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Old 10-26-2012, 11:13 AM   #1
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Is it worth it

I bought a 1994 Wilderness 30x5 5th Wheel new in 94. It was pulled by a 94 3500 6.5 turbo dually. We put under 1000 mi. on the 5th wheel first two years.never used it after that it just sat for 18yrs. the roof has leaked in the front half. so it needs to be replaced. The ceiling in the bedroom & hall buckled. need to replace. Checked floor & walls no damage or water stains. I discovered the leak 6 yrs. ago and kept it covered but never had time to work on it. Tires are shot, fridg runs but cooling unit gone. needs to be replaced. AC,furnace,electrical are fine outside of rig is has no damage. inside is in good shape other than ceiling. WE want to redo the whole rig. Instead of buying a new one. The old truck is tired. So we have to get another new truck weather we do a complete remake or buy a new rig or motor home.I am now a retired electrician and have time to do the work. So is it worth the expense to redo or buy a new rig.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:56 AM   #2
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Value will be in the amount of work you can do yourself. Any contract work will take you out of bounds. However with all you have described you will be hard pressed to get any good amount out of it so I would at least do some estimating on reno before giving up
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:06 PM   #3
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Get rid of that truck pronto. The 6.5 turbo diesels are prone to head gasket failure. Yours probably has been through that already. They also run hot in hot temps. I know as I had three of them, all bought new. Gm replaced the engine in all three before 100 K. As for the trailer, I would pull it down to a dealer, and trade it for a newer or maybe brand new rig. Why spend good money on bad, so to speak. Get both new rigs and be a happy camper. You only live once!
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:15 PM   #4
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I intend to do the whole redo myself with help from my two sons. I know I have to replace the whole rubber roof and that will be labor intense. cost of membrane w/kit not that expensive with my labor. Have built two stick homes myself. Hope that helps in this venture. Thanks for your input.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:34 PM   #5
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If you have the time and a dry place to work on it, heck why not? It can be therapeutic, but don't expect to recoup your costs. If it is fun for you and the boys to do it it would make quite a hit pulling into camp grounds. I really enjoy talking to folks that have a refurbished antique. Same for the truck. Personally I would locate a Duramax/Allison combination out of a wrecking yard, drop it in the old truck and with a nice paint job have an interesting and fun combination. BTW I would fully expect that you would need to str a lot more than you think fixing things in the trailer.
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:09 PM   #6
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I have no intention of keeping that truck with all it's problems. IT was the worst truck I ever bought. The plan is to buy a new truck or close to new. Then make the fifth wheel a project rehab. Or spend another 20,000 on another rig plus the cost of the new truck. Thanks for the advise.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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Besides what you know you are getting into (roof, refer, cooling unit replaced) look to replace the axle bearings, brakes, wheels and tires. If mice have gotten in you may be looking at wiring. I would also replace interior furniture, bedding and the window treatments. Having sat for 18 year with a leaking roof (even though covered) you are looking at a lot of mildew damage. If it were me, I'd trash it and buy something newer like maybe a 2000 era rig - cheap and still usable.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:10 PM   #8
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You say the walls are solid, but do you know for sure? You might find rot all down the sidewall.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:31 PM   #9
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Reno

I expect to get shot down in flames on this one but what the heck.
  • Tires need to be replaced every 4 or 5 yrs anyway, so no big deal there.
  • Brakes and bearings should be checked each year, roughly $60 a corner, no problem there.
  • Fridge, fire and the wheel have been invented since 1994. Find a used RV fridge. There are RV parts places around. I have the name of one but it has slipped my mind. I'm pulling rv fridge out and going residential.
  • Roof, if you can repair it, go ahead. That is the biggest part of the job which if sourced out would not be cost affective. Roofs leak or develop leaks anyway, mine did and I am having the caulking removed and Eternabond tape put over the seam and around all the roof cutouts.
  • Wiring, replace and upgrade whatever you can while you have it opened up. Switch lighting to LEDs and trick up the rig with lighting on the steps or under the rig or above or below the cabinets.
  • Truck, go to RV Online and check out trucks there. Thats where I picked up my IH 4700. Perhaps consider an MDT truck.
  • Probably needs carpet, less than 1k for the carpet but slide outs will need to pe pulled out more than the ususal travel. Slideout facias will need to come off. No big deal; doing that but someone with a forklift will need to pull the slides. maybe 3k??
  • Slideout gaskets or seals. They may require replacing. Mine are about $5 per foot plus installation. The little grabby fingers may have coroded causing the gasket to fall off. Best time to replace them are when thew slide is pulled. The repair gods will thank you.
  • Awnings, they may be mildewed. Mechaism plus drums may be ok, get new material. May be less than 1k
  • Batteries. Fairly safe bet they will need replacing. But they need replacing from time to time anyway. Costco, less than $100 each for Golf cart batteries. Plus battery wires.
  • Battery shut off. Install a knife switch to eliminate parasitic loss.
  • Detectors, they should be replaced. Doubt this is taxing your skills.
If you like the rig then go ahead. Throw on some paint and swirly deeecals, hook it up to your new used 7.3 ltr Ford if you can find one and hit the road.

I agree with 450Don

Me?, I'm doing the same thing to an '01 40 Travel Supreme 5th wheel. picked up a Smart car and a Volvo 730 to haul the works.

Its cheaper than a shrink.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:29 AM   #10
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I would do it, in the end your going to have a better built 5w, u can put custom mods to it set it the way u want. When i started to look at MHs I couldnt find one I liked, or I would have to buy 2 for the different types of camping we do, so i converted a school bus, lots of work complete build and still working on it, but its great, and family was envoled ,great times, and didnt have to spend $60,000 on a used mh, so go ahead do it have fun with the kids and most of all use it when your done, if you can post some pictures

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Old 10-27-2012, 10:56 AM   #11
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Black mold is your real threat in anything that has had that much water damage. We had a NuWay that we lived in for a couple years that we bought used and were unaware of the black mold, it made my wife and I sick and lathargic. It took years for us to partially recover and we may never fully recover.

The only way to get rid of black mold once it has taken hold is to burn it.
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Old 10-27-2012, 11:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustNnails View Post
Black mold is your real threat in anything that has had that much water damage. We had a NuWay that we lived in for a couple years that we bought used and were unaware of the black mold, it made my wife and I sick and lathargic. It took years for us to partially recover and we may never fully recover.

The only way to get rid of black mold once it has taken hold is to burn it.
X2 the health aspect is just not worth it!
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Old 10-27-2012, 04:02 PM   #13
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Black mold

Fair enough re the black mold but at least have it checked out. There are homebuilders who cover over wet insulation and get away with it. Pools of water on floors, water stains. I have seen a lot in 45 yrs with this business.
At least give the rig a chance. An rv repair facility told me it was, in my case, worthwhile to put money into my rig as not many are made as well these days.
As I said earlier, when it is opened up you can upgrade lots of the onboard systems.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:53 PM   #14
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Other than the possibility of black mold, you built 2 stix houses. You are more than qualified to do most of this, and you may end up with a better product than if you bought new. The big plus is you can make it custom to your taste. Go to RV shows, get some ideas and do it better quality than they do.

Good luck on your venture, but remember..... If you decide to do this, WE NEED PICTURES!
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