View Full Version : Questions from a Newbie

03-10-2013, 08:47 PM
I'm almost ready to buy my first luxury motorhome, prevost or newell, Whatever fits my budget. I'm hoping to buy within the next 4-5 months and I'm planning to move from NY to FL and live in the motorhome for at least 3 months. I drive a ton (going solo cross country at least once a year & driving to FL 3 or 4 times a year) but always in a car.

I don't have deep pockets either, my budget is about $35,000. I am not mechanically inclined at all, so any breakdown would require a mechanic.

When looking at used prevosts or newell motorhomes, any hints about what I should look for that will clue me in on a bigger problem?

I'm a good driver in cars, but I don't know how good I would be backing up a 40+ foot bus.

I teach online, so internet access is a must.

I am thinking I will be dry docking at least 50% of the time, so a good generator/inverter is a must.

For security, I've seen the cameras that are used for backing up, but is it possible to convert them so I can use them as security cameras at night?

I appreciate any help or advice given. I'm sort of lost in all of this and I don't have anyone who can advise me.


03-10-2013, 11:23 PM
RIchard: welcome to the site. You pose a series of questions, the biggest is what you can get for $35,000 and I believe the others will resolve themselves. You can get a late 70's to mid-80's Newell for that price. Within those there will be some that will require considerable additional expense and some that will probably be just fine - you need to figure out how to discern the difference. There are two ways to learn; find an experienced someone willing to help you through the process, or invest the time and effort to read all the posts on this site pertaining to 70's and 80's coaches. I don't know how to help you find that special someone that would help you through the process so all I can really suggest is to start reading and keep reading until you've read all the relevant posts and then ask questions you have yet to have answered. There are no silver bullets and you are going to have to accept some risks. Despite all the knowledge gained here and investments in hiring people to check out the prospective coach there are no guarantees so you need to keep a nest egg handy and hope you never need it.

Most people can learn to maneuver these things, the best way is to find a big empty parking lot and practice turning - and missing the light posts - and finding out how to position your sight lines in order to have the coach properly positioned in the lane. Backing up is easy compared to driving in tight conditions - at least for me because backing up is done slowly and driving isn't.

Internet: either go 4G, put a big and expensive 2 way satellite dish with high monthly costs, or stay only at the numerous campgrounds that include internet. Be aware that many of the campgrounds offering internet limit your usage or require additional payments.

Regarding security: If I were to feel insecure staying somewhere without security cameras I just wouldn't stay there and I've never seen the need to.

Everything you know just ain't so

While DIY maintenance will save you money, getting a well cared for coach will save you even more.

Newell Attack
03-11-2013, 03:51 AM
Owning a luxury coach is not cheap or economical for many. It's a lifestyle and it takes money and knowledge to fully enjoy it. If you are not mechanically inclined, it's definitely expensive. If you have to pay everytime something is wrong with your motorhome, you could end up in the red quick.

To be honest, I wouldn't had been interested in ownership if I didn't enjoy this lifestyle and already had some sort of nest egg built up to pay for coming maintenance and repairs.


03-11-2013, 01:35 PM
Jeff makes a good point. I would guess I've invested about $3000 per year in maintenance while doing most of the work (except the in-frame overhaul). I've spent hundreds of hours on repairs and improvements, so at a shop rate of $100/hour I'd have spent at least another $2000-3000 per year if I had hired a shop to do it. As I've gotten on top of the previously deferred maintenance I've seen my costs come down but it took the better part of a decade. If you were to buy a coach like mine is currently and hire the maintenance done it wouldn't surprise me that you would still end up in the $3000/year range averaged over several years.

Even with our current maintenance costs and while accounting for depreciation, fuel, insurance and storage we need to use it at least 90 days a year to break even compared to staying in hotels and traveling by car. If I've done the calculations reasonably well it would be far longer for you to break even. This is why Jeff referred to it as a lifestyle choice. Even if I don't break even economically I come out far ahead in better sleep, healthier eating and a more relaxing environment.

We are writing this not to discourage you but rather that we help you make an informed decision.

03-11-2013, 02:51 PM
I telecommute, so I'm aware of how important Internet access is. I would never count on finding available WiFi, the general consensus here leans heavily towards Verizon 4G.

Given your stated mechanical skills, I would highly recommend a good road side assistance policy. Search this forum, but I believe the lean is towards FMCA.

Talk to your accountant. If you are using the coach for work there will be available tax advantages.

The backup camera isn't intended for a security camera. Look instead at a DVR home security system with weatherproof IR cameras. These can be monitored from your cell phone with an app.

Good luck making an informed decision that you won't regret.

03-11-2013, 04:49 PM
Welcome Geckos,

Your questions are some what difficult to tackle. The easiest question to answer is about what 35K can buy you which has been answered by Jon Kabbe(77Newell). Any Luxury Coach that has been well maintained should suit you great but you need to narrow your search down and locate a coach that fits your style with layout etc.

My concern is that you stated your not mechanically inclined. That being said I would take a class or dive right in and learn to repair or troubleshoot a few items of which ever luxury coach brand you decide to purchase. Remember you don't have to have a blank check to enjoy rving although that would be nice lol but it does require some money in case your engine, turbo, tranny or generator fails and need replaced or fixed. I forgot to mention tires, When it comes time to replace your tires 3-5K will be out your door. So those are a few items to take into consideration when searching for a coach & why Jeff stated you need some sort of a saving so that you don't get stranded with no way of paying for a tow etc.

Always keep in mind that your motor coach is a house on wheels and like your sticks & bricks house it will always need maintenance its just a part of ownership.