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Old 06-11-2018, 10:46 AM   #1
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Ď85 Pace Arrow 34 ft

Hi folks, I’ve got a bad tendency of buying other people’s problems if the price is low enough. Case and point: this ‘85 Pace Arrow.

She looks good on the outside, does not have any active leaks, and only a few minor repairs.

The bad news? Where to start...

1) The engine. I was told by the owner it had run 4 years ago. He flat out lied to me. It was siezed up and the shop mechanic filled it with kerosene. After a long, long time he finally got it to move. That was four years ago. Since then it has sat with no spark plugs. Chances are the engine is trashed. I’ll see what happens when I throw a breaker bar on it as soon as the rain stops... in a couple days.

2) The mileage. Owner lied again. Said it had 44k. Truth is that it’s at 144k. See a pattern? I can assume the trans will need rebuilt too. Drive shaft bearings are shot. I know thay much.

3) Rodents. They got in under the sinks and had free roam of the RV for two decades. Surprisingly, I haven’t found any damage to the wiring or plumbing yet. They used a couple of old floor rugs to build their nests-one in the sink under a cutting board and one in the air cleaner. This was the only thing he told the truth about.

4) The unknowns. I won’t have a chance to run or drive it. Nor will I have the chance without significant effort. Starting to think I’d rather have a runner and do a remodel.

From my internet research, you CAN pull the engine out of the doghouse and through the drivers door. I’m sure I’d need a bigger, badder hoist, a lift, and a few more friends to help. And lots more money to tackle the unknowns, buy more tools, etc.

IF I choose to pull the engine I already have a healthy period correct 1985 Chevy 454 long block pulled from a C30 sporting a non-BS 44k miles not even a month ago. But that’s a pretty big committment. And I’m not sure I’ll ever have the time to do that as a single custodial father working full time and taking night classes. So...

I am committed to cleaning it up on the inside. But I’m not sure if I’m going to keep it or move it on. After tax, title, tags, and all I’m about $1200 in for what would have been a monster deal if the P.O. wasn’t such a P.O.S.

At this point I’m kind of looking for advice: keep it or move it on? I’m sure some other fool with a dream will want to take it home, especially if it’s clean and poop free!

Pics from the day it was purchased: http://imgur.com/a/8OxZ29V
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:42 PM   #2
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I'm a former mechanic so I wouldn't be too afraid of the swap. I'd put a motor in it. I went the opposite of you with my Tiffin. Bought a runner that needed a remodel. Turns out it wasn't really a runner. After a new tranny, 6 tires, and a new carb plus the remodel I've put about $3000 in it. When you are looking at these old RVs chances are people are going to lie to dump them or just honestly don't know anything about them. Mine the guy before me was lied too. He took it as payment on a job and they told him it ran great and had no issues. I honestly at this point wish I had started with a clean one that just needed a tranny and motor.
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:53 PM   #3
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The first thing I would do is try to get the engine to turn over. I would spray some PB Blaster in the cylinders and see what you can do. I would clean out the interior and make it look as good as you can for now. I would make a list of all the things that need repair or replacement. Keep in mind you are close to needing 6 new tiers.
Let us know how things are going. You might look around for someone to swap the motors for you and see what that would cost. I know about the working and not having the time you need.
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:55 PM   #4
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When it comes to tires the 8r19.5s are pretty cheap! And you can mount them yourself! I mounted all 6 of mine in the driveway!
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Old 06-12-2018, 06:02 AM   #5
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Iíve got the sad old batteries on trickle and sprayed a healthy amount of Stabil fogging oil through the plug holes. It did wonders for the Onan engine on a welder generator Iíve been working on so Iím hoping it might here too.

Seems like almost all the onboard stuff works. Starter relay works but it had nowhere near enough juice in those batts to do anything more when I was messing with it last night. Brake pedal went to the floor the second time I put pressure on it. That much I expected.

Also realized Iíll never use the dashboard air/vent/heat unless I can find a way to clean out the floor vents that I am 100% sure the mice got into. A little bummed about that.

The engine swap wouldnít be so bad if I had skilled help and a weekend to do it. Iím mechanically inclined but not a professional mechanic. Guess Iíll call around for quotes today because these last few years and contentious court battle with my ex have left me without friends or the time/ability to meet new people with similar interests. :/

All that said, I was sitting in the drivers seat with the radio playing a vaguely Ď70ís sounding tune with the sunset in front of me and saw the potential. Thatís a dangerous thought. Or should I say and expensive one?
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:25 AM   #6
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Made plenty of phone calls this morning. No RV shop around here will even touch the thing. They all cater to the prissy upper middle class money in the area and would rather sell new RV’s to folks with more dollars than sense. Not surprising.

The only quote I got was from Rush Truck Center. They’d only want $7,800 if I supply all the parts. [Moderator Edit].

No one I know is remotely interested in helping, even with cash or beer on the line. So I’m SOL.

Oh and after days and days of rain, it has started to leak! Sweet! More problems!

If the engine won’t turn over this evening I think I’m ready to wave the white flag and call it what it is-an ill informed purchase where I put too much trust into some jerk with a sob story. Best case scenario the engine turns over and I can sell it. Worst case it’s a total loss. Not even a fool would pay money for this if I told them what I know now. Too bad I’m not a liar. Ugh.
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:55 AM   #7
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Does the generator run? I would try it off a auxiliary fuel supply because you need 1/4+ tank for it to get fuel otherwise. If you dump it the generator could be worth some money.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:01 AM   #8
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The 6.5kw gens are common on craigslist and facebook marketplace with asking prices anywhere between $150-500 for working units. No clue if it runs. Not a lot but it’d help. May be able to get the trans out too.

Either way I’m dumping this thing. I don’t care if the engine turns or not. It’s a total POS that dude sold on just the right day (before the rain) to a sucker who didn’t bother to validate all his claims. That’s my fault and a mistake I won’t ever make again.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:06 PM   #9
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Well, it seems to be a huge hit on the local facebook marketplace. Iím sure itíll sell tomorrow without losing any money even though I am being honest about its issues. Also itís cleaned up nicely. Nowhere near done but it isnít gross now.

I still dream of buying a bus and building my own ideal mobile home in it. Or maybe Iíll just pop a camper on my K30 flatbed... but no more ďtoo good to be trueĒ cheap RVís for me. And sorry about the negativity folks, just got really frustrated about being bit for trying to trust a guy.
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Old 06-12-2018, 11:31 PM   #10
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Best of luck! I can't believe someone quoted so high on the motor. Surely 2 people could swap it in a day. That or rebuild it in place. Almost all P30s need the brake system completely rebuilt. Luckily you can do it all for about $300. Personally if you don't want the mechanical issues I wouldn't touch one you can't drive or at least start. Even of it just had a bad tranny TH400s are a dime a dozen and i swapped mine in about 4 hours without help.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:00 AM   #11
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Sorry to hear your purchase went south.

Around here labor is $175 the hour. About 44 hours would come close to the $7800 mark. Sadly, I'm not very surprised. Ford wanted $7K to do a simple Explorer engine.

With that said pulling a 454 out of a class a is no fun. We pulled the ancillaries, manifolds, intake and heads before pulling the block out the front.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:40 AM   #12
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When I saw the title I was almost certain you'd been sold my old Pace Arrow... I traded it to some GI's down in Fort Stewart, Ga. BUT; they drove it away from North Charleston and arrived back at camp safely...... even with the wiring issues I'd never been able to work out to my satisfaction. I bought it after seeing it only one time and still being fairly ignorant of the common faults they had, for reasons I won't go into here except that it was a matter of economy that drove me. As bad as it was, it was still fairly solid and the 454 ran great, the trans worked fine, it had a working Onan gennie, and there was no broken glass anywhere (especially the windshields, even though they had delam issues around the edges). When I no longer felt I NEEDED it, I made inquiries about selling the engine, etc, and found that nobody local wanted to deal with disposing of the 6 tons of fiberglass and plywood after removing the drivetrain!
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris937 View Post
Well, it seems to be a huge hit on the local facebook marketplace. Iím sure itíll sell tomorrow without losing any money even though I am being honest about its issues. Also itís cleaned up nicely. Nowhere near done but it isnít gross now.

I still dream of buying a bus and building my own ideal mobile home in it. Or maybe Iíll just pop a camper on my K30 flatbed... but no more ďtoo good to be trueĒ cheap RVís for me. And sorry about the negativity folks, just got really frustrated about being bit for trying to trust a guy.
I have been down that road trying to fix or make a bus into something and they take more money and time than saving up a little and buy something that is complete and working and drivable.
You may not find it in the local area and you may need to drive to go look at one but it will be cheaper and less frustrating in the long run. Don't worry there are enough projects to keep you busey. You want something you can drive and use now.
Start looking at places like
https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/preown...RoCBScQAvD_BwE
to get an idea of floor plans and what things are going for.
Bill
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