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Old 01-11-2021, 08:53 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2018
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Monaco Signature asleep for 12 years

Hello y'all: looking at a 98 Signature 45 with 525 Cummins 52K miles. It has been in a heated garage for 12 years of inactivity in the mid-west and has recently been put up for sale because of the death of the principal owner. It was driven 600 miles last month with no issues and then all fluids were changed and put up for sale. What do you think about a prolonged sleep, a 600-mile resuscitation and no resultant warning signs? Thank you for your commentary.
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Old 01-11-2021, 09:10 PM   #2
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Well firstly the 525hp Cummins in the 1998 Signature would be the big N14. Big motor and I’ve heard one of the best Cummins made. A lot of power for the 98 Sig, was a pretty rare option, pretty desirable.

A coach sitting for awhile, especially for 12 years, certainly has the potential for red flags. These things were meant to be used. The tires will need to be replaced, they typically age out after 7 and if over 12 years of sitting they will be flat spotted. I would be inspecting air bags closely and any slide out seals. What is the state of the generator and Aquahot system? These would have to be serviced and inspected. I would also test the plumbing fully and I would imagine some things will pop up. Check all roof and seals. If it’s been stored indoors then should have no water issues, that’s a BIG item off the list.

Overall it’s the usual recommendations, get it inspected, get oil samples for the engine, trans, generator and Aquahot. Drive it and inspect it as closely as you can. Does it have any service records? Was it used at all in the last 12 years?

You mentioned that it sat for 12 years, they drove it 600 miles, and then they serviced it...is that the right order? Something about running a Diesel engine on 12 year old lubricants for 600 miles doesn’t sit that well with me.

If it all checks out to you and your comfortable with any issues found, then for the right price it could be a good value. I would factor in a sizeable upgrades and repairs budget. For sure once you start using a coach that’s been sitting for 12 years, you are going to be getting issues popping up for awhile. Are you handy or will you be using a service centre to make repairs? That could be a big factor here, to decide if the numbers work or not.

Any ad or info we can review? Certainly curious, the N14 would be a hot rod!

All the best!
Josh & Amanda
BIG BLUE - The Family Coach
2001 Monaco Signature Series 42' Classic | 500HP ISM | Roadmaster S-Series Chassis
Our 2001 Signature Repairs & Upgrades Thread
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Old 01-11-2021, 09:18 PM   #3
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If all checks out and you reserve enough dollars for tires, full maintenance with a few dollars left for reserve, plus you can get a coach for a good price might be a chance to get a high end coach under market. Well worth considering.
2002 Monaco Executive 500 ISM
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Old 01-11-2021, 09:23 PM   #4
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Surely they changed fluids THEN went 600 miles.
If the price was right and it suited my needs, I’d test it, look for leaks and check for blow-by and buy it. Opposite of what most will tell you here, a Diesel engine (especially a mechanical injected one) can set for decades and fire up and run just fine. Even with the old fuel still in the tank. Diesel fuel doesn’t evaporate and leave behind varnish like gasoline does.
Rob & Laura
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Old 01-11-2021, 10:03 PM   #5
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Definitely get a full inspection done and use that to negotiate on the price.

Speaking of which - how is it priced compared to others listed online?
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Old 01-11-2021, 10:23 PM   #6
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A friend of mine bought a motorcycle in a state next to where he lives 6 months ago. It was from the estate of a doctor that passed away.

He still hasn't gotten the title to it yet.

So if you do decide to buy it ask to see the title first.
2004 Monaco La Palma 36DBD, W22, 8.1, 7.1 MPG
2000 LEXUS RX300 FWD 22MPG 4020 LBS
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Old 01-12-2021, 06:21 AM   #7
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Hi Cavdogs

Could be a very nice coach, but you must be prepared that a number of things will be ready for replacement.

Some things appear difficult to repair at first sight, but it normally turns out that it is way easier that it seems at first. Monaco has been out of business for a while, and for that reason, some parts can be difficult to get, but this is where this forum comes in handy.

Apart from the engine and transmission, my first "concern" would be things made from rubber. Rubber will parish with time, as it has a tendency to dry out and crack. Rubber trim is easy to replace whereas rubber seals can be more of a challenge.

Look for someone in your area with Monaco experience and ask them to spend a couple of hours to go through the coach. You can then make your mind up about the state of the coach and go from there.

Good luck.

What do you want to do ?
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:58 AM   #8
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The oil should of remained pretty stable in controlled environment it's at least 10 gals . The newer the oil was at the time the better. Flat spots in tires come to mind but those are aged out already. I don't know how SCA DCA break down in the antifreeze by age, use , heat , circulation or all of these by logic . If it sat 12yrs no chance of been converted to OAT coolant. I would check it with test strips right off the bat to prevent liner cavitation. I would get a sample from engine or radiator instead of overflow tank.
Should have some of finest craftsmanship built in a MH . Predating a lot of hard to troubleshoot, repair, replace control boards I believe .
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Old 01-12-2021, 01:04 PM   #9
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That's a great coach! Watch pricing as it's all over the place.
I would not assume anything. I would change all the fluids along with belts and hoses.
Best of luck!
97 Monaco Windsor- Sold
07 Monaco Executive McKinley- Sold
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Old 01-12-2021, 02:51 PM   #10
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That is a great coach. Classic even. A coach you could use for many many years and in high style.

If you get an inspection, make sure the inspector knows high end diesel coaches. Most don’t. Make sure you explain the inspection process to the seller completely, as many sellers misunderstand and shut down the deal.
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Paul & Luci
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Old 01-13-2021, 08:44 PM   #11
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sleepy Signature

Thanks for your comments. The fluids were not changed out before the 600-mile trip. There were new tires and batteries however. Seller is asking $65 firm, hoping to recoup the investment for the tires and batteries. I just have a hard time paying top dollar, higher than NADA, for a neglected, although protected, coach, despite it being a classic. It's worth an inspection but I can't believe that he didn't change fluids before the trip......he owns an 04 Sig.How do I find out if there was damage done? Will an oil analysis on changed oil tell anything? What else?
Thank you.
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:07 AM   #12
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I would guess the coach is probably fine. An oil analysis of the engine, trans, and generator would tell. Regardless, this coach is going to take many hours of TLC and dollars to bring back.

Sometimes we get locked into a particular coach because it is local. I encourage buyers to search nationwide. You can save $10k or more and that easily pays for an airline ticket to pick it up. Perform searches for similar coaches (+ or - several years) on RVTrader.com, RVT.com, eBay.com, and the classified section of this forum. Learn to rank order by price, lowest first. Take your time. You will get a definite feel for pricing. You can also subscribe to the NADA bluebook wholesale pricing guide.
97 Monaco Windsor- Sold
07 Monaco Executive McKinley- Sold
04 Monaco Signature Chateau IV
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Old 01-14-2021, 01:06 PM   #13
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Normally an oil sample is taken from the old oil just before it is changed. Looking for accumulation of contaminants and any high levels of metal etc. Taking an oil analysis now may not tell you much, especially if the coach hasn't been driven.

You might contact a Cummins shop and talk to someone on what type of diagnostics they might be able to do that would tell you anything useful. I know if we started having engine problems on the underground mining equipment we ran we'd look at compression testing, possible oil pressure at several ports to see if there were any losses along the oil gallery. Not sure what's possible on a Cummin's. This would come at a cost though.

At minimum I'd suggest taking it for a hard run and watch temps, oil pressure, boost, shifting patterns on the transmission. See how it handles, test the brakes with a couple of hard stops. Run the generator the whole time with AC's running (or small heaters) to put it under a load. Test all the appliances.

Not surprising he's asking a premium as RV sales are hot right now and people know they can get premium selling pricing.

When I bought my rig it was a repo with no records or information from the PO. Best I could do is crawl over/under/through it and check everything. In the end I couldn't find anything wrong and decided to purchase. But I did this during the great recession, a buyers market, and I bought for ~50% of NADA.
Jim J
2002 Monaco Windsor 38 PKD Cummins ISC 350 8.3L
2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee w/5.7 Hemi
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Old 01-17-2021, 09:18 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
A friend of mine bought a motorcycle in a state next to where he lives 6 months ago. It was from the estate of a doctor that passed away.

He still hasn't gotten the title to it yet.

So if you do decide to buy it ask to see the title first.
I have to agree about the title. If the rig hasn't been registered, it may take some time to a clean title, especially if there's a lien on the title and the lien release was misplaced.
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