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Old 12-26-2011, 02:37 PM   #1
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Default Nervous Newbie preparing to buy a used Class B


Hello everyone!

As my subject line indicates, I am a VERY nervous newbie preparing to buy a used Class B. I need all the help that I can get!

Yesterday, I did a search here for the words "buying a used Class B" and got about 18 results. I read through every thread. I saved a couple of them so that I could look at them again. I remember one of the threads had some links to other forum posts. I haven't gone to all of those yet but I do intend to do that.

I am poor. My dad died this past July and left me a small inheritance. I do not want to waste the money that he worked for . . . and saved . . . and left us kids. I want to use his money wisely.

I know that a Class B is not a financial investment and I also recognize that if I am not careful, I could just be flushing money down the toilet. It is important to me to get my money's worth. I am trying to be very careful and to do my homework . . . and to take my time as I look for the right Class B and the right deal for me.

This will not just be a motorhome for me . . . I will also be using it as my primary vehicle . . . and since I am poor, it will have to last me a very, very long time.

I am finding it very hard to even do my homework . . .

Who can I trust? Where do I find the information that I need? Why are there so few Class Bs in Oklahoma?

I initially started looking at Class Bs because I was surprised at how much used Class Cs cost. I thought that a Class B would cost less . . . silly thought! However, as I have been looking, I believe that a Class B is the best fit for me. Now to find one that I can afford and that is in good condition. I hope this is within the realm of possibility.

Although I am a newbie, I did take a 7000 mile, three month trip in 1993 in an old VW-Camper Van. I loved it!! I didn't have a fridge or built in range. It had the built-in cooler and a camping cookstove that I used outside. It did have a working sink and I could plug up to electric when available. I had everything that I needed except for a bathroom. My folks did give me a little port-a-potty but I longed for a shower. Sponge-baths in the sink had to do between State Parks and such.

Based on that experience, I know that I would enjoy a Class B . . .

When I first purchase this vehicle, I am intending to vacate my apartment and full-time on a temporary basis. When you are full-timing, what do you do if your vehicle needs work? I basically mean what do you do with your stuff? Does it stay in the vehicle while it is being worked on?

This whole thing is scary for me . . . and folks think that I am crazy . . . I have been told that doing this is foolish . . . BUT . . . I know that if I am able to purchase a vehicle that is mechanically sound . . . and everything works . . . and it lasts me for a while . . . I would be happy.

The bulk of what Daddy left me needs to go for something that will be a sound monetary investment. What do you all think is the LEAST that I need to spend to get what I have talked about here?

What price range would you all suggest I look at? What years of vehicles would you expect to fall into that price range? I ask this question because folks are asking me, "How much do you want to spend?" Since I really don't know what I am talking about, I can't set a reasonable figure. How low can I go and get something reliable? That is what I am wondering.

Anyway, hello to everyone who has read this far! This is the first rv forum that I have joined. I hope it is a good one!! LOL

~ ~ ~ ruwth ~ ~ ~
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Old 12-27-2011, 12:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: Nervous Newbie preparing to buy a used Class B

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruwth
Who can I trust?
Where do I find the information that I need?
Why are there so few Class Bs in Oklahoma?
When you are full-timing, what do you do if your vehicle needs work? I basically mean what do you do with your stuff? Does it stay in the vehicle while it is being worked on?
What price range would you all suggest I look at?
What years of vehicles would you expect to fall into that price range?
How low can I go and get something reliable? That is what I am wondering.
Welcome to the forum. Those are all very good questions.
I would start by reviewing all the online ads within the geographic radius that you would consider purchasing a vehicle. That will give you a feel for prices.
Low mileage (maybe less that 50,000 miles) and no rust would be at the top of my list.
Leave enough in your budget for repairs etc. For example you might need to get new tires and new batteries.
List your must haves. These are most of the items that are part of Class B's:

Isolator – separates house battery from engine battery
House Battery – provides 12v power to the coach
House Battery Disconnect Switch – disconnects the house battery to prevent discharge
Converter – provides 12 volt DC and charges house battery when plugged into grid
Generator – used to provide 110 volts AC
110 volt electrical panel with breakers
12v distribution panel with fuses
Transfer Relay - automatically switches from generator power to grid power
Fridge
Stove top
Furnace
Thermostat
Water Heater – propane or combo propane and electric, can DSI (lit automatically) or pilot light (manual)
Water Heater by-pass valve – used when winterizing
Water Pump
City water connection – lets you use campground water instead of onboard water
Fresh water tank
Fresh water tank fill
Fresh water tank drain
Waste Tanks
Waste Tank discharge valves – black tank and grey tank dumping valves
Waste hose storage
Front seats may swivel to face rear of van – extends the van living space
Propane detector – 12v propane leak detector
C0 detector – carbon monoxide detector
Smoke detector
Monitor panel showing battery charge state, water and waste levels
Propane fill valve
Propane shutoff valve
110 volt 30amp power inlet
Cable TV inlet
TV outlet
TV antenna
Air Conditioner

Nice to have for full-timing:
Inverter – gives you 110 volt AC from a 12 volt DC source
Solar panels on roof to charge the batteries.

Every situation is different.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: Nervous Newbie preparing to buy a used Class B

You asked:
1. Price range? What should I look at? I suggest 10-15 years old with 60,000 miles or less. Class B's are pricey, and harder on fuel than you may imagine.
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: Nervous Newbie preparing to buy a used Class B

I went to

http://www.kbb.com/new-cars/?psid=99999 ... 87&sissr=1

for the Kelly Blue Book value of one I found on CraigsList.com. It turned out to be the best deal I could ever have worked out. I know it is a long URL but it works - copy and paste to use. Good luck - it was for us.


I also did a lot of searches and looking on line.

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Old 02-16-2012, 12:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Nervous Newbie preparing to buy a used Class B

Class B's are expensive because they have everything a Class A has in a smaller space. Think of it as building a model ship: it's one thing to build the model and quite another to build it in a bottle. Also, there are far fewer of them around to buy. You can get a good, used Class A for the same dollars as a good, used Class B.

I didn't use the NADA guide or the KBB when looking. Instead I decided what I could afford and then spent a lot of time on Ebay, Craigs list, RV Trader and any other site I could find. We finally found what we wanted here:

http://www.roadtrekchapter.org/roadtreksforsale.htm

It was higher than the NADA guide but in excellent condition with only 50K miles and all documentation and maintenance records included. I think condition is the most important issue when buying used. I'd rather have a well-maintained van with 60K miles than one 30K miles and poorly maintained. If you hang around these forums enough you'll see owners with well over 100K on their Class B's.

So first set a budget and start looking and be willing to travel a few miles to find what you need. Best wishes on you hunt and be sure to let us know what you finally do.
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: Nervous Newbie preparing to buy a used Class B

You may also want to consider to convert a new or used cargo van. Prices are much more affordable and they can be refurbished for a few thousand dollars if you have some equipment and ability. It has been done before.
A few months ago I started converting my Dodge B-250 into a one person RV. I'am describing the whole process at cargovanconversion.com. I estimate less than $5000 to do the conversion to a fully equipped RV, including interior, water, fridge, heater, propane tank and 300-400W solar.

Good luck.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Nervous Newbie preparing to buy a used Class B

I bought mine via craigslist as it was in an estate. I so much lucked out. Be patient.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: Nervous Newbie preparing to buy a used Class B

I like goreds's advice ...Be patient.

Three months ago I purchased a 1993 class B so I'll share my experience with you. It's a 1993 InterVec Falcon (Dodge B350) that I purchased for $6,000 from the original owners. The van is clean, loaded, and it had 47,000 miles with almost no rust. I spent over a year browsing for the right camper. It needed some work like brakes, tires, shocks, batteries, and a few other things. All together, I'm in for $2,800 to cover mechanical repairs. That was a little more than I was expecting. Next time I may consider having a mechanic check it out in advance and use that to negotiate the purchase price down a little more.

Good luck!
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: Nervous Newbie preparing to buy a used Class B

Hello to everyone who has posted in this thread. I had written a thank you to markopolo and Johnny R. but I don't see my message so I must not have managed to get it posted correctly. I was having some problems with this site back then but it might have been my browser. I am now using Google Chrome and having fewer problems in general than I did with IE 8.

I am still a very Nervous Newbie but now instead of preparing to buy a used Class B, I am trying to buy a used Class B and not having much luck.

As I have posted elsewhere, I really would like to find an American Cruiser in good shape. (2000 or 2001)

(Of course, although I do know for sure that there are two 2001' s in existence, for all I know they might be the only two. LOL)

markopolo - thanks for your long list of stuff to consider. When you posted it, it completely overwhelmed me. Now, a few months into my search, I understand most of what you are talking about in that post.

Johnny R - thank you also for the guidelines you shared. Your short message was a bit easier for me to grasp back then. I now know that I would like to spend no more than $20,000 and I am looking mostly at vehicles from 2000-2005. I do realize I may have to spend more than that to get what I want but I can hope.

Bill - Thanks for the link to Kelly Blue Book. I have used NADA recently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by burkettwh
I also did a lot of searches and looking on line.
This is the part I totally hate! It is so exhausting. Did you find any way to actually find links to what you wanted? I end up with links to dealers who do not even sell Class B's but want you to visit their site.

I have recently learned to limit my searches to more recent postings. That has helped some.

Am I right that for Craigslist, you have to search each locale separately?

TinyoneRV - Thank you for your comments. I have found that NADA listed values do not reflect what folks are getting for their used Class B's right now. AND I am spending A LOT of time on line looking -- and hating it more and more!

Oh dear, I don't particularly care for the abbreviation for that emoticon but it probably accurately reflects what I look like at the end of my time on line each day!! LOL

I will come back here and let y'all know when I have made a purchase. (Hopefully, a year later I will be able to come back again and tell you how happy I am with my Class B! )

cargovanconversion - years ago, I had thought about a DIY. Now, since I have some degree of disability, I don't think I could handle it. I will take a look at your website though!

goreds - I was thinking I needed to find an estate sale! <--- me green with envy!

locoqueso - Being patient must be the key. I just thought before that I needed the money and I would be able to go out and buy what I wanted. Silly me! I was a bit concerned about not being able to have a mechanic I trust check a potential vehicle for me (since it has become obvious I will likely be buying something in another state). Recently I read about someone have the Dodge dealer check out the American Cruiser they bought. That made sense to me. I usually don't use a dealership for anything like that but this would be one time it sounds like a good idea.

I wonder if that would be a good idea even if I am buying from one of those consignment dealers. It might be a good idea to get a second opinion.


Anyway - Thank you to all of you for your comments!

~ ~ ~ ruwth ~ ~ ~


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