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 > Reintroduction, shopping for a 10 to 20 y-o DP

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zippinbye

Las Vegas NV

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Posted: 03/24/20 11:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Greetings All,

I was member here, inactive since 2015; it seems my account was deleted due to lack of use.

Anyhow, I just re-joined, pleased to see I could reclaim my old username. My RV history started in the early 2000's with an Alpenlite truck camper. This forum was a tremendous resource to me as I considered that purchase, and learned the skills necessary to use and maintain my rig. The TC was fun, but child #3 made it beyond impractical, so we switched to a fifth wheel, in 2009 or 2010. It's a 2004 Thor Jazz 278 bunkhouse, single slide that is an actual 32 feet. I did a lot of upgrades to it: stripped the carpeting and laid vinyl plank flooring, reupholstered everything, massive TV and sound system upgrade, lifted the suspension to fit well with my Dodge 3500 4x4 tow rig, along with a bunch of electrical tweaks and other small fixes.

I currently sit in that rig typing this post, as I isolate from my family for 14 days due to CV-19 concerns (I returned from Korea a few days ago). With immune-suppressed family members, I'm playing it safe and staying out of the house. I'm parked in the side yard at my home, with full hook-ups and a hot tub nearby. So it's not too bad. We lived in this RV for 6 months when our house had a mold issue. We being me, the wife, 3 kids, and 2 dogs. I was never uncomfortable, nor was anybody else really, until summer temps pushed beyond the limits of our single 13,000 BTU A/C unit. But due to the "cabin-fever" and general chaos of being stuffed into 250 square feet of living area for a prolonged time, fond memories of the experience are non-existent with my wife and kids. Hence, there has been little eagerness to spend time in it anywhere on earth .... even if it's in an awesome natural setting, like a mountain lake or at the beach. We have only taken 2 RV trips since our house was rehabilitated. I've known for some time that I needed to consider a nicer, newer, fresh-to-us RV in order to rekindle an eagerness to take camping road trips. Now we can shed the bunkhouse requirement, since there is just one kid left at home. So that opens up a lot of options that did not exist when I was hunting for a fifth wheel with easy sleeping for 5.

I have considered a diesel pusher as an eventual goal, always putting off any serious searches due to the capital investment and operational/fixed costs compared to the fifth wheel (which is basically free to own), along with the proverbial spousal resistance, which I expect others on this board have had to hurdle at some point.

Imagine my elation today, when my wife knocked on the door and dropped off dinner, while keeping a safe, germ-free distance and uttered these words: "Maybe we should get one of those big self-driving RV thingy's - you'd have more room, and we could just turn the key and go if a bad situation happens." I tried to act casual in my response, and said, "yeah, that's something we should look at." In my mind, that lead to a Tim Allen moment ... oh, oh, oh more power, bigger, better, oh, oh, oh (scratch the armpit). So here I am.

As great as I think a DP might be, I do have a some reservations still, but it's time to sort through all the possibilities. One issue is I'm debt-adverse. I would only consider a cash purchase or big down-payment, low interest financing with an aggressive pay-off schedule. That, along with a desire to avoid later engines with DPF or DEF, places me in the target model years of 2000-2008 most likely. I also like the idea of a rig that has probably plateaued on its depreciation curve. Just a few years ago, I thought I'd need a $80 to $100,000 budget to get anything decent in a DP. But now I am seeing some really nice rigs in the sub-$50,000 range, so that's where my mind is. Just yesterday, I fell into a YouTube "wormhole" and watched a RV dealer walk-through of a 2000 Monaco Diplomat 38D with a Cummins ISC 8.3, just traded by the original owner. It appeared to be highly maintained and tastefully optioned/upgraded, and made the impression of being an incredible "bang for the buck." 155,000 miles on the odometer, asking $29,950.

Over the years, I have purchased a number of older, well-maintained, cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and airplanes. At the end of the day, old is old and there are potential pitfalls, no matter how loved the machine has been. But the value of buying something I could have never afforded new, but has a lot of remaining life, has always been very attractive to me. If I could find a pre-DEF 2008-ish model year quality coach for a good price, right back to something like the 2000 Monaco referenced above, I think that would be in my sweet-spot. I am open to guidance from anybody that has gone through a similar thought process.

As I am in the early stages of trying to learn much more about DP coaches, one thing I have not got a handle on is seat-belted positions aft of the driver and copilot seats. Is there a timeframe (or a manufacturer) that is more likely to have seat belts installed at the sofas, dinettes or chairs? I'd like to be able to secure at least two more passengers, aside from the up-front seating positions. I feel like our family is much more insulated from injury in the cab of our modern pick-up truck while hauling a fifth wheel, with numerous airbags and other safety features than we would ever be in a big, rolling fiberglass box greatly devoid federally mandated safety features. But seat belts would appease me a bit. I welcome comments from those who have weighed the safety of riding in a tow rig vs. a Class A. I've seen the post-crash pictures of both self-contained and towable RVs; it's clear the RV structure does little to protect human occupants, but the tow vehicle seems to come out better most of the time. So it's not a trivial consideration.

I know posts from newbies trying to make a decision come along all too frequently. But I do not think there is a better way to learn than gaining perspective from those who have passed this trail ahead of me. I won't be disappointed to be talked out of a Class A, as I'm certain a change in fifth wheels would get us back in the road again. And that's the main goal. But we sure like the idea of all of us sharing the living space as we roll, being able to pull over at anytime to use the amenities, etc. I hope to be primed and ready to act when this virus is on the down swing!

Thanks, and take care of yourselves, and each other (from a distance).

FormerBoater

South Florida

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Posted: 03/25/20 07:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Take a look at vintage American Coach models.

Our 22 year old Eagle has served us very well for the past 11 years.

American Eagles were the top of the American line in most years, top quality materials,excellent design for ease of operation, Spartan Chassis, aircraft quality paint, Cummins ISC engines or C8.3 mechanicals thru 1998.

Great system redundancy (electric or propane operation of hot water heater and refrigerator).

You could do much worse!

Have fun shopping!!!!!!!!!


Dave
1998 American Eagle 40EVS

Lwiddis

Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area

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Posted: 03/25/20 08:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

“I feel like our family is much more insulated from injury in the cab of our modern pick-up truck while hauling a fifth wheel,” (or a TT)

That’s my opinion/guess but are there any studies on this subject? As the weight of the RV increases does that reduce the “safety?”


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


johnsonbert

Houston, TX-Ironwood, MI

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Posted: 03/25/20 03:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I second the American coach line from those years, just make sure it has the fiberglass roof. You will also find Monaco/Holiday Rambler upper end coaches out there that were of high quality and with some decent prices today. From the 2000 up to about the 2008 were well built. In 07 or 08 they went up to the next level of smog devices and some deem them less desirable from what I read. Newmar made some very good coaches in that time period also. Something else to look at. Happy Trails Bert


2006 Monaco Dynasty Diamond IV 42' Tag, ISL 400,(new to us), Residential Refrig, 10KW Onan, Bosch Washer/220V Dryer (previously 2003 American Tradition 40W) 2010 Chev Malibu LT

Bill.Satellite

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Posted: 03/25/20 04:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are some seriously awesome older Prevost coaches available in the $100,000 range. They are still fully supported and they are completely awesome! There is simply no better full-timers coach than a Prevost IF (big IF) you are committed to a Class A.


What I post is my 2 cents and nothing more. Please don't read anything into my post that's not there. If you disagree, that's OK.
Can't we all just get along?

John S.

Valley of Virginia

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Posted: 03/25/20 04:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some great Foretravels in your price range too. Still have factory support as well as a few other companies owned by former FT employees.


John
2015 Born Free Royal Splendor on a Ford 550 Chassis
42' 36' & 34 Foretravels sold
2007 Born free 24 sold
2001 Wrangler sold
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
Susie Dolly, Lolly &Doodle (Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) now in our hearts and thoughts

Ivylog

Blairsville, GA and WPB, FL.

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Posted: 03/25/20 05:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What length? If less than 38’ you do not need a diesel and this is from a diesel only person. Unfortunately many of the gas rigs, in quality, are more like a trailer put on a Truck Chassis. IF you can use a MH 100+ days/year then the higher maintenance of a diesel is not so bad.

Was that confusing enough?


This post is my opinion (free advice). It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.

08 HR Navigator 45'
Sold 04 Dynasty after 14 great years.
[url=https://i.

zippinbye

Las Vegas NV

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Posted: 03/25/20 05:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bill.Satellite wrote:

There are some seriously awesome older Prevost coaches available in the $100,000 range. They are still fully supported and they are completely awesome! There is simply no better full-timers coach than a Prevost IF (big IF) you are committed to a Class A.


Prevosts have certainly caught my eye. Of course they are excellent rigs, and it looks like a sure-fire path to running a Detriot. I recognize that slides were late coming to Prevosts, and that lacking is counter-balanced by many levels of awesomeness. Nonetheless, I want at least two slides, but not early, "first-trys" that are subject to leak or failure. Just beginning to recognize that Prevost is a bus manufacturer, not a producer of RVs. Liberty, Marathon and Country Coach sound familiar, but I'm not really sure how many companies have been in the Prevost game. Thanks Bill, now that you reminded me of Prevosts, now I am at least 2 x budget [emoticon]

Any comments on the most prolific converters of Prevost coaches, esp. back in the early 2000's? Any stand-outs at either end of the quality spectrum? Also, what year might I expect to see a number of slides on a Prevost?

zippinbye

Las Vegas NV

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Posted: 03/25/20 06:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ivylog wrote:

What length? If less than 38’ you do not need a diesel and this is from a diesel only person. Unfortunately many of the gas rigs, in quality, are more like a trailer put on a Truck Chassis. IF you can use a MH 100+ days/year then the higher maintenance of a diesel is not so bad.

Was that confusing enough?


Sufficiently confusing. But 38 or bigger is in the cards. Either way, gas is not an option. I have done the gas truck to diesel truck thing and gas boat to diesel boat thing, and there is no looking back now, unless I were to just scale down and grab a Class C for a while. That Triton V-10 must be decent, otherwise coach manufacturers would have demanded a Powerstroke in every E-450 chassis.

Honestly, you may have a swayful argument for a gasser, but I don't want to be the guy creeping up a grade at 35 mph, or wondering if the coolant is going to boil, or listening to all those moving parts whiz back and forth next to my chins. Rear mounted diesel has so many advantages, I'm sold.

fcooper

St. Augustine, Florida

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Posted: 03/25/20 08:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We got excellent service from a 2000 Holiday Rambler Endeavor DP for 12 years with only routine maintenance (excluding the generator). This was a freightliner chassis, 3126 cat diesel with allison trans. Monaco used the freightliner chassis through some part of year 2000, then switched to their own chassis (8 air bag).

Some of the Monaco units in the time frame you are looking at used a 4 air bag chassis with trailing arm problems and reported harsh ride. Google motorhomes using Monaco RR4R or R4R chassis for a list. If you do buy a unit on the RR4R Monaco chassis, be sure the trailing arms have been replaced as it is a safety issue.

We sold our HR in 2016, and are beginning to look again in the same year range as you state. I like the monaco products on the 8 air bag chassis. The floor plans of some Winnebago units have a nice TV placement that is NOT over the drivers' head. (Learn about roof caulking on the winnebago fiberglass roof before buying the winnebago). Country Coach is also on our desired list. Newmar makes a very nice motorhome also.

Good luck with your search.

Fred


Fred & Vicki
St. Augustine, Florida

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