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Old 06-30-2016, 09:51 AM   #1
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Looking at 20 year old Safari Trek

My wife and I (empty nester's) are looking at buying our first motor home together for mostly short trips, plus maybe a week or two per year on the road, I previously owned a small class B / extended conversion van type about 20 years ago. Anyway to make a long story short, now may not be the best timing for us to buy one (just returned from a week long vacation, and probably will not take another one for 5-6 months), but we ran across one for sale locally that may be a good compromise between what I want and what my wife wants. I want something small enough to get in and out of places without needing to have a home base somewhere and tow a car around, and she wants something with standing head room, a real bathroom and a functional kitchen, where I would be happy with a mini-fridge and a step up from a porta-potty.

What we have found (and are planning to go look at this afternoon when my wife gets off work) is a 1996 Safari Trek model 2830 (floor plan below), which includes the drop down ceiling mounted queen size bed, overall length is 28 ft. Personally I think I would prefer the similar 24 ft model which shortens the kitchen, keeps the same bathroom, and moves the dining to the space in front of the sofa, but that is not the potential deal to be found here.

So I would like to ask, am I crazy to consider buying the 20 year old motorhome powered by the dreaded 6.5 liter Chevy diesel engine on the P-30 platform? The seller seems very motivated to sell fast, asking price has dropped to $6,000 (down over $500 in the last week since it was initially listed on a local classifieds site), seller says the generator will not run, but otherwise it is in good shape, which matches up with the photos. (seller seems legit, has sold about a dozen things on the site over the last year or two, also has a car and some other bulky stuff for sale so I am guessing they are moving and can't take it with them). I am a DIY type and while not a professional mechanic, I have done a fair amount of automotive / engine mechanical stuff over time, pulled small engines apart, swapped carburettors, starters, alternators, installed shocks and springs on a car and may have access to the semi well equipped shop building on the family farm to work on things (11'2" motor home 11'6" shop door).

Anyway what are your thoughts? I have asked about this over on the Trek owners forum, but would like a broader set of opinions?

thanks Ike

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Old 06-30-2016, 09:56 AM   #2
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not crazy. Ya know, just give everything a real good look over. Obviously you'll have to dig into the generator issue if you want to.
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:00 AM   #3
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You mentioned the "dreaded" 6.5 diesel.
In my opinion, you would not be pleased to own this one as you brought up a big negative right away. While the price is right, quite possibly you should pass and find something you truly would enjoy.
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:51 AM   #4
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Everything you want to know about the 6.5

The 6.5 L (395 cu in) version was introduced in 1992 to replace the 6.2. Most 6.5s are equipped with a turbo. This engine was never meant to be a power and torque competitor with Ford/International and Dodge/Cummins, but rather a simply designed workhorse engine that made credible power, achieved decent fuel economy and met emissions standards in half-ton trucks.

Changes were made by GM to the 6.5 in their light trucks for emissions or reliability improvement. The 1992-1993 model years used a 6.5-specific Stanadyne DB-2 mechanical injection pump. GM replaced the DB-2 with the electronic throttle DS-4 in 1994-2000 vehicles.

In mid-1996 GM implemented a redesigned engine cooling system incorporating twin non bypass-blocking thermostats and a 130 GPM water pump. This improved the flow through the block by 70-75% and flow to the radiator 7%.
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:51 AM   #5
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My thought at the moment on this one is at this price (about half what I have seen similar Trek models selling for across the country), if everything else is in good shape it may be worth investing another $10,000 or so into installing an upgraded Optimizer or P-400 6.5L engine as a drop in replacement which fix many of the flaws of the vintage 6.5, plus add an additional 50 or so HP to the stock 190HP. It is my understanding that the these upgraded 6.5's were developed for the military when the old Chevy 6.5's proved underpowered for the up-armoured HMMV's about 10-15 years ago. As to the generator, one of my hobbies is repairing old generators, I don't really think this one will be a big deal to fix and even if it is, I have a couple of potential drop in replacements laying around, although they are both diesels..

Ike
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Old 08-02-2016, 12:37 PM   #6
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be sure to check out the nwtfc.com Trek forums if you bought it
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Old 08-02-2016, 05:39 PM   #7
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Ike,

I always thought these Trek's were amazing! They are a good compromise and if you are handy with engines you probably can handle the fixes on this one. The money seems more than fair. If it's in good shape for the most part, then buy it.

Have the owner fill the tanks and show you all of it is working and no leaks. Check the roof carefully for leaks and or soft spots. Tires may need to be replaced.

Listen to what your wife is saying. You can get around in this one and she will be happy with the head room and space and bathroom.

Good luck, Lynne
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Old 08-02-2016, 05:56 PM   #8
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I like the fire escape behind the toilet! But it does look a little bit "open" for sitting there!
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:26 AM   #9
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Well we ended up passing on that Trek, looked good in the ad photos, but much less so in person, major delamination along the top 6 inches of the entire drivers side, missing floor boards in the kitchen area, sagging ceiling fabric, paint peeling, damaged bumpers, old tires, etc. Just goes to show you what selective ad photography can do. Mechanically it may have been drive able, but that was about it. It did get us started shopping for others though.

Ike
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Old 08-05-2016, 06:58 AM   #10
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Ike,

Don't give up on finding a Trek. And, as Esh said, check out Trek Tracks for lots of specific information. Use Google to find the actual website since providing such links here is not allowed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
Well we ended up passing on that Trek, looked good in the ad photos, but much less so in person, major delamination along the top 6 inches of the entire drivers side, missing floor boards in the kitchen area, sagging ceiling fabric, paint peeling, damaged bumpers, old tires, etc. Just goes to show you what selective ad photography can do. Mechanically it may have been drive able, but that was about it. It did get us started shopping for others though.

Ike
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Old 08-05-2016, 09:56 AM   #11
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We had a 95 2830 for several years. A great coach in that you get the living area of a much larger coach. We had the 6.5 diesel. Power-wise took us everywhere we wanted pulling a jeep. The injection pump will need replacing at some time if not already done. The front suspension air bags and the steering bell cranks are also items to go. The bell cranks may have been replaced with aftermarket units with needle bearings instead of bushings.
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