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Old 07-18-2021, 03:10 PM   #1
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Smile Newbie. How Old is too old?

Hi there! My husband and I are considering purchasing a 24í Class C. We are long time tent campers in our mid 50ís who love to travel around the U.S.

We have done several cross country trips in our minivan with our kids when they were younger and are now looking for something the two of us could use to see the sights.

We like the idea of a 24í because we can park it easier, love to visit National Parks and really donít require much space inside because we are usually out hiking and exploring, etc..

We do not want to buy new but wonder exactly how old is too old? 10 years seems to be the absolute maximum we are thinking with something more along the lines of 5-7 years old.

Any brands we should steer clear of? Any advice is welcome!

Thanks so much!
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Old 07-18-2021, 03:17 PM   #2
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Much of the answer depends on your mechanical skills and interest VS pocket book.

How mechanically handy are ya'll?
Brett Wolfe
Ex: 2003 Alpine 38FDDS. Ex: 1997 Safari Sahara. Ex: 1993 Foretravel U240
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Old 07-18-2021, 03:18 PM   #3
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Just speaking for myself, I'd pay more attention to mileage and condition than to years.

1993 Rockwood 28' Class C - Ford E-350 7.5L
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Old 07-18-2021, 03:20 PM   #4
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Your budget, and units availability in the length you want will determine how old a motorhome you'll wind up with.
24' is getting down to a longer class/type B van conversion length. Have you considered that? Anything on a Promaster chassis or van might be worth a look, like the Winnebago Travato, if you can find any used ones for sale. Class/type C units on the Ford Transit or Mercedes Sprinter are fairly close to your desired length, give or take a foot or two.
Many say it's a tight supply market out there right now, so good luck in your search.
2018 (2017 Sprinter Cab Chassis) Navion24V + 2016 Wrangler JKU (sold @ ????) - 2016 Sunstar 26HE (sold @ 4600 miles) - 2002 Roadtrek C190P (sold @ 315,000kms)
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Old 07-18-2021, 03:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by wolfe10 View Post

Much of the answer depends on your mechanical skills and interest VS pocket book.

How mechanically handy are ya'll?
My husband can do basic things but prefers not to. I also prefer him not to because of the time involved.

Wondering for instance is a 2013 with 10k miles too old? (Just an example) Obviously would check for rust etc., but it makes me think why didnít people use it more? Are newer one a ďlotí better on gas mileage or is it negligible?

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Old 07-18-2021, 03:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Winterbagoal View Post
Your budget, and units availability in the length you want will determine how old a motorhome you'll wind up with.
24' is getting down to a longer class/type B van conversion length. Have you considered that? Anything on a Promaster chassis or van might be worth a look, like the Winnebago Travato, if you can find any used ones for sale. Class/type C units on the Ford Transit or Mercedes Sprinter are fairly close to your desired length, give or take a foot or two.
Many say it's a tight supply market out there right now, so good luck in your search.
We have considered those but the prices are more than a regular Class C due to the explosion of “van life” over on TikTok.

We would like to stay in the 60k range if that helps.
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Old 07-18-2021, 03:56 PM   #7
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10,000 is not many miles, we almost travel gthat in a year!
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Old 07-18-2021, 05:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dsnutes View Post
10,000 is not many miles, we almost travel gthat in a year!
I agree! That is why I am wondering if an older rv with only a few miles is something to steer clear of? And how old is too old for a decent one that wonít continually need repairs?

We are just trying to get some guidance on what to look out for.
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Old 07-18-2021, 07:40 PM   #9
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A rig that has been garage-kept all it's life would mean a lot to me. Our 23'-8" long rig is 14 years old, currently with 38,000 miles. It's condition remains like brand new because we have always stored it in our heated and cooled garage.

CLICK HERE to see many pictures of it.

You sound like us, doing trips much the same. Our focus is primarily on national parks & monuments, but not limited to them alone. We stay in those places, national forests, BLMs, state parks, and in Walmart parking lots in between. We try our hardest to avoid RV parks.

We'd have more miles on our rig but we tow a 4x4 Jeep Liberty for improved mobility once at our destinations. The desert regions are especially beneficial. So our rig's miles gets us to places. The tow vehicle is driven thereafter. We have also done some world travel so there have been some years where the rig just sits in the garage. No harm in that.

When a rig is so well preserved, everything about it is also well preserved. For example, I just replaced the original 14 year old tires just a few months ago. People who store their rig out in the elements are changing tires every 5 to 7 years. The same can apply to many other components of the chassis and house.

Regarding which rig is better, take your time and read through this.
New, used, or well used, when shopping for a conventional class B+ or C, the most important consideration is how it is constructed. This post outlines construction methods which are most affordable and methods that cost more, but are built to hold up much better to the elements and also the punishment of the road.

Some motor home manufactures offer different levels of quality through their various model lines. Instead of providing a list of brands to consider, it is best to identify what "Better" is.

When shopping for a motor home, don't get distracted with "Eye Candy" and "Square Footage". You want to pay close attention to how the house is constructed. Water infiltration is the number one killer of motor homes, rotting them away long before anything is worn out. Once water gets inside, it is like termites. By the time you realize there is a problem, a lot of damage has already occurred. Also consider that mold & mildew can grow inside the walls which then you have a health hazard. My advise focuses on identifying a reliably well sealed motor home.

#1 BEST (Very Expensive, Can Be 1.5 times the cost of Second Best)
NO structural seam work. The brand Coach House is a fine example. It is seamless, made from a mold. The only places where water can leak is cutouts for windows, entry door, roof-top vents & a/c unit, storage compartments & maintenance access, all of which are in areas of very low stress. Because they have a seamless shell, these motor homes are not common and have a limited selection of sizes and floor plans.

Common, Affordable, & comes in Many Sizes so this is my main focus
I own an example of this type. My Rig Here manufactured by Phoenix USA.
Made in sections, but assembled in a way that greatly reduces the threat of water damage. Here are the good things you want to look for.

a) Structural Seams Away From Corners
When a motor home is driven, the house bounces, resonates, shakes, and leans countless times, representing a endless series of earthquakes. Corner seams see greater stresses than seams located elsewhere. Corner seams are more easily split, especially when the caulk gets brittle with age & exposure to the sun. One extremely bad bump in the road can instantly breach a corner seam. Seams hold up much better when they are brought in from the corners in lesser stressed areas.

b) A Seamless Over-The-Van Front Cap
A huge bed above the van’s roof is the most vulnerable area of a motor home. No matter how well they are made, that long frontal over-hang resonates when the RV is driven making it common for seams to split there, most troublesome with age & exposure to the elements. HERE is an example, one of many water-damage threads I have read. Scroll down in that thread to see pictures of the real damage.

The small front aerodynamic cap of a B+ design HERE eliminates the overhang which eliminates most of the resonation, along with the most vulnerable seam work.

There are a few conventional “C” Designs (big over-van bed) where that area is seamless. If you absolutely must have that huge bed, then look for a seamless bucket-like design. The Itasca Navion is a fine example. If your requirements are to have a large class-C with a massive over-van bed, the best example I seen was this Fleetwood Tioga model offered around 2008-2009. It is unfortunate all class-Cs don't practice seamless cab-over area construction for it would greatly improve the class-C industry.

Increasing in popularity by many manufactures is a shallow bucket design with fewer seams located in less-stressed areas. The Nexus Triumph is one such example. This shallow bucket design is a reasonable compromise.

If you plan to accommodate more than 2 people, having that large extra cab-over bed will be extremely useful.

c) A Crowned Roof
Rain and snow melt runs off a crowned roof. A flat roof will sag over time, then water puddles around heavy roof-top items like the a/c unit. Water eventually finds it's way inside after gaskets & caulk have degraded from age, sun, and change in seasons.

d) Rolled-Over-The-Edge seamless Fiberglass Roof Sheathing
A single sheet of fiberglass as shown HERE that rolls over the right & left sides of the roof, down to the wall. The overlapping of fiberglass to the wall provides a good water seal and the fiberglass sheathing holds up better than roofs made of sheet rubber or thin plastic called TPO, which require more attention to keep your RV well protected.

e) A Five Sided Rear Wall Cap
A five sided back wall moves the seams around to the sides to areas of much less stress as seen HERE. The rear wall resembles a shallow rectangular cooking pan standing on it's side. Like the example, some rear wall sections are constructed with an integrated spare tire compartment and rear storage compartment. Not only are they convenience features, but that rear wall/cap offers a solid double-wall for exceptional strength which is more resistant to flexing the adjoining seam work. It helps in keeping the house together.

Don't be fooled. Some manufactures add rear wall sectional styling which gives the appearance of a 5-sided pan design. Though not as desirable, they are still an improvement because all the holes for lighting and such are not in the structural wall where water could otherwise get inside the house. You can easily tell by noting the sections & seams between them and the flat back wall that remains exposed. CLICK HERE to see an example.

f) Walls Are Either Resting On The Floor Or Bolted Against It
Common sense would say the walls should rest on the floor, but some manufactures actually bolt the walls into the side of the floor framing. This means the weight of the roof and walls (and everything hanging on them) rests on mounting bolts. How well will that method hold up when being driven for so many thousands of miles? Checking for this is very difficult. It takes a trained eye for sure. CLICK HERE for an example of it done right with the walls resting on the floor.

Bigger Will Be Weaker
The size & floor plan you select MUST FIRST meet your needs before this consideration.
The bigger the house, the weaker the structure will be. Consider two cardboard boxes made from the exact same corrugated material. The smaller box would naturally be stronger. It will be more resistant to bending, twisting, and other types of flexing. So if you are on the fence between models, the smaller one will be your stronger choice.

Potentially Troublesome Construction
Entry level motor homes are made with seams in corners and finished off with trim, including the massive cab-over bed. Their roof is flat and finished with rubber or TPO. They are most affordable, and come in all sizes. HERE is one such example. If considering this construction type, keep in-mind they require more regular care with bi-annual inspections. Plan to use a caulking gun now and then. When buying a used one, consider that you really don't know how well the previous owner maintained it. Buying new or used, that construction method will be counting on you to be a good non-neglectful owner.

There are also the rare exception of the Lazy Daze which has seam work in the corners, but the substructure and sealing method is of the highest quality that it holds up like a seamless body. It's excellent sectional construction methods are not commonly found in other brands. I am no expert on this, but I'd give it a #1.5 Almost Like Best

A Caution Concerning Slide Outs
Slide outs are most popular. Everybody loves the extra floor space they provide. There are so few motor homes made without at least one slide out. Unfortunately slide outs can introduce risk of water damage to the main floor around them. Good seals work when the rig is young, but can loose their ability to seal properly as they age. When looking at used rigs with slide outs, closely examine the main floor around each one. If you can lift the carpet adjacent to the slide out and see the wood floor is a gray color, that is a sign that water gets inside. Also, completely open the slide out and step on the main floor adjacent to the slide out. If it feels soft, the plywood or chip board material underneath likely requires replacing.

About The Chassis
The most popular is the Ford E350 and E450 with the V10 engine and this year Ford replaces that 6.8L-V10 with a larger, more powerful 7.3L-V8. The Ford Transit diesel and the Mercedes Sprinter diesel are popular alternatives to the E350 in the smaller sizes. The GM 3500 & 4500 chassis are not popular but are a very good choice for the right application. Any of the chassis mentioned made since 1998 are real good, new or used. If you plan to tow a car or heavy trailer, be aware that the Transit and Sprinter will be least powered. People who tow with them naturally take it slower. I am not sure a Transit can tow anything significant. That needs further research.

If considering a recent “small” class B+ or C motor home, here is a comparison between the two current main chassis contenders, the Sprinter with the V6 diesel engine and the Ford E350 with the V10 gasoline engine.

Advantages Of The Mercedes Sprinter With Diesel Engine
- Offers a 35%-50% improvement in fuel economy over the Ford-V10, when both are loaded and driven identically.
- More ergonomic driver compartment with more leg room.
- Comfort continues with a car-like feel & quiet ride.
- A grander view out the windshield
- Made by Mercedes which people are attracted to.

Advantages Of The Ford E350 with V10 Engine or larger V8 engine
- Given identical motor homes both brand and model, the Ford is around $24,000 MSRP cheaper
- The Ford V10 engine has 50% more horse power and torque
- The Ford E350 chassis handles 1430 pounds more weight.
- The E350 is able to tow a heavier load.
- The E350 rear axle is significantly wider which translates to better stability.
- In most places traveled, gasoline costs less than diesel fuel
- The Sprinter diesel has limited mechanical service shops around North America
- The Sprinter diesel is typically outfitted with a propane generator. Propane is a critical fuel for RV operations, and generally needs to be rationed when dry camping.
- This Next Point Is Debatable But Still Worth Noting....The V6 Sprinter diesel engine is not allowed to idle for extended periods. This limitation is detrimental when you need a/c but there are generator restrictions, you are low on propane, or you have a mechanical failure with the generator or roof a/c. The Ford offers a great backup system. The V10 can safely idle for hours on end, heating, cooling, and battery charging, all valuable if you have a baby, pets, or health/respiratory issues.

You decide what your priorities are, and pick the appropriate chassis. There are some really sweet motor homes being built exclusively on the Sprinter chassis, such as the Winnebago Navion and View.

The Ford Transit Chassis
This chassis is increasing in popularity in the smallest sizes. According to Ford's website, the Transit DRW chassis is offered in the 156", and 178" wheel base, and is rated as high as 10,360 GVWR. Ford offers a motor home package specific for the RV industry. It's diesel engine compares to the Sprinter in power and fuel economy, but is more affordable and is easily serviced at Ford service centers, just like the E350 & E450. The cab has a lower stance than the Sprinter making it much more friendly to get into and out from for people in their later years. Entering and exiting is more like a mini-van rather than a standard van. The Transit's lower cab also offers roomier over-head bunks that are easier to access.

The Dodge Promaster 3500 Cut-Away Chassis
This front wheel drive chassis is another recent entry in the RV industry. I am concerned over it's lack of load capability as reflected with single free-wheeling rear wheels. I have been reading posts written by new Promaster RV owners stating they are over-weight with just two people, some personal effects and food. They say they can't carry water and never a 3rd person. I would not be comfortable with such a limited load range in a B+ or C. This chassis does seem to be a good option in the "B" motor home market.

The Chevy 3500 & 4500 Chassis
Unfortunately this chassis is not more popular, primarily because GM sort-of gave up on competing with the Ford E350 & E450. It offers more interior comfort than the Ford, but not as much as the Sprinter. It's power & weight ratings are a little less than their Ford counter-parts making them a great chassis for all but the heaviest of class Cs. They are also a little better on fuel consumption. One thing to keep in-mind, if you are counting inches in storing your rig, the Chevy is a little longer than the Ford by a number of inches which was critical for us with our garage as seen HERE with our Ford 2007 E350 rig. That could be the reason why the Chevy has a little more interior driver/passenger leg room.

The Ford E350 & E450
The majority of class B+ and C motor homes are built on one of these two chassis for a number of very good reasons, and with the changes in recent years to the engine and transmission, the good reasons increase. They have more power and load capability than the others. Ford approves outfitters to modify the chassis to increase or decrease the wheel base which supplies motor home companies a lot of design freedom. Ford has off-the-shelf components that work with the wheel base modification. So if you need a new drive shaft, fuel line, brake line, parking brake cable, wire harness, whatever, Ford has them available. Finally, the E350 and E450 chassis is competitively priced.

Engine Power Ratings of Ford, MB-Sprinter, Chevy, and Dodge
Ford E350 & E450 - 6.8L-V10, 305hp, 420ft (7.3L-V8 starting in 2020)
Ford Transit Diesel - 3.2L-I5, 185hp, 350ft
Mercedes Sprinter Diesel - 3.0L-V6, 188hp, 325ft
Chevy 3500 & 4500 - 6.0L-V8, 323hp, 373ft
Dodge Promaster - 3.6L-V6 (GVW only 9,300 pounds)

Now to supply some data as to why I feel our Phoenix Cruiser stands above most other brands. Click on the video below for a slideshow on how a Phoenix Cruiser is built. I feel this slide show teaches so much, especially about hidden things that unsuspecting buyers would never think about.

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Old 07-18-2021, 08:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Carpevaca View Post
My husband can do basic things but prefers not to. I also prefer him not to because of the time involved.

Wondering for instance is a 2013 with 10k miles too old? (Just an example) Obviously would check for rust etc., but it makes me think why didn’t people use it more? Are newer one a “lot’ better on gas mileage or is it negligible?

If you are unable or unwilling to "do things" like basic repairs then you won't get much use of it. Suppose something breaks, major or minor. You take it to a dealer or service center and it may wait weeks or months for them to "get round to it". Meanwhile you can't use it. The time involved for repairing something yourself is going to be far less that going to a typical RV service center. Many RV dealers now will not even accept work on units they did not sell. They are swamped.

A 2013 with only 10K miles just sat most of the time and mechanical things that sit, deteriorate. Fuel mileage on all RVs is poor. Fact of life.
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Old 07-19-2021, 02:28 AM   #11
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chunker makes a very good point. You really need to be a handyman when it comes to the matters of the house itself, both inside and outside.

The chassis is like any other vehicle. There are three chassis issues that haunts many motorhome owners because it sits unused outdoors for extended periods at a time.

1) The brake rotors tend to rust badly requiring brake work much more frequently.

2) The tires develop significant side wall cracks which require replacing, especially with longer/heavier rigs where the full 80 psi is required in the tires. Lower psi requirements are less susceptible to tire blow-outs, so you can get some extra years of use with modest side wall cracking being present.

3) Rodent damage.
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Old 07-19-2021, 04:35 AM   #12
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I purchased a 2005 Jamboree 29V with 98,000 miles for $17,000. I had to replace the tires, and I updated the interior because I wanted to, as opposed to any pressing need, as all the systems worked and none of the interior was damaged other than normal wear and tear. I probably spent around 3,000 total, but that number is deceiving, as most of it went for tires, a new Apple Car Play compatible head unit, a new toilet (upgraded from plastic to porcelain and wood), and new blinds. In the 10 months since I bought it, I've put 7,000 miles on it over the course of about 10 trips. No problems at all. I recently took it in for inspection and I passed with no issues other than new wiper blades. The mechanic said I will need new brakes next year but they were thick enough to pass this year.

I'm very happy with my purchase, especially when I log on here and read about all the owners of newer coaches having issues like falling microwaves and cabinets, etc. The high miles was a concern, but the Ford V10 has a life expectancy that is 2-3 times the miles I have now. Even if I eventually have to completely replace the motor (in my experience about a 7-10k job) I'll be happier and better off than if I spent 40k to find a newer coach.

You do have to be careful and get the vehicle inspected, in terms of both the chassis and the coach, to be sure you aren't buying a leaky or mechanically unsound mess, and some high end luxury parks won't let me in without a photo of the coach due to it's age, but that has never really had an impact on me because I prefer national and state parks over some of the resorts.

I'm not advocating that you buy a 15 year old coach, just sharing my experience.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 07-19-2021, 05:01 AM   #13
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I have a 94 Toyota RV I keep on the road. I do not fish or play golf, so the Toy is a bit of a hobby for me. If I payed to have the work done this would be a very expensive camper! I recently redid the over cab due to rot. They tell me it can be $6000 to have it done. Cost me about$300 and quite a few hours. I would guess a 40 hour week if I worked on it full time.

I have seen overcab rot on 10 year old class C's!!!!
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Old 07-20-2021, 09:43 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Carpevaca View Post
We have considered those but the prices are more than a regular Class C due to the explosion of ďvan lifeĒ over on TikTok.

We would like to stay in the 60k range if that helps.
Last July we bought a 2018 Forester 2291s from a private owner with 16k miles for a little less than $60k. Itís around 24ft, one slide, and a queen corner bed. We paid an rv inspector to check it out. Cost about $600. Had to drive 170 miles to see it.

Another problem with Class Bís besides the price, is their cargo carrying capacity is less than an E350-450.
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