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RVing message boards => Newcomers' Corner => Topic started by: Bahnana on January 10, 2020, 01:17:30 AM

Title: 1988 Tioga Fleetwood Econoline
Post by: Bahnana on January 10, 2020, 01:17:30 AM

Firstly, hello everyone! I am considering purchasing a motorhome from my grandma. The last time it was started and driven was several years ago. It has 35,000 miles and is stored in a garage. It is currently located in Northern California, approx. 1800 miles from me in Central Texas. I have been looking for an RV to do a complete remodel and to use for road tripping. She is asking 3000 dollars for it.

I have two questions as of now:
1. What are some major issues I should be aware of/look for?
2. Is that price reasonable (also considering I would have to relocate it to Texas) or should I find something more local?

I am not very savvy when it comes to mechanical stuff, but I have lots of free time and am in need of a hands on hobby that I will be able to use for years to come. Any good references or websites are greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
Title: Re: 1988 Tioga Fleetwood Econoline
Post by: Back2PA on January 10, 2020, 06:12:08 AM
That's a very difficult question to answer. At best, it could be a good deal, a vehicle stored inside for years in good condition. At worst, a vehicle which hasn't been driven in years due to mechanical issues the cost of which to fix would exceed the value of the vehicle. It's unknown if the rig was stored correctly, it's possible for example that it's been exposed to freezing weather at some point and may have cracked water lines. You just don't know without an inspection.

Assuming the very best, you'd still need all new belts, engine cooling hoses, rubber brake lines, batteries, tires, probably brakes, and all fluids changed
Title: Re: 1988 Tioga Fleetwood Econoline
Post by: SpencerPJ on January 10, 2020, 07:13:51 AM
Buying an older RV with little mechanical skills can be a costly purchase.  For starters, if sitting a few years, it will need gas removed and replaced before you start it.  THEN, depending how long it sat, a complete fuel system cleaning.  That's just to start it.  Next, if sitting many years, almost certain will need to replace tires, no matter what they look like.  Tires are good 7-10 years max, find a date code.  It might be a great deal, might cost you a ton to get road worthy.  Personally, anything that has sat many years, usually gets expensive to fix.  IMO, I'd find something more local to where you are.  Good Luck, keep us posted.  :))
Title: Re: 1988 Tioga Fleetwood Econoline
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on January 10, 2020, 10:12:16 AM
That vintage of coach could sell for as much as $5000 if mechanically sound in both chassis and "house", but is essentially worthless if you encounter problems you cannot readily fix yourself.  Paying a shop for repairs could quickly run to several thousand dollars, even for things that seem fairly simple. since it is family, maybe gramma would agree to help pay for any unanticipated repairs? It's a discussion worth having, since your financial risk is rather large.

At the very least it needs all new tires (they are too old to trust) and pretty much a complete change of fluids (oil & filter, fuel filter, coolant change, and probably brake fluid too.  Draining the old fuel is a good idea too - hard to guess whether it is contaminated or not.   I'd suggest at least a basic chassis mechanical check-up, brakes, alignment, fuel system, etc.  All this BEFORE you try to get it to Texas - you don't want to break down on the highway and be at the mercy of whatever shop is nearly.

It gives me indigestion when an RV newbie with limited  DIY skills takes on the challenge of an old RV in unknown condition, especially when faced with the immediate need to drive it some distance.  The risks are numerous and potentially large, so only one or two of them of them have to materialize to turn joy to disaster.  The safest advice is "Don't buy this" an instead save your money until you can buy something with less risk. You might miss a real bargain that way, though.
Title: Re: 1988 Tioga Fleetwood Econoline
Post by: TheBar on January 10, 2020, 11:55:48 AM
X2. Old motorhomes are not for those with limited mechanical skills. And you won't really be paying $3,000 for it. Keep in mind new tires alone will be a minimum of $1200 if it is a Class C, then at least double that if it is a Class A. If the registration isn't up to date that could be a big bill in CA before you can drive it home. Then if you can't change or fix all the other things yourself that people mentioned above you'll quickly have over $5,000 in it. If you have a major mechanical problem driving it 1,800 miles home you'll likely have to pay a salvage yard to take it off your hands. Plus bus or air fare home of course.
Title: Re: 1988 Tioga Fleetwood Econoline
Post by: Bahnana on January 10, 2020, 12:02:37 PM
I apologize for any typos, I am walking on a treadmill and typing on my phone.

I think there are many pros and cons with it. I just like knowing where it came from, and knowing how they treated it and with 35,000 miles thought it may be worth it. But if that would be too much for me, what would you recommend? I liked the thought of a tear drop trailer, but I have a Subaru Crosstrek and worry about towing capacity. Adding my two big dogs and parrot, I don't think it is the right fit for me and my husband.

I appreciate all the responses!
Title: Re: 1988 Tioga Fleetwood Econoline
Post by: TheBar on January 10, 2020, 06:42:23 PM
The Crosstrek has a towing capacity of 1,500 lbs. That pretty much limits you to the smallest popup tent trailers. Mine is the smallest Starcraft with an 8 foot bed and its unloaded dry weight is 1,500 lbs.

But don't rule out a popup until you step inside one. People who have never been in a popup walk in and say, wow! this is huge inside! Its kind of a optical illusion because they do look tiny outside. We have a large Class C but we still enjoy the popup because it feels more like tent camping, only you have A/C, gas heat, a stove, fridge, water, a queen and twin mattress, dinette, room for a porta potty, and most of all you stay dry. With ours, I don't have to back it in. I can unhook it and push it up a concrete or gravel pad by myself. I'm not a weightlifter type, just 170 lbs and 67 yo.
Title: Re: 1988 Tioga Fleetwood Econoline
Post by: tote on January 13, 2020, 10:15:29 PM
Unless you are into taking on a new hobby; forget it.
I own an 87 Lindy.
I have a list of literally over 180 different things I have done both inside and out.
It's lifted and converted to a 4x4.
The list of over 180 things has nothing to do with the lift or the 4x4 conversion.
Things corrode over time or develop enough dirt to make bad electrical connections.
Gaskets dry out or rot. Hoses crack. Material begins to disintegrate. Engine parts wear out. Exterior seams leak. Loose nuts and bolts make for some hard to find rattles. You will be lubricating parts you didn't even know existed.
Now if you don't mind putting in the time and expense then go for it.
As old as my motorhome is, it looks almost new; inside and out.
I get constant offers from random strangers asking if I'd like to sell it.
I've had 2 separate incidents where someone pulled up and asked if I was interested in a trade.
One offered a Mercedes and another offered a Toyota Tundra.
I know we will have this for a long long time as it suits our needs to a 'T'.

Title: Re: 1988 Tioga Fleetwood Econoline
Post by: SpencerPJ on January 14, 2020, 06:49:57 AM
Very cool tote  :)) :))
Title: Re: 1988 Tioga Fleetwood Econoline
Post by: Larry N. on January 14, 2020, 06:53:31 AM