Used RV mileage

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scottydl

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In my search for a mid-80's motorhome, I've been told that low mileage can be dangerous (since that means the MH sat possibly unmaintained for long periods of time) and 8-10k miles per year is a good bet.  Agreed?  Disagreed? 
 

Carl L

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Motor homes, like most RVs, tend towards annual mileage lower than passenger vehicles.    However, age always counts.  Things get old, gaskets age, hoses get brittle, and plastic goes to hell.  Appliances get wheezy.  Most importantly, tires age dangerously.  Tires older than 5 years should be replaced -- older than 7 years they are bloody well dangerous.

Of course, on a really old rig, that odometer may be on its second or third time around. ;D
 

DougJ

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I've been told that low mileage can be dangerous

That's been our experience when we bought a 1990 rig with less than 70,000kms (not miles) on it.  It just hadn't been used enough IMHO, and so there were various snags on the rig.

For years I had my own aircraft and that's the story with small planes: if you don't fly them enough they always seem to have a snag of one kind or another.

So, I wouldn't let 70,000 miles (not kms) scare you off.

Doug
 

Jeff

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We had a 1983 Pace Arrow that had 112,000 miles on it when we sold it in 1999 with the original engine and tranny. It needed a new interior by then but was mechanically sound.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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THE RVIA says that 6000 miles/year is typical Rv usage. A bit less for vacationers and a bit more for full or part timers, but that's the ball park.

I don't think low mileage per se is a probelm. I agree that maintenance needs to be done whether the miles are put on or not, but owners who are scrupulous about maintenance do it and those who are not, do not. Even if they drive the rig many, many miles. I would, however, agree that a vehicle that was not run for a year o rmore could be a problem, since some components rely on occasional operation to keep their internal seals lubricated. Air conditioners and transmissions are examples.

And as others have said, age is a problem because there is a lot of rubber and synthetic materials in a vehicle that detriorate with age, regardless of use.  Tires, belts, hoses and seals are prime examples. Be prepared to replace all of those items in anyolde vehicle - will save you a lot of headaches.
 

JohnSandyWhite

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scottydl said:
In my search for a mid-80's motorhome, I've been told that low mileage can be dangerous (since that means the MH sat possibly unmaintained for long periods of time) and 8-10k miles per year is a good bet.? Agreed?? Disagreed??

:) Hi scottyd. I bought a Coachmen Classic that had 22,500 on it as a 12 year old. It turned out to be the biggest mistake I have ever made. I have since had 3 high mileage RV's and they were better value for money. IMHO. Happy buying.  ;)
 

Dan Walters

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I just bought a 1998 Allegro Class A with only 7,700 miles on it.  Having everything still look new is great, but there are some downsides.

So far, I've had to put on new tires, including the spare which has never been on the ground, because they are 10 years old according to the manufacture date code, even though they have great tread left.  I replaced both of the front air bags because they were cracked and dry rotted and would no longer hold air.  I had to replace the belts and hoses on the engine, again cracked and dry rotted from age and lack of use.  I had to replace all three of the batteries, even though they were not very old, because they had sat up and gone dead from lack of use.  I had to replace the alternator, which went out, probably from lack of use since alternators generally last more than 7,700 miles.  I found dirt dobber nests in the engine air filter compartment as well as other places due to it sitting up for so long.  Just before I bought the MH, the previous owner had to have a valve job done on the genset because it hadn't been run enough. Those are the downsides.

The upside is that most everything on the coach still looks new and is still tight.  There is not much wear and tear on the equipment so it should last a long time, if properly maintained.  I think you have to expect to do some maintenance on an older, low mileage coach right after you buy it because things deteriate with age as well as use.  Hope this helps.  Good luck searching for your coach.


Dan
 

scottydl

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Heh, "lack of use" certainly seems to be the keyword in all those problems you mentioned!  I can't believe how much things break down from not being used... I mean I normally would not call your '98 old or outdated by any stretch, but look at all those items you mentioned.

Currently I'm looking at a 1989 Jayco 27' Class C, with around 57k miles on the Ford 460.  Seller says that it belonged to his now-elderly parents and hasn't been regularly used in about 2 years.  But he says that they start it up and run it every week or two, and it has been driven/camped in a few times during that period... just not regularly.  Is this trouble just waiting?  It's a nice-looking rig otherwise, but I don't want to be fooled into buying it because it looks good but it falling apart on the inside.
 

Dan Walters

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I guess it also depends on the price you pay for the MH versus the condition it is in.  I knew when I bought mine that I would have to put new tires, air bags, batteries and belts & hoses.  I also paid $7,000 under the average retail price according the the NADA RV Bluebook.  I certainly didn't spend that much getting it in top mechanical shape, so I still think I got a good deal.  Just be sure to check everything out thoroughly and know what you will have to do to it and how much it will cost you to get it into good condition.  If you are not comfortable doing that, pay someone that knows what they are looking for to do the inspection and give you a report on what must be fixed and an idea of what the cost will be.  It may still be a good deal, even if you have to spend some money on repairs.  Don't be afraid of the age or the low mileage, just go into it with your eyes wide open.
 

TT

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Oh, just buy the thing.  I drove by it again tonight and it's still there.
 

scottydl

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TT said:
Oh, just buy the thing.  I drove by it again tonight and it's still there.

Gee who could that be???  :)  I'm thinking if it's been there for two years already, another 9 months is a fair bet... another year of depreciation then too, so I'll probably be able to afford it! 
 

Shayne

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Make them an offer and if they accept right away.  Then you paid too much.  If they hesitate and then accept after some prodding. Then it's a good buy probably.  But you'll never know unless you do something in regards to it. Nothing wrong with saving a few bucks and repair things yourself.  Anything can be fixed or relaced.  Only way to find out is get your feet wet.  The sooner you get it the sooner you can use it. Good Luck
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Most of the things that go wrong were because of age moreso than lack of use.  It's true, though, that when something is used regularly it tends to get things repaired as they need it, whereas an unused RVV keeps accumulating small problems.
 

motojavaphil

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We plan to buy a used MH and going in I know the oil, filters, tires and batteries will definitely need changing.  I plan to check every function of the MH prior to taking delivery.  Beyond that if I can find an independent MH expert I will gladly pay him for his evaluation.  It is too much money for something I will call a home to have repeated failures with.
 

themetalman

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i purchased a 1989 fleetwood southwing 34', with a 454 chevy . it has 86.920 miles on it and it runs great, everything in it work great except the dash ac.and one front air bag leaks air......hope to enjoy it.
 

joester

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other than age and mileage - one other aspect of older rv's that needs to be considered is location.
we bought our 1991 Tioga at the end of 1997 - California owner. We have had it parked next to our home in Tempe, Az for nearly 9 years now in full sun. The sun is a bear, and the heat makes rubber parts, belts, hoses, seals, etc, go Even quicker than normal. on the other side, extreme cold is also tough on plastics, fiberglass, and the same rubber parts as the heat effects.
everything needs to be looked at closely to see if it needs repair or replacement.
I drive mine every weekend for 45 min to an hour, running the generator, start and run the fridge on propane, run the roof and dash a/c.? sitting unused is the slow death of an rv - use it or lose it!
good luck.
 

Road Runner

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My 1995 Sellers has only done 4000 miles and 50 hours on the genny when  I bought it last month and interior perfect but exterior showing Florida sunshine wear.  I would in the UK be happier with a high mileage well serviced vehicle than one that has only been to the local store daily so never reached normal working temperature.

I have done a 1000 miles in one week in my RV in Florida and seem fine but wary of low mileages as a rule (is it a true milage being only one of them)
 

Shayne

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Might help to change the oil to Mobil 1  Definitely would help stabilize the engine.
 

Just Lou

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When I bought my used '97  Bounder two years ago I went through all the mental gymnastics of "what is best... older but low mileage?  maybe newer with high mileage?"  As I searched through the available units in my price range most of that thinking fell by the wayside.  There were just too many variables involved.

However, I did come away with one observation.  The interior of most motorhomes will wear out long before the drive train and running gear (given regular maintenance).  So! unless the RV has obvious excessive mileage it may be a blessing in disguise.

It's difficult to soil and wear out the carpet at 65 miles per hour, but being used as a summer home at the beach can destroy the thing without adding a mile.  It's easier and sometimes cheaper to bring the maintenance up to date and have a clean RV to enjoy.
Just my observation.

lou
 

Road Runner

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Ah but come to the UK and look in most of the 2nd hand ones on the forecourts and by them most have been used full time in Europe and they can look very sad (threadbare :eek:)

One advantage of buying used direct from the states ;)
 

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