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Old 01-30-2013, 03:41 PM   #1
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Help Buying 2001 Monaco Signature Centurian!

Can any of you old timers give me some pointers in dealing for a 2001 Monaco? I am looking at a 2001 Monaco Signature Centurian being offered "as is" through a local dealer at a reduced advertised asking price of $119,500 from $129,500. The The engine is a Cummins ISM 500 with an Allison 4000 transmission with only 27,500 miles. It is being sold by its second owner who has had it garaged and whom has put only a little over 2,000 miles on it since purchasing it in 2004, as a result of sudden health related issues. I already know that it will absolutely require a complete new set of tires, am not certain whether are not I will need to upgrade the original dome satellite system to accommodate the new HDTV requirements, but am more than anything else concerned about the engine having sat idle for so long - even though it was supposedly kept inside the owner's "shop" and out of the weather.

The dealer, who has the coach on consignment, said that after an "as is" offer is made and accepted, it would perform a full inspection of the coach components for a fee of $2,500 to $3,000 to which they added that they felt certain that the total costs of any required repairs, including tires and satellite upgrade, etc., would be no more than $10,000 which would only serve to bring it up to its true book value of $129,500 which includes the value of all of the original add-on options.

I would appreciate all of the help and pointers I can get. It is a beautiful coach with lots of nice upgraded features but I am REALLY concerned by the fact that it hasn't been used much. There are some 300 hours on the generator and the owner supposedly said he went out and started everything up periodically but I am uncertain that that enough to keep the seals moist and other components in good working condition. I am sure that the dealer would love for me to nod yes and say "okay" to ever concern I voice and just pay their asking plus another possible $10k but . . . What would some of you do? How would you approach them with an offer?

Hate to admit it but, I am a female dealing in what I consider a man's world when it comes to engines and transmissions and the such and while I am neither gullible nor naive, I have an ever so slight (yeah, right) disadvantage when it comes to how to effectively negotiate when I know I am going to have to pay more after the original deal is done. Is $129,500 a fair price for a 12 year old Monaco Signature? What other costs could you foresee right off the bat? Any help at all would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:59 PM   #2
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I just looked at NADA page, and for a 2001 Signature Centurion, the low retail, with no add-ons (the de facto standard), is $102,040. I have no idea if this is the standard for Monaco, or not. On PPL's site, recent sales for a couple of 2002s, were at $94,500 and $113,500.

Hope it helps.

GL Arnold
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:14 PM   #3
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The dealer is not your buddy !! Get an independant survey on the coach. Take it to Cummins For the engine.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:26 PM   #4
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Thanks to both of you! I agree with the "stripped down" version in the NADA book but hadn't seen the 2 sold by PPL. I'll take a look. Also, good idea about Cummins. Have a Cummins dealer in town. Better they look at it than the motorhome dealer. I too know that the RV dealer is not my friend. That is exactly why I came here for help. No skin in the game and ALWAYS willing to help. Thank you again!
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:04 PM   #5
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I would not be afraid of an under-used coach. It could be a bargain.

The 'however' is that you should be prepared to to a total service on the engine, transmission, cooling system, air brake system, tires etc.

I would think that a total service on the coach, fluids, filters, etc, would be around $2500-$3000. Add in tires at about (wild guess) of $500/ea.

Wouldn't be a bad idea to have hoses and belts replaced at the same time. Also a generator service (oil, filter, air & fuel filter).

So factor these costs into your offer price.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:56 PM   #6
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2001 Signature

Honestly, I think you are overpaying based upon the prices I have been looking at for a Signature. I would certainly take it to an independent shop and have it checked out completely. Make sure that they take samples of the engine oil and trans oil and have it tested. Having the belts and all of the hoses replaced is an expensive repair (ask me how I know) but it beats blowing a hose and burning up the engine. Have the hydraulic system fluid changed with new filters as well as the fuel filters. Check to see if you need to adjust the valves and have them done if they haven't been. Hopefully you will be able to work a deal for this motorhome. Good luck!
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:03 PM   #7
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the dealer is asking top dollar even at the reduced price.Its up to the buyer to neg.
a lower price, an the dealer expects that. First off its NOT a sellers market. There r a
lot of Sigantures out there chk. out RVT n RV TRADER it will give u an idea of whats out there. If u really like the coach make him 100,000 offer as a starting point,by the time
u buy 8 tires @ $600 + installed u r in @ $5+k getting it checket out another 4 or 5
Now u r up to 110 k. so work between $110 n 129 k (dealers price) To nem a good
price is $115 k n $120 TOTAL. Lots luck hope things work out for u.

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Old 01-30-2013, 06:04 PM   #8
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Thanks Pusherman! Nice to know what costs to factor in as a rough estimate. I have a good feeling that it might indeed be bought at a bargain but "feelings" alone can sometimes get you in trouble. You've been a great help. Makes a lot of sense.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:25 PM   #9
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Golden Eagel, check out a 2001 country coach affinity @ califiornia coach company
costa mesa ca, asking 129 k
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:29 PM   #10
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Slemnah and dsilva, you both make very good points too. I am not going to get in a hurry here and do my homework a little more before making an offer. Yes, I like the coach but I want to be fully researched before making an offer. I like the $100,000 idea as a starting point, if it still seems right, after checking out other Signature prices on the internet. I now have a much better understanding of what I will need to have done after the sale and how much i might need to handicap my offer. You guys are all great and I thank each of you a million times over. You have really expanded my thinking and boosted my confidence level.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusherman
I would not be afraid of an under-used coach. It could be a bargain.

The 'however' is that you should be prepared to to a total service on the engine, transmission, cooling system, air brake system, tires etc.

I would think that a total service on the coach, fluids, filters, etc, would be around $2500-$3000. Add in tires at about (wild guess) of $500/ea.

Wouldn't be a bad idea to have hoses and belts replaced at the same time. Also a generator service (oil, filter, air & fuel filter).

So factor these costs into your offer price.
Pusherman is right on the mark with this post. Doing a complete service on the chassis and drive train plus generator and AquaHot could easily be in the $3-4,000 range and tires at more like $600-700 each out the door. Bringing everything up to a point that you are comfortable with will let most of the air out of a $10,000 bill.

The dealer, unfortunately, is banking on the "little woman" not knowing enough to be a good negotiator. I think you need to surprise him.

Ask him:
1. Has the Allison 4000 transmission been changed to Transynd? If the fluid is still Dexron III it, along with the filters, should be changed annually.
2. Have they tested the DCA level of the coolant? Has the coolant ever been changed?
3. Will they have a sample of the engine oil and transmission fluid sent for testing and provide you the report?
4. Have the front wheel bearings ever been repacked.
5. When was the air dryer serviced?
6. Has the air filter ever been changed?
7. When was the AquaHot system serviced last? Tell him you want to hear the AquaHot diesel burner run. Then stand beside the exhaust for the AquaHot and watch for smoke or a heavy diesel smell.

His offer to be an inspector and a repair shop for big fees is really over the top.

The good side is, the coach could be a real jewel if you can get it for the right price. My wife and I have lived full time in an '03 Signature for 6 years now and I can tell you that it's a spectacular coach and a wonderful home. The Cummins ISM and Allison 4000 are a bulletproof combo.

One last caveat, if you can get a good price on the coach, I would not be inclined to let the dealer do any of the service work. He is trying to take advantage of you and is not to be trusted. A good truck shop will do better work anyway. RV dealers are not the service providers of choice for diesels anyway.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:47 PM   #12
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dsilva - OMG! I have fallen in love! Hold everything fellas. The Infinity is absolutely georgeous! Maybe I should really put the breaks on here and give them a call either tonight or in the morning! That's a woman's coach if I ever saw one! Wow! I'm not kidding. My heart is pounding! Did you just accidentally find that on the net?
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:09 PM   #13
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Okay guys. Now that I made somewhat of a fool of myself over the Affinity, I will calm down a bit and put my practical hat back on. But, that IS a nice looking Country Coach. I am going to look at the Signature again tomorrow just to refresh my memory. The old hard sell has already begun and yes, they can see a woman coming a mile away. I just hate that but there is nothing I can do about it but educate myself and rely on the honesty of fellow RVers to give me sound advice. I lost the love of my life back in March and my cousin, who is 16 days younger than me lost her husband 2 years ago this May and we have decided make like Thelma and Louise and see the country. I have put many miles behind the wheel of a 31 foot Bt Cruiser over the past several years as the principle driver and have decided to step it up a little with a Class A diesel luxury coach, if I can find one. My cousin and I really aren't much like Thelma and Louise but we both love this beautiful country and aren't afraid to take on the adventure. I absolutely cannot tell you how much I appreciate the list of questions to ask or the support. I am so very grateful.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:14 PM   #14
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Steve, I would have never known to have asked any of those questions. Can't wait to see the look,on their faces when I hit them with the questions tomorrow afternoon.
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