I've been lurking around for several months now gathering information on what I hope will be my first foray into RV'ing. After reading many articles and opinions, looking at RV's in person, and driving a few I have narrowed down my choices a little. I know that I want a Diesel Pusher in the 36-40 ft range, late 90's early 00's, $30-40k price range. That is as far as I have gotten, now trying to narrow down a floor plan and other items, which brings me to my first question on the forums.
I would like opinions on a 2000 Damon Escaper, not sure if I'm allowed to post links if I am then I'll edit my post and link it.
I'm not knowledgeable on the many different diesel pushers out there but one bit of advice is that RV's and coaches in particular, are very individual. By that I mean a top of the line coach not maintained can be worse than an entry level unit that has been maintained very well.
Pick the coach and it's features and get the condition of that one determined by a professional.
Two suggestions: First go to www.rv.org for The RV Consumer Group's review of any RV's you are looking to buy and go to www.rvknowhow.com to read the Kieva's suggestions on how to decide on an RV for its livability.
2003 SunnyBrook 27FKS
2011 3/4 T Chevrolet Suburban
One wife, two bikes (both Electric Schwinn's with motor assist)
There are many out there in that price range. not sure what floor plan your looking at. is there any sides how old the tire are and so on. Im not a big fan of THE Damon brand but that just me! I would hold our for a Holiday Rambler or Monaco or country coach. something in that line. its out i have seem them lots of good deals out there. good luck
Bear in mind that about every five years, a diesel needs a full fluid service. Coolant flushed, power steering flush, rear end oil, trans fluid, leveling jacks fluid, new belts, thermostat, hoses, repeat for genset. And look at the tire age. Tires can cost $3500 and $2K for the service work. You can get fooled by just looking at purchase price. Paying a little more from an individual that you can talk to and he can show you all the service records can be important.
My advice is to first be sure that you've done a bit of traveling on a road trip, and that you enjoy camping. (I'm pretty sure you have if you are looking at an RV). Sometimes people genuinely do not like RV'ing and are more homebodies than they think they are when they buy.
With that said, be sure to shop around a lot. $30-40k can get you a really nice gasser as well, that is much newer than a DP. Not putting one above the other, just saying...
Also consider if you've never had an RV before, that going into a DP is like jumping into a huge bus. Consider all the factors first. Think about tow vehicles, if you want to go around town etc. It can be tough getting around in a DP in town if you just want to run to get some dinner or see a museum.
Consider that each type of RV has its own benefits.
Small Travel trailers are easy to tow, and you get to drive around tow vehicles in town.
Large travel trailers are more roomy, tougher to tow, but you still have the tow vehicle to get around in.
Class C's are often large and often have a good overhead bunk for a large family. Easy bathroom access. Easy to sleep overnight in a parking lot if you want. Drives like a truck & low to the ground. Self contained with generator.
Class A's are often large too. Mostly the same benefits as the class C. Higher up and larger views.
DP's are just huge, tons of room, but also tougher to drive and get around town/corners etc.
My PERSONAL opinion (others differ)- I have 2 setups I like the best.
1) Small travel trailer such as a Casita. This would be perfect for an old couple (my wife & I plan on doing this later when the children are older). I like the idea of an easy towing camper that is simple to hook up. We are the type that "keep on the move" and do not hang around at campgrounds long. We go to a destination see the sights, and leave. We like to explore towns and use our tow vehicle.
2) Class C pulling a toad 4 down. I like this setup because in travel, it gives me the opportunity to "wallydock" (sleeping in a wal-mart parking lot or Sam's club). It's great because they are free and you have the store you will use right there. It is pretty simple to hook up a LIGHT toad 4 down. The C would be self contained and can hold family/children, and be roomy. Toad great for in town. But the EPIPHANY of this setup in my opinion, is that if for some reason your Class C breaks down, you have a toad to unhook and drive. That way if you are stuck in the middle of no where, you can get to a nearby town until things get sorted out. You won't feel stranded with children. Even though there is always Goodsam roadside or AAA, having a 2nd vehicle that drives while you are out in the boonies is mega security. You know if your RV has any major issues that you can always get to a hotel or something. You won't have to wait for some tow truck guy to bring your wife and children after he brought you to a shop etc., in an unfamiliar town.
For 2 people I like my option 1.
For a family, I like the option 2.
Of course that is my opinion on the matter. (Class A works well with option 2 in my opinion)
4 whopping cylinders on Toyota RV's. Talk about great getting good MPG. Also I have a very light foot on the pedal. I followed some MPG advice on Livingpress.com and I now get 22 MPG! Not bad for a home on wheels.
I suppose I would suggest, make sure you are really into RVing. When my kids were younger (now 24-26) we did the bumper pool 16 ft then A 27 foot. In High School the 27 foot set in the driveway a lot of years. Wife an I always knew when it was "our time" we wanted to full time, which is what we do now. With any investment of big $ it MUST be used. As mentioned above a entry level taken care of is better than a high end DP, that has been abused,a lot of hidden issues might be worth getting an independent unbiased mechanic to look at your purchase as well.
"2012 Forest River 360 DS"
"2013 Toyota Corolla on Tow Dolly"
Take a day to go look it over and test drive it. If you are mechanically inclined, great; if not, take a friend who is with you.
Test every system to make sure it works properly, inspect for damage/leaks/rust, etc.
Know ahead of time that you may need to put out an additional $3K for tires, depending on the age of the ones on the MH. Also know ahead of time, that like a 12 year old car, you will have issues along the way just because of the age of the unit and things like the water pump, fuel pump, fuel lines, etc., disintergrate with time. What may be fine today will fall apart tomorrow. It is the nature of the beast.
I recommend that you visit the website at PPL Motorhome in Houston, TX. It is a consignment dealer with a large selection of pre-owned units which you can 'see'. It will help you to get a good idea of what you can get on your budget and you may find that the Damon is the perfect match for you or that it isn't the best bang for your buck.