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Author Topic: Need help choosing a rig?  (Read 4607 times)

Al B. Bach

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Need help choosing a rig?
« on: March 14, 2009, 04:18:11 AM »
I am new to fulltime camping and this is my first post here. I wanted to get some pointers about what I should look for in a good motor home? I am currently looking at three very different rigs.

The first one is a 1987 31' Southwind. It is a gas Chevy 454 that a local rv dealer has. The plus side to it is that it will be completely gone through by the dealer to make sure everything is ready for the road. They are asking $8000 for it which seems to be a pretty good deal around here.

The second one is a little farther away and I am going to look at it later today. It is a 1981 33' Foretravel diesel pusher. I have heard the diesels are more reliable and get a little better millage but I don't know if this is true or not. Please straighten me out. The biggest problem I can see with it is that it has been on their lot for a while now and they are not going through it to make sure everything is okay. It is also $8000 which seems like a real bargin for a diesel.

The third one is my personal favorite but I'm afraid it is also the most impractical. It is a 1975 Beachcraft. 26' with alot of work having already been done to the interior to modernize it. It is a 440 Dodge. The problems for it are, it needs batteries, tires, and the generator won't stay running. They think the problem with the generator is the fuel pump but they are not sure. I really love the look of the old RVs and at an asking price of $1750 obo it's certainly the cheapest option I have looked at. Unfortunately, with it's age, I'm just not sure it would be smart to try and live out of it. It is also the farthest away at around 250 miles so I have not seen it in person yet.


I really need to decide at least what I should look for because I am currently living out of a Dodge class b van. I will have around $8000 that I can comfortably spend on a home and still have some left over for accessories. I am doing this because I just got laid of after 12 years from Cessna Aircraft and lost my home as well. I am getting a pretty good severance check and am going to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a traveling writer. Please don't judge my writing from this post because it's 4:00 am here and I'm getting tired. I should also mention that I am single and it will be only me and my dogs. My brother will be joining me but he will have his own camper.

I hope you guys can give me some great advice about what I should look for.

Thanks,
Carl

Mr Bojangles

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Re: Need help choosing a rig?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2009, 05:56:07 AM »
Hey Carl:
Wow....! Do not know where to begin.....
Of Course, to offer words of consolation are correct. And that I do with some feelings. By that I mean..., I'm talking about your job loss after 12 year investment. I hope you can get job back when economy picks up....., and you should plan on that happening.
Wherever you travel to, or RV you move into, think long term. Do not throw away that 12 year investment.

Regarding your selections and choices in next RV vehicle, I will not be able to help you too much, I'm sorry to say.....
I mean, for you this is an upward move and I'm sure it's exciting to you....
Vehicles of that vintage may not have a lot of safe miles on them, and the odds are that monies to get them safe & reliable, may exceed the initial cost of vehicle. And....., may not be achievable. That is a strong possibility! Keep that in mind and ensure your choice will provide the home you and your dogs deserve in future. Think stationary or local living if your in warm climate, and if not move towards warmth.... but, do not waste rubber or equipment wear, spend time preparing for return trip to JOB!
Good Luck, and I hope others can give you some "words" to move you on correct path.
Mr. Bojangles
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 06:02:53 AM by Mr Bojangles »
SAFBVET    Jim O
28 trips out.... 88,000 Miles -S  to Key West, SW to Gulf...w to Texas, NW Oregon, across Canada.

rjf7g

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Re: Need help choosing a rig?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2009, 08:47:14 AM »
Carl-
Welcome to the forum.  Will the dealer give you any sort of "warranty" period?  Even if all of the appliances are demonstrated to be working, check everything over good looking for signs of water damage and other issues.  Also, check the tires out - not just the tread but the manufacture date.  And, make sure it gets a fresh state inspection.
2017 Aqua Patio SB235 with Yamaha 200HP
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seilerbird

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Re: Need help choosing a rig?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2009, 09:12:24 AM »
I would go for the DP. Diesel engines last up to 500,000 miles, gassers last maybe 100,000. I would bet you would need to replace the gas engine in the next few years. I would avoid the fixer-upper. I would much rather be enjoying my rv than working on it. Good luck, welcome to the forum and let us know what you decide.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Need help choosing a rig?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2009, 09:13:29 AM »
I think the Southwind will be the easiest and most economical to repair, and you can be sure continual repairs will be needed on any vintage rig (and most newer ones too!).  But $8000 sounds high to me for an 87 Southwind. The NADA RV Guide shows two 31 foot models for 1987 and the most expensive one would sell for $3500-$4000.  Nor would I place a lot of faith in the "completely gone through" aspect - that usually means they turn the major things on to see if they work rather than a thorough check of the health of each and every component. And it rarely means they checked anything on the chassis - perhaps an oil change at best.

The Foretravel is likely a fine old beast but with limited funds I think you would be at great risk. While diesels are strong engines that are good for many hundreds of thousands of miles, they are also very expensive to maintain and repair. Diesel shops think nothing of $2500-$4000 repair bills. Even an oil change will likely cost you $250-$300.

The Beachcraft would be a fine project if you have access to a workshop and you are getting it cheap enough to be able to afford tires and such. Generator problems can get expensive, though.

For any used coach, check the DOT date stamped in the sidewall. Any tire approaching 7 years of age is at or near the end of its useful life, regardless of tread or apparent condition. Figure the cost of a new set of tires into your purchase decision.

You didn't mention the mileage on any of these. It is a factor for the gas models, but probably not for the diesel.

We have checklists in the Library for prospective RV buyers - you should familiarize yourself with them.

NADA RV Price Guide: http://www.nadaguides.com/

I think you would be better off with a truck or van and a trailer. You would still have a "home" to live in if the tow vehicle broke down and the vehicle will be easier to work on yourself.

Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Al B. Bach

  • Posts: 4
Re: Need help choosing a rig?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2009, 11:32:54 AM »
Thanks for the help so far. I am also considering a class c but would rather have more room available with a class a.

As for miles the 87 gas has around 70,000.
The 81 diesel has 112,000.
The 75 has 77,000.

I understand that I may have issues with any older rv but I can't afford a newer one. The prices may seem a bit high but I have noticed that all RVs seem to be a bit more expensive around Kansas. I might be interested in traveling for it. I am heading towards Arizona and I know I can get them cheaper there but I had planned on keeping a Kansas address. I figured it would be easier to get it here.

Also the dealer that is selling the Southwind is a very good dealer that has been around for a long time. They say their  inspection will be flushing the tanks, pressure checking to look for leaks in both water as well as gas lines, making sure all appliances are working, replacing any window seals if needed, and resealing the roof. They will also check the mechanical condition ie. brakes, bushings etc.

Later,
Carl

Al B. Bach

  • Posts: 4
Re: Need help choosing a rig?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2009, 11:11:22 PM »
Sorry about the late response if anyone cares. I went and checked out the DP. It was pretty nice but had some water damage. It had been leaking around the front vent but the dealer resealed it. It also showed signs of leakage all around the bus and the floor in the bedroom was very weak. It may have still been a good deal for a DP but it would need some work.

I have looked at several others and found a few that I really liked but I have settled on a 1982 Vogue. It is 33' gas and has a lot of the option s I was planning on adding myself already in it. It has a rebuilt engine, satellite antenna, washer and dryer and back up cameras. At $6000 I think it will be a good buy. I know NADA shows it a lot lower but it also shows all motor homes lower than what they are selling for.

I will still have a few questions over the coming weeks and months.

Later,
Carl

Mr Bojangles

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Re: Need help choosing a rig?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2009, 04:03:58 AM »
Sounds like it has some nice features.  Good Luck Carl with your unit......  Keep us posted using this thread.
Mr. Bojangles
SAFBVET    Jim O
28 trips out.... 88,000 Miles -S  to Key West, SW to Gulf...w to Texas, NW Oregon, across Canada.

S J Strait

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  • 2004 ford f250 deisel 27' 2007 freedom spirit
Re: Need help choosing a rig?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2009, 04:25:10 AM »
Hey congats on the new to you Rv. The bugs will work them selves out just go and enjoy it.
Steve,Lisa and the rest of the Strait gang.
The Adirondacks park is our back yard.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Need help choosing a rig?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2009, 08:41:15 AM »
Vogue built a very nice coach, so if it is as solid as it sounds you should be in good shape. Good luck!!!
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

 

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