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Old 01-16-2018, 07:58 AM   #1
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1st RV, 1st cross country RV trip

Hi all,
My husband and I are about to buy our first ever RV. We've never even been in one before. We want to take our kids cross country in September so we are gearing up.

We looked at an 1984 Rockwood over the weekend and are pretty sure it is going to be ours.

So excited about this adventure. Can't wait to learn more here and get lots of good advice.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:06 AM   #2
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Welcome! Your adventure has just begun! On our 4th rv, 2 travel trailers and on 2 class C. Recommend ya do a few "practice camps" and get to know your new home like the palm of your hand and maybe even have your camper professionally inspected to avoid $urpri$e$....
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:08 AM   #3
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Glad to have you here in the forum with us. You're gonna like it here.

Let us know if we can help you.

Happy Trails!!!
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:11 AM   #4
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Which model Rockwood?
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:24 AM   #5
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Welcome to IRV2. You can certainly get a lot of helpful info here.

So, for your first thing to consider from someone who has been exposed to the RV lifestyle for many years and had several different types of RV's......

Not sure what the 1984 Rockwood is.....travel trailer, motorized (motorhome), etc. I would ask you to give serious consideration to selecting a 34 year old RV to take your family on a cross country trip.

More information about your travel plans, how many in your family, the type/condition of the RV, etc. will be helpful for us to offer assistance and help.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:27 AM   #6
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Not sure what model. It is 27' and has bed in back with a cab over, dinette, and couch up front. It is in great condition. No rust and a lot of the hoses are brand new. Started right up with a jump and sounded good. Supposedly the previous owner put a lot of work into it and has receipts to show. Interior is also super clean and in great shape - just dated and a bit faded.

Oh and it only has like 42k miles on it.

Is it crazy to think this jalopy will take us 8000 miles?
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyfell View Post
Not sure what model. It is 27' and has bed in back with a cab over, dinette, and couch up front. It is in great condition. No rust and a lot of the hoses are brand new. Started right up with a jump and sounded good. Supposedly the previous owner put a lot of work into it and has receipts to show. Interior is also super clean and in great shape - just dated and a bit faded.

Oh and it only has like 42k miles on it.

Is it crazy to think this jalopy will take us 8000 miles?
Sounds like a class C motorhome. Even if the current owner has maintained it well, it is still 34 years old and an 8,000 mile trip is a lot of driving. Also, all the systems (refrig, furnace, roof top AC) are long in the tooth unless they have been replaced. 42,000 miles sounds good but how long has the unit sat between trips and since it was last used? At the very least, I would think about the following (and consider these in your purchase offer):

1. tires....check the date codes. If older than 5 - 6 years, for sure it will need new tires all around.
2. will probably need new batteries (you said it needed a jump to start it)
3. before purchase, drive the coach to a trusted mechanic and have them do a thorough check of all the mechanicals (tranny, engine, brakes, cooling system, etc.) and tell you what it might need to be road ready and safe for your family.
4. since you are not familiar with RV's, I would also find a good RV tech and pay them to do a thorough inspection of the coach and its systems. Roof integrity, seals, windows, furnace, water system, holding tanks, etc.

Even newer RV's can break and have issues but the chances of problems and on-the-road breakdowns is surely more likely in an older rig. You will want to spend your time traveling and camping with your family and not spending time in shops and writing checks to fix things that break.

Also, are you handy with tools and willing/able to fix things? Those of us who own and operate motorhomes have learned that these things are better suited for folks who can do their own minor repairs at least.

Bottom line for me....I would be looking for something newer or maybe consider renting a motorhome for the trip.
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:29 AM   #8
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Hope you find the perfect rig for your needs!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:35 AM   #9
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There's nothing like the excitement of departing on your first big RV trip. We did this in 1979 but there wasn't nearly as much information available as now.

Not everyone has a brand new motorhome so I don't think there is anything wrong with driving an older RV but you need to satisfy yourselves that it really is in good shape. Review the previous owners documentation carefully or maybe spend some money on a good mechanic's inspection.

Also, definitely buy a roadside assistance/towing policy; Coach.Net or Good Sam. Check the date codes on your tires, and be sure the brake fluid has been flushed and replaced recently, not just bled.

Finally, are you mechanically inclined?. Realistically, some things might go wrong so be prepared with a basic tool kit, and maybe buy one of the RV maintenance manuals like https://smile.amazon.com/RV-Repair-M...ce+for+dummies

Having said all of the above, good luck and have a great time

Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyfell View Post
Not sure what model. It is 27' and has bed in back with a cab over, dinette, and couch up front. It is in great condition. No rust and a lot of the hoses are brand new. Started right up with a jump and sounded good. Supposedly the previous owner put a lot of work into it and has receipts to show. Interior is also super clean and in great shape - just dated and a bit faded.

Oh and it only has like 42k miles on it.

Is it crazy to think this jalopy will take us 8000 miles?
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:52 AM   #10
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First welcome to the forum. Lots of good folks and good info here. You are already getting sound advice. There is lots to consider when purchasing a coach that is 34 years old. Make sure a through inspection by a good mechanic. As some one else also mentioned a lot of the equipment if not replaced recently may be ready to give up the ghost and replacing them on the road can be time consuming and $$$$$$$$.


Do please look before you leap. You can get a very good price on a coach that is only 8 or 9 years old.
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:29 PM   #11
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Hi


Good luck with your search

this place is great

Safe travels
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:13 PM   #12
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84 Motorhome

The "hubby" replying;

Thanks for all the insight!

When I was a "kid" (16/17) I had a big beautiful '78 Lesabre with a V8, of course a carb not fuel injected. It was a dream to work on, I could fix most anything myself, I have become less handy with the new "advanced" stuff in my most recent trucks. Sooo... my hesitation is why should I be scared of this 34 y.o. rig when everything appears well maintained and I can recognize new parts and lack of rust/dry rot and other wear. Also I was a home builder so the "home" parts of the rig I feel confident I can upgrade/repair as necessary. Is there something I'm missing? Why/how do these things break down?

We have looked into AAA's roadside assistance for RV's and will definitely pursue regardless of the rig we choose. But a little carb adjustment in high altitude, an oil change along the way, and watching the coolant should be about it right? If brakes/tires/tranny are checked before leaving.

Thanks
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:57 PM   #13
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Ok, here are just a few thoughts, it is not so much about what has been fixed, but what may have been missed, lets just look at some of the life safety stuff:

How old is the RV refrigerator, these absorption refrigerators run on propane (or an electric heating element) and contain flammable compounds that can easily start a fire if they start leaking. RV refrigerators have a typical life expectancy of 15 or so years. google RV refrigerator fires

RV furnaces run on propane when they get old they may develop pinholes and leak carbon monoxide which can kill you in your sleep.

A leak an a generator exhaust can let carbon monoxide into the cabin, which can kill you.

Carbon Monoxide detectors tend to go nose blind and must be replaced about every 5-7 years, how is the carbon monoxide detector in this coach (does it even have one being from the 80's)

There are always some rubber propane lines in an RV, how old are they, are they dry rotted? How about the propane regulator, is there a pin hole in the rubber diaphragm letting it leak explosive gases that are just waiting to find a spark. Propane regulators should be replaced every 10-15 years to prevent this.

How about the electrical wiring, RV's going down the road are like having a house in a perpetual earthquake, are the wires on all the outlets tight, has the insulation dry rotted in the last 35 years, ....


These are all RV house side of things, without even mentioning the drivetrain.

p.s. I have known people that were killed by leaking carbon monoxide from a generator, and people that were severely injured in propane explosions
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:31 PM   #14
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How many days do you plan to be on the road?

We've done several cross country trips from California to the east coast but we are retired and usually took a couple months.

Our average cost per day was $100. That covered everything, RV park, food, gas, tours, etc.

What general route are you going to take?
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