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Old 10-04-2012, 09:56 PM   #1
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My first RV

My wife and I have been kicking around buying a RV and came across an older A class. It's a 1986 Gulfstream Classic 28ft. It has a 454 engine with 60k miles. It has newer fridge and interior is in great condition. Has pull out awnings, etc. generator works good. Are these good RV's ? Should I keep looking? Any reconditions or advice would be good. What's the value of an RV like this? Nada has it for $2500 but I haven't seen one even close to that price, all in the 5-6k range. Thanks in Advance
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:19 PM   #2
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While I can't help you with that particular model, I can offer some suggestions as to what to look for in a used mh. I didn't follow my own advice and it has cost me an additional $1k so far. ( We got a "good deal" on a 94 Fleetwood Southwind.)

Go through ALL the systems--make sure they work. DO NOT accept "Oh, sorry, I don't have propane in the tank so I can't show you (water-heater, heater, stove, oven, etc.) Same for no fresh water in the tank so I can't show you the pump, water-flow, etc. See if they can turn the fridge on a day or so before you go look at it to give it time to cool. Bring an "instant read" thermometer with you.

Don't be afraid to climb up on the roof or under the chassis. If it has levelers, make sure they go up and down--several times. Make sure the generator starts and stops--again several times.

OH, and one thing I didn't know about when shopping for our gem, tire date codes. Check 'em. Depending on who you listen to, if they are 5, 7, or 10 years old they will need replacing no matter how good they look.

And I think it goes without saying but, don't forget to test drive it, not only on the street but freeway as well.

I know this may come off as sounding a little bitter and I really don't mean too. It is just that I didn't do all these things. Most of the stuff worked in the driveway of the individual we bought it from. Once I got it home, however, and looked at things closely, that's when I started to notice the warts and moles.

BUT, now I know a WHOLE LOT more about MY RV's systems, so I guess in the long run, this has been a good thing.

Good luck with your shopping and hope you end up with the perfect RV for you and yours.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:20 PM   #3
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Hello,
Some of the older units were framed with wood, I am not an expert as to when the construction method ended for specific brands and manufacturers. The other thing is to look at the roof and make sure there are no leaks there, the same goes for the window frames and any thing attached to the walls on the outside. My first rig was a 1988 class C- but it was an aluminum framed with fiberglass walls, within the first two months one wall de-laminated around a big picture window, but the manufacturer tore the wall off and put a new one one. As luck would have it the rig was parked outside and it rained like the dickens on it. Can you imagine the rigs are generally only warranted for 1 yr! by the assembler brand. After that you are on your own with the individual manufacturers and most of those are also a year or two. The engine and transmission also have their own individual warranty. Its a crazy or shall we say loose goose type thing but he we the consumers are accepting less and less and so we slide into the disposable mentality at an ever increasing pace.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbill001 View Post
While I can't help you with that particular model, I can offer some suggestions as to what to look for in a used mh. I didn't follow my own advice and it has cost me an additional $1k so far. ( We got a "good deal" on a 94 Fleetwood Southwind.)

Go through ALL the systems--make sure they work. DO NOT accept "Oh, sorry, I don't have propane in the tank so I can't show you (water-heater, heater, stove, oven, etc.) Same for no fresh water in the tank so I can't show you the pump, water-flow, etc. See if they can turn the fridge on a day or so before you go look at it to give it time to cool. Bring an "instant read" thermometer with you.

Don't be afraid to climb up on the roof or under the chassis. If it has levelers, make sure they go up and down--several times. Make sure the generator starts and stops--again several times.

OH, and one thing I didn't know about when shopping for our gem, tire date codes. Check 'em. Depending on who you listen to, if they are 5, 7, or 10 years old they will need replacing no matter how good they look.

And I think it goes without saying but, don't forget to test drive it, not only on the street but freeway as well.

I know this may come off as sounding a little bitter and I really don't mean too. It is just that I didn't do all these things. Most of the stuff worked in the driveway of the individual we bought it from. Once I got it home, however, and looked at things closely, that's when I started to notice the warts and moles.

BUT, now I know a WHOLE LOT more about MY RV's systems, so I guess in the long run, this has been a good thing.

Good luck with your shopping and hope you end up with the perfect RV for you and yours.
Some really great advice here. Better to check everything first before you buy, because once you sign the dotted line it's yours.

There is soooooo much stuff on a RV that you will cringe and your wallet will shrink quickly if you buy a machine needing a lot of repairs from "hidden" problems.

trust me

Test drive and TEST everything before buying
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:01 AM   #5
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Some really great advice here. Better to check everything first before you buy, because once you sign the dotted line it's yours.

There is soooooo much stuff on a RV that you will cringe and your wallet will shrink quickly if you buy a machine needing a lot of repairs from "hidden" problems.

trust me

Test drive and TEST everything before buying
You wallet is going to shrink quickly with any rv. However if you don't check everything throughly the shrinkage will occur at a much quicker pace. You are looking at a 26 year old house on wheels that you could very quickly have way more in it than its worth, and way more hobby than you may want. As to the value reguardless of the age I doubt you will find any M/H that is reasonable condition with everything working for $2500.00. After they get that old they are worth what ever you feel comfortable paying for them, but the 4-8k range is not unreasonable provideing everything works. Also one other thing folks over look on older coaches is frame rust, rust on steel brake lines, dry rotted rubber (brake hoses, heater and rad hoses)
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thelotking View Post
My wife and I have been kicking around buying a RV and came across an older A class. It's a 1986 Gulfstream Classic 28ft. It has a 454 engine with 60k miles. It has newer fridge and interior is in great condition. Has pull out awnings, etc. generator works good. Are these good RV's ? Should I keep looking? Any reconditions or advice would be good. What's the value of an RV like this? Nada has it for $2500 but I haven't seen one even close to that price, all in the 5-6k range. Thanks in Advance
A full tank of gas is a must. You will thank me. Good luck and seeya on the road.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:08 AM   #7
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Welcome to the forum and good luck...
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:20 AM   #8
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It is well worth the cost of a couple of hours at a good RV tech to check all of the systems and make sure all work OK. A MoHo of that age can develope problems by the time you drive around the corner.

Look really hard for water leaks.....
Check the date codes on the tires....max of 5 years old.
Plan to change engine and generator oil, change transmission fluid, check brakes, and engie belts and hoses.

Ken
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:29 AM   #9
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It is well worth the cost of a couple of hours at a good RV tech to check all of the systems and make sure all work OK. A MoHo of that age can develope problems by the time you drive around the corner.

Look really hard for water leaks.....
Check the date codes on the tires....max of 5 years old.
Plan to change engine and generator oil, change transmission fluid, check brakes, and engie belts and hoses.

Ken
Right on,
Its like buying a house that has been exposed to lots or earth quakes, winds at super storm level, rains at tsunami level and shocks at super seismic levels . Then there is the automobile side that is generally like buying a vehicle that has been pushing a big cube around with tons of weight on its back and then sitting idle for long periods!
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
It is well worth the cost of a couple of hours at a good RV tech to check all of the systems and make sure all work OK. A MoHo of that age can develope problems by the time you drive around the corner.

Look really hard for water leaks.....
Check the date codes on the tires....max of 5 years old.
Plan to change engine and generator oil, change transmission fluid, check brakes, and engie belts and hoses.

Ken
I agree with everything , except Before you change the trans fluid, should you buy it, do some research on changing the trans fluid on older transmissions... Most "experts, (I'm no expert) " will say Don't change the fluid if it has more than 40,000 miles on it. I've done it, and got away with it,, (not on our MH) just saying as you are doing the correct thing asking questions, ask this also at maybe a Good transmission shop. Reason being new fluid is thinner and more slippery than the old stuff, and with normal wear, the bands and clutches will slip, especially pulling this kind of weight. I'm sure people will come on here saying it's no problem, glad they got away with it. Just look in to it...
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:21 AM   #11
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My advice is to run as far away as you can get as quickly as possible. 1980 to1989 coaches all have carburators and the later in the timescale, they had the most Rube Goldberg, complicated smog control equipment you've ever seen.

We started out with an '85 with the Ford 460. It was a 26' Class A which averaged 6 mpg at sea-level and less than 5 in the hills. I understand, from a colleague who worked in the auto industry at the time, that engines were deliberately set to run rich so there was enough unburned fuel going into the exhaust system for the catalytic converter to work well enough to meet the smog rules. You may remember the early 2-liter Pinto only got about 16 mpg.

This rich setting resulted in very hot exhaust manifolds and high underhood temperatures. In our old rig, a long climb at full throttle and low speed would get the surface of the doghouse inside the cab hot enough to melt soles of sneakers. In that particular rig, the doghouse was painted inside the cab, but had the foil-covered Fiberglas on the engine side. I understand that if you did a climb like that at night, you could see the red glow under the hood from the manifolds.

We had several expensive repairs on that rig because of the hot engine compartment and we finally got fed up and dumped it. I figured each night out cost about $400!

I think all the major chassis types got fuel injection beginning an 1990 or 91, initally throttle-body injection. Sequential port injection became standard around the 96 model year, but I don't know what the individual chassis makers did.

I'm sure the vintage folks will take issue with my comments, and if your a good mechanic, it may be of less concern to you.

Another gotcha that I didn't realise the significance of was that the guy I bought it from was a snowmobiler. He and three buddies used the rig as a base for winter sports. We had a lot of moisture problems even though there were no leaks from outside. They had "dried off" their gear inside the RV!
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:57 PM   #12
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I suppose it all depends on how bad you want it, how much you'll enjoy the rv'ing lifestyle, and how good a do it yourselfer you are.

A 2 plus decade old class a that is perfect and needs nothing would be worth a bunch. Unfortunately there is no way to know it needs nothing until you've camped in it and put some miles on it.

Best to assume it needs a lot.

If you can handle that... yourself... and the unit shows no sign at all of water ever getting inside, then it could be a good buy for you.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:30 PM   #13
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I suppose everyone who has bought an older rig will all have somewhat different experiences. It's a pretty safe bet though, that you're going to find things that need repaired as you start going over the various systems and working the bugs out.

Our experience:

In July of this year, we bought our first RV. It is a '94 holiday rambler, 35', diesel pusher. In it's day, it was considered an entry level diesel pusher, and for us, 18 years later, it's finally affordable. lol We didn't pay a whole lot of money for it, which is good cause we've put a small fortune into it since then. Luckily I have been able to do all the mechanical work myself or we would be way in over our heads. So far, it's been rear brakes and rotors, 6 new 19.5" tires ($$), new water pump, new serpentine belt, rebuilt alternator, new belt tensioner bearings, and a new radiator. What's left to do that we know about: new injector return fuel line, replace tranny cooling line to radiator, service the generator (adjust valves, inspect/replace generator head bearings, etc.) and reupholster the couch, chair, and dinette. What's left to do that we don't know about: God only knows.

The cost of repairs can accumulate rapidly... very rapidly. Be prepared when you buy something that old to find tons of things that need attention. I'm not saying it's a bad idea to buy older equipment... we did, and even with all the repairs we're still going to do ok... just be cautious and informed about what you're getting in to, and expect surprises.

cheers
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:01 PM   #14
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I couldn't really add much that everyone has not already said, just go into it with your eyes open, even obvious needs, need not be a deal breaker, or a reason to stay clear if you are aware and know what you are getting into. Personally I bought a 32' Class A in July, since then I have wanted to cry as things started to become issues that I did not count on, and seriously I really did think I bought smart. However, now nearly 4 months and 4 thousand miles later I couldn't be happier, it has been awesome. Just don't exspect to buy the coach and be done spending, it just doesn't work that way, between repairs and upgrades it appears to be never ending, but man is it fun! My wife has started an RV escrow account for me as I am always begging money for wants/needs as far as it goes. Newxt up is replacing the carpet with tile, then paint over the wallpaper, then a upholstery class at the local Vo-Tech so I can redo the couch, seats, and benches. Good times! Even if the first one isn't the dream one, the learning experience is invaluable!
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