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Old 10-18-2011, 02:39 PM   #1
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Buying our first MH

We are buying our first motorhome!! 1985 Pace Arrow 34ft with 66k miles, 12k on brand new 454. Overall it's in nice shape, except it'll need a frig replaced & new awnings. Anything I should be aware of on these units that can be shared would be appreciated . Will this tow a minivan? Or will that be to heavy ?
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:30 PM   #2
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We are buying our first motorhome!! Pace Arrow 34ft with 66k miles, 12k on brand new 454. Overall it's in nice1985 shape, except it'll need a frig replaced & new awnings. Anything I should be aware of on these units that can be shared would be appreciated . Will this tow a minivan? Or will that be to heavy ?
85 Pace Arrow, was my last MH before i got my current Southwind.
if it is good shape you will like it, not to sure about pulling a mini van. i towed a dodge cavalier on a dolly and it worked fine. you will want to watch your speed with that 454 without over-drive. it is geared quite low, i had to stay at or below 55 mph or it sucked the gas real fast. about 6.5mpg is the best i could do.

check your front air bags for proper inflation. and if you have that dreaded tic, tic, tic, you will have to put new gaskets on the exhaust.
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:17 PM   #3
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Did you get better mpg not towing ? The seller says he gets 8 mpg
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:29 PM   #4
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Check the ceiling, the walls adjoining the ceiling front to rear both sides, and walls below all windows for stains of any kind, peeling wallpaper or soft paneling. I would walk if you find anything. Same story if the roof appears to be sagging under the weight of an AC. The cross members are metal - and they can rust.
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:26 PM   #5
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My dad had an 85 pace arrow! It was a nice rig, we never towed anything behind it but that 454 would pull and pull, and drink and drink! He claimed it got about 8 when he drove it, I never got that when I did. The issues he ran into was that the sewer pipes are right at the back, don't go thru even a slight ditch (I don't really want to say who was driving when that disaster happened) as well as he replaced the fridge and finally, the majority of the rear end as his sat so much that the gears NOT sitting in the oil rusted. Cost him about $2,800.00 1998 dollars (if I have the year correct) Ever since that happened to him I have changed the rear end fluid in every used vehicle I have bought....I was always impressed with his Pace Arrow, hopefully you will enjoy yours as much as Dad loved his!
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:22 AM   #6
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if he truly got 8 mpg i would be surprised. maybe at 45mph but not any faster. no over-drive and geared low.
not towing was about the same. that coach will pull anything with power to spare. just have to remember the coach and hitch towing weights.
i only get about 7 mpg with my current coach with the 460 ford with OD.
you know the old saying, "if you want better mpg just lie about it"


good luck with your decision. and happy travels.

PS check undercarriage for RUST.
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:58 AM   #7
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An average of 8 miles to the gallon in a 454 is remarkable. I did get 10 mpg with my 84 Sportscoach once in Texas but I suspect that I must have had a tail wind or got some good gas some place. My average gas mileage was between 5 and 6 mpg.
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:27 AM   #8
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I'll have to look at it this way. I'll have about 5k in it. To get a unit that gets better mpg I'd have to spend 15-20k. Id burn slot of gas to make that differance
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Old 10-19-2011, 05:21 PM   #9
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With the 454, I've had problems with belts, and after I picked up my coach, blew the transmission on the way home. I knew it had a leak, just thought it wasn't leaking "that bad". Like anything of this vintage, expect little problems. Brakes seem to be a big one. Most of the ones I looked at either had all the brakes including the hoses replaced, or they needed them replaced. AC systems both couch and chassis are getting old and are hard to find freon for. They often result in conversion to R134 for the chassis AC, and replacement of the roof ac unit rather than repair. Tires are always a subject of discusion (age, not tread depth). Furnace blower motors seem to be another issue for older couches, as are upholstery and floor covering issues. And lets not forget to check VERY carefully for water leaks.
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:19 PM   #10
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I had a 454 in my '93 Bounder. With the fuel injected engine I averaged a little over 8 mpg. That is over 55,000 miles of driving. My son has it now and the RV has 107,000 miles on it. It does, however, have the 4 speed automatic trans and the full Banks system on it. The Banks improved the power but didn't do any thing to increase the milage.
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:53 PM   #11
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We are buying our first motorhome!! 1985 Pace Arrow 34ft with 66k miles, 12k on brand new 454. Overall it's in nice shape, except it'll need a frig replaced & new awnings. Anything I should be aware of on these units that can be shared would be appreciated . Will this tow a minivan? Or will that be to heavy ?
If you don't mind me asking what are you paying for it? I only ask cause I'm looking at one myself.
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Old 10-19-2011, 10:17 PM   #12
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We bought it for 3k. Needs a frig., or frig repair it's in very nice shape overall.
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Old 10-19-2011, 11:00 PM   #13
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I suspect your hitch is 5000 pound rated---could be less or more but you need to find out for sure. When you know what your rig weighs loaded as you would use it you can subtract that from your GCWR and that will tell you what weight you can tow---safely.
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Old 10-19-2011, 11:38 PM   #14
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Me ? Always.... 8mpg towing 3000lb nissan 4x4. 454ci.... OD trans. running 3rd gear alot on hills. Never drive over 70mph. 55mph in 3rd.
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