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Old 10-11-2012, 02:43 PM   #1
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New member needs advice on Dolphin purchase

Hello All,

I am a new member needing some advice. My wife and I are looking at a 1999 Dolphin with a V-10 engine. It has around 32,000 miles on it. The owner is asking $27,000 but says it is negotiable. We are considering a trade plus cash-we have a 1981 Chrysler Imperial in great shape that we have been trying to sell. We have never bought a motor home. Do not know much about them. We would very much appreciate some honest advice/info about this particular brand. What are specific problems with the Dolphin, pros and cons etc... Also, does the price he is asking seem fair. It would be very much appreciated anyone taking the time to help us.
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:58 PM   #2
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It all depends on size, condition and add-ons. I just bought a 1995 Thor 30ft with a lot of upgrades, 56,000 km on it for $12,000. The price seems a bit high to me, but I don't know enough about the particular unit.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:31 PM   #3
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I bought a '99 Dolphin on the Ford F53 chassis (V10 motor) in March '10. We bought it in Florida from a RV repair shop selling it on consignment for a friend. We paid $20,000 cash (asking $25,000). 41,000 mi on the odometer and 1000hrs on the generator.

Outside was good, just needed a good wash and wax. Tires only a few years old and looked new. Batteries were a few years old, but Trojan T-105s and in good shape.

Interior was in good shape but original except for newer beige carpet. We had been looking fairly seriously for two years. This was definately it and have never regretted it. National RV made a very good coach in their day. They went out of business in '08, but that's not a concern.

If it ckecks out good, you want that coach if the price is right. Check the DOT date codes on the tires. If they are 6-7 years old, they will need replaced soon at the tune of $3000. Good tire tread means nothing on RV tires. I could go on and on but have to go. If you are interested, send me a private message and we can hookup on the phone.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:44 PM   #4
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My Breeze was the only MH I looked at that didn't have something I didn't like. National made a very good coach. I don't know anything about a Dolphin, but you can't go wrong with a National brand. Mine was on consignment for 39. I offered 32. They countered with 32.9 and I owned it.

Just get it checked out by someone else with a MH or a competent MH mechanic. Oh, and forum rules: If you buy it, you must post pictures.



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Old 10-11-2012, 07:34 PM   #5
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Welcome to the board!:med:
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:46 PM   #6
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Dolphins are nice, but that's not a steal....that's a $15- $19k motorhome in most markets. If you can beat his price down A LOT, then make him think your 81 Imperial is worth a fortune, you might have some leverage. I have no clue what price you want out of your 81 318V8 Imperial (if it's clean, I know what it's worth), but if convince him it's worth more, you might have yourself a steal!
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:27 PM   #7
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1999 Dolphin

Details, details! What is the length? 33'? 36'? Makes a difference in price. Where are you located? Pricing is different in different parts of the country.

Almost 2 years ago I sold my 1998 Dolphin model 5330 w/460 Ford for $22,500. It was in great shape with 42,000 miles. Added Banks PowerPack Exhaust system, 2 year old tires/shocks.

Depending on model, condition, age of tires and location, I suggest a price somewhere in the $20K range.

As mentioned by others, National RV made a great coach. As you can see in my sig, I stayed in the NRV family by purchasing a 2005 Sea Breeze.

If you do buy it, join FMCA then seek out the local National RV Owners club in your area.

Happy Trails!

Darryl
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingdomfg View Post
Hello All,

I am a new member needing some advice. My wife and I are looking at a 1999 Dolphin with a V-10 engine. It has around 32,000 miles on it. The owner is asking $27,000 but says it is negotiable. We are considering a trade plus cash-we have a 1981 Chrysler Imperial in great shape that we have been trying to sell. We have never bought a motor home. Do not know much about them. We would very much appreciate some honest advice/info about this particular brand. What are specific problems with the Dolphin, pros and cons etc... Also, does the price he is asking seem fair. It would be very much appreciated anyone taking the time to help us.
Is it the 37ft model with a tag axle? The engine is the first year for the V10 and a little under powered for a large coach but still reliable and most are happy enough with them. As for the coach itself, National Dolphins and the like are hard to beat for that era. If it's really nice and sound running with tires that aren't too old, then a purchase in the low 20's would be a decent buy IMO.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:39 AM   #9
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If you get serious about buying......find an experienced RV service person and have all the coach equipment checked out. Drive it there or have him come to the seller.

Also find a Ford engine/trans mechanic and have that aspect checked out.

You probably will not qualify for an extended service contract. Too old (not you, the RV)
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:10 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the input. It is 33ft and no tag axle. We are located in Oregon, Portland area, about an hour from the coast. I worked at a tire shop for several years. Tires have about 80 percent on them. Curious about size of gas tank and what gas mileage would be-probably could get all that from the owner. Was wondering if there are any particular mechanical issues to watch out for-whether certain parts typically need replaced often, or what appliances, parts go first. The cost to replace these parts/appliances. How often on oil changes. I was a diesel mechanic for 12 years for a local rock quarry and have done most all of the mechanic work on my Imperial. Never worked on a Ford V10 engine, are they easy to work on? On Imperial, blue book 10 years ago was $6,500. It is a rare car, been to many, many car shows and never seen one like it. When it is not driven, it is kept under carport away from any type of weather conditions. I drove a dump truck for the rock quarry for about 22 years before retiring, so I have been on the road a lot.
Thanks for all the info. I will be sure to keep everyone updated.

Don
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:00 AM   #11
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Gas tank is 75 gal. Typically you should get 7 - 8 MPG, depending on your right foot. All my major appliances are original, frig, stove, furnace, HWH, generator and both ACs. Generally you never need to replace these. Problems are usually with HWH but fixed with replacement parts. Had to replace a controller board on the generator once, $125.

The Ford F53 chassis is a good one as well as the drive train. The V10 is good for 100,000 mi before a spark plug change. A good 5W20 synthetic every 5-7000 miles and grease once a year. I have 119,000 miles on the V10's little brother, the 5.4L. Never changed the plugs yet and I only had to change out a coil once in all that time. Serpentine is still original too.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:51 AM   #12
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What's an HWH?



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Old 10-12-2012, 11:56 AM   #13
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It's a 12v controlled device incorporated into the plumbing system on most RVs. Basically, a cold water pipe goes into it, it holds water, the water is heated by propane (some 120v) then it's sent out another pipe to the faucets. Usually the left faucet. It's commonly called a Hot Water Heater
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:19 PM   #14
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If the water is already hot, why would you want to heat it? You knew this was coming.



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2004 32' National Sea Breeze 1311 Class A on a F-53 Chassis, CHF, TST TPMS, 5Star Tune.
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Cheap Handling Fix Poll. Click Here to vote?
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