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Old 03-27-2012, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
2,190 posts, read 5,726,130 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
Your "best" markets for a used Class C will be in those areas where there are a lot of them used by folk for retirement travels. Look into snowbird areas where folk set up seasonal cities of use ... throughout the SW USA or SE.
SoCal, Arizona, and New Mexico are typical areas where these opportunities abound compared to the much more limited markets in places like Idaho. Of course, you must figure the cost and time of bringing the RV from where you may be buying it to where you need to base it as part of your acquisition.

In my experience, the folk who service/work on RV's specialize in the RV components and systems on the vehicles and not the vehicle running gear, chassis, engines, etc. A thorough inspection will require that you have the vehicle mechanically checked out by an automotive shop that works on RV's and then the RV systems by an RV shop.

There's many checks that you can perform yourself as part of a "pre-buy" inspection. Use every system in the RV, open/close all windows, drawers, cabinets, use the stove, bathroom, kitchen appliances, etc. Look for obvious damage to the components, look inside for apparent water damage from leaking exterior body, check all the lights, etc. Do this type of inspection on several RV's and then it will start to be a routine inspection of common sense.

After having narrowed down your purchase choices to a number of suitable/affordable RV's, pick the one that you think you like the best and have it checked out by the pro's. Compare what you found on your inspection with theirs, and now you have a baseline in what to be looking for next time. If the first vehicle meets your requirements, then so be it. If not, keep looking.

There is a baseline value for classes of RV's; ie, Minnie Winnie's (as an example) of certain years all are worth about the same amount of money, adjusted for miles, options, condition, cosmetic appearance, etc. If you find one asked at a lot lower price than what you see as an average, you need to uncover the reason(s). Does the vehicle have defects that need repair to make it sericeable for your needs? Is it just a distress situation where the seller is willing to get rid of it for a low price? Or maybe you'll find one that is higher priced but in immaculate ... if not almost unused ... condition. Is the prospect of a better remaining service life worth the cost to you?

I did a lot of searching last year for my RV and the market wasn't especially active, but the lower end price points seemed rather stable. Folk weren't going to give away their RV's even if they weren't using them very much or couldn't afford to use them. At that, the "distress deals" that I found were still $10-20,000 (and more) over my price range which was similar to yours.

I think you do need to do your research into what your expectations are for the RV. A Class C RV can be a lot of space for a single person, and you pay for having that luxury of space, storage, facilities every mile you drive it down the road, even in the smaller Class C's. Various floor plans may appeal to you more than others, but for the most part, you'll find that if the equipment/interior is all there, you can be comfortable and accomodated in almost all of the models.

You may want to look at a Class B RV, which can be as fully equipped but with less interior space/volume. That's what I settled on because I use mine for business travels & calling on clients; it allows me to park easily in regular parking lots and stealth camp when needed while still allowing me to camp in state and fed parks overnight. I get an average between 15.5 mpg to 18 mpg, depending upon the winds in the area and how much in town driving I do compared to over the road. It was the same price to get an early 1990's Class B as a Class C, but it costs me a lot less to insure, operate, and maintain. Plus it costs a lot less to heat it in the winter months.

I'd also mention that if you are planning on summer travels in your RV, that the overhead bunk arrangements in the front of many Class C's can be uncomfortably hot. Unless you can park it in shade, these aren't a lot of fun for an extended vacation trip ... even with shore power or a generator running an A/C unit. The concept of using the space for that function to keep the rest of the RV on an open floor plan is attractive, but if you can't put it to use, then it's no advantage. For my purposes, driving around in a windy area of the USA, the added windage profile of such a unit is a hazard, too.

PS: Stealth, you beat me to it ... Class B's have a lot of utility. As well, the idea of having a trailer in Idaho available at an RV camp and commuting from CA to ID makes a lot of sense rather than driving a Class C at sub 12 mpg fuel mileage just to make the trip. I'm not fond of Rialta's ... but then my RV use involves travel throughout CO/WY/SD/NE through the winter months and I can say that my Roadtrek 19' Dodge 350 performed yeoman service this last winter in some serious Wyoming storms and up through Rapid City. I had one trip back from Cody on iced up roads all the way south through Glendo and had decent control at 45 mph in the nasty stretches; was very happy to find just wet or snowpacked areas where it did well at 50-55 mph. All that weight in back seemed to give it decent traction, although on some portions of the road I was passed by semi's and AWD cars. However, that's the speeds at which I felt comfortable with the rig and I didn't need to press on harder than that.
This information is invaluable.
I'm going to print it (along with the other posts) and take it with me when i go to shop.
Like i said, this is going to be a living space for me for awhile.
If i could, i'd take all of the counters and benches, etc. out of a class C and have one open space.
Is that do-able .... removing extra "furnishings" that i have no use for?
The class B's are appealing for mileage and easier driving but i'm just thinking that they'll be too small.
What is the average mileage of a late 90's Winnie Minnie? or Class C's in general?
If this was answered already, sorry. Lots of info and my eyes burn when i look at a computer screen for too long.
Purchasing an rv in Idaho was just a logistical thing that now i see makes no sense.
Since i was planning to travel there anyway (for family reasons) i thought i'd purchase one there and then have it for my time in Idaho and then take it back to where i'll park it in California.
And i just thought they'd be cheaper in Idaho maybe just because living in California is so not cheap! But i see the error in that so-called logic. Duh.
I'm in the Monterey Bay area so i'm going to look in San Jose and maybe even Sacramento.
Since i live in California it certainly makes sense to buy one near to where i am located.
I assume that there are warranties if i buy one from a dealer?
And is there any difference in buying an rv in terms of whether or not it's better to buy from a dealer than from an individual or is it similar to a car purchase in that regard?
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:22 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,774 posts, read 37,441,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaijai View Post
...
If i'm understanding you, your Rialta is a Class C?
Why is that? Class B is a van conversion, Class C is built on a chassis, and has conventional (production) cab. Rialta is Built on VW 'Transporter' Chassis (euro spec delivery truck). They are very low and accessible (My mom uses her's for amputee husband). This is a problem if you like to 'off-road' camp.


... i need a space that is large enough to give us some breathing room.
The QD model allows you to easily remove the second set of passenger seats and end up with 7'x 4' of 'open space'. Some folks use it for kennel, I use it for sewing center.
...
What is your outdoor shower btw?
Outdoor shower is a porthole on exterior with a 'charged' shower head,(hot and pressure) hand held or RV mounted. You can take a sponge bath, wash your hair or full shower, without introducing any moisture, mold/smell into RV cabin. (BIG ADVANTAGE to longevity / cleanliness of unit. The interior shower on the Rialta is about the best I've seen in RV. It 'pulls out' into hallway and is about as big as being in your home. (Not quite..) There is a very nice 'whole vehicle fan' strategically mounted above the shower 'pullout'.

'Baldy's' Online Rialta 'Bible' / info site
http://www.netfev.org/rialta/
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
2,190 posts, read 5,726,130 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
Outdoor shower is a porthole on exterior with a 'charged' shower head,(hot and pressure) hand held or RV mounted. You can take a sponge bath, wash your hair or full shower, without introducing any moisture, mold/smell into RV cabin. (BIG ADVANTAGE to longevity / cleanliness of unit. The interior shower on the Rialta is about the best I've seen in RV. It 'pulls out' into hallway and is about as big as being in your home. (Not quite..) There is a very nice 'whole vehicle fan' strategically mounted above the shower 'pullout'.

'Baldy's' Online Rialta 'Bible' / info site
Winnebago Rialta Motor Home
Thank you.
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:46 PM
 
10,868 posts, read 41,128,193 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaijai View Post
This information is invaluable.
I'm going to print it (along with the other posts) and take it with me when i go to shop.
Like i said, this is going to be a living space for me for awhile.

Do you mean extended travels or simply extended time(s) living out of the unit?

If i could, i'd take all of the counters and benches, etc. out of a class C and have one open space.
Is that do-able .... removing extra "furnishings" that i have no use for?

Depends upon the individual unit. In some, removing "extra" stuff may be reasonable to open up space, but in others, the units are integrated in such a way that you'll have to remove more than you had intended and/or rebuild some of the interior space to finish it off again.

The class B's are appealing for mileage and easier driving but i'm just thinking that they'll be too small.

You need to evaluate your particular space requirements. If, for example, you are living out of this unit during nicer weather months, then consider how much of your time will (or can) be spent outside of the unit. An attached awning or an E-Z-Up type shelter can add a lot of useable square footage to your campsite where you can set up a chair, table, and other comforts of home.

For my needs, which is just me and a small dog, the available space in a Roadtrek Class B 19' is more than adequate. I have a sleeping area, storage areas, refrigerator/galley, and the bathroom facilities. Mine didn't come with the shower option, so I've had to retrofit that from the kitchen sink faucet. During the winter months, that was adequate for washing up; along with my portable shower unit. In the warmer months, I'll set up the shower for outdoor use or finish modifying my Roadtrek to the original style shower curtain/pan in the van. The front area of the van is my mobile office, where I've got my computer desk/printer, and communications/sales materials set up. In my opinion, it's more than adequate for my business trip needs and I've been doing a lot of 5-8 day trips. With the furnace/generator/propane set-up, it's been adequate through a Rocky Mountain Winter. While a larger rig might have been "nice", the increased costs of operation and the inability to park conveniently at my sales call locations simply weren't justified.



What is the average mileage of a late 90's Winnie Minnie? or Class C's in general?

Depends upon the units ... bigger, heavier, more windage. In general, those powered with large V-8's (such as 454 Chevy or 460 Ford) would be running around 8-12 mpg ... with the 12 mpg not very common. Typically, 8-10 mpg would be a more reasonable figure at highway speeds; around town will be even lower.

If this was answered already, sorry. Lots of info and my eyes burn when i look at a computer screen for too long.
Purchasing an rv in Idaho was just a logistical thing that now i see makes no sense.
Since i was planning to travel there anyway (for family reasons) i thought i'd purchase one there and then have it for my time in Idaho and then take it back to where i'll park it in California.
And i just thought they'd be cheaper in Idaho maybe just because living in California is so not cheap! But i see the error in that so-called logic. Duh.
I'm in the Monterey Bay area so i'm going to look in San Jose and maybe even Sacramento.

The Delta area might be a source of RV's with a good marketplace.

Since i live in California it certainly makes sense to buy one near to where i am located.
I assume that there are warranties if i buy one from a dealer?

With used vehicles of these vintages, there won't be any warranties. You'll be buying based upon the representations of the dealer and any pre-buy inspections you perform. Typically, the best you can expect is that the dealer will warrant that everything functions properly at the time of delivery. The "good guys" in the business might give you a 30 day warranty on the RV equipment, so you need to ask what any given dealer's policy is on a sale.

And is there any difference in buying an rv in terms of whether or not it's better to buy from a dealer than from an individual or is it similar to a car purchase in that regard?
As always, what you are buying in the pre-owned marketplace is the remaining service life of the vehicle. Each vehicle needs to be considered on it's own merits for condition and price.

There's no hard and fast rule as to which source will be "better". I've seen dealers sell stuff that would break your heart and wallet in short order, and I've seen private parties do the same. As well, I've seen excellent units available from both sources.

If I'd have had the budget, there were several early 2000's Roadtreks and Coachmen Class B's that I would have bought when I was looking ... from both Craigs'list and dealership sources. But I didn't have the budget, so I had to look more closely at a lot of early 90's units and my standards had to be consistent with my price point.

I found a mechanically serviceable unit at a dealer in excellent cosmetic condition with an RV interior that had hardly been used in it's years of service. If you are willing to spend the time to track down a lot of the ads, you can, too. But be prepared to do a good inspection so that you can make an informed buy decision at the time. IMO, you need to do a lot of "window shopping" so that you can see the various levels of condition in the marketplace before making a buy decision.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:59 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
2,190 posts, read 5,726,130 times
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I'll be living in it for an extended period of time ... at least through the summer and into the mid-fall.
Though weather patterns are changing and it was a very dry winter in California, i need to expect that by November rains will begin if only a little.
But being in an RV with rain, tics and a wet dog is not something i'm wanting to take on.
Will the possibility of removing furnishings be obvious to me? How will i know?
I'll definitely have space outside the RV to extend my living area.
Of course that's assuming that i'll be done living in it by the time the rains come which i expect (hope) will be the case.
My dog is about 40 lbs so while she's not huge she's not a little dog either.
The mileage isn't a huge factor since i don't expect to be doing a lot of traveling in the RV although it would be nice to have that option.
12 mpg (or less!) these days is scary since it seems gas prices may exceed $5 a gallon soon.
Bummer about no warranties ... another erroneous assumption i made.
Anyway, thank you again for so much info and so much detail about the shopping / purchasing process.
It's incredibly helpful.
I will definitely put a lot of energy into looking at as much as possible.
And RV show seems fun.
I'll have to google.
Time is a bit of a factor as i hope to make this purchase by June.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:52 PM
 
10,868 posts, read 41,128,193 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaijai View Post
I'll be living in it for an extended period of time ... at least through the summer and into the mid-fall.

Best to look at as many possible options as reasonably can be done in your shopping to get a "feel" for what you're getting into. Bigger is not necessarily better, but only you can be the judge of your comfort level and what is important to you for your "home".

Though weather patterns are changing and it was a very dry winter in California, i need to expect that by November rains will begin if only a little.
But being in an RV with rain, tics and a wet dog is not something i'm wanting to take on.

Will the possibility of removing furnishings be obvious to me? How will i know?

Some interiors will look like a lot of individual items closely spaced together so that removal of an item will be apparent. In others, it won't be so obvious. If it doesn't look obvious to you, then I'd suggest you ask about the items you wish to remove at an RV service shop; get their quote on what it will take to do and finish out the space.

I'll definitely have space outside the RV to extend my living area.
Of course that's assuming that i'll be done living in it by the time the rains come which i expect (hope) will be the case.
My dog is about 40 lbs so while she's not huge she's not a little dog either.
The mileage isn't a huge factor since i don't expect to be doing a lot of traveling in the RV although it would be nice to have that option.
12 mpg (or less!) these days is scary since it seems gas prices may exceed $5 a gallon soon.

I wouldn't consider a CA to ID trip a trivial distance, and you mention doing it several times per year. But if you are planning on parking the RV in one spot at your destination location in ID, then perhaps the fuel economy issue isn't as big a deal as it might be. If you do park this RV at your destination, what will you use for local transport? If you have to use the RV for local travels around town, it may be consumptive to drive any bigger rig than really meets your needs.

Bummer about no warranties ... another erroneous assumption i made.
Anyway, thank you again for so much info and so much detail about the shopping / purchasing process.
It's incredibly helpful.
I will definitely put a lot of energy into looking at as much as possible.
And RV show seems fun.
I'll have to google.
Time is a bit of a factor as i hope to make this purchase by June.
I'd suggest that you check out the dealer offerings in the Phoenix area. I found a lot of possible deals there which I'd considered, but the RV I finally bought was much closer to home than that so that closed the deal for me. Good luck in your search and happy travels.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
2,190 posts, read 5,726,130 times
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Thanks again for the info.
Oh, i won't be taking the rv back and forth from California to Idaho.
That's something i've been doing for the past few years and why i thought it might make sense to buy one in ID at first) and may continue to do but not in the RV.
Phoenix sounds like a good idea but i can't get down there.
I feel fairly confident that between Craigslist, San Jose and Sacramento area dealers, i'll fine what i'm looking for.

Last edited by jaijai; 03-28-2012 at 10:25 PM..
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Old 03-29-2012, 06:21 AM
 
1,477 posts, read 4,736,564 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaijai View Post
I'll be living in it for an extended period of time ... at least through the summer and into the mid-fall.
Though weather patterns are changing and it was a very dry winter in California, i need to expect that by November rains will begin if only a little.
But being in an RV with rain, tics and a wet dog is not something i'm wanting to take on.
Will the possibility of removing furnishings be obvious to me? How will i know?
I'll definitely have space outside the RV to extend my living area.
Of course that's assuming that i'll be done living in it by the time the rains come which i expect (hope) will be the case.
My dog is about 40 lbs so while she's not huge she's not a little dog either.
The mileage isn't a huge factor since i don't expect to be doing a lot of traveling in the RV although it would be nice to have that option.
12 mpg (or less!) these days is scary since it seems gas prices may exceed $5 a gallon soon.
Bummer about no warranties ... another erroneous assumption i made.
Anyway, thank you again for so much info and so much detail about the shopping / purchasing process.
It's incredibly helpful.
I will definitely put a lot of energy into looking at as much as possible.
And RV show seems fun.
I'll have to google.
Time is a bit of a factor as i hope to make this purchase by June.

You have allot of things to think about before you buy anything, first you have to think about what type of camping you plan on doing. Are you going to be staying every night at established campgrounds that offer full hookups or are you going to be dry camping (also known as boondocking which means camping without any hookups, no power, freshwater or dumping ability).

The answer to that question greatly weighs in on what you are looking for in an RV. Because if you plan on doing allot of dry camping then the RV will need to be outfitted with the largest gray and black water tanks you can find, it will also need to be outfitted with a generator to run the AC unit....Extra house batteries and solar panels will also help along with the ability to carry extra propane tanks for heating the water system and cooking. If you plan on staying at established campgrounds then everything I just listed will not be a priority.

30 years of RV'ing has taught me one thing, buy the biggest unit you can afford, because when those rainy days you talk about do hit and your stuck inside the RV's it gets small real fast. Bigger is better in the RV world.

Gas milage is gas milage and the difference between driving a smaller 24 foot class C or driving a larger 31 foot class C will show very little difference at the gas pump but that extra few feet makes a huge difference in living and storage space.

No matter what you decide to buy be it a class A, B, C, 5th wheel or TT they all have both their good and bad points based on what type of camping you want to do, so again first figure out the style of camping you want to do and then we can help match you to the best type of rig that suits your needs....
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
2,190 posts, read 5,726,130 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtandc View Post
You have allot of things to think about before you buy anything, first you have to think about what type of camping you plan on doing. Are you going to be staying every night at established campgrounds that offer full hookups or are you going to be dry camping (also known as boondocking which means camping without any hookups, no power, freshwater or dumping ability).

The answer to that question greatly weighs in on what you are looking for in an RV. Because if you plan on doing allot of dry camping then the RV will need to be outfitted with the largest gray and black water tanks you can find, it will also need to be outfitted with a generator to run the AC unit....Extra house batteries and solar panels will also help along with the ability to carry extra propane tanks for heating the water system and cooking. If you plan on staying at established campgrounds then everything I just listed will not be a priority.

30 years of RV'ing has taught me one thing, buy the biggest unit you can afford, because when those rainy days you talk about do hit and your stuck inside the RV's it gets small real fast. Bigger is better in the RV world.

Gas milage is gas milage and the difference between driving a smaller 24 foot class C or driving a larger 31 foot class C will show very little difference at the gas pump but that extra few feet makes a huge difference in living and storage space.

No matter what you decide to buy be it a class A, B, C, 5th wheel or TT they all have both their good and bad points based on what type of camping you want to do, so again first figure out the style of camping you want to do and then we can help match you to the best type of rig that suits your needs....
Thank you for that info.
I won't be doing much boondocking (i like that term) if any.
And i won't be doing much driving in it either (this will be home for awhile - this isn't about recreational camping) so, while gas mileage is a bit of a concern, it's not my main concern.
It's interesting to me that the gas mileage of a 31 foot class C isn't that much different from a smaller class C. That's good to know.
I would prefer something larger for my purposes but it's a matter of what i can afford.
As it is, this purchase is going to be a huge one for me.
I was discouraged by the info the class C's are difficult to sell because if i knew i couldn't sell it in say, a year, i'd rethink this plan.
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:25 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,774 posts, read 37,441,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaijai View Post
...
As it is, this purchase is going to be a huge one for me.
I was discouraged by the info the class C's are difficult to sell because if i knew i couldn't sell it in say, a year, i'd rethink this plan.

for best chance of resell,
Buy High-end, low miles, NAMEBRAND, pristine, and keep it pristine (under shelter and low miles)

Many USED RV's I have found still have plastic on seats / floors, no dogs, no smoking... not a scratch, and NEW tires. (AGE of Tires are important, not tread. 7 yrs MAX from date code on tire). RV tires will be WELL over $100 each

or... you buy cheaper, and figure you will 'pay' some depreciation.

PRAY gas prices go down. A very simple spreadsheet will highlight various advantages / costs of different trips. I can't even drive and (rv) park my 20 mpg MH to the Beach (2 hrs) for the difference in cost of driving my 50mpg car + motel. Thus I almost always stay in Guest homes... $10- $20 / night.

You MUST be passionate to LOVE the RV experience. It is not cheap.
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