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Old 09-26-2017, 10:17 AM   #1
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I always appreciate the advice and general wisdom I find on this forum. Your collected advice rarely misses the mark for me. Here is a new one to chew on. But please excuse the wall of text.........

A little history, first. Last Spring, DW and I bought a '92 33' Pace Arrow in exceptionally good condition. We outfitted it to our specifications. adding all the little detail things that allowed us to call it our own. We didn't have to do much more than tune it up, install new tires and make a few local trial runs to shake out all the bugs. All in preparation for the 3,500 mile "Big Trip" the first week in September. We enjoyed it so much, we were on our way out of town when DW was already online looking for newer/bigger/better/faster rigs we could upgrade to.

We successfully completed the trip across the plains of SD, into Wyoming, 3 days in Yellowstone, down through the Tetons, western Wyoming, to Durango, CO, northern New Mexico, into west TX and back home. Mostly boondocking. We turned 100,000 miles on the odometer during the trip. We counted 12, 7%, 8% and 9% grades (up AND down) on 2 lane rural highways. Brakes got a little hot on some of them. We didn't use a drop of oil or coolant and the only failure we had was a stop light switch in Jackson, WY. Can't beat that for reliability on a 25 year old rig. flat towing our '95 Jeep Wrangler. Best mileage was 7.8MPG, worst was 6.3MPG. Not bad........

Still, however, DW is looking for that bigger, better, faster rig. Nothing wrong with the one we have, mind you, in our opinion just a little small for extended living it turns out. In any event, we are now fully caught up in the culture, even seriously considering Full Timing in a couple of years.

SO, we have been casting around, looking at upgrading for more room, fewer miles, better mileage and reliability for long term travel and living.

BUT, we have been sorely disappointed by what we are finding on the used market. We can only afford so much for our experiment, and are limiting ourselves to no more than 30,000 miles, no newer than say, 2005, no longer than about 35'. At least one slide, maybe two. Of course, we are prepared to make exceptions for that "unicorn" out there.

So far, what we are finding is WAY below our expectations regarding quality of materials, fit and finish and workmanship compared to what we have. It may be we have been spoiled by being able to acquire a well built and maintained rig our first time out. We understand that anything we buy will require fine tuning and some upgrades, but we would expect to at least start with something we can work with.

For instance while out shopping this weekend at various dealerships, we saw a few that had obvious water damage (wallpaper and paneling delaminating, ceiling stains), some with serious mechanical issues (roof A/C not operating on a couple) some with body damage (mostly dented corners, and gouges on side panels) and may other faults that disqualified them for consideration.

In order to make sure we aren't going to end up chasing someone else's bad judgement, we are looking to narrow down our search to just certain manufactures, certain models and certain sizes. Question of the day is what is going to provide us the best bang for the buck in terms of VALUE? Value in terms of quality of materials, workmanship, factory support, and so forth.

Who are you going to recommend and more importantly WHY?

We are looking forward to the responses. Thanks!
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Old 09-26-2017, 10:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindan n Jim View Post
BUT, we have been sorely disappointed by what we are finding on the used market. We can only afford so much for our experiment, and are limiting ourselves to no more than 30,000 miles, no newer than say, 2005, no longer than about 35'. At least one slide, maybe two. Of course, we are prepared to make exceptions for that "unicorn" out there.
I'm also in the market - so I've spent a lot of time looking at MHs recently.

I think you are limiting yourself too much by only looking at rigs with under 30K miles. If your looking at a diesel engine MH you should not have any worries about the reliability of a MH with 80K -100K miles. IMO

If you see a MH that is 12 - 15 years old with only 30K or less miles, I would think either the mileage reported is false (could be the odometer was replaced or the mileage listed is only what is on the "rebuilt engine" and not the chassis mileage), or the MH sat for a very long time (which is not good).
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Old 09-26-2017, 11:06 AM   #3
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Don't get discouraged. We probably looked at 30-40 coaches before we purchased our current MH. We were expecting to get a diesel until we found our current gasser. It was in such good shape we couldn't pass on it. I would imagine in time you will find another diamond as well.
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Old 09-26-2017, 11:56 AM   #4
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I think you should be looking at private sales. Dealers are going to ask a much higher price. As mentioned on another thread dealers will usually ask high retail on NADA book. on a private sale you should not have any problem buying 15-20% under low retail. We bought ours from a private party and wound up paying about 22% under low NADA book. As you noted above dealers are not going to fix anything unless you make that a part of the deal anyway, and then they are going to fix it the cheapest way possible.
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Old 09-27-2017, 09:00 AM   #5
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Well one thing, you mentioned is fuel mileage. Newer coachs DON'T get any better fuel economy, some may in fact get worse. Newer larger, heavier coachs may in fact get worse. I went from a narrow, lower to the ground more areo coach and lost a couple miles per gallon. But was it worth it? You bet, and I'd do it again. I like the slides and more creature comforts my newer coach provides. If you go look at entry level coachs compared to what you have now you won't be happy. There are MANY coachs in your wants out there, just have to find the one that puts a smile on your face.

Some have noted that one could expect to pay 20% below low retail. Don't count on it, unless it needs a lot of up dates. Yes you can find some out there below low retail, but look them over very closely. I just bought my coach in March of this year, and I looked at a lot of coachs. Most all the ones I looked at below book was severely neglected and most all needed tires. If you're looking for one that needs a LOT TLC, yes you can find them much below low book. A well maintained coach, not so much.
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Old 09-27-2017, 09:15 AM   #6
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Charlie said "just have to find the one that puts a smile on your face." Thanks, Charlie.

We have found a couple that do just that, Charlie. Bad news is the layout works for us, but once again, the quality sucks.

I guess I missed the mark with the point of my post. I am looking for everyone's best suggestion about what manufacturer produces the best VALUE, including quality of materials and workmanship, factory support, that kind of thing. Are we missing out on NOT looking at a particular manufacturer, or are we barking up the wrong tree by spending too much time on another?

We have made a list of "wants". A brief listing is below. Remember, we are pretty much agnostic about some things and are looking for best ideas.

* Drivers door
* Gasser
* Bigger fridge (double door....not residential)
* Washing machine (possible)
* One (maybe two) slides
* V10 power (maybe 8.1L depending on year)
* 36' to 38' (no more than that)
* The list goes on and on, but you get the idea
* Table and chairs, not dinnette

We have a '92 Pace Arrow that we LOVE as far as fit and finish, but is a little too small for long term living and travel. We looked at a Winnebago Adventurer 38C (i think) online last night, and it looked like it had a lot of what we are looking for.

Based on that, any suggestions on what else we should be looking at?
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Old 09-27-2017, 10:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindan n Jim View Post
Charlie said "just have to find the one that puts a smile on your face." Thanks, Charlie.

We have found a couple that do just that, Charlie. Bad news is the layout works for us, but once again, the quality sucks.

I guess I missed the mark with the point of my post. I am looking for everyone's best suggestion about what manufacturer produces the best VALUE, including quality of materials and workmanship, factory support, that kind of thing. Are we missing out on NOT looking at a particular manufacturer, or are we barking up the wrong tree by spending too much time on another?

We have made a list of "wants". A brief listing is below. Remember, we are pretty much agnostic about some things and are looking for best ideas.

* Drivers door
* Gasser
* Bigger fridge (double door....not residential)
* Washing machine (possible)
* One (maybe two) slides
* V10 power (maybe 8.1L depending on year)
* 36' to 38' (no more than that)
* The list goes on and on, but you get the idea
* Table and chairs, not dinnette

We have a '92 Pace Arrow that we LOVE as far as fit and finish, but is a little too small for long term living and travel. We looked at a Winnebago Adventurer 38C (i think) online last night, and it looked like it had a lot of what we are looking for.

Based on that, any suggestions on what else we should be looking at?
Don't discount the National line just because they are no longer in business. You're not going to get much factory support on an older rig no matter what. To get a w/d you are going to have to go longer. I bought an 03 Dolphin in March of this year and am very happy with the fit and finish, and the materials used in construction. Don't know if they had a drivers door or not, but I didn't want one anyways because I surely can't use one. Every thing else you listed is available. I recommend you at least look at the Dolphin or Sea Breeze .
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Old 09-27-2017, 10:52 AM   #8
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I agree there are a number of brands that are no longer around since the meltdown of 08-09, or if they are around it is in name only. Consider Monaco, Safari, Beaver, ...

Also look at private party sales, dealers will always try to get top dollar, buy low sell high...
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Old 09-27-2017, 12:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindan n Jim View Post
Charlie said "just have to find the one that puts a smile on your face." Thanks, Charlie.

We have found a couple that do just that, Charlie. Bad news is the layout works for us, but once again, the quality sucks.

I guess I missed the mark with the point of my post. I am looking for everyone's best suggestion about what manufacturer produces the best VALUE, including quality of materials and workmanship, factory support, that kind of thing. Are we missing out on NOT looking at a particular manufacturer, or are we barking up the wrong tree by spending too much time on another?

We have made a list of "wants". A brief listing is below. Remember, we are pretty much agnostic about some things and are looking for best ideas.

* Drivers door
* Gasser
* Bigger fridge (double door....not residential)
* Washing machine (possible)
* One (maybe two) slides
* V10 power (maybe 8.1L depending on year)
* 36' to 38' (no more than that)
* The list goes on and on, but you get the idea
* Table and chairs, not dinnette

We have a '92 Pace Arrow that we LOVE as far as fit and finish, but is a little too small for long term living and travel. We looked at a Winnebago Adventurer 38C (i think) online last night, and it looked like it had a lot of what we are looking for.

Based on that, any suggestions on what else we should be looking at?
Much better option than Ford V10..
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Old 09-27-2017, 01:42 PM   #10
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EXACTLY the kind of information I am looking for. I had not considered National previously, but will add them to the list. Same with Monaco. I haven't seen the others locally or on RVTrader.com.

Keep it coming!
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Old 09-27-2017, 02:02 PM   #11
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I note you are after a gasoline engine. I spent a lifetime of RV'ing waiting for my first DP. We finally made it with a Allegro Bus by Tiffin. 35 feet plenty of room it is 17 years old. The difference in ride drive noise and just plane comfort would ask why not look at an older top of the line Diesel. It was well maintained and we got into it for 32 K and I spent another 3 making up grades and replacement of some systems just to make sure we did not suffer breakdown of well used systems. You need to just drive one to see and feel the difference.
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