The Million Dollar Question - How Old is Too Old?

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NCSU Dad

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I know doing scheduled maintenance is key. So for example a 15 year old motorhome with 50,000 miles that has been maintained would be a better buy than the exact same make & model with 5,000 miles if the owner only changed the oil one time, coolant and transmission fluid never.

Is there a time in years where it makes sense because of age to avoid drivetrain, plumbing, wiring, gaskets, repairs or replacements?

I'm thinking about the RV you would not hesitate to drive across country and back. Not the RV you will park in a "campground" and never leave.

Thanks!
 

SargeW

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Is there a time in years where it makes sense because of age to avoid drivetrain, plumbing, wiring, gaskets, repairs or replacements?
That's a tough question that doesn't have a really solid answer. The older a vehicle gets, the chance of an issue gets bigger with it. So I guess the conclusion would be to look for as new of a rig as you can afford, and one that has been maintained.

Here is a thread that is a sobering read, especially the last few pages.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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That's not any different than asking how old is too old to drive an RV? Age is just a number; it's the sum-total of all relevant conditions that matters.

Greater age gives more opportunity for time-related deterioration, wear, & tear. It doesn't tell what actually happened and the degree of impact it had.
 

Isaac-1

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My take on it is that there are lots of rubber parts that age out on an RV, as well as appliances which tend to have a maximum service life, and of course there is then the question of parts availability for the underlying chassis / engine.

To begin with there are a lot of rubber parts that will start aging out around the 12-15 year mark, these include steering and suspension bushings, rubber fuel lines, rubber brake hoses, in addition to the more obvious stuff like radiator hoses, serpentine belts, etc. This is not to say all of these will suddenly fail in this age range, my coach is turning 20 years old this year, and while I have replaced some of these items, and have others still on the to do list, others are still functional for now, but will need attention in the coming years. One note here is the type of rubber matters and around the time my coach was built companies were starting to transition to some better types of rubber.

As to the appliance side, on my coach the only appliance that has been changed out is the refrigerator, which was replaced in 2014 by a previous owner, so while they are still working, I fully expect the water heater and roof top air conditioner to fail any year now. The furnace may last a while longer, as it looks near new and probably only has a couple of hundred hours of use on it, as my coach spent most of its first 15 years registered in Florida.

Though all things considered, I can see an increased pace on dealing with components aging out / wearing out on my coach as it approaches 20 years of age and 100,000 miles.
 

Ex-Calif

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I'm thinking about the RV you would not hesitate to drive across country and back. Not the RV you will park in a "campground" and never leave.

Thanks!

You have a cheaply built house on top of a bus chassis. My RV is 25 years old. I just drove it like 2200 miles back and forth to Arizona. Some things broke. They were house side items that almost always have a temporary work around.

The chassis did great. Jumping on what Isaac said. My coach has about 60k miles on it. The engine compression and transmission are great - not worn out. I have changed "all" the rubber bits on the engine, belts, hoses, spark plug wires, etc. etc. etc. Cleaned and flushed all the fluids. I am very confident in the chassis part of my RV.

If I had bought a different 50k mile RV that had the transmission abused due to overloading and over-trailering - I could have the transmission blow up 100 mile after I bought it.

In fact on my RV the original owner towed a horse trailer behind this RV. Blew up the transmission and I have the records for a brand new transmission going in at like 30k miles.

SargeW gave the formula - Buy the newest rig you can that has been cared for the best. Figuring out which used RV that is is the huge trick.
 

Kirk

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Since your question was about choosing between two identical motorhomes of 15 years age, one with 50,000 miles and the other with only 5,000 miles, I would probably chose the former. Even at 50k that would be a very low mileage but one with 5k means it has rarely been driven, probably not at all most years. Even the 50k rig has only averaged about 3300 miles per year so it too was not used very much. We kept a gas class A for 14 years and in that time we put 88,000 miles on it and it had no engine or transmission work other than normal maintenance.
 
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