Used Class A Questions

Discussion in 'Class A / Diesel Pushers' started by okaretta, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. okaretta

    okaretta New Member


    I had originally posted looking for a class C, but now we are looking into a used Class A. We are looking for a starter RV to travel
    some long distances but it would usually sit thereafter for about 8-13 weeks. It will also be towing a small car behind it.

    Which engine is better? Gas Ford or Gas Chevy?

    How old is too old? Or, should mileage be looked at before age? How many miles is too many miles?

    Is it better to buy from an individual or dealership? Also, does anyone know of any honest dealerships in the DFW area?

    Also, what info can someone provide about generators?

  2. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Used Class A Questions

    Mileage and age are both important. The more miles on it, the more wear on the drivetrain and the more 'shaking' the other stuff has endured. The older it is, the more it has 'deteriorated'. A lot of stuff can be replaced, but some things would be more trouble than they are worth (like the sewage tanks). Also, beware of the one which is very low mileage for its age. RVs which sit a lot tend to be in worse shape than those used a 'normal' amount.

    When I was looking at gas powered motorhomes, it seemed like every one I saw that was over 50K miles had a 'rebuilt engine'. This seems odd, since in cars and trucks I would expect to get 100K out of a gas engine (at least), but perhaps these earlier motorhomes had engines which were not really up to the task. In any case, the older and more mileage the unit has, the cheaper it will be and the higher the likelihood of a significant breakdown. You will need to make the decision based on 1) how much you have to spend, 2) how much you have to cover major breakdowns, 3) your competance in fixing things which break and 4) how well the unit is inspected before you sign on the dotted line.

    I can't say which is better, Ford or Chevy, but in my family, we have always had trouble with Fords, and good luck with Chevys (and dodges and lately toyotas).

    Buying from an individual, particularly the first owner, can be a good option. You will probably pay less, and you will get a better feel for how the unit was treated, maintained and modified. Also, in some states you may not have to pay sales tax. On the other hand, individuals are just as human as dealers, and you can get screwed by an individual too, and perhaps have less recourse. When you choose a dealership, look really, really, really closely at the service department. You may be able to survive a bad sales staff, but a bad service department can really do you in.

    I've heard good things about Buddy Gregg just north of Dallas, and my favorite salesman, Justin Mcleod just moved there, check with him if you can.

    Maintenance is critical. If you can't get the maintenance records for a used RV, it is a 'crap shoot'.

    Here's another option to look at if you use it a little and store it a lot, a 5th wheel and a pickup truck. The trailer should take storage better than a motorhome does and should be a bit more usable for long stays. But it may not be as nice when travelling and will be a bit more trouble to set up when you reach your site.
  3. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Used Class A Questions

    As for generators, what do you want to know?
  4. okaretta

    okaretta New Member

    Re: Used Class A Questions

    thank u so much for the reply!!

    we have looked at some models that had about anywhere from 35K to 60K, usually about ten years old or a little older...

    my mom is a travel nurse and i am a college student needing to escape from my school during the mom had a ford tempo back in the 80s and it was lemon...but i wasnt sure about ford truck engines...but after that horrid experience, i think we will look for a chevy engine...the tempo was towed in three times for repair before it was a year old...

    is there a good website to scan to try and find individual buyers? also, many are on consignment, which assume is okay as well?

    we definitely want something that will hopefully be as trouble-free as possible, i dont mind shakiness and small repairs as i am pretty good mechanic, but certainly not breaking down on the side of the road, as it is important being two females traveling alone that we not have that problem or lessen our chances as much as possible, but we are on a budget...

    i will definitely check out buddy gregg!! we will certainly look at maintenance records, oil change record, all those specs...we are looking to spend no more than $25,000 and hope it will last us about 5 will be traveling a bit but wont be on the road all the will be lived in quite a lot during the summers especially...

    we thought about the fifth wheel route, but really would prefer not to get rid of our small cars...and would rather be able to pull them behind a motor home rather than have the pickup...

    as for generators...what do u need to look at to know the rv is coming with a good generator? anything general, as we dont know much about generators...except they use gas and are for backup power...

    thanks again!!!
  5. hamdave

    hamdave New Member

    Re: Used Class A Questions

    You probably need to 'slow' down and take a breath. Searching for an RV takes time. I would suggest you visit a couple of other forums( would be one and read the 'sticky' about purchasing motorhomes. You can also do a search about the subject and I suspect it would be time well spent. You need to realize that there is a lot more than just buying one of these behemoths, as there will be maintenance, repairs, etc to deal with. If you can't do most of this yourself, it could eat you up in costs that you didn't expect. If its just the two of you and you will live in it less than 12-15 weeks a year, you may want one with no slide. That gives you less maintenance from what I can tell, but others may have other opinions. Age/mileage are important, but previous maintenance is also important. You may find a rig, well taken care of. Check with your bank/credit-union as to value.

    good luck
  6. okaretta

    okaretta New Member

    Re: Used Class A Questions

    thank you...i have checked those forums as well, but will of course be reviewing them many times over...yes, we realize this is a huge investment and can be costly...but there are costs that are eating us alive when traveling...and even though its main use will be used in the summers, it will be used on the weekends for shorter distances and in a couple years it will eventually be used pretty often and certainly be living quarters for a large portion of the year...we have six pets (three of which are small reptiles and no one will touch them or watch them during times we are on the road)... traveling is a pure pain with pets, and double costly, if u can find a place that will accept them, hotel or apartment...and giving them away is not an a motor home is the best way to go for us...and take the risk of needing to fix this or that, which a warranty was mentioned to us by a dealership in denton, tx...and something we will certainly look at...

    we certainly dont need a slide, even though they are very nice and handy, it is not a necessity and with buying a used one, i could see that being a huge loss if the slideout failed...and yes, maintenance is huge...we would not buy a motorhome without previous records available...that is certainly something to always look at when buying a car, so i cannot imagine it being much different when looking for a motorhome, except being even more important because it can be so much more costly...

    any more additional info about buying, etc is appreciated!
  7. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Used Class A Questions

    A motorhome has 3 ways of running electrical gizmos - shore power (plug in), generator, or battery power. The batteries only provide 12v DC (lights and furnace blower) unless you have an inverter, which provides a limited amount of 120V AC.

    When you start the generator, there is a 'transfer switch' which will shut off the power cord. Thus it is not 'backup power' as much as it is 'alternate power'.

    There are 3 types of generator engine, gas, diesel and propane. Generally, it will be the same as the motorhome engine and use the same fuel tank. Hopefully the fuel inlet for the generator is higher than for the engine, so the generator does not suck the tank dry leaving you stranded.

    How to tell it is good? Look at the hour guage, it is the 'odometer' for the generator. Again look for maintenance records, generators need to have their oil and filter changed regularly AS WELL AS have been run under load at least a couple of hours per month. The big maker of motorhome generators seems to be 'ONAN', but other manufacturers may be fine. Pretty much, I'd make sure that it came installed from the factory to maximise the chances that it is an appropriate generator correctly installed. I'd invest in a power guage (I got mine at Camping World) you plug into an outlet which shows you voltage and frequency, then use it while the generator is running to insure you are getting 115 to 125 volts and 60 cycles. The guage will also be useful when you plug into an unknown camp site to ensure that you're getting 'good' power in. Incorrect power can damage your RV.

    If you have a generator, you MUST have a CO detector. Either that, or a will where you leave everything to me. :)

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