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Old 08-02-2015, 02:44 AM   #1
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Buying a 1996 safari ivory diesel

Hello-
I'm brand new to this forum as I'm trying to buy a rv for the first time. I've been looking for a while and tonight I came a cross a 1996 40' safari ivory with 60 k and a diesel 300 hp cat engine with 6 speed alison trans. The price is a bit better than other similar RVs I've seen so I'm a bet anxious to go see it quick though it's a couple hundred miles away from me. The seller says all is good and there are no leaks and roof been sealed recently. My budget is only around 20k (I know, I'm not rich enough for the RV world perhaps being a simple EMS worker but I thought maybe I could give this a go with a used RV).

My questions are:
1. Is there anything I should be concerned with or check for regarding this specific model?
2. Should I get a RV inspector to go see the RV? (seller says inspectors ok but only on site where the RV is stored). I'm wondering if inspectors can actually check engin, transmission, etc. On site. I have read quiet a bit about what to check for (leak, rust, rut, tires, etc.) But am really concerned about the mechanical health as I read a rebuilt diesel engine could cost more than 30 Gs. (this is cat 3126 300 hp with allison 3060 I believe).
Do you think this RV, if relatively clean, around 20 k is a deal I should jump on first thin in the morning?

Thank you all in advance. I have already learned a lot here.
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Old 08-02-2015, 06:44 AM   #2
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to jump or not to jump

i dont know your area but i would be a bit Leary of a price well below s of the same quality/ vintage from my experience they have problems nothing against the brand just in general look for wavy side walls dark spots on ceiling check every system have the present owner demo then you do it it maybe someone who just wants it gone but usually they are looking for a newbe who is excited that they can get so much for less cash than they thought. i would recommend a inspection out side in sun light. dont buy it until you drive it or at least ride along with the present owner i bought my first motorhome like that i took vin and got insurance on it then went to complete the sale after the test drive the presant owner was very ill and his children could not afford the ins that worked out in my favor good luck MIke
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Old 08-02-2015, 08:09 AM   #3
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These bigger older coaches are not in huge demand. New buyers are shy of the size, and buyers looking to finance will have a very difficult time. When those factors are considered, the number of people on the market for such things are pretty limited. That's what makes a nice one such an incredible value.

I wouldn't be rushed into a deal like this. The RV inspector, if available, is probably a good plan if you're shy on experience. I would have his first order of business be concerning water damage. If it exists anywhere (roof/walls/floor) he could stop my inspection right then, with no further action required on his part.

If that passes, then have him go on to appliances, etc. but the presence of water damage the very highest concern. Anything reported as used to leak, now repaired, highly suspicious.

Unless you have a very unusual inspector, he is not likely qualified to check out anything chassis (diesel) related. He may be able to make a recommendation there if he's familiar with the area. 99.999% of RV dealers are not qualified to make this inspection either - no matter what they tell you. You need to find a local truck dealer. Somebody qualified to work on medium duty or higher (semi's).

Many states require annual safety inspections for commercial vehicles. This test can often be expanded/modified just a bit to suit your purposes with a phone call to the shop owner/foreman, explaining your situation. Just make sure he understands the inspection you're talking about is chassis only, and not related to coach appliances or similar. Inspection is generally very reasonable - and the piece of mind it buys worth every cent.

Best of luck!
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:10 AM   #4
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Thank you very much for the replies. I will definitely get the inspector. And as far as mechanic, hopefully when the owner sees the cash he would allow me to get the RV to the mechanic shop (over the phone he said ok to inspection only if they come out to him). I can live with small repairs and such as I'm handy, even if I have some appliance issues but diesel engine and the transmission, I know nothing about. And I definitely don't want mold or rutting either.
Thanks agan.
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:23 AM   #5
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One quick question: do they check compression on diesels for each cylinder like normal gas engines?
I guess after seeing the 30 grand price tag on diesel engine rebuild I have gotten a bit panicy.

Thanks again
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:39 AM   #6
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The 3126b Cat engine and 3060 Allison transmission is a pretty bulletproof combination. There are lots of them from that era on the road. I bought ours sight unseen, flew out to pick it up and drove it 2,500 miles home. That was 13,000 miles ago (now has 90K) and it's been great. We just got back from a 3,000 road trip to the national parks. Nothing more than maintenance items have been needed but we have been updating the house components to our tastes.

A coach of that era is a great way to get into a motor home. They are reasonably priced and don't have all the complicated systems that come with newer motor homes.

It would be highly unlikely that the engine/transmission setup would have any serious issues requiring expensive work.
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Old 08-02-2015, 11:04 AM   #7
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Thank you datrbone8. That's reassuring to hear.
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Old 08-02-2015, 01:21 PM   #8
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If you decide to roll the dice regarding a chassis inspection, at the very least you're going to want to know how old the tires are. Your RV inspector should be able to get you that info.
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Old 08-02-2015, 02:34 PM   #9
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Those old Safaris were known as good coaches back in the day. At the least, the owner needs to allow a thorough test drive, and I'd recommend having a qualified diesel mechanic evaluate the engine and running gear, which has to take place in a shop. Agree also, any water damage is a non-starter.
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Old 08-02-2015, 03:18 PM   #10
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The price of around $20k is consistent with those in my area. A friend bought a 1996 36' Safari with all service records for $17k earlier this year. With the service records, his mechanical experience, and me looking over his shoulder, he didn't feel the need for an inspector. We've traveled over 3k miles together so far without any issues.

Ask the owner for his maintenance records... normally the more complete they are will be a good indication of proper regular service and pm. Complete records can be more valuable than an inspector's report IMO. However, if you don't feel qualified (or have an experience friend's help) to check the tire dates, test all systems, perform a thorough test drive, and visually double check the chassis & coach yourself, an inspector's report might prove valuable. Good luck
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Old 08-02-2015, 06:06 PM   #11
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I have a 97 Safari Serengeti which would be mfgd by the same people and my coach has the same chassis as the Ivory.
CAT 3126 and Allison MD 3060 are very good units, but need servicing at regular intervals. Quality of the Safari, and Beaver coaches of that era are very good, the cabinet are top quality and all components are quality, including the exterior aluminum siding.
Absolutely have the engine checked by a CAT dealer, and the Allison checked by a Allison shop. Also, if you are not experienced, engage an inspector to do a whole house inspection report of the coach. Make sure all components work, such as the generator, refrigerator, air conditioning units.
Check the chassis which was made by Safari which is a Torsilastic with torque tubes at all four corners. Just make sure everything is in good operating condition. There is no maintenance required for the chassis, but make sure nothing is damaged.
This is a high quality coach, and can be very good unit to use, but as with any coach of that age, maintenance is required from time to time.
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Old 08-02-2015, 06:14 PM   #12
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Pay for a inspection would be good advise ; but it sounds like a good deal , mines a 95 we go everywhere anytime no problems! Check tire age thats another 3500-6000 dollars.
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Old 08-02-2015, 06:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony_nu-b View Post
Hello-
I'm brand new to this forum as I'm trying to buy a rv for the first time. I've been looking for a while and tonight I came a cross a 1996 40' safari ivory with 60 k and a diesel 300 hp cat engine with 6 speed alison trans. The price is a bit better than other similar RVs I've seen so I'm a bet anxious to go see it quick though it's a couple hundred miles away from me. The seller says all is good and there are no leaks and roof been sealed recently. My budget is only around 20k (I know, I'm not rich enough for the RV world perhaps being a simple EMS worker but I thought maybe I could give this a go with a used RV).

My questions are:
1. Is there anything I should be concerned with or check for regarding this specific model?
2. Should I get a RV inspector to go see the RV? (seller says inspectors ok but only on site where the RV is stored). I'm wondering if inspectors can actually check engin, transmission, etc. On site. I have read quiet a bit about what to check for (leak, rust, rut, tires, etc.) But am really concerned about the mechanical health as I read a rebuilt diesel engine could cost more than 30 Gs. (this is cat 3126 300 hp with allison 3060 I believe).
Do you think this RV, if relatively clean, around 20 k is a deal I should jump on first thin in the morning?
Thank you all in advance. I have already learned a lot here.
tony_nu-b
Try here for "hard to find" mid '90s Safari MH information, (they both have a lot of older Safari documents in their Files sections that may be helpful):
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Safarifriends/info
and: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...otorhomes/info
Good luck.
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Old 08-04-2015, 10:59 AM   #14
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Thanks. Great advice and very good links.
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