HOW TO RUIN A - 1999 ADVENTURER

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Bayrat

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Aug 21, 2012
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142
You may recall I looked at a 1999 Winnebago Adventurer 34V with a Cummins 5.9 a week ago. This had been stored inside since new and is immaculate inside as well as on top and on the sides. I had decided against it due to an abnormal amount of rust on the chassis and components and also noticed what appeared to be corrosion along the water pump joint between the engine and the block. The owner, an 83 year old businessman was selling it and had purchased it new. I declined to make him an offer, bolstered by the advise of members on this board.. He had it advertised for $40,000 on Craiglist, the sign on the windshield read $35,000. After seeing his factory I have no doubt that he is quite wealthy.

Well, yesterday he sends me an email and asks me what I would give him for it, so I did some figuring. Tires $3000, exhaust and water pump issue perhaps $1000, broken remote outside mirror $500 I guessed. Rust below, so perhaps brakes at $1000. So I emailed back that I would look at it again and might offer $25K if it looks better the second time around. I was in the area today so I stopped to test drive it and check the bottom side again. This vehicle has been off the road for three years and the building it has been stored in all this time has an apparent moisture issue. At any rate, he stuck a plate on it and away we went.

The coach drove absolutely great, loved it, and the 5.9 surprised me, it seemed peppier than the two others I have driven with larger engines. We get a couple miles down the highway and the "low water" light comes on, he says that's ok, it's full. A few more miles and the "check engine" light blinks intermittently, again the owner says that's ok. Meanwhile I'm glued to the temperature gauge. I suggest that we should turn back as the temperature is rising and falling on the gauge, could mean that the water pump is not operating correctly as I did spot an issue with it last week. So I turn back to the storage building as soon as a spot was available to do so.  Now I have both lights lit on the dash and the temp is creeping up quickly. Finally back to the garage I pull into the bay, temp is above normal but not pegged. Upon walking to the rear of the coach, I see greenish-rust red antifreeze pouring out of the engine and a trail behind it back out to the main road.

So, I figure no big deal, it's probably the water pump and perhaps a hose that let go as well, but I don't like the rust color either. I climb under the rear on my creeper and can't get close to the leak, it's someplace closer to the top, radiator, hose, pump, who knows. Now I notice that the complete exhaust system is rotted, hanging by almost nothing and the genset exhaust is in the same condition. The more I looked the worse it got, wherever there were components, they were covered with serious corrosion. I get back on my feet and check the genset in the side compartment and it looks like it was used as an anchor in salt water, yikes!

So, it seems my first impression was correct, something is wrong here. It appears that a beautifully maintained coach was ruined by being stored inside in a humid environment  :'( . I told the gent that he might better had let it sit outside.

My point in all of this is "buyer beware"! If I had not taken the time to literally crawl under that coach and look around, I would have assumed all was well due to the beautiful condition of the rest of it. He told me that the Winnebago dealer would buy it, so I assume he had a standing offer for a price less than what I had suggested. I feel sorry for the person that ultimately ends up with this thing.
 

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Icemaker

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Oct 12, 2011
Posts
967
Gary RV Roamer said:
I think it takes more than a damp environment to cause that kind of damage.

Thanks for the feedback.

Are you thinking it was in some high water???

George??
 

Just Lou

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Dec 25, 2005
Posts
8,105
Icemaker said:
Are you thinking it was in some high water???

George??

It doesn't take "high water". 
Simply parking, for a few weeks, in the vicinity of the ocean will cause more rust on the undercarriage of your motorhome than you can imagine.  Driving on a wet salted road in winter, and NOT cleaning the underside, can cause extensive rust.  Automobiles are subject to the same conditions, but since they are driven much more frequently, are much more likely to find fresh water puddles to wash the salt away, after a heavy rain.

I suspect the rust is due to how/where the RV was used, rather than how/where it was stored.
 

Bayrat

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Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Posts
142
The owner claims he drove it once in the winter. To be honest, I had entertained the idea of it sitting in water but the rest of it is just too nice, not to mention that the rig would have to have sat in the water a long time. I have looked a plenty of motor homes now and discovered one, a 2001 Ultimate with a complete rusted bottom and components used by a trucking company and driven in the salt year around. This on I believe has been sitting in a damp atmosphere. The pole barn is insulated but has a moisture issue, there are fans running on timers to address some of the moisture but it appears that the thing was built in a damp are. Not to mention that the insulation holds the moisture in like one of those sealed environment aquariums. I mean, the bottom of this thing is literally dissolving.
 

DearMissMermaid

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Dec 26, 2009
Posts
2,572
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on the move, USA
WOW, we all find those when shopping used... that disaster... waiting to be discovered and the sometimes disillusioned owner behind it.

I ran into some total train wrecks with proud owners standing behind them dead serious about asking ridiculous prices for something that wasn't worth the tow truck cost to get it to the dump. Oh the stories I could tell...

Keep on looking... one day a rig will just smile at you... and all will be fine (more or less) when you drive it away.

It took me nearly a year to find the used rig that made me smile.  3 years later I am still living in it fulltime and loving it too. 

When shopping used, a ton of patience can ultimately land you in a rig you love.
 

Bayrat

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Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Posts
142
I thought I had found that perfect coach last week until I looked at it yesterday. I loved it, except the water stains throughout the inside of the coach roof pushed me beyond my comfort level into one of great suspicion even though the dealer swore it had been fixed and all it needed was for the ceiling carpet to be cleaned.
 

DearMissMermaid

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Dec 26, 2009
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on the move, USA
Cleaning stains,  mold and allergens out of ceiling carpet... oh what fun...  ::)

If it were such an easy job, the dealer would have already done it!  ;D

Carpet on the ceiling in the old party vans of the 70's and 80's might have been fun, but in my opinion, carpet on the ceiling in an RV is a sure fire recipe for disaster waiting to happen. Who on earth wants to vacuum and steam clean ceiling carpet on a regular basis?  Does that sound like a fun way to spend your weekends?

Time and time again I ran into nutty salesmen and odd owners who insisted their rig needed only very minor work done to it.  But if it were so minor, why were they so  unwilling to to do this "minor" work before resale?  :eek:

 

Bayrat

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Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Posts
142
I have become extremely suspicious of both private sellers and dealers at this point. Almost ready to give up on this, it seems all I see or hear of are constant water leaks, de-laminations, bad construction. I wonder if the old bus conversions are a better choice.
 

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