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Class A & C...how old is too old to run?

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 The one thing to watch for is in older class A’s.


  Some makes are no longer made. Or the manufacturer will not provide tech support for the older units. So then you need to find an experienced tech that can figure the systems out or already know where the parts are located.


  I am working on a 1999 Western rv class A at the moment. Sorta fun to figure out this one .It has a Onan Equinox inverter. Never heard of them before.


  Safe travels,    Vern in a T-shirt 

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Research ... Someone has been there and done whatever before . 

Learn to use Google . It can tell you almost anything about any thing . 

As for age , I'd rather have a rig that has been running for years as opposed to a brand new rig that will invariably be in the shop 3/4 of the time .

We live in a 2000 Monaco Monarch . It was 10 years old when we bought it .

North in the Spring and South in the fall . Each might take us a couple months . 

If we find a place we like , we sit for a while .

The worst that has happened 'on the road' was a starter solenoid went on the fritz . It took a while to find where Monaco hid the thing , but once found , an hour of fiddling with a coffee break or two in between and it was good to go .

I replaced it with a unit that was similar , but , definitely not OEM . Still working just fine . That was years ago . 

Edited by Pat & Pete
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48 minutes ago, Pat & Pete said:

We live in a 2000 Monaco Monarch . It was 10 years old when we bought it .

That describes us.  Our 2000 Beaver Patriot Thunder was 11 years old when we titled it.  It had 55,000 miles then; we now have >125,000 miles.  With the exception of this past COVID year we have put anywhere from 5-10k miles per year.

We've had a couple of incidents which caused a bit of "stress" but we, also, have each time been able to get repaired and on the road again in a day or two.

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2 hours ago, slackercruster said:

I was wondering about on the road emergency fixes.

There are several different possible issues here. If you are thinking of the chassis & running gear, parts can get difficult to find for some of the oldest ones truck shops should be able to help. I would think that you could expect little problem for at least 30 years of age, perhaps more. 

For the appliances, those can get to a point that it is less problem to replace them than it is to repair but most can be repaired fairly easily for their entire useful life. In constant use many RV appliances begin to fail at around 10 years of use but in typical part time can last for as much as 30 years. I do suggest that if you buy an RV that is more than 20 years old you should also set aside a budget for replacing the major appliances. You can estimate what such charges might be by looking at appliance prices in the RV supply houses. 

The body and structural parts is where you could have serious issues. Wiring and plumbing does eventually need repair or replacement due to the vibration and general wear that comes with RV travels. Add to that the danger of mouse damage and you could have headaches. Most RVs have very little technical support in those areas once they are a year or two old and none if the company is out of business or has been bought out by a new owner. As you look at older RVs, the longer that they have been in service the more important the original construction and quality control become. 

As to personal experience, I have never owned a motorized RV that was more than 15 years old so don't really have much personal experience to base my opinions on, just observation of others. 

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With a few exceptions motorhome chassis are OTR truck parts. It would be outrageously expensive to design and make each individual part, even for a very large company.

Some MH chassis builders have their own network of authorized service centers; Freightliner is perhaps the most widely known, then Ford, Spartan, are examples.

Locate the largest HDT repair shop nearby, call to confirm they do chassis work for MH's.

Engine work is a different matter for diesel pushers, most refuse due to difficulty of access and getting the coach interior dirty (liability insurance is usually the driving force behind a refusal). Although expensive the best bet for engine work is genuine Cummins repair centers or Cummins Coach Care centers.

Edited by Ray,IN
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We're fulltiming in a 1993 Foretravel. It has a Detroit Diesel 6V92TA engine and an Allison 4-speed automatic transmission. Foretravel made the chassis and body. Everything else is off the shelf stuff. Since this is the two-cycle engine, there aren't a lot of mechanics that can work on it, but they are out there. We had an inframe overhaul done a few years ago. The mechanic in charge of the project had his son working with him. The dad has retired, but I'm guessing the son is learning and following in his father's footsteps.

We generally plan for an annual visit to Nacogdoches for service work. Depending on what is needed we may go to the factory, Motorhomes of Texas, or one of the other shops in town that cater to the Foretravel crowd.

A few years ago Foretravel decided to buy their chassis rather than continue to build their own.

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Another thing to look for with an older coach is an active owners forum.

I've owned 2 Newells and now have an older Foretravel.  Both have very active owners forums with most of the info you'll ever need readily available online.  Much better than some of the Facebook groups where you have to ask a question then wait for others to answer then filter through the incorrect answers.

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Thanks for mentioning that. That was one of the more important things we considered before we bought our Foretravel. One brand that was mentioned several times as being a higher-end coach required one to own one of their coaches before being allowed to post on the forum! They didn't make the cut.

We're looking at four options (two of which are Foretravels), and all have reasonably active owners forums.

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