Buying a Motohome – Part 1

Once upon a time in November 2006, the Curbcrushers found out that the motorhome manufacturers had started making bunk house units. This is important, because one of the reasons the family ended up with a 5th wheel versus a motorhome when they first bought an RV was because they didn’t want to set up a bed in the living or dining area each night for the little Curbcrusher. After traveling and camping for 3 years in the 5th wheel though, it sure seemed that traveling a MH would be much more comfortable for the family than in the truck.

So in November, we found that an RV dealer (Flagship RV) out in Cleremont, FL had a Damon Daybreak 3276 on the lot. We went out and took a look and the whole family liked it. We went back a couple of weeks later and drove it. It was on a Ford chassis, and even through Mr. Curbcrusher is a GM guy, he liked the way it drove. So we talked to the dealer about what they would sell it for, taking our 5th wheel in trade. The dealer wanted to start at about 18% off MSRP and the 5th wheel. We didn’t think that was too good a deal so we went on our way.

Some online research turned up Lewis RV in Dayton, OH who advertised on-line a “contact me” price for the same coach. The contact led to a price quote that was more like 28% of MSRP. Huh? Much better. Even considering the price of flying up to Dayton and driving down this was pretty good. So began the saga of selling the 5th wheel.

During this time, someone pointed out that Winnebago had started making a bunk house unit also. So this called for a trip to Lazydays down near Tampa. There we were able to compare the Daymon and the Winnebago (ok the link is to Itasca, but that’s pretty much the same as the Winne, and that’s what we’re eventually going to get)  coaches side by side. After looking at the two coaches, we felt the Winnebago product was better built, and worth the price difference. One interesting note is that Mr. Curbcrusher was able to drive a Workhorse Winnebago and a Ford to compare them side by side. They were pretty much the same, but the Workhorse seemed to have a bit more get up and go when getting on the interstate.

We talked a bit about what they would give us for the 5th wheel, and what the Winnie would cost. They were willing to go about 10% off MSRP, and give us pretty much nothing for the 5th wheel. At one point, the sales guy told me there was no more than 10% – 15% that a dealer could give off of MSRP on a unit like the Winnie.

Well time for more research. Lewis RV also happens to sell Itasca’s. So I talked to them about the cost of a new Itasca Sunova 35J and they were about 27% off MSRP. Since we had looked at the Winnie instead of the Itasca, we looked for a local dealer and found Suncoast RV in Titusville. Mrs. Curbcrusher called over and told them that we wanted to look at the Sunova 35J they had on the lot, and that we didn’t like pushy sales people. The folks over there were very kind, and they opened up the unit, let us sit in it and talk for about an hour, and then said bye when we got in the car to leave.

To sum it up, we decided:

  • We wanted the Itasca 35J
  • We were not going to get anything for our 5th wheel on a trade.
  • We really didn’t want to spend all day (or multiple) days in a dealership getting the “best” deal

That about sums up part 1. In part 2, I’ll explain the approach we are taking to getting the best deal without spending any time sitting around a dealer listening to the sales guy tell us he has to go to bat for us with the sales manager, yada, yada.

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