Advice on buying a used RV

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Big Mama

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Wife and I will be unofficially retired at the end of July and are looking for a used RV around $30k. We’ve got a place in Mexico and family in California so we’ll be making that trip from Virginia 3-4 times a year.

We’re undecided on class A or C but want to stay around 30-33ft. Diesels are hard to come by in that length and most have the Ford Tritan V-10.

Any experienced advice whether as an owner or as a mechanic would be great. The internet is full of articles and tips but they often contradict each other and prices vary wildly based on location. I’m looking for overall info including makes but not necessarily any particular model.

Thanks in advance.
 

exp500

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The older Monaco's are pretty good. None are great. All advertising. A diesel pusher, 30-36 ft, no slide outs (they leak). And test everything! Prefer one that hasn't been molested by a Previous owner, especially wiring. Get full service manuals/wiring diagrams with it. The older the better on engine and trans, Pre-2002 I think it is. Avoid the dealerships. And this is one of the best in RV forums-Monaco Owner's Forum - iRV2 Forums
 

OR VietVet

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At one time I did write service for Monaco, here in Harrisburg, Or. I have written service for the biggest of the big Prevost motorhomes/busses all the way to 2 axle 5th wheel towables. I have seen lots of problems over the years. The Class C with the Ford V-10 is a well known F53 chassis and may even have a Mor-Ride suspension at the rear, especially if it has a tag axle. If you are just a "sometimes" RV'er instead of a full timer, then, IMO, the gas engine Class C will be fine and easier to work on if you have to and easier to get parts for. Most used rigs will need steering and suspension work, it is what it is. You can also tow a small/light rig behind it. The 5th wheels do have their own set of problems and if I had a big 3 axle set up I would get a minimum 1.5 ton to 2 ton tow rig. You will need the tow rig brakes too to slow all that down sometimes. Slideouts do tend to leak and eventually the motor will go bad and leave the slideout out one of these days. Whatever you decide, have fun and have a great retirement.
 

TollKeeper

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Another one I am at the complete opposite end of the spectrum on. I guess I just dont get the RVing life..

30-40k buys a lot of 5 star hotels for MANY years with dinners. Then add in the fuel, insurance, breakdowns that require a special (and expensive) wrecker..

I personally would buy a new Suburban/Yukon XL/Escalade ESV Diesel, and go tour the country, and when you are done with the tour that day, find a hotel, take a shower, eat dinner, go for a swim, and go to bed. No low bridges to worry about. No low overhangs at the gas station. No low trees bashing the corners of your RV.

That just sounds so much more like relaxing, then finding your camp site, getting it backed in, getting it leveled, getting it set up, hoping the shore power/water/waste are ok. Getting in the RV only to find a tree took out a side/front window. Go make dinner only to find that your out of gas. Not feeling well the next day? To bad, the site is already booked to someone else, and you gotta leave (granted, this also happens in hotels, but not nearly as often).

As I said, I really dont get the RVers life.
 

Fless

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If you can wait a year or two there will be some recent buyers that will want to sell theirs, finding out that they don't use it that much and are averse to the storage fees.

Have heard some really bad things about General RV (in Utah, especially) of late. Deceptive loan practices, mostly.
 

drakon543

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as i used to work on them im honestly with tollkeeper here. too many stupid things can go wrong for stupid reasons. alot of which require a shop who knows how to fix that stuff or just the ability to fix that stuff. most of the times ive seen the plastic pipes or fittings break in the dumbest spots and you wont even know where until it starts flooding the floor. everything used in them is designed to be super light so the wood basically gets destroyed instantly. regardless i am just against them
 

OR VietVet

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I want it to be known that I am on the side of @TollKeeper and @drakon543 and think I would get me a big highway rig, like a Suburban, and travel in style. I shared info only as that, info, and am not trying to push you that way. I was around all the problems of RV'ing. Look at it this way, "Driving or towing and RV down the road is like putting your house/home thru an earthquake every time you take it out". Things are gonna shake, rattle and roll doing all that. I know that sometimes it is nice to drive someplace and then just lay down and sleep but the PITA that RV'ing can be is something to think about. Plus, I could get comfortable in the back of a Suburban with the right lady.
 

Bill 1960

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Pffft. Suburbans and Tahoes are not traveling in style. That’s what gets towed behind LOL.

As for the OP, unless your budget for repair is another $30k, I advise you to not get a DP. At that price point it’s going to be a rehabilitation project and/or not reliable for repeated cross country trips. A gas class A maybe. The Ford platform is very reliable and has nowhere near the potential expensive repairs you can get into with a diesel.

Your best opportunity will be a class C in a motorhome. And if I had a budget of $30k that was inclusive of repairs and maintenance in the initial term of ownership I’d be looking at towable. There’s a big downside to used motorhomes in that your living quarters are inseparable from the vehicle. When stuff breaks you’ll either find yourself living in a hotel or camping in a repair shop. (And yes, it happens with new ones too. BTDT)

My perspective is from 40 years owning truck campers, travel trailers, fifth wheels, and motorhomes.

Good luck and if you haven’t yet, check out some of the RV forums.
 
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Stbentoak

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After pulling my bigger boat around a few times and driving with a half puckered you know what, worried about every corner and up coming intersection…
I don’t think I’d survive RV’ing very long. Too nerve wracking….

”Remember, its fun, we’re having fun”. Famous Homer Simpson quote….
 

adventurenali92

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Another one I am at the complete opposite end of the spectrum on. I guess I just dont get the RVing life..

30-40k buys a lot of 5 star hotels for MANY years with dinners. Then add in the fuel, insurance, breakdowns that require a special (and expensive) wrecker..

I personally would buy a new Suburban/Yukon XL/Escalade ESV Diesel, and go tour the country, and when you are done with the tour that day, find a hotel, take a shower, eat dinner, go for a swim, and go to bed. No low bridges to worry about. No low overhangs at the gas station. No low trees bashing the corners of your RV.

That just sounds so much more like relaxing, then finding your camp site, getting it backed in, getting it leveled, getting it set up, hoping the shore power/water/waste are ok. Getting in the RV only to find a tree took out a side/front window. Go make dinner only to find that your out of gas. Not feeling well the next day? To bad, the site is already booked to someone else, and you gotta leave (granted, this also happens in hotels, but not nearly as often).

As I said, I really dont get the RVers life.
I mean this works. Until you’re on a trip like what I just did. camping at the beach for a surf camp and the state beach we go to camp at is a half hours drive from anything. So I could drive back and forth after a whole day of learning how to surf everyday and be exhausted and have to sit in traffic on the freeway to get back and forth to hotel, or I could have an RV put at our campsite with everything I need right there each day and not have to drive anywhere at the beginning g of the day, or the end of the day.
 

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