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Old 05-11-2015, 09:55 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 41
Buying our first motorhome

My wife and I are looking into getting our first motorhome. We came across a deal but we aren't sure if it's a good one. It's a 97 holiday rambler endeavor le f53 chassis "I think" and the ford 460 efi motor. It's a single slide with the tag axle. Just had new tires put on it aswell. It's got a little body damage but nothing crazy. Interior is perfect. It's got 45k miles. And the onan 7k has 991 hours. The motorhome started right straight up. And so did the onan. The onan had a light grey smoke. To me looked like ether plugs, old gas or carb adjustment was out. I would be trading my harley that's worth about 11-12k which according to nada the motor home is worth over 20k with adding all the options it had. The motor had a cracked exhaust manifold on the left side which would be replaced by him and the motor had what sounded like a whining belt pully. Nothing major. We decided not to drive it tell the exhaust was fixed. We are wanting to know if it's worth it with the issues it has. I'm highly mechanically inclined. And I'm a automotive refinisher by trade. And we're worried if it would be a huge money pit. Since I'm 31 and my wife is 27 we feel excited that at our age we could get our first motorhome. Please tell us your thoughts and opinions. And thanks in advance.

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Old 05-11-2015, 10:00 AM   #2
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Good luck with you decision, I'd be of no help to you with this.

John & Cathy R.
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:24 AM   #3
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It sounds like most of this is a good deal, but be sure you inspect the entire coach carefully for water leaks. Any water leak can cause damage that be very expensive to correct.

Remember it is a Truck with a House on the back. And, it is near 20 years old.

When it comes to the chassis (truck part), at that age, all the rubber parts are suspect. The tires are a given and if they are close to 7yo, they can go at any time. But all the hoses and belts have to be looked at carefully.

I can't imagine having a coach that new.

A lifelong waterman and his bride going dry places for as long as the fuel money lasts.
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:38 AM   #4
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I had a 97 HR Vacationer, 34 ft, but no slideout and no tag axle. It was solidly built and we put 18000 miles on it in 18 months. Shortcomings are: goes up hills very slowly, 16" tires have a tendency to overload. We had three blowouts on new tires. I finally gave up on Cooper tires and put Michelins on it and never had another problem, we had to replace the drive shaft universals.
Check the rear end bushings (rubber). As I said, ours did not have a slideout. We sold it with 94000 miles on it in 2009 for $12000. It was in as perfect shape as could be for a 12 year old coach. NO problems. I think it now being 2015, it should be about an even trade for your Harley, especially if it needs tires. By the way, if you are reading NADA, be aware options that were standard on an Endeavor don't get counted.

So, yes I think it is a good coach, but overpriced.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:37 AM   #5
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4 tires had been replaced less then a year ago. But the others are michelins. There was no water damage that could be found. I roughly know the areas to check.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:37 AM   #6
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I'm enjoying all the great feedback. And this seems like a awesome forum!
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:07 PM   #7
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That's funny... when you said "cracked exhaust manifold" I heard "tip of the iceberg."

That's me trying to be funny and make a point at the same time. But honestly... why would you want something that needs so much work when there are so many great deals on older coaches out there?

If this coach is like the Taj Mahal inside, I get that, and maybe that makes it worth it. But a quick oodle.com search came up with over a hundred models of that vintage and type... way too many options to saddle yourself with a potential money pit.

And, by the way... it is exciting. I wish we had started in our 30's - I feel like we missed out on so much. Best of luck on whichever you choose!
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pulling a 2013 Ford Edge Limited

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Old 05-11-2015, 12:21 PM   #8
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If you open the " Files " drop box , left side of the blue bar , under your welcome message , you can find and print out a " Buyers Check List " to take with you when you go through the coach, it's set up for diesel pushers, but many of the items overlap to gassers.
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:46 PM   #9
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I have the same chassis under my Bounder. It is a great l first coach. The exhaust manifold leak in all probability comes from a broken exhaust bolt. It is a very common problem with the 460 engines. Replace with long tube headers and you will never have that problem again. The 16 inch tires are fine, and reasonable. I bought a new umounted bfg for a spare for 187 bucks. Loaded, We are well within mcg loads limits. Towing our golf cart on 5x10 mesh trailer from Charlotte to Disney, no ac, got 8.3 mpg, kept it around 2600 rpms which is 61 mph. As for price, IF I were to want to sell, 18k would be my bottom dollar. If you have any questions please let me know. Good luck!!!
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:52 PM   #10
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Welcome to IRV 2! Do as others have suggested. Your a mechanic and your bartering one item for another. Sure there are like coaches but how many owners are willing to barter? It's an old coach, it WILL have issues. HR built a very good product so it's got good bones I'd go for it once you've completed a thorough inspection. Heck man your young and if it's a bag get rid of it. Have some fun, I too wish I'd started with a MH instead of a tent then for years a pop up. Best wishes!
Clay & Pebble.. Miss Butter our sweet Goldie (Jan. 2005-Jan. 2015) Sissy our Border Collie
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Old 05-11-2015, 02:32 PM   #11
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Yes, it is hard finding someone that's willing to barter. The guy is putting I think 4 brand new batterys, replacing a fogged up double pain window. Along with fixing the exhaust problem. New wipers, I've just been on the fence about it not sure if I'd end up getting screwed. I believe they are worth the same amount nontheless. I feel as if we get it after everything checks out if we didn't like it we could use it as barter material. It kinda floors me someone would trade something you can live in that is as nice as it is on the inside for a motocycle. With the exceptions of the small problems is has I do feel as if it's a good deal. I'm still loving all the advise. I'm amazed by you all. It's like a community...
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Old 05-11-2015, 02:45 PM   #12
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Old 05-11-2015, 03:05 PM   #13
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If this guy is into bartering for things, I would imagine it is much easier to barter away a MC than it is a MH. With that being said make sure what the going price would be for similar MH's, and that everything is checked out from top to bottom. If it appears you are getting everything he said he would(ask for receipts)do, and the price is appropriate for the age and condition, you really have nothing to lose. Most likely you will love MH'ing and will want to upgrade in a few years, and it will be paid for so that will be your next down payment.
Mike & Charlotte
2014 Newmar Canyon Star 3610
Orange County, California
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Old 05-11-2015, 03:52 PM   #14
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Broken exhaust manifold bolts are typical on the 460. I would recommend replacing with headers if possible. Thorley and Gibson both make "RV" headers. They will not break bolts and they will allow the engine to breath a little better and probably run cooler. I would also look at a Banks Trans-command for your transmission. Firms up the shift points and improves drivability.

Palm Springs, CA - 2005 National Tropi Cal 370LX on a Freightliner, Cat 350 power. Towing a Rinker R1 - Lake Havasu Bound!!
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