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Old 11-22-2020, 06:59 PM   #1
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What to Buy...

My wife and I will be retiring soon and we would like to buy a Class A motor home. We plan on spending 3-4 months in AZ during the winter, and then traveling across the country for a couple of months througout the rest of the year. We believe we would like to do this for at least five years or so, then sell our motor home and look at buying a condo in AZ.

We are thinking of purchasing a used 38-40' motor home (2-3 years old) and have been looking at Tiffin, Newmar and Thor. It seems like Newmar and Thor may be too expensive for our budget, but what do I know at this point. Our maximum budget is ~$225,000.

We know nothing about motor homes. We've rented some Class C motor homes in the past for weekend trips, but have never owned one. I believe there is more to consider that just drive train maintenance when looking at a used motor home. How does somebody that doesn't know anything able to verify that a potential motor home and all of its sub-systems have been properly maintained and are working properly?

I also can't seem to locate anything similar to Kelly Blue Book car prices for used motor homes. Does something like this exist? There also seems to be so many different names of each type (Phaeton 40QDH, Phaeton 44OH, Phaeton 40QKH). I understand the numeric reference, but I donít understand the character references (maybe they have something to do with options?). It would be nice if there was some place that described the names.

I also wonder how what types of options/components (e.g. chassis) impact resale value.

Thereís a lot to consider and itís such a large purchase that we want to be sure that we have enough knowledge about motor homes before we actually purchase one.
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Old 11-22-2020, 07:20 PM   #2
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I would say Newmar. Thor shouldn't be rewarded for the junk they sell at the mid and low end of the market. Tiffin is just your run of the mill RV, probably has less quality than a Bounder or Journey. Their only claim to fame is they often bend over backwards to help an owner with a problem. By having you drive clear to Alabama for them to work on it. From my reading though, they're no more reliable and immune from big issues as any of the other low end RVs.

Fleetwood or Winnebago tend to use higher quality parts to begin with so really intractable issues don't seem to talked about a lot on the big 3 forums. But that's just from my reading over 16 years, I could be wrong about 2-3 year old RVs. I do know that they are pumping them out like there's no tomorrow right how. And have been for 2 years. I'd expect quality to suffer and I'd look for something in the 3-6 year old range instead.

Most people go to the PPL website and check what RVs you're looking for are selling for. That's a consignment lot and they will know what the going price is. I think you have to track down the SOLD prices yourself but they seem to be nice folks so you can ask too.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by BuyAnRV View Post
There also seems to be so many different names of each type (Phaeton 40QDH, Phaeton 44OH, Phaeton 40QKH). I understand the numeric reference, but I donít understand the character references (maybe they have something to do with options?). It would be nice if there was some place that described the names.
I can't speak for the other manufacturers but on the Tiffin coaches, the first numbers are the general length of the coach interior. The first and possibly second letters are the floor plan designation. The last letter "H" designates it as a Phaeton. The other model lines will have different letters such as "A" for Allegro Open Road and "P" for Allegro Bus. You can find the floor plans and model designtions for all of the Tiffin models and years here: https://tiffinmotorhomes.com/resources/brochures.

We have owned two Tiffin motor homes and have had relatively few minor issues with both. As for the comment about having to take it it Alabama, there is no requirement to do that. Local dealers or any RV repair can service them but a lot of owners return to the "mother ship" for repairs, just like Newmar and other brand owners return to the factory for quality service.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:32 PM   #4
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https://www.nadaguides.com/RVs for prices.

Based on our recent experience, dealers will be selling at average retail or higher, given the current market. But if you're trading in, they will offer 60-70% of LOW Retail. So a private seller will most times be in the middle between the trade in value and the average value.

https://www.rvusa.com/rv-guide/specs-guide for information.

We used this site alot because of the brochures that they have for models from current to 2008.

Happy hunting.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:45 PM   #5
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If you are looking at 2-3 yr old MH in the 38-40' class the budget you have will get you some very nice coaches. I would recommend that you visit dealers and look at the different models. It's the only way to know what is going to work for you. Spend time in the coaches when you find one. Take the time to get the feel of it. You'll know what is going to work for you.

I am on my second Newmar and I love them. Tiffin also makes a very nice MH. See if you can find them and drive them. You be spending a lot of time behind the wheel .

Make sure to get it inspected before buying. Then you will avoid unpleasant surprises.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuyAnRV View Post
We are thinking of purchasing a used 38-40' motor home (2-3 years old) and have been looking at Tiffin, Newmar and Thor. It seems like Newmar and Thor may be too expensive for our budget, but what do I know at this point. Our maximum budget is ~$225,000.
I'd add Entegra to your list, possibly instead of Thor.

You should be able to find something within your budget. You might need to go a few more years back to find a Newmar in that range. Depends on what your other requirements are.

Quote:
We know nothing about motor homes. We've rented some Class C motor homes in the past for weekend trips, but have never owned one.
But this makes me think that you should not be looking at spending your entire budget right now, because you have no idea what your requirements really are.

My advice is to look at a high-end gas class A. You should be able to get something from Tiffin, Newmar, or Entegra that is very nice and will probably only use half your budget. Use that to figure out what you need, what you want, and what you definitely don't want. Then take your time to find the right coach in a year or two.

Quote:
I believe there is more to consider that just drive train maintenance when looking at a used motor home. How does somebody that doesn't know anything able to verify that a potential motor home and all of its sub-systems have been properly maintained and are working properly?
Well, you don't. You can hire a certified RV inspector. You can ask for maintenance records, just like you would for a used car. But ultimately you don't really know.

Quote:
I also can't seem to locate anything similar to Kelly Blue Book car prices for used motor homes. Does something like this exist?
Yes, NADA guides. Don't put in mileage, and don't select any options.

Quote:
There also seems to be so many different names of each type (Phaeton 40QDH, Phaeton 44OH, Phaeton 40QKH). I understand the numeric reference, but I donít understand the character references (maybe they have something to do with options?). It would be nice if there was some place that described the names.
It varies from one manufacturer to the next. The number means "length" but it could be interior or exterior length. Always look at the floorplan specs to see what the actual length is. "BH" usually means "bunkhouse" (i.e. it has full-time bunks). "K" and "Q" sometimes refer to the size of the master bed. But honestly, it's really pretty arbitrary. Unfortunately, you really just have to memorize it.

Quote:
I also wonder how what types of options/components (e.g. chassis) impact resale value.
Only to the extent that they affect the initial purchase price. Since most options are only a couple thousand dollars extra on top of an MSRP that's hundreds of thousands of dollars... you're looking at maybe a few hundred bucks. Really, it hardly makes a difference at all.

Sellers may not agree with that statement, but people who buy RVs for a living do.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:25 PM   #7
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First, WELCOME to iRV2! We're glad to have you. Second, congrats on your upcoming retirement. An exciting time.

All those you listed are nice coaches, whether gas or diesel. Thor gets a lot of crap because they mfr the most RV's. By law of averages, of course they're going to have more issues reported, just 'cuz there's more out there. For example, the peeling upholstery issue is a well-known issue across all mfrs. We don't have that issue with ours because ours has the real UltraLeather (still faux leather but not the cheap stuff). Carefully look at the decor sheet (if you can find it - usually in a closet), for the type of fabric on the furniture. Another example, Newmar is having issues, reported in posts here, with their frameless windows separating & blowing out of their RV's at highway speeds. And, I believe all 3 mfr may have reports of DEF head issues for diesel models.

I suggest you go to the mfr websites of each of those you are considering & look at the floorplans for the years you are interested in. You can download the brochures. Then Google the years/makes/models & see what they are being listed for on sites like RVT, RVTrader. You might be able to find the years you're interested in on a dealer's lot that you can go see. In the meantime, visit dealer lots for those makes to see the current model construction/fit/finish.

We looked at Thor Venetian & Tuscany. We just didn't find a floorplan we liked. Same for Newmar. We looked at Ventana & Dutch Star; again no likeable floorplans for us. We had specific needs neither of them had. Tiffin had what we wanted. Our Phaeton (we bought 1.5years ago) fits in your budget then & would fit more now.

I don't know where people get the notion you have to go to Red Bay for service on Tiffins. Sure, some owners prefer service be done by/at the company who built their RV, but that's not a hard/fast rule. There's plenty of qualified/trustworthy independent shops & Tiffin recommended shops all around the country. You can get a list of them from the Tiffin website. Don't let misinformation about where to get service keep you from any particular mfr if you like what they make.

We had a gas Bounder & now a diesel Phaeton. Both are nice coaches. There's no comparing our apples Bounder to our oranges Phaeton though, even if comparing a newer to newer. It'd be like comparing staying at a Marriott vs a Four Seasons. Yeah, the same microwave could be on the counter in both, but the style & appointments are far apart.

You may find used prices at an all time high now. People have decided they can RV & still be COVID safe, as opposed to taking some other type of vacation (cruise, resort....etc), so there's more demand than supply. There's less inventory out there. Those selling used RV's are not as willing to accept low offers because they know they've got a hot item. Just something to be aware of.

Have fun shopping & if you have more questions, just ask.

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Old 11-22-2020, 10:57 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum and good luck with your search, lots of knowledge here to help with your decision.
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:54 AM   #9
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Find the floor plan that you are most comfortable in since you will be living in it. For our search I narrowed it down to Tiffin and Newmar. We wanted the bath and a half option so I choose 2 Newmars and 2 Tiffins (one each gas and diesel, but not because of fuel requirement but because of the floor plan). We went to a show in Atlanta and spent several hours going through the 2 Newmars. We had to go to a dealer in Florida to look at the Tiffin's. We spent a few hours in both floor plans. I kept saying to my wife "pretend like you are living in it, go through the motions in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc.". I was thinking that we would get on the highway back to where we were staying and she would say "I think I want the ....". Sure enough about 20 minutes into our drive she said....

"I think I want the Tiffin diesel". Her reasonings were 1. The Tiffin lines looked cleaner and more organized than the Newmar 2. The bathroom had a seat integrated into the shower 3. She did not like the Newmar sink bowl in the half bath 4. She did not like the Newmar pivot door in the half bath 5. The Tiffin had a ceiling fan in the bedroom 6. She just felt more comfortable in the floor plan.

So we picked the Tiffin Allegro RED 37BA. It is just as nice as the Newmar (NOT run of the mill), we had very few issues at pick up (we ordered), customer service from Tiffin has been outstanding, we have made two trips to Red Bay for the service (versus a local dealer who wanted to hold the coach for a month, plus coach under warranty). So far we have been out about 60 nights this year, will add some in December. So far it has been nearly (I said nearly) flawless, with a few minor issues but certainly none that have caused us grief.

Good luck and do your due diligence, it is and expensive purchase and you want to get it as right as possible the first time.
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Old 11-23-2020, 09:31 AM   #10
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You will have to take everything posted with a grain of salt and do your own research, as everyone has their own concept of quality. In my case, I have owned Winnebago, Fleetwood products (Southwind Bounder, Pace Arrow & Discovery) and Tiffin (2 Phaetons and 1 Allegro Bus) I've had a sample of several brands. The last three have been Tiffins for a very good reason. We enjoyed all of them, but the Tiffin products gave us just what we were looking for in quality, reliability and convenient service from my local dealer. My son had a couple Newmar Mountain Aires and I put them a notch above Tiffin Allegro Bus. I have been in the Thor products, but was never impressed enough to ask the price. Most would not include Thor in the same class with Newmar, Entegra and Tiffin.

Now you have one more experienced opinion to add to the mix. You have a lot to take in before you can make an informed decision. Don't be in a hurry. Check out several and drive as many as you can. If you are like many, you will know when you have found yours.
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Old 11-23-2020, 03:17 PM   #11
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you will get a ton of Chevy vs Ford type feedback here so take it all with a grain of salt. We have an Entegra and like it a lot. The issues we have had are not specific to Entegra but rather to the parts of all DP. Such as AQUA Hot, Fuel Filters etc. There is an NADA for motorhomes and like the previous guy said dont put in mileage or options and that will give you a good starting point. If you are financing the MH those numbers are much more important. A professional inspection prior to purchase will save you some stress but doesnt really guarantee future trouble. I would disagree with the poster on going with gas unless that is what you truly want long term, buying and selling RV's is always a money losing proposition.
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Old 11-23-2020, 07:32 PM   #12
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I would say Newmar. Thor shouldn't be rewarded for the junk they sell at the mid and low end of the market. Tiffin is just your run of the mill RV, probably has less quality than a Bounder or Journey. Their only claim to fame is they often bend over backwards to help an owner with a problem. By having you drive clear to Alabama for them to work on it. From my reading though, they're no more reliable and immune from big issues as any of the other low end RVs.

Fleetwood or Winnebago tend to use higher quality parts to begin with so really intractable issues don't seem to talked about a lot on the big 3 forums. But that's just from my reading over 16 years, I could be wrong about 2-3 year old RVs. I do know that they are pumping them out like there's no tomorrow right how. And have been for 2 years. I'd expect quality to suffer and I'd look for something in the 3-6 year old range instead.

Most people go to the PPL website and check what RVs you're looking for are selling for. That's a consignment lot and they will know what the going price is. I think you have to track down the SOLD prices yourself but they seem to be nice folks so you can ask too.

Thank-you for your response. I have been told the same thing about the PPL site and I have been checking the website regularly the past few months. I have seen a few 2-3 year old motor homes, but I probably won't be ready to buy for possibly 6 months. As I had said, I know very little about the different manufacturers and had never considered Fleetwood or Winnebago. I should probably consider these manufactuers, as well. My wife and I have been watching a lot of GoingRV episodes. If nothing else, it at least gives us some idea on what the coaches look like inside and out.
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Old 11-23-2020, 07:41 PM   #13
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Thank-you for the information and the link to Tiffin floor plans. This will help me understand what I'm looking at. It's good to hear that you've had relatively few minor issues with Tiffin. It seems like an IFS something to strongly consider. Does your 2017 Phaeton 40IH XSH handle well on the road?
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Old 11-23-2020, 07:44 PM   #14
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Thanks for the links to the RV guides! This is what I was hoping to find. This forum is fantastic. I'm amazed at the responses that I received and I know they'll help my wife figure out what will work for us.
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