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Old 08-27-2012, 05:34 PM   #1
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Which Class A Diesel would you Gut

I am thinking about finding an older unit that has a great chassis and engine. I am thinking I could then gut the interior and upgrade to all the modern items the more expensive rigs have. It may not make sense, but I need to start somewhere. I would enjoy hearing about your recommendations for rigs to look out. Year, length etc would be helpful. I am looking for a dated rig that has great bones!

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Old 08-27-2012, 05:59 PM   #2
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I would check further into what you might have in to a project like that and compare that number to what's on the market, serviceable and ready to go with a little TLC. Further, what your project might sell for when it's time to part ways? Not what it's worth, but what it will actually sell for. Very often there's a huge gap from one number to the next that can deliver one big financial hit/expensive lesson. That's me though.....

Second, the chassis is generally not the deal breaker. It's the walls and ceilings. THAT'S where you need to focus when you're looking for a project like what you're talking about. FWIW, -Al

1997 37' HR Endeavor, 275hp Cat, Freightliner
03 CR-V Blue Ox, Ready Brake
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:23 PM   #3
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Thanks for that input. I am still on the fence and your input will help. I appreciate it.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by deasnealy
Thanks for that input. I am still on the fence and your input will help. I appreciate it.
It would be more helpful if you were a little more specific. Possibly stating your use and the age range, mileage you wish for, cold/hot climate requirements, diesel/gas. Way too many variables right now. A true bus like an MCI, prevost, bluebird, etc would be a good foundation.
Craig 2003 Holiday Rambler Scepter 36PST
RR8S 350 Cummins ISC with Banks
2011 Buick Enclave Towed with Readybrute
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:15 PM   #5
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I would be looking for a higher end brand, so that I started with the best underpinnings (chassis, plumbing and wiring, etc.).

Have you looked at the RV salvage yards? Some of those "totaled" rigs look they would be restorable by a competent handyman.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:33 PM   #6
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If you want to start cheap a old school bus can be had for $600. If you go to old you may need to be a diesel mechanic, the old birds looked like a ambulance on the inside,I have seen old charter buses converted but then you will be long.
2007 Fleetwood Revolution LE 40V
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:52 PM   #7
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Look at 1994 to 1996 Monaco Dynasty. Should be available at a very good price. Roadmaster 8 bag chassis. Solid steel semi-monocogue construction. Built like a tank. Cummins C8.3 Mechanical engine, as reliable as they come. Allison World 3000 transmission, used in snow plows and heavy trucks.

Some paint outside and inside, minor interior renovations, and you have yourself one beautiful, reliable coach.

That's what we did.
Jim & Kate
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Canada, eh?
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:20 AM   #8
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How about an old American Eagle? We got a 1992 and have serviced, fixed items, replaced items, and upgraded others. It's a nice coach, still have minor things to do to it and will as time permits. Things like fix the airhorn, the inverter doesn't work but I don't want to replace it, hubby thinks we should. for now those receptacles are 110 like the rest instead of 12 volt.

Bought a new flat screen TV for the front, just sit it on the dash for now, mounted a new flatscreen in the back.

Hubby put new clearance lights in the front have new ones for the backs. And like I said more little things like that to do. None of it effects the use or mechanical performance of it so they can wait for awhile.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:14 AM   #9
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Thats exactly what I am looking for. Thanks.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:42 AM   #10
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I have a 94 Eagle and have nothing bad to say about it. Deasnealy, you would do well to find a pre-widebody American Coach. They are relatively simple, well engineered, and generally assembled like a brick outhouse. Fortunately, everything works as intended so I haven't had to really repair anything. I have updated the entertainment systems and am in the process of putting on a new roof coat but that's just for peace of mind. It doesn't leak.

edit: I take that back. I did have to repair one thing. The coolant reservoir sensor ground wire was severed. Took about three minutes with a soldering iron and a length of shrink tubing and it was done.

I have had dreams of properly converting a Prevost H3-45. However I figure it; the cost to do it right is somewhere north of $100,000 plus the cost of the bus. You can find late 80's and early 90's Liberty and Marathon Coaches for sale for similar money or less these days. I think I'd prefer that route, really. Even if you hire it out it would be akin to building a house and I vowed long ago to NEVER do that again.

High end coaches are going for little money right now. I constantly think about an upgrade but I just like my old Eagle too much. YMMV

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Old 08-28-2012, 11:26 AM   #11
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I'm gonna make an rv out of an old greyhound scenic cruiser.....
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:52 AM   #12
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Good Bones from 1990's IMHO:

Country Coach Magna or Affinity (I am biased)
American Coach Eagle or Dream
Monaco Signature, Executive
Holiday Rambler Navigator

That said, the above rigs may not have all the slideouts (or any slideouts) that you might desire. They cost about $25,000 each to add to a rig if it is even possible.

The engines will be lower power but obviously adequate. Towing capacity may be lower than newer alternatives.

But I think they have good bones from a time where manufacturers built fewer units per year with pride in the quality of the product. Later on, the game was to add more features to outdo the competition in a period of hot sales and some quality control was lost.
1995 CC Magna #5280
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:38 PM   #13
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I have done something very similar. I purchased a '95 Newmar Kountry Star MH with approx 100,000 miles. 35' long with one long slide out. It is powered by a Cummins C8.3 diesel with the Allison 3060 6 speed transmission on a Spartan Chassis with a side radiator, 7.5 KW diesel generator and two rooftop a/c units. This has proven to be very reliable and easy to maintain. In the past year, I have replaced the radiator, water pump, and circuit board for the generator due to failures. I also replaced the batteries, tires, belts, and hoses for my piece of mind. I recently sealed the roof with Eternabond Tape and tested for leaks this weekend with Tropical Storm Isaac - No leaks. My next project is to replace the flooring with Beauflor composite flooring this fall. So, in summary, I am pleased with the purchase and am enjoying the adventure. I suggest you purchase your new MH after thoroughly testing every appliance, switch, and accessory, and that you keep $5000.00 in reserve for any repairs that you can't make. Both Newmar and Spartan have been excellent providing customer support on the MH. I hope this helps.
95 Newmar Kountry Star, Spartan Chassis, Venice, Fla
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:56 PM   #14
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Keep in mind for every year and model out there for sale there may be a much nicer one for the same money. When I started looking I had an idea of what I wanted to spend and looked at some coaches that stunk from mildew/mold and everything needed to come out, tires needed replacing etc etc.
I kept looking and found a similar year model and design which was totally useable as is with new tires maintenance records etc. for less money than what those other guys were asking. I have had to do some work, but I'm getting to use it now verses after I put a bunch of money in it.

1997 Allegro Bus on FL chassis with Cat engine and Allison tran. 6 new tires and no leaks for less than 29k.
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