Saturday, July 16, 2011

RV Shopping

I am totally tired tonight. But it was a productive day.

Since we had never ridden or driven a Class A I thought it would be a good time to take a few test drives.  I had been to the Winnebago dealership before the 4th. and I liked the look of the 2011 gas 30' and 32' that they had there.  

Craig agreed to go look at them with me, even though I knew he wants a diesel.  

He drove the 30' and said it handled well, and was easy to turn and back up. I drove it a little in a parking lot and found it handled OK as well.
 But to be honest, neither of us could stand the rattle and shaking of everything inside.  I also noticed quite a bit of air noise around the passenger side window. It felt like an earthquake and we were on a fairly smooth road.

Craig declined the opportunity to drive the slightly larger one.  

We have talked a lot about new gas vs. used diesel, and this just put more negative on the gas side.

The other dealer in the area that has some Class A's is a place called See Grins.  They have just moved to a much bigger location in the last two weeks.  I didn't like the salesman I talked to last time, but I knew it was a source we needed to be in touch with during our search, so we stopped to see what they had. I am also disturbed by the fact that all of their prices are way higher than anyone else's.  Personally I hate to have to dicker, but when dealing with "used" that's the game.

I hadn't made an appointment because I wanted to connect with a different sales person.  (Which we did.)

We told our new salesman what we were looking for:
Diesel, 2006 - 2008, 30' - 35', preferably Winnebago or Tiffin, and that we were just in the beginning stages of our search.  

He asked about our budget and I gave him a suitably uninformative answer.  He showed us two RV's.  The first was a little Monaco that was a bit on the small size.  We talked about Cargo Carrying Capacity (Yes Karen I am looking at that carefully!) and when we figured it was only about 1500lbs.  we moved on.

I told him at some point that one of our objectives for the day was to be able to test drive a diesel.  But he said something like he only let the customers who were "further along in the buying process" to test drive.  So I guess because we were not ready to buy today, we weren't going to get to try one out.

Then he showed us a 2004, 34' Itasca Meridian.  We both did like it, but the asking price was way out of line.  There was nothing else on the lot that was of interest to us.

We exchanged information, and went on our way.
Before we did I asked a lot of questions about warrantee and what See Grins would do for us.  

I really heard a whole lot of double talk.  "As Is" but they "try" to do right by the customer.  I would rather hear words like 30 or 90 day guarantee, but none were said.  They are a consignment lot, so basically you are working with a middle man to a private seller.  Not quite what I want to be doing.

But when we got home, Craig totally surprised me by suggesting we make an offer on it.

We went online and came up with several comps to help determine what to offer.  It is way below what the seller has posted.

I called the salesman and asked a few more questions, and told him I was not happy with not being able to drive it.  He asked us to come back and we could do so.

So as things stand now, we have an appointment to drive it tomorrow.  

I'm really not sure if we should offer or not. 

 It definitely needs new tires and new batteries.  Any offer would take that into consideration, and be contingent on a professional inspectors evaluation, and a review of service records.  

I'm pretty sure the seller will reject the number we have in mind.  It should be interesting! 

The best thing about all the online browsing I have done, and the RV shows I have gone to, is I know that if we pass on this one, there will be another pop up very soon for our consideration, actually we found several among our comps to think about.

I'll keep you posted...


  1. good luck with the test drive tomorrow! is sort of like buying a house!! will know when you found the right one!!

  2. Please be very careful. With no warranty, do they at least go over everything to make sure it works?

    Did you check for any previous leaks? A/c work, refrigerator?

    I am worried for you since you have never had an rv. Do you fit
    In the shower? Hit your head when you get out of bed? Closet space? Oven or convection?

    Be careful! Our new one was a very well cared for motor home and a high quality but you saw how many normal maintenance things it needed. And that was with a trained tech looking for them.

    I don't mean to rain on your parade but I want you to get a good one and there are so many things to consider.

  3. Just from what you have written about your experiences today I would suggest you not make an offer & continue your search. Lots to chose from out there & I think it is still a buyer's market. We have always had the bad 'WOW' factor against us & have unnecessarily thrown good money down the drain just because we had to have something, 'right now!!' Like you, I hate all that silly dickering nonsense as well. It is such a game of 'one upmanship & deception.' My short answer is....hold off & keep looking.

  4. Karen made some good comments. I definitely know what you mean about noise in gas vs. diesel. In our gas MH we had to yell at each other. In the diesel, it is so much quieter. However, both types will shake and rattle going down the road.

    Good luck with the test drive today. If you have doubts, there will always be another one out there that you will like.

  5. Good luck, Merikay, but move carefully my friend! :)

  6. I echo the above comments. Don't be too hasty! There's a LOT of MH's out there to be had. Maybe take a drive to the central valley and see if there are bigger dealers out there..Fresno perhaps? Even the dealers in other states within vacation distance might be more willing to 'dicker'.

  7. I'm looking forward to your post today to see how the test drive went. And I agree with the others. There are lots and lots of motorhomes out there to look at.

  8. Exciting times for you! Follow your gut, it usually doesn't steer you wrong.

  9. Good luck with your test drive and bargaining.

  10. This sounds exciting. I hope the test drive goes well. I'll always remember my first one...through a construction zone. Just remember that they want to sell it just about as much as you want to buy it. God luck!

  11. I'm just there some reason you need to go through a dealer? If they don't give you any warrenty or guarantee why do you need to use is convenient but I wouldn't believe a word they say. We bought our new dodge diesel truck through a dealer because we wanted new..that particular model and engine...we plan on keeping it many many years. We knew that dealer had that truck by finding it on line...we knew what we were going to offer and that was that. If you need financing you get that ahead of time through your credit union or bank at a much lower interest rate. I actually thought of you the other day...we went to an RV dealer to get some things for our little trailer...there was a guy on the corner with a HUGE banner saying he bought from this dealer and he had a lemon and they would not make it right! Take your time...there is nothing worse than making a bad deal...

  12. I read the book How to Choose, Inspect and Buy an RV and they say never to pay more than 70% of the asking price. I paid around 60% of the price that was on the tag.

  13. Can't wait to hear how it went today! You're getting closer!

  14. At reliable motor coach dealers they usually have a stem to stern inspection performed by their technicians, as this coach is a possibly a consignment they don't perform this check unless you are willing to pay for it.
    I would suggest you pay for the inspection, or have it rolled up into your offer as a contingency.
    Expect and budget for problems that are sure to arise in any transaction on a large vehicle, and we're crossing our fingers and toes for you! Good Luck!


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