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General Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach that are not covered in other Mechanic's Corner categories (ex. refrigerators, water heaters, and compressors).

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  #1  
Old 12-22-2009
USAFFlyer USAFFlyer is offline
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Default Yearly maintenance costs?

Hello All,
I'm a wannabe as you can see in my signature and I want to go into BB ownership with my eyes open. Can we talk about maintenance? What can I expect to spend on yearly maintenance? For this example lets use a 1990 40WB with 100,000 miles on the clock. I know that tires are about every 5 years and can range from $650 each and up. So I've got that included, but what about the oil changes, transmission servicing, fuel filters, air filters, and other items? I really have no way of estimating these costs because I don't possess the books and manuals to check the maintenance schedule. Can any of you old hats give me some yearly maintenance costs? I will do the oil changes myself, but big stuff like brakes I'll have to take to the shop. - Tom
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  #2  
Old 12-22-2009
bubblerboy64 bubblerboy64 is offline
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I'll take a stab at it. If you buy a used BB figure on spending 5 to 10 thousand the first year for tires, batteries, repairs and updates. Maybe 5 the second year for stuff that you couldn't get to the first year and then I think things slow down some. Might average a couple thousand a year. Depends on how particular you are and how lucky as well. If you have a major problem with a transmission, engine or generator it's going to blow a big hole in your average. One of my buddies who owns a 1996 said he budgets $10,000 a year for his BB. He is particular, his coach is maintained to the "9's" and I think he is considering what an engine rebuild might cost. They are very expensive. You better figure on 20% of purchase price the first year and 10% the year after. Then you keep your fingers crossed.
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1987 PT 36
The Bella Mia Sold
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  #3  
Old 12-22-2009
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Tom I agree with John, but I was extremely lucky with the purchase of my coach. The previous owner had spent about 15K on the coach in a year then due to family medical issues he sold it to me. He paid to have everything done. Since my ownership in 3 years I've replaced the fuel pump, the invertor and the battery charger, put on 2 tires and a fresh water pump & rear axle seals & brakes, plus a ideler pully. About $3000 in 3 years. The oil changes depending on my bird is about $150 per year. Learn to do all you can yourself & with the help of the forum you do alot of the work yourself. I change my own oil, but had the rear seals, brakes, idiler pully and fuel pump done at a tune of $85 an hour in labor plus parts. The more you can do the more you can save, but great part of owning the bird is the joy you get from working on it and the since of accomplishemt you get from doing it yourself.
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95WB42MD S60, Mid-Entry "B-Rex"
88FC35 (SOLD)
Louisville, KY/Jeffersonville, IN
2000 Jeep Cherokee
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  #4  
Old 12-22-2009
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I held out about $15K for the first year I purchased my '95 -- and spent around $10, with $5K going to a re-core of the radiator. (Labor rates are high in the S.F. Bay Area.)

"Regular" services run up to about $1000 for an oil/filter/all fluids check/change and a general going over the coach checking for safety issues, etc. Transmission fluid/filters is every 3 years, so you save $200 if you don't do that.

Changing brake shoes on my drive axle cost about $500 or so. However, the shock bushings were bad, so I replaced the shocks on that axle as well, so that's in the $500. But that's good for multiple years. I put about 24,000 miles on my coach in 3 years -- (starting with about 100K miles) and brake linings wore very slowly. Another axle will probably 'pop up' in a couple years.

I had the front shock mount fail (a "known issue" with 90's era birds) -- that cost $1000+ to repair -- but it might have been less had it been caught sooner.

In retrospect, I'd budget an average of $4,000 per year for mechanical maintenance. But interior upgrades are another issue -- I also spent to replace the floor and recover the interior walls -- plus replace some of the furniture. That was another $5K or so -- I did the floor work myself (bamboo wood flooring).

They're surely not "cheap" to own -- but they're probably no worse than any similar toy.
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  #5  
Old 12-22-2009
bubblerboy64 bubblerboy64 is offline
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I think Pete's number of $4000 is realistic. You might spend $1000 a couple years in a row and then have a big one and spend $10000. Just like a boat. A hole in the water that you pour money in. Having said that. No worse then most other hobbies. I am going to "Q" it's going to cost me a couple thousand for fuel out and back. Ouch, but I will stay in the bus every night. Last time I traveled and stayed in a motel it cost me $90 a night (couple weeks ago) figure that into the picture for a trip lasting one month and the ole bird isn't so terrible. Take a package trip and go for a month some time. For two people? Life ain't cheap. Your a long time under ground. Factor it all together and does it or doesn't it work for ya. Works for me right now. Down the road? Who knows. Don't go into it thinking you will be as fortunate as John M. He was lucky but he also is sharper then the average dude and maybe made his own luck. His story is NOT the typical.
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  #6  
Old 12-22-2009
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Thanks for the compliment John; I spent more money driving to look at every bird that popped up within a 200 mile radius for about 10 years before I bought mine. I saw alot of **** and and heard alot of tall tails of eager sellers. I too had a boat which is actually an acronym, Break Out Another Thousand (boat), I have been lucky with my bird but I can assure you I know it could lay down tomorrow and cost me an arm & a leg. Most owners will tell you to expect around 10 grand the first year, I just happen to be lucky and had someone else spend their money on it before I found it. It could had been very well been my money that first year.
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John McGinnis,
95WB42MD S60, Mid-Entry "B-Rex"
88FC35 (SOLD)
Louisville, KY/Jeffersonville, IN
2000 Jeep Cherokee
Our Blog
Our Location
https://allwheelappraisals.com/
Email or call only - please do not send PM

johns.mcginnis @ hotmail.com
502-417-5681
.,=====o00
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l_--- \___l----[]lllllll[]
_(o)_)___(o)_)--o-)_
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  #7  
Old 12-22-2009
USAFFlyer USAFFlyer is offline
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Default Thanks

Very good information, Thanks folks. - Tom
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  #8  
Old 12-23-2009
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In my experience with a '95 PT 42, S-60 D.D. 10% of the value of the coach. Yearly averaged over 3.5 years, 33,000 miles, for Maintained, Fuel,
Up-Grades. = $33,000.00 or $1 Dollar per mile average,

If you add in a payment, with a 10% downpayment avg. $100.00 per $10,000.00 borrowed

A 90's PT 40 today is the greatest deal on a Motor Home/Coach/BUS in the history of RV'ing. A Great PT 40 can be had between 50 & 70 Grand.

That would work out to $600 a month on a loan plus + or - $1000.00 per month for everything it will take to run your bus, estimate excludes Lobster, Fine Wine, and trinkets for the wife and family,You could figure between $1,200.00 to $2,000.00 a month to keep the wheels turning.

Something will need repair, that's the nature of the beast.

Sometimes it's a $2 dollar part, sometimes it's a $20,000.00 motor!

Buy a ticket and ya take your chances.


Yes, It's worth it !
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  #9  
Old 12-23-2009
markusfmeyer markusfmeyer is offline
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I actually look at this differently. I think 4-5K per year is outrageous! Why...because I don't consider an engine, trans, etc to be "maintenance". Maybe we should define that first. Maintenance is doing what the manual says needs to be done - fluids, filters, hoses, belts, alignments, brakes, tires, etc. Wear and tear type items. I think if you look at that, as someone above said, maybe $1000/year should be sufficient. This constant saying that "in the first year you need to spend 10K, in the second year 5K....etc" should be factored into the initial cost. Then, you need to factor in things that can happen but aren't regular items, such as interior items, big ticket items, etc. Much like a house. You don't regularly replace big items unless they break. But, yearly, you have heaters tuned up, filters replaced, chimneys cleaned, yard maintenance, snow maintenance, etc.

Anyhow, just how I look at things. Maybe its playing with words to call it maintenance versus big ticket items, and maybe some people feel better setting aside $5K per year for things if they happen. There's a difference between "need" and "desire" though, and I can bet that most money spent especially on interior "upgrades" was due to personal taste, not that they "needed to be done".

My two cents...!
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VB 1570
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  #10  
Old 12-23-2009
bubblerboy64 bubblerboy64 is offline
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Technically of course you are right Markus. I think we are assuming that the fellow is interested in what it costs after you buy the coach. Of course there has to be a definition of terms but we can all agree that for most of us we end up "investing" a pretty nice some of money in our coaches easy year. Should we discuss the word "invest"? That would be a hoot wouldn't it? If you are talking about just batteries, tires, and oil, plus other "normal" items you are right not a lot of money on the average. I just was assuming the fellow was interested in more what the "average cost of ownership" was. And of course that varies very very much based on any number of factors.

Having said that, if you talk to owners about their experiences there is a pretty typical story to be told.
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