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Author Topic: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)  (Read 489 times)

victorgator

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Hey everyone -- I'm going to check out a 1994 Dutchman Class C Ford E350 7.5L V8 with 107K miles on it today.  It's being offered for $6500

I realize it is older and probably will need some work, especially at this price.  However, I was hoping someone here could help me look for the BIG issues that should make me run away.

Owner says all systems work and no issues with motor or transmission. 

Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: May 17, 2019, 09:30:46 AM by victorgator »

Back2PA

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2019, 11:21:39 AM »
The biggest issue that should make you run away would be any evidence whatsoever of water intrusion. I strongly suggest you pay for a professional RV inspection so you know exactly what's going on
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House Husband

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2019, 02:27:49 PM »
The twin "I" beam front suspension is unique. It's not well known for it's handling qualities. It can be made acceptable. When the front end moves up and down, the camber and toe in changes a considerable amount, thus contributing to a lot of driver input. Installing the stiffest shocks you can buy an setting the toe in to a strong positive will make that ol twin "I" beam acceptable with out creating a harsh ride.
I was in the front end business when the first twin "I" beams came on the market and we made many of our customers happy with what I've suggested here.

Kirk

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2019, 06:24:30 PM »
That is not a bargain price! You need to look it up in NADA and you will find that the average retail price is only $4000!
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victorgator

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2019, 08:28:13 PM »
The twin "I" beam front suspension is unique. It's not well known for it's handling qualities. It can be made acceptable. When the front end moves up and down, the camber and toe in changes a considerable amount, thus contributing to a lot of driver input. Installing the stiffest shocks you can buy an setting the toe in to a strong positive will make that ol twin "I" beam acceptable with out creating a harsh ride.
I was in the front end business when the first twin "I" beams came on the market and we made many of our customers happy with what I've suggested here.

Thanks a bunch!  What type of shop would you suggest I take it to make these changes?

House Husband

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2019, 09:57:42 PM »
Thanks a bunch!  What type of shop would you suggest I take it to make these changes?

Any shop that will take in a class C should be able to change the shocks. One of the better choices would be Rancho . Just ask for the meanest/stiffest shock Rancho makes.
Any one with a little front end knowledge can set the toe in with a tape measure. I like using two straight pins and rolling the vehicle back and forth to take the measurements. Never saw a tape measure get out of calibration. GRIN..... Or if you find a front end shop that can take in a class C, the camber can be check also.  Camber is usually not an issue unless the front springs have collapsed. I'm not sure if the 94 was ball joints or king pings. If ball joints, the caster and camber can be adjusted a little at additional expense. Changing the off set cones is a bear. It's been a long time since I peeked under a E350.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2019, 08:58:16 AM »
Far to much money for a 25 year old "C" with 107k miles!  No more than $5000 if in great condition and probably more like $3500.

As House Husband says, that vintage of E350 is better known as "rugged" rather than quality ride & handling. And any E350 is going to be loaded near its max capability once an RV body is built on it, so don't expect to load a lot of additional stuff into it.

Check tire age as well as condition; 7-10 years of age is the useful life of a tire, regardless of tread wear.  Also check for signs of water intrusion. Class C's are notorious for leaks around the over-cab extension.
Gary
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victorgator

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2019, 09:24:25 PM »
Any shop that will take in a class C should be able to change the shocks. One of the better choices would be Rancho . Just ask for the meanest/stiffest shock Rancho makes.
Any one with a little front end knowledge can set the toe in with a tape measure. I like using two straight pins and rolling the vehicle back and forth to take the measurements. Never saw a tape measure get out of calibration. GRIN..... Or if you find a front end shop that can take in a class C, the camber can be check also.  Camber is usually not an issue unless the front springs have collapsed. I'm not sure if the 94 was ball joints or king pings. If ball joints, the caster and camber can be adjusted a little at additional expense. Changing the off set cones is a bear. It's been a long time since I peeked under a E350.

I found an alignment place that will work on it and swap the shocks, but they said they didn't normally do Rancho -- they use NAPA shocks.  Should I insist on Rancho and try to locate the shocks? Or will the NAPA shocks work?  Thanks for your help with this! 

Rene T

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2019, 09:34:25 PM »
SHOCKWAREHOUSE.COM sells Rancho. I have some on order right now for my truck.
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Old_Crow

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2019, 06:34:24 AM »
I'm not a fan of Rancho shocks, I'm more of a Monroe guy.  There's about a 60-70% chance that the NAPA shocks are re-branded Monroe's.  If you look at the stampings around the base of the shock, you might be able to tell.  Sometimes the sticker on the shock will say one thing and the stamping will say something else.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2019, 08:33:08 AM »
Will NAPA shocks work? Of course.  As Wally Crow says, they are merely some major brand re-labeled for sale by NAPA stores.  Monroe, Bilstein, etc. usually offer multiple quality grades of shock, so you might want to ask the shop what is available through their usual sources.  If you are convinced that Rancho brand is better, by all means ask the shop if they will install if you order them yourself.

Frankly, I think any new shock on a 25 year old van is going to make a substantial difference.
Gary
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House Husband

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2019, 07:26:35 PM »
I only suggested Rancho because they offer one of the stiffest shocks on the market. It take all the stiffness you can buy to control a twin "I" beam. If your mechanic don't understand the idiosyncrasies of the twin "I" beam, he is sure to sell you the wrong shock. And NO, that stiff shock will not offer you a harsh ride. All the references to "quality" has nothing to do with the stuffiness you need.
When I was wrenching back in the 60 & 70 we used Gabriel adjustable Es on the twin "I" beams. But that shock is no longer offered. Maybe, just maybe the Gabrial GasSLX shock would do the job. But I have not experienced them. http://gabriel.com/heavy-duty/products/gasslx/
When I purchase my old 1990 F150 twin "I" beam, I went to the various parts houses and ask to see the stiffest shocks they had. Nothing I found could compete with the Ranchos.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 07:28:59 PM by House Husband »

Utclmjmpr

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2019, 10:17:22 PM »

 You can order Rancho's right from Rancho in California. The internet is your friend.>>>Dan
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victorgator

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2019, 03:50:37 PM »
I only suggested Rancho because they offer one of the stiffest shocks on the market. It take all the stiffness you can buy to control a twin "I" beam. If your mechanic don't understand the idiosyncrasies of the twin "I" beam, he is sure to sell you the wrong shock. And NO, that stiff shock will not offer you a harsh ride. All the references to "quality" has nothing to do with the stuffiness you need.
When I was wrenching back in the 60 & 70 we used Gabriel adjustable Es on the twin "I" beams. But that shock is no longer offered. Maybe, just maybe the Gabrial GasSLX shock would do the job. But I have not experienced them. http://gabriel.com/heavy-duty/products/gasslx/
When I purchase my old 1990 F150 twin "I" beam, I went to the various parts houses and ask to see the stiffest shocks they had. Nothing I found could compete with the Ranchos.

Thanks again! Hmm. Which Rancho shock would you be recommend that I ask if he could install?  Maybe I should just bring them to him.

TheBar

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Re: Help! Going to look at 1994 Dutchman Class C (Ford E350 7.5L V8)
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2019, 08:05:54 PM »
Here are the big things I look for:

1. Think of water damage as terminal cancer. The cancer has likely spread far beyond the outward symptoms. Walk the entire roof and floors. If it has any soft spots in the roof, floors, softness or water stains in the overhead cab area, or if the wallpaper is separating from the wall. Look for delamination in the side walls and around the overhead cab area. If the bottom of the overhead cab is sagging it is most likely water damage. I'd say even if you smell mold or mildew, then walk away. That means water damage somewhere. When buying used its hard to find anything that doesn't smell moldy. I typically look for several months before finding a good one.

2. The Ford 460/7.5 is not exactly a legendary engine. Be aware it has the old OBD1 computer which is primitive and finicky. Lots of shops don't even have scanners and may refuse to work on it. Ford OBD1 scanners are not expensive so keep one in the RV. Look for smoke when you first start it. Blue means oil burning and white means water. A little oil burning is not a show stopper unless you plan on driving a lot of miles. But if you see white smoke in the summer time heat the head could be cracked or the head gasket is leaking. These repairs are very difficult and expensive because the 460 engine has no room to work on it. Look under the hood and underneath for leaks both before and after a test drive. If the engine and transmission are questionable walk away. There are plenty out there with good drivetrains and less mileage.

3. If the appliances don't work but if you don't need them who cares. Checking the toilet, water, and waste tanks may be difficult without hookups but if they have any visible cracks that may mean replacement.

4. Many "replacement" items will need to be considered in the price. Roof coating and caulking should be done right away unless it was done recently. Fluid changes need done, and the brakes and tires need to be evaluated. Tire age is just as or more important than appearance. Don't put off replacing the tires maybe before driving it home.

Keep in mind the blue book value but if you find a jewel it might be worth a little more. Mine was kept inside all its life and was like brand new inside and out. So I happily paid full book value.
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