Lurker. MH on bucket list..

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gfmucci

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Hi. Right now I'm motor homing vicariously. If and when, the unit would be a 5 to 10 year old A or C not longer than 30 feet, preferably with a Murphy bed, and gas engine. I would be a full timer, tour the country for a couple years, put 15,000 miles on it, and sell it for 80% of what I paid and put into it. Of course, any return on the sale depends on if bought at a good price.

Reasonable expectation?
 
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Isaac-1

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Don't count on getting 80% of your invested money back, as this fails to account for cost of ownership, maintenance, insurance, taxes, etc. In normal times, not counting the current covid camping craze you will be lucky to 80% of purchase price back after 2-3 years on a 5-10 year old motorhome. This is due to 2 reasons, coaches between 5-10 years old tend to depreciate by close to 10% per year, and once they hit 12 years of age the depreciate even faster as most banks will not loan money on an RV over 10-12 years of age, thus reducing the potential buyers to those that can either pay cash, or finance through means other than a traditional RV loan. As to getting money back on work you put into a motorhome, this is rarely a break even adventure, as while people like seeing things like new flooring, new furniture, etc. in an RV they are buying they will almost never pay more than it cost to install for the convenience of it vs doing it themselves.
 

gfmucci

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N Central Florida
So 70 to 75% is more realistic? Of course depending on how good my purchase price was. Since any plunging into ownership wouldn't occur in the near future, I'm not concerned with the "COVID craze hot market", that is unless we get another pandemic in a few years. Perhaps in a few years there will be a glut of 2019-2022 models.
 

Isaac-1

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Let me use the example of my current coach which fits into your size range, though is a bit older, it is a 2002 Safari Trek 2830, which I bought at the age of 14 years in 2016 for about $22,000 total from a private party seller a thousand miles away in Florida, add in another $1,400 retrieval cost (airfare, fuel, RV campgrounds on the drive home), plus another $500+ spent at Walmart on equipping it for the journey (sheets, towels, pillows, blanket basic pots pans, soap, toilet paper, flash light, basic tool kit, food, ...), add in about $850 for a year of insurance and I am at close to 10% of post tax purchase cost spent before I even made it home.

Since buying the coach I have averaged somewhere over $5,000 per year in maintenance, upgrades, etc. until covid hit which I would split about equally between being immediately necessary (ie failed alternator, seized brake caliper), optional maintenance and routine wear items (tires, shock absorbers, etc.), optional upgrades (LED lighting, Magneshade sun screen, smart tv,etc.), this might be slightly tapering off, but may just be luck as I fully expect to need to replace the now 20 year old roof air conditioner and water heater before much longer.

Adding all this stuff in, including fuel, camp sites, insurance, etc. over the last 5 years once will see buying it was just about the cheapest thing I have done with this coach. We are leaving on a 2+ week, 2,000+ mile trip in about 12 hours in the coach, where I fully expect to spend around another thousand dollars or more with the majority of it being on fuel.

Now with the Covid craze I have seen coaches identical to mine selling in the $30,000 range such as this one
which is identical to mine, minus various upgrades mine had done by the previous owner like new seating, 400 watts of solar panels, pure sine inverter, new refrigerator etc., but even at that price I would not make my money back.
 

DonTom

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Reasonable expectation?
The only "Reasonable expectation" on RV buying is that it will soon be a money pit, no matter what age it is. And only expect to get a very small percentage back, no matter how much you put into it.

But I generally keep my vehicles until it's time to give them away for free.

I am in my 2022 RV listed below, just picked up on the 15TH. I figure it now probably worth about half the $161, 500.00 (OTD) I just paid for it two days ago. But I don't care. I didn't buy this to resale it, the same with my old RV which I still have. And I know the expense of ownership will not stop at that $161,500.00. Far from it.

But life is too short and I am too old to worry about saving money, I would rather just have a good time and do a lot of travelling while I still can.

-Don- Cold Springs Station RV Park, NV (maiden voyage to figure this new rig out).
 

Ex-Calif

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My brother and his wife carefully selected a cheaper 42 foot boat. Lived and traveled on it in Asia for 3 years and sold it for what he paid for it.

It depends what you include in the costs. For my brother he had a fair amount of maintenance cost but in the end he said it was cheaper than rent in Sydney Australia.

If you are just including the cost of the RV and the resale of he RV I think you can do alright as long as you maintain it and buy one that is already down the depreciation curve (like 10+ years old) and you have the skills to take care of maintenance and repairs yourself.

However, like owning anything, one big problem can wipe you out. Like engine failure, transmission failure or roof rot. These 3 things can basically make any RV worthless to anyone except a restorer.
 

uchu

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RVs, boats, small airplanes are not financial investments for the average folk. They are leisure investments.
 

DonTom

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However, like owning anything, one big problem can wipe you out. Like engine failure, transmission failure or roof rot. These 3 things can basically make any RV worthless to anyone except a restorer.
I've had an engine as well as a tranny replaced in a class C RV (two different rigs). It was many years ago, but the engine replacement cost me a mile, exactly $5,280.00. Easy to remember. The tranny replacement was less. Around 4K$ (IIRC) just a few years ago in my Tioga listed below.

But I wonder what it would cost to do the same work in a Class A like this one. No doubt this 6 speed tranny costs more, but I wouldn't think the labor would be much more. The engine, OTOH . . .

But I assume they will both outlast me anyway.

-Don- Cold Springs Station RV Park, NV
 

gfmucci

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N Central Florida
So the biggest variables appear to be these to limit financial risk:
* Buy at the low end of depreciation curve: 5 to 10 years old
* Pay at the low end of market, or less
* Condition when purchased - get reliable professional inspections if necessary - understand costs of getting it as trouble-free condition as practical.
* Budget $200 to $300 a month for routine maintenance for a 5 to 10 year old rig assuming new tires at beginning and everything else in good working order.
* Expect to pay a big premium if buying into a hot market like at present. Any idea about how many months/years for market to cool?

How worthwhile are extended warrantees on major systems, like drivetrain, leaks, HVAC, electrical/generation, and plumbing systems?
 

gfmucci

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Joined
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Location
N Central Florida
I've had an engine as well as a tranny replaced in a class C RV (two different rigs). It was many years ago, but the engine replacement cost me a mile, exactly $5,280.00. Easy to remember. The tranny replacement was less. Around 4K$ (IIRC) just a few years ago in my Tioga listed below.

But I wonder what it would cost to do the same work in a Class A like this one. No doubt this 6 speed tranny costs more, but I wouldn't think the labor would be much more. The engine, OTOH . . .

But I assume they will both outlast me anyway.

-Don- Cold Springs Station RV Park, NV
An out of warranty car can have a failed tranny or broken timing belt that sets you back several grand. Those things happen. Are you suggesting they are much more common to happen in motor homes with 30,000 to 60,000 miles on their odometer?

I know everyone has their horror stories to tell about unexpected breakdowns of various motor vehicles over their lifetimes.
 

DonTom

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An out of warranty car can have a failed tranny or broken timing belt that sets you back several grand. Those things happen. Are you suggesting they are much more common to happen in motor homes with 30,000 to 60,000 miles on their odometer?

I know everyone has their horror stories to tell about unexpected breakdowns of various motor vehicles over their lifetimes.
Do any motorhomes have a timing "belt" ? I would assume all larger engines would be a timing chain.

Stress on the timing chain shouldn't be more on an RV than if the engine is in a light vehicle. it's only moving valves.

But the strain of the tranny and engine (other than timing chains, etc) will be a lot more in a heavier vehicle. I recall when I had an engine replaced in my old RV, the warranty would have been twice as long if it wasn't being used in a such a heavy vehicle. Things like piston rods breaking (happened to me twice).

I would say when an engine has a major problem is rather random. No doubt a few new engines have had issues as others have gone 250K miles, of the same type used the same way.

But I would expect RV engines these days, to usually last to above 150K miles before any serious issues, but YMMV.

-Don- Cold Springs Station RV Park, NV
 

gfmucci

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N Central Florida
Do any motorhomes have a timing "belt" ? I would assume all larger engines would be a timing chain.

Stress on the timing chain shouldn't be more on an RV than if the engine is in a light vehicle. it's only moving valves.

But the strain of the tranny and engine (other than timing chains, etc) will be a lot more in a heavier vehicle. I recall when I had an engine replaced in my old RV, the warranty would have been twice as long if it wasn't being used in a such a heavy vehicle. Things like piston rods breaking (happened to me twice).

I would say when an engine has a major problem is rather random. No doubt a few new engines have had issues as others have gone 250K miles, of the same type used the same way.

But I would expect RV engines these days, to usually last to above 150K miles before any serious issues, but YMMV.

-Don- Cold Springs Station RV Park, NV
"Timing belt" was only used as a typically expensive item to fix in an older car. It was not intended to imply that a truck uses the same. But you get the drift, I hope. My point is that older, out our warranty vehicles, whether cars or trucks, have expensive repair items. Most often these are related to very high mileage, e.g. greater than 100,000-150,000 miles, or poor maintenance.

I would expect that truck drivetrains would be more robust and have higher mileage expectations before major repairs are required, especially in smaller rigs less than 30' and especially with well maintained vehicles with fewer than 80,000 miles, for example.
 

Ex-Calif

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Posts
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So the biggest variables appear to be these to limit financial risk:
* Buy at the low end of depreciation curve: 5 to 10 years old
* Pay at the low end of market, or less
* Condition when purchased - get reliable professional inspections if necessary - understand costs of getting it as trouble-free condition as practical.
* Budget $200 to $300 a month for routine maintenance for a 5 to 10 year old rig assuming new tires at beginning and everything else in good working order.
* Expect to pay a big premium if buying into a hot market like at present. Any idea about how many months/years for market to cool?

How worthwhile are extended warrantees on major systems, like drivetrain, leaks, HVAC, electrical/generation, and plumbing systems?
The only other thing I would add is a purchase war chest. I put new shock bags, new front shocks, steering damper, 2 front tires and professional alignment. Probably $1500 total. Then I did a complete tune up on the engine - 454 TBI. I replaced pretty much everything. plugs, wires, rotor, cap, filters, oil change. I was surprised at what all that kit for a 454 engine cost - near $150 IIRC. All the heater hoses and radiator hoses and wiper blades. I also bought 3 new group 26 batteries and changed 4 headlights out

Now my RV was 24 years old at the time, had had little maintenance done and had been sitting for 2 years. But I really, really stole it.
 

gfmucci

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Posts
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N Central Florida
The only other thing I would add is a purchase war chest. I put new shock bags, new front shocks, steering damper, 2 front tires and professional alignment. Probably $1500 total. Then I did a complete tune up on the engine - 454 TBI. I replaced pretty much everything. plugs, wires, rotor, cap, filters, oil change. I was surprised at what all that kit for a 454 engine cost - near $150 IIRC. All the heater hoses and radiator hoses and wiper blades. I also bought 3 new group 26 batteries and changed 4 headlights out

Now my RV was 24 years old at the time, had had little maintenance done and had been sitting for 2 years. But I really, really stole it.
Yup. Agree. I figure even if spend $20 to $30K, on something somewhat newer than yours (maybe around 10-12 years old, with 30,000+ miles on it, my "war chest" should still be around several grand (maybe $3 to $5,000), even if it has newish tires and seems well cared for and fully operational in every respect.
 

gfmucci

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Posts
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Location
N Central Florida
The only "Reasonable expectation" on RV buying is that it will soon be a money pit, no matter what age it is. And only expect to get a very small percentage back, no matter how much you put into it.

But I generally keep my vehicles until it's time to give them away for free.

I am in my 2022 RV listed below, just picked up on the 15TH. I figure it now probably worth about half the $161, 500.00 (OTD) I just paid for it two days ago. But I don't care. I didn't buy this to resale it, the same with my old RV which I still have. And I know the expense of ownership will not stop at that $161,500.00. Far from it.

But life is too short and I am too old to worry about saving money, I would rather just have a good time and do a lot of travelling while I still can.

-Don- Cold Springs Station RV Park, NV (maiden voyage to figure this new rig out).
I am not in your financial league. If I "go for it" it will be something in the 10 +/- year old range, and renting out my house in a retirement community in Florida to help fund my fling. So for me, knowing I would sell it in a couple of years (assuming I don't get the "stay mobile" bug) some level of not losing my shirt upon sale is important. From the extensive reading I've done so far, it doesn't have to be that degree of a "money pit" if its a sound purchase and well maintained. I expect I would have a ~$5,000 reserve for regular and unanticipated maintenance.
 

Isaac-1

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SW Louisiana
I tend to follow the message threads regarding replacement of an 8.1L Vortec gasoline engine in class A motorhomes since this is what I have. Over the last few years I have seen perhaps half a dozen 8.1L engine replacement message threads on the various RV forums, prices seem to run between $12,000-$15,000 of course this often happens when people are on a trip a thousand miles from home. I think the cheapest I have seen was just under $10,000 though that one involved a used engine out of a wrecked motorhome with about 25,000 miles on it bought from one of the big RV junk yards.

Diesel pushers make these numbers sound like a bargain, we have/had one member here that was on his 3rd Cummins diesel engine (ISX?) at over $40,0000 each
 

gfmucci

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N Central Florida
How many miles were on these rigs and how were they maintained? Were the engines undersized for the rig? Were they towing near or over capacity toads?

If mileage was not extreme and maintenance was per spec, those are definitely engines to avoid.
 

Isaac-1

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SW Louisiana
The 8.1L ECM has a few shortcomings most notably that it fails to set a check engine light for lean fuel trim conditions and fails to detect high speed misfires. It is suspected that most of the failures have occurred due to these issues, as well as their tendency to burn through spark plug wires in some installations. These issues can mostly be solved by using aftermarket high temperature spark plug wires such as the Magnum Extreme spark plug wires sold by Ultra RV products, as well as manually monitoring the LF1 and LF2 fuel trim using a ScanGauge II or other similar device. In theory the ECM should set a check engine light and trouble code for this, but in the real world it simply does not do it, the result is the fuel trim hits max trim adjustment of +/-25% then the engine leans out and BOOM. I manually monitor my LF1 and LF2, with everything working right they will run between +/- 7 or so if I see a number over 10-11 I make note to address the usual suspects (dirty MAF, spark plugs, O2 sensors, etc) the next time I do engine maintenance. if I see over 15 under load I make finding the cause a priority. I am on the road today, just stopped after about 300 miles of driving, and my LF1/LF2 numbers are hitting around 9-10 so when I get home and have cooler weather I will go through things and fix the issues. I am pretty sure it is not the O2 sensors this time, as I just replaced those about 6 months ago, and used OEM Declo sensors.
 

DonTom

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if its a sound purchase and well maintained.
Like my Y2K RV. Many thousands put into it over the last few years and no way could I sell it for a third of that. New tranny, new fuel pump, new brakes all the way around, (pads and disks and drums), new shocks, new steering rods and much more. So I decided to keep it even though that means I have two RVs. And I plan to use the old one about as much as the new.

I doubt if you can buy one that well maintained for a reasonable price.
I am not in your financial league. If I "go for it" it will be something in the 10 +/- year old range, and renting out my house in a retirement community in Florida to help fund my fling. So for me, knowing I would sell it in a couple of years (assuming I don't get the "stay mobile" bug) some level of not losing my shirt upon sale is important. From the extensive reading I've done so far, it doesn't have to be that degree of a "money pit" if its a sound purchase and well maintained. I expect I would have a ~$5,000 reserve for regular and unanticipated maintenance.
Just after ten years is when they often become big money pits!

-Don- Reno, NV
 
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