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Old 09-13-2021, 08:02 PM   #1
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Who to believe concerning Class A quality?

We're considering purchasing a used Class A, 28'-33', five years old or so. But advice on the web is all over the place. One person says avoid manufacturer ABC like the plague, another says manufacturer ABC is great.

I suppose it could be that certain manufacturing years were fine and others poor.

Anyway, who to believe? Which brands should we look for, which should we avoid, say for a 2014-2018 manufacture date?

Note that in our case I'd love a diesel pusher but I suspect it's out of our price range. Tiffin and Newmar seem to be highly recommended, not sure we can afford them, either. And some people love Winnebago and a few other brands, others say they are no good. Most people don't recommend Thor or Forest River.

Sigh...
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Old 09-13-2021, 08:13 PM   #2
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They're all right. Buying used is a crap shoot because you don't know how the MH was treated before you bought it. There are good units out there as well as bad. Take your time, have it inspected as a motor vehicle, and a home. Good luck.
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Old 09-13-2021, 08:28 PM   #3
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I have a Thor and will attest to poor build quality and cheap materials. Our 2018 Hurricane is showing it's age. I can only remember one trip where I did not have to make a repair when we returned to home base. As for the systems in the coach, they have all performed as designed and have not left us in a lurch. The chassis had a transmission cooler leak that required a new line and was easily fixed in the driveway. So, that's not on Thor, but inside the coach the upholstery is falling apart and the papier-mâché Thor uses as trim work is deteriorating. The wall covering is peeling off in a couple areas. For us, it was a good test bed and we will move on to another, higher quality brand once the market settles down. Our previous coach was a Fleetwood Class C and it was rock solid for the 15 years we owned it. It was made with a higher quality of materials and held up a lot better.
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Old 09-13-2021, 09:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barmcd View Post
They're all right. Buying used is a crap shoot because you don't know how the MH was treated before you bought it. There are good units out there as well as bad. Take your time, have it inspected as a motor vehicle, and a home. Good luck.
I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. That being said don'y necessarily discount a few older models to boot. My wife and I purchased a 2002 Gulf Stream DP last November, it is 36' long powered by a Cat 3126. Tows our 4 door jeep effortlessly and only had 30,000 miles on it. We had to do some minor repairs that set us back about $1200, that included new batteries, ceiling fan and refrigerator vent and some basement door latches. I did all this myself over 3 weekends. Not retired yet but no spring chicken at 58 either. We have been on a week long trip and several weekend trips since buying it. I, my wife and a friend did all the inspection of the RV, not an expert but had a reasonable understanding after tours thru the RV plants in Indiana and Tiffin here in Red Bay on what to look for. The previous owner replaced the inverter after it was checked out and didn't work properly, it had an A/C unit replaced 3 months before and the owner had 3-4 years worth of service records available. I paid $31k for the rig, still need to replace the 2 front tires before next year, they look in good shape but are 8 years old, the 4 rears were less than 2 at purchase. Rigs like mine are out there, you just have to look around. The air ride from a DP is worth a lot after spending days on the road and having your butt and the unit beat up by bad roads. A trip to Elkhart Indiana is a must for how these things are built, I toured, Forest river, Thor, Newmar and Wraith while in Indiana along with the RV museum, I visited Tiffin in Red Bay which is a 2 hr drive from our house. Newmar and Tiffin impressed me although both for different reasons. Gulf stream had quit making class A's after the 2008-09 season due to the economy so touring that was not really an option. As far the length a 28' will ride rough, I wouldn't go less than 32' personally, test drive a couple of new ones to get an idea of ride, it will surprise you.

Any other questions feel free to ask!
I'll help the best I can.
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Old 09-13-2021, 09:15 PM   #5
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Look for the quality of the cabinets inside ie the wood, hinges and handles and also look at the outside compartment doors/latches. You will be able to tell quality. Compartment doors that have nice latches and gas shocks to support them when open are high quality compared to ones with turn latch and then a clip to hold them open fastened to the skin of the coach.
Not picking one any certain rands just what to look for in quality.
Best of luck in your search.
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Old 09-14-2021, 06:32 AM   #6
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Based on our search back in 2017-2018, we felt Tiffin, Newmar and Winnebago were the top picks, with Tiffin and Newmar are the top choices. But, our search was for a gas motorhome.

We have no complaints about our Bay Star. The Flexsteel fake leather covering on the furniture did start to fail and we have had the captain's chairs reupholstered. The couch cushions are starting to go (early signs of cracking) so we will probably replace it this winter or spring.

If buying used, it's all about how the RV has been serviced and maintained. In our search, we looked at several rigs that had obviously not been cared for and were in bad shape. It helps if you can find one that has been stored in a covered or sheltered area such that the exterior hasn't been damaged by uv/sun exposure.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 09-14-2021, 04:26 PM   #7
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I suggest looking at high end coaches pre 2009. The earlier 2000's were the pinnacle of quality in the RV. industry, before the economy collapsed and bankruptcies and mergers occurred. Not to mention diesels were pre- eemissions in that Era too. I personally would be looking at Monaco, Country Coach, American coach, Tiffin , Newmar...and looking at the top models like the Executive, Tradition, Magna, Allegro Bus,king aire etc. Also well maintained coaches of this Era , will have had the bugs worked out and will have simpler systems in general and less electronic do- dads to worry about. MY 2 CENTS!
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Old 09-14-2021, 05:47 PM   #8
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I would agree that older DPs are a good bet.
In your search, find the floor plan that works for you and your family. If you have never owned a motorhome you need to find someone that has one and buddy up with them - they will be worth their weight in gold. Once you find one, take them with you and let them loose on inspecting the rig, tagging along to learn. They will know how systems work and can inspect the body with experience. The roof needs to be inspected (walked on) also.
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Old 09-14-2021, 06:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Look for the quality of the cabinets inside ie the wood, hinges and handles...
What Barney says there is exactly what really sucked me into buying my older Newmar. Solid actual wood cabinetry like I only wish I could do. It was almost a year after I bought it that I found out (here) that the carpenters that made the cabinets were Amish. Explained that. The rest of the coach isn't quite up to the quality of the woodwork but I have certainly seen a lot worse and am happy enough.

First thing I look at inside any type of camper now.

Word here seems to be that quality kind of fizzled for many coaches circa 2008.
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Old 09-14-2021, 06:52 PM   #10
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They're all right. Buying used is a crap shoot because you don't know how the MH was treated before you bought it. There are good units out there as well as bad. Take your time, have it inspected as a motor vehicle, and a home. Good luck.
Right now buying NEW is a crapshoot.
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Old 09-14-2021, 06:57 PM   #11
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We were in a similar position before we bought our class A. I am a retired auto tech instructor and therefore think a little differently than some ( most ) others.
I WANT TO BE ABLE TO FIX IT IF ( read when ) IT BREAKS.
All RV's will have issues and I want to minimize them. That being said I don't want slides, everything controlled by an electronic panel, DEF, or other sophisticated ( read CAN'T be fixed ) stuff.
After many months of research we decided the best avenue for us was to buy an older all mechanical unit.
We followed some sage advice and searched for a high quality unit with meticulous maintenance records that was owned by a knowledgeable, meticulous owner. ( If the owner can't answer your questions and demonstrate how everything works, speak with pride about the maintenance that has been done and show a sincere love for the RV they are about to give up then they aren't it )
We searched for 2 years and finally found our 1987 Bluebird Wanderlodge. Owned by a family that had lavished her with care and was barely broken in at 84k miles. No slides, one computer for the ZF heavy duty commercial grade trans, 300 hp Cat 3208 engine and believe it or not, EVERYTHING WORKS. No tears or peeling of cheap crap upholstery. no trim falling off, an owners forum that has available all wiring and hydraulic diagrams and parts availability and all of problem solving help that you could ask for ( Wanderlodge Owners Group ) and we couldn't be happier with our choice
Bottom line is to find the highest quality, best cared for unit that you can and enjoy the ride. Don't be overly concerned about age on a well built, high quality unit as long as it suits your needs. I have not heard of any windshields falling out or leveling jacks falling off or any other of the myriad issues that seem to plague the newer RV's with a well built unit like a Wanderlodge.
Be aware that if you can't do your own maint. and repairs any RV can be very expensive no matter what the year.
Good luck in your quest and enjoy the ride.
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Old 09-14-2021, 07:25 PM   #12
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lots of things to look at... I am not a Class A guy but have friends that swaer by or at the same models LOL.. I have seen 2-3 year old lemons.
Term Crap shoot or Russian Roulette.. .

I have also done semi professional inspections and walk thru for some folks in my area..
Know enough to shake stuff down , operate and be observant... meaning.. Try every aspect, button, anything that is supposed to move, move it, if it turns on, turn it on.. open it close it,,, Drive the owner or dealer crazy... Take notes of items or pics that you or they are unsure of, then research prior to buying,,,
Bring a ladder, check that roof, seals,, paint etc..
Check dates on tires and service records..

How handy are you or can you be, ? Does all work and service need to be done at a shop., do you have a shop that will work on what you are looking to buy.. You dont want to travel 150 miles to fix a loose bolt...???
The age of electronic components, are monitor panels or components still serviced or used, dinosauer parts...

I am not mentioning a brand... The all can work, sure better and longer than another or the same, each brand may have a quirk..

You can read these forums on each brand and pick up on specific weird stuff and which EMS or AC or Fridge everyone crys about..

One thing is I do not trust many sellers.. dealers, certain people.. Most are great and want to sell as they moved on or have used the RV in a good way..
With some education your self, the BS may be averted and you get the real deal..

Twice I got the short stick, once recently I had a blond moment and got a POS vehicle..
My last RV was luck of the draw, crap shoot, owner was good guy,low miles, clean as a whistle, has MV inspection and RV inspection by seller documented, most all things worked, it had issues here and there but I am a fixer, Made a deal, . then gremlins woke up on drive home...
. I am lucky I can do 99% of the work from making cabinates , sewing cushions, rebuilding a motor etc etc.. Sure this forum helps as a second opinion or just good stuff to save the day info..

MY POINT is Class A is always a top of line IMO, made well, made HD, Good stuff compared to a C or TT...
Just lear about the model you look at, read, test it, if seller wont show all the stuff, walk away,, Used stuff leaves you at the mercey or others that may or may not experts.. HELL I just had a friend buy a TT from a 40 year local dealer,, She got to the site, had stuff in coolers, fridge on, filled fridge, settled in,, woke up to a beeping battery,, NO genny boondocking,, Had propane turned on.. Found out Fridge was electric 120/12v only.. Ran truck to charge,, but... they were told the battery would last a weekend .. Assumed fridge was propane sales guys said fridge would switch automatic.. yeah 12v to 120..,, Sounds lame but back in day the lady camped in a TT with mom / dad .. fridge ran on propane... None on the real operations and stuff got explained,,,
They took unit back, made a big stink in front of a busy showroom.. Cost them $500 , swapped to a 3way fridge, dealer gave a second battery group 24 but free installed.. and sold them a Firman 2000 genny at a discount..
SORRY I felt like a long dumb story...
BUT I research what I buy and learn how it work, I dont expect to be taught service or anything but I want to know warranty and who can fix, if at a dealer or even a private seller, i ask who they used,,,and check them out,,,
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Old 09-14-2021, 09:02 PM   #13
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Sounds like that dealer went above and beyond what they needed to do. Good for them.
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Old 09-15-2021, 01:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by scbwr View Post
Based on our search back in 2017-2018, we felt Tiffin, Newmar and Winnebago were the top picks, with Tiffin and Newmar are the top choices. But, our search was for a gas motorhome.

We have no complaints about our Bay Star. The Flexsteel fake leather covering on the furniture did start to fail and we have had the captain's chairs reupholstered. The couch cushions are starting to go (early signs of cracking) so we will probably replace it this winter or spring.

If buying used, it's all about how the RV has been serviced and maintained. In our search, we looked at several rigs that had obviously not been cared for and were in bad shape. It helps if you can find one that has been stored in a covered or sheltered area such that the exterior hasn't been damaged by uv/sun exposure.

Good luck in your search!

Tiffin, Newmar & Winnebago would be my choice 2002 to 2006.
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