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Old 07-09-2011, 02:10 PM   #1
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New and Looking

Although I am not new to the world of camping, I have never owned an MH. I am retired and single, tired of the same for walls so I am going to hit the road and see some sites. I am looking at a 1983 30 ft Southwind that has 72k miles on a rebuilt 454 motor with 8k on the rebuild. I know little about a P30 frame. Over this is a good looking unit and I have a check list to go over things before buying. My question is how many miles are normal before expecting trouble from MH. Do the engines blow out between 50 and 100k? What is the normal mileage range before major repairs are needed (motor, Trans)?
I have restored cars as a hobby most of my life some 40 years. I am very handy with tools and have an electrical background. I can take apart about anything and get it back together. Yes! Most of the time it works again… asking price is $2000.00

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Old 07-09-2011, 03:56 PM   #2
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Can't help on the MH but welcome to the forum

Joe & Annette

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Old 07-09-2011, 04:07 PM   #3
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Welcome to Fleetwood section of iRV2.
RVs are "like a box of chocolate, you never know what you're going to get." The bad is 1983 is old for a motorhome (28years) and the roof is a critical part of "the box." Tires are considered suspect at 6 years old and should be replaced to the tune of what you are thinking of paying for the Southwind. Old exhaust systems do rust out and need to be replaced. Motorhomes are money pits and just like homes, appliances can cease to operate and must be replaced. The older the motorhome, the fewer the parts are for replacement and more expensive. Manuals become hard to find.
The good:
Engines are easier to work on and adjust. Smog systems, if you need one, are simple compared to modern computerized systems. The inital price is right.

You know all of this anyway so what are you waiting for?
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:37 PM   #4
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Welcome Lifemember, let us know what you decide.
Travel well, travel safe,
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:11 PM   #5
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Hi Lifemember and Welcome to the Forum!

You are the perfect candidate to buy an older motorhome. Keep in mind that you could easily spend more money on it getting into good reliable shape as compared to just buying a newer motorhome. That said, the one you are looking at could need little to be reliable and comfortable. Its that "box of chocolates" thing.

As for the engines only lasting 50K to 100K, it was fairly common on the older models. When the manufacturers switched to overdrive transmissions and computer controls (around 1990), the engines typically lasted much longer.

Whatever you end up getting, there are lots of friendly and knowedgeable folks here more that willing to help.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:11 PM   #6
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The bad is 1983 is old for a motorhome (28years) and the roof is a critical part of "the box."
I agree, "rot" is the #1 thing I would be worried about. When looking at that 83' MH take a look on the roof, look in the outside storage cabinets with a flashlight for any signs of past or on-going water leaks. take a look in the back of the inside cabinets also with a flashlight.

Does the outer skin of the RV show any signs of "delam" where the layers fiberglass are separating from it's backer board. Now if it has a aluminum skin, that would be easier to repair.

Sounds like you are very handy.
Jim, Diane & Robert ~ NE. OH.
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:47 PM   #7
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There are many electrical components made by Lestek that are used on older GM engine coaches. They are out of business so replacing an alt, reg or dash gauge is nearly impossible. The alt. may be be rebuilt but the rest of the parts don't seem to interchange with any other parts. Ask me how I know....

A change over from a Lestek reg. to a Pentek one will cost ya $800. I love my old coach but it's a real pain when it comes to finding parts... Ah, and don't get me started on the dash A/C.....
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:49 PM   #8
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Thanks for the welcome everyone. I am comfortable with working on the older motors. The newer ones are more reliable. I am also looking at a 1990 tioga class c 28 foot with a lot of up grades. I am leaning more for the smaller newer one for ease of handeling in tight places Plus I will not always be towing a toad. I was looking at a motorscooter for short trips. this would be less weight to deal with. i would hope the newer one would get a little better miles per gal also. There is only me traveling and i do not require a lot of room.

I am finding there are draw backs to fiberglass vs metal and vise versa. each one has a problem. I think the aluminum ones would be easier to repair. I have done some work with fiberglass and have seen a few MH that have pops starting in several locations. I am thinking I could get a better deal if i wait until mid August.
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:43 PM   #9
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After looking around at different RV finding many great deals I have ended up with a pop up camper that I am fixing up and going to put back on the market. with a little TLC I think I can make a fair profit. Seams that many are unable to repair the cable system in them. Why I am still looking and deciding on class A, B, or C, I have found a new hobby repairing campers getting my feet wet.

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