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Old 10-22-2020, 01:11 AM   #1
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Confused on what to buy now!

Hi all,
I am a retired 56 year old male, who has never owned an RV but have camped with a tent plenty. I've decided to go full time RV living with a budget of 75K max. Will be buying in Montana and live in Nebraska. Will travel a few times a year, but will mostly live in a park as a home. I've read several posts and glanced over many more and I absolutely have no idea on what brand or type of coach to buy now. It looks like almost every brand/model in these forums seem to have bad issues or traits. I don't want anything I have to tow, but after that I have NO idea what to look for. Any real suggestions as to brand, model, tips, new, used? All knowledge and experience would be greatly appreciated. I did try to search for this topic but somehow came up empty. I'm hoping I can get a good consensus on what brands are generally good and which to avoid. Thanks so much and I look forward to meeting many of you on the road someday soon.
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Old 10-22-2020, 09:13 AM   #2
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You will be buying used, so condition is much more important than brand name. That said, I encourage you to mostly look at the higher priced brands (higher in terms of original MSRP) because they are better built "under the covers" where it it isn't always apparent. The middle and upper end models still suffer for far too many production mistakes, but they generally do NOT have so many of the hidden shortcomings that can plague you years later.



With a $75k budget, you can buy a more recent year of a cheaper model or an older year of a high end model. I feel the older high end model is the better choice. Don't let car-buyer mentality bias you toward newer - you are buying a house that happens to be on wheels. Condition and suitability for your living needs are the key factors in a purchase decision.
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Old 10-22-2020, 09:52 AM   #3
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It would be good to try to narrow your search criteria a bit here to get better or more specific help. Things like Class A,Class C, gas or diesel, are you going to be towing anything and if so what, max length you are comfortable with, what type of campground you’ll most commonly use (full hookups to boondocking), how many people and pets in the rig, etc. With info like this you can quickly narrow down the candidates.

You mention buying in Montana - does that mean you’ll only buy a rig that’s in that state or that will be your domicile state?

I did a very quick search with $50-75K and 2004 and later for class A deisel rigs and immediately found this 2007 with a cat c7 and 23k miles on it for under $70k. Not sure if it’s what you are lookimg for but it’s a nice rig and appears to be in good shape and in general terms would be fine for full timing:
https://www.rvt.com/Gulf-Stream-Cres...82107-UX102428. Here’s an 06 HR with 35k for $67k from the same search, again not high end but good middle of the road: https://www.rvt.com/Holiday-Rambler-...19795-UX140421

And x2 on Gary’s advice - stick to older higher end units. Gulfstream was probably middle of the road, but as far as I know, well built and reliable.

As far as higher end coaches, in your budget you’ll see more higher mileage coaches too but I just found this Country Coach (higher end) in Oregon (private seller) that is low mileage and within your budget: https://www.rvt.com/Country-Coach-Al...07968-UX264015

This is the search I used - pretty broad at this point. One brand not represented here is Foretravel but only because in this price range with these basic criteria, nothing came up. Find a deal one that meets your criteria and you’ll be set. But take a look at the list. It includes the brands I’d look at. Most folks here shy away from “brand bashing” so you won’t get that many “stay away from these” recommendations here. https://www.rvt.com/New-and-Used-Cla...9&miles2=66000 Here’s the same “advanced search” on RVTrader.com https://www.rvtrader.com/2004-Any-Cl...uelType=diesel

Also I find this site handy: https://campaddict.com/rv-manufacturers/ I tells you who makes what which will reduce the confusion with so many “brands” out there. I’ve also found this site handy for Freightliner chassis coaches for specs through the years - about 30 manufacturers represented here: https://www.fcccrv.com/coaches/ I haven’t found a similar site for Spartan. Country Coach (Dynomax chassis) and Fortravel have their own chassis. Tiffin used Powerglide chassis for many years https://www.rvtechlibrary.com/chassi...e_overview.pdf
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:00 AM   #4
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us!

Monaco made some really good coaches in the early 2000's and you can find their Dynastys and Signatures in that price range. Look closely at the floor plans, as you will live with that every day! Hope you find the perfect rig for your needs!
Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:12 AM   #5
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In my opinion, neither of the two states you mentioned (Montana and Nebraska) are suitable for winter living in any RV. RVs are not built to handle extreme cold conditions over long periods of time. At best you will be spending a small fortune on propane for the furnace or electricity for space heaters. Water lines will freeze and you will have a constant battle with condensation since you will need to have the rig sealed up tight as a drum. Winter living in an RV in northern climes is a job unto itself and won't be a financial windfall over just renting an actual home.
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:39 AM   #6
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I agree with the above poster on living in an RV over the winter months. Another point is a lot of RV parks close from mid Oct or the end of Oct in the northern states. They will open up again around April 1 of the following year. There will be no water or services in the park after they close.

We our doing mid fall camping in MI right now and I could only find a couple of parks open past Oct 15. We are in one right now heading home on Oct 26.

Another thing to remember is some RV parks have a 10 year or newer rule I.E. the rig cannot be over 10 years old unless prior approval is granted to stay there. Some parks may allow a motor home up to 15 years old.

The motor home folks may disagree but a 5TH wheel has more bang for the buck. Why? Larger living area with three or four slide unit, more storage in the 5ER, with less maintenance to do. An when work is required it is simpler to maintain the unit. No engine and transmission to service in the RV which is limited on a motor home. With a pickup truck any automotive shop can work on the truck.

Just my opinion base on what I have seen as far as motor homes with my neighbor's rig VS my 5th wheel.
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Old 10-22-2020, 10:51 AM   #7
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Living in NE? Remember ALL RVs are poorly insulated at best. Dealing with dumping holding tanks in freezing temps is another choir you might not want to deal with. Go buy a used park model or a mfg home already set up in a park. Then go buy a smaller used trailer to use for the "few" times a year you want to take a trip. All RVs are depreciating assets, so unless you got a smoking deal and sometime in the future you were able to sell it near the top of market price you ahould expect to loose a good portion of your money.
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Old 10-22-2020, 11:23 AM   #8
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Diesel coaches tend to be the preferred choice for those who travel thousands of miles each year. Mid to high end DPís that may have listed for $300-500K, 15 years ago, would be in your price range today. These are well built, luxurious coaches. Many are built on a custom or proprietary chassis, which makes them a pleasure to drive. Diesels are more expensive to operate and maintain than a gas coach. A turbo, radiator or fuel system problem, for example, could easily cost several thousand dollars to repair. Normal wear and tear items, tires, suspension components, batteries, etc tend to be larger and more expensive to replace.

Youíve described your travel plans to be minimal. A gas coach may be something to consider. Repairs and maintenance will likely be less. Some drawbacks may include a lower overall build quality, less pleasant ride quality, less storage, less towing capacity for a toad or trailer. If you plan to tow a car and donít have one capable of being towed, or set up to tow, there will be additional expenses involved in that process.

A Class C, gas or diesel, will have less living space per foot, due to the fact that the front 4-6í is taken up by the engine.

If you havenít spent some time looking and the different options, now is the time.

Financially, that $500K coach you pick up for $75K will one day be worth $50K, $40K, $30K. So donít count on it being much of a nest egg when your lifestyle inevitably changes.
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Old 10-22-2020, 12:15 PM   #9
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If I was doing the plan you have layed out, I would buy a trailer frame tiny house in which to live and a gas powered B-van to travel and use as a daily driver. Your budget is tight, but will be doable. Not sure where in Nebraska, but I'd try to find a cost effective lot rather than a park. Might even look at a house in a small town with parking space and the ability to rent it out for on-going cash flow.

The tiny house can be better insulated and will prove to be longer lasting than an RV. The B-van will be easy to handle around town on a daily basis and still allow you the flexibility of RV travel.
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Old 10-22-2020, 05:07 PM   #10
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I agree with others, living in Nebraska is not going to fun or economical in a RV.

Why not live in a mobile home? They are more like a 'home' and better insulated?

If you're only going to travel a couple times a year you don't want to get a motorized RV. Get a quality 5th wheel instead. You could have someone place it on your RV lot and get a small Class B for your couple trips if you want a RV. The Class B could be used as your daily driving vehicle. Something motorized wants to be driven.
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Old 10-22-2020, 07:12 PM   #11
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If you are set on wintering in northern climes, or even mid-western, in an RV, just narrow your search to Newmar (yes I’m biased, but....) as they are the best insulated, and then look for those with the optional additional insulation in the roof. And a one piece fiberglass roof is nice to - option on some, standard on others. Also find one with Oasis diesel heat if you can. But you can’t go wrong with Newmar, they are the upper end of the production coaches, and probably your best bet in cold weather.
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Old 10-23-2020, 09:52 AM   #12
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There are a lot of negatives to your plan, several of which others have already pointed out. A motorhome is the most expensive RV type to buy, maintain and insure; RVs in general are difficult & expensive to heat & cool in extreme temperatures (which Nebraska has aplenty), RV parks may not be full-service in winter months, etc. You are going to pay a high price for the ability to travel at whim, yet you don't plan to travel much at all.


Frankly, you would be far better off buying a manufactured home in a nice residential park somewhere and renting an RV when you get the urge to do some traveling.
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:42 AM   #13
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I canít figure out how anyone on this forum knows enough about the OPís situation to advise on what would be a ďbetterĒ decision.
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:48 AM   #14
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All you can do is go by the information provided and offer the fruits of your experience and knowledge. Sometimes questions are so vague it’s a shot in the dark. Others go on so long, I end up answering before even finishing the dissertation. In this case, the info is pretty good and the variety of responses reflects the variety of experiences of the respondents. Is it all spot-on? probably not. But in one way or another it’s all probably helpful to some degree. And that’s why we do it.
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