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Old 08-01-2016, 10:00 AM   #1
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Newbie to Holiday Rambler "idea" help needed

My husband and I have been 'researching' many options from Airstream to Motorhomes and back again. We 'think' we have reduced our options to a 34ish ft motorhome - older, but well kept. We are not retired and will only be making 1-2 long trips per year from our Florida home (we may be even working out of it since we both work online). We plan on Appalachian hiking for other smaller trips through the year.

We found a listing 1994 34 ft Holiday Rambler nearby in St Pete (Tampa Craigslist) $8900. I admit that the asthetics were original attraction, but we just need to start somewhere as we know NOTHING about Holiday Rambler.

What model and years would you suggest for a Holiday Rambler assuming we wanted something that old? Is there a cut off year you would 'recommend' or a model to stay clear of?

Another concern of mine is SAFETY. How safe are HR compared to others. Why did YOU choose HR over some others in same price point?

Naturally, we would like to pay someone in our Sarasota/Tampa area to inspect the one(s) we strongly consider. Is there a list on this site for those wonderful Holiday Rambler owners?

ANY help or suggestions you have are welcomed - thank you, in advance.

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Old 08-01-2016, 10:19 AM   #2
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Holiday Rambler Owners Club
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Location: Florence, AL
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Welcome. I looked at the ad. My first question is how long has he owned it? make sure he is not bought it and trying to turn it quick and you have no idea of its recent history. The 460 Ford setup is ok and it should have a C6 tranny. You will need to spend time and make sure ALL systems work, both when plugged into shore power and also when on genset. Look for water leaks and also water damage (spots) in the upper cabinets. Be sure to get on top and look around for any trouble spots. that's the first thoughts...good luck. Gene

2003 HR Endeavor 36PST
2010 Fusion Hybrid (toad)
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Old 08-04-2016, 08:39 AM   #3
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I have a 1994 33' Holiday Rambler. When I purchased mine it ran okay but I soon found out it was a disaster. Nonetheless I've been a shade tree mechanic all my life so I've managed to turn it into a reliable RV.

For various reasons I'm not a big Ford fan, however the 460 V8 was first put into production in 1968 so even with the incompetent boobs that Ford manages to hire for engineers you can expect that by 1994 most of the bugs have been worked out of the engine. With that said, the 460 V8 is a reliable engine if reasonable maintenance has been maintained. If not, good luck. I had to replace my engine at 61K and there's a good chance it wasn't even the original engine (at least the cylinder heads weren't). However, I guess that the previous owner didn't believe in doing oil changes, ever.

The automatic transmission is an E4OD a transmission originally tasked to use on 4WD trucks and while I understand it's a little flimsy for moving a large RV if it's taken care of it'll hold up, just don't abuse it, at all.

I believe it has a heavy duty Dana rear axle and rear disc brakes.

I could go on and on about 1994 Holiday Ramblers but I don't want to bore y'all. It all depends on how well the machines been maintained whether or not it'll be reliable for you. If they're well maintained they'll run over 100K, if they're poorly maintained like mine was 60K is excessive miles.

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Old 08-05-2016, 02:14 PM   #4
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Short and sweet, though I love the way the HR's are built, if you aren't willing and able to tend to an older coach's needs, my bet is it's going to turn into a money pit.

My last coach was a '93 HR 34' with the tag axle setup, but on the Chev chassis. Those tag axle setups are getting kinda old now (same axle Chev or Ford), and may be past due for several hundred dollars worth of attention - especially if the coach appears to sit unusually low...

The interior headliner is made of a layer of foam and vinyl. That layer of foam on ours, was starting to dry out/decompose (turns to dust), allowing the vinyl to just hang loose. This may be another project needing attention.

Some of these had rubber roofs. If you are looking at one of those, and it hasn't been replaced yet, it will be way past due.

I'd be looking for corrosion in a lot of places. Around the basement doors is one place (the framework), as well as pitting on the outside walls. If you see any pitting, that would be the end of any interest I had in that coach at any price. Run, don't walk away from that one, and I would have serious doubts about a coach that's been "repaired". There's no way of repairing that economically, and no way of stopping it once it becomes visible. One or 2 small spots the size of a dime can turn into a 6' area very quickly.

There were quite a few advances in the design and materials used on these coaches made in the mid 90's, resulting in coaches that are likely much better purchases built in the later 90's. There were changes in the sidewall materials, lessons learned from those pitting lessons learned on the earlier coaches. Another notable change was the change to what they called a "wide body", resulting in not just more interior room, but a much better handling coach from a chassis standpoint. The newer engines would all be fuel injected as well - ridding the potential of carb issues seen frequently in the older ones.

Last, IMHO, Tampa to St. Pete isn't THAT long a drive. I'd go have a look at it in person prior to having inspections done on it. Whatever you do, do not fall in love with a coach until the deal is signed. There's too much potential for these things to fail an inspection, and the last thing you want to do with one of them is deal with emotions. There ARE coaches that have been well looked after this age, but there are darn few of them. Don't be at all surprised if you end up looking through 15-20 of these before finding just something worth considering....

Best of luck!
1997 37' HR Endeavor, 275hp Cat, Freightliner
03 CR-V Blue Ox, Ready Brake
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Old 08-10-2016, 05:01 PM   #5
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Posts: 15
Like minds

I had many of the same concerns when looking for a Class A earlier this year.
I like that era HR's. Wanted something safe, solid, and in good repair. Finally found a '95 HR Endeavor LE. I chose it because it had the Ford 460 motor on the F53 chassis. All aluminum framing with an aluminum roof. No slides (less to go wrong). Solid oak cabinets. I understand that after '95 the quality started to go down. I'm VERY happy with my choice. Found a 1 owner with all the manuals, & repair receipts, etc. All the systems work with very few repairs needed. Had to replace the tires (the old ones were 14 years old!), but other than that just little stuff. This site has great forums to investigate. Check them out. Good luck with your hunt.
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