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Old 06-14-2012, 03:38 PM   #1
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Young Couple on a Mission

Greetings to everyone here at the forum! My wife and I are a young couple currently living in Texas with a 10 month old boy, and we are hoping to relocate to California (near Bay Area or Sacramento) by the end of September. After thinking and talking it over for some time, we have decided that buying an RV and living in it full time up to a year or more is a good idea. We are currently looking at several older Class A diesel coaches and our plan is to purchase soon and spend the summer learning the rig, making necessary repairs, and developing our strategy for full-time RVing.


At this point, I'm sure some of you Veterans may be shaking your heads just a bit . Afterall, purchasing an RV for the first time with the intention of full-timing and traveling 2000 miles within the first few months of ownership IS pretty brave I suppose . Nonetheless, we have decided this is the mission we shall undertake. Just to tell you a little more about us, we are a pretty easy going kind of couple and we are low maintenance I guess you could say. We try to live a pretty simple lifestyle and just try to be good to other people and our loving mother earth. We have done a lot of research on older RVs and we are well aware that buying one can involve a lot of work. We are pretty good with our hands and big fans of the whole DIY mentality. Personally I have spent a great deal of time researching the various RV systems and managing energy sources, and I do feel like I have my head wrapped around it pretty good. I am not a skilled mechanic or carpenter, but I am hoping that when we buy the RV I can put my mechanical engineering degree to good use.


Now that you know who we are and what our mission is, can we ask you for some advice on a particular RV? Here are a couple photos of a 1983 Beaver Diesel Pusher that we are going to look at next weekend. I know some of you are thinking that is really old, and you are correct! We are just madly in love with the older coaches and can't help it! This one in particular has been stored inside for most of its life according to the owner, and from the look of the sheen on that full body paint, I would have to agree. The coach has about 50,000 miles on it, but the engine only a few hundred. He said he had researched a lot of potential future issues with the stock detroit diesel, and so he had it replaced with a remanufactured CAT 3208 and had the Allison transmission serviced then as well. He also installed a new set of Toyo tires and 4 new batteries and says it has new cloth awnings all around. I am no expert on Vintage coaches, but I think this one was pretty nice in its day and it seems to have been well cared for. It has air brakes, air suspension, CB radio, electric step, etc. I am not posting pics of the interior for now, but I will say it is also in really good condition and looks well built from the photos (solid oak cabinetry throughout). The owner says everything works except for the refrigerator. We have made an initial offer of $20,500. Following my inspection, we may have to reduce our offer if we discover that other components are in very poor condition or simply not functional. What do you all think of this coach and the initial offer we've made? Thank you for taking the time to read this post and we would really appreciate any thoughts/ideas you may wish to share.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:46 PM   #2
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My best advice to any newcomer (or even oldtimer!) to the Wonderful World of Used RV's is:

Absolutely, positively, use the services of a professional RV inspector. The cash you save could be your own!

You don't say where you're located, but you can find this kind of service just about everywhere. Here's a link to a big outfit, just so you can check out the kind of issues they'd be looking for: Pre-purchase RV inspection service for motorhome and travel trailer RV buyers

Good luck on your adventure!
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:49 PM   #3
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With a refer not working on a rig that is nearly 30 years old, I would not consider offering any more than $5500 dollars. A new refer alone is going to cost 12-1300 dollars plus labor. Tires could probably cost you another 1200 dollars. Just servicing that motor is going to cost a grand. For 20K you should be able to find a really nice diesel about 10-15 years old in the same condition.

Edit,
Just did a 30 second internet search and there are several Beavers in that age range and the most expensive one is 15K. Save yourself a lot of time and money, do some more research before you leap.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:53 PM   #4
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Nice looking MH. If your able too, have the expert take a look. Those undercarriages, engines and brakes would be my first concern
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:54 PM   #5
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Sounds like fun, and I wish I was adventurous enough to try it.

Having said that, you are about to WAY overpay for that coach. As previously stated, 5500-6500 dollars is a good price for a 30 year old MoHo.

Good luck.
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:01 PM   #6
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Sounds & looks like a very nice exceptional vintage beaver RV. They are rare to find in this great condition.

If you will do research on selling prices (dealer's private party) of uses RV's similar to this one (craig's list, ebay, odle, etc) I think you will realize that your offer is at least twice what the rig is worth (to you and on the open market, not the owner). I just bought a very similar rig (winnebego chieftian 33fter with 39K stored indoors it's entire life) for less than half what you have initially offered.

Thanks for the post and I admire you drive and enthusiasim for stepping out of your comfort zone. My wife and I are embarking on a similar quest of full time rving. Keep us posted as to what you decide. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:13 PM   #7
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I would recommend getting a gas engine with slides..........there are many in your price range...............full timing your going to meed the extra room.............your paying way to much for that coach.
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesca View Post
My best advice to any newcomer (or even oldtimer!) to the Wonderful World of Used RV's is:

Absolutely, positively, use the services of a professional RV inspector. The cash you save could be your own!

You don't say where you're located, but you can find this kind of service just about everywhere. Here's a link to a big outfit, just so you can check out the kind of issues they'd be looking for: Pre-purchase RV inspection service for motorhome and travel trailer RV buyers

Good luck on your adventure!
Thanks, Francesca! I think we will definitely enlist the service of a professional inspector. Do you have any idea of what these professionals typically charge? By the way, we did say we were from Texas . I guess we need to put that in our signature?
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 450Donn View Post
With a refer not working on a rig that is nearly 30 years old, I would not consider offering any more than $5500 dollars. A new refer alone is going to cost 12-1300 dollars plus labor. Tires could probably cost you another 1200 dollars. Just servicing that motor is going to cost a grand. For 20K you should be able to find a really nice diesel about 10-15 years old in the same condition.

Edit,
Just did a 30 second internet search and there are several Beavers in that age range and the most expensive one is 15K. Save yourself a lot of time and money, do some more research before you leap.
Donn, thanks for the reply! We did mention in our post that the rig has a new set of Toyo tires and a remanufactured engine with a couple hundred miles. Were the Beavers you found in your internet search gas or diesel? I ask because I have spent a great deal of time (probably too much ) looking for used Beavers. The gas powered models with a tag axle pop up frequently in searches all over the US. The diesel Beavers are much harder to find. The cheapest price I have seen online for a used Beaver diesel coach in this age range and condition was $19,500 on the Dallas Craigslist. That particular unit had over 120,000 miles and the owner stated it ran great but the exterior was showing it's age such as clear coat coming off in a few spots. I have located a number of slightly newer Beaver diesel coaches (1990 - 1995ish) which are being offered for more than $30,000.
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadfoot3
I would recommend getting a gas engine with slides..........there are many in your price range...............full timing your going to meed the extra room.............your paying way to much for that coach.
That's a thought too since kids require some extra space.
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Gary G. View Post
Sounds & looks like a very nice exceptional vintage beaver RV. They are rare to find in this great condition.

If you will do research on selling prices (dealer's private party) of uses RV's similar to this one (craig's list, ebay, odle, etc) I think you will realize that your offer is at least twice what the rig is worth (to you and on the open market, not the owner). I just bought a very similar rig (winnebego chieftian 33fter with 39K stored indoors it's entire life) for less than half what you have initially offered.

Thanks for the post and I admire you drive and enthusiasim for stepping out of your comfort zone. My wife and I are embarking on a similar quest of full time rving. Keep us posted as to what you decide. Welcome to the forum.
Gary, thanks for taking the time to read and providing feedback. I am unable to look up the coach on NADA, as I don't know which model it is specifically. I have done quite a bit of research on Craigslist, Ebay, Oodle, etc and from what I have seen, this seems to be a fair price. I know a guy who works for a reputable dealer in College Station (and he also is interested in these old Beavers, somewhat biased, I know ) and he also tells me that is a fair offer.

I should note that the offer of 20,500 is actually not our original offer. Initially, when I first spoke to the owner, I offered him 15,000 and he said he could not let it go for that simply because the engine replacement alone cost him 15,000 and the new tires 3,000. He told me he was expecting to get somewhere in between 20-25k, so that's when I came back with the 20,500.

Perhaps the fact that he spent 15,000 replacing a working engine unnecessarily increased the selling price of his rig?

I suppose we truly won't know what it's worth to us until we actually go see it and have it inspected.
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Old 06-14-2012, 05:07 PM   #12
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I would recommend getting a gas engine with slides..........there are many in your price range...............full timing your going to meed the extra room.............your paying way to much for that coach.
Thanks for your response, leadfoot. We would prefer a pusher, but not opposed to the idea of a gas powered rig. Our thougths on slides are that we really don't need one for the extra room, and perhaps we'd be better off without the extra moving parts? I am new to this, so I may be way off target. Does anyone out there even have issues with the mechanical components of their slides and/or water leaks?
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Old 06-14-2012, 05:14 PM   #13
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A properly running engine is not an extra item that the seller gets to upcharge for.

I did not realize that older Beaver coaches were so hard to find/valuable. x2 on slideouts and the extra room...Your 10 month old isn't getting smaller.

Kevin

3 slides, no problems w moving parts or water leaks...mine's a 5er, though.
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Old 06-14-2012, 05:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brit-n-cajun

Thanks for your response, leadfoot. We would prefer a pusher, but not opposed to the idea of a gas powered rig. Our thougths on slides are that we really don't need one for the extra room, and perhaps we'd be better off without the extra moving parts? I am new to this, so I may be way off target. Does anyone out there even have issues with the mechanical components of their slides and/or water leaks?
We don't have a beaver, a diesel engine or slides but m next rig will have at minimum 2 slides and possibly the diesel engine depending on use. You really don't know what your missing until you spend a few days in a MH that has slides. The extra room they provide will be more than worth the cost for repairs and maintenance.
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