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Topic: What is the best used Class C motorhome for under $10,000

Posted By: Greddy0 on 04/21/04 05:43pm

Hi all, I'm new to RVing and am looking to get a class C motorhome. Currently my family consist of my wife, myself and 2 daughters (3 and 1 years old). We sometime take my parent on mini-vacations so the count is 4 adults and 2 children. My budget is $10,000. What motorhome do you guys think will best fit my needs and be within my budget? I've seen some used models but not sure what I really am looking for (they all basically have the same setup). Thanks all for your advice =)

1997 RoadTrek Popular 170

Posted By: bagman on 04/21/04 05:53pm

Good luck, you'll need it trying to find a class C for under $10,000.00 that will transport your whole family! Bagman.

Land of Opportunity & Liberty 4 ALL!

Posted By: chasfm11 on 04/21/04 06:02pm

We rented a couple of Class Cs before buying. On one trip with a 27 footer, we had 4 adults and it was "cozy". Your kids are pretty young and adding them to that mix would be "very cozy". The 30 footer that we rented afterwards had a sofa instead of a swivel chair behind the cab and a little more room to move it.

Before you attempt to buy anything, I'd suggest trying a rental. Even for a long weekend, it will give you a much better idea of what you need that you currently have. I think you will still be faced with a problem of buying something reliable that you can afford on your budget but it should help you to understand why you need more budget.

There should be rental outlets in your area. You might want to try searching the internet phone book.

Good luck.


2000 Georgie Boy Landau 36'DP Cummins 5.9, Allison 1000 5sp
2005 Saturn Vue Toad, Falcon2 Towbar, BrakeMaster Toad Brake

Posted By: Kuma on 04/21/04 06:11pm

I totally agree with bagman! I also think you'll have a very hard time finding what you want for 10 thousand or under. This link is to a consignment seller in Houston TX just for the examples. Look at the selection, the prices (and for the most part they are pretty GOOD prices), and compare with your needs (4 adults 2 children)! It's going to be tough... Good luck!!!

Arctic Fox (SFE) 29-5E 5th Wheel
25K Air Safe Hitch / Prodigy controller
2007 GMC Sierra Classic 2500HD, SRW, Extended Cab, Long Bed
8.lL Vortec, Allison 6 Speed Tranny

Posted By: O'Neill on 04/21/04 06:15pm

I purchased my motorhome 4 years ago, $ 10,500.00, from the original owner, its been a great coach, no problems and was cleaner than some coaches 10 years newer. I did have to look at a lot of junk before stumbling across this one. Its 26 ft. and sleeps 5. You stated your family has 4 people in it and a in 1 parent?
A typical class c (min. 29 ft.) will usually sleep 2 on the overhead, 1 on the dinette that makes into a bed, if it has a couch across from it 1 there, and if there is a bed in the back 2.
I suggest you take your time, learn all about the mechanics of motorhomes, so you will know what to look for and what to avoid.
Stuff like, how old is the fridge (replacement about 1300.00), how solid is the floor (is there soft spots), age of the tires (typically lifespan is 5-7 max). Good luck!

1996 34' Rexhall Aerbus XL3400, F-53 w/Tag-Axle
Banks Powerpack and Transcommand.
FMCA F46484s

Posted By: Camping Dutchman on 04/21/04 08:29pm

Keep your eyes open, there out there despite what these jokers say, I would go at least 29'-31' for the room as your kids grow. No sense making it a lousy tight experience with something small. If your patient you will find what your looking for.

2008 Chevy 3500 cc DRW Duramax
2009 Cedar Creek Silverback 35L4QBS
Pull Rite 20.5 super 5th

2004 United Specialties Sold
stop by, theres always a seat by the fire

Member:Good Sam Club Haulin Highlanders

Posted By: O'Neill on 04/22/04 11:21am

Thats great Superiorlady, my first coach back in 1989 was a 1977 Minnie Winnie, wasn't has purdy and shiney as the mojority of the other coaches we camped next to, but it was ours!
Even tho our current coach is 20 years old, it looks great, everything works, and most importantly we have the pink slip on it.
We would love to have a newer one, but, raising kids (14 and 15), plus costs involved with our recreation of choice (dirtbike riding) prohibits us from upgrading. I have never seen a coach with an actual sliding glass door, that must have been great.

Posted By: jenonajourney on 04/21/04 08:55pm

I know quite a few people that have found a used Class C to fit within the budget you mention of $10,000.00 and the rvs they purchased are NICE! You may not get a newer RV but depending on how much care the former owners gave the vehicle you can get what you are looking for. True, you may have to look through a great number of rvs and you may have to start out small for the number you are looking to share the unit with, but if you are not going to fulltime in it then you should find something that will fit your desire. I have looked a LOT of rvs over in my dreaming stage and some are wonderful and others are.....well.....not what I would want.
Good Luck with your search!

Jen (a wannabe rver)

Posted By: Bob-88Bounder on 04/22/04 12:08am

Check ebay. There are 108 class c motorhomes there right now. See if any are in your area close enough to check out.

88 Bounder -34'
Daily Journal (Blog) started Jan 1, 2005 and RV articles

Posted By: OkieGene on 04/22/04 02:09am

I agree that if you look and look and look you can find a reasonably decent one for $10k. However it will need work of some sort and most likely, on the average, need probably $2,000 spent right away. Tires, refrigerator, a/c, batteries, etc etc etc.

A coach of that age will need lots of work. Not only just right away as soon as you get it, but also month after month after month. If your budget allows you may be able to pay someone for parts and labor. However it sounds like you don't have that sort of financial resource. You'd better have tools, time and aptitude and creativity.

However, I can just about guarantee you, no matter what else you do with your lifestyle and finances, you'd better have a minimum of $3,000 dollars set aside as a reserve fund for your RV ( and nothing else for this money to be spent on) and the ability to add to it at the rate of $250.00 to maybe $300.00 a month, every month, year after year. These things are just flatout expensive and cash intensive.

This money is not for gasoline, insurance, gee-gaws, or going on vacation. It's strictly to make, and keep, it inhabitable and roadworthy and comfortable.

My very best wishes to you, may you enjoy.


Posted By: texasbaskets on 04/22/04 07:47am

There are Class C's in your price range that are not junk, so don't buy into spending what you are not comfortable with. You will find more offerings though if you can live with a shorter body.

I found that the overall design of Class C's really hasn't changed except for the bells and whistles. There's only so much you can put in a box, so look around at a few newer ones to get a feel for what size you can live with. Appliances along with plumbing and roofing, are some topics that will apply to other types of RV's as well. Read everything you can get your hands on about the Rv part of the Class C, and evaluate the van part as a separate vehicle.

I too was a first time inexperienced buyer. The most important advice I was given was to steer away from rigs that have set without being used. Get one that is currently inspected and is being used on a regular basis. You may have to give on the make and model, but if you stay with models that were popular and still show well, you will lose little if any depreciation.

There are gobs of posts that give good advice for buying used Rv's. Do a little searching and pick up on the things important to you, then have fun looking.

Happy hunting, and good luck.


Michael, Kay, and Prissy (The vicious 6 pound Malti-Poo)
'05 Coachmen SportsCoach SE 372DS a.k.a. ">"Mana's Cabana"">

Posted By: SuperiorLady on 04/22/04 10:29am

O'Neill, I'm with you about enjoying an RV older than some for the money. Many years ago I bought a 1963 Chevy Open Road, Class C. It was 20 feet long, and very unique in that it had sliding glass doors in the back. You could back it up to any scenic view, pop a beer, and say AAAH!!! Lots of people who saw me relaxing thus, just envied me. It was like a little cabana with a huge picture window.

I owned that Chevy Open Road for 17 years! Experienced problems only in the last two, after I drove it from San Diego, CA to South Beach, Florida, than to New York, and back to Daytona Beach, Florida, then to Charlotte, N.C., and again back to Clearwater, Florida.

I bought that baby for $1,500 from the second owner. The only reason I sold it was because my mechanic begged me to give it up! He said, "it's going to collapse under you, it's too old." When I sold it to a man who just wanted to live in it stationary on a piece of property he had, he bought it for $650! At last I heard, he is still living in that baby which I sold him almost five years ago. lol

"> proud member of MSN Groups Open Roads Singles

Posted By: j-d on 04/22/04 10:56am

You can assuredly find one. What you are looking for is a Love Coach. You'll recognize it when you see it. Little touches added to it, maintenance records maybe trip logs meticulously kept, worn through spots repaired, may be worn but not dirty. You still need to get inspections of the chassis and house, but you need to know who you're going to use and get to them fast. Have your money ready when you find an LC that meets your specs and passes inspection. Many others are trying to find that same coach!

If God's Your Co-Pilot Move Over, jd
2003 Jayco Escapade 31A on 2002 Ford E450 V10 4R100 218" WB

Posted By: Handbasket on 04/22/04 11:17am

You'll proably have to do a lot of tire kickin' to find the right bargain, but there are a few out there.

Some things to look out for, and avoid or negotiate price to repair:

Tire age, not tread condition, as mentioned; over 5 years, you'll have to replace them soon. Date code is on sidewall.

Chassis: Have a mechanic you trust evaluate the rig mechanically; don't accept amateur judgements. The older the rig, the more problems it's potentially gonna have, and things like old brakes & cooling systems are no cheaper to work on than newer ones.

Leaks: Probably this kills more RV's before their time than anything else. The house structure is wood, and water causes wood rot. Check under carpets, around roof penetrations, inside cabinets. Trust your nose; if it smells moldy, run away. From reading here, class C's are prone to leak in the over-cab bunk area. Take a good flashlight and wear old clothes.

Mechanical systems: If you're not prepared to learn to DIY repairs, check everything carefully for function; RV mechanics generally charge pretty high rates. Water heater, genset, furnace, fridge, etc...

There's a Yahoo Autos group for classic RV's; find it, register, and read.

Budget some money for repairs, tires, etc. If $10K is your absolute top dollar, you should be looking at RV's that can be bought for around $7-9K. Few anywhere near the $10K price will get you thru the first season trouble-free. Don't be afraid to make a low-ball offer...

And enjoy! [emoticon]

Jim, "Would a wingless fly be called a 'walk'?"

'06 Tiger CX 'C Minus' on a Silverado 2500HD 4x4, 8.1 & Allison (aka 'Loafer's Glory')

Posted By: Bob-88Bounder on 04/22/04 11:33am

Don't believe the "you'll have to do a LOT of work on it". Some yes but shop around and it won't be A LOT. We got our 88 Bounder for $9,999 plus tax and license ($11,041) The dealer fixed things. A private party might not.
Now that we have it. I need to fix a starter problem that is inherent with some 454 engines. New starter $85, but may go a cheaper router or maybe it'll cost slightly more.

Front air conditioner leaked in the rain. I think it's the gasket that is between it and the roof. I ordered it, but they didn't get back to me on price. Has to per fairly cheap.

Everything else is in nice condition and working. The refrigerator gets things TOO COLD, our milk froze.......I set it to medium, will have to set it much lower.....FREEZER is absolutely frozen.

These are the ONLY two problems so far. Oh I need my emergency brake adjusted. I will have the brakes checked, oil and other fluids changed (normal maintenance)

NOW, the expensive part if outfitting it to fit your lifestyle. I haven't totaly it yet, but it is well over $3000 and probably closer to $ really adds up fast. Foam mattress topper, new bedding, new cups, new dishes, inverter (2 of the 400 & 20000 watts), Honda 2000 generator to supplement our 6.5kw OVERKILL generator.....etc, etc, etc..........and I still WANT a few more "toys" such as surge protector, maybe Hughes auto-former......

We took our noon walk today and stopped by a mechanic's shop "Groundhog", who was recommended to us. He works on motorhomes as well as cars From our conversation he seems pretty knowledgeable about different things I asked about.

Oil change will be about $38. Brakes could be $600 depending on what needs to be done if anything. Brake cylinders etc. Lots of labor time in rear dually wheels. I will inspect my hoses and some other things an may have that taken care of at the same time.
He was aware of the 454 engine starter problem and recommended the same fixes I read about here in the forum. I may have found a good mechanic.

I've only had the Bounder a week yesterday, April 21. I expected to have my routine maintenance items looked into. Tuneup also, plug wires, filters.

I've been tempted to do some things myself, but since I work for myself, it costs me my time to do it myself ($$ not earned) or it costs me the other person's time. With that in mind, my actual cost of having someone else do it is lower overall.

* This post was edited 04/22/04 03:28pm by Bob-88Bounder *

Posted By: LarryBMan on 04/22/04 12:26pm

LOTS of looking is a good thing when it comes to buying a used RV, or car for that matter. We looked around for probably 6 months before we found a 27ft 1984 Class C that would sleep 5-6 people. Found it for $6250 4 years ago. We bought it from the original owner that just wanted to get rid of it (they bought a new one) and this one was taking up space. We've had to replace tires and a few other minor things, and have probably spent around $1500 on it for repairs (including tires) since we got it.

If you are mechanically inclined, I would not be afraid of and older RV. Just make sure you know what you are getting into. Don't be one of those buyers that get all excited about the rv and don't see the existing or future problems. Try not to settle either. I agree with the other posters about checking out existing problems. Don't forget to look under the rv too. Leaks could be a sign of a bigger problem waiting to happen, as well as dents or other damage caused by driving the rv where it shouldn't have been.

Posted By: bagman on 04/22/04 01:38pm

Greddy0, I spoted a beautiful 27' 1987 Jayco class C on for $12,000.00 or best offer. It has 55M miles and is super clean! If you could get this one for $10,000.00, you would be doing good! Good luck, Chuck.

Posted By: Teacher's Pet on 04/22/04 02:06pm

We sold our '88 27' Travelmaster for $9200 with 73K miles, last fall,
slept 6, basement model, with FORD re-manufactured transmission.

'06 Phaeton 40' QSH
'14 Ford Flex SEL AWD Toad
'04 R-Vision Trail-Lite 213
Scottiemom's Pet or husband to Dale
Our lady Scottie on board, Duchess Rallies 13, Other Rallies 21, Escapades 7
Fulltimers since 2005, Where are we?
Our Travel Blog

Posted By: Bordercollie on 04/22/04 03:26pm

Take your time and carefully read all of the "advice to newbie threads" in this forum. In our own case, we bought great looking 20 year-old 23-foot Delta from a neighboring widow lady. Tires blew on the road ruining a trip. Engine overheated and was noisy, hard starting. Had cooling system overhauled, remanufactured short block
engine installed, booster fuel pump added, Bilstein shocks, air bags for sagging rear springs. Bought rig for $13K , spent 8K more on repairs, upgrades and overhauls within the first year. Got a fair amount of use but rig interior and exterior was old and showed it. Kept it too long trying to get money's worth. Moral don't risk driving on old tires, make sure everything works, plan on spending coniderably more money for "peace of mind" and attempts to improve it. If you can stand to wait, learn as much as you can by reading and looking at features, save your money until you can afford a popular 4 year old rig at a reasonable price that really suits your needs.

Posted By: Bill Hunn on 04/22/04 04:16pm

If you shop around and take your time you will find a good MH in your price range. Be prepared to make some repairs along the way. Okie Gene said 250.00 -300.00 per month, if that was the case I would have sold my MH years ago. Make sure everything works and have the chassis checked over. Most likely the tires will need to be replaced, but mine had a new set on when I brought it. If it needs interior updates you can do them a little at a time. The biggest expense of the appliances is the refrigerator about $800.00-$1200.00 depending on size. As for the furnance and hot water tank the circuit boards are about $120.00 each. But as others have said you have to be able to do most of the repairs yourself or the labor cost will really hurt the wallet.Things like the batteries, exhaust, and brakes will need to be replace sooner or later no matter how old it is. Good luck.

Bill Hunn
2000 Damon Intruder

Posted By: matthejc on 04/23/04 11:50pm

You should be able to find a class C in that range. May take a bit of looking. Friend just bought a nice 1988 class A 30 footer (fleetwood) in excellent condition for 12K. So they are out there. Your family size is the same as mine was 11 years ago when we purchased a 1986 Tioga 23 D (23 foot) class C. We had a lot of fun and many vacations in it. With the kids older we have finally out grown it and will be looking this season. Read through this forum. There is a lot of good advice, much of it from experience.
You will be looking at older coaches so expect some wear and tear. There is no one best one. You will have to decide what is best for you. Some things to look for; Check out the refrigerator, if you smell ammonia, its probably leaking and will require repair (usually expensive), Tires look at their condition, date code if over 5 years will probably require replacement. Look for water damage, should be no signs of leakage. Check roof, walls and floor all should be solid. Ask the person if there are maintenace logs/reciepts (good sign that it was maintained); Look at the window seals, check the calking, windows can leak. Go up onto the roof, are the seals good, has new sealant been applied. (are there multiple layers? Usually multiple layers with different weathering shows that the roof was being inspected and maintained); When you find a rig that you like, have the kids, wife (and parents if available) with you. Lay down in the beds like you are going to use them. Sit the people down as if you are having a meal, act like you are cooking it. Is there enough room? Sit on the tolet, with the door closed (don't use it though, the owner's tend to get upset) is there enough room? is the tolet adequate? (My one real peeve with my rig was that opening in the tolet was just two small). These are only some things to look at, books have been written on how to buy a motorhome. When you are looking remember a motor home is just that, you have both a vehicle and a home part to look at and check over. One last thing, I found that having a motor home while my kids were young was one of the best investments I had made.
Enjoy yourself and good luck


Posted By: jim1632 on 04/26/04 07:47pm

YOu're in a tricky part of the price range. There will be some older, well-maintained units at your price and lots of junk or near-junk. Research the market - spend lots of time on or similar sites and monitor this forum. Be sure to look carefully at any unit you inspect, ask questions, find a qualified inspector if possible. If there are any doubts, walk away!! Advise you rent this year to get an idea about RVs and then buy early next year when you know more and prices are at the lowest.

Don't ignore that advice about building up a kitty. You won't be suffering depreciation but you do need to be handy at repairs and ready to spend some of the savings on depreciation to keep an older unit in good repair.

Posted By: jwg1234 on 04/27/04 06:01pm

I wouldn't waste your $10K on a class c, you might get a decent Travel Trailer tho.

Poughquag,NY (70 miles north of NYC, Hudson Valley Area)
2002 Coachmen 28' Our first RV and we love it!
Wife: Martha
Two yellow labs (Duffy dog & Murphy dog)

Posted By: Englishrver on 04/29/04 04:27am

I found a real good one for $9500 a couple of years ago. A 1983 20 foot Fleetwood Jamboree through a consignment dealer. It had only done 14000 miles!!! new batteries,alternator,tires, microwave and so on ! A little old fashioned but very well looked after. My wife painted over the floral wallpaper with bright emulsion, stencilled designs on the woodwork and made new curtains etc to replace the 1980's autumn colors and I worked hard on the exterior. It's fine for just the two of us but as your kids grow I think you'll need a bit more room. i live in England and can only afford to fly across the pond at most twice a year so investing more money than that was not sensible. But an RV of that age is not on the high depreciation level.
Good luck!

Posted By: carl66vw on 05/04/04 09:17pm

I agree with the others here. Rent one before you decide which one to buy. Here is my story..I paid exactly $10.000 for my Class C. All went well until my first long trip...After that, I have been poring money into it on each trip. I hope that one day I will get it fixed up, have too much tied up now to get rid of it. Still working on it tho. I will never purchase another one with a rear side bed.

Have worked on cars most of my life but with these new ones I seem to be getting dumber and dumber. The more I learn, the more I need to learn. I was taught old-school tactics and have many stories to tell. I also have what I think are good ideas.

Posted By: Pug Dog on 05/04/04 09:30pm

you can find one but it will take time, you will see alot of junk look for water damage and sag right off. don;t trust what you can;t see.( E-bay)


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