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Old 05-18-2013, 10:20 PM   #1
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Rexhall Owners Group
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Location: L.A.
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1991 Beaver Contessa 36

Looked at this coach today. It's in decent shape with a price so low it makes me nervous. I'm looking for any information good or bad on this and similar coaches. It has 69,000 miles on a CAT 3116 with 250 HP.

The good... newer tires on rear, new refrigerator, new toilet, water pump and filter.

The bad...clear coat is peeling off in sheets with many large areas that have bubbles and will likely peel off with little more than a gentle brushing. The coach has only been driven about 10,000 during the past 10 years that the current owner has owned it. Fuel economy average is 6 mpg. Dash air and front roof a/c not working. Fuel gauge does not work. There are a few other minor things but all in all a good solid coach. If we buy it, we'd be prepared to put at least $10,000 into repairs.

A few questions.

Is $10,000 adequate if the engine doesn't need major work?

I'm thinking it has a 228 wheelbase which would put the ratio at approximately 52%. Is this adequate for handling?

The coach is pretty slow up a decent grade. Can the 3116 engine HP be increased?

What is the towing capacity. I'm thinking 5,000 but need more like 10,000. Is that possible?

All comments appreciated.

Thanks,

GaryB1st
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:52 AM   #2
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We recently sold our 1991 Beaver which we had for 19 years. The 1990 through 1993 Beavers have been called the beast coaches that Beaver ever made. A friend bought ours, he's delighted and now full time in it.

At a price of 10K, and if you're prepared to do a little work, I'd go for it. It may be a little slow, but it will get you there. We had a continuous average of about 8.5 mpg and did as good as 10.4 with our CAT 3176 in a 40' Marquis. The mileage you stated sounds to low for that coach.

Our's also had the problem of clear coat pealing all along the curve between the roof and sides. We just lived with it. Just make sure the seams are well caulked and don't use silicon caulk. You can try this treatment on the pealing clearcoat. did the ZEP (Red Max Pro) treatment today on my 98 Discovery Also see Bodywork shine - Red Max Pro 3 no longer avail - ZEP is same product :-)

First thing is change all the fluids, replace any tires over 7 years old, make sure the transmission air shifter is in good working condition, and enjoy the coach.

I've got quite a collection of Beaver parts sources etc. Send me a PM if you get the coach and I'll be happy to send you copies.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:52 AM   #3
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Chet, thank you for the reply. I will send you a PM if we move forward with this one.

Gary
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:22 PM   #4
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If you are expecting other people to do the work then $10k won't work. If you can do the work yourself then $10k can practically rebuild the coach - I know as I have redone 3 to various standards.

That's assuming that the drivetrain is good - if not then all bets are off.

As for the exterior, there is no easy fix - wetsand and recoat the clear. You can DIY ok in sections or do the prep and just pay to get it sprayed.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveclv View Post
If you are expecting other people to do the work then $10k won't work. If you can do the work yourself then $10k can practically rebuild the coach - I know as I have redone 3 to various standards.

That's assuming that the drivetrain is good - if not then all bets are off.

As for the exterior, there is no easy fix - wetsand and recoat the clear. You can DIY ok in sections or do the prep and just pay to get it sprayed.
This project will be a learning experience. First to test my patients and then to determine if I can pick up enough knowledge to do these things myself. I'll likely try to do everything but the drivetrain myself. If I get the Contessa, I'll definitely be sending you PMs.
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:47 AM   #6
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Like you, my first was a learning experience and after that it became a lot easier.

My budget was always limited and I learned to shop around on eBay and craigslist for a lot of parts, especially interior. If you keep an open mind as to exactly what you need then you can save a lot - for example I found a 'scratch & dent' convection microwave for one coach - list at $600 and I bid on eBay and paid $105 - the dent was on the side, it was in a cabinet, not even DW knew about it
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:33 AM   #7
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Another buyer bought it before I had a chance to drive it. I think it went for about $7,000. It was listed for $8,000.

Thanks for all the input.
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