I exchanged e-mails yesterday with a couple who said that they have a very nice 1999 Newmar Mountain Aire that they absolutely love, but the coach is beginning to show its age and they were thinking about buying a new diesel pusher to replace it.
They said that after months of shopping, they have not found anything that they like as much as their Newmar. It has 85,000 miles on it, which is not much for a diesel motorhome, it runs fine, and they have maintained it very well. But the paint is faded, the interior is dated, and the carpet and furniture are getting threadbare. They asked me what I would do in their place.
I told them that if I had a rig I liked, and that I knew and trusted, I’d think very hard about investing some money and time upgrading it, instead of buying something new. If your present RV runs strong and you like it, and it just needs cosmetic improvements, you might be well advised to keep what you have and invest spending some money to make it nicer, instead of spending a lot of money for a new one.
New isn’t always better. I know several people with top of the line new or newer motorhomes who spend a good part of their time dealing with problems and trying to get repairs made, instead of enjoying traveling.
Our dear friends Ron and Brenda Speidel present an excellent seminar at RV rallies with the title Don’t Replace, Refurnish that is always a hit with attendees. Ron and Brenda are very happy with their Winnebago Journey, so instead of buying something knew, in the last couple of years they had a full body paint job done, upgraded their window treatments, installed flat screen TVs, replaced the carpeting with wood flooring, replaced the shower, and several other upgrades. For a lot less than they would have spent on a new motorhome, they have transformed their very nice coach into a palace on wheels.
Jack and Julee Meltzer, authors of the RV Makeover Bible, have now brought their excellent reference out in e-book format, and anybody who is even thinking about trading in a good but older RV for a newer model really should read it before they go shopping. If you have an RV that needs some spiffing up, Jack and Julee have also started a new blog on RV upgrades that I’m sure will be helpful.
We know of several excellent companies that can transform a dated motorhome or fifth wheel into a showpiece for a fraction of the cost of buying a new rig, including Focal Wood Products in Nappanee, Indiana. Owner Carlyle Lehman built the custom desk units, table, and bookcase for our motorhome, and we were delighted with the quality craftsmanship, and the price. Carlyle also does custom window treatments, flat screen TV upgrades, and just about anything else you can think of.
A few miles away, Michele Henry at Phoenix Commercial Paint in Elkhart has built up quite a reputation with her beautiful full body RV paint jobs. We know RVers who have paid two and three times as much money to have their rigs painted, and the results are not as good as what Michele turns out.
Another reliable shop for upgrades is Bradd and Hall, also in Elkhart. Besides selling RV furniture by such well known manufacturers as Flexsteel, the company also offers many upgrade services.
Out in Mesa, Arizona, RV Renovators can do anything, from adding a slide room to completely refurbishing your home on wheels. We saw some of their work this past spring, and were very impressed with the quality of their work, and their dedication to customer satisfaction.
I’d feel comfortable recommending any of these companies to folks who have an RV that they want to upgrade, whether than spending a king’s ransom for a new one that may not be nearly as good as what they already have.
Thought For The Day – A walk through a lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.