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How old is too old, how many miles is too many?


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I've been switching between a gasser and a DP. The gasser gives me newer and fewer miles but the DP gives me room and CCC. The Dutch Star quality group is what I have been looking at and it seems like 2005 is about at my price point. What should I look at besides maintenance records and general upkeep? Obviously, the engine and tranny are expensive to repair so how do I know about he injectors etc?

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You will get lots of good answers for this often asked question.

I have had both diesels and gassers.......current motorhome is a gasser...

My best comment is, after you look a the $$$, operating costs, power, etc., is that when the motorhome is parked, it doesn't mean squat if it is a gasser or diesel ..




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If you take the MH to a service shop and have the drive train gone over and have the oil and tranny fluid send for analysis and have the engine scanned for codes as well as doing a history on the service of the MH....you should be able to tell what condition it is in pretty accurately.

The question of gas or diesel is an age old question and you wll get arguments all day long on the merits of each. Personally I would consider the floor plan that will work the best. Unless you are planning on going non stop from coast to coast the driving part of the motorhome is the least part of being in it. The living time is what counts more. My wording on this sucks but I hope you get what I mean.

Dutch Star is a good Newmar product but there are a lot of other good makes out there as well.

Good luck in your search.

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Part of the question is whether a new or used RV is preferred? There are many of us who choose gas power because of a limited budget yet we wanted a new coach. It just isn't true that all diesels have a higher cargo capacity than any gas coach but the CCC is of major importance to be sure that you do consider that on which ever you choose. There are gas coaches using the higher capacity chassis which have a CCC that exceeds that of many of the lower priced diesels. While the Dutch Star that you are considering usually does have ample capacity, be sure that you verify that before you buy as there are exceptions in nearly every brand and model.


A lot also depends upon the mileage you expect to drive the RV and the number of years that you will keep it. In addition, it can be very difficult to find financing for a coach that is more than 10 years old so make sure that you check that before you commit to any RV if it is used and you won't be buying for cash. In addition, maintenance and repairs are less expensive for gas rigs than for diesels, in most cases. But the diesels with air ride (not all of them have it) have by far the very best ride of any motorhome. In my opinion, that is their biggest advantage.


We bought a gas coach new and owned it for 14 years, and almost 12 of that was fulltime. It served us very well but we could have used more CCC and the newer chassis have much better with gas chassis going as high as 26,000# of GVWR today. No matter what coach you buy or what it burns for fuel, be sure to look closely at the CCC.


With any used RV, you would be wise to get it professionally inspected and for a diesel I would also want it completely checked out by a good diesel shop. Condition is the most important part of the issue, particularly when you consider an RV that is 10 years old.

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If what you're planning on is to go fulltime, then I would recommend a diesel pusher. And one of the many reasons is that typically when starting fulltime, you will be on the road quite a bit going from here to there trying to see everything. We were that way when we started out 5yrs. ago. But we've really slowed down since. A diesel with an air bag suspension will ride smoother, and with the engine in the rear it's much quieter. And of course the obvious CCC. But many, many people fulltime in gassers too. It comes down to preference. I would never discourage anyone from fulltiming in whatever they want to use.

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Pick your budget range. Leave some funds for catch up of baseline maintenance as well as any modifications you may want to make to the coach to make it yours. Then add a contingency fund on top of that. If the 05 Dutchstar does this for you, and you like the interior layout. It would be a good one.


As mentioned, oil/trans sample, thorough inspection. If the documentation does not reflect hoses/belts replaced - I'd add that into the mix.


We always felt we'd rather have a higher quality coach, and dropped years to remain within budget while shopping until we found the unit we have now. We feel we found a 'good solid foundation', and worthy of many more years of usage.


Another benefit of the older coaches, is less smog stuff. Suspect that Dutchstar has the ISL400 with the VGT, and it should have been before the next level of smog changes hit in 2006.


No right or wrong on gas vs diesel. Many have full timed well in both of them. What is important, is what you find important in what you want a coach to be able to do. Extra storage, CCC, braking assist, are all great benefits that DP's bring to the party. But if you don't need them, then a gas unit will serve you well too.


Best of luck, on whatever you end up doing,


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IMO, whatever you buy, consider an extended service contract with gaskets and seals rider. For instance, a member of irv2.com traded MH's and within 6,000 miles the diesel engine dropped a couple valves = $26,000 for rebuild.

Personally, we bought one through Good Sam ERS. It was expensive, but in the first 2 years paid $4,000 in claims; no claims for the chassis, all were for the house part. For instance, both rear-view, heated, power mirrors were bad, and replaced @ $1,300 ea. Our out-of-pocket_$50.

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IMO, whatever you buy, consider an extended service contract with gaskets and seals rider. For instance, a member of irv2.com traded MH's and within 6,000 miles the diesel engine dropped a couple valves = $26,000 for rebuild.

If you do this, and it can be a good way to go, I suggest that you first read this article about choosing an extended warranty.

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  • 2 months later...

i persoanlly would be DP all the way, but if it was between a new gas or a used diesel. that selection would depend on if warranty is available on the dp

for traveling, dp . just local trips only, say less than 150 miles total gas would be ok. If the gas had more than 50k on it dp would win on that.

what also sways me is having a diesel generator. last longer, takes more of a beating especially if going to be used for 5 hrs or more at a time.

But summed up in a nutshell as i ride (harley) some friends ride honda. i tell them hey ya riding that's all that matters.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After a year of research I bought a of foot 1993 Foretravel Grand Villa. It has a bullet proof Detroit Diesel. With an older coach the key is to make sure that it's been used often, updated as needed and properly maintained. There are a few experts out there that can do an extensive inspection for you. I only considered coaches with full maintenance records.


I prefer the classic, old school fit and finish over the newer coaches. The systems are also less complicated and easier to maintain. I love the solid walnut cabinetry and walls. For me, it's more homey.


I felt that I got much more coach for my money going this route.

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For the money that you are looking at spending you could get a nice 2001 to 2002 Foretravel U320. 450 HP and transmission retarder. The M11 engine on the U320 is a commercial engine that is as tough as nails and should see 1MM miles. Maintenance records are a must and I agree with the above poster that you should walk away from any MH that doesn't have them. Also if you are not familiar with the DP systems an inspection/survey would also be adviseable. Foretravel builds their own chasis and all wood cabinetry in house. Positioning of the air ride bags are in front and behind the wheels, not inside of them so the handling of the coach is more stable. On those years you will find no stabilizing jacks as the HWH system is auto level using the air bags. No wipers on the slides - air bladders. Slides are flush. The full bodypaint system they use will show nice for many years with multiple clear coats on top for further protection. The Foretravel Forum is also a wonderful place to learn about this wonderful piece of equipment and I would suggest that it is the best owner site of any brand out there. You will find that the Foretravel is a quality built coach and many are still on the road and cherished dating back into the 1980s.


As with any preowned equipment things will break and will need to be replaced and others will need to be upgraded. The quality of the components are top shelf.


We also looked at the Newmar brand as well as Country Coach, Tiffin, Bluebird, Winnabego, Fleetwood and a bunch of others but felt that the build quality, engine, trans and suspension of the Foretravel were far better than the other brand mentioned above. I was more concerned with the mechanical and my DW more into the layout. She likes our layout - 2 slides.


Foretravel owners have two sayings:

1. Establish your budget and buy the best Foretravel that you can. (Keep in mind that when purchasing and preowned gasser or DP you should have about $10K tucked away for immediate repairs, upgrades and stuff like that. Also keep in mind that the tire life is 5 to 7 years so check the date stamp on the tires. New tires on a DP can easily run you $3500 even using the FMCA Micheline discount tire program.)


2..I would rather have a 10 year old Foretravel that a new SOB (some other brand).


Visit this web site for information, lurk around and ask questions. - http://www.foreforums.com/


Another web site put together and maintained by one of the owners is: http://www.beamalarm.com/foretravel-links/foretravel-past-brochures-specifications-and-manuals.html Here you will find just about everything Foretravel including layouts by year as well as specifications.


http://www.beamalarm.com/foretravel-links/foretravel-past-brochures-specifications-and-manuals.html - 50 reasons to love your Foretravel.


Yes I am biased. We have been fulltiming for 3 years in our Foretravel and chatted with many other travelers that do not know the brand and wish that they had before they had purchased their present equipment.


We have a friend that purchased a brand new Allegro Bus and once they saw our old girl he wished he had purchased one.


Do your home work and you must decide what is best for you. Maybe that Newmar is the right one.


Good luck and good hunting. Safe travels. :D

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