After months of poring over RVT and RVtrader listings looking at Phaetons we kept seeing this one 2014 model year nearby in Yuma that kept showing up for the last couple months or more. Obviously it was having trouble selling (it’s summer right? Peak season for buying an RV!), and to be frank, we were not giving it serious consideration either since it wasn’t perfectly equipped the way we wanted. Initially we were dead set on having the washer/dryer option which this one did not have and the previous owners had swapped out the leather couch for a gaudy cloth double recliner which was really putting me off. Once I got to thinking about it though, a couch can easily be replaced and we could always add the washer/dryer on our own later so all things considered, we shouldn’t let either of those be a showstopper if everything else was good and the price was right. It had 50k miles which is pretty high for a 5 year old motorhome, but I was less concerned about that since that is nothing for a diesel and if anything means the owners probably have had enough time to work out ALL the kinks and horror stories you hear about when people buy RVs new. So one day, I just told Jeri we should at least see a Tiffin Phaeton in person to see if it was everything we thought it was on paper, and she agreed. We contacted the seller and said we were interested but at about 20% less than what they had it listed for. The seller turned out to be Andy at RV World of Yuma (selling on consignment I think for the original owners?) and while they said they couldn’t go as low as I had pitched, they came so close with the counteroffer that I figured we should at least see and consider this motorhome. Andy also graciously agreed to drive out halfway to meet us at the Golden Acorn Casino, just past Alpine which is a lot further for them than it is us to drive out (thanks Andy!!).
So anyway the next thing you know, we are actually looking at a Phaeton up close and immediately we can tell the floorplan and quality were exactly what we are looking for, plus this particular one has been very well taken care of despite the high mileage. Jeri was visibly excited too and couldn’t help mentioning at how nice it was in person vs her expectations after seeing only grainy pictures online (we have a smaller gallery of photos we took below). Andy said that their dealership would do a full inspection and correct any issues, similar to taking delivery on a new motorhome which is not something I had expected. Within about 20-30 mins I think we had at least agreed to put down the refundable deposit to lock it in while we made the final decision over the next week. As we walked into the casino to gamble a little pocket money on some slots and have a hot dog, I think we both knew this was probably going to happen barring any bad findings.
The following week we made arrangements with a highly rated RV repair shop in Yuma to independently inspect the motorhome. Andy took it over there and within a few hours, they gave it a clean bill of health except for one slide topper which was slightly torn and frayed. Andy said they would repair it at their own expense no problem, and that they had also done their own inspection and basically come to the same conclusion, plus a teeny tiny scratch on one of the storage lockers. So we decided to pull the trigger.
We made arrangements to come out a week later on, funny enough, Aug 27th which is my birthday. So happy birthday me right?! Yuma is a hundred plus miles from where we live though so we started thinking logistics of how to get out there. Jeri had a great idea! We should take a Greyhound bus from San Diego to Yuma so we didn’t have to deal with driving the motorhome AND one of our cars on the return trip, so that’s what we did. Andy then picked us up at the Greyhound depot and we sealed the deal. I have to say the whole buying experience was pleasantly no hassle and we felt very well taken care of. They did a full walkthrough of the entire motorhome along with all the features and even washed/waxed the entire thing!
Next, since the service paperwork was kind of spotty so rather than risk anything on a motorhome that had 50k miles, we drove the motorhome straight to Phoenix to a highly rated Freightliner service center I had researched earlier that services both trucks and motorhomes. We had them do the M3 service (which I equate to getting that expensive 60k service on a car) on the chassis plus change the oil on the generator which only had 240 hours on it. It’s pretty cool that these truck service centers have a few spots in their parking lot with full hookups so if you show up in the evening or at night, you can just set up shop in their lot and talk to the service manager first thing in the morning and they’ll do what they can to take care of you. It was a fairly pricey service at $2k, but it gave us peace of mind that the motorhome was now in the best possible shape for our upcoming adventures. The tire date codes were showing they were late 2013 originals at five years old, but Tiffin puts some of the best Michelin tires on them that have a seven year warranty so we have a least a couple years before we have to deal with that major expense (knock on wood!). The tires looked nearly new with no visible sidewall cracking so we have our fingers crossed and we ordered a TPMS. During my research phase, I learned RV tires tend to hit an age limit long before they wear out due to mileage (these are basically long haul truck tires like you’d see on a 18 wheel semi truck good for over 100k miles which is so different than what you are used to with a car!).