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Old 01-16-2018, 08:41 AM   #1
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Options for 1st RV ever - looking for reassurance

So my hubby and I are planning to take our two kids across the country in August and we are on a tight budget so we are looking at some pretty old rigs. We are almost about to buy the first one we looked at but are a little nervous about the age.

For 3 grand, we are looking at a 27' 1984 Rockwood class C on a Ford econoline. It is in really good shape considering the age and has had a bunch of upgrades just recently. Only 42K miles, new tires, new spark plugs, lots of new tubing under the hood, NO RUST anywhere that we could see in or out, only very minor leak evidence in cab-over. Interior is dated but really clean - new laminate wood floor, new fridge. Will have a few thousand to put into it if necessary.

Other option is to spend whole budget - say 5-6K on a somewhat newer - (like mid-90s) rig with similar miles but not have as much to put into it.

Is it insane? We want to take it about 8000 miles over the rockies and back. Do these old things make it on trips like that?

What should we be looking for?
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:29 AM   #2
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Can you fix things yourselves or will you have to pay every time something breaks? Things will break, that is a given. It sounds like a well cared for home, I'd get it and save a few bucks for fixes along the road. Life is an adventure, if things break down adapt and replan.
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:32 AM   #3
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It sounds like someone has experienced the typical RV initiation and fixed the important things for you. Typically we start out small and find bigger better, prepare yourself.

If thereís no real pressure to move on this unit then I would consider sending an engine and transmission oil sample off for diagnosis. If that comes back clear then I would jump on it.

Keep in mind itís the hiccups that make an RV adventure memorable for the family. Everything going perfect sounds ideal but when you talk to RVírs or even better kids of RVírs, the favorite and most memorable stories involve the hiccups.

There will be issues coming up. Sure as dark following day there will be some issues. Embrace them, get through them, and know that when youíre old and you talk about life with the grandkids those stories will be the ones you tell.
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:00 AM   #4
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Are you handy! You'll likely have a few issues to deal with on a trip like that. Take a few trips locally to work out the bugs and figure things out.

Get a good roadside assistance plan. Have a credit card with a hefty balance available. Have a plan for dealing with the inevitable breakdown along the way.

Have fun and make memories!
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Old 01-16-2018, 10:09 AM   #5
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We were going on a trip from Ca to Co several years ago in our 5ver, when the BIL asked if he could join us in his 'Bucket of Bolts', an '80s something MH. I said sure!. First day, his fan belt comes off. We stop, fix. Came off again an hour later, rinse, repeat. He and I got real good at fixing it as it was a two person job, he on his back on the ground and me laying over the doghouse. Once every day for a week. One day I was following him on a winding road in Utah, I saw gas spilling out the tank fill each time he hit a left hand bend. Wrong gas cap. Then his starter solenoid went out in Nevada on our way back. So anything can go wrong, it just how you deal with it.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:43 PM   #6
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hollyfell,

Welcome.

Post a picture in the vintage picture thread.

My experience is everyday I wonder about bailing, then I start contemplating solutions to challenges.
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Old 01-16-2018, 01:37 PM   #7
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Is your husband capable of doing any mechanical work or electrical work if not have a fat check book. If you purchase this motor coach I would defiantly take it on a few local trip's a couple of week's prior to your big trip ask me how I know. Been there side of the road but it was a great trip and the kid's won't forget it as we bonded helping the old man fix it. I wouldn't be afraid jump in and have a blast . Are you planning on towing a small vehicle behind you? I would defiantly just in case.
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Old 01-16-2018, 01:40 PM   #8
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Sounds like it could be a great deal, I would have a mechanic look at the running gear, engine, trans, brakes, chassis air conditioner and things like that. Appliances and small leaks can all be repaired or replaced as required. I also would want to have a few thousand in the bank in case something does break on the road. If you and the Hubby are good with fixing things you have several months for a shake down cruise and time to make repairs and tinker with things you may not like or just want to change. Just remember that RV's have a lot of different systems and all of them are subject to have problems. That said, I would be willing to bet you have less problems then I have had with my new one, in 2015.

Good luck and God Bless!
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:33 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies! What a great welcome!

Yes - my husband is pretty handy with cars and lots of other things but not a mechanic.

My feeling is that no matter whether we get an '84 or an '01, we could be looking at significant age related problems and its better to spend less up front on something older but well maintained and keep the cash on hand for repairs before and during the trip.

We can't afford anything that will really buy piece of mind (if that even exists) - stuff goes wrong even on new vehicles, especially on a long trek.
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyfell View Post
Thanks for all the replies! What a great welcome!

Yes - my husband is pretty handy with cars and lots of other things but not a mechanic.

My feeling is that no matter whether we get an '84 or an '01, we could be looking at significant age related problems and its better to spend less up front on something older but well maintained and keep the cash on hand for repairs before and during the trip.

We can't afford anything that will really buy piece of mind (if that even exists) - stuff goes wrong even on new vehicles, especially on a long trek.
Lots of people do what you're thinking. I've run across plenty of vintage units that are going strong.
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Old 01-16-2018, 04:18 PM   #11
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Do you need a MH or do you have a tow vehicle that you can use and buy a trailer. Just thinking out loud here, my first MH (after 5 trailers) was a 24 yr class A. I bought it for 6K and put that much into it, but sold it for more than I had into it. Most of the stuff I fixed, I had to send out for items such as tires, steering parts, alignment, new fridge stuff like that. I would have an inspection done on the drivetrain, test everything then make your decision. Good luck and have a great trip!
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Old 01-16-2018, 07:12 PM   #12
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I have just purchased (AUG 2017) a 32 ft Fleet Wood Southwind on a Ford F53 Chassis with the 460 cu in v8. Just turned over 26,000 miles. I put new tires on it ( Make sure you check the date codes on the tires to know if they are new or near new) Your local tire dealer can help you with this. I paid $8500.00 for my rig and have about $14,000 in it now with everything fixed that I am aware of including 7 brand new tires. I took it 55 miles from home for a two night stay at at RV park on the Oregon Coast, then last week took it on a drive of 190 miles with some very steep hills in the mix. It performed flawlessly. We did find a small leak on one of the forward side windows and fixed it. It was pouring rain so the brakes are new and performed very well, the transmission worked well and did well when coasting down steep hills in lower gears. My temperature gauge stayed on normal except when climbing steep hills when it tended to go past the middle of the guage when the fan would lock up fully engage and the temp would return to normal pronto. SOOOO! now we are ready to head out to Arizona from north Oregon coast for a 1 month trip. I have done all I can do to get it ready, all that remains it to get on with it and make those memories over breakdowns. :-) Tom
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Old 01-17-2018, 05:23 PM   #13
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Good luck on your trip! I hope it is a great time.

We are hoping to go from Connecticut to Washington to Denver to Kentucky and back home on our trip with quite a few stops on the way.

Whatever rig we end up with we'll be able to test run it locally of course and then maybe up into New Hampshire to see how a few hills will be. Not that the White Mtns are anything to the Rockies.

We'll have some money earmarked for repairs and with any luck nothing catastrophic will go wrong.
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Old 01-17-2018, 06:37 PM   #14
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I think it is great adventure to buy older rv's and take them on road trips. I just recently bought a 1972 20' class C and plan on taking it on multiple road trips this year. Sure it has a lot of miles but it runs great I have good basic mechanical skills a hatch full of essential spare parts a credit card and roadside assistance with my I insurance carrier, bring on the adventure that we call life and great freedom. Whoooooo Hoooooo !!!!
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