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Old 05-23-2022, 09:35 PM   #1
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Help With Planning And Buying Our First Diesel Pusher.

We're Newbies, so we have many, many questions !

I did make my first post in the new member check in, if you wish to read.

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f61/were...es-581676.html

Our names are Kevin & Patty. I'm a retired 60 yr. old autobody man with a disability and my wife is a clerk (and more) in an office, but will be retiring in five years.

To be honest, we're not the typical retired couple that have a lot of money for traveling around the country in a very expensive motorhome and can pay for expensive parts all the time. I'm on disability and will be changing to Medicare after my wife retires. Right now she makes around 42k per year, but will have quite a bit of our 401k. We've done well in saving.

Since we only want to buy a very nice condition used class A diesel pusher, rather than asking questions in several forums, my wife and I want to start a blog here. It will be much easier to keep track on our questions and answers.

Years ago, we went on a extremely, almost heavenly cruise to Alaska !
From buying luggage to leaving the house then returning home was unreal. The flights and even the weather were perfect. In Juneau Alaska it was a light mist in the air, but no rain. We went on three whale excursions, a otter quest, salmon bake on the Mendenhall Glacier ! We signed up for black tie dinners every night and sat with a couple that got married by the Caption on the ship which included 20 family members from India. Three of us men went on a fishing excursion and I caught a 34lb salmon ! That was my only catch but the others caught six all together. (but I got the biggest in the ocean. Yeah right) ��

Anyway, we wanted to go back, but this time by driving. I'm disabled, my wife Patty had six weeks vacation, but talking with two elders couples recommend at least two months with traveling from Ne. to Wa. through Canada via RV's. The Alaskan highway sucks. lol One couple blew out four tires from pothole's.

Patty will retire in five years, so we won't buy the coach until then. I always,...research everything we buy and do. Buying a pair of valve covers for my custom muscle car too me a month. lol

The class A is a very expensive and complex endeavor, so we need to be diligent on everything front to back, top to bottom inside and out. What we need and don't is a big decision to plan. So we think the best idea is to ask our questions in sections, like our must have's and wants, the manufacturers out there, lengths, chassis, engines & power, single or tag axles, inside needs & wants etc.

I can give you guys a small, but most important list of our needs and discuss them first. These aren't first place to last in order.

But to begin with, we think the budget will be around $150,000 for a very well maintained diesel pusher. Yesterday I looked at photo's of a coach that the paint looked very nice and the internet as well, but the engine bay and the under storage bays were very dirty and rusted, a total turn off for me. And looking at the undercarriage and steering condition, you could tell they just went through car washes for the paint. Definitely not a buy for us.

The length is still to be determined and up for discussion, but we want a diesel pusher. Since we will be trekking into the high mountains, what HP & TQ will suffice ? Which numbers are you just wasting money on fuel ? I know the length & weight is a big factor though.

It's only us two and our pets, do you might think a 35', but we need to get into a lot of most National Parks. If not at a few, we could park the coach and rent a car, ATV, golf cart etc. Since we'll be full trimmers, we want a dishwasher, cloths washer & dryer, hopefully a big bathroom (one is fine) for a good size shower and a toilet area that isn't a 2' x 2' squeeze in pain in the butt.

If you can read our new member post, I have sleeping problems from chronic pain, so I sleep in a different bedroom, so in the coach, she only wants a queen bed, but a good amount of cloths storage. Most pull-out couches and the evil, push down dining table and move cushions as a mattress bed suck for comfort. So I'm asking for suggestions.

How much difference is the driving & stability between the single axle vs a tag ? Both have pro's and con's, but one is with a tag, more expense in four more tires, so what else ?

Ok, onto manufacturers. What is your liking from what,... top 5-8 and very important, why ?

One of the biggest concerns is the age. I mean, from inside to out, there's hundreds of things to break and just wear out. I've read that the roofs, window's, the slide seals and workings can be a real bad issue and costing a lot of money. Shocks as well as the hydraulics can be problematic.

We'll need a four season coach as we'll be in the freezing zone areas.

That's it for now, so we're getting excited on chatting with you all !
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Old 05-23-2022, 11:30 PM   #2
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Well, thats a lot of conditons, so at least I'll get it started for you.



"It's only us two and our pets, do you might think a 35', but we need to get into a lot of most National Parks. If not at a few, we could park the coach and rent a car, ATV, golf cart etc. Since we'll be full trimmers, we want a dishwasher, cloths washer & dryer, hopefully a big bathroom (one is fine) for a good size shower and a toilet area that isn't a 2' x 2' squeeze in pain in the butt."
That paragraph is likely your biggest problem. Having two seperate sleeping ares, the second of which is not a sleeper sofa (mentioned in another paragraph) as well as a dishwasher, washer, dryer, large bathroom, all packed into a National Park capable 35' or less motorhome, is darned near impossible. That would be a tough ask in a 45 footer. You'll need to decide what's more important - all the features you want, or a size that'll get you into most National Parks. It'll be VERY difficult to do both.



A $150K budget is realistic and will certainly get you a fine coach. As for brands in that budget, the usual Newmar, Tiffen, Integra, etc are high quality coaches. Going back a few years in that budget, you start to bring in Country Coach, Monaco, Travel Supreme, etc. All very fine coaches.



As for tag vs. single axle, most everyone will tell you that tag offers more directional stability in windy conditions and more weight carrying capacity. The only downsides to a tag are cost of 2 additional tires, and loss of one storage bay on either side.



Hopefully this helps.
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Old 05-24-2022, 04:01 AM   #3
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You have so many questions and wants. I believe to start with you need to go visit as many RV dealers as possible. You did not state if you are new to the RV life style, I am thinking you are.

Back to the visiting RV dealers that will be your best bet. From that you will beable to see that most of what you want is not possible. The two bedrooms, the only way I can think of for that is get a MH with toyhauler function. But that would take you away from the DP MH. You are not going to want to sleep on the couch or take the table to sleep on. Maybe for one night but not night after night. Plus every morning you are going to need to set things back up. This sleeping sounds like a major issue for you.

You mentioned renting car, etc. So you plan on not towing a car? Why have the expense for renting that make no sense to me. You are also taking about washer/dryer and dishwasher. Now I could be wrong but most National Parks have very few if any FHU (full hook up) sights. That would make all those things useless.

Even though MFG call their RVs 4 seasons you will need to really think this out. If you are planning on living in it where it gets to freezing you are in for a large project to make it livable. You really need to rethink this part of your plan.

I have an 07 DP that I purchased used. Everything and anything will break or go wrong in any coach new or used at any time. They require continuous maintenance both inside and out. The more you can do the better off you will be. If you are thinking that you can just get in a coach and thats it you are in for a big shock. Upkeep upkeep from the seals you mentioned to the door latches and AC do not forget oil changes and lube. Remember the older DP do not need the DEF stuff to run.

Good Luck you have a long way to go.
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Old 05-24-2022, 04:22 AM   #4
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It's only two more tires with a tag. Generally speaking, the more you weigh, the less you sway, meaning a bigger, heavier coach is going to have less problems going down the road due to wind, road roughness, passing trucks, etc. Also, the more you weigh, the more you pay, meaning they also tend to get worse fuel mileage than smaller rigs and have more parts that need maintenance and can break. Coaches are generally sized to their power packs, meaning that a bigger coach will have a bigger engine. I've never heard of someone getting an engine that was too small for the coach or vice versa. If you go old enough, you'll find some that have less HP and torque, but they were state of the art in their day. No manufacturer is putting anemic 4 cylinder turbos in motorhomes just to save a few bucks.


Best advice is to find a coach that has the floorplan and power pack you want because you can't change that later. Almost everything else in the coach will be something that can be upgraded or replaced. Don't be convinced to pay more for a rig because of it's brand name, chassis, or where the radiator is unless it's the rig you want. Lots of good choices out there at the dollar level you are talking about. Get a good inspection before you plunk down your money. Good luck.
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Old 05-24-2022, 04:27 AM   #5
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If you’re in the 35’ range you will not find the coach to have a tag axle so that may be one less thing to consider on your list.

As others have said, your list of wants is long on that size of coach. I’d suggest prioritizing them so you can determine what could possibly go if needed, such as a dishwasher. At 35’ drawer space will be at a premium and you may want that pan drawer vs a dishwasher.

Our gas rig is just shy of 38’ and is missing many of your wants. There is only so much space to fit everything in and there are compromises to be made.

Best of luck and enjoy the planning process. It’s all part of the adventure that awaits you.
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Old 05-24-2022, 04:51 AM   #6
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With gasses you have basically 2 choices ford/workhouse. With DP you have Spartan, roadmaster, freight liner and they all have multiple set up so don’t think that all DP are the same cause there not. Some people say get the floor plan you want I say start with the chassis first. Do your research on chassis’s first.
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Old 05-24-2022, 04:56 AM   #7
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My recommendation to those trying to sort out what will suit them best is to start by defining your style... you've done that fairly well- full time, add expected miles / mo or year
Then each if you list Must Haves, wants and dont wants
Then compare notes and combine & compromise (make sure you don't try to "win" all... let her decide on what's important in her areas of greatest interest)
Then start looking at floor plans, MHs and talking to other owners about how they use theirs, what they like and would change.

We love our 2013 Newmar VTDP 3433 used as it suits our needs / wants very well. An unexpected bonus was the Newmar ConfortDrive. I knew nothing about it before we bought ours but it is a real pleasure to drive. If full timing I don't think I'd want a DP without it.
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Old 05-24-2022, 05:50 AM   #8
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ZooOnWheels,

You used the description "newbie". Does that mean you've never traveled in an RV or Class A motorhome? If that is the case, I question the logic of diving right in as full timers.

A 36' rig of any type will be tight, especially with several pets. There is also your requirement that you have separate sleeping accommodations. That means every day, 365 days a year, you are going to be setting up and taking down your sleeping accommodations.

Frankly, for your budget and requirements, I'm thinking a fifth wheel setup would work better for you.

I suggest over the next 5 years, rent a motorhome and make some trips. Extrapolate out any aggravations you have with the accommodations to include every day of the year and then decide if a motorhome and full timing is right for you.

I started this thread earlier this year to get an idea of the cost of ownership of DPs.

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/cos...ip-570081.html
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Old 05-24-2022, 12:23 PM   #9
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I pre planned for a couple years prior to retirement and it helped. I hunted down a used Country Coach because I wanted a solid built coach under 40 foot with a tag axle. We purchased an Allure Sunset Bay model that measures around 37 feet. I don't think all the planning in the world could help you foresee all of the little things that need servicing, replacement or repair.
That said, make sure you get a pre purchase inspection. I did, and some things were still overlooked or missed, but, it gives you an idea of what condition the coach is actually in. If you can do some of the service yourself it will save you tons of money.
Remember, it's a yearly service including more than just an oil change. There is the upkeep of the air and hydraulics, cooling system, transmission, wheel bearings, differential, aqua hot system, fuel filters etc. It can get quite pricey. I would also recommend checking all of the fluids with a reputable company prior to purchase. I turned away a few potential purchases because of lack of proper maintenance. (One coach hadn't had an oil change in nearly five years).

I think your major hurdle is going to be the separate beds in a coach that size. Can you sleep in the same bed if it is one of those adjustable type beds that adjust for each sleeper? That might be an option worth exploring.
Good luck with your research.
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Old 05-24-2022, 04:02 PM   #10
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I think the best thing you guys should do is rent the size MH you are thinking about and go for a couple of nights and see if you like it there is always so many variables when it comes to RV LIFE you have size the quality of each different brand names I believe Tiffin Newmar and Freightliner are the best out there but the best way is to rent you don’t want to have buyers remorse at that high dollar mark Also don’t ever think you’re not gonna have to put money into it because that is a normal situation when you own a bigger motorhome you’re always putting money into it preventing maintenance good luck I do wish the best for you guys and hope you find what your looking for
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Old 05-24-2022, 05:31 PM   #11
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If you’re on a budget, and you sound like you are, buy a DP for $50-75k, and leave 100k in reserve for incidentals.

I have a 2000 Winnebago ultimate advantage, in great shape, 2 owner, that I paid way too little for . These things can be had in great shape for $50,000-60,000. Have it updated with new tires, all maintenance, update the interior cosmetics, and you’re set.

These things are built super well, and are easy to work on as minimal electronics.

I’m sure a $150k coach is nicer. But then budget a huge chunk for incidentals… these things aren’t cheap to keep going, and parts aren’t easy or cheap to get…

On mine, prior owner spent $40,000 on repairs/maintenance in 5 years…
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Old 05-24-2022, 10:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpu699 View Post
If you’re on a budget, and you sound like you are, buy a DP for $50-75k, and leave 100k in reserve for incidentals.

I have a 2000 Winnebago ultimate advantage, in great shape, 2 owner, that I paid way too little for . These things can be had in great shape for $50,000-60,000. Have it updated with new tires, all maintenance, update the interior cosmetics, and you’re set.

These things are built super well, and are easy to work on as minimal electronics.

I’m sure a $150k coach is nicer. But then budget a huge chunk for incidentals… these things aren’t cheap to keep going, and parts aren’t easy or cheap to get…

On mine, prior owner spent $40,000 on repairs/maintenance in 5 years…

Thats great advice. Ive seen many nice older coaches for sale lately, and I think the economy is going to drive the prices down even further
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Old 05-25-2022, 01:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug427 View Post
Well, thats a lot of conditons, so at least I'll get it started for you.



"It's only us two and our pets, do you might think a 35', but we need to get into a lot of most National Parks. If not at a few, we could park the coach and rent a car, ATV, golf cart etc. Since we'll be full trimmers, we want a dishwasher, cloths washer & dryer, hopefully a big bathroom (one is fine) for a good size shower and a toilet area that isn't a 2' x 2' squeeze in pain in the butt."
That paragraph is likely your biggest problem. Having two seperate sleeping ares, the second of which is not a sleeper sofa (mentioned in another paragraph) as well as a dishwasher, washer, dryer, large bathroom, all packed into a National Park capable 35' or less motorhome, is darned near impossible. That would be a tough ask in a 45 footer. You'll need to decide what's more important - all the features you want, or a size that'll get you into most National Parks. It'll be VERY difficult to do both.



A $150K budget is realistic and will certainly get you a fine coach. As for brands in that budget, the usual Newmar, Tiffen, Integra, etc are high quality coaches. Going back a few years in that budget, you start to bring in Country Coach, Monaco, Travel Supreme, etc. All very fine coaches.



As for tag vs. single axle, most everyone will tell you that tag offers more directional stability in windy conditions and more weight carrying capacity. The only downsides to a tag are cost of 2 additional tires, and loss of one storage bay on either side.



Hopefully this helps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by be-happy View Post
You have so many questions and wants. I believe to start with you need to go visit as many RV dealers as possible. You did not state if you are new to the RV life style, I am thinking you are.

Back to the visiting RV dealers that will be your best bet. From that you will beable to see that most of what you want is not possible. The two bedrooms, the only way I can think of for that is get a MH with toyhauler function. But that would take you away from the DP MH. You are not going to want to sleep on the couch or take the table to sleep on. Maybe for one night but not night after night. Plus every morning you are going to need to set things back up. This sleeping sounds like a major issue for you.

You mentioned renting car, etc. So you plan on not towing a car? Why have the expense for renting that make no sense to me. You are also taking about washer/dryer and dishwasher. Now I could be wrong but most National Parks have very few if any FHU (full hook up) sights. That would make all those things useless.

Even though MFG call their RVs 4 seasons you will need to really think this out. If you are planning on living in it where it gets to freezing you are in for a large project to make it livable. You really need to rethink this part of your plan.

I have an 07 DP that I purchased used. Everything and anything will break or go wrong in any coach new or used at any time. They require continuous maintenance both inside and out. The more you can do the better off you will be. If you are thinking that you can just get in a coach and thats it you are in for a big shock. Upkeep upkeep from the seals you mentioned to the door latches and AC do not forget oil changes and lube. Remember the older DP do not need the DEF stuff to run.

Good Luck you have a long way to go.
"DP'' ?
I pretty good on wrenching. I've built hot rods, muscle cars, we raced dirt wing sprint cars, so I don't have a problem with repairs and maintenance on a RV. I meant at what year or mileage, does a lot of the equipment need to be replaced etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dizcom View Post
It's only two more tires with a tag. Generally speaking, the more you weigh, the less you sway, meaning a bigger, heavier coach is going to have less problems going down the road due to wind, road roughness, passing trucks, etc. Also, the more you weigh, the more you pay, meaning they also tend to get worse fuel mileage than smaller rigs and have more parts that need maintenance and can break. Coaches are generally sized to their power packs, meaning that a bigger coach will have a bigger engine. I've never heard of someone getting an engine that was too small for the coach or vice versa. If you go old enough, you'll find some that have less HP and torque, but they were state of the art in their day. No manufacturer is putting anemic 4 cylinder turbos in motorhomes just to save a few bucks.


Best advice is to find a coach that has the floorplan and power pack you want because you can't change that later. Almost everything else in the coach will be something that can be upgraded or replaced. Don't be convinced to pay more for a rig because of it's brand name, chassis, or where the radiator is unless it's the rig you want. Lots of good choices out there at the dollar level you are talking about. Get a good inspection before you plunk down your money. Good luck.
I agree, two more tires doesn't really matter. I did see a floor plan that we liked that had one pull out couch, on the other side had two recliners pointed straight to the wall mounted TV, great for us. Their are so many floor plans that don't that watching is not comfortable. Doesn't make sense ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newmar2856 View Post
If you’re in the 35’ range you will not find the coach to have a tag axle so that may be one less thing to consider on your list.

As others have said, your list of wants is long on that size of coach. I’d suggest prioritizing them so you can determine what could possibly go if needed, such as a dishwasher. At 35’ drawer space will be at a premium and you may want that pan drawer vs a dishwasher.

Our gas rig is just shy of 38’ and is missing many of your wants. There is only so much space to fit everything in and there are compromises to be made.

Best of luck and enjoy the planning process. It’s all part of the adventure that awaits you.
I think the 35' is out, as like you've said we have too many needs and wants. We'll be full-timers not a weekender at the lakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tha_Rooster View Post
With gasses you have basically 2 choices ford/workhouse. With DP you have Spartan, roadmaster, freight liner and they all have multiple set up so don’t think that all DP are the same cause there not. Some people say get the floor plan you want I say start with the chassis first. Do your research on chassis’s first.
Gas isn't even a thought, only diesel..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winemaker2 View Post
My recommendation to those trying to sort out what will suit them best is to start by defining your style... you've done that fairly well- full time, add expected miles / mo or year
Then each if you list Must Haves, wants and dont wants
Then compare notes and combine & compromise (make sure you don't try to "win" all... let her decide on what's important in her areas of greatest interest)
Then start looking at floor plans, MHs and talking to other owners about how they use theirs, what they like and would change.

We love our 2013 Newmar VTDP 3433 used as it suits our needs / wants very well. An unexpected bonus was the Newmar ConfortDrive. I knew nothing about it before we bought ours but it is a real pleasure to drive. If full timing I don't think I'd want a DP without it.
That's why I started out including a list of wants & needs, then we can rule out any that won't work out for us.

I did look at this one, like yours. Very nice.
https://www.rvtrader.com/listing/201...433-5021325483


Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydee325 View Post
ZooOnWheels,

You used the description "newbie". Does that mean you've never traveled in an RV or Class A motorhome? If that is the case, I question the logic of diving right in as full timers.

A 36' rig of any type will be tight, especially with several pets. There is also your requirement that you have separate sleeping accommodations. That means every day, 365 days a year, you are going to be setting up and taking down your sleeping accommodations.

Frankly, for your budget and requirements, I'm thinking a fifth wheel setup would work better for you.

I suggest over the next 5 years, rent a motorhome and make some trips. Extrapolate out any aggravations you have with the accommodations to include every day of the year and then decide if a motorhome and full timing is right for you.

I started this thread earlier this year to get an idea of the cost of ownership of DPs.

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/cos...ip-570081.html
No, we haven't traveled in a class A, but we raced sprint cars and we had a toterhome a while, but did not camp, so I my logic will be just fine. A local dealer has a plan that for $350 (+) fuel you can rent one for a weekend. We will once the time gets closer. I'll check out your link. Thank you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tinman 55 View Post
I pre planned for a couple years prior to retirement and it helped. I hunted down a used Country Coach because I wanted a solid built coach under 40 foot with a tag axle. We purchased an Allure Sunset Bay model that measures around 37 feet. I don't think all the planning in the world could help you foresee all of the little things that need servicing, replacement or repair.
That said, make sure you get a pre purchase inspection. I did, and some things were still overlooked or missed, but, it gives you an idea of what condition the coach is actually in. If you can do some of the service yourself it will save you tons of money.
Remember, it's a yearly service including more than just an oil change. There is the upkeep of the air and hydraulics, cooling system, transmission, wheel bearings, differential, aqua hot system, fuel filters etc. It can get quite pricey. I would also recommend checking all of the fluids with a reputable company prior to purchase. I turned away a few potential purchases because of lack of proper maintenance. (One coach hadn't had an oil change in nearly five years).

I think your major hurdle is going to be the separate beds in a coach that size. Can you sleep in the same bed if it is one of those adjustable type beds that adjust for each sleeper? That might be an option worth exploring.
Good luck with your research.
I think a 40ft (+) is needed for what we'll need. Yes, the sleeping issue is a problem, so I think we'll have to find the best pull out couch sleeper is needed. When we attend a RV show we'll ask what's out there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pheaton 2018 View Post
I think the best thing you guys should do is rent the size MH you are thinking about and go for a couple of nights and see if you like it there is always so many variables when it comes to RV LIFE you have size the quality of each different brand names I believe Tiffin Newmar and Freightliner are the best out there but the best way is to rent you don’t want to have buyers remorse at that high dollar mark Also don’t ever think you’re not gonna have to put money into it because that is a normal situation when you own a bigger motorhome you’re always putting money into it preventing maintenance good luck I do wish the best for you guys and hope you find what your looking for
Quote:
Originally Posted by bpu699 View Post
If you’re on a budget, and you sound like you are, buy a DP for $50-75k, and leave 100k in reserve for incidentals.

I have a 2000 Winnebago ultimate advantage, in great shape, 2 owner, that I paid way too little for . These things can be had in great shape for $50,000-60,000. Have it updated with new tires, all maintenance, update the interior cosmetics, and you’re set.

These things are built super well, and are easy to work on as minimal electronics.

I’m sure a $150k coach is nicer. But then budget a huge chunk for incidentals… these things aren’t cheap to keep going, and parts aren’t easy or cheap to get…

Yeah, we have no problem looking into lower cost homes. I can look over it and if we're serious I'll have a dealer perform a full inspection.,

On mine, prior owner spent $40,000 on repairs/maintenance in 5 years…
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinman 55 View Post
Thats great advice. Ive seen many nice older coaches for sale lately, and I think the economy is going to drive the prices down even further
A couple of years I found a 1950's style flxible bus that was fantastic inside and out. The interior was set up as a diner, so cool !

But, I think I'll buy this one.

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Old 05-25-2022, 02:56 PM   #14
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It sounds like you are relatively young and talented with a wrench.
I'd recommend a used diesel coach from 2002-2008 model year.
Look at Travel Supreme Select, Country Coach Magna or Infinity, Monaco Signature or Executive, Holiday Rambler Navigator or Imperial, Beaver Marquis or Patriot, American Eagle or Heritage, and Newmar Essex.

If you find a Beaver Marquis go look at it. It will have the finest interior craftsmanship of any coach at any price!
These are top of the line coaches built before the 2008 crash with no DEF or DPF. They will have 500hp or more with an Allison 4000 transmission. Most of these were $450-700k when new so they have top of the line components and were built to last.

Expect to spend $10-20k and lots of love/labor in binging it back up to like new.
Also expect to spend at least 6 months finding the perfect coach. Search nationwide.
Do not limit yourself to a certain length.
You will learn from every coach you look at.

Hope this helps!
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