EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Custom Yacht Interiors

Author Topic: Fleetwood American Dream 1999/2000 opinions  (Read 440 times)

oldryder

  • ---
  • Posts: 11
Fleetwood American Dream 1999/2000 opinions
« on: December 11, 2017, 06:28:23 PM »
Rookie shopping for an RV.  Been looking and it seems the high end units sell for a much smaller fraction of their original price than less expensive ones.  I inspected an American Dream and it was very nice.  About $40k for one with 100,000 miles.  Diesel a big plus for me.  I also note the more expensive units seem to have very good maintenance and more often than not are stored inside when not in use.

So ... some questions:

1.  Mileage ranges from 40k to 110k.  On a diesel I wouldn't consider 100,000 miles a big deal.  Is this an accurate opinion for a typical RV?  I was advised previously that a thorough mechanical inspection would run about $200.  I would do that.  maint records would be a huge plus.

2.  On a 15+ year old RV should I expect issues with slides, A/C, furnace, jacks, generator, reefer, and other ancillary items. (I have no idea of the frequency of failure for such items).  I have been led to expect that repairs and replacements on the higher end units are going to be much more costly.

3.  I'm told tires run roughly $3500.  Correct?

other questions I should be asking?

thanks in advance to anyone taking the time to offere advice.

MArk in MN

RedandSilver

  • ---
  • Posts: 1051
Re: Fleetwood American Dream 1999/2000 opinions
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2017, 09:16:56 AM »
I bought a 2002 last year.

I haven't had any problems with A/C units or Furnace or generator or the fridge etc.
I don't think replacements would cost more than in lower cost units as many are the same or come from the same place.

I did replace a water pump and a hydraulic fan motor - those were the biggest repairs so far.
Overall I'm happy with the unit I got. 

People here say all the time Floorplan Floorplan Floorplan.  There is some truth to that for sure.
If your not happy with the floorplan you won't be happy if it runs great as you live in it much more than you drive it.

I didn't want a TV to sit over the drivers area - so that was something I looked for.  2 slides were the minimum I would accept.
A washer/dryer was preferred as I'm not big on laundry mats.  Hydraulic jacks and slides are a nice feature and I like mine.

A diesel was all that I would look at.  I think in most cases if maintenance is done the motor should outlive the coach.

Tire costs depend on size and brand - so $600 each is in the ballpark.  Usually 7-10 years is common for replacements regardless of looks.

I didn't get records -so I replaced almost all fluids and filters so I now have a baseline.

Batteries are expensive so make sure there not too old, especially the chassis batteries as they don't get charged on shore power
like the house batteries do - especially on older coaches.  Although when parked for awhile I do use a battery tender on mine.

Overall condition is probably the biggest thing to look for.  That and no leaks.
Most 15 year old coaches should have any problems taken care of - however all coaches need maintenance even more then
most stick and brick homes do - as they don't roll down a highway.
On the other hand many 15 yo coaches might be as good or better then some of the new coaches on the market that
are a nightmare for the buyers since day 1.  So in a nutshell I don't think there is anything wrong with an older coach.
Good luck in your searching.
2002 Rexhall Rose Air  Cummins 8.3  350hp

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 61039
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Fleetwood American Dream 1999/2000 opinions
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2017, 10:04:58 AM »
Those were good years for the Dream, but nothing that is 18-20 years old is going to be trouble-free.  Something have probably already been replaced in it, while others may fail soon and still others may carry on for years.  The bags in the air suspension are probably getting tired by now and I wouldn't be surprised if the front suspension and steering needs some attention, e.g. tie rod ends & boots.

The ISC 350 Cummins in those coaches gets good mpg (for a motorhome) and is a reliable engine. Ditto for the Allison 3000. I would not be concerned with 100k miles on either if the were well maintained. If poorly kept, even 50k can be shaky.  In any case, starter, alternators, water pumps, radiators, etc fail even though the base engine is in fine condition. Expect to deal with one or more of those things if they haven't already been replaced.

One of the less desirable features in those years of Dreams is the 3-point leveling jacks. Several manufacturers went with a 3-point system back then, thinking it would solve windshield stress problems that occurred with older 4-point systems. It didn't - it just changed the nature of the problem a bit. With the 3-point system, one must put some weight on the front jack and lift the front a bit before deploying the rear pair. That made it just as dependent on the operator following the correct procedure as did the 4-point systems. By 2004 the major jack makers had perfected 4-point systems that avoided relying on the operator and everybody went back to 4-point.  3-point systems aren't bad, but they give up some stability without achieving any real world benefit. One of those good  engineering ideas that didn't pan out in the real world.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 10:11:10 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Utclmjmpr

  • ---
  • Posts: 3046
Re: Fleetwood American Dream 1999/2000 opinions
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2017, 02:00:26 PM »
 As Gary stated,, manualy put the front jack down 4-6 inches FIRST then the rears as neccesary.. If the front is too high then just raise the rears a little more,,the system works well when understood.>>>Dan
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 03:42:04 PM by Utclmjmpr »
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63
The difference between intelligence & stupidity is: intelligence has it's limits
      Albert Einstein.
President Western GM Coach chapter FMCA

oldryder

  • ---
  • Posts: 11
Re: Fleetwood American Dream 1999/2000 opinions
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2017, 07:48:53 AM »
Everyone; many thanks for advice and comments; particularly the advice on the leveling system since that is almost certainly something I would've done incorrectly.  I understand the likely issues with 18 year old engine ancillary items like starter, alternator, water pump, etc.  I would expect those items to be questionable on any 18 year old engine if not recently replaced.

thx
mark in MN

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 61039
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Fleetwood American Dream 1999/2000 opinions
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2017, 08:55:17 AM »
I brought up the ancillary items because it is popular among RVers to say that mileage is unimportant for diesels and that they are "million mile engines". That only applies to engine rebuilds, e.g. sleeves, pistons, etc.  The ancillary stuff has the same lifetime as on a gas engine.

One of the more likley failures in that vintage of coach is the inverter/converter/charger & auto transfer switch, a combo unit called the Heart Source Manager in this case. It is almost surely near end of life and is no longer available, so has to be replaced with separate inverter/charger and ATS. It's not that big a deal technically, but the cost can run $2500 if you have to pay a shop. I'd ask if the original is still in place.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 09:02:00 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

oldryder

  • ---
  • Posts: 11
Re: Fleetwood American Dream 1999/2000 opinions
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2017, 08:07:57 PM »
Gary; thx for advice.  I'm an electrical engineer so I'm pretty sure I could put something together for far less than $2500 if I can't repair the original part.  I will certainly check if it's ever been replaced and if no, if it is fully functional. 

best regards;
mark in MN

Utclmjmpr

  • ---
  • Posts: 3046
Re: Fleetwood American Dream 1999/2000 opinions
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2017, 09:58:50 PM »
In this case the 100k on the clock would be a good thing,,sitting for long stretches,,not so good. The Dream is a very nice coach and always has been,my American Tradition is 20 years old and still a very nice coach with 116K (80K by me) on it.. I do all the maint. and the records are impeccable because I want my daughter to inherit it.>>>Dan
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63
The difference between intelligence & stupidity is: intelligence has it's limits
      Albert Einstein.
President Western GM Coach chapter FMCA

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 61039
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Fleetwood American Dream 1999/2000 opinions
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2017, 09:31:13 AM »
Quote
I'm an electrical engineer so I'm pretty sure I could put something together for far less than $2500 if I can't repair the original part.

It's not difficult and any reasonably competent handyman can replace the old Source Manager with a new inverter/charger and Auto Transfer Switch. You will probably pay between $800 and $2000 for a name brand inverter/charger (depending on wattage and PSW vs MSW) and another $150 for a good 50A ATS. Off-brand inverter/chargers are available for around $500-$700.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Utclmjmpr

  • ---
  • Posts: 3046
Re: Fleetwood American Dream 1999/2000 opinions
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2017, 01:39:14 PM »
 I replaced my Source Manager 5 years ago with a 3500 Zantrex and stand alone $200.00 ATS,, been great since.>>>Dan
38' American Tradition 38TT/330 turbo Cummins
Jeep liberty 4 down
72 VW Baja 4 down
Cedar City, Utah
USAF vet. 59-63
The difference between intelligence & stupidity is: intelligence has it's limits
      Albert Einstein.
President Western GM Coach chapter FMCA

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 61039
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Fleetwood American Dream 1999/2000 opinions
« Reply #10 on: Today at 11:19:54 AM »
Kevin Mallory, whose Cruising America RV specilaizes in American Coach work, has a Source Manager replacement kit that contains everything you need, same as what he would do in his own shop. He's the go-to guy for American Coach fixes and upgrades - he worked for AC for many a year before going on his own. His last position there was in the Electrical Engineering group, so he really knows that stuff.

https://www.facebook.com/Cruising-America-Rv-Service-Co-190566297646802/
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

 

Hosted by Over The Network