Buying a Motorhome – Episode 4

Well, I got a comment! How about that? Someone found there way here and actually looked at this mess. Thanks JohnW.

The difference in price between the OH dealer and my closest dealer was a little over $5,000. I really didn’t expect a FL dealer to be able to match the price from OH, but this was in the range that I was shooting for. I did however hope that the guy 35 miles away could beat the guy 75 miles away. There was about $1,200 difference in these prices. What to do what to do?

Well, I really didn’t want to, but I called the local guy and asked what he could do about providing all the paraphernalia to tow an ’06 Saturn Vue behind the Motorhome. He called back a little later and said he could split the retail cost of a tow bar, base plate and brake buddy with me. From talking to a few friends that seemed like a good deal.

So, we’ve placed an order for our 2007 Itasca Sunova 35J from Suncoast RV in Cocoa. They say Winnebago will ship the first week of April. So now we wait.

The reasons for going with the dealer closest to the house came down to:

  1. By asking them to all give me their best price, he was competitive with the other dealers. By going back and giving the guy a chance to throw in other stuff (the tow package), I think he came out very competitive.
  2. If I get over there the first week of April and there is some problem with the coach, I only have a 45 minute drive home, not a two and half hour flight.
  3. So far this is the only dealer that hasn’t made conflicting statements at some time during the sales process.

You will note that I did not include the reason that JohnW commented on which was getting warranty service. JohnW made a good point that I am pretty much an RV rookie, the CurbCrushers have only been RVing for the past three years or so in our 5th wheel. We put a lot of emphasis (or thought we did) the first time around on a local dealer and how we felt they would take care of us during and after the sale. Over the first 18 months of our two year warranty, we faithfully went back to this dealers and took their abuse. They kept the rig for weeks on end, they never called when it was ready or to give you a status of ordered parts or the repair. They returned it with the same or more stuff broken and so forth. After 18 months we called another Forest River dealer down in St. Cloud (LePage RV, who has now gone out of business) and they happily agreed to do our warranty work. They were the opposite of our dealer, and we even had some regular maintenance done there as well.

As I’ve sat around campfires over the past three years, I’ve asked others how they like the warranty service they have received from their dealer. I have yet to have anyone tell me it is great. The best reaction I’ve gotten is that it is “OK,” and most people seem to have real horror stories, what I’ve experienced are mere inconveniences by comparison.

So when we began this quest, Mrs. Curbcrusher and I decided that we weren’t going to believe what anyone said about their service departments. The decision would be primarily made on price. Of course with the out of state dealer (OH) being 935 miles away, there would be some concrete cost to contemplate (airfiar, hotel before delivery, gas, campgrounds for return trip), and there would be some opportunity and soft cost (days away from the office, the hassle making a trip to OH for no reason other than picking up the motorhome, the risk of getting 1000 miles away from home and something major not being right).

So I don’t know what the Suncoast service department will be like. I’m sure I will have some experiences with them, and I’ll post them here when they happen. For right now, I have the same low expectations I would have had if I’d picked either of the other dealers.

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