Q from newbies shopping for Class A to transport furry family x-country

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wildzone

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Jun 13, 2021
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San Diego
Yup we are totally new to RVing (not new to camping at all). We have a unique (?) scenario, we’re buying a house in New York and are driving from SoCal with six dogs 4 cats and 3 chickens! So we're buying an RV to make the trip, need to sell it once we are settled in a new home. We'd love to keep it but also need a new truck for work, we are wildlife biologists so…priorities. And no, we are not going to rent one
because there's a good chance we may need the RV for a little while before we're settled in a new home.

I understand the older it is the more issues it may, will, have, but we are on a strict budget and our options are limited. Sadly staying in hotels is not an option, even if we drive separately, not with 6 large-ish dogs and 4 cats. And, they are our kids, not chattel, so crating them in some weird x-country scenario not an option.


Looking for used, $15,000 max on a Class A that is in decent enough shape to have resale value not to mention get us x-country in one piece. What red flags to look for beyond the usual, especially regarding generators and ? We cannot afford to break down with a traveling circus of pets. We will do a trial run (camping nearby) once we buy but our time is limited before we need to leave.


TIA!
 
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Isaac-1

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I am not going to say this is impossible, after all people win lotteries every week, but given the Covid camping craze where the values of used RV's have nearly doubled, and even before Covid finding a good road ready class A for $15,000 was a challenge. This is a very tall order, also don't expect to make your money back on selling it, as you will likely be out sales tax (5-10% depending on the state, registration fees, insurance cost (probably around $700 alone), ... A better option may be buying a truck and a trailer for the pets to ride in.

To give an example of Covid used RV inflation, I bought my current coach in 2016 when it was 14 years old for $20,500 (asking was $25,000), most people on here historically feel I over paid, but it was in good shape, and well updated, an identical coach just sold with fewer upgrades than mine just sold in under 4 days for $37,000 online, and 2 or 3 others I have seen sell for between $29,000 - $32,000 in the last 3-4 months.
 

chindog

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Crestview, FL
You probably won't have much problem with the dogs and cats, but the chickens will prohibit you from staying at a lot of parks. Even parks with the most lenient pet rules have prohibitions against farm animals.
 

Lou Schneider

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Never mind the chickens, there aren't many campgrounds that will allow 6 dogs and 4 cats. A one or two pet limit is typical at campgrounds that do allow pets.

They may be your kids to you, but to a campground owner they're a pack that may harrass or even attack other campers they think are infringing on their turf. Campsites are too small with too many people nearby to take this chance.
 

wildzone

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Joined
Jun 13, 2021
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Location
San Diego
I am not going to say this is impossible, after all people win lotteries every week, but given the Covid camping craze where the values of used RV's have nearly doubled, and even before Covid finding a good road ready class A for $15,000 was a challenge. This is a very tall order, also don't expect to make your money back on selling it, as you will likely be out sales tax (5-10% depending on the state, registration fees, insurance cost (probably around $700 alone), ... A better option may be buying a truck and a trailer for the pets to ride in.

To give an example of Covid used RV inflation, I bought my current coach in 2016 when it was 14 years old for $20,500 (asking was $25,000), most people on here historically feel I over paid, but it was in good shape, and well updated, an identical coach just sold with fewer upgrades than mine just sold in under 4 days for $37,000 online, and 2 or 3 others I have seen sell for between $29,000 - $32,000 in the last 3-4 months.
Thanks for your response, that is good to know.
 

wildzone

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San Diego
You probably won't have much problem with the dogs and cats, but the chickens will prohibit you from staying at a lot of parks. Even parks with the most lenient pet rules have prohibitions against farm animals.
Thanks, something else to check on, appreciated.
 

wildzone

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San Diego
We are hoping to wait a year to move for various reasons, also hoping the housing and every other (i.e. vehicle) markets calm down a little. We are now thinking we may keep the RV given we will want to actually travel for fun now and then maybe with half the dogs (!). There are a few RVs that look in very good shape on the market for under $15k, such as 92 Bounder with 34,000 miles only for $11k, but I am nervous about buying a lemon disguised as a great deal, i.e. is the generator about to die from old age even if they claim it works great and had monthly maintenance? How can you tell ?
 

wildzone

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Jun 13, 2021
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San Diego
Never mind the chickens, there aren't many campgrounds that will allow 6 dogs and 4 cats. A one or two pet limit is typical at campgrounds that do allow pets.

They may be your kids to you, but to a campground owner they're a pack that may harrass or even attack other campers they think are infringing on their turf. Campsites are too small with too many people nearby to take this chance.
I understand that, which is why we have found ones that will accomodate, and I am told some places like Walmart let you park there, theoretically about 50% of them allow one overnight parking. This is not going to be a Nomadland fun filled trip, it is going to be as fast as feasible given our load.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
There are some great old coaches out there, occasionally at a bargain price. You have to be incredibly lucky to stumble across one, though, and it takes a lot of searching. Low mileage rigs aren't all that rare, some only get used a thousand miles or so a year, but they are often neglected as a result. The photos online rarely show the whole truth either.

Remember that you will be buying a large, 25-30 year-old truck, a smallish house complete with its own water & electric utilities, and a complete set of old furnishings and appliances. What do you suppose is the chance that something goes wrong in all that?

I'm also struggling with the notion of 2 people, 6 dogs, 4 cats and 3 chickens in about 250 sq ft of space. Even if just for a 10 days or so. I get that you are accustomed to sharing life with your furry & feathery kids, but they still take up space, need places for their food and water, etc.

Consider buying that new truck now and towing a trailer. At least then you have reliable transport, and trailers are a lot cheaper to buy than motorhomes and don't require liability insurance either. The animals that ride in the trailer would have to be caged securely for travel, though. A trailer under tow is a fairly rough ride.
 

Isaac-1

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SW Louisiana
When it comes to buying a used older motorhome, the key is to inspect, inspect, inspect. The big killer for older RV's of any type is wood rot caused by water penetration, most often this come from poorly maintained roof or window seals. With class A motorhomes I could suggest concentrating on models which have Fiberglass, Filon or Aluminum roofs, as while these materials still need maintenance and upkeep, they last longer than rubber membrane roofs (EPDM, or even TPO). Also generally speaking even with maintenance an EPDM roof will have about a 12-15 year life span, TPO is a bit better, where properly maintained Fiberglass or Aluminum can last nearly indefinitely. The Aluminum roof on my 2002 coach still has the original paint on it, though the lap sealant has been replaced and is due to be replaced again soon, it may need a fresh coat of roof paint before long as it is starting to get thin in a few spots, but I have been saying that for 4-5 years now, and it is still not to the point of needing repainting. Often wood rot is far more extensive than it may first appear and be far more expensive to repair than one might expect, so the best advice I can give is if there are ANY signs of water marks on the ceiling or other signs of rot (crackling or soft spots when walking on the roof, etc.) run away. In addition to this most RV appliances have about a 12-15 year life, some last longer, my coach still has its original furnace, water heater and roof top air conditioner, the furnace is still in great shape, of course my coach seems to have spent most of its life in Florida, so I suspect the furnace had very little use. By contrast I fully suspect that I will need to replace the air conditioner and the water heater any year now. On the mechanical side I strongly suggest checking the condition of all the rubber parts, this includes rubber brake lines, steering and suspension bushings, generator fuel line, hydraulic leveling jack lines, oil and transmission cooler lines, etc. as the rubber used in the 1990's tended to only last about 12-15 years before dry rotting and crumbling. People tend only think about belts and radiator hoses, but there is a lot more stuff made out of rubber that tends to age out on RV's. If you are going to shop for a 1990's coach look for one where someone has already replaced all this stuff in the last few years, as most of those coaches are cheap for a reason. Also early 1990's coaches depending on the chassis may have throttle body injection and 3 speed transmissions which get awful fuel economy and don't do well with higher speed limits we have today as they were designed if not built during the era of the 55 mph national speed limit.

When i was shopping for my current coach 5-6 years ago, I set myself an absolute cutoff date of nothing built before 1996 on the Chevy gas chassis platform of 1999 for Ford F53. (1996 being the introduction year for the OBDII diagnostic interface, as well are R134a refrigerant as well as the introduction of the 7.4L MFI Vortec engine on the Chevy, 1999 (98?) being the introduction of the 6.8L V10 on the Ford)

Ike

p.s. rubber compounds used in the early to mid 2000's are much better than the ones used in the early 1990's though they do still age out they seem to do a bit better on average.
 

phil-t

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Ogdensburg, NY
the values of used RV's have nearly doubled, .
I have not seen this price change at all. I spent the last two months looking for a newer MH near my home base and have found several reasonably priced units. I just sold my '10 Vista for nearly what I paid 4 years ago - it was a good deal then and still was at my selling price. The unit I found, a 2018, was an excellent deal and I was able to do thorough inspection, test drive and use it for in the dealer's lot for 2 days and nights before the purchase. Maybe it's just my local area but I doubt it. I did a lot searching on line and most prices I've seen are priced reasonable based on NADA price guids. And those prices have not changed a lot over the last 2 months.
 

Isaac-1

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What length was the one you sold, it seems where the market is really hot is anything under about 30 feet
 

phil-t

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Ya, maybe, not what I was looking for. It was a '10 Vista 32k - bunk model which is another claim of desired features, today. I think the market is going to look way different in a year, maybe two.
 
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