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Old 06-30-2010, 03:33 AM   #1
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I really want this Berkshire 390BH!

I purchased a 2010 Keystone Cougar 298BHS and a 2007 Toyota Tundra to pull it with.

My family and I are living in it this summer, and then I will be living it in part time, splitting my time between Scottsdale, AZ and where ever I happen to be based that month (which is most likely somewhere in the Midwest). This was our first RV and we didn't want to spend a ton of money before we knew if it was something we really wanted to do or not. Well, we love it but the Cougar is obviously way to small to be living in and there is NO WAY it's going to make it through a winter in MI or WI. I guess that's why they call it a camper.

We (meaning I) looked at several high line 5th wheels and a 3500 series truck, but the diesel pushers just seem so much more convenient and luxurious. Plus we have a 2004 Kia Sorento that is paid for that we can pull behind the coach. Thus, we (again meaning I) decided on a Class A diesel pusher. We need a bunk house because we have 2 kids, and it seems like Bunk Houses are pretty new to this type of RV. From what I have seen this kind of rules out used diesel pushers since I have yet to see a used BH, plus it seems like most late model units are still $100K+ anyway. This is phrased in a statement, but I guess it's more of a question. Are these pretty accurate assumptions?

I looked at the usual suspects, but the Berkshire is about the only one I can afford and it's still more than I really wanted to spend. I am well aware that is not a "true" luxury motor home, but man does it seem like a lot of bang for the buck as it isn't priced like a "true" luxury motor home either.

But even at this price point these things seem like rich peoples toys. Is this one of those things that if I have to ask if I can afford it, I can't afford it? From what I have figured, with very little down the payment is only going to be a couple hundred more than what I'm spending on the truck and trailer combined now, but it's a butt load more money which makes me nervous. That's a lot of quid to spend on a depreciating expense. I feel like I'm taking out a mortgage, but on a house that is guaranteed to lose value.

But again, it seems like the Berkshire is a TON of coach for the money, way more than any of the other manufactures are offering. There a couple of things that I would like to have seen on them, but nothing that I couldn't live without for what they are asking.

I have gone to see the coach at Terry Town RV here in Grand Rapids a couple times, but I'm really surprised at the lack of attention I have received considering the amount of money I'm looking to spend. I'm not shy, so should I decided to do it I will most certainly demand a little more attention, but right now I feel as though I'm dealing with shady used car salesmen. Is this typical of RV dealers? (I bought the Cougar from a private party)

I'm trading in the Cougar and the truck and they said they will give me what I owe on both, so I guess with the tax implications it's better than selling them outright.

I guess in a long round about way I was wondering if I could ask other Berkshire owners what they have been paying for their coaches (or is that question bad etiquette)?

I feel like the dealer is shady, and you can't just look up an invoice like you can on a new car. I don't mind if they make a profit, but I just have this gut feeling that the profit they are trying to make off me is obscene. They quoted me a price of $156,000 for the black 390BH they have on the lot, but we haven't really negotiated yet.

I have this feeling like this particular coach has been sitting there awhile, but of course the salesman makes it seem like he can't keep them in stock and I'm lucky to be able to get one. He told me that they made a special purchase and got them cheaper than any other dealer in the country. Seems like a load of crap to me. Especially in this down economy, and especially in this down economy in MI. Is there any truth to what he's feeding me?

It has all the options except the bigger motor/transmission, polished wheels, and the freestanding dinette. Or at least that's what they said. Getting info is like pulling teeth. Sometimes talking to the salesmen is liking trying to get an answer out of my 6 year old except that my 6 year old is more direct. I guess the bigger motor isn't that big of a deal since all I plan on towing around is the Kia. By the way how much should I expect to spend on a TOAD setup?

I also wanted to ask if anyone has experience using their coach in freezing temperatures as that I what I plan on doing? They have pitched it to me as an all weather RV, but is it really? I was sold the Keystone Cougar as an all weather RV and we all know what a joke that is.

I'm going back into today to demand a little more detailed explanation of the coaches features and a test drive. I also plan on negotiating a deal and would like to be armed with a little more info. I have requested a quote from RV Direct, but how easy is it going to be to get them my trades? Since I'm living in my TT right now it makes things much more difficult.

Any other info you would like to pass on would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:20 AM   #2
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I think you should look at the RV Direct web site. They usually have the 'window sticker' for the coach available and will quote you a price on that unit. I will give you a good idea as to what you will pay for the coach. As far as cold weather, we have not used the coach in very cold weather so I can't comment. As for towing, I have read where others have towed with the smaller engine and did not have any problems. I have also read where it can cost anywhere from $4000-$8000 for everything that is needed to tow. This cost and the fact that we so far have not had much of a need for a car once we are at the campground are the main reasons we opt to rent a car when we need one. We can get a lot of rentals for the kind of money needed to set up for towing and buying a vehicle to tow. I think that with small children, the booth dinette would be preferable (JMHO). Also, I would think that any dealer looking to make a sale would try to take better care of a potential customer.
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:53 AM   #3
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I think you should look at the RV Direct web site. They usually have the 'window sticker' for the coach available and will quote you a price on that unit. I will give you a good idea as to what you will pay for the coach. As far as cold weather, we have not used the coach in very cold weather so I can't comment. As for towing, I have read where others have towed with the smaller engine and did not have any problems. I have also read where it can cost anywhere from $4000-$8000 for everything that is needed to tow. This cost and the fact that we so far have not had much of a need for a car once we are at the campground are the main reasons we opt to rent a car when we need one. We can get a lot of rentals for the kind of money needed to set up for towing and buying a vehicle to tow. I think that with small children, the booth dinette would be preferable (JMHO). Also, I would think that any dealer looking to make a sale would try to take better care of a potential customer.
I appreciate your time and information. Thank you. Ryan
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:59 AM   #4
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I think you should look at the RV Direct web site. They usually have the 'window sticker' for the coach available and will quote you a price on that unit. I will give you a good idea as to what you will pay for the coach.
They got back to me a little while ago. $149,854. I think based on what I'm asking Terry Town to give me, if they do it I will be getting an even better deal than that. I've told myself I'm not budging. If they can't give me the terms that I have come up with, then I will just walk away like a big boy and realize it's just too much coach for me right now. I don't have the time or energy to get into a long drawn out negotiation battle. This is a luxury, not a necessity and I'm trying really hard to keep that in mind.

Thanks again for your time.

Ryan
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:16 PM   #5
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As for towing, I have read where others have towed with the smaller engine and did not have any problems. I have also read where it can cost anywhere from $4000-$8000 for everything that is needed to tow. This cost and the fact that we so far have not had much of a need for a car once we are at the campground are the main reasons we opt to rent a car when we need one. We can get a lot of rentals for the kind of money needed to set up for towing and buying a vehicle to tow. I think that with small children, the booth dinette would be preferable (JMHO). Also, I would think that any dealer looking to make a sale would try to take better care of a potential customer.
That won't work for me. I have to have a car. I have a 2004 Kia Sorento that is free and clear that I want to use to tow around with me, but $4K-$5K, wow!

I'm a pilot and these things remind me a lot of airplanes. The airplane is the cheapest part of the whole equation. It's the insurance, fuel, maintenance, storage, etc, etc that will drive you broke.
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:39 PM   #6
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We just went thru changing cars to tow. A new blue ox hitch installed was 1000.00. If you have to buy a receiver, thats another 800.00. installation of a breaking system in the car another 400-1200, and the lights installation is another 300.00. So we went with the blue ox instalation for 950.00, reinstalled our Easy Brake receiver, 178.00, and bought a magnet mounted rear lights at Harbor Tools for 24.00. Thats a lot cheaper than 3300.00. We already had the receiver and the break system from our Saturn.

PS Im also a retired Army Aviator. And I know about cost of flying. Check and see if your Kia can be towed. It may have to be towed on a dolly. A lot of foreign cars cannot be towed 4 on the ground.
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:29 PM   #7
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Why a diesel pusher? You can get a helluva gas Georgetown for $100K. Cheaper to maintain as well ($30 oil changes and such)
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:50 PM   #8
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I don't know if its still available but I found a 2009 390BH with the 350 engine and 3000 Alison transmission at this address http://www.motorhomeclassifieds.com/162966.html> The seller's asking price was what remained on the note - roughly $128,000. They had taken the coach on only 2 trips and it had roughly 5 - 7000 miles on it. Evidently there was a death in the family.

Regarding towing capacity, we bought a 2011 390BH with the 340 HP and smaller transmission in May and have taken it from Tampa to Raleigh to Atlanta and have not had any issues with towing strength. I tow a 2005 Explore Sportrac.

We are a family of 5 so in addition to the bunks the hide-a-bed is used nightly. The convenience of the inflatable/deflatable mattress is wonderful. After our first 4 trips we remain in love with this coach.
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:21 PM   #9
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I don't know if its still available but I found a 2009 390BH with the 350 engine and 3000 Alison transmission at this address http://www.motorhomeclassifieds.com/162966.html> The seller's asking price was what remained on the note - roughly $128,000. They had taken the coach on only 2 trips and it had roughly 5 - 7000 miles on it. Evidently there was a death in the family.

Regarding towing capacity, we bought a 2011 390BH with the 340 HP and smaller transmission in May and have taken it from Tampa to Raleigh to Atlanta and have not had any issues with towing strength. I tow a 2005 Explore Sportrac.

We are a family of 5 so in addition to the bunks the hide-a-bed is used nightly. The convenience of the inflatable/deflatable mattress is wonderful. After our first 4 trips we remain in love with this coach.
That coach has been on the market for a very long time. I'm not sure about why, but I can tell you that as a second owner, there is NO Warranty. That can be huge. I think the price you got from RV Direct (also known as Buffalo RV and RVOne) is for a 2011 on a 2010 chassis. The new chassis are about $15,000 more than the ones on the 2009 chassis. Ours is a 2011 on an '09 chassis. So far we love it and my only regret is that we didn't do this sooner. If you want specific info, feel free to pm me. We are currently on the road and will be home tomorrow.

BTW, we tried to deal with the dealer in Grand Rapids also and we found their reactions to be similar. They were thousands more than Buffalo RV for a 2010 while Buffalo RV gave us a 2011.

I wouldn't call the Berkshire a rich man's toy, but be careful of getting over extended on the RV. The first RV we bought was used and we bought it from a private party. When he went for the close out he had to take what we paid him plus another $14,000 of his own money to get rid of it. He sold it to us for $27,500 and he owed over $42,000 on the rig. RV's are not an investment, but a depreciating asset that can still be fun.

You mentioned a temporary job assignment as a telling factor on your decision. If you would like, I can give you some tax tips on what they may do for you. I'm a CPA and that is part of my practice to help people save taxes.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:04 AM   #10
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RV's are not an investment, but a depreciating asset that can still be fun.
Tax man is right. My parents had a diesel pusher similar in quality and price to the Berkshire. They owned it--and really enjoyed it--for 7 years, but took a BIG bath when they finally got rid of it. Depreciation came to about $2.50 a mile! Dwell on that for a moment. You won't spend that much on fuel...even in Europe!

Someday I will buy a diesel pusher of my own, but after seeing what happened to my parents I will do it with my eyes wide open.

Try this, if you can drive down the highway in your RV and tear up a $100 bill every hour, and still enjoy yourself...you are ready to own a diesel pusher.
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