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Old 08-21-2015, 10:35 PM   #1
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Almost a Alpine coach owner, a few issues found

I looked at my first Alpine coach today. I was very excited and thought I had finally found our first diesel pusher (our current model is a winnebago adventurer gas). Coach is a 2000 36' FDS. Miles, 46,000. Price $45,000. I loaded the family to take a look. Upon our arrival I noticed the following issues.

Both from windshields are cracked and need to be replaced.
The driver window and entry door window are both foggy.
The fiberglass roof is extremely dirty and needs cleaned.
Tires on the rear are 2006, front 2009.
The fresh water pump is leaking from the housing.
Radiator is the OEM aluminum, although it doesn't leak.
The exhaust manifold has a crack in the top and needs to be replaced.
Inside, the carpet is dirty and would probably need to be replaced.
The ceiling has staining around the skylight in the bathroom and under both rooftop air conditioners. There is also staining around two of the ceiling lights.
The slide awning is torn and needs to be replaced.
Edit. The headights are sun checked and fogged.

I was adding up some of the cost in my head without really researching. My educated guess is around 5-6k of parts needed and thats if I do most of the work myself. Of course my feeling is to just walk away, but I am a neat freak and I can nit pick issues. I did not drive it because I didn't want to waste anytime.

I figured I would ask for opinions and advice. Also if anyone is selling a 36' fds send me a pm.

Thanks for the help

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Old 08-21-2015, 11:20 PM   #2
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Almost a Alpine coach owner, a few issues found

John, you live in an area that has a high concentration of Alpines. Here are a few answers to your questions.

Windshields - they can be replaced, be sure to go to a dealer that understands some of the nuisances of replacing RV windshields. Like a car, the windshield is an integral part of the structure, the coach MUST be level and on the jacks before anything is done to the coach, once a windshield is removed if the coach is not level and securely blocked the body can get racked and then it is almost impossible to get right. That said windshields, are replaced (1 at a time) all the time.

Foggy windows- look at all the windows you will find more fogged. It is not an uncommon problem for any manufacturer with double penetration glass, particularly on a coach 15 years old. There are many good glass shops around the country that can do the work, I had 4 fixed in March at RV Fog Dr in Searcy, AL, excellent shop, just not close to you.

Roof - dirt is a common issue, a little soapy water and a good scrubbing, you will be all set. The roof is fiberglass, you can safely walk on it. Once it is clean, wax it, that will cut down on the grey/black streaking and keep it in good shape.

Tires- there have been lots of discussions about tires, general rule if they are 7 years old replace them, or if they have cracked side walls, replace them. Search the prior threads and you will find more discussions then you want to review. My feeling, brakes and tires are what keep me rolling, and safe, so I keep them in GOOD shape.

Water pump - look at it, you might be able to tighten up the connections, if not replace it, there have been numerous thread on what you should replace it with, use search.

Radiator - if it is not leaking, be thankful, but watch it. Mine has had a SLOW leak, I carry premixed antifreeze and fill it when needed. If I drive 6+ hours will need to put in less than a quart, it has been that way for 7 years.

Exhaust manifold- that needs to be replaced ASAP. The Cummins dealers in the northwest know the Alpine coaches, use them!

Carpets - for a 15 year old coach I would think you should be replacing them, you would if it was your stick and brick home. Think about hardwood or tile (although tile adds a LOT of weight). There are several coach rehab companies in the northwest that are great.

Ceiling stains - this could the roof leaking, that is not a big problem as long as it is caught before the roof/ceiling structure is damaged, inspect for damage, seal the penetrations and you would be good to go.

You might be a little high on your $$ estimates, but better to be high than low. What you will find is the Alpines are great coaches. The 2000's are pre Vansco (2004+) so you will not have any issues there. You will find that several Alpine owners in the northwest will reply to this thread and they will give you names of local dealers/mechanics that can help you. You will most likely get a reply from someone that owns a 2000 36' FDDS (Front Door Double Slide), they will be your best source of info. Also check the stickies at the top of this forum. One other thing, you may get replies from owners of some other brand (SOB's) they can give very valuable advice, just be aware, Western RV did things a little differently, so take their advice with a grain of salt.

From the list of issues, I suspect you probably will need to look at the battery bank, that might be another area that could take a few bucks. Get it load tested and the specific gravity of the electrolyte tested. If you need to replace the banks you should think about gel cells (search the threads, there are a lot of pros and cons discussed).

Welcome to IRV2 and possible Alpine ownership, if you purchase it, you will enjoy the coach and the people here, we have a very active group and if you search on just about any subject you will find an reply.

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Dave, Bobbi and Fenway

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2005 38' FDTS Alpine Limited, 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited
Cape Cod, MA
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Old 08-22-2015, 12:05 AM   #3
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The 45K price tag would be OK for the Coach if it were in near perfect condition. With the issues you noted, I would expect t least a 10K discount off that price. If you are knowledgeable on diesel engines you could do the exhaust manifold yourself. The flooring is a do-it-yourself thing if you are looking for a project. Dave Root Fogged Window Repair does excellent work. The tires would need to be replaced, that will be an easy 3K. The OEM radiators for earlier model coaches have been quite dependable. As for water stains, this could be something simple like he AC's not being tightened down or needing new sealing gaskets. OTOH it could be something serious. Suggest having an RV service pro take a look. Finally, has the coach been lived in FT? if so, look really deep for other issues. If you decide to take a second look, let us know.
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Old 08-22-2015, 11:17 AM   #4
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By all means, take a test drive even if you don't want the coach. See what the ride feels like for comparison.

I would replace all tires ASAP. Plan on $3,000 to $3,600 as a ballpark number.

45K miles is not a lot of miles for a DP of that age. My '04 has more than twice the miles.

The only thing I would add to the above very good posts posts is that WRV used good quality cabinets, etc. Once back in shape, it should be a solid coach. Obviously it needs some TLC. If you can DIY, so much for the better.
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Old 08-22-2015, 12:43 PM   #5
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Hello John and Welcome to IRV2 and the Alpine Coach Forum.

The 2000 Alpine did not come from WRV with an Aluminum radiator. At that time, WRV used a Copper core and steel headers. The aluminum you see from the side of the Alpine is the Charge Air Cooler/Intercooler and Trans Cooler; they sit in front of the radiator.
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Old 08-22-2015, 02:16 PM   #6
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I would find another in near perfect condition.
Dan and Patty
"04" Alpine 34' FDDS
Saratoga, CA
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Old 08-22-2015, 06:17 PM   #7
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Why does the present owner not get the windshields replaced by his insurance company?

I have staining on the ceiling around my shower sky light and I think most of it came about on our around the country trip in 2009 from showering in high humidity. I cannot figure out where you are? By the way, hydrogen peroxide in the 3% dilution found at drug stores helps with the discoloration, but will not remove all.

Some of my lights are dirty around the recessed area. I think this is due to electrostatic attraction and not a leak issue.

Foggy windows have been discussed.

I would guess most of us with older Cummins engines have replaced the mainifold.

My radiator is still leak free at 100,000 miles.

Tires are easy.

How is the exterior?

You should drive it just because.
2001 34' Alpine Coach
2008 Jeep Rubicon or 2012 Ford F150 4x4 Lariat towds
or a couple of different trailers
Retired in Apple Valley, California
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Old 08-23-2015, 07:14 AM   #8
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Others have/will comment on the price--my view, based on the overall condition of the coach, is that it was not very well cared for--even with only 40k miles on it. Who knows what else might be wrong with it?????

Suspect there are any number of Alpine coaches available on the market at this age and price range. Like many old houses--Alpines have a great reputation for having "good bones." If you are handy and want to have a "fixer-upper"--drive the price down and go for it. Otherwise, look for something in better condition [better cared for] and begin to enjoy it sooner--IMHO......
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Old 08-23-2015, 11:24 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the great replies an advice. Most of the issues can be corrected for a price, the unknown that i wonder about was the ceiling. The owner told me that her husband had sealed whole roof two years ago. I wonder if that was because they started seeing leaking and then sealed up the roof? Its hard because I don't have all the info because the husband is gone and I can't talk to him.

I think I will keep looking. I would love to find an Alpine that was owned by someone who took care of it from day one, who was proactive instead of reactive about maintenance, because thats how I am. (I still have my first car since I was 18)

I appreciate all the help and if anyone knows of a clean one for sale let me know
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Old 08-25-2015, 02:20 PM   #10
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Hi John,

All good replies and suggestions you've gotten so far.

I'll add my two cents worth: have the brakes checked (calipers). The older Alpines (and other brands) have a known issue with sticking caliper pistons -- I've had to redo mine twice (the first repair was sub-standard). I have the brake fluid changed every other year.

The other thing is you should definitely drive it. We considered buying a new coach and test drove a new Newmar Ventana on 'sale' for about $280K. Both of us drove it and both of us were amazed at how poorly it handled in comparison to our Alpine. It was bouncy, underpowered and rattled more than our 15 year old coach.

And finally, I think the coach you are looking at is overpriced. I suspect we could get about $35K for our coach which is in better condition than the one you are looking at. We have the fogged headlights and a few cosmetic issues, but nothing like what you described above.

We figure we could drop $10K a year for a few years into our coach upgrading the entertainment system, fixing the cracked countertop and/or redoing the cabinetry and re-flooring (which we've already done) and/or new paint and still be light years ahead of buying a new coach!

Oh, and we still have the original radiator with no issues as well (I'd better knock on wood!)

2000 Alpine 36' Mid-door, Single slide
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