Browsing "Buying Miranda"
Feb 12, 2011 -

Another Mystery Solved

Two and a half years of living in this rig just about had me convinced that it’s enchanted: why else would it feel so much more spacious than other comparable rigs?

The answer came to me tonight. Standard RVs are 96″, 8′, wide. Miranda’s interior is exactly 96″ wide. Add two inches of insulation and you get an exterior width of 100″ (which I confirmed with a tape measure).

An extra 4″ of floorspace width might not sound like a big deal, but it definitely is!

Another thing I learned is that some jurisdictions limit vehicle width to 8′, meaning that at 8.3′ Miranda is technically not legal to drive in some locations!

I wonder what’s the next secret I’m going to uncover? Perhaps Miranda has a warp drive and shielding capacity to take her into space! 😀

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Buying Miranda, Funny, Personal, Technical    2 Comments
Jan 23, 2011 -

A Case For Upgrades Instead of a Replacement

Now that the interior renos are just about done, I’m starting to set up a budget for the big ticket items I want to do, starting with a massive electrical upgrade. I’ve been asked if that’s wise; perhaps I should start setting money aside for a replacement rig. Why? Miranda is nearly perfect for me and would be even better with some major improvements that would still make her more cost effective than buying and breaking in a new rig. Yes, I do think about that, but it’s so far off in the future as to be off the radar. I might have been sounding malcontent in the last few months, but that was just renovation fatigue!

When you start to add up the cost of the upgrades, you have to start wondering if it might not be better to just start new. I look at it this way: what would my ‘dream’ rig cost today; that is a rig that is as perfect for me as Miranda is in size, layout, and carrying capacity, but not considering upgrades?  To do that I have to have an estimate for how much Miranda is worth today. This way, I can figure out how much she’ll cost me for the price I paid for her plus the upgrades versus what it’d cost me to get a basic brand new rig like her today, before upgrades.

I used the NADA guide to get an MSRP of a whopping 60,000USD for a 1997 tricked out Glendale Royal Classic. That’s 1997 American dollars. We can easily convert that to 90,000CAD. I used the inflation calculator to get a 2009 value of $112,000. That seems reasonable to me since one of the comparable rigs on the market today, the Lazy Daze, starts at 93,000USD for the 31’er.

So, to get a rig comparable to Miranda, I’d have to spend about $112,000 today, and that’s for a class C. Double that for a class A!

With interest, Miranda as purchased will end up costing me at most $40,000, but most likely less since I’ll start doubling my payments on her in two years to get out of the loan three years early.

I want to do several big ticket things to her. At this time, they are all unrealistic, but they are on my radar. These prices are estimated based on general research, but are reasonable:

1) electrical upgrade to 50A; new converter; whole-house inverter; doubled battery bank; solar panels: $6,000.

2) fiberglassed seams and new paint job: $10,000

3) new windows (double paned and tinted): $10,000

4) Let’s say I get a worst-case scenario and my engine or transmission (or both) go: $15,000

Total: $41,000

Total cost of rig, less regular upkeep and maintenance: $81,000 spread out over the ten or more years I hope to own this rig.

Or I could go spend $112,000 (plus taxes) and then do the $41,000 in upgrades. What makes more sense?

I’m off to research the feasibility of enclosing class C underbellies. Oh, and to start planning the cab makeover! Donna said I’d have no idea what to do with myself once the renos are over. Ha! 😀

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Buying Miranda, Finances, Maintenance & Repair, Technical    7 Comments
Dec 3, 2010 -

Maintain or Replace the RV?

On Fridays, I write about financial issues that affect Canadian Full-Time Rvers.

Having an RV is like owning a house: things break and wear down.  Even the best RV comes to an age when things start to fail one after the other. It can become tempting to over-exaggerate these routine costs and use them to justify purchasing a new rig.

Even if over the course of a year the water heater needs a new circuit board, the furnace motor burns out, the converter stops working, and the fridge quits, the total cost of replacement parts will be much less than the cost of a new rig.

Structural issues, such as rotted out floors or walls, might also be more cost effective to repair, depending on the spread of the damage and whether there is any mould present.

When crunching the numbers, look at the cost of replacing the current rig with a comparable new one. Keep in mind that new RVs are not without trouble and that newness does not guarantee a rig won’t be a lemon. Then, calculate the cost of routine repairs, some upgrades, and a couple of emergencies over ten years. Chances are keeping the old, well broken-in, RV will be more cost-effective.

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Announcements, Blog, Buying Miranda, Finances, Maintenance & Repair, Technical    1 Comment