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woodbutcher1953

Used Motorhome - $20,000 Budget

9 posts in this topic

Hello,

I am in the early stages of checking out motorhomes. I'm retiring in late November, and we would like to get a motorhome to do some traveling. We would be traveling approx. 1600 miles round trip two or three times a year to visit son and grandkids. Probably will also do some weekend trips closer to home also. I'm looking to spend at the most $20,000 for a nice unit.

I realize that it will be an older unit, and might need tires and/or appliance repairs, and the above budget does not include those. I'd like some opinion's/advise on what models to look at.

I'm O.K. with either a Class A or a Class C. I'm not interested in a Class B or a fifth wheel or travel trailer.

In checking the newspapers, internet, and sales magazines, I've seen quite a few units that I think might work for us. I like Pace Arrows and Winnebago Vectra's, but really like Holiday Ramblers in the class a family. I can take or leave a slide-out. I just want a clean, fairly reliable unit.

I am a carpenter/ remodeler so repairs to the unit I can handle, other than the mechanicals - I am not a mechanic.

Any help you would like to give me will be appreciated.

Thank you.

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Woodblocker1953,

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

Best advice is to start looking at coaches to start identifying those things that are important to you.

Do this both in person in your area and on-line.

Here is a large consignment lot-- I believe the largest in the U.S. You can look at what they currently have and also, history of what has sold: http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/used_rvs_for_sale.htm

Then begin looking for examples of coaches having the attributes important to you.

There is certainly a trade-off between age and quality. Said another way, you can buy an older higher-end motorhome for the same price as an entry level newer one. No right/wrong answers-- depends on what is important to you.

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We started in a used motor home in 2001. It was a 1994 model with no slides. Being full time we eventually upgraded to a new unit with slides but they certainly wouldn't be necessary for your travel. Generally I believe you get more coach for your money if you go with a gas engine. With the amount of travel you are considering there would be no overwhelming reason to go with diesel unless you found a really good deal. The comfort of the ride varies considerably with different coaches so take her out and drive her to get a feel for how it handles. Gas coaches with the engine in front are generally noisier than diesel coaches with the engine in the rear. There is always the possibility that you may decide you enjoy traveling in the motor home and you might decide to take some longer trips or spend winter somewhere warm or perhaps summers somewhere cool. The possibilities are endless!

We visit kids and grandkids and also travel for the sake of exploring and seeing new places. Our annual mileage is in the neighborhood of 12 to 15,000 miles. Our diesel coach has 112,000 miles on it and we'll celebrate 10 years in it in November this year. It is still in great shape, yes, there are dings and dents but we have been continually fixing things and that is not an easy task. If a coach has been cared for, there should be very few things that don't operate on the coach. There is almost always something broken and needing to be fixed. If you aren't familiar with motor homes I would strongly suggest that you find a motor home technician (not associated with the seller or the sellers company) to assist you in giving a coach you are serious about buying a good going over to identify any problems or possible problems. They will know how to test the water system, what to look for in the electrical and mechanical system, etc. Spending a few hundred dollars to get an expert opinion on a coach could save you many headaches later. Or you could get a really good bargain and be resolved to just live with any problems that come up. That can run into a lot of money. A new set of tires for a class A coach will run about $3000 by the time you have them balanced, mounted and an alignment done. Water problems, leaks, lines which have been frozen and broken can cost several thousand to track down and replace. Electrical problems can be very difficult to track down and resolve taking several trips to the repair shop before everything may work correctly. A set of batteries for the house can run $200 to $600 depending on how many you have and whether you pay someone to do it or do-it-yourself. You get the idea. The longer a coach has been sitting without running, the greater the chance of problems. It could be better to have one that has been on the road frequently than one that is 15 years old with 15, 000 miles on it.

Those are just a few thoughts that I have on the topic of shopping for used motor homes. Good luck and we'll hope to see you on the road in November - or soon thereafter.

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The consignment dealer that Brett posted is really a good place to start. They have several really good looking units under 20K. It would be worth a trip to Houston.

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In my personal experience I would avoid a class C. We have had 2 Cs and 2 As. Unless the C has a one piece fiberglass body you can expect leaks in the cabover bed. If you read on RV.NET in the class C forum you will see how many have water leak problems. I had that same experience with my 2 Cs. My thought is that the whole bunk sticking out front and unsupported makes for a little too much bouncing and causes leaks. There are some nice ones out there. Water leaks are the #1 problem in any RV. Delamination, where water has gotten into the walls and the glue has come loose are a huge problem that can cost more than the MH cost to repair. Newmar, Monaco and Holiday Rambler did not use the laminated walls socan't have that problem. There may be a couple others in that category but since I am very happy with mine I am not even looking at anything else.

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The reason I recommended a Class C was the $20k cap. If you have unlimited funds my recommendation would have been slightly different.

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I think you can find a great class A within your budget but you will have to look at a lot of coaches to find the one that is right for you. Do your home work and know what problem areas to look for.

Bill

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