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Renovate CL A diesel


jacks

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Hi All,

Am having thoughts about acquiring a used 13-16 year old DP and upgrading/renovating some of the interior( hiring someone to do it that is maybe some of it myself) such as new flat screen TVs, new flooring, new window covering/treatment, wall coverings, countertops. Any of you that have done improvements these, any thoughts or experiences/costs would be appreciated. Everyone's budgets vary so any feedback though would be great. There are a couple of shops around my area that do a lot of it.

Thanks

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If you have the skills and equipment to do it yourself, go for it. If you are going to have most of it done you may be able to buy a newer coach that meets your needs cheaper. I have a full cabinet shop and redoing our 08 class A was not a big deal but when you start paying labor on flooring, cabinets and such labor can add up very fast.

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This can be done and has been done, but not many choose to do it. If you can do all or most of the work yourself, you could save some money by doing so but if you pay others for the work it could cost as much as a newer RV. It is also important to realize that if you do spend the time and money to do this, you will never be able to sell the resulting RV for what you will have invested.

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We have a DP that is now approaching 17 years old; we bought it when it was 10. We upgraded a lot over the past 6+ years including new TV's, a residential fridge, a new microwave/convection oven, all new furniture, carpet removal, new captains chairs, window treatments, etc. We didn't have to touch the cabinets or the counters because those were things that Beaver did very well. Nor have we changed wall coverings since ours are still in pretty good condition. Some things we paid to have other people do for us, some things (window treatments, TVs) we did ourselves.

 

In trying to figure out what it all actually cost us, sometimes you need to decide if something is a remodeling expense or simply a "repair and upgrade". For example, when the modified sine wave inverter started to fail we could have tried to repair it or replace it with another of the same kind. Rather we chose to go with a larger, pure sine wave inverter that cost ~$1k more. Is that a remodeling cost or a repair? You be the judge. When replacing furniture we decided that if you only own a couple of pieces of upholstered furniture then you might as well own the best and most comfortable so we have two Ekornes Stressless pieces and two new top of the line Flexsteel captains chairs. We could have replaced the furniture for a lot less.

 

As for whether or not the expenditures are worthwhile, we know that we'll never get our money back, but it's been our home for the last 6+ years so we're "getting our money's worth" by using it. We now own an RV site in TX where we continue to live in the MH and our adjacent "outbuilding" so we're continuing to use it on a daily basis. We've traveled >55k miles in the past 6 years and we wouldn't have traded those years for anything.

 

As the "fleet" of big DP's ages with only a few remaining manufacturers selling new ones, your question is a good one. Our coach was "high end" because it was manufactured by a quality company and because it was a model which featured an "oversized" drive train consisting of a Cat C-12 engine and an Allison 4060 heavy duty transmission. As a result, it is a dream to drive. But today, a drive train like that isn't found unless you are prepared to spend >$500k on a new MH. We sure couldn't have afforded that, and we remain happy with our choice. Each person's situation will be different.

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Many ways to think about this. And for sure no wrong or right answer for all of us. Some prefer to buy newer, mid or entry level coaches. Some prefer to buy older Higher Quality coaches, modify/remodel/upgrade to their specific desires.

 

New and selling in 10-15 years = quite a hit from depreciation.

 

4-6 years old + modifications and selling in 10-15 years = quite a hit from depreciation.

 

(Too many variables to know which would have the least overall hit.)

 

We went with the older, and then modify/remodel/upgrade. We had looked into a new Rexhall UFO Gasser, but for the same price + modifications - we went with the 5 or so years old low mileage Country Coach. It has worked very well for us.

 

We've benefited from more space, CCC, creature comforts, specifics of interior and electronics that we desired. We also got the Tag and Jake Compression Brakes, more sophisticated suspension, larger tanks, Hydro Hot, heated floors, better insulation, etc., etc. - which has improved our ownership satisfaction.

 

OP - Costs vary greatly by region on Shop Rates. And one area may have high sales tax, and another may have low to no sales tax - all these can greatly impact the costs of modifications. And of course the quality of materials and or furniture you may add, also adds to the overall costs. Many items can be done during non travel time. We did pay others to do the the bulk of our modifications. But each year during our few months of non travel time, we take on one project to add to the coach.

 

And a final comment, we never looked at this as being anything but an expense in our budget. We covered this in our retirement budget planning. We, as does I hope all of us - spend these funds for the returns on traveling, enjoyment, and the allure of the road:)!

 

Best to all,

Smitty

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We have a DP that is now approaching 17 years old; we bought it when it was 10. We upgraded a lot over the past 6+ years including new TV's, a residential fridge, a new microwave/convection oven, all new furniture, carpet removal, new captains chairs, window treatments, etc. We didn't have to touch the cabinets or the counters because those were things that Beaver did very well. Nor have we changed wall coverings since ours are still in pretty good condition. Some things we paid to have other people do for us, some things (window treatments, TVs) we did ourselves.

 

In trying to figure out what it all actually cost us, sometimes you need to decide if something is a remodeling expense or simply a "repair and upgrade". For example, when the modified sine wave inverter started to fail we could have tried to repair it or replace it with another of the same kind. Rather we chose to go with a larger, pure sine wave inverter that cost ~$1k more. Is that a remodeling cost or a repair? You be the judge. When replacing furniture we decided that if you only own a couple of pieces of upholstered furniture then you might as well own the best and most comfortable so we have two Ekornes Stressless pieces and two new top of the line Flexsteel captains chairs. We could have replaced the furniture for a lot less.

 

As for whether or not the expenditures are worthwhile, we know that we'll never get our money back, but it's been our home for the last 6+ years so we're "getting our money's worth" by using it. We now own an RV site in TX where we continue to live in the MH and our adjacent "outbuilding" so we're continuing to use it on a daily basis. We've traveled >55k miles in the past 6 years and we wouldn't have traded those years for anything.

 

As the "fleet" of big DP's ages with only a few remaining manufacturers selling new ones, your question is a good one. Our coach was "high end" because it was manufactured by a quality company and because it was a model which featured an "oversized" drive train consisting of a Cat C-12 engine and an Allison 4060 heavy duty transmission. As a result, it is a dream to drive. But today, a drive train like that isn't found unless you are prepared to spend >$500k on a new MH. We sure couldn't have afforded that, and we remain happy with our choice. Each person's situation will be different.

Funny you mention that old fashioned word QUALITY....

 

When the great bank robbery happened in 07-08 and the RV market tanked Beaver Coaches started winding down motor home production but REAL quality is sought after by a certain group of people who look past the newest"fads" and ferret out....real QUALITY....

 

So today if you own a Beaver motor home you actually have TWO choices of repair and rebuild companies to take your Beaver to in Bend. One choice is Beaver Sales in Bend and they have a very large repair and remodeling facility with factory tooling AND old-time Beaver employees. Beaver today is a very busy place.

 

When Beaver ceased production of new motor homes and many employees were laid off it was a crushing blow to isolated Bend Oregon but....Quality came to the rescue and many of the key employees started getting phone calls at home from existing Beaver owners concerned about ongoing service, parts, repair, etc.....so....a few key Beaver employees started a company called Coachmasters and these folks are awesome.....

 

So here is the funny thing about Quality...IF you own a Beaver coach you now have TWO places to take your coach to for repairs and service and BOTH companies have employees that ACTUALY built your coach when it was in the factory.....

 

One word of caution.....call ahead because both of these companies tend to stay busy not only servicing Beavers but owners of other brands of motor homes seem addicted to QUALITY as well so both companies are much in demand.

 

Sometimes "vintage" has advantages.....

 

Drive on......(QUALITY is....priceless)

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If you are buying a coach that is old enough to require extensive upgrading then you might consider that the drivetrain might not be what you need. Many of the older coaches had underpowered diesels. Some even had 5 speed or 4 speed Allisons. You should probably post more info on which coaches you are considering.. DP's are not bullet proof. . There may be problems with the font end suspensions/ steering that are expensive. Some parts can be obsolete. I know of one person that paid over $1000 for a drag link. Buying a used high ne d coach is a good idea but I would not be looking at say $20,000 coaches.

 

Moisheh

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At this point I'm unsure if I will ever pull the trigger in a lifestyle change but have to research.

Those 13-17 year old luxury DP are great but I'm sure there is some risk with repairs. I would certainly have a unit that old inspected fully by an independent service.

Thanks again everyone!

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We have a 14 yr old coach. Cummins ISC350, 6 speed Allison. Engine & transmission have over 150K miles, just getting broken in. They keep going along. The ISB was notorious for being underpowered for anything over 34', otherwise, diesels run and run and run. Now the appliances inside will wear out, you are going to need to replace tires/batteries on a routine basis, they will accumulate scratches over time. Double pane windows may develop fogging, etc. Only you can decide where you're comfort level is. If we were buying now we would go with a 4-6 yr old high end coach. At this stage we know our coach, all of her quirks, have kept replacing things before they 'break' and will stay with her as we start to wind down our traveling days.

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I see these Newmar bay star gassers 2 or 3 years old but do any of you know if these are from the Newmar that has the great reputation?

There is only one Newmar and has been only one. We lived very happily in our gas chassis class A for 12 years. I'd have no problem with a Newmar that is powered by gasoline. Even today there are more gasoline powered motorhomes than diesel, and they are very functional and reliable. No doubt that diesels do have some clear advantages, but none that are critical to your RVing success.

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