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Old 01-21-2021, 05:34 PM   #1
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"Buy Last Coach First"

We're newbies & absolutely love this forum! Thanks for sharing all your wisdom - well, most of what we've read is wisdom!

We're generally "buy it right, once" people and I see "buy your last coach first" frequently stated on this forum. What does one do when you've nailed down what your "last coach" should be, but you've encountered a change that's causing you to speed up the process & potentially lower budget & expectations?

Here's the back story:

We're planning to move to the FT lifestyle in the next 2 years - and have fallen in love with Newmar's MA, LA or Essex - most assuredly it will be a used rig.

However, after doing the RV Super Show last week with two dear friends that are borderline FT'rs, the DW (BTW, what does DW mean? Dear Wife? Doting Wife? . . . I'll stop there b/f I get in really deep water.) has said she wants to start RVing sooner so we can invite the dudes (2 single boys) to join us occasionally before they get "the ring".

The gotcha: We can't afford to "buy our last coast first" & we're not willing to borrow $$ in order to start RVing.

So we've started exploring shorter/older DPs. However, there's some creature comforts that seem hard to find in older/shorter DPs: king bed, bedroom w/o a sink in it, in-floor heat, dinette that doesn't look like a cheap sleeper, all electric coach, etc.

What manufactures/models/years would you point us toward that might start to capture some of these features in a 40 or shorter DP - b/t $70-110K? Or, are we living in a fantasy world?

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Old 01-21-2021, 06:43 PM   #2
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M380 Wanderlodge...
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Old 01-21-2021, 06:51 PM   #3
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Country Coach or Dutch Star. I've owned both.
2009 45' Magna 630 w/Cummins ISX 650 HP/1950 Lbs Ft, HWH Active Air
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Old 01-21-2021, 06:52 PM   #4
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"...we've started exploring shorter/older DPs. However, there's some creature comforts that seem hard to find in older/shorter DPs: king bed, bedroom w/o a sink in it, in-floor heat, dinette that doesn't look like a cheap sleeper, all electric coach, etc.

What manufactures/models/years would you point us toward that might start to capture some of these features in a 40 or shorter DP - b/t $70-110K? Or, are we living in a fantasy world?"

In real life, I found you should list out your needs and wants, in order. Me, I don't NEED heated floors, I do want them but I can head south. But I do NEED air ride and DP if I'm gonna do this longer term. Diesel generator is a NEED/WANT. Water closet with a sound-proof door is a must. W/D, I thought not so much but I have found it quite handy. Excellent views are a NEED, which led me to a mid door that provides the copilot with a big side window and a more forward seating position. Queen bed so my beautiful half has to snuggle with me. Side swing compartment doors were a REALLY WANT item, but so was side radiator. Ice maker is nice. Do you NEED a dishwasher? I don't like dinettes, but they provide storage and can be nice.

Make a list with your other half, and stick to it. You NEED a rig BOTH of you WANT. It's a really lousy time to buy, so have cash ready and be able to jump.
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Old 01-21-2021, 06:53 PM   #5
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AFAIK, nobody finds the last one first.

Get something a bit older so when it comes time to trade up, you won't take such a big hit over what you paid and trade-in value.
Happy Glamping, Norman & Elna. 2008 Winnebago Adventurer 38J, W24, dozens of small thirsty ponies. Retired after 40 years wrenching on trucks! 2010 Ford Ranger toad with bicycles or KLR 650 in the back. Easy to spot an RVer, they always walk around with a screwdriver or wrench in one hand!
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:00 PM   #6
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I learned the $$$$ way you should buy more used DP than you think you need...one time. I made the mistake of buying into 36’ MAX for public CGs... NP, SP. Didn’t take long to learn that’s BS so traded for a 40’ but when we became half timers, even a 40 didn’t have many of the features we wanted. As you can see below were on #4 although sold the 42’ to our son... it would have been the last.

In the $70-110K 40’ (2003-2006) without a tag axle be careful about the amount of CCC, especially for FT...too many have very little.

I’m partial to the big Monaco/HR’s because of their good handling and 8000+ lbs of CCC. The Monaco Dynasty gives the most bang for the buck and it’s on the S-10 chassis...rock solid handling and construction. In the 14 years with the Dynasty my repair cost was maybe $500/year excluding tires and batteries at 7 to 10 years. In the 3 years since, his costs have been much the same.

While at your upper limit + a little I’m not a fan of the bath and half but a good price:

Like this floor plan better: https://www.rvt.com/Monaco-Dynasty-4...64127-UX175156

I would definitely go look at this one... soon: https://www.rvt.com/Monaco-Dynasty-4...40255-UX175156

Further away but excellent price on an unusual floor plan but a good one... probably the one I like the most.
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:04 PM   #7
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DW: Do not under any circumstances use " Dish Washer ": or even think it.

I can't say what kind of research it would take to purchase " Your last RV first "; I'm on number 5 . But I have kept it the longest and no plans to change.
So maybe , just maybe I've got my last one.
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:07 PM   #8
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The big Newmar diesels are great, but will not fit your budget.
I'd recommend you look at 2004-2008 Monaco Dynasty, Executive, or Signature. Also look at 2004-2008 Holiday Rambler Navigators and Beaver Patriot and Marquis. These are top of the line coaches that were built extremely well and have stood the test of time.
There are lots of them out there so you're more likely to find one that suits you and fits your budget. Set aside about $10k for repairs and upgrades and you will have a great coach just as good as anything out there.

Download the brochures here and study them:

Do not put a length restriction on your search. Some short diesel coaches are both evil handling and draw a premium price.
When searching put a cap $10-25k above your actual spending cap to leave room for negotiation.
Make your searches nationwide. The $10-20k you save will easily pay for an airline ticket or two. Learn how to rank order your searches with the lowest price first.
You can plan short vacations/searches to the big coach market areas like TX, FL, and AZ.
When you get serious hire a professional inspector familiar with large diesel coaches.

Check back and let us know how you re doing.
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:08 PM   #9
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Donít go shorter because you think it saves money....it really doesnít.

Make a list of your ďmust havesĒ
and then a list of your ďnice to havesĒ

Have you identified features of a floor plan you really like yet? Things like bath and 1/2, walk-in closet, position of TVís, etc? Are you ok with propane furnace? Or are you really wishing it to have hydronic heat?

Some things can be changed/remodeled later, and some things canít. You canít practically retrofit hydronic heating later....you can however change out the propane cooktop for an electric induction one. You can change a propane RV fridge for a residential one later after you own the coach. Likewise furniture can be changed.....sofa can be switched for recliners or theatre seating for example.

On the chassis, get the engine you like, and preferably a tag axle, as these canít be changed later.

There is an element of luck also to finding what you like, some search for many months to find what they are looking for. Now is a bad time to buy a coach as they are in high demand....and low inventory.....prices are way inflated.
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:13 PM   #10
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Here are a couple of ideas....

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Old 01-21-2021, 07:14 PM   #11
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Depending on how long you would need to keep it, how much stuff you would need to carry along and especially how heavy the vehicle is that you need to tow, I would suggest starting with a newer gasser.

We bought a 2020 model in 2019 brand new and have a total of about $130K in it. That includes the purchase price, sales tax, handling upgrades and the "stuff" we needed.

It's 38' long, has 1 1/2 bathrooms, a combo washer/dryer, RV King bed (72"W x 80" L) and three slides.

It sounds like you may think you need a bunk bed version however I'd suggest you buy for how YOU will use the coach most often. If the kids will only be along occasionally, you can make any floor plan work.

The "newer gasser" path will allow you to decide if full-timing will really work out for you. We have somewhat under 300 sq. ft. for the two if us and two large dogs and have never lacked for space. We did a four-month trip last year and are currently on a slightly longer trip now.

Nope, we're not all electric and no heated floors but if you're willing to give those up for a few years you can conserve some cash. More importantly, you will experience the FT lifestyle without incurring the expense of an older DP.

One thing we've heard from several FT'ers is the "We only have one bathroom..." comment. For whatever reason, they did not believe a second bathroom was important but it was. We heard it on this trip as well and that's from three couples with Tiffin Open Roads (gas). They've all been full-time for between three and four years. They, too, bought shorter for the parks they thought they would use but when you do that, you permanently limit yourself to less space at every campground.

What is your RV'ing experience? Perhaps you have years and already know this stuff but your post does not say.

Good luck,

2020 Forest River Georgetown GT5 34H5
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:42 AM   #12
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A year ago I could have given you a list of close to a dozen 10-15 year old coaches to consider, however with the current covid camping craze and what it has done to RV pricing, I am hard pressed to make a suggestion. Though one thing you have going for you is that much of the Covid RV craze has hit smaller RV's more than larger ones.

Having said that I would focus on pre-2007 emissions diesel pushers from quality brands (Country Coach, Foretravel, Beaver, Safari, Monaco, maybe even some upper end Winnebago DP's, among a few others). Though some features like in floor heat will be hard if not impossible to find in coaches of the era.

Perhaps something like this https://www.motorhomesoftexas.com/Pr...03900?ref=list
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Old 01-22-2021, 05:13 AM   #13
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Look at Wanderlodges. They are built like a tank and are reasonably priced. Join the Wanderlodge Owners Group and do some research. ( it is free and there is a ton of info there ) Look at the Buybyebluebird site for some examples. You won't get everything you are asking for but you will get a lot of knowledgable help from a group of dedicated owners. There isn't a question about a Wanderlodge that they haven't already solved.
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Old 01-22-2021, 05:49 AM   #14
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How long will they travel with you, ummm are you sure they will travel with you? in a pinch, teenagers can make just about anything work for sleeping arrangements.

We added a drop down bunk, chose a dinette, and made sure our pullout was at least a queen because we were sure our kids and grandkids would knock down the door to join us in glamping. no so, only one trip in two years. next coach is sized and fitted for us. we will make arrangement if the family wants to join, but we will be comfortable this time.

Plenty of options out there for you. rent a few times to see what you like or don't like on the road.

good luck.
Mary Beth and John + Billy and Barcelona our traveling fur babies,
2019 Canyon Star 3719/ 2021 Cornerstone 45 F (waiting delivery!)
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