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Old 09-26-2020, 02:42 PM   #1
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Discussion on average RV life mileage

My husband & I are finishing up a three week RV trip to Custer, SD, Grand Tetons & Yellowstone. We bought our 2002 RV seven years ago with 9500 miles. Odometer now is 27K.

Discussion question: What is your experience with the RV life miles? We saw many older RVís, older than ours on our trip. What seems to need repair & when?

Thanks for chiming in.
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Old 09-26-2020, 02:58 PM   #2
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Mine is 22 years old and hoping for 22 more. Maintenance.
1998 Country Coach Concept. 134,000 miles.
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Old 09-26-2020, 02:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Segrieve View Post
My husband & I are finishing up a three week RV trip to Custer, SD, Grand Tetons & Yellowstone. We bought our 2002 RV seven years ago with 9500 miles. Odometer now is 27K.

Discussion question: What is your experience with the RV life miles? We saw many older RV’s, older than ours on our trip. What seems to need repair & when?

Thanks for chiming in.

I think it has more to do with how the RV is cared for and maintained. Many, many, RVs have gone to the RV graveyard with just a few thousand miles on them. At the same time, many have lots of miles with lots of life left in them.



For the vast majority of RVs, poor maintenance ends their useful life long before mileage plays a significant factor. That's because the vast majority of RVs sit idle 11 1/2 months out of the year without regular inspection and maintenance. Somewhere along the way a leak develops and things go down hill quickly from there.


As already stated, the vast majority also sit idle for many months (at least all winter) and then get driven anywhere from a few miles to a few thousand miles before being relegated to storage again. In general I'd rather have an RV that is regularly driven at least a few hundred miles per month and has higher miles than one that sits long stretches and has far fewer miles.



As far as what breaks and at what mileage, even with great regular use and maintenance, your are correct all mechanical things will eventually fail. However, the "typical" or predictable failures are going to vary wildly based on the chassis and even the same chassis type from year to year. With proper care, diesel engines probably have a longer useful life than gas. Some transmissions are better than others. The coach itself it probably the most predictable failure point. Probably the most predictable failure is leaking, usually roof leaks. If caught early and fixed, this is less of an issue than one that's ignored until de-lamination sets in. Here again, one piece fiberglass roofs may be less prone to leaks than rubber membranes, but they all can and do fail.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Segrieve View Post
What seems to need repair & when?


Not being snarky, but whatever is "broken" needs repair as soon as it breaks. More importantly, good maintenance needs to happen before it breaks. Checking all caulking and seals regularly. Regular oil changes, chassis lubrication, wheel bearing maintenance, etc... It's much better to keep ahead of problems...
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Old 09-26-2020, 03:11 PM   #4
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There's a reason it's called "preventative maintenance", it tends to prevent problems. I totally agree with what the others have said about water leaks, that is the fatal disease of most RVs. It's not that some don't have other issues that send them to their grave, it's just that it's not as common. Regular maintenance will keep any vehicle alive for many, many years, but you have to do it. Good luck and keep your stick on the ice.
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Old 09-26-2020, 03:37 PM   #5
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Oh my, where to start.
General consensus is about 20 years. This can and is extended by care and maintenance. There are many units that are much older and many that have died before their time.
There are many good well built units that will last for many years just as there are some poorly built units that will be problematic from day one.
My BIL had the axles bend on his TT on his first trip. No he wasn't overloaded.
The higher end models are usually built with better materials etc but consider that many of the appliances are shared and are built by other manufacturers. Just because the water heater or tv quits, it is not the fault of the RV builder. After the 2008 recession there were many quality manufactures that closed while many others building cheaper unit survived. Sad but true. Many people contend that the best units were built in the 2000-2008 era.
What breaks first? How long is a piece of string? There is no way of predicting this. Most things have a design life and beyond that it is anyone guess.
Just my opinion and I'm sure that others here will differ. We all remember grandmas fridge that lasted 75 years. Yes many did but the efficiency was terrible.
Just remember you have a small house on wheels that is subject to continuous earthquakes and hurricane force winds, would your sticks and bricks house survive?

Likely I haven't answered your question but hopes it helps.
Good luck
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Old 09-26-2020, 04:31 PM   #6
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Appliances and such do have a life span, usually about 10 years if in constant use, but they can be rebuilt or replaced. The structural parts of well built RVs will last indefinitely if properly maintained and cared for. Better quality RVs typically can last for a very long time, but leaks are the bain of any RV if not properly repaired.
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Old 09-26-2020, 04:34 PM   #7
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Really "apples vs oranges" if comparing a high end diesel pusher with a gas coach.


Yes, appliances do age out, but are not a significant percent of the value of a higher end DP.


I know we sold our 1993 Foretravel with 170,000 miles on it. It is still going strong two owners later. Sure, probably needed appliances along the way.
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Old 09-26-2020, 04:52 PM   #8
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An entry level diesel coach is little if any better than a gas coach. The engine may well outlive a typical gas engine but there are some of those still around as well. If you get into the high end diesels then you could be right as the Newell, Marathon, Foretravel, Bluebird, and several others will outlast pretty much any other motorhome, but there is far more involved in that difference than the kind of fuel that they burn. The same could be said for the Airstream travel trailer of a few other very top line trailers. But these also sell initially for a lot more money that the mid to lower priced RVs of any type of fuel. I must disagree with a blanket statement that any diesel pusher will outlive all gas coaches. The majority of diesel coaches on the road today are sold new in the range of $200 - $300k and the new Foretravel starts at $1.2 million.
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Old 09-26-2020, 05:13 PM   #9
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Agree with the above assessment on gas vs. diesel. I believe many more RVs have gone to the scrap yard with less than 50K miles than more than 50K miles. Even the poorest built gas coach should make it 50K miles without significant drive train issues, assuming even the most basic of maintenance.



The engine isn't what makes the coach superior. However it is true that high end diesel pushers are usually built much better than low end gas coaches. Of course, if you do the math, you can buy anywhere from 3-10 gas coaches for the price of a high end diesel pusher and there are arguably high quality gas coaches that would compete with all but the highest end diesel coaches.
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Old 09-26-2020, 06:13 PM   #10
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Our 1987 Bluebird is still going strong. I have only had it for a little over1 1/2 years and @ 87K miles it is barely broken in. Maint. is the key and I have all the records from new. The only appliance that has been replaced is the fridge. A quality build that is properly cared for will outlast the owners.
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Old 09-27-2020, 08:20 AM   #11
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Pretty much agree with most of the others comments.



Mileage is a factor only on a few mechanical components, e.g. engine water pump, alternators & starters, suspension components, etc. Then there is the structural stuff, like roof and windows. Preventive maintenance can be a big factor there. The rest is all house stuff and the service life relates more to how it was used and how often. Think about it: your stick & brick house has zero miles on it but stuff still needs repairs and eventual replacement. Your RV is just a house that happens to be on wheels.
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Old 09-27-2020, 09:07 AM   #12
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Kept under roof or out in the weather plays a big, big part as well.

All other is mechanical. Maintain as should and repair properly when broken.
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Old 09-28-2020, 05:30 AM   #13
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My son bought a 1994 Aerbus 32ft. motorhome that was in storage with engine problems.Paid $800.
It has 120000 miles and one piston was damaged on the 454.
He just replaced the piston and got it running.Think he's going to sell it and buy a trailer.
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Old 10-30-2020, 02:48 PM   #14
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Most everyone has hit the hot items but there are so many variables in determining how long these rolling homes will last on the highways.

I am a huge proponent of preventive maintenance and prefer to replace wear items before they break. I would much rather replace a component in the shop vs. under duress on the side of the highway in the middle of a downpour and traffic.

Our first two coaches as well as the first ten years we've owned our current coach they resided outside and it was difficult to keep them clean and keep the paint in pristine condition. UV is very unforgiving on these things, from the roofs to the paint to the tires. If you don't have a building to keep them in even keeping them the least little bit out of the weather when they are not in use such as under an awning or lean-to will add life to an RV. Luckily we were in a position a few years ago to move and build a large climate controlled shop to store ours in when not on the road.

Our coach is 19 years old now with 130k miles and looks better than when it rolled off the assembly line in Feb. of 2002 but it isn't easy keeping them that way. When I tell people it's a labor of love I may understate the amount of labor.

I suggest getting in the habit of giving the coach a good visual inspection or walkaround on a routine basis and then crawl around under it several times a year and become acquainted or familiar with what is normal. Becoming personal with the coach goes a long way as when you see something odd you will know whether or not it is out of the norm and can address it quickly.

Lastly, if you are at all mechanically inclined or handy it will go a long way in helping to keep them on the road for many years. At the very least find a good mechanic or shop that you can build a rapport with so they know what you expect and will hopefully be able to deliver your desired results when you need repairs. I tell people that jumping from shop to shop to save a few bucks is not the best scenario when trying to prolong the life of an aging RV. There are good mechanics out there and there are those who will take advantage of those who they don't think they'll ever see again by making a "killer deal" on a repair once.
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