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Old 01-09-2015, 08:41 PM   #1
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What to look for in a Chieftain

Going to check out a 1989 23 foot chieftain tomorrow. A close friend told me about, and owner has sent me some good pictures, and it looks good, I like the floor plan really well.
Thinking I will likely buy this, unless i find something really bad, as long as the price is right, which it seems to be.
My buddy called it a "time capsule" when describing the condition.

What all should I look for.
It seems really nice, and clean for its age, so I am not sure what little things to look for.
Mileage is about average at 80k appearance in pictures seems to agree. Must have been kept under roof.
What do I need to look at closely???
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Old 01-09-2015, 10:16 PM   #2
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The biggest thing on older MH's are leaks! Look in all the cabinets for stain's near the roof area. And check under all the window's for stains and soft spots. Always check in the front and rear of the coach, under where the front and rear caps attach to the side walls. Look very closely around the A/C units! Make sure there are no soft spots in the floor, under and around every vent, A/C, windows! Get up on the roof and make sure it has been sealed and no visable cracks around any of the vents, A/C's, etc. And make sure it has no soft spots too! The rest is all about everything working as it should, and has it been maintained in road worthy condition! And, Alway's, check the date code on the tires! Good luck! Rail!
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:57 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice on where to look for leaks.




Quote:
Originally Posted by guardrail53 View Post
The biggest thing on older MH's are leaks! Look in all the cabinets for stain's near the roof area. And check under all the window's for stains and soft spots. Always check in the front and rear of the coach, under where the front and rear caps attach to the side walls. Look very closely around the A/C units! Make sure there are no soft spots in the floor, under and around every vent, A/C, windows! Get up on the roof and make sure it has been sealed and no visable cracks around any of the vents, A/C's, etc. And make sure it has no soft spots too! The rest is all about everything working as it should, and has it been maintained in road worthy condition! And, Alway's, check the date code on the tires! Good luck! Rail!
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Old 01-10-2015, 08:44 AM   #4
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I am Jerry P too.

Make sure everything works. In particular, the dash A/C and heat. Now, you may not need the dash A/C, but if you need air you'll need to run the house A/C and that means running the generator while driving.

My first bus had the Chevy chassis as well and I was happy that I could do most of the work on the motor myself. No funny computers etc. The previous owner has jury-rigged the heater control when the cable broke so I found an electric valve that fixed the heat. I never bother to get the dash A/C going because it needed a compressor at $1000.

Also, check the fridge and make sure it's not one of the problematic Norcolds. You should get the model number off the plate inside the outside cover and check for a recall.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:15 AM   #5
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I'd be amazed if debonding hasn't showed it ugly face in spades.
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Old 01-10-2015, 08:44 PM   #6
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Got to look at it closely today, could not tell about the AC, as it was 20 degrees, and winterized.
A little bit of delaminating over the left rear wheel, rear corners had a small amount of water damage inside at the top rear
corners, from a poorly repaired seam, a cracked cargo door on the left rear.
interior is decent, and the upholstery is nice for an 89
Engine would not start without a jump, but ran fine, alternator is charging, according to the volt, and amp meter, after the drive it had a little juice in it to almost turn it over. with a jump though, it started great, ran, and idled great, drove great
Once started, it ran excellent, drove very nice. The engine, and transmission drove out very well.
It was quiet, peppy, and smooth.
Power steering was smooth, and felt right. The RV wallowed as expected, a couple of Tires looked low due to the cold,
Brakes a little slow to stop, but I did not hammer them either.
The worst thing about it was the roller paint job...
Would have been decent if they had prepped properly.
tires are 215/85/16, instead of the 235/85/16, but looked decent about 2 years old
I am thinking for 5k, it might be an ok deal, would like to get it a little less, but not sure I can whittle that much off
My wife was actually ok with it, which surprised me, as she was my way out if I was not sure, and could not make a decision....
I did not see anything that disturbed me, other than the battery charging, as I do not want to drive 140 miles home without a good alternator and battery.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:04 PM   #7
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The price sounds right. You have to expect there will be a few things that need addressing on a 89' but you won't have a lot invested so the risk won't be so great. Good luck.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:31 PM   #8
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The price sounds right. You have to expect there will be a few things that need addressing on a 89' but you won't have a lot invested so the risk won't be so great. Good luck.
My thoughts also. it will pretty much always be worth something for parts, and scrap.
Has a 4k Onan with 302 hours.
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:10 PM   #9
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$3000
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