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Old 10-17-2021, 06:14 AM   #1
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Looking for an Alpine

Looking for about a 2000 model, 34 or 36 footer. Prefer FDS, but havenít ruled out a SDS. Might consider other lengths too. NADA value is 25k-30k-ish, and Iím wanting to stay close to that. Might go a little higher for an exceptional coach.

Just missed a deal on one because I decided to wait a few days to go look at it. Kicking myself now. Trying to find one on google isnít producing much. All I seem to find are old ads, or dealers asking 100k. If anyone knows of any Alpines for sale, please share.

I did a bunch of lurking before joining. Seems to be a nice place here. Iíll post some pics of the coach I didnít go look at. Curious on other peopleís opinion of it, and what they think it might have been worth. I have several more pics, but these show the main stuff. I can see some obvious issues in the pictures, but nothing that overly bothered me. Coach was priced at 28,500 on marketplace, and 24,500 on Craigslist.

Iíve been looking at other coach models, but after seeing some Alpines and doing some research, Iím thinking Iím gonna try and hold off on purchasing something until I see if an Alpine falls in my lap.
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Looking for a 2000-ish Alpine 36FDS
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:15 AM   #2
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Personal opinion is to try and find a 2001 or later. 2001 was the first year of the most modern layout(s). 2001 was the first year of the modern entertainment location of the TV in the middle vs on the side over the driver.

2001 was also the first year of the dual slide coaches (much more room in the bedroom and storage).

There is little difference in the price of a 2000 and a 2001 so I'd personally limit my search to 2001or later and while you may pay an extra 2-3K the value is definitely there IMO.

Now I'm not taking shots at the <2001 models as they are still great coaches with the amazing Peak chassis but the 98-2000 MYs were the "Learning" years for Alpine and 2002-2008 were the fine-tuning and enhancement years for the "Modern" Alpines that were introduced in 2001.

Many will tell you that the 2003 MY coaches are the best overall "Bang for the buck" as these were the first year (full year) of the ISL400 which is a nice upgrade for sure and the last year of the non-multiplex (pre-Vansco) systems.....again not taking shots

I wish you luck in your search...... my best advice is to find a coach that has been consistently driven and maintained with good records..... this would be preferable for me to even a single owner coach that spent it's life in storage and has less than 30-40K miles at this point...... lots of potential deferred maintenance there
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Old 10-17-2021, 10:43 AM   #3
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Can't add much to Paul's post and I agree with his assessment.


I will add one thing that may not be accurate but someone will certainly correct it if I am wrong. The earlier Alpines had different disk brake calipers (two piston Bosch?) that had a tendency to get stuck. They were replaced in later models with four piston calipers. Don't know the year, exactly, but I believe there was a recall for 2001 and earlier coaches.


Other that the brakes, I would not use NADA as anything more than a suggestion. Yes, there are few coaches being advertised, but that is the only way to get an idea. Dealer asking prices will always be high, private party prices are shots in the dark, but between the two, you can get a "feel" for the value of certain year coaches. Keep in mind, whatever is being asked is negotiable and high cost items like tires and batteries are part of the negotiation.


The coach in your pictures looks good, and seemed to be fairly priced. Again, you did not see it so we don't really know its condition or what it needed. The asking price seemed to be a good deal, but a $4K difference between two ads would raise some questions.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:09 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply.

I noticed the TV location being different in the various early year models. But that seems to be the only real difference I've noticed in layout. Is there anything else? I could live with the location, and if not, it'd be easy enough to move it.

I know extra slides are big "wants" for some people. But they aren't a requirement for me. I don't think I'd eliminate a coach from consideration for having them, but they aren't a "must have" for me. The main big slide creates the room the wife and I want. The bedroom one wouldn't be missed at all. From the videos I've seen, the models with the 2nd slide has an extra wardrobe on the slide, right?

The 400 would surely be a nice upgrade. But I think the 330 or 350 would suffice. Every year newer, and every nice upgrade always adds a bunch in cost. And that's before all the extra costs that show up after you buy the coach for all the problems you missed, or for little things you want to add. Mileage isn't at the the top of my concerns, within reason. More problems tend to show up and get fixed on coaches that get used, than ones that sit for years and the problems ignored. And I don't think I want one newer than '03 for multiple reasons.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:18 AM   #5
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I agree about NADA prices. But over the years I've found them to be pretty close "most" of the time, on most things. Dealer prices are always too high. I'd prefer to buy private all the time.

I've read about the brakes wanting to stick, but don't recall seeing it was limited to certain years.

I've been trying to find brochures for different year models. If anyone has links to any, please share them.

Thanks.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Cuda67bnl View Post

I've read about the brakes wanting to stick, but don't recall seeing it was limited to certain years.


Thanks.

Yes, two very different style hydraulic brakes were used on Alpines. Early ones had FLOATING CALIPERS (i.e. pistons on one side). Later ones have FIXED CALIPERS (i.e. pistons on both sides).


If coaches with floating calipers, particularly those exposed to salted roads, etc are prone to having the calipers stick with the "lazy side" not retracting as they should. Basically the same issue as Ford F53 chassis with floating calipers.


Yes, fixed calipers were better.


And, as with any hydraulic brake system need to change brake fluid every couple of years as preventive maintenance.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:37 AM   #7
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From what I can tell from the pictures, most differences are in minor details that, like the front TV, are basically inconsequential. I did notice that later living room slides had cabinets over the couch whereas the one you posted does not. Minor difference, but it does impact storage.



I did mention the brake calipers which I believe should be checked out on any coach you consider of that early vintage. There was also a change in how the generator slide operates, but, again, I am not sure of the year change. Early slides were hydraulic, later ones were electric. I don't believe there was any particular problem with either design.


Records and repairs will be the most important consideration, IMO. You are looking for a 21 year old coach with 21 year old components, outside of those manufactured by Western RV. A/C units come to mind, fogged windows as well. These are the things all buyers must consider and things the affect negotiations.


Yes, the 400 ISL would be nice, but not necessary. Lift pump condition, however, is absolutely important, regardless of the engine HP. Be sure to check records on repair or replacement for any coach you consider. Plan on replacing it at your own expense if there are no records available, and consider a positive pressure alternative like FASS or AirDog.



Good luck on the hunt!
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Old 10-17-2021, 12:31 PM   #8
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One big difference that I would NOT WANT TO LIVE WITHOUT is that 2001 and later models had a "Smart Wheel" vs having to reach for cruise control, wipers, lights, etc... vs having them all at your fingertips with a smart wheel for me is a pretty big upgrade
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuda67bnl View Post
Thanks for the reply.

I noticed the TV location being different in the various early year models. But that seems to be the only real difference I've noticed in layout. Is there anything else? I could live with the location, and if not, it'd be easy enough to move it.

I know extra slides are big "wants" for some people. But they aren't a requirement for me. I don't think I'd eliminate a coach from consideration for having them, but they aren't a "must have" for me. The main big slide creates the room the wife and I want. The bedroom one wouldn't be missed at all. From the videos I've seen, the models with the 2nd slide has an extra wardrobe on the slide, right?

The 400 would surely be a nice upgrade. But I think the 330 or 350 would suffice. Every year newer, and every nice upgrade always adds a bunch in cost. And that's before all the extra costs that show up after you buy the coach for all the problems you missed, or for little things you want to add. Mileage isn't at the the top of my concerns, within reason. More problems tend to show up and get fixed on coaches that get used, than ones that sit for years and the problems ignored. And I don't think I want one newer than '03 for multiple reasons.
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Old 10-18-2021, 09:08 AM   #9
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Sticking calipers can be caused by corrosion, but that is not how it normally happens. Western RV used hydraulic brakes, virtually the same ones found on school busses and medium duty trucks. They are great brakes when used on a regular basis. The problem with most RVs is that they are only driven occasionally. The occasional use allows the brake fluid to be contaminated with water from the environment. The water affects the phenoilic coating used on the brake pistons, causing the coating to swell. When the piston gets too big, it sticks. In addition to the issue with the brake pistons, the water in the brake fluid can corrode internal pieces of the brake system. The solution is to to change the brake fluid on a regular basis. Most of the gurus here recommend every 2 years. I had to do extensive brake work on my coach soon after I bought it (4 years ago). I found cracked discs, melted ABS sensors, and one caliper that wouldn't bleed (bad internal solnoid in the ABS modulater). I replaced my calipers with ones that had pistons that are not coated. IMHO, you can spend 10K pretty quickly on the brakes of a coach that has not been properly maintained. FWIW, I was able to buy a maintenance plan to cover the mechanicals of my coach (a 2001). I did, and it paid for itself, just with the brakes.
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Old 10-18-2021, 11:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul65k View Post
One big difference that I would NOT WANT TO LIVE WITHOUT is that 2001 and later models had a "Smart Wheel" vs having to reach for cruise control, wipers, lights, etc... vs having them all at your fingertips with a smart wheel for me is a pretty big upgrade
Definitely some convenience factor there. I may have to add that to my list of "really want"........

I've found another "00 FDS that I'm waiting to hear back from. It's close to what I'd like to spend, and looks to be in good condition. But it's a long ways away and I'd have to fly out to look at it. Then it would take me a week to drive it home. Hoping to find something closer that I can drive to look at, then tow my truck/car home with if I bought it.
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Old 10-18-2021, 11:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuda67bnl View Post
Definitely some convenience factor there. I may have to add that to my list of "really want"........

I've found another "00 FDS that I'm waiting to hear back from. It's close to what I'd like to spend, and looks to be in good condition. But it's a long ways away and I'd have to fly out to look at it. Then it would take me a week to drive it home. Hoping to find something closer that I can drive to look at, then tow my truck/car home with if I bought it.
Just remember......."The sweetness of low price is quickly forgotten and the lasting bitterness of the lack of getting what you really want remains long after"........... or something like that
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Old 10-18-2021, 11:58 AM   #12
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Just remember......."The sweetness of low price is quickly forgotten and the lasting bitterness of the lack of getting what you really want remains long after"........... or something like that

Another option as a first step on a coach a long way away is to see if there is someone in the area familiar with Alpines who could do a preliminary look at if for you.
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Old 10-18-2021, 12:41 PM   #13
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A few notes.
2001 was the first year for the 34í model.
2004 was the first year that the ISL 400 was standard.

GVWRís and GCWRís changed throughout the years. In some years GVWR differed between models. In 2000 the difference between GVWR and GCWR was 5000lbs, while the hitch is rated at 10K. It is unlikely that the coach could be made light enough to tow 10K without exceeding the GCWR. From what Iíve seen of the 2001 & 2002 brochures, GCWR is not published.

If you intend to tow something at or above 5K, choose wisely. In my opinion, at $25K, you will not find a coach worth buying. Unless you want a project.

Another catchy phrase is: You canít pay too much for the right one, but you can pay too little for the wrong one.
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Old 10-18-2021, 05:15 PM   #14
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Last I checked RV trader the lowest priced was $64k and the highest was $125k for an 07 and it sold
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