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Old 07-07-2017, 01:47 PM   #1
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Typical Life Span for Older RV Components

I am intrigued with older higher end DPs and what they have to offer. We have owned two Class As and really enjoyed them, but had personal issues and currently don't have any RV. Not really sure which direction we want to go, but like the idea of an older good quality DP.

My question is, how long do the expensive components (appliances, AC, hydraulics, etc.) typically last? I have seen a few early to mid 2000s Country Coach and Alpine Apex (among other higher end brands) that are nice inside and out and seem to be priced well, but if lots of components are close to the end of their lifespan it doesn't seem worth it to me to go that route.

Also, how much funds should be available to cover any potential repairs/maintenance needs for an older DP? I have read where one had to replace/rebuild an entire Cummins engine which was crazy expensive.

Thanks in advance for your response.

John
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Old 07-07-2017, 03:39 PM   #2
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I do not know the answer to your questions.

Our rig is 22.5 years old with 103,000 miles.

Most of it is original equipment and we are fulltiming for the past 7 months.

We have replaced the front roof AC 3 years ago which cost me $1,100 for a 15k btu heatpump.

Upholstery is original except for $700 recovering the sofa 10 years ago in Ultraleather.

OTR AC compressor has been replaced and the system serviced. Cost for me was $600, due to my mistakes.

I had rear axle bushings replaced for about $1000.

Our Dometic Refer did not do well at the end of a week of 110 degree days a while ago. It is working fine today at 110 degrees outside.

The refer could be failing, but the Bascom Robbins World Class Chocolate is still firm at noon today....

Had to replace the manifold gasket on the Cummins C8.3L for $1500.

We have owned the rig for 15+ years so do not think it overly expensive.

Hope this helps some.
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Old 07-07-2017, 03:43 PM   #3
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I haven't had any appliance failures (mine is a '95) but I do want to get a residential fridge. I'd say if you buy a nice unit have 10k set aside and you'll do fine. FYI coach has around 155k miles on it but has been well maintained.
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Old 07-07-2017, 03:52 PM   #4
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Agree...original refer, a/c, furnace, water heater. Replaced alternator, $500 into jacks, fresh water pump. Taken care of, they last. This next off season we are replacing refer with residential one and adding new inverter...
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Old 07-07-2017, 03:59 PM   #5
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Good question! Had i asked the question prior to my purchase it may have had impact on my decision.
Own a 2002 Freightliner xc chasis with 8.3 Cummins. Yearly oil change, lube , filters +-450.00 doing it myself. Tires every 7 yrs 1600-2000 minimum. Lift pump replacement, 350, pump only. Oil pressure sending unit replaced 2x. , Jacks return springs 350.00! Track bar bushings front and rear 700.00! Plastic gages and switches deteriorating rapidly.....! Maybe its just my Unit, love it non the less!
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Old 07-07-2017, 04:00 PM   #6
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our 08 tuscany is ten years old now, had it since new
appliances, residential fridge 3 years ago, new roof top a/c with added heat pumps 3 years ago, new seat skins for driver and passenger this past march,
new sink faucets in bathroom and kitchen 2 years ago, ge advantium convection 2 years ago.

tires 2 years ago.
new bedroom 32" tv, april.
sleep number bed 3 years ago

pretty much what i would expect in a house, except for the a/c units

we have been very pleased on how well "stuff" is holding up, we are in ours 99% of the time.
sticklers for preventive maintenance, grease chassis, oil changes etc.
thinking about removing the small carpeted areas this year and putting in a laminate wood floor in those areas
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:36 PM   #7
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The appliances should be good for at least 10 years. However, if it doesn't already have a residential fridge, there is a good probability that you will have ongoing frustration with the friggin' Norcold. We replaced the cooling unit with the Amish cooling unit ($1,500). Hot water heater, furnace, micro, etc are not terribly expensive if you have to replace.

Other than water damage (run, don't walk away), you should focus on the drive train. Yes, a reman or overhaul on the Cummins will be approx $20k, but you can reduce your exposure significantly if you get an oil analysis. As to the drive train and other expensive components (e.g., leveling system), buy a used coach only if the seller has substantially complete maintenance and repair records. Research the recall records for the coach you are considering. For example, some Monacos in some years had trailing arm failures. Some year Cummins ISL's had wrist pin failures. Some Newmars had slide out motor separations due to poorly secured retention bolts/nuts (easy fix if you catch it in time).

Keep back a "slush fund" of at least $10k when buying an older coach.

Just keep in mind that you are buying a "house on wheels." None are immune from defects, even new ones.

We love our coach, but I spent several months researching and looking. Time invested, IMO, will pay big dividends in the future.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:28 PM   #8
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All manufacturers with the exception of the bus conversions,use the same components from Dometic, Atwood, Norcold, Surban, Coleman, etc. Don't look for a increased life of those components in a high end coach. What you are looking for is quality of the house build, ie. real wood not particle board. Tile and carpet flooring instead of cheap linoleum. Double pane windows, real fixtures in the bathroom and kitchen instead of plastic. Stainless or corian sinks instead of plastic.

That is what you look for in a high end coach
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:53 PM   #9
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It would be more about the coach itself for me - especially as they approach 15-20 years old. Appliances and other mechanical "stuff" can all be replaced rather economically when compared to advanced water intrusion damage. Once started there's no stopping it.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:57 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies so far. Greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-07-2017, 10:31 PM   #11
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I'm new to the RV thing, and am given the impression that each coach is very hand built. Almost without regard to name brand, there are peculiarities to each machine. My 2009 Monaco Knight 41 DFT had a check valve in the water pump system that was never right. Original owner would not have know as they only used city water. Without mechanical intuition I would have thought the pump defective, and any shop would have charged me accordingly.
I have come to the conclusion that, only with careful inspection of, and maintenance in each component, will one get full service. For example the dash air on diesel pushers don't behave well. I see NO, none, not any insulation on the return line to the compressor. Doing this will require considerable effort, and it might stop our components from crapping out early. The A/C
overhead units are installed so swiftly, they rarely see the attention to detail, like sealing off cold from hot air flow. I aim to make this whole RV thing as efficient and effective as possible...one item at a time. Yes time will tell.
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:05 AM   #12
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I do all my own repairs, so the cost is usually parts only.

This is my third MH, I generally buy a 15-18 year old MH that many of the appliances and components may be approaching (or have reached) the end of life. Knock on wood, I haven't had to replace major items, in every case to date, I've been able to fix them.

This is a small list of stuff I've done to bring the coach up to date on maintenance.

  • Leaking hydraulic lever cylinder (repaired internal o-rings and piston)
  • Noisy hydraulic pump (replaced motor bearing)
  • Door and hatch gas lift spring bad (replaced about 15 of them)
  • Roof vent seals (the small seal that the cover hits when it closes)
  • Furnace blower motor squealing (new motor)
  • Furnace control board (wouldn't detect flame)
  • Refrigerator control board (wouldn't switch to gas)
  • Microwave Oven (wouldn't heat)
  • Old picture tube TVs replaced with LED TVs
  • Older single stage 12 volt converters replaced with 3 stage converters
  • Worn out switches (waterpump, stove vent, lights)
  • Awning fabrics
  • Upgrade incandescent bulbs to LEDs
I know you were specifically asking about DPs, but my gasser list probably is generic enough to apply to a DP. Within a few months of buying my MH, unless I have evidence that these items have been recently replaced, I usually replace them as a matter of prevention. My thoughts are, the originals lasted 15 trouble free years, so the replacements should easily last that long. I want to get the most reliable MH I can.

  • Brake pads
  • Brake hoses (rubber hoses on each wheel)
  • starter
  • Serpentine belt
  • engine coolant
  • water pump and thermostat
  • Shocks
  • Filters (fuel, oil, air, etc)
  • Flush systems (power steering, brakes, hydraulics, etc)
  • Tires (if necessary)
  • Front end toe check and adjust
  • repack bearings and grease
  • TSBs and recalls complied with (I just did a transmission shifting TSB on mine)
  • Other known issues (i.e. turn signal wires chaffing)
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Old 07-08-2017, 11:10 AM   #13
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Our 98 is 19 years and 4 months old.

All the appliances are original and still perform as intended.

Hydraulics have presented no issues. No engine or tranny issues. No generator issues.
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:23 PM   #14
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Thanks for additional replies. Very helpful information.
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