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Old 05-08-2016, 06:43 PM   #1
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Cost effective solutions to some expensive items

About 18 months ago, I upgraded my old Class C camper for a larger, slightly less old class A motor home.

That '85 Rockwood class C was an ugly camper that I cleaned up a bit, replaced the carburator on the Chevy 350, and it did get very functional at a very reasonable cost. My initial investment was $1000 and while I spent that again and more in improvements, including a great deal of my own time and effort, in the 3 years I owned it I liked it, and it served my family well. When I sold it for just shy of $3000, both the buyer and I were happy with the deal. (I have since spoken with him, and he is still happy with the value)

Now, I have an '88 Fleetwood Southwind, with a chevy 454, and I did have to change the Brake Master cylinder, and a bunch of other things, and am still working on it. I am getting ahead of the many things I need to do, but my initial investment was only $700. (I got a great deal because of the crazy situation the previous owner was in) I have easily spent that again on things in the motor home, but it is still a great item on a shoe string budget)

Now, my life is going thru some major changes, and my marriage of 20 years is breaking up, and I do not know my future at all.

And, I have some serious considerations to make, regarding the Motor Home. To this point, Since I bought in October and drove it the 30 miles home, I have only had one summer to use this motor home. I drove it about 600 miles last summer on two trips to Maine.

Now, I want to consider a few items, but bear in mind that my resources are at risk because of my uncertain future, and I am still working for another decade or two, so I will only be using this motor home a few times each summer, at least at this point.

I have considered new tires. Mine have plenty of tread, no sidewall cracking, and I have built a pole barn to store the MH when not in use. They seem to hold air well enough, but I am sure the 6 tires on the ground are at least 5 or more years old, likely 10 or more. I dragged the spare out of the storage bay, and I may have been the first to touch it in decades. It has tread, but also cracks in the sidewalls. My guess is that it is much older than the 6 road tires, and would not be surprised if it was original. New tires, even if well purchased, will be several thousand dollars. But at 500 to 1000 miles a year, these will surely age out long before they wear out.

I have a 2008 Lincoln MKX. It can be towed 4 down. I will likely want to tow it behind the MH, as I am single again, and would like to be able to drive if I go somewhere with the MH.

I am sure that a base plate, a tow bar, and a remote brake system for the car will also cost me a couple thousand dollars, and I will use it one or two weekends a year, for the foreseeable future. Seems a lot of money for little use.

I am thinking of a tpms system for MH and toad. Again, only a few weekends a year, less than a 1000 miles, yet a good system will be in the $800 to $1500 range.

All this seems like a lot of money, and most will waste away long before I get any reasonable return on my investment.

I would love to hear of cost effective solutions or alternatives to what I suggested.

One thought that came to mind, is that I can most likely look for and buy a flat bed trailer for about the same money as rigging up my car to tow 4 down. Much less convenient for the two times a year I use it, but potentially something I can use at other times a year, and I would be able to use it for other cars easily...

I would love to hear how others on a budget solve some of these issues...

Karl I. Sagal KarlSagal@Gmail.com
Well done is better than well said. (Ben Franklin)
1988 Fleetwood Southwind, 34'
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Old 05-08-2016, 07:41 PM   #2
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You can always resell a car trailer. The equipment to tow the car wouldn't have any resale value. Check your tongue weight allowed on the Moho hitch. Those old tires could kill you or someone else on the road. I wouldn't worry too much about a tpms if you have new tires.
Have fun with your new Moho, and your new freedom.

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Old 05-08-2016, 07:55 PM   #3
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IMPORTANT. RV tires do not wear out they age out. This mean they are bad on the inside. All tires has a date stamp on it google tire date stamp to learn how to read it. A good looking tire can blow up and very bad things can happen. Most tires should be replaced every 7-10 years this varies on abuse and manufacture. Here a link to find the age of a tire Tire Tech Information - Determining the Age of a Tire.

Do a search on RV tire blowout to find out how inportant this really is.
1999 Bounder 32H Ford V10, 2012 Ford Focus, Pretty DW, 1 cat. Retired USAF
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Old 05-08-2016, 08:07 PM   #4
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Depending on what size tire you run there are cheaper tires out there that would work. I know a lot of people talk Michelin but it's a lot of money for using a coach a couple times a year. Age will force you to buy new sooner then later so even if you've only put 20K miles on the coach in ~7 years you'll have to change. Check out other brands and you could save lots of money.

TPMS is a must in my book and you don't have to spend that much, I think I spent ~$350 for mine and it has served me well. I did have to replace sensors due to battery age but still not a big deal. Look on Craigslist or Ebay, I've gotten good deals on Ebay for open box specials just have to know what you are looking for.

You are right on the cost of setting up a tow vehicle, pretty expensive and it is specific to you toad. You'll also need a braking system. All adds up $$$$. A trailer is a good option. I just recently bought a tandem trailer for other purposes (paid $1400) but may rig it to pull with my coach. It has electric brakes and I can easily move my Tenoska P3 to the coach.
Jim J
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Old 05-08-2016, 09:00 PM   #5
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It sounds like you need to find out for sure what the age of your tires is. If less than seven years you may have some time to decide on replacements possibly doing steer tires one year and drive tires the next.

Possibly a rental car could be used for one or two trips a year. A tow dolly can be used on almost all front wheel cars with no costly modifications. Used dollies can be found for reasonable prices (be sure to get one with brakes).
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Old 05-10-2016, 01:43 PM   #6
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1. Some great ideas, thanks.

2. Rental cars for a long weekend camping trip is most likely not worth the effort. Getting the car to the campground will be a chore since I am a lone driver. But on a longer trip it may be a good solution.

3. I have looked all over for a DOT code with date, and cannot find it. How long has this been the case? Is it possible these tires are too old?

On inspection of the tires, I have two different off brand chinese tires on the front, and a collection of Michelin and Bridgestone tires on the rear.

I am going to the tire shop to have them inspect them, but we all know what they will say, that I should buy new tires. It would be the same when you go to the _________________ anything. If they sell it, and you ask how good yours are, they will tell you to buy new ones...

Add to that the fact that I am inclined to buy simply because I do not know, and because I have a collection of who knows what, I am likely to want to start fresh with a known value. (Then if I abuse the time or have to weigh my chances in the future, I know what I am starting with)

As for the car, I am thinking I will clean up and sell my nice fiberglass enclosed 6 x 10 cargo/bike trailer to help finance the new tires and the used open car carrier. (Maybe I'll get lucky and someone will want to trade me an enclosed car carrier for my enclosed bike carrier.)

Again, thanks for the suggestions, and keep them coming.
Karl I. Sagal KarlSagal@Gmail.com
Well done is better than well said. (Ben Franklin)
1988 Fleetwood Southwind, 34'
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Old 05-10-2016, 03:14 PM   #7
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I would get rid of the mixture on the steer tires ASAP. The date codes you're looking for don't look like a date they are four numbers like 1713 that would mean 17th week of2013. I'm not sure they always say dot in front of the stamped numbers.

Enterprise rental will deliver a car to you, I'm not sure how far they will travel to deliver it though.

A tow dolly would be easier to use by yourself they are lite enough for one person to move and hook up alone and with a little practice loading and unloading is easy.
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:03 PM   #8
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If the tires are pre 2000 use a three digit code for the date, in which case you will definitely want to get new tires. Here and here are links on how to determine the age of your tires.

A quick search for TPMS puts a complete system for 6 tires at around $300. For that I would install it.

If you're only going a few times a year, I would look into the car rental if possible. You get a nice newer car with a replacement if it breaks down. Having your own car break down while you are on a trip is not fun. By the time you factor in the cost of the towing system and the additional gas for pulling a trailer, it's not a bad financial choice either.

Good luck,

1989 Winnebago Elandan under "extreme" renovation
Renovation thread
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:36 PM   #9
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Aside from your tire issue, you would probably be over your GCWR pulling that MKX on a trailer. It looks like the highest GCWR for that MH with a Chevrolet engine is 18,000# http://fleetwoodrv.com/partsandservi..._SOUTHWIND.pdf
pg 10 mentions a max 250# tongue and a 3,500# max (or less) trailer.

2014 Itasca Spirit 31K
2016 Mazda CX5, on an Acme tow dolly, 4 trips 5800mi
Now 2017 RWD F 150 with a drive shaft disconnect
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