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Post Info TOPIC: Buying a used RV whose manufacturer is out of business


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Buying a used RV whose manufacturer is out of business


I have heard that Country Coach, Alpine and Western are now all out of the business.  The question is, should a person avoid a brand which no longer has a manufacturer in business?  What about warrenty work or O.E.M. parts?



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For me the main factors would be reputation as it pertains to quality. Research the overall quality on line, go visit manufacturer specific forums. Next would be price, I would want some extra discount for the lack of support. Lastly I happen to own a coach that the company has dropped the line, they no longer do Motorhomes , most of the individual parts are covered even if the manufacturer closes...


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I don't know about motorhomes, but with fivers, there's really nothing that can go wrong that can't be fixed with readily available commercial parts. The manufacturer makes the box and then finishes it with OEM parts - axles, brakes, tires, jacks - and on the inside, stove, furnace, air conditioner, etc., all easily found.

Parts for all RV must be findable, you sure see enough old rigs out here. :)

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Luvglass wrote:

I don't know about motorhomes, but with fivers, there's really nothing that can go wrong that can't be fixed with readily available commercial parts. The manufacturer makes the box and then finishes it with OEM parts - axles, brakes, tires, jacks - and on the inside, stove, furnace, air conditioner, etc., all easily found.

Parts for all RV must be findable, you sure see enough old rigs out here. :)


 Pretty much the same can be said of a motorhome.  The chassis manufacturer makes the frame and driveline (although some are proprietary) and the coach builder builds the box on top of it.  Just about all of the components are bought from outside suppliers so you should be able to get support and parts from them individually.  About the only thing that you won't be able to get is factory support if something catastrophic happens to the structure of the unit but that's probably pretty unlikely.  There are plenty of brand-specific forums around now that can answer just about any question you might have about an orphan rig.



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If you buy through a dealer they may be able to offer a thrid party warranty.

Caution: The third party warranties haven't had a good reputation, so I would do a lot of research before paying for one.

If the manufacturer had a good reputation for quality products before going out of business, chances are you'll have good luck unless you happen to buy the last RV built before the line shutdown.....

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As the others have said, the various appliances all come from the same sources, so if your Norcold refrigerator quits, you can get another from many sources. For the proprietary stuff, you may have to dig a bit, but you can usually find it somewhere. Take a look at the Wanderlodge forum, for example, http://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.com/forums/index.php for some excellent support for coaches that haven't been made in years. Other brands have similar forums.

One of the big issues for the Wanderlodge group is financing. NADA prices for the older Birds are only a fraction of what they actually sell for, and that leads to problems in getting loans. Do your homework, but I wouldn't necessarily be scared of a coach just because it isn't being made anymore.

For those who are wondering, an Airstream TT or a Wanderlodge DP are at the top of our list of "possibles" right now. That is subject to change, though, so don't take me an any sort of expert. As I've said before, I'd rather ask lots of questions before writing the big check than asking the same question repeatedly afterward.

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I would like to echo Ron’s comments, but I would add one concerning motorhomes vs. 5ers.

 

The 12 electrical systems on many (most) motorhomes are notoriously integrated between the coach (the RV part) and the chassis (the “motor / frame”) part.  This is not a bad thing as such and pretty necessary.  But should you have a 12 volt systems problem and not have the wiring diagram for the motorhome electrical system it could turn out to be more difficult to troubleshoot.

 

5’ers, in comparison, are dirt simple as there is no motor / chassis 12 volt system to deal with.

 

That might, or might not, be a factor in your decision depending on what documentation is available.  ‘A thought for your consideration.

 

Bill



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Bill and Linda wrote:

I would like to echo Ron’s comments, but I would add one concerning motorhomes vs. 5ers.

 

The 12 electrical systems on many (most) motorhomes are notoriously integrated between the coach (the RV part) and the chassis (the “motor / frame”) part.  This is not a bad thing as such and pretty necessary.  But should you have a 12 volt systems problem and not have the wiring diagram for the motorhome electrical system it could turn out to be more difficult to troubleshoot.

 

5’ers, in comparison, are dirt simple as there is no motor / chassis 12 volt system to deal with.

 

That might, or might not, be a factor in your decision depending on what documentation is available.  ‘A thought for your consideration.

 

Bill


 Can the wiring diagrams be purchased from the RV manufacturers?



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Cosmo wrote:
Bill and Linda wrote:

I would like to echo Ron’s comments, but I would add one concerning motorhomes vs. 5ers.

 

The 12 electrical systems on many (most) motorhomes are notoriously integrated between the coach (the RV part) and the chassis (the “motor / frame”) part.  This is not a bad thing as such and pretty necessary.  But should you have a 12 volt systems problem and not have the wiring diagram for the motorhome electrical system it could turn out to be more difficult to troubleshoot.

 

5’ers, in comparison, are dirt simple as there is no motor / chassis 12 volt system to deal with.

 

That might, or might not, be a factor in your decision depending on what documentation is available.  ‘A thought for your consideration.

 

Bill


 Can the wiring diagrams be purchased from the RV manufacturers?


If the company is out of business I wouldn’t have a guess as to who you could contact other than perhaps a dealer who sold the particular brand.  Maybe they might have a service manual (assuming one exists) for the particular unit in question.  Or the stock of parts and documentation might have been sold to a third party manufacturer. You would just have to search that out.

 

Exact documentation on the wiring and parts in RVs is not one of the industries strong areas.  

 

Not having the diagram doesn’t mean the unit can’t be repaired; but without the diagram it could be more of a time consuming process to find the fault.  That's sort of the key point of consideration.

 

Bill



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Bill & Linda
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2012 Chevy 3500HD Duramax-Allison \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



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Some can supply wiring diagrams but most do not have them. In many cases each RV ends up somewhat unique based on the actual workers that built it.

I will also say that lots of people seem to be really good at troubleshooting 12volt problems on motorhomes since they don't happen often and are quickly resolved. The engine, transmission and chassis manufacturers do not recommend that the house 12volt and chassis 12volt intermingle, too many issues. The recent RVIA attempt to integrate the communications was quickly abandoned by most motorhome makers since it just caused problems and large phantom loads. Alpine Coach was the main one who tried to integrate and they are defunct. A friend found 7AMPs DC of phantom load on his Alpine, but he had the tech skills to install a disconnect so he could boondock.

Even manufacturers that are still around can find parts for older motorhomes hard to get because the parts manufacturer is out of business. The cabinet door handles and shower door for our 2004 Newmar Dutch Star are no longer available since the manufacturers of these parts are out of business. We thought the same of our ladder, but Atwood bought the company and can supply parts..

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