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Author Topic: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A  (Read 26561 times)

johnd393

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #30 on: December 28, 2014, 08:05:02 PM »
Deano2002   Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope you get enough use out of the MH to enjoy the results of the work you've put into it.

There is a 91 Lesharo for $2000 that wont start. 'Sposed to be an electrical problem. I emailed for more info.
I know Lesharo's have a bad rep, but I've seen them on the road so some of them run.
I've always been curious about them. It would be more for local use. I don't see serious traveling in something that small. I can't even stand up straight in one except in the entry foot well. I downloaded a service manual for some fun reading.

driftless shifter

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #31 on: December 28, 2014, 10:22:53 PM »
It's a Renault driveline. Good luck finding even the simplest parts for it.
Bill & Nan
(o\_!_/o)
93 bounder 34, chevy chassis
couple of aircooled vw's, 1 fast(sold), 1 reliable(sold).  Dubless : (
USN '76-'80, 1 boat, USS Blandy, DD 943.
I'm an analog guy in a digital age.

johnd393

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #32 on: December 29, 2014, 12:17:47 AM »
It's a Renault driveline. Good luck finding even the simplest parts for it.
I knew that. There are parts sources and support sites online. It's unlikely the Lesharo will be nice enough that I will want to fool with it.
For oddball MH's I found this 1992 SONOMA Isuzu NK 400 Motor Home on CL. I search the entire US I found one other old ad. I think it was made by Cobra. There seems to be absolutely no info online.
http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/rvs/4799621203.html

Deano2002

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #33 on: December 29, 2014, 04:42:18 PM »
I knew that. There are parts sources and support sites online. It's unlikely the Lesharo will be nice enough that I will want to fool with it.
For oddball MH's I found this 1992 SONOMA Isuzu NK 400 Motor Home on CL. I search the entire US I found one other old ad. I think it was made by Cobra. There seems to be absolutely no info online.
http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/rvs/4799621203.html
I would not by a 2000.00 unit, I think when they are that low in price the seller is just trying to dump it. Now if he wants to give it away, then a person could take weeks to look it over to see if they want to tear into it. If not maybe someone else would or off to the salvage it goes. Anything I have seen for the price is a basket of rusted metal and rotten ceiling and walls. The 8K one might be more realistically worth 5K, that engine might be the same as is in a truck at work an it is worthless going up even the slightest hill with any weight on it, its not nearly as heavy as that coach either.The fuel mileage on the later one might be close, just shop around, summer is a ways off
1989 Champion LaSalle 34' project

Deano2002

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2014, 04:56:09 PM »
I looked up the Sonoma by Cobra, they don't list a 33' coach in 1992, I did find a 93-94 listing with NADA but for 1994 and only 26' L, did I miss it?
1989 Champion LaSalle 34' project

johnd393

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2014, 07:15:07 PM »
It looks like some rust on the bottom edge of the door. Seller has not answer email.
Tried to attach picture.
There is one in Sarasota for $6000. Much nicer. Ready to go.  Too much risk to buy 1200 mile from home.

99WinAdventurer37G

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #36 on: December 29, 2014, 08:05:24 PM »
", just shop around, summer is a ways off"

The other thing about this quote, is if you buy one now it has to be winterized.  So don't rush the search, take your time.  I'm not sure I'd want to travel 1,200 miles to check one out, and you definitely want to look one over before you buy it.  Go to the "Library" then click on check lists.  That is where I got my checklist when I bought mine.  It is very comprehensive and well thought out.  I believe using the checklist found in our "library" here, is how I got such a great unit, and discovered the bad ones before I made a several thousand dollar mistake.
1999 Winnebago Adventurer 37G , Ford V-10
2006 Honda VTX 1300S

Deano2002

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #37 on: December 29, 2014, 08:19:10 PM »
I know I should have joined this site before setting out to buy something of this size and complex, but to tell the truth it never crossed my mind. I was out in my today to make sure the mice have enough food ;D, and am glad summer will come before long.
1989 Champion LaSalle 34' project

johnd393

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #38 on: December 29, 2014, 08:50:12 PM »
Quote
I'm not sure I'd want to travel 1,200 miles to check one out, and you definitely want to look one over before you buy it. 
Will be in the area anyway. Wouldn't spend 6k on a Lesharo though.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2015, 10:54:37 AM by scottydl »

driftless shifter

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #39 on: December 29, 2014, 10:46:59 PM »
I started looking at Craigslist locally before I was ready to buy. I went looking at rigs I had no real interest in, just for practice in looking for defects. Learned how to spot leaks and delamination. Saw what people and dealers thought was a good asking price for my region. Found one that needed chassis work, but had documented new engine, bonus points for everything in the house and the generator worked. The PO had issues with the engine installation and brakes that were all within my abilities to remedy. I was able to buy it far enough below local prices to make my expenditures worth buying it. My maiden voyage was moving my wife and I from MA. to TX, a 2500 mile journey. Found it about 20 miles away from my house. I did need a new fuel pump upon arrival in Texas. Take your time, don't fall in love with anything, listen to the voices in your head if they say run away.

Bill
Bill & Nan
(o\_!_/o)
93 bounder 34, chevy chassis
couple of aircooled vw's, 1 fast(sold), 1 reliable(sold).  Dubless : (
USN '76-'80, 1 boat, USS Blandy, DD 943.
I'm an analog guy in a digital age.

thesameguy

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #40 on: December 30, 2014, 06:19:16 PM »
I started shopping for my first RV in 2013 and finally bought in early 2014 after looking at a lot of them. What I learned came as a surprise even though it shouldn't have... just like with regular old cars as RVs devalue people take progressively worse care of them. There just isn't any such thing as an old, cheap RV that needs nothing. Compounding the issue is that RVs have a lot of expensive components, devalue like nobody's business, and their whole is absolutely not the sum of their parts. So if you buy that $4k RV that needs a few things, you're going to drop a fortune on those things when you could have just bought a newer rig that hadn't bottomed out, hadn't gone uncared for, and didn't need things in the first place.

I was originally shopping ~$4k trucks from the '80s, but they ALL needed something. Tallying up those needs made me realize I wasn't going to get what I wanted for anything approaching $4k and my real number was probably closer to $8k, all said and done. As a result, I instead started shopping trucks from the '90s - trucks made with newer materials, with (ostensibly) better construction, and more advanced parts. I won out with a 4-speed electronically controlled transmission and a fuel injected engine along with an interior and exterior with ten fewer years on it for the same price as an '80s truck with a handful of repairs. My nut was $7k with $1k worth of post-purchase repairs and $600 in updates... around $8k all said and done. I've been very happy with the purchase and while there are things I could do, there is nothing it needs and everything works great. I probably *should* have spent the $8k up front and gotten something just a tad nicer to start with, but no regrets!

(I will mention that I had fairly modest needs - sleeping room for four, a fridge, a toilet, and AC. Anything beyond that stuff was just complexity I didn't need or want. No fancy features like slideouts for me! I sought only a comfortable place to sleep and poop when I'm not outside doing vacation-y things :) )

If you *like* the idea of working on an RV and have some specific result you'd like to get, yeah, you might as well build - just be aware that when you put $4k into a $4k RV, you probably still have a $4k RV and you've done it for the love and the experience. But if you want to drive around and have a place for your food and your head, buy something in good shape from someone who still used it, kept it up, and didn't let it languish. I'm thankful every time I drive mine I bought someone else's love affair and not a project because it always just works. Tinkering on your vacation machine sounds like the worst of the worst. ;)
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 06:20:47 PM by thesameguy »

johnd393

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #41 on: January 01, 2015, 11:30:17 AM »
I find my thoughts going toward that 88 Holiday Rambler Imperial. Now another seller is parting out a 88 HR. Don't know what model but it's Ford. The Imperial is a Chevy
My vibe is they might take a lower offer for the HR Imperial. It's been so cold I don't want to go out

johnd393

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #42 on: January 02, 2015, 04:05:14 PM »
Got the VIN for the HR Imperial. It's actually a 1985. 7.4L 4BBL LE8 engine. Carbureted engine is disappointing. Bought a $6.99 instaVIN report. Not much useful information. Two title event dates, in 1999 and 2013. No odometer readings. A page of possible problems checked off as not reported.
A $25 carfax report I got a few years ago on a 84 Vette, showed more info.
Seller volunteered that he would take less to get it out of his yard.
Could it be a later model MH on a 85 chassis?
« Last Edit: January 02, 2015, 05:02:35 PM by johnd393 »

Alfa38User

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #43 on: January 03, 2015, 09:14:06 AM »
The date of manufacture of the chassis (ie chassis VIN)  is often a year or (or more rarely) two behind the actual completion date/model year  of the motor home. The manufacturer of motor homes usually do not purchase the chassis' one at a time but in quantities and stores them and/or uses them depending on demand.

I doubt you will get much info on the chassis VIN from any of those services as they are initially sold as "incomplete"; a stripped chassis, only an engine,wheels, brakes and frame etc.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2015, 09:39:53 AM by Alfa38User »
Stu
Montréal, Canada 🍁
Snowbird, Naples Florida
Alfa Gold 38 (2000) 5ver (parked!)

"Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advise!!!"

johnd393

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #44 on: January 04, 2015, 03:21:58 PM »
With previous Carfax reports I was able to know what states the vehicle was titled in, the mileage at each transfer or registration. Living in the rust belt it was nice to find out my old Vette spent it's first 7 years and 70000 miles it Texas.
I'm reading about 80's P30 carbureted fuel & emission control systems. I'm in one of the few Indiana county's that require emission tests. I think vehicles over 9000 gvwr are exempt from testing. This is good stuff to know about If I wanna buy an old cheap MH. I would prefer fuel injection though.
Haven't looked at the 85 HR yet cus it's 75 miles away. Now the snow has come.

Alfa38User

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #45 on: January 05, 2015, 07:53:26 AM »
A motor home chassis is not titled until the 1st buyer buys the completed unit. The year shown on the title should be the year the whole unit was completed. Sometimes the year shown on the original chassis VIN has been used in error by the licensing authority, judging by reports noted here and other RV forums.
Stu
Montréal, Canada 🍁
Snowbird, Naples Florida
Alfa Gold 38 (2000) 5ver (parked!)

"Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advise!!!"

joester

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A - johnd393
« Reply #46 on: January 05, 2015, 01:14:24 PM »
john,
take your time and don't rush into a purchase. Wife and I searched for an an entire year (1997) before finding what we still have today - a 1991 Tioga class C. Dealers would get frustrated when we couldn't tell them what we wanted - but we knew that once we found the right one, we would know it. some folks move from vehicle to vehicle, and rv to rv; we found what we liked, and have it now into our 18th year with it. consider keeping about 10-20% of your budget for repairs and upgrades buying a used rv - just a rough estimate. our purchase price was 25k, but time we were done with new tires, awning, other upgrades, we were at 29k. value has slipped to about 5k now according to NADA - but it's worth more to us as we know exactly what we have. there are a LOT of different models and floor plans - keep looking, have fun looking and good luck!
tener corazón de oro

1991 Tioga class C

garymunson

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #47 on: January 06, 2015, 08:34:59 AM »
Having had 6 RV's over the years, we have come to prefer a class A for the extra room. For some time my wife didn't think she'd be comfortable driving one but now she's fine with it, just lets me take it if we approach someplace with a lot of traffic. We've always bought used and I now prefer the Workhorse chassis with the 8.1L V8. We had a couple of Ford chassis units and there is quite a difference in power between those platforms. You see post from people wanting more power from their V10 Tritons, the 8.1s, not so much.

thesameguy

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #48 on: January 07, 2015, 06:20:07 PM »
You kinda need to get into the '90s to get fuel injection. Although GM had the TBI 454 in '87, as was previously mentioned a lot of coach builders buy the chassis in advance of building so the motorhome model year will virtually always post-date the chassis date by a year or two. When I was searching, I found model year '87, '88, and '89 motorhomes were still using carbs, albeit in decreasing numbers. By 1990 they're virtually all TBI. That's part of what led me to just go to a '93, because that also wins the 4L80-E 4-speed instead of the TH400 3-speed. That extra gear is GOLD on the highway... I test drove a couple very nice late '80s machines and they were screaming at freeway speeds. The 454 in the Southwind with the 4-speed behind it is quietly cruising at about 2k RPM, netting happier ears and better fuel economy to boot. (I *personally* believe the 4L80-E is a stouter, more reliable transmission too, but opinions are like, well, you know. :) )

johnd393

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #49 on: January 09, 2015, 06:04:35 PM »
As my armchair RV experience continues, I have read up on Quadrajet carbs enough that I'm not so afraid of them. Now a 1989 Thor Yellowstone has come up forsale local, $5500. Paint looks pretty faded in pix.  Ad says it's fuel injected but the VIN decodes to a carb. If someones changed it to FI, that opens a new can of worms. Not having any luck finding info online for that model. Seller needs some warm days to clear the snow away before showing.

thesameguy

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #50 on: January 10, 2015, 04:19:08 AM »
As far as carbs go, Quadrajets are good ones. GM managed to run basically the same carbs from the late '60s into the late '80s on everything from 350s to 502s with variations powering even smaller motors. It's a very flexible, well-designed carb. But it's not like other carbs and finding people proficient with them is *tough*. Add in complexity from smog controls and computers added to the ones they were building in the '80s and you're not talking about simple stuff. Lots of sensors. thermo-vacuum switches, valves, etc. It's not trivial keeping one working at 100%, and no matter how good the q-jet is set up it'll never be as good as fuel injection, even primitive '80s TBI.

Like others said, you've got a long time til RV season - I would not rush this. Target April or May for a purchase, and I'd really encourage you to seek out fuel injection. The last thing anyone wants in tinkering with carbs on vacation.

(FWIW, I have a q-jet on my '67 Fleetwood - but got so irked at the CCC q-jet on my Trans Am I finally sold it)

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #51 on: January 10, 2015, 07:00:48 AM »
Some engines of that vintage had throttle-body injection, half way between a carb and multi-point fuel injection. A fairly simple system that has one injector to meter fuel into a psuedo-carburetor (the throttle body) where air is mixed in and then and sent on to the cylinders..
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

thesameguy

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #52 on: January 11, 2015, 11:46:30 PM »
All GM V8 engines from '87 through '95 were TBI fuel injected (in '96, they went to port sequential with the Vortecs), but as mentioned earlier the disconnect between the GM build date and the coach build date results in some '87-'90 motorhomes that still have carbs. Although primitive by modern standards, TBI is a totally reasonable technology. It's found new purpose with bolt-on fuel injection conversions from Holley, Powerjection, etc. Kinda neat stuff, but maybe not good enough to justify the price tag in the face of things like Megasquirt. ;)

PorscheMark

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #53 on: January 12, 2015, 12:41:35 PM »
John -
Might I suggest that you start out with a small pull behind camper?
-Mark 'n' Jane
-------------------
2007 Phaeton 42QRH

2010 Honda CRV (TOAD)

johnd393

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #54 on: January 12, 2015, 02:30:41 PM »
John -
Might I suggest that you start out with a small pull behind camper?
I don't have a vehicle that can pull the smallest size camper. I don't want to travel in a truck. I don't want to camp in any soft sided popup or tent. I have, though, spent some time looking at what Chevy Suburbans are for sale. I had a neighbor and a coworker who each had fanatical love of their Suburban.

thesameguy

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #55 on: January 12, 2015, 05:07:06 PM »
I love mine. :) I just bought my third last week. First was an '87 1/2 ton with a 350 and a 700R4. I sold it when I got the second, an '84 3/4 ton with a 6.5l diesel swap and a TH400. It belonged to my childhood friend's parents, and I took it when they didn't need it anymore. I've had it for nine years now, but it needs some work. While I do that, I got a '99 1/2 ton with a Vortec 350 and a 4L60E. They are great trucks, just be sure you know what you're getting into in terms of congenital failures, limitations, and maintenance requirements. I really think the '87-'91 trucks are the best in terms of being reasonably civilized while still being a truck. In '92 the interiors got much nicer, but much less durable. My '99 has a leather interior and you can't hear the engine running. It's nicer to drive, but I prefer the '84 and its lack of niceties. Regardless, they are great, stable tow vehicles - I tow a 1,800lb car trailer with various vehicles and there's nothing I'd rather do it with.

johnd393

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #56 on: January 13, 2015, 02:06:12 AM »
I sent a email response for a 99 Suburban for for $2k. Ad says 90k miles. I prefer 2WD for less complexity and weight.  A 'Burb would replace my Ford Ranger 3.0l that eats gas like a much larger vehicle.
Supposed to see the 89 Thor MH tomorrow. Won't be able to make a decision in this weather. Anxious to get wife's response if the interior is nice. .

thesameguy

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #57 on: January 13, 2015, 12:10:46 PM »
I am a believer that an SUV without 4WD is a waste of an SUV. The added weight of the transfer case is trivial in the scope of a two and a half ton vehicle  and the driven front axle is very durable unless heavily used or abused. My '84 has 340,000 miles on it and has had exactly zero work done on the front axle in its life. My '99 has 165k and same story. You may never use 4WD, but that one time it gets you or someone else unstuck or through unexpected weather you'll be glad you had it. If the '99 is a half ton you can expect mid to high teens overall, if it's a three quarter ton expect low to mids. If you are shopping for a 3/4 ton, it may be worth moving onto the GMT800 ('00+) trucks. The Vortec 8400 isn't really much better than the TBI 8400 in terms of output or fuel economy, but the 6.0l in the GMT800 is very, very good. For anything except the biggest trailers, the half ton will do you - although the heavier duty transmission in the 3/4 tons is a nice perk. No matter what you do, make sure you get a truck that has the HD towing package (trans cooler, etc.) or add those features yourself.

johnd393

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #58 on: January 13, 2015, 08:39:08 PM »
The Thor was too rough on the outside. Inside wasn't bad. Didn't like the driver seating position in this one either. There must have been a seat height adjustment I didn't figure out. Wife wouldn't get out of the car. She's more determined we don't do this than I thought. I was getting excited at the thought of trying something new.
Got a email response on the Suburban. 2wd, 5.7l, no rust. Didn't give exact location. It's in a town with areas to avoid.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2015, 11:26:38 PM by johnd393 »

johnd393

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Re: 1st post. Shopping for a Class A
« Reply #59 on: January 21, 2015, 04:46:10 PM »
I've not given up but I have to tread lightly with the WAF. There is another HR Imperial close. <$5k.  It's an 87 with 87400 miles. This one has the walk around queen bed. The other imperial mentioned earlier has 2 singles. It's supposed to be ready to use except the frig and the 2 roof A/C s are bad. Owner is a former RV sales person. Engine and trans are rebuilt. He had a trans failure on the road and had a used one installed, than had it rebuilt later. I would trust the rebuild more it it had a couple thousand miles on it.  I am somewhat qualified to fix the A/C's if they are not mangled from hitting something and parts are available. If the frig problem is not the sealed system, perhaps it can be fixed. Have not yet approached the wife about going to see this one. Maybe tomorrow.

 

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