1989 Winnebago Elandan problems

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dado17

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Joined
Jun 7, 2019
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2
Hi, first timer here looking to purchase an excellent condition 1989 Winnebago Elandan with only 20K miles. Unfortunately, have been searching online for more info/details about this model but can't find any reliable reviews.

I appreciate your input on this one and if it would be a good starter family motorhome.
 

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John Canfield

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Aug 8, 2006
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Texas Hill Country
Welcome. Low mileage in this case is not desirable - it means this 30 year old RV has done a bunch more time sitting than being used. No matter how good its appearance is, you would have a huge project on your hands fixing stuff as you start to use it. If this one had 100k miles and was regularly used, then you could strongly consider this particular unit. If you want a project and are a DIY guy, then you might consider this if the price is right. If you want to buy an RV and start using it without hassles, walk away.

One important factor when shopping for a Class A (or any motorized RV for that matter) is what chassis the house sits on. That Elandan probably sits on a Chevy P30 chassis, if so you can search for the P30 chassis to get a feel for its strengths and weaknesses. Notice the long overhang past the rear axle - this can cause handling problems in wind, the "tail wagging the dog" effect. You would also have to be super careful when maneuvering this with that long overhang.

If you want something in that size range and a gas chassis, the Winnebago Adventurer is extremely popular and might be in your price range. An extremely popular entry level diesel pusher is the Winnebago Journey, maintenance is more expensive with a diesel pusher but having the engine in the rear makes a huge difference in the interior noise level and they have more torque to get you up the grade.
 

Mile High

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Oct 17, 2016
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Denver
Boy, from the pictures, that is a beaut!  The elandan and sister Itasca Windcruiser were my dream units in the day.

As John says, chance are high it's going to need some work - but worth a drive out to see how it does!  Probably leaks every fluid it takes :)
 

dado17

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Jun 7, 2019
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I appreciate your detailed reply and I totally understand what you mean as far as low miles goes. This one has been used locally maybe once or twice a year according to the owner, old lady that her husband passed away last year and she will not use it anymore.

They took good care of it and maintained it well. New front and tag axle tires, new airbags in front, new microwave, refrigerator and tv. She said there are no known issues at all except for the brakes might need some work in the future, I think original 30 years old brakes as well.

According to the Winnebago brochure for that model, it's the Chevy chassis with the 454 engine (I believe it's the carbruted version). 

I was really amazed at how someone could keep a motorhome in such condition for that long, asked for more close up pictures of exterior to look for flaws but honestly can't find any in or out. 

As much as I like to buy it just for it's unique character, style and mint condition, but taking your advice into consideration, I don't wanna end up with a money pit either. Also, if you buying this one, how much would you pay for it?


 

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SeilerBird

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Feb 25, 2012
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St Cloud Florida USA
It is nice looking. For a 30 year old RV I would pay no more than 5000. Yes it looks nice but there are going to be a bunch of hidden problems. Every RV is advertised as perfect condition and everything works. And that is always a big lie. The problem with low mileage is that nothing gets used so all the rubber and rubber seals dry out. Old RVs are never a bargain, even for free, they are always a money pit. No escaping that.
 

John Hilley

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Mar 11, 2009
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Buxton, ND
I wouldn't be so sure it wasn't a good starter RV. Someone locally bought one almost identical to that one and it has been good for them.

Depends on how you plan to use it. I wouldn't recommend buying it and starting out on a cross country trip. Getting it and using it locally until you become familiar with it and any problems wouldn't be too risky. Chances are you could always sell it for what you payed for it.

Sounds like it was probably well maintained mechanically. In those days, Winnebago built real quality intod the cabinets and the exterior looks great. No slide to worry about.
 

TheBar

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Jun 25, 2018
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MS
Condition trumps age and price. But have it checked out thoroughly if you don't know how. 5 years ago after a 3 month search for a much newer and more expensive Class C in the $50K range. I did not find anything acceptable. But after giving up the search I called about one which was 17 years old with 55K miles. It had been kept inside its whole life which I thinks slows the aging process. It was like new inside and out and yours appears to be also. I found all the cabinetry to be solid wood instead of particle board which not only lasts longer it decreases the overall weight. Everything seemed to be a higher quality than the newer ones. It cost me $40K less than the newer one I had been planning on so I figured that would pay for a bunch of repairs. Now 5 years later everything still works and it has only needed a fuse replaced on the fridge 12V circuit and the electric step motor replaced last year. A total of $40. It has never had any engine, drivetrain, or body leaks. I did recoat the roof, bought 6 new tires, replaced the fan belts, purged the brake lines, and changed the engine coolant right after I bought it. A total around $2K. So I still saved $38K and all of that would have needed to be done if I'd have bought a 3 year old rig which would now be 8 years old. We are still thrilled with it after 5 years of camping an average around 70 days a year.
 

Mile High

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Oct 17, 2016
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985
Location
Denver
A little faded it looks like - but still in great shape.  As a nostalgia buff, I would probably be willing to pay more than the next guy but you really have to try to account for major things you can find wrong.  Drive it, listen to the drivetrain.  Look for critical leaks (rear main seal, etc.).  Check major equipment like fridge, generator, etc.  Let the small stuff roll off your shoulder like water pumps, etc.  To me, I would want to keep it all original so a refrigerator not working would be important to factor in.  I wouldn't want to throw in a Samsung, or it would just be another 30 yo motorhome then :)
 

FC Boy

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May 9, 2021
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West Des Moines
I worked for Winnebago Industries in 1988 traveling the country in a 37' Elandan stopping at dealerships promoting this unit and of all the motorhomes I drove this, by far, was my favorite coach!
 

Weosum1

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Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Posts
4
Location
La Crosse, WI 54601, USA
I appreciate your detailed reply and I totally understand what you mean as far as low miles goes. This one has been used locally maybe once or twice a year according to the owner, old lady that her husband passed away last year and she will not use it anymore.

They took good care of it and maintained it well. New front and tag axle tires, new airbags in front, new microwave, refrigerator and tv. She said there are no known issues at all except for the brakes might need some work in the future, I think original 30 years old brakes as well.

According to the Winnebago brochure for that model, it's the Chevy chassis with the 454 engine (I believe it's the carbruted version).

I was really amazed at how someone could keep a motorhome in such condition for that long, asked for more close up pictures of exterior to look for flaws but honestly can't find any in or out.

As much as I like to buy it just for it's unique character, style and mint condition, but taking your advice into consideration, I don't wanna end up with a money pit either. Also, if you buying this one, how much would you pay for it?
 

Weosum1

New member
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Posts
4
Location
La Crosse, WI 54601, USA
I appreciate your detailed reply and I totally understand what you mean as far as low miles goes. This one has been used locally maybe once or twice a year according to the owner, old lady that her husband passed away last year and she will not use it anymore.

They took good care of it and maintained it well. New front and tag axle tires, new airbags in front, new microwave, refrigerator and tv. She said there are no known issues at all except for the brakes might need some work in the future, I think original 30 years old brakes as well.

According to the Winnebago brochure for that model, it's the Chevy chassis with the 454 engine (I believe it's the carbruted version).

I was really amazed at how someone could keep a motorhome in such condition for that long, asked for more close up pictures of exterior to look for flaws but honestly can't find any in or out.

As much as I like to buy it just for it's unique character, style and mint condition, but taking your advice into consideration, I don't wanna end up with a money pit either. Also, if you buying this one, how much would you pay for it?
 
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