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Old 10-29-2016, 04:14 PM   #1
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Exclamation Newbies in need of expertise on RV purchase.

First time RV buyer. We are looking to purchase a used class A DP, 39' & up. We plan to live in it full time for the next five to ?? years. Can anyone out there give us any advice on recommending one type over another. Any as well, we should know about to absolutely stay clear of? For instance, we have been researching & were looking at a used "Winnebago" which as far as manufacturer's are concerned it was highly rated. However after some internet snooping we came across a review listing ranting & complaining about some units & there customer service, regarding repairs & warranty work done wrong. That was if you could actually get them to listen to you. A lot of the folks on there were extremely upset with all the issues they faced with Winnebago, because they would deflect the problem to the makers of the equipment that was installed even from the factory. Most of the people were left for months on end with no resolve at all, if they got into the shop it was kept there for months and then the workmanship was shoddy if it was even completed. We are talking about over 300 people or more. So, if you know of a particular used RV to stay away from please let us know. What age is too old? Old technology and such? Orphan units, due to the company closing etc?
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Old 10-29-2016, 05:43 PM   #2
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I would suggest you continue doing your research.

I am sure that you can find complainers about any make of coach as well as those who like the very same coach.

One big question is how much you want to spend which will dictate the models and years you can afford. Narrow your search from there.

As to specific manufactures that made high quality coaches, here is a sort list.
Monaco & Holiday Rambler
Country Coach
Travel Supreme

If you buy a pre 2008 coach chances are it won't require DEF for the engine. Also, 2009 is when a lot of manufacturers when bankrupt, most of them gone forever. But in their hayday they made great coaches.
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Old 10-29-2016, 05:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jacwjames View Post
...

As to specific manufactures that made high quality coaches, here is a sort list.
Monaco & Holiday Rambler
Country Coach
Travel Supreme

...
Ya know us Newmar folks and Entegra people might think we just got insulted. LOL
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Old 10-29-2016, 06:21 PM   #4
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It is difficult to really give specific recommendations on brand/models without making some one mad. Many have gone through major changes and/or owners over that last 10 years. Some are not even in business like the orphaned Travel Supreme.

You will really have a lot of homework to do. If you plan to go full time you will want to do LOTS AND LOTS of reading BUT...keep in mind that more people will complain than compliment. Complaints can skew your impression as you read through them.

Folks tend to defend what they bought. No one like to admit they got the short end of the stick.

One thing to look for in any potential purchase are the service records. One theory is that used coaches have had the bugs worked out of them. Keep in mind that mostly means manufacturer errors/defect have been worked out. But, as they get older they will need service for worn out parts. This summer I've had to replace cooling and lubricant lines to various parts and yesterday just got finished replacing an exhaust manifold and gaskets. This is on a 2006 Newmar with 81,000 miles. I've also had many replacements/repairs over the last 3 years including; a water heater, front AC (5 times!), rear air bag, gas furnace repaired, and lots of odds and ends. In all fairness, this coach has done pretty well for a combined 9-10 years of full time use between us and the previous owner. The older the coach, the more likely you will have things wear out if they have seen lots of use.

One thing to keep in mind is coach weight. All manufacturers have had bouts of "fat coaches" and you need to keep that in mind as a full timer. While a coach with a tag axle looks like it can haul anything you could ask for, front axle weights are often a problem. Non-tag axle coaches might be problematic on both axles. Do lots of study on weight and balance.

Even if you find a brand that seems "better made" than the rest, you big challenge is to get it right the first time. I didn't and most folks don't get it right the first time either. Floor plans you can live and breath in are absolutely critical. While I like our coach a lot, we are actively looking for another one. 3 years of FT use has taught us a lot and we know more of what we want. Now, we aren't in a panic because out coach has hit 10 years old so depreciation factors are much more stable...basically we will get something short of whole sale value in a trade in. I tested the waters and found my coach has an $80K whole sale value but was offered $75K as a trade in on a new 2016 Ventana 4369 but we will wait and are centering our search on used 2013-2015 Newmar Dutch Star models. I like the idea of someone else taking the big part of depreciation and working the bugs out. LOL

So...keep studying. It can be exhausting!

Last tip...once you set your sites on some models, makes and years for your coach, get your info directly to some sales people to keep an eye out for inbound trades. If you wait for something from a dealer to hit RV Trader and such, it could be too late. OTOH, if you are looking to buy from an owner, it generally gives you time to see something. Owner's tend to over price their coach at the beginning and that can give you time to research and make an offer you can live with.

Good Luck.
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Old 10-29-2016, 10:34 PM   #5
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Ya know us Newmar folks and Entegra people might think we just got insulted. LOL
WE don't think you guys are that sensitive.... But just so the op knows...Newmars and Integras are worth considering also.

OP, sensitivity aside, you will have a very hard time finding people badmouthing the Monaco family of coaches pre 2008. After 2008 is a different story. You can tell us Monacoers by the silly grins on our smug faces. Flame suit is on...
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Old 10-29-2016, 11:22 PM   #6
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>>So, if you know of a particular used RV to stay away from please let us know. What age is too old? Old technology and such? Orphan units, due to the company closing etc? <<


SkyBoss gave you some good advice. Read the fulltimers forum and see what others are living in. All coaches will have issues from time to time. Decide if you want or need a gas or diesel. Look on line at Texas RV Dealer, Used RVs for sale, motorhome sales, new RVs and RVTrader.com: RV Sales - Class A, B, C Motorhomes, Travel Trailers, & Pop Up Camper RVs For Sale and see what matches your budget. Since you will be living in what you buy, you have to really love it when you first walk in the door, floor plan and fit and finish is important. Storage is very important. As a two slide owner I can assure you that three slides are better. If you will traveling in hot and cold climates insulation and double pane windows and at least two air conditioners are very desirable. Research AquaHot as it has many advantages over propane heating and does not impact the over all price of a used unit. $10,000 when it was new. It does require about $200 a year maintanence. When the slides are in can you reach all areas of the coach? Manuals and service records area must. Look at lots of coaches and when you are ready to buy, have that Monaco inspected...
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Old 10-30-2016, 12:40 AM   #7
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Thanks to everybody that took the time to comment. any information is very helpful. We live in Edmonton Alberta Canada. We're not in a rush to buy. We plan to retired approx. April 2018, sell/give away/get rid of almost everything and live in the motor home for 5 to 10 years...give or take. Basing ourselves on Vancouver Island BC. Campbell river and travel quite a bit to the US.

One other thing we're wondering, while looking for a used motorhome, how old does one go? We've seen many that seem very nice in the 2004 to 2007 year with low miles. Since we plan to buy in 2017, will that make anything between 2004 to 2007 too old? Knowing that we are planning to keep it for another 5 to 10 plus years.

Dean & Heather
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Old 10-30-2016, 06:28 AM   #8
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How old you go is going to depend on how much money you have to spend. When the time comes to purchase, determine how far back in years you will go by how much is in your pocketbook. Buy the highest quality you can and go back in years if you need to. The manufacturers I looked at were Newmar, Tiffin, Country Coach and Winnebago. Make sure you get one that has been well cared for and you can get all the maintenance records. Do a search of this forum and you will get a lot of good information.
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Old 10-30-2016, 06:57 AM   #9
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Id add alpine and foretravel to the list
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Old 10-30-2016, 07:28 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by adamfolger View Post
WE don't think you guys are that sensitive.... But just so the op knows...Newmars and Integras are worth considering also.

OP, sensitivity aside, you will have a very hard time finding people badmouthing the Monaco family of coaches pre 2008. After 2008 is a different story. You can tell us Monacoers by the silly grins on our smug faces. Flame suit is on...
OH...I'm not that sensitive ANYMORE. LOL

My point was that it is important not to get too fixed on any particular product until one is confident they have enough knowledge to find a manufacturer/year/quality/features that meet there needs. Besides, as a Newmar owner I'm not smug...just supremely confident.

You make a very good point about brands that change over time. Based on what I have generally read, your assessment of Monaco over the years (pre vs post 2008ish) is a good example of that. One almost needs a score card to figure out who/what the manufacturer was during the RV industry shakedown that started around 2009. The same goes for recent years. Monaco seems to be on track to reverse the "down slide".
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Old 10-30-2016, 07:55 AM   #11
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...

One other thing we're wondering, while looking for a used motorhome, how old does one go? We've seen many that seem very nice in the 2004 to 2007 year with low miles. Since we plan to buy in 2017, will that make anything between 2004 to 2007 too old? Knowing that we are planning to keep it for another 5 to 10 plus years.

Dean & Heather
Tough question...

You will often hear, "Buy your last coach first." In other words, get it right the first time. However...those that get it right the first time are not often seen.

You can do all the research on quality you want but until you live in one for a year you may not realize what you didn't get right. Our first coach, a 2006 Winnebago Adventurer (gasser) missed the mark in many ways. Less than a year later we got our DSDP 4320. Pretty darn close to getting it right but 3 years later we know it's pros and cons. We didn't think a 3rd AC or Oasis was that big a deal. We also didn't see the tight quarters in the hallway our floor plan has being a big deal. We aren't screaming for a new(er) coach but we are looking. There are just so many features and facets to getting it right that it can be tough. It also is based on what is right for YOU! Besides budget you have to look at things like:
tag vs non-tag
overall length to more easily get it where you want it (do you like small National/state parks?)
gas vs diesel (personally, a DP is my choice because those coaches can carry more stuff)
forced air furnace vs hydronic heating
Number of AC/heat pump units. (Generally a function of length with 3 ACs on units over 40'. BTW, 3 ACs allows for redundancy if you loose one.)
basement size including rail height. (keep in mind that a 40' single rear axle vs a 43' tag axle will have nearly identical basement space. OTOH, rail height can have a major impact on how much you can stack upwards in the basement.)
coach storage.

As to new VS almost new VS older...pros and cons. If you get it right and find a coach that can be maintained for 10 years and are happy with it, "older" (7-10 years) can be a great bargain. By the time you hang up the keys you can sell it for what ever you can get out of if and enjoy the years you had in it. OTOH, if you don't get it right and the coach gets to be over 9-10 years old the trade in/sale value starts to take a real nose dive. Also, coaches in the last 5 years have really added lots of features that you won't easily find in older coaches. In general, trade in values to dealers on older coaches will be something less than NADA wholesale. While you can't get wholesale value directly from NADA as dealers get, you can estimate it to be about 75% of low retail for a BASE model. In a recent attempt to trade my coach, wholesale value was about $80,000 and the dealer was going to give me $75,000 as trade in. We were too far away in making a deal to match our budget so we didn't really get out the bats and helmets to do some serious negotiations so take that for what is worth.

Scared yet!
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Old 10-30-2016, 08:01 AM   #12
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Thanks to everybody that took the time to comment. any information is very helpful. We live in Edmonton Alberta Canada. We're not in a rush to buy. We plan to retired approx. April 2018, sell/give away/get rid of almost everything and live in the motor home for 5 to 10 years...give or take. Basing ourselves on Vancouver Island BC. Campbell river and travel quite a bit to the US.

Dean & Heather
I am in Alberta. One thing to consider, if you are looking to buy a coach in the US and import you must have a letter from the manufacturer that there are no outstanding recalls - the manufacturer must still be in business. This may limit the used coaches that you can look at if buying in the US. We have a smaller market for used Diesel pushers right now; a lot have gone to the US since the Canadian dollar has weakened.

Good luck.

Brian
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Old 10-30-2016, 09:28 PM   #13
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First time RV buyer. We are looking to purchase a used class A DP, 39' & up. We plan to live in it full time for the next five to ?? years. Can anyone out there give us any advice on recommending one type over another. Any as well, we should know about to absolutely stay clear of? For instance, we have been researching & were looking at a used "Winnebago" which as far as manufacturer's are concerned it was highly rated. However after some internet snooping we came across a review listing ranting & complaining about some units & there customer service, regarding repairs & warranty work done wrong. That was if you could actually get them to listen to you. A lot of the folks on there were extremely upset with all the issues they faced with Winnebago, because they would deflect the problem to the makers of the equipment that was installed even from the factory. Most of the people were left for months on end with no resolve at all, if they got into the shop it was kept there for months and then the workmanship was shoddy if it was even completed. We are talking about over 300 people or more. So, if you know of a particular used RV to stay away from please let us know. What age is too old? Old technology and such? Orphan units, due to the company closing etc?
There are problems with every manufacturer out there.

Things to consider:
1. New or used
a. If new, warranties
b. If used, get a certified tech to completely go over the entire coach
2. Pricing consideration
a. Buying a high-end coach will give you luxury - but at a cost of more possible things going wrong
b. Gas coach in the mid to lower end - less items to go wrong but far less conveniences
3. Where and how many miles you anticipate putting on your coach each year
4. Full time - you will want more conveniences
5. Seasonal use
6. Entertaining or just for yourself/family
7. Number of people in your family that will be using your coach on your trips
a. bunk beds
b. Queen size bed
c. King size bed
d. Sleep Number for added comfort
8. Your living/life style
a. Front or mid-kitchen
b. Two couches or one and a recliner
9. The list goes on and on and on and...

The point is simple - go visit as many different manufacturers in your price range and also drive as many as they will let you. You will find that one or two will jump out at least stand out as the most desirable. But that one and enjoy the open road!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-31-2016, 02:29 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=Just For Fun;3317001]There are problems with every manufacturer out there.

Things to consider:
b. If used, get a certified tech to completely go over the entire coach

In support of JFF's post above,....a pre-purchase inspection is in our opinion money well spent.

Once you find a pre-owned coach your keenly interested in to include thinking of making an offer, consider having it duly inspected by a National RV Industry Association certified inspector. NRVIA Inspectors adhere to a non-conflict agreement wherein they only represent you (as potential buyer) and therefore have no ties to the selling dealer or owner. This is something to consider when hiring a "local tech" or John-Doe who is otherwise unknown to you (but may be known to or have prior relationship with the seller or selling dealer).

By recently using RV Inspection Connection to conduct 2-two separate coach inspections they provided us with both timely service (using highly qualified (certified) inspectors) that resulted in detailed all-inclusive written reports (with numerous photos) that were simple to interpret as well as provide information you can use in negotiations with the seller should you elect to proceed with a purchase offer.

The information we obtained by the inspections helped us make further decisions, i.e. walk away or understanding of what we'd need to consider doing to remedy issues denoted by the inspections. e.g. in one (coach) case we would have needed to spend upwards of $10k to remedy cooling systems problems associated with high calcium and phosphate deposits/corrosion as well as address abnormal engine wear test results in the gen-set lubricant analysis - all this on a '14 model 45DP with 24k miles (with no tangible maintenance records).

Truth be told, the inspections can be "pricey" particularly if you want all fluid samples analylized as we did but still money well spent in my opinion. In some cases, the reports can or will pay for themselves.

If contemplating having a 3rd party inspection performed, factor in a min. of 2-days for an inspection and up to 7 days for fluid analysis reports. An inspection will of course require the seller's pre-approval to include need for the coach to be connected to shore power and utilities (water, waste dump, etc) in order for the complete inspection to be carried out. Our reports (received) generally includes 25-30 written pages with a large number of photos to document findings.

Depending upon the type/size of the coach and geographical location of where its located, you can expect to spend anywhere between $0.7-1.6K for a single comprehensive inspection including all fluids. In our case we had 2-two 45DP's inspected one at a cost of $1.2 and the other at $1.6k due to the location which included travel time and subsistence cost for the inspector (mileage, meals and hotel). Since we were looking at spending upwards of $500k on a pre-owned luxury coach, we felt the inspection fee was a small price to pay for the increased knowledge gained.

https://rvinspection.com
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