Hello everyone, and thanks to the BCM staff for approving my membership to this forum. I have been browsing here for several days, but I just got the ability to search and post to the forum this afternoon.
My wife and I are almost 50 years old. We have one 17 year old son left at home. We live in the Hot Springs, Arkansas area. We presently have a paid for, 41 foot long, 2003 Holiday Rambler Navigator, all electric with diesel powered Aquahot, two slides and a 500 HP Cummins turbo diesel. It has 48,000 miles. We have owned it for 3 years, and have wished for a couple of years that we had been more educated, and bought a Prevost. We travel as frequently as possible, and are sure that as long as there is diesel and we can afford it, we will continue the RV lifestyle (I am a bluegrass music fan, and we catch every festival that we can make).
Now, we are seriously considering trading into a 40-45 foot bus. I am not a mechanic or carpenter, and I don't want to do a conversion myself. I want a turn key, ready to roll rig, with an automatic transmission. I am used to the 500 HP engine, and we pull a full size short bed Chevy truck everywhere we go. I don't want to deal with propane. I just want to park it and plug it in, or turn on the generator.
I am not afraid of the $3K-$5K yearly maintenance (we already have that on our S&S rig). On the other hand, I don't want to run into any surprises and/or thousands of dollars of repair work soon after I purchase a bus. I want to buy a rig and not have to worry about it rattling into a heap/wearing out, and needing to be replaced in a few years. I want to buy one bus and keep it from here on (yeah, I know...famous last words). My wife isn't even too interested in getting a bus with slides, as slides seem to be one of the biggest repair headaches in the S&S world. We are not adverse to slides, if they are more dependable in buses than in S&S RV's, however.
I don't know what my Navigator is worth on the trade-in market, but I see the all electric rigs like ours occasionally up for sale in the $175-$200K range. I don't mind spending a few thousand dollars over my trade value on a bus, but I'm not looking to spend in excess of about $40-$50K over trade value (and then only if necessary).
So, with those preliminaries considered, it would seem that I need to be looking for a bus in the $150K-$250K price range. I see that many folks have buses with several hundred thousand miles on them. What is the maximum number of miles that I should get nervous about when purchasing? Lots of buses are out there for sale with 90-180K miles on them. Does this mean that they were traded in just before needing major engine or chassis work?
Are there dealers that I need to avoid, and certain dealers that are highly recommended?
Are there conversions that we should avoid?
Who can I trust to give me an honest assessment about the condition of a bus?
How does one go about finding fair market value on a bus?
If any one within a couple of hundred miles of Hot Springs, AR has a bus, where do you get it serviced?
Is there a place where I can find the changes that have been made to the Prevosts since about 1995 forward?
What are the pros and cons of the different Prevost models since about 1995?
How old does a bus need to be be before one should starts looking for rust and other structural problems?
I have been told that there are only about 10 (!) registered Prevost buses in the state of Arkansas, so we will probably need to do some fairly long distance driving to see several buses for sale. I did find this one, about 2 hours from my house, but it seems to be overpriced, based on other buses I have seen at dealers around the country:http://www.campbellautosales.net/vehicledetails.aspx?VID=126241658
Any advice is appreciated, and I certainly don't mind searching. But, with over 800 pages on this forum, that is a lot to weed through! Any threads that come to mind that might be helpful, or other forums that I should browse/join would be great, too.
Thanks in advance!