Fleetwood Southwind Diesel Pusher

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fyrmnk

Active member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Posts
35
Hi all, I'm looking at my first motor home. Looking at getting a used Class A diesel pusher.

I've found a 1993 Fleetwood Southwind 34' 5.9L Cummins with 93000 miles. 4 speed Allison transmission. Owner states it burns about a quart of oil every 1000 miles. The generator is a diesel 6.5kw with about 2600 hours on it (1900 put on it in the last 2 years). Has leather Capt. chairs and sofa/dinette seating. Sleeps 6. Price is 22K, slightly below NADA low value.

Questions:

Are Fleetwood Southwinds historically a good sturdy unit?

Does that sound like a fair price?

What is the expected generator life since it has high hours?

Any concern with the oil burning?

I'll be towing and launching an approx. 3500 lb. 21' boat. See any problems with towing this or navigating around boat ramps? This does have the backup camera.

Also any other feedback will be greatly appreciated. Thanks alot in advance for any input!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,434
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
A Southwind is a mid-range coach but is usually gas powered. They only made the diesel Southwind for a few years and it was rather underpowered - the Cummins 5.9L diesel was de-tuned to avoid overpowering the GM 4 speed transmission, which could not handle all the  torque the 5.9 is capable of.  Usually they were limited to 230 HP with the 4 speed automatic. The performance of the de-tuned engine with only a 4 speed transmission is, well, mediocre at best.

We had a 96 Southwind with a 460 Ford gas engine with Banks upgrade and liked the coach a lot - it served us well in the two years we had it. The Southwind itself is probably fine, though any older coach is going to have some risk involved.  I would plan on replacing all belts and hoses, changing the transmission fluid and engine oil, flushing the radiator and the brake fluid as well.  It most likely needs new shock absorbers and it may well need new tires too. Check the Tire Date Code on the tire sidewalls - if they are approaching 7 years old, replace them no matter how good they may look. Tires have a life of about 7 years, even if not driven, and will almost surely fail catastrophically sometime in their 7th year.  I would also be concerned about the condition of the suspensions, steering and shocks,

Personally, I would not consider buying this coach. The power train is a poor performer and the mileage is fairly high (many RVs have very low miles). However, I have known folks with similar rigs and they have been satisfied - it all dpends on your expectations, I guess.

As for the price, it seems a bit high to me, but not terribly so.  Make a lower offer if you feel this is the right coach for you. RVs rarely sell for the full NADA retail book price is a private sale - low retail or substantially less is more common. There area lot of used RVs available and it is a buyer's market, so don't get stampeded into buying the first one you can afford.

A diesel genset should not be bothered by that number of hours. Even gas gensets run well with that amount of use. In fact, more hours is better than too few, since gensets tend to deteriorate with lack of use.
 

fyrmnk

Active member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Posts
35
Hi, thanks for the reply. The tires are only 3 months old.

As far as the transmission, it is an Allison 4 speed. Same problems to be expected?
 

Joe Bee

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Posts
160
My current NADA book  lists 1993 34ft M-H or M-L Models OSHKOSH 230 hp.    Wholesale Used Trade $18,960/$19,380.  Shop around some more.  Better values around.  This is a buyers market and 1993 units aren't moving all that fast.  Just my 2 cents.
Joe
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,434
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Many older diesels, especially the lower priced models, had Allison 4 speeds or even GM Hydramatic 4 speeds.  That reduced the price substantially compared to the very expensive Allison 6 speed automatic.  Unfortunately, with a low power engine, you need more gears, not less, especailly on hills.  So yes, I would say "same problem".  But adequate power/performance is subjective and you might be satisfied.  Assume it willl be noticeably less responsive than a passenger car, though.

I would look for an older, high line rig. Maybe an older Holiday Rambler diesel. Check out RV Online under $50K for an easy way to view motorhomes selling for under $50,000.
 

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