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Old 05-13-2011, 09:49 PM   #29
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well, you just never know. the rig in my sig (nice, eh?) set me back $1300. it had new tires, one-year-old batteries, and new awning fabric. 44000 miles, runs great, everything works.
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Old 05-14-2011, 01:31 PM   #30
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a or c

how mechanically inclined are you first off if you can do a lot of small things then your budget is reasonably to me i bounght a 1985 Midas free port class c 26 footer for $3050.00 off of ebay, it had a new engine 460 ford and a newer transmission the seller had took good care of it and everything works.
drove it 1300 miles home and just finished a 1050 mile vacation but to live in i would want a class a, ok for camping in a class c but too small for full time.
i would look for something just old enough to have been through all the expensive repairs but not so new as to be worth alot on the books.
it took me months to find just the one i wanted and i actually bought it sooner then i had planned but it is well worth it.
as far as fuel mileage i get 8.5 without my car in tow and 7.7 towing but if i get in a hurry,did that for just one tank, 6.6 is possible really easily.
i've always been a small block chevy man but the big block is only way to go in a motor home unless you can afford to build a high performance small block.
i built one for my chevy 3/4 tow rig and at 240,000 miles with no overdrive and no fuel injection it is still a hoss but barely gets better than a bigblock when loaded much better unloaded but in a motor home there is no unloaded
my two cents work or $1.98 before taxes
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Old 05-14-2011, 02:04 PM   #31
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Welcome to the forum...
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Old 05-14-2011, 05:14 PM   #32
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The reply from "john" is very good. Check the dates and tread on the tires, stick your finger up the tail pipe, OD or gear vender two speed axle. good luck.
My biggest problem is a place to work from. another John
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Old 05-15-2011, 02:46 PM   #33
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4-7mpg isn't bad for a house, really....LOL!
i think my 454 Fleetwood averaged 8 on my first trip with it to bring it home from Georgia. that includes about 30 minutes almost flatout (HAH) to get to an exit before my failing battery completely went, in the dark.....

being mechanically inclined and willing to learn makes all the difference in the world in whether to buy an older coach. granted, lots of RV'ers aren't DIY'ers and even if they were, many are past "doing" age for some of the work needed on an older coach.

IMHO simpler is always better. ferinstance, Mercedes might have stainless steel bolts with through drilled grease passages and fittings that are designed to last a million miles; but break that sucker and wait for Mercedes to get you another one.... whereas Lowes has grade8 hardware on the shelf.
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Old 05-15-2011, 04:13 PM   #34
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How about something like this...
1988 Winnebago asking price $2200, get it for $1500 or less and have $2,000 left to fix it up. Of course it would have to be in good mechanical condition.
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Old 05-15-2011, 04:31 PM   #35
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These may be uninformed questions (no such thing as a dumb question)' have you considered a "totaled" unit? Is there even such a thing? We bought a rebuilt, totaled car with 56K miles and added another 200K. The difference is we knew both the dealer and the mechanic and what we were buying.
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Old 05-15-2011, 04:35 PM   #36
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I would be very careful with that vintage Winnebago. They were known for two problems....underpowered/troublesome engine and water leaks.

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Old 05-15-2011, 05:35 PM   #37
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Welcome. For some ideas on what cleaver folks are doing, check out these references:
cheaprvliving.com and vandwellers.org or just do a search on van dwelling. Lots of creative ideas for folks with more time than money. IRV2 is a great reference site when you find your RV and start to learn the systems and need to figure out how to fix it up. Some ideas - Roadtrek type Class Bs are pretty durable (Dodge I think), Toyota Class Cs are good but make sure they have the 6 bolt (1 ton) axle - the lesser axles break at the wheel bearing. My personal favorite - the 1970's GMC - all fiberglass and front wheel drive with an Olds 455CID engine. Good hunting and keep us posted what you find.
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Old 05-15-2011, 05:49 PM   #38
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Finally a post I can relate to. I bought 2 class Cs for under $3500 in the last 3 years. Sold both at what would seem to be a profit unless you looked at what I put in to them. The first one was a 1976 and the major issue was leaks. There was an actual waterfall coming from a side window wall every good rain. I also spent about $2000 in repairs starting with the tow bill on the drive home from buying it. The second was a 1982 that I got one long trip out of before the water pump went, might as well replace the timing chain, oops the fan hit the radiator, replace both of those, you get the picture. Exhaust manifold was next so you didn't hear me coming. If you can do mechanical repairs, you might do fine though. The family I sold the 2nd one to got a mechanically perfect vehicle, I just wanted something that didn't have people humming the Beverly Hillbillys song when I arrived at my site. Now I have a travel trailer, it looks good and does not have an engine. Good luck in your search, it can be done.
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Old 05-17-2011, 05:44 PM   #39
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lots of excellent points good and bad but having a sharp eye and good resistance to temptation are key! i looked at several sheds-on-wheels that looked fine from the seller's point of view, believe me. i had a definite and somewhat smaller budget to work with, so my options were limited IMHO.... definitely limited by the prices asked for in my local area. go wide in your search, don't be afraid to drive 400+ miles for a great deal. just be sure to budget for the return trip in fuel!!!
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:24 PM   #40
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Well I thank everyone for the advice. I found a rig and I'll be bringing/towing it home tomorrow. I'm getting a 1977 Diplomat II. It needs some work but the price was right ;-) thanks guys!
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:30 PM   #41
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Congrats!

Reconditioning can be very rewarding, what kind of work does it need?
Post some before and after pics when you get a chance.

Have fun
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:43 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanabee FTer View Post
Congrats!

Reconditioning can be very rewarding, what kind of work does it need?
Post some before and after pics when you get a chance.

Have fun
It needs some transmission work and I'm going to have to empty 20+ gallons of fuel out of the gas tank that the engine won't run on before I see how the engine and geny run. I havn't tested anything inside yet so we will see if anything need work. The roof just started to leak and I think I'll be replacing at least half of it if not the whole thing but the inside looks great and it's not too wet so I'm hoping I can get away with just the roof repair. The "price" of the RV is leaving lots of $ in the repair/improvement budget :-)
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