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JMGOLDEN

Cost To Maintain A 40ft. DP

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While I realize this is an open ended question with many variables, my question is:

Given days on the road and miles driven, is there a "average" cost per mile a person can apply to the maintenance cost of operating a 40ft. diesel pusher. Is there a cost per mile per say?

Thank you for any input.

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Last year our cost was $1.17/mile. So far this year the cost is $1.39/mile. Not included in this cost is depreciation, new tires or major repair. Such as: Exhaust replacement. These do not occur every year. I can say 6 tires are about $4,000 usually replaced every 6 years and Exhaust system is $1,200 which was 8 years old. Our motor home is a 2006 with a CAT C-7, 300 HP. We travel about 14,000 miles a year.

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Excluding fuel but including tires and other wear and tear items plus insurance and registration our 40 coach costs about $2/mile to drive. As a full timer for 17 years we have put 3 sets of tires on and lots of belts and water pumps and A/C units (repaired) and wiper blades and new windshields and, and, and. Add approx. $1/mile for depreciation (much, much more if you bought it new) and you are getting pretty close.

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Really cool info but so what? I used to work for a guy that said "if you have to check the gas mileage, you can't afford it".

I suscribe to that theory. It will not change what you do or how you operate your coach if the cost per mile is $1.00 or $2.00.

Drive it and enjoy.

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The question was asked and factual information was provide to the original post. We do not need sarcasm. Please be kind to the other posters. We all do with our money what we want to do with it.

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JMGOLDEN,

Please understand that not everyone has the best of intentions but most of the posters here do. If you get a negative response (especially if it's from someone with only 5 posts!) please do not let that leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. Some folks simply cannot help themselves. :(

You are going to get a lot of good, usable information which you can choose to use as you please.

I just noticed that this same poster just joined us "today" so please don't hold his post against the forum in general.

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The cost does depend on a long list of variables for sure.

Chassis and coach builders are always changing items and the way those changes allow for different chassis designs verses cost, an coach builders then try different floor plans.

The resulting changes can have a significant affect on the cost.

Depending how each owner breaks down the operating cost and deprecation would give a different figure of the same coach.

Through in the geographic area and that can add a degree of difference for the total cost.

Just take the cost of a new roof on a stick and bricks structure compared to a coach. The list goes on and on.

Take into account how one's disposable income changes with time an one could also say can I still own a DP or any coach.

The thing is with a coach one can change the view out the windows, spend time with the many friends made and rejoice in that fact that we where able to offer our children a wonderful learning experience.

So we will enjoy our coach as long as possible, knowing all to well that the day will come when it all ends !!

Rich.

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As Brett pointed out, who does the maintenance is the major factor. Also if you do the maintenance when it is due, will also affect the average cost. Regular maintenance will cost much less than overlooking some of the important factors and fixing them when they fail.

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Take it easy on Jim.Grove guys. Yes his answer was a little bit flip but I can assure you that when this forum started there was a core of posters who were very friendly, often teasing and sometimes poking fun of one another. This developed into a friendly back and forth between people who were posting good information and also just once in a while making good natured fun of each other. I've never met some of these people but I think I know them pretty well. I enjoyed that early give and take. Welcome newbies and encourage them, they are the life of the organization.

Now, all that said, I just ran a report on Quicken. I keep track of every expense for our motor home as well as all family finances. I was amazed, the costs for everything, insurance, fuel, repairs, maintenance, etc. was just a little over a $1.15 per mile. That figure covers almost 11 years of our ownership, starting with a new coach. Maintenance or service was 38% of the total, fuel was 33% of the total, insurance was 8%, registration was 2% and parking and tolls amounted to 0.5% of the cost. That leaves 18% which covers expenses for everything from registration for RV rallies, memberships in organizations, add-ons and modifications like the bra we put on the coach before our trip to Alaska, the sun screens for every window in the coach or the automatic fire extinguisher we added to the engine compartment. It includes the replacement of our refrigerator with a household fridge several years ago. That also includes the cost of outfitting the toad for four wheel down towing with the motor home.

Finally there is an expense that I categorize separately and that amounts to about $0.40 per mile traveled and that is the fees we paid for campgrounds. This isn't really a cost of maintaining the coach but if you travel you have to stay somewhere and that is our figure for our travels. We park at Wal-Mart or other non-campground location occasionally and stay with friends and relatives on their property occasionally as well.

That does not include the purchase cost which would add another $2.00 per mile at our present mileage. The more you drive it, the lower that last cost will be.

I do some maintenance myself, washing and cleaning, making small repairs like replacing cabinet latches, hinges and drawer slide supports. I've done a few modifications including the changeover from the old tube TV's to flat screens. I change light bulbs and flush the water system and hot water myself. I take the engines temperature and have it stick out its tongue and say ah (check the oil). All mechanical work including oil changes, etc. for the engine and the generator are done at a Cummins shop.

And the other factor, this is a well used motor home. We lived full time in it from November 2003 until October 2010. If you are part time or just an occasional user, there are costs that will occur without traveling at all. You have at least an annual oil change no matter how many miles you have driven. Tires age out even if you don't drive the coach a mile. I suspect that the less you use the coach, the higher the per mile cost.

Thank you for asking the question, I had never taken a good look at the total cost of ownership and operation of the motor home. I was surprised and pleasantly so. I would have guessed the numbers to be somewhat, maybe even much higher.

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Thanks Tom for your precise breakdown, I am not full time, but have always maintained that the more you drive the mh, the lower the cost. I drive on vacations about 5 times a year, but I drive the bus to the nearest truck stop, about 20 miles round trip, every two weeks to add fuel. The bus holds 156 gallons, and I add 15 to 20 gallons on each trip. This exercises all of the power train, and I never leave home on an empty tank, takes the $ hurt out of making the longer trips as well as lowering maintenance cost for the unit. I also budget and put back $60.00 per month for tire replacement, because that should not be an unexpected replacement cost. I buy two new steers every 3 years, cycle the older steers to the tag, and buy 4 new drives every 5 years, and trade the old ones in to the tire shop.

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To all and especially Tom. I was not offended by any means when Jim wrote what he did. He is correct in saying to "just drive it and enjoy". But I needed to attempt to come up with some numbers for a company that wants to purchase a coach, install their product on it and bring it to the super FMCA conventions and area rallys being held up and down the country from Pensacola, FL eastward. I just did not have enough experience with a large coach to give them this projection and KNEW there were enough of you good guys out there who may have already put a "pencil" to it.

With ya'lls input and especially Tom's, I now at least feel I can provide adequate enough information to provide a good ballpark number to them.

Again, Thank You!

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I agree the more you drive the less it cost/mile.

I’m on my 3rd 40’ and the average cost/mile is 83 cents/mi.

Insurance/Extended Warranty/ Engine & Transmission Service

Everything except fuel.

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I can't seem to fathom that driving more is cheaper than driving less. The more you drive the more wear and tear items you will need to replace. If you drive 40,000 miles in 3 years vs. driving 40,000 miles in 3 years you are going to have 3 times as many parts that need replacing over those years. Tires have tread life limitations which are much shorter than their years of life if you drive lots and lots of miles. If you hardly ever drive you will only need new tires every 7-10 years. Based upon mileage, I have replaced 3 sets of tires in the last 14 years ($6000 per set). Belts, oil changes, tires, wiper blades, windshields and heaven only knows what else. The more you drive the more it costs. How can any form of math come to any other conclusion?

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Bill,

What I think they are trying to say is if you don't drive it you will still have a fixed cost. Say you only drive 1500 miles a year you still have to change the oil, filters and tiers as they age out. If you drive 15,000 miles you have a lower cost per mile because you have traveled more miles. Yes things do wear out and break you just budget for the un expected. I have found most diesel coaches are extremely robust and have few problems if you do your maintenance as required.

Did you mean 40,000 in 1 year verses 40,000 in 3 years? All that would cost me is 2 extra oil changes at 15,000 intervals.

Bill

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Jim,

With the information offered in regards to the cost of operating coaches, do the members that offered cost analysis information share in a consulting fee ? LOL

I could not be included as I never offered any cost numbers. Keep missing that consulting window!

Rich.

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LOL, Rich. All I know, is that any MH, gas or DP makes for a very expensive guest house. Even a car needs to move, just to exercise all the parts.

My log, tells me that I avg. $ 1.44 per mile and that's on a 45' DP and I avg. 13, 651 miles per year....depreciation is hard to avg. too many variables, including inflation.

Carl

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I definitely feel those who have provided their information should share in some type of a consulting fee, (reward). It may not be monetary but it will be a reward and as soon as there is any money to be made I will personally track them down at an area rally or one of the 2 family reunions and properly reward them. Obviously, some will get more than others based on the amount of detail they provided and Jim will get his share also because he did take the time to respond and Tom indicated he is a good guy after all.

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Thanks Bill Adams for the query. The question was asked on a per mile basis what does it cost to maintain a 40' coach. The per mile part of the question takes out the time factor. If you aren't driving much, there won't be much maintenance cost but there also won't be many miles on the bottom of the equation so you are dividing less cost by fewer miles. Since there are those fixed costs of an annual oil change (per mfg recommendations) on both the engine and the generator and the tire costs which everyone I know says 7 years is it no matter how much tread you have left, those are on the top of the equation even if the miles driven isn't a very large number. Now, I said, "I suspect," not I know. So here are year by year figures for our coach. It's not a clear cut year by year answer. I still suspect that if someone else has detailed figures for a lightly used coach over that same period of time the figures would show a higher per mile cost. I do see a trend, the early years show a significantly lower per mile cost so perhaps if you never got past that first 35,000 miles it might be lower cost per mile but then the purchase cost per mile would be much higher even accounting for depreciation and trade in value. I had all these columns lined up then they realigned and I worked it over again, I may never get this to post correctly with everything lined up. If that is the case, I'll rework the table to a form that will show the data correctly - eventually.

Monaco Windsor Cumulative

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Total Mileage/Expenses

General 38% 30% 19% 17% 23% 35% 10% 18% 11% 11% 20%

Fuel 37% 39% 37% 34% 38% 22% 31% 23% 24% 39% 32%

Service 8% 20% 36% 29% 26% 32% 48% 44% 59% 41% 37%

Insur 17% 5% 4% 16% 10% 9% 9% 13% 6% 6% 9%

Regist - 3% 2% 3% 2% 2% 2% 3% - 2% 2%

Pk/Toll - 2% 2% - .1% 1% - - - .1% 1%

Cost 7,748 10,282 15,281 8,996 15,084 16,355 9,087 12,770 18,850 19,236 133,689

Miles 12941 14702 16449 8254 12131 12271 8131 6560 10169 16662 118270

$/Mile $0.60 $0.70 $0.93 $1.09 $1.24 $1.33 $1.12 $1.95 $1.85 $1.15 $1.13

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Tom & Louise....

Your analysis is fantastic. Thank you for all your input. I just may come back to you again as additional info is needed.

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Thanks, Tom and Louise.

Bought a used coach so it is good to see what your cost were after some years and some miles. So did you have a long term warranty policy? If you did is that factored into your spread sheet? Thanks again for providing your experience of your cost for such an extended period and the spread sheet printed good on this end :) .

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As a soon-to-be newbie/used DP owner, this thread is golden! Tom and Louise...should we ever meet, the beverages are on us! :D

My wife and I have been trying to get an idea of the more detailed aspects of ownership other than mileage & site fees. Your breakdown is just the thing we need to assist us in budgeting for a purchase.

Many thanks to all.

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I have to apologize to alltooledup, I missed your post. No, we have not used or purchased an extended warranty. I had a few items fixed under the new coach warranty but they were relatively minor compared to the costs for the remainder of the ownership period.

To Drummer Mike, let me know where you are and I'll come collect those drinks! It will only cost me $3.55 a mile to get there! :lol:

See you down the road...

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