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Old 05-24-2012, 04:18 PM   #1
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Question 1981 Foretravel a decent Motorhome?

I'm going to look at a '81 Foretravel tomorrow and was wondering if anyone could offer me any advice? I've never even heard of one, but I think it's pretty much all original and 50,000mi. 440 gas model. No, it has not been stored inside so it's got some age. I think I could get it for $3,200 if that's a decent deal?? I'll be searching on it tonight. Anyway, everything is supposed to be working ....





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Old 05-24-2012, 04:28 PM   #2
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My parents had an '83, seemed to be a good rig other than under full power up a hill the rear end would step out to the right about 4 - 6". Let off the throttle and it straightened out.
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Old 05-24-2012, 04:32 PM   #3
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Hello mbmalone and welcome to irv2!

Foretravel is a high end MH company, known for quality and innovation in coach building.

Having said that, there are many things to watch out for on a MH of that age.
Has it been maintained properly or has it been sitting unused for a long time?
Are all system operating as they should?
How old are the tires, even if they look good, if they are over 6 years old they are due for replacement.

Good luck and let us know how your initial inspection of the coach goes.
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Old 05-24-2012, 04:36 PM   #4
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they have always been a step above m/h even today. that being said a 1981 anything that has been stored outside will with-out a doubt have issues.that being said the very first thing i would look for is water damage inside, and look real hard all along the side walls inside cabinets around windows and be sure to push against the ceiling and listen and feel for any crunchy stuff .if you do find rotten wood on the inside you must decide if you want to go forward with the purchase. when i was 40 i didn't let some old rotten wall stop me i had plenty of time and energy but now my energy has run out and my time is running out so i would not start a project like that. that being said if you don't find any rotten wood then go for it as anything else wrong is a easy fix compared to that.
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Old 05-24-2012, 04:42 PM   #5
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I was looking at one here in NH. Its a 82 from Oklahoma that drove up here after sitting for a few years. Looks very nice and well constructed. Does have a lot of toys on it.
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Old 05-24-2012, 04:46 PM   #6
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One thing-at that milage I would change the timing chain in the engine. The original is a nylon gear over pot metal that breaks down do to age-replace it with a steel gear. Not a hard job to do, just take of the water pump manifold and the crank pulleys and the timing chain cover is right there.
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Old 05-25-2012, 07:47 AM   #7
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I appreciate all the help. I will also bring my digital camera. Yes, I have read that I need to especially check for those crunchy water damage areas in the roof and walls as they are nearly impossible to fix and no, I don't have much time to work on the motorhome. I don't mind getting dirty, just don't have the skills or money or even a place to work on it. I won't be driving it much, but would like to full-time in it on a lot somewhere. I need to relocate where I can have my german shepherd, so looking to rent a lot in the country. Timing Chain & Gear at 50k mi, oh crap?? I am not a mechanic, unfortunately. Perhaps the owner just changed the timing chain, here's to hoping ... It does have a horn that plays various tunes . I can't afford better than vintage, but I will definitely be taking care of it.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:24 AM   #8
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Here is his ad on Craigslist: 1981 Foretravel MOtorhome
If anyone sees a steal on an inexpensive vintage in my area, I would definitely go take a look at it.
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Old 05-25-2012, 09:39 AM   #9
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Well, the owner was a NO SHOW @ the 9:00am appointment he choose. I did see problems, but it could have been a good RV. Anyway, missing that appointment just cost the seller $1000, if he wants to sell it to me. I wonder if $2200 would be a good deal, even with the problems ?? Also, the photos were NOT current SURPRISE, SURPRISE
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Old 05-25-2012, 05:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mbmalone View Post
Well, the owner was a NO SHOW @ the 9:00am appointment he choose. I did see problems, but it could have been a good RV. Anyway, missing that appointment just cost the seller $1000, if he wants to sell it to me. I wonder if $2200 would be a good deal, even with the problems ?? Also, the photos were NOT current SURPRISE, SURPRISE
To me when someone says everything is working, that means I want to see everything actually working. Does the water tank have water in it and does water come out the faucetts, does it get hot, is the stove actually working, does the furnace blow hot air, does the refrigerator get cold, do the air conditioners work, does the motor run, does the motor driven air conditioner work, does the engine driven alternator work, does the generator run and make electricity etc etc etc,
Re the ac units if they tell you all it needs is freon BEWARE,
Any evidence of water leaks means hidden damage in the walls, floor and/or ceiling or all the above

I have just learned the hard way and have almost 4K in repairs into a 3500 purchase
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Old 05-25-2012, 07:29 PM   #11
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Well, I bought a 1980 Foretravel diesel pusher last year and if I knew now what I didn't know then I probably would not have done such a silly thing. Now having said that, I have had a wonderful time fixing everything (weird I know but I am easily entertained)
major engine work (Cummins small V diesel) new trans (old one was first of series with no modulated lock-up) taller geared differential, two new roof ac units, shocks, tires, rebuilt oven thermostat addition of a two-stage Jacobs engine brake, Williams air throttle and much more

Are me and Foretravel FTX bonded now??

yes

Does my wife love it??

YES

would I do it again??

probably


This thing is built like a tank. 10 hole Budd wheels, basement storage, 4 cylinder Kohler generator.

We love it
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Old 05-25-2012, 07:50 PM   #12
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Well, I bought a 1980 Foretravel diesel pusher last year and if I knew now what I didn't know then I probably would not have done such a silly thing. Now having said that, I have had a wonderful time fixing everything (weird I know but I am easily entertained)
major engine work (Cummins small V diesel) new trans (old one was first of series with no modulated lock-up) taller geared differential, two new roof ac units, shocks, tires, rebuilt oven thermostat addition of a two-stage Jacobs engine brake, Williams air throttle and much more

Are me and Foretravel FTX bonded now??

yes

Does my wife love it??

YES

would I do it again??

probably


This thing is built like a tank. 10 hole Budd wheels, basement storage, 4 cylinder Kohler generator.

We love it
I really hope I feel as you do when I finally finish my 1991 Silver Eagle, just put the third coat of captains varnish on the lower cabinets, drawers and doors, they almost look like they are covered in glass, will install them tomorrow or sunday, I want that varnish to get good and hard before I mess with them. One think about these older units, the cabinets are made of solid hi quality oak. The wall cabinets look pretty good and can wait until another time.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bilito View Post
I really hope I feel as you do when I finally finish my 1991 Silver Eagle, just put the third coat of captains varnish on the lower cabinets, drawers and doors, they almost look like they are covered in glass, will install them tomorrow or sunday, I want that varnish to get good and hard before I mess with them. One think about these older units, the cabinets are made of solid hi quality oak. The wall cabinets look pretty good and can wait until another time.
Well I am not a financial genius, but I have learned at this late stage in life that you never profit monetarily from these sorts of endeavors but you can often get out of them more that what you put in in the fun department. But then I LOVE working on "junk"
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:24 PM   #14
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If it wasn't for guys like you, these old behemoths would be rotting away in a field someplace. Glad to see these slumbering dyno's come back to life
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