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Old 12-11-2012, 11:42 AM   #1
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Old units - 1980 thru 2000

I see a lot of old class 'A' motorhomes still on the road. Kinda proves they were built for the long run. What is the secret of keeping these rigs on the road? If you have one of these rigs I would like to know how many miles you got and if you used any special maintenance routines. Like using synthetic oils, seal windows and inspect the roof 4 times per year, wash and wax 4 times a year etc.

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Old 12-11-2012, 12:38 PM   #2
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well we just bought our '97 london aire and it has very good and thick gel coat..It does have cracks in the gell coat but not thru the glass mats so its cosmetic,,the service i got when i bought mine was great, they changed the oil and tranny fluid and serviced the gen also...and all systems checked and working....thats is important when buying from private as you dont get that stuff done...the inside was taken care of.ect...oh also i got a fuel ticket to fill the tank and it took 108.6 gallons...so if you dont mind a few cosmetics the older class a DP's are great if you get a good deal..and i dont plan on any synthetics jsut the good ol'e dino...and mine was 250 thousand less than when it was new...at $38,700.I really want to aint mine in camo color and the reason is besides i like it are that i could sand and re-fiberglass the few cracks and paint as i go and when done just put some clear coat on if needed......jeff

' Had a London Aire..350hp sparton chassis... with all the good stuff from the time.. Just traded for a 2007 Alfa gold!! ya and picked up yesterday 9-24-16
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:25 PM   #3
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I would think that because of the purchase price that a lot of the older coaches, attracted the type of owners that cared for them and spent the $$$ to maintain the units. The heavy duty drive trains insured that the coaches would be around for a long time.
A lot of the units saw low mileage use; for whatever reason, fuel cost?; and when the original owners traded up or stoped RVing others took up the care and maintenance.
I moved up to a Class A, for the flat floor and the floor area overall. NO way that I would consider towing a trailer or 5er with this amount of space. When I was looking to upgrade, due to age and mileage on the truck and 5er that I had, the purchace price of my used A was considerably less than up-grading. The DW and I fell for our current unit , and here we are, 2 years later and happy as a pig in----.
52k miles when purchased 68 now $72k then and similar units advertised in the $50k range, a lot less loss than even a new P/U would have been to tow my old 5er.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:20 PM   #4
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The secret is money...buckets of it.

But, seriously, I've put $23,000 in mine over 8 years. I'm a full timer. Usually, when there is something serious...like a seized up engine on the genset, I find somewhere very inexpensive to hold up for a month or two. Build up my reserves, then take it to a shop. Keeps my yearly expenses down so I can afford to drive when I want to. Been all over Mexico, up to Alaska and back 3 times, over to the mid-west, etc., etc..

As far as any tricks, don't have any and I'm not very good at purposeful maintenance but I try. Always use synthetic fluids. Even had the tranni changed over to Transyd (sp?) a few years ago. The other way I deal with problems is to fix stuff myself as soon as I'm able (when you're traveling, sometimes it's easy to just leave it alone until you have the time).
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:48 PM   #5
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I really think they were built better than a lot of the newer entry level class A's made today. Of course, this is just not a blanket statement. you have to remember, most of these vehicles were not made to be throw aways. In particular, a diesel pusher. take a CAT engine and Freightliner chassis, something put on that is going to last.

But maybe its just perception. Once you buy a MH you start noticing others around, and they probably always have been there.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:41 PM   #6
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Preventitive maint. and continual maint. Learn to do as much as you can yourself. With hourly rates upwards of $105.00 per hour, you can save yourself a lot of bucks to buy other toys. I'm retired so all I have to sell is my time. Most everything major or minor has been addressed by these fine people here on this forum at one time or another. All you have to do is ask. Our 2000 Adventurer has 19000 miles on it so most things haven't been broken in good yet. We didn't get to use it very much until we both retired, but it's getting used now. I can work on ours because it's an F53 gasser. Don't think I could handle a DP.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:54 PM   #7
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We bought ours in 2008. It had two previous owners, who looked after it very well. We renovated the interior and repainted the outside, just to modernize the look. I am a diesel mechanic, a diesel engine rebuilder, a diesel engine machinist, and I have built and renovated several houses over the years, so the mechanics and maintenance of these things does not scare me.

I have noticed that if we are using the coach a lot, it is very trouble free. If we park it for a time, when we start it up, there are problems to fix. Last year, when we parked the coach for the cold winter, it was performing flawlessly. When we brought it out of storage in the spring, the generator, the refrigerator, and the furnace were all screaming for some attention. It proves to us that no matter the age, these things serve us best when they are being used. I don't think age has anything to do with that.

I really don't think there's any end to the upper end diesel pusher coaches. It's simply a matter of continuous maintenance to keep them in good repair. I like to think that my coach is in better shape than many that are ten years newer.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:03 PM   #8
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Jimkate - I think you are right. You gotta use it. Like you, I have seen things break by not being used. Had a radiator rust out by sitting too long plus oil leak out of the blue.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:06 PM   #9
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Poly glo makes the fiberglass look better than new

Regular fluid changes/greese on the chassis

Custom paint helps too
1995 Thor Residency 36', Chromolusion Paint, 460 Ford, Gale Banks Power Pack, Ported and Polished Heads, BBK Throttle Body, ECM Program & 1996 Coleman Shenandoah 25' Pop-Up
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:12 PM   #10
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Started with 23 ft TT, Then in 92 bought a used 1990 Georgie Boy 30ft Gas Mh. Traded that in 2001 on a new 2000 36ft Georgie Boy Diesel pusher. I also contend the older rigs were a little sturdier. However it's more likely the newer rigs have many more bells and whistles that don't fare as well bouncing down the highway.
The 1990 needed only routine maintenance in 9 years, except for warped manifolds on the Ford 460. The 2000 has been very reliable, Freightliner chassis and Cummins ISB engine. No significant problems.
I have been able to do my own maintenance and try to complete recommended service on manufacturers schedule. Which includes belts, hoses, filters, Air Brake and system checks. Use good Dino oil, with annual change there's no advantage to synthetic.
I clean the rubber roof 2-3x/year and apply sealant to the seams annually.
Another big factor is this board. Lots of how to's and several times a post here about a problem has headed off what could be a future problem for my MH.

It's harder to anticipate the "house" problems, frozen line behind the shower, water line fitting let go, furnace blower wheel died, and recently all the green juice got out of the refrigerator.

If looking at an older rig, try to get the maintenance records and the manuals. Important to know what's been done......Most of the chassis manuals have been re-written as the new models come out. (Older coach manuals are still available in most cases.)
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:38 PM   #11
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We bought ours 18 months ago, w/60k on it, for about the same price as a nice pickup. We've spent 16 weeks in it since, and have traveled 15,000 miles (not including the miles put on the toad while chasing groceries and exploring!).

If I have a trick, it's to get and stay caught up on the maintenance. All of it! That's the normal (scheduled) stuff one normally considers (tires, oils, coolant, trans fluid, all the filters, etc.), as well as the not so normal (unscheduled) stuff - some of which you are hinting at - but those are just the start there. Other examples might be pulling, cleaning, and repainting the windshield wiper arms? Cleaning the radiator that had a major dose of the creeping crud (ugh!). Replacing or painting all the yellowed plastic on the exterior, including dried out roof vents? Taking care of fogged up window panes? You know, STUFF!! Stuff you need to do yourself because you can't afford to have much of it done otherwise - which often leads to breakdown maintenance. Definitely not the way to keep an older DP on the road and looking nice!

After many hours of project oriented picking at it here and there, ours is standing tall once again. All equipment has been checked, serviced, and is functional. It's appearance will hold it's own in a crowd of much newer coaches, and I'm not scared to go anywhere with it! -Al
1997 37' HR Endeavor, 275hp Cat, Freightliner
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:45 PM   #12
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2000 Holiday Rambler

When we looked for our new Used RV we looked for a unit with the best build materials...From what I found the aluminum structure my HR Endeavor has will stand up for many years..

Bought it from the only owner she ever had..and at 49,000 miles she had a few scrapes and scratches...those are all done and repaired..the chassis and motor are F53 Ford and the V10 works well...and the previous owner is a Engineer like myself...mechanical minds tend to take great care of all kinds of equipment..

I will put my 12 year old coach up against most any Gas unit any day...she is strong and beautiful...
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:42 PM   #13
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I think it is alot like other vehicles and general purpose items. We frequently tire of them prior to the end of their useful life. New improved seems to be attracting.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:08 AM   #14
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When we got ours, I wanted a diesel pusher, cummins 5.9. and 4 sp alison. because neither one would have any computers, and both at the top specs for reliability . But later found that, generally, a 4 speed would be a 55 mph rig. so I has to bite the bullet and look for the 6 speed. this narrowed it down further, and that it was going to be an older rig as cost was a factor, I has to be able to afford it. then narrowed down to big bathroom, and room for only 2. we lucked out and got a very well cared for rig. and continue to do so. Like the other fellas said, ifin your a tinkerer, you can save lots of money, and have a pretty affordable rig. and having a covered storage for your rig really helps too. We had a big tin garage built for ours. ( actualy two 21'X12' pushed together to make 41'X12'.. that way they are small enough I can move them with my tractor.. )

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