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Old 10-31-2009, 01:42 PM   #1
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New Vintage RV Youngster

Im 22 years old currently serving in Afghanistan and looking for a good time in a RV when i return. Really interested in getting a older 73 Winnebago brave 20 ft. Have many questions regarding older RV's. First of all lets talk parts. I know this RV is on a Dodge RM-300 chassis and I'm mostly concerned about is chassis parts. Like brakes, suspension, engine parts, driveline parts and everything else on the chassis. Im thinking because it is a dodge chassis parts should not be to hard to come by. But you never know. Another issue is tires. I dont know the tire size exactly on the Winnie I'm looking at but I looked at a 73 Winnebage Brave sales prochure and it says it has 8.17 5-d 8 ply up front and 8.17 5-d 6 ply in the rear. I have no clue what the means. It possibly could be the RV has a newer style of tires on it know im just trying to figure it out myself. Also just curious everything that sits above the chassis like appliances, toilet, water heater, piping, and you get my drift with the rest, you just customize it however you want. Can i actually get a replacement fridge? Well any info would help with any of these questions. Im not looking at a full resto project but stuff that works. Thanks alot anyone that replies back to this.
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Old 10-31-2009, 04:36 PM   #2
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1st off, thank you for your service!

I think that you will be better off if you find an older unit that has seen use with some consistency. One that has sat for years will probably have stacks of problems, ones a that would have been corrected in a more often used unit.

Remember, driveline problems can often require a tow, much more expensive than a car! Go through those brakes, super critical on the tires, and start off with short trips around town and very short term oil changes to clear the gunk of years.

So says the guy who drives a 46 year old RV!
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:16 AM   #3
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Son, let me second the thanks for your bravery and your service to our country, not many have the maturity or character needed to be a soldier and face what those in active field duty face.

Now, here's a good question, what kind of camping are you after? You looking at the State Parks/RV Park type camping, or are you more into getting back in the boonies where only those with a brave heart and 4 wheel drive dare delve?

If you're the former, then the motorhome's not a bad bet, though it will likely be a project, all old girls are. If yer the later, you might want to consider a good 3/4 ton or 1 ton pickup truck and a slide-in truck camper, kinda like mine. Its like a small motorhome that the "home" comes off of when ya want to establish a base camp.

All the appliances in an RV work fairly similar to those used in a house. The big differences are: 1.) The gas fired appliances use propane instead of natural gas or electric 2.) The fridge doesn't use a compressor like a house fridge, but instead uses a chemical reaction induced by heating with a small propane burner or electric element to create cooling. 3.) Everything in an RV is smaller than its home counterpart.

You can find replacement appliances for an RV, but usually they don't come cheap when they're new. Your average RV Fridge for a 4 Cubic foot unit can cost between $800-1200 new. Bigger than 4 cubic foot, higher price tag to replace. My replacement water heater set me back $250. A new furnace would be between $300-400, range $250-360, and so on.

Another thing about old RVs is that alot of them were made of wood. Mine's made of a wooden frame with an aluminum skin attached to it. When the seams start to leak over time (if they're not maintained) the wood will get wet and rot. So, you need to go through a used unit thoroughly to see if it has any signs of water damage.
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:55 AM   #4
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thanks for the help so far. what about the chassis parts, such as brakes, where can i get those
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Old 11-02-2009, 03:12 AM   #5
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Depending on the chassis type, you can sometimes find the parts at autoparts stores, like Schucks O'Rilley, Murphy's, Kracken, Napa, etc.... And sometimes you have to find a specialty shop that deals in older vehicle parts to get them from.

It depends on if the RV used an entire enclosed body, or was built on a truck or van chassis.
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:30 PM   #6
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My Class C is on a GMC chassis. I just get engine & chassis part for the van part (ie: 1977 GMC Vandura G35 or G3500). Only a few things were original on our RV. And we have since replaced more.
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