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Old 05-23-2013, 03:01 PM   #1
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How many years does a rig last full-timing?

I don't remember where I read this, I've been reading so much, but I saw one place kind of casually mention that if you are going to live full-time in an RV/motor-home it would 'last' only five years. What I'm trying to decide now, am I better buying a brand new one and trying to keep for 10-15 years (is that realistic), or spend way less for a used one, then get another used one in 5 years or whenever. I would be solo with one cat fyi and I was looking at a Fleetwood Tioga Montara 23B (24"6"" I think). If I can keep realistically keep the rig longer, I'd like to put even more into it now (full bore solar panels/inverter/satellite dish). Stuff that won't really add too much value if being sold and that I'd just need again for the next rig. Thanks for any input from experienced full-timers, especially if you use solar! Edit - Let's assume miles isn't an issue, I'm not going to be going crazy miles and most days will likely be parked.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:32 PM   #2
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I'm sure you'll get lots of input on this subject from folks better versed than I am, but for what it's worth I'll pass along something I've read at this and other Forums.

At least according to some discussions I've read, "fulltiming" can have an effect on warranty coverage for new rigs- supposedly only certain units are warranted for such use.
link to one such discussion

I have no idea if this is universally true, but since you're considering buying new it might be something to watch out for.

Good luck!
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyrv View Post
I don't remember where I read this, I've been reading so much, but I saw one place kind of casually mention that if you are going to live full-time in an RV/motor-home it would 'last' only five years. What I'm trying to decide now, am I better buying a brand new one and trying to keep for 10-15 years (is that realistic), or spend way less for a used one, then get another used one in 5 years or whenever. I would be solo with one cat fyi and I was looking at a Fleetwood Tioga Montara 23B (24"6"" I think). If I can keep realistically keep the rig longer, I'd like to put even more into it now (full bore solar panels/inverter/satellite dish). Stuff that won't really add too much value if being sold and that I'd just need again for the next rig. Thanks for any input from experienced full-timers, especially if you use solar! Edit - Let's assume miles isn't an issue, I'm not going to be going crazy miles and most days will likely be parked.
Gee I hope not because we are starting our 7th year in a coach that is now 10 years old. It's, of course, got more miles on it and the TVs have been up dated to LED but there has been no degrading of the livability of the coach. I think the full time use is better for the various systems in the coach than periods of storage followed by a few weeks of heavy use then repeat the cycle.

Of course, buying quality to start helps.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:55 PM   #4
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personally I think it's like most things you buy,if you take good care of it,it will last you a long time. we are not full timers but we use our coach alot and it's 7 years old but looks like new inside and out. but like steve said buying quality helps.
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:00 PM   #5
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Macantic is right. How long it lasts depends mostly on who owns it and how they take care of it. Take good care of it and it will last a long, long time, assuming it was well built to begin with. A wellbuilt and well-cared for coach could last 20 years or more.
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:18 PM   #6
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It boils down to:
How good are the materials used to build it?
How much of the required maintenance has been done?
And maybe: was it ever wrecked and if so how well was it repaired?
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:29 PM   #7
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Like everyone said it totally depends on upkeep and maintenance. I don't see 10-15 years as being unrealistic at all. You'll have to maintain the systems, and probably upgrade a few things along the way, but why not? I've seen gorgeous vintage motorhomes on the road fulltime, as well as old converted buses. Ain't really no limit if you're willing to maintain properly.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:26 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the input, doubly so because it is good news! ;p =) One of the insurance quote questions was 'is it fiberglass?', is there a way to know, would it be listed like in the brochure features? I know I read that fiberglass for the toilet/bath are much desired, but for insurance I assume they mean more than just that? Thanks again!
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:40 PM   #9
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It depends on initial quality of the subsystems, the integration and manufacturing, environment it is used and stored in, miles, and most important how it was maintained. That last one is the most difficult to determine.

I'd say many 15+ year coaches with as little as 60,000 miles are shot or too unreliable and costly to keep going. I'd also say there a few that are 20+ years old with well over 100,000 miles and are ready to deliver another 100,000 reliable miles.

Check for available coaches from each manufacturer that date back 15 years and more and you'll see some aren't available after some number of years. This is one metric to use in determing if company x's coaches of that vintage are still widely available while company y's are not.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:54 PM   #10
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we have a 87 model and no plans to sell it yet
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:57 PM   #11
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I would say if you are not over weight and are easy on things I think you can get 12 to 15 years out of a full-time rig. I think heavy people will wear out things much faster than non-heavy people. Also some people seem to break things more than other people. I do not plan to 'baby' my rig but I do plan on keeping the roof in good shape. I think it will easily last 12 years.
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:08 PM   #12
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We've owned two MH's and 3 TT's. Our MH's were 1978, which we kept until 1985. It was a Tioga 23'. Then we went to a 34' Newmar Dutch Star in 1999. We kept that until 2010 and the DW suggested that we sell it and buy a pick-up and get in to TT's. After 3 years we decided to get back into a MH. We've ordered a 2014 Winnebago 30T. After much research I decided that the Winnebago was of great quality within our price range. We did the factory tour and were very impressed.
With 35 years experience teaching automotive, working on all kind of mechanical things here's an opinion. If you are thinking about keeping a TT for full-timing they just are not made to the same standards of a MH. I know there are some out there who have good TT units and have had them for some time. I do believe that the 5th-wheel units because they are much heavier and larger they may be made with heavier frames and built more solid.

In general since there is no motor chassis under a TT or 5th-wheel they don't have to meet as stringent standards. The TT frames are thinner to save weight. That allows them to flex more over time and the frames will crack. Most TT's do not have shock absorbers as standard equipment. This means that the unit will be subjected to greater internal wear and tear. The vast majority still use drum brakes and many of those do not have self-adjusters for the shoes. Most come with axles that are under rated for the weight. The tires that are supplied are also rated to just barely carry the expected load. Many times the weight distribution leaves a lot to be desired. That will overload a tire or axle. Check out the TT forums and read about all the tire, frame and brake issues.

Our last TT was very nice. It was 29' long well built and very spacious inside. It had a wardrobe slide so we had plenty of storage and we really liked it. At the campgrounds I would put down the 4 equalizer jacks on the corners. I placed 2 scissors jacks under the center of the frame and placed two jacks under the extended slide. It still bounced up and down as we moved about like it was a trampoline instead of a TT. To save weight the 4 equalizer jacks were made of very thin metal. They would flex all around as we walked around inside. What is the sense of having a jack if it can't do it's job because it is made to thin???

Because of all these issues common sense says that they can't last as long. We had Forest River and Heartland products. Those are supposed to be decently built units. No shocks and a thinner frame to save weight over time it will take its toll. Our Vista 30T coach will have the Ford F-53 chassis. That truck chassis has been around for 25 or more years. It's solid and will last for many, many years. Consider this also. If you are retired it may be your choice if you want to drive your coach during the winter salt immersion that takes place in the north country. That alone will extend the life of any coach.
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:09 PM   #13
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we are fulltimer and live in a 39 foot 2004 Newmar in a veru good shape
maintenance every year change my tires last year batteries lastyear also
we buy it new and still love it like the first day
it's always paid when you buy a good machine
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyrv View Post
Thanks everyone for the input, doubly so because it is good news! ;p =) One of the insurance quote questions was 'is it fiberglass?', is there a way to know, would it be listed like in the brochure features? I know I read that fiberglass for the toilet/bath are much desired, but for insurance I assume they mean more than just that? Thanks again!
The "is it fiberglass" question probably isn't related to the interior- more likely the siding. "Fiberglass" as refers to siding can mean a lot of things, but one of those of particular interest to insurance companies is potential for delamination.
That's a very expensive repair and might affect rates.

Probably best to get clarification from the insurance carrier.
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