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Old 03-11-2017, 02:52 PM   #1
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Looking at 2002-2008 Class C 29B. Your thoughts wanted.

Hi all, newbie here looking to buy my first RV and go full time. I've read a lot on the forum (and elsewhere on the web), been to a couple of dealerships and checked out several motorhomes of interest. Thanks to several posts here, I've concentrated so far on determining what layout and usability best will fit my lifestyle. To that end, I've determined the Winnebago/Itasca 29B Class C's would be a good choice.

Looking at primarily RVTrader.com (and a little bit at Craigslist), potential purchases range from 2002 to 2008 models. The 2002-2006 ones are mostly priced at or below $35K while the 2007-08 ones are generally $45K-up. Some questions arise from this analysis:

1) Are there major differences (mechanical, features, quality) among the different years? (I gather from several other threads that the differences between the same year Winnie/Itasca 29B are primarily cosmetic)

2) How much does mileage affect the maintenance costs (both annual and major repairs)? I realize that how well maintained the unit has been greatly affects this, but I'm looking for some general rules of thumb. Perhaps like with cars above 100K miles major items like timing belts and transmissions are much more likely to need repair.

3) In a similar vein, how much does age, regardless of mileage, affect the maintenance costs (both annual and major repairs)? I've read here where tires should be replaced anywhere from 5-8 years (depending on the writer's perspective). Are there other components (engine/chassis or within the coach) also age dependent regardless of the amount of their use?

4) While I can afford to go above $40K, I've been hoping to keep it below $35K and, naturally, the lower the better. With that in mind, there are some 2002-2004 models with similar mileage as newer units well below $30K. Any thoughts/concerns with going with an older MH and saving $10-20K purchase price?

Thanks very much,
Bud
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Old 03-11-2017, 05:41 PM   #2
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For the most part you will see a sharp reduction in prices at the 10-12 year old mark, this is because many banks and financing companies will not finance an RV over 10 -12 year of age, so this decreases the pool of potential buyers to those that can pay cash, or secure a loan another way.

As to age related parts, anything in this age range will likely require inspection / replacement of all rubber parts, this may include belts, radiator hoses, suspension bushings, propane hoses, flexible brake hoses, etc. Additionally another recent thread suggests the life expectancy of a typical rv refrigerator is in the 12-15 year range (the one in my 2002 motorhome was replaced by the previous owner in 2014), the same often goes for water heaters, so if these items have not yet been replaced they may need to be soon.

As to pricing I would suggest shopping around, I prefer buying from private sellers, and remember asking and selling price are not the same. I paid $20,500 for my 2002 Safari Trek 28 ft class A from a private party last year, asking price was $25,000 and it had only been listed for sale for 2 days when I found it. Even though it was well updated with about $10,000 in parts alone since 2014 (new carpet, seats, 400 watts of solar panels, 2,000 watt PS inverter, fridge, tires, trac bar, other suspension work, ...), I have still found a way to spend $3,000 on repairs and upgrades in the last 5-6 months (shocks, suspension bushings, SeeLevel 709 tank monitor, LED headlights, new backup camera, TPMS...)
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:33 PM   #3
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Isaac-1, thank you! I wasn't aware of the bank situation with 10-12 year old units, so that helps me better understand why the general price difference around the 2006-2007 time frame.

I also appreciate the additional information on rubber parts, refrig, water heater, etc.

Anyone else?

All the best,
Bud
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:47 PM   #4
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I believe Isaac-1 has it pretty well covered. Couple of things I would add:

You will likely end up with a V-10 Ford in your 29-B. I understand that the later (post 2004?) versions have improved cyl heads....to eliminate the "spark plug spitting" problems on some earlier models. Also, a lot of seasoned RVers say that Ford hit a home run with the V-10 and I see them referred to as "bullet proof" quite often. (Hope so .... that's what I have.) I believe that 100K miles is nothing for them when well maintained.

Also, the transmissions in later rigs have more "speeds" and I believe it is axiomatic that "mo is better". Mine is a 5-speed; earlier years were 4-speed: and the newest ones are 6-speed.

Finally, it seems like the conventional wisdom is that for full timing, the Class A rigs have a huge advantage over Class C rigs where CCC or OCCC (and storage volume) are concerned. You really need to consider that ....... my 31C is really, really skimpy. Still, lots of folks full time in Class C coaches; obviously that is just a personal choice.

Good luck in your search...............
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:10 AM   #5
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As pointed out, be sure to research Ford V10 spark plug issues.
Early models had a habit of blowing them out.
Later models fixed the cylinder head, but then used a 2 piece spark plug that had a habit of breaking off and getting stuck in the head.
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Old 03-13-2017, 07:48 PM   #6
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Thank you Ed (youracman) and garys! This is exactly the kind of information I'm looking for. I especially appreciate the info on the Ford V-10 as all of the ones I've looked at so far are Ford V-10's.

Gary, you mentioned "Early models had a habit of blowing them out. Later models fixed the cylinder head, but then used a 2 piece spark plug that had a habit of breaking off and getting stuck in the head." I'll do some research, but do you know what years are considered "early models" and "late models?"

Thanks,
Bud
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Old 03-13-2017, 10:08 PM   #7
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The 6.8L Mod Motor series Ford engine was introduced in about 1998
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Old 03-14-2017, 06:53 AM   #8
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Do a search Google on the subject. Around 03 or 04 they changed the cylinder heads to add more threads. But then they put in the 2 piece spark plugs. They can be replaced with a 1 piece....problem solved. But a high mileage plug is prone to breakage. There's a TSB on how to remove, special tools for broken plugs, and even Ford would cover costs in sort of a recall on passenger cars, but my understanding that didn't include RVs.
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