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Old 07-29-2014, 07:04 PM   #1
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Buying a used Diesel Pusher

My wife and I are looking at purchasing an RV for ourselves and our 2 year old daughter to full time in for about 1-2 years. After that time, we will settle back down and most likely sell the RV.

I have done a fair amount of research and have decided that a larger RV will fit our needs the best. My primary choice is a diesel pusher, but I would settle on a gasoline Class A as well.

Our budget is about $25k to 35k. In my research I have found many DP's in this price range from between 1995-2006. I've read a lot but found little info correlating to recommendations for specific price ranges.

Based on what I have read so far, my main preference is floor plan, something with good serviceable tires, the obvious inspection checklist stuff, and well-kept maintenance records. Not too picky about ride comfort or power, as long as it can pull our 2500 lb toad. We don't anticipate doing much mountain driving, mostly short moves and then settling down for a month at a time. I have a general idea what particular models to avoid due to well-known issues. I am mechanically inclined (ex-automotive mechanic) and can perform most of the maintenance and repairs myself.

After looking through many of the different websites, I am seeing a HUGE spread in the asking prices (even for the same exact years and models). They seem to vary based on dealer / private party, and even by website. Some of the prices of the newer models seem too good to be true and only makes me wonder if something is wrong with them.

I tend to like the Fleetwoods, Tiffins & Newmars, although I know the ones in my price range are mostly entry level models.

My questions:


Is my budget reasonable for what I am looking for, or am I crazy?

Why the huge disparity in the asking prices?

In the range of years I am seeing, is there an "era" where the overall quality stands out more? (I guess that could really depend on the manufacturer as well)

Does anyone have any particular overall recommendation based on my price range?

Thanks. I'm still new to this and still trying to read and learn as much as I can.
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Old 07-29-2014, 07:16 PM   #2
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In that price range you are looking at something with few if any slide-outs. There are some terrific buys if you can put up with no slides. Over the past 20 years the development of the expanded floor plan has taken the industry by storm.

In that price range I would think you would be looking at a 10-15 year old gas coach with one or two slides. Just try to get one with the wide-track chassis.

Ford and chevy both had updated engines and chassis starting about 98-99.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:33 PM   #3
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Ive been doing alot of window shopping on Diesel pushers. I plan on buying one in the next couple years. Look on ebay. You can find a ton of dp in the 25 to 35 k range. That just happes to be what my budget will be.Very few with slides but is seems like the ones without are actually pretty roomy. Pictures can be deceiving though. It can be confusing. One unit will need a bunch of work for the same price as one that everything works with new tires and full tank of fuel. Keep shopping the right one will find you.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:41 PM   #4
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I can tell you we bought a 2000 Newmar Dutch Star 38' with Living room slide, a 330 hp Cat. in Jan.2013 for 35K with 4 new tires & 2 yr old tires. 66K miles, just broke in. No major issues in 18 months. We just love it.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:49 PM   #5
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I just looked a 97 Beaver Patriot DP with 140,000 mi on her. She looked real clean. One owner, took great care of his RV and did any maintenance needed. Asking $36k. So they are out there. This is on SoCal area.
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Old 07-29-2014, 08:58 PM   #6
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some of the "to good to be true" are just that. Don't send any money to someone with out seeing the coach and kicking the tires. Hope you find a great one and have fun with exploring in it.
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Old 07-30-2014, 05:15 AM   #7
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some of the "to good to be true" are just that. Don't send any money to someone with out seeing the coach and kicking the tires. Hope you find a great one and have fun with exploring in it.
I agree completely. Ebay is good place to look and see whats out there. What options and what everyone is asking. Just don't get excited and hit the buy it now button with out making a trip and seeing it in person.
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:12 AM   #8
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www.pplmotorhomes.com in Houston is a good place to look. They're a consignment dealer, but they also list what RV's have sold for in the past. It's a strong tool to see what could be available in your price range. I don't believe you'll be finding a 2006 DP in the 35k range.
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:42 AM   #9
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Even though you are a mechanic, I would urge you to take an expert RV inspector with you to inspect the coaches in your final lineup. It will cost a few hundred dollars, but you'll be able to get it back when you negotiate the price down to fix anything found.

Just one other unrelated issue I have learned during full timing - it will be difficult to find campsites where you can perform your own maintenance, and you may find yourself limited in what tools you can take with you. I worked on cars for many years too, and I've found it frustrating that I can't do my own work while on the road - wow, do I miss my garage!

Good luck!
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:59 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by sdlowe11 View Post
Even though you are a mechanic, I would urge you to take an expert RV inspector with you to inspect the coaches in your final lineup. It will cost a few hundred dollars, but you'll be able to get it back when you negotiate the price down to fix anything found.

Just one other unrelated issue I have learned during full timing - it will be difficult to find campsites where you can perform your own maintenance, and you may find yourself limited in what tools you can take with you. I worked on cars for many years too, and I've found it frustrating that I can't do my own work while on the road - wow, do I miss my garage!

Good luck!

When I was trucking and needed to do some maintenance I just went into the back corner of a truck stop. Even swapped out a transmission in the back lot of a bosselmans truck stop once.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:00 PM   #11
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If you can find local coaches that are advertised online with pictures, it's well worth going to see them, just to learn what pictures do and don't show well. Our general motto is that in pictures, it had better look perfect, because pictures just aren't detailed enough to show many issues. And if we ever saw one that had an issue visible in pictures, we'd be like "if it's that bad in pictures, can you imagine how bad it will look in person?"

But it's well worth taking the time to develop your own opinions...

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Old 07-30-2014, 12:24 PM   #12
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I'd stick with older units (pre-98) so that you get a mechanically injected engine, NOT one with a mind of its own.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTWERKE View Post
I can tell you we bought a 2000 Newmar Dutch Star 38' with Living room slide, a 330 hp Cat. in Jan.2013 for 35K with 4 new tires & 2 yr old tires. 66K miles, just broke in. No major issues in 18 months. We just love it.
That's what I would be looking for!
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:30 PM   #14
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After more research, to include viewing some used models at a local dealer and purchasing the consumer rv group guide, I have a better idea of what I am looking for. I was able to bump the budget up to 50k. I am figuring about 35-40k for purchase and using the remaining money for plane ticket & inspection and to get the towing equipment for the car, buy new tires if needed, and have any additional preventative services and upgrades done. In this price range, I am seeing a few 2000-2003 Mountain Aires, Dutch stars, Nationals, Tiffins, and upper end Winnebagos. Also saw a couple (99-00) Gulfstreams. I still like the Newmars the best. I think I will wait another month or so and see what else comes on the market as summer winds down. Up here in VA there is very little selection. That makes it tough because I am unwilling to commit to anything without seeing it first.
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