misc. accessories from Camping World $800 (includes things like new fans I want to install, tire covers, and many misc. items

I'm already into it for something like $16.5K. It is in the shop now so I will have another bill from that and then I start my chassis upgrades. I will likely reach $20K pretty easily.

I took to heart the input here on the low mileage, sits alot units as it seemed most people let their RVs sit for 3 or 4 years before trying to sell them. These were the same people who advertised new tires that were 6, 8 or even 12 years old but had almost no mileage on them. When queried about service records they usually said something like it never gave us a spot of trouble so we never took it to the shop. I did not buy these units as I could see a massive set of failures when they started to get used.

The one we chose had been used regularly and recently. things were replaced as they broke so it was in good shape and the major systems could be demoed. We had it inspected and it showed about $3K worth of work ($2K of which were tires) but was pronounced in good shape.

I don't think buying a used rental would be a bad idea since it was abused when used and fixed it would probably be in pretty good shape. Alot of the private parties I talked to had no idea how to maintain their motorhomes.

Here are some pics of what we bought.
1994 Brave 29RQ RV: Our first RV!

I love the floor plan.

Good luck!
Michelle
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