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Author Topic: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time  (Read 1178 times)

Jan C Wright

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Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« on: October 11, 2017, 12:36:53 PM »
HI

While reading through these posts, I notice a lot of people who are RVing started when they were younger and have been doing it for years.

My wife and I will be getting into this for the for the first time when we retire - in our mid-60's.  Granted, we had a pop-up trailer for years when our kids were growing up, but now we'll be getting a 30 foot travel trailer and a larger pickup tow vehicle - both of which will be new to us.

My question is - how many of you got into RVing for the first time when you hit retirement age?  After making the transition, did you wish you had done anything differently?  Did you do a LOT of homework before jumping in (we are), or did you just jump?  Any other lessons learned for the late bloomers?

FunSteak

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2017, 12:49:48 PM »
We are each 49 this year, and just purchased our first MH.  We've been researching for a few years now, and originally intended to wait until a few years closer to retirement.  Then we figured we may as well enjoy it now, and perhaps look to upgrade in the future.  We're very happy we made the decision to go for it now.

I don't recommend just jumping in without at least some research.  Also, get in as many units as you can - we learned a LOT about what we did and didn't want by doing that.
JP & Karen
2017 Minnie Winnie 26a

Oldgator73

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2017, 12:58:09 PM »
We were in our late 40's when started fulltiming in a 37' 5th wheel up until then we had tent camped. We jumped in a bit blind but it worked out okay. After I retired from the AF (we were already living in the RV for a year by then) I went to work foe a gas pipeline inspection company for 6 months. Then we moved to Gainesville, Fl where I attended UF. All that time we lived in the RV. Took a couple trips from East Coast to West Cost. Very enjoyable. Now, after doing 12 years with the DoD and retired again we have purchased a small TT to camp on the weekends and sometimes 3-4 days during the week. I am now 66 and the wife is 65.

RedandSilver

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2017, 01:52:13 PM »
I'm retired and bought my first ever MH almost exactly one year ago.

I did a fair amount of research and therefore made some decisions early on which helped funnel my searches.
For example I knew I wanted to go South during the Winters and knew I would be towing a trailer and knew there were mountains
between me and the South - So a Diesel was the only engine I would accept - that saved me from looking at any gas units.  I'm not against
gas units at all - they just didn't fit my needs.  Then another thing that I was looking for was to NOT have the main TV up over the drivers seat,
which is were it seems 90% of them reside.  A side radiator was something that I also thought would be of a benefit too.  There were other
things too but that set me on my way in looking for a coach that fit those requirements.

I knew I couldn't afford a new unit so those where out too.  Dealers defiantly need to make a profit and have a lot of expenses to cover so
in almost every case a dealer will be more then a private party purchase. 

One other major thing I learned before making a purchase was that many many people bought a unit that was too small either because
they didn't think they would need anything bigger or were afraid to drive anything bigger and then later discovered that they DID need
something bigger and therefore ended up upgrading (sometimes multiple times) to get a better unit.  That was something I wanted
to avoid so I only looked at larger units.

Once I bought a MH that is when I JUMPED into RV'ing as I then had to learn about the systems on it which I knew almost nothing at all about.
But thanks to people on this forum I learn little by little and now have a good understand of how my coach works.  I'm also glad that I didn't
buy anything to small as I don't believe that I will have to upgrade for a long time (if ever) because I started out with a good size unit.  :)


You wanted to know if there were any other lessons we could give you.
Some things will depend on how you plan to use a TT.  Are you going to just do weekend trips OR are you planning to full-time in it?
Even though a 3-4 month stay might not technically be considered full time - I think it's about as close to that as you can get.  My point is -
How did you arrive at the 30ft number of a TT to buy?  That does seem small for more more than weekend trips - IMO.
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Larry N.

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2017, 02:02:17 PM »
Quote
how many of you got into RVing for the first time when you hit retirement age?

We almost meet that. We had a class C for a couple of years in the early '70s, but we were mid 60s (retired for several years) when we bought a Trailmanor travel trailer. We learned a lot, traveling mostly around Colorado (with one trip to Palo Duro Canyon and one to Branson), and then, after about 4 years, bought a gasser motorhome (Bounder) and started venturing further afield than mostly just around Colorado, including two weeks with the forum folks to the Texas Hill Country, our first Quartzsite, etc. That's when we discovered that the better handling (especially in strong crosswinds), better ride and additional amenities of a Diesel were very desirable, so we've been diesel now for several years.
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Roy M

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2017, 02:09:23 PM »
 ;D We jumped in with both feet in our 60's and never regretted it. Sure, there were some tests and tense moments but it opened up a world we would have never seen from the freeways and Super 8's. We also met many great people, something that seldom happens in a motel lobby.

Jan C Wright

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2017, 02:23:26 PM »
Hi - I'll throw a few more bits of information that were asked for.

- how did we arrive at the 30 foot requirement?  When looking at many trailers, the floor plan we liked best (rear living with a big back window and a couple of nice chairs) - these all seemed to be in the 30 foot range so that was the determiner.

- what are our camping intentions?  We've lived through a lifetime of Minnesota winters and have no problem with missing out on the Minnesota months of January and February so we'd like to go south for those two months.  During the warmer months we'd likely camp in the upper midwest for long weekends or a full week here or there.

As far as tow vehicles, it looks like that for the weight we'd pull, we'd be looking at a Ford F250 or something similar.  I'm dealing with sticker shock since I've never bought a pickup before, so I'm virtually certain I won't be able to afford more than a good used tow vehicle.  If you have anything to share along the lines of experience with good used tow vehicles, please pass those along also.

Please pass along any other questions as you think of them.

dcbinvt

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2017, 05:16:44 PM »
I was 30 when my wife and 4 kids (6 thru 11) went x-cnty and camping/traveling in a VW Camper... trade-up from a tent then a pop-up. Can you call that a motor-home??? The kids grew to be teenagers and no longer wanted to camp with Dad and Mom - so another VW Camper. DW died so went back to tenting/backpacking.  Bought my 1st. real motor-home when 46 - traveled all over- just me and the dog. Now in a new class B - me and the dog and oh yes a ferret. So I'm just repeating history....

dcb in VT

NCSU Dad

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2017, 06:33:06 PM »
We are both 62 today (wife's birthday is today). I retired Dec. 2016 and she is ready to retire. This will be our first RV.

Boonieman

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2017, 06:53:23 PM »
Iím 62 now, and when we first got our camper I did no research and didnít know diddly. The folks we bought the trailer from (fifth wheel toy hauler) were very nice and explained how stuff worked, but It was a little overwhelming information-wise, and honestly I didnít know the right questions to ask. So in retrospect, the more research you can do by reading these forums etc, the more comfortable you will be when you start shopping. When looking at tow vehicles, donít do what I did. When she first brought it up, I had a 2012 Chevy 2500 gas 2500. I had three diesel trucks prior to that, 2 Dodges and 1 Ford. After seeing the size of trailer she wanted (35 ft, 13500# dry weight) I knew the Chevy gasser wasnít going to cut it. So I bought a beautiful 2015 F-350 crew cab short bed with the 6.7 Powerstroke. I really loved that truck. It pulled the camper great, but I just wasnít comfortable with the single rear wheels with all that weight, although plenty of people do it. So I traded it for a 2016 Chevy 3500 dually with the Duramax, overall has been my favorite truck Iíve owned. Not pushing brands though, I like all of the Big 3 trucks. Anyway, I took a big hit money-wise for sure, so make sure you get plenty of truck the first time, even maybe a tad more than you think you need. Then you can find a camper that suits your needs and personal preferences from a much larger selection without having to restrict your choices because of your tow vehicle. I just say this from my personal experiences. Good luck and happy camping!!
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Sun2Retire

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2017, 07:13:40 PM »
I was 24 when I got my first RV, but I was also way dumber then than you are now. Just keep asking lots of questions and look at it not as a task but an adventure and youíll be fine. Welcome to the forum.
Scott
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ConductorX

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2017, 08:03:49 PM »
I am 61 and just bought my first MH.  I have always liked camping out and travel.  I could never afford a MH.   I did trailer a 26' sailboat for several years and did many nights of "camping" aboard.

My wife is 65 and we plan to travel when I finally get to retire.

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steveblonde

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2017, 08:43:21 PM »
I was 16 when i bought my first tent trailer i tiny
Ittle pop up but it kept us dry when were dirtbiking, no fridge or stove nothing just a tent on wheels lol
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SargeW

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2017, 09:45:24 PM »
Even though I am in the group that started way before retirement, the one comment I heard at the beginning of our RVing experience, and still here to this day when talking to folks that are starting to RV later in life is " I WISH WE HAD NOT HAVE WAITED SO LONG TO START DOING THIS!". 

A pretty common sentiment.  But that's OK. Whenever you start, just get out there and RV!
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8Muddypaws

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2017, 09:48:45 PM »
After tent camping and sleeping in a truck with a camper shell for several years we bought our first trailer at about 30.  I think it was a 19 foot Wilderness..
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Roy M

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2017, 11:23:56 PM »
That is fine for a while but there comes a point we want a few comforts. ;D

Isaac-1

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2017, 12:02:03 AM »
I acquired a hand me down when I was about 20 years ago when I was just under 30 years old, it was on an Ford E150, and was under powered, and did not handle well, but was still much better than tent camping.  I kept it for a couple of years, then upgraded to another camper van, this one on a GMC 2500 van chassis.  It handled much better than the Ford and was better built too, I ended up selling it about 10-12 years ago, it had developed mechanical problems, and at the time I was working too many hours to get much use out of it anyway.  I then toyed with the idea of getting a travel trailer of some type as by then I had a F250 pickup, but never did due to a variety of reasons, some health / injury issues, etc..  I am now semi-retired and in my late 40's so last year I decided it was time to get a motorhome, partly to make travel easier for my wife, she has some medical issues where she needs to avoid over exertion and getting overheated, and traveling by motorhome may help with that.  Ideally something more camper van like may have worked better, but we ended up with a small Class A instead.  In my first year of ownership I have spent about 50 nights in it, and traveled around 7,000 miles.
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Pugapooh

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2017, 02:47:49 AM »
We just got started last year,at ages 52 and 60.  I've been fascinated with RVs since I was 10 years old.  We used to tent camp when I was little.  I think the idea of being able to take comforts of home along intrigued me.
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FunSteak

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2017, 12:25:56 PM »
Even though I am in the group that started way before retirement, the one comment I heard at the beginning of our RVing experience, and still here to this day when talking to folks that are starting to RV later in life is " I WISH WE HAD NOT HAVE WAITED SO LONG TO START DOING THIS!". 

A pretty common sentiment.  But that's OK. Whenever you start, just get out there and RV!

Well said.  We heard that a number of times as well, and were really starting to lean toward starting now.  I think what pushed us over the edge was the untimely loss of a few family members and friends.  We said to each other "We could be gone tomorrow - what's the point of waiting??"
JP & Karen
2017 Minnie Winnie 26a

1PlasticMan1

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2017, 12:55:48 PM »
Got you all beat!  Wife and I bought our first RV three years ago when we were only 75.  Reason - Didn't want to sit around the house for the rest of our lives, wanted to see more of the country, but wanted to take our dog (100 pounds of love) with us, and most motels/hotels that allow pets this size are not worth staying in.  Except for some of the mechanical problems we've incurred and still are, haven't regretted it a bit!  Thank goodness I know how to use what's in the tool box!
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JudyJB

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2017, 01:33:01 AM »
Bought and drove my first motorhome at the age of 69.  Been on the road full-time now for over five years and 106,000 miles and love it.  And I know ladies older than me who still drive motorhomes or pull trailers, so you are really not too old as long as you are in reasonably good health.  Check out the earlier posting from someone worried about starting too late.
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fman

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2017, 09:09:37 AM »
I'm 47, wife 37, boy 3.5 and soon to be girl add on girl in a few months. We bought ours last year and have been out about 5 times. I will be fully retired in 3 years. From everything I have learned over the last year I'm glad I bought it now. Our intent is to travel with the kids a lot over their summer vacations from school. It's still a learning process, heck I back it up yesterday and forgot to unplug it from the house. No damage, just pulled the cord from the outlet. But it reminded me that I still have to get in the habit of checking things before I roll it out. I have warning straps for my steering wheel that I bought and only seem to use when camping. They were a must have after I broke my 2nd tv antenna. Things I never thought about when before buying. I wanted a class A. Never thought about a tow car. But it's something I'm seriously thinking about now as we are often stuck at the camp site and never get to see the sights outside of it. Towing a 5th wheel in some states do not allow for people inside. Was a major concern for us as the wife wanted the "experience" right out of the driveway. The next one I buy will have certain things in regards to appliances that I want. IE: I want an electric water heater. Our current one only runs on propane and heats up during the drive. But I like the option of not having to use propane in the winter months. If I'm at a campground, I'm already paying for electric and would prefer not to use my propane for something I'm already paying for. You also mentioned purchasing a truck to pull the 5th wheel. You might need a heafty one. They can be costly. Might be a better option to get a class A and tow a smaller car/suv. I have seen some pretty scary accident videos with 5th wheels and people not knowing how to tow correctly. Since you don't know much about trucks I figure you probably don't know much about towing a 5th wheel either. That's a whole other animal. I'm not 100% sure but I think towing a small car behind a class A would be easier then towing a 5th wheel. Again not sure on that.

Layout is a big deal. If you're going to be spending a lot of time in the RV layout will come into play big time. I have been seeing a lot of RV's now with TV's in the kitchen area and can't help but look at the seating. Much of what I have seen looks like the viewing would not be that great. Also large slide outs. They look great when they are open. But I have seen some that have 2 couches facing each other. When you close the slide outs there is very little room to walk between them (class A models). Another thing my wife and I don't like is the dinette seating. We prefer the booth style. It's a personal preference. We just don't like the individual chairs but we can see the benefits of being able to move the chair to adjust your seating to the table. Look long and hard at the layout, envision people in the RV and how they might be moving around, where they might be spending most of their time and how the layout is going to be affected. Sorry for the long post. Hope you can get some advice from it.

xrated

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2017, 05:44:04 PM »
We bought our first ever camping type trailer, a Toy Hauler, last October.  I was 62 and my DW was 64. 
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Tom

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2017, 06:28:38 PM »
Interesting responses. We bought our first motorhome in our late 30's. We'd towed a boat to local waterways with a Ford Bronco 3 or 4 weekends a month, and slept aboard the cuddy cabin. After several years of this, we decided we should buy a van conversion so we could sleep in a campground. We kept looking at nicer and nicer vans, then realized we could buy a motorhome for what some of the high-end vans cost. That started a new perspective on "camping" and boating.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2017, 06:42:50 PM »
I don't remember. I bought a class B van sometime in the 70s so I was in my twenties. I have driven a lot of RVs since then.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 07:06:24 PM by SeilerBird »
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Tom

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2017, 06:48:02 PM »
Quote from: SeilerBird
Been driving RVs ever since.

Do you still 'drive' your RV? Seems like you've been in a 'fixed' location for several years, and only 'moved' across the street  ???
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SeilerBird

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2017, 07:00:22 PM »
Do you still 'drive' your RV? Seems like you've been in a 'fixed' location for several years, and only 'moved' across the street  ???
I drive it in my mind. 8)
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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2017, 07:30:53 PM »
 ;D
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2017, 07:39:38 PM »
I got my first RV, a VW Westfalia camper when I was 20, then got my first self-contained RV when I was 28.  It was a green and white 1970 Xplorer Class  B on a Ford Econoline van.  First class luxury with a raised roof for stand up headroom, a permanent queen size bed across the back and a real toilet and shower.  Used it for several years until it's rust cancer became unmanageable (it was a Florida camper that spent too much time on the beach before it came to California).

On one trip through the southwest deserts in the Xplorer, I stopped in a rest area and started fixing dinner.  Several people came up and asked if I was OK, which I was.  The mystery was solved when I went into the men's room and saw a sign on the mirror, NEED HELP - OUT OF MONEY, OUT OF GAS.  GREEN AND WHITE FORD VAN. 

I passed the guy on the other side of the parking lot as I drove out.  His van looked better than mine.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 07:56:38 PM by Lou Schneider »

Drifterrider

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2017, 08:22:14 PM »
I will be 55 when I buy my first R/V and 56 when I retire (In only 15 months).

I started doing my research this past January.  Research is the cheapest part.  Started out thinking a 30" C pulling a utility trailer.  Now, I think a TT toy hauler will be the best fit.

I might change again.  Change before I spend money is easier than afterwards.

HueyPilotVN

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #30 on: October 21, 2017, 08:51:42 PM »
My first RV was a Conversion Van in my early 20,s after coming back home from VN.  I then bought a TT and painted it to match.  Back then Vans with shag carpeting, captains chairs, padded vinyl walls, and a folding bed were the thing to have.  It had a really nice custom paint job with murals. 

I have always had some kind of RV ever since then for the last 40+ years.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 08:55:18 PM by HueyPilotVN »
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Ernie n Tara

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #31 on: October 22, 2017, 07:52:05 AM »
I had a '35 Ford wagon, no rear seat and a mattress when I was fifteen. Does that count? :o

Ernie

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WILDEBILL308

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Re: Age when buying an RV for the 1st time
« Reply #32 on: October 22, 2017, 02:47:41 PM »
I can understand your feeling of sticker shock when looking at new trucks. Now add the cost of the trailer. For that kind of money you can be driving a diesel pusher. Not new but a much more comftorble ride. Look at ppl.com and do some shopping.
I had a 1960 VW buss with a bead in the back.  8)
Bill
« Last Edit: October 22, 2017, 02:49:26 PM by WILDEBILL308 »
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