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Old 03-14-2014, 08:19 PM   #29
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Dave, regarding your search, have patience!

Your list includes some pretty classy coaches (and memories, I worked on many/most of them when they were new)! When looking at, considering something like you're talking about, your plan is to approach it as a hobby? Approached using any other justification usually doesn't work out real well.

Another you might consider is the earlier Airstream with riveted construction. The later ones used a laminated construction seems to have a lot more frequent problems. For that reason, not as desirable (actually, not very desirable at all).

I would caution you regarding coaches showing ANY kind of water damage on the interior or exterior (Start your inspection with your nose. Rot has a very distinctive odor). These can turn into time/money pits in a heartbeat! For that reason, I would not take a "quick flight" to check out a Vogue? Stuff built like a Travco, Airstreams, Revcon and GMC's and some others are built using methods and materials that are much more resistant to that kind of thing, to the point it reflects as part of their higher resale value....

Another not mentioned you might run across is a Superior, also built like a tank.

Beware of the early 70's Travco's, or ANYTHING, powered by a small block. They'll struggle making 70mph on the level....

Best of luck on your hunt! -Al
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:41 PM   #30
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Thanks ahicks, adding Superior to the list. All the others mentioned have been on the list at some point or another. Superior is new to me.
Yes I am approaching this as a hobby. Partly for the mechanical fix up side and part for the road trips. Something I need to decide is percentage of fix up or spend more up front on a later model. While cost conscience I am. to thinking I will do this for a few years and make money. But I am the type of guy to avoid buying a car or rv that will lose $20-40k a year on depreciation.

I did speake to someone selling a 91 Foretravel. Looks like it could be a good deal. Way more rv than I require but I don think I will ever wish I had a cheap rv! It needs a little work but nothing that scares me. He does have recent maintenance records on the motor.
I have some concern about the reviews of the 8.1l Detroit diesel that is in it. Foretravel has a good reputation, are the motors as bad as they say? At least it has better fuel economy than most large rv's.
Either way I go I will probably get an inspection done if I have to travel before I buy.

As for small blocks in the 70's I will keep an eye out. Most everything I'm looking at has the gas 454. I'm not too worried about a slow coach BUT I do want to make sure I can hit a few small mountains in the southeast. Even if it's a 35mph curvy country road. More concerned about the old drum brakes holding it back than getting up it! I doubt it will ever see any high elevations while I own it.
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Old 03-15-2014, 12:22 AM   #31
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Before I converted my coach to all disk brakes, I took a trip out west to South Dakota and Colorado. The reality is, on a grade, it doesn't matter what kind of brakes you have, because one would be a fool to use them. Coming down from 8K ft, I just toggled between first and second, and let the engine control my speed. Had plenty of engine braking, and did not need that actual brakes. This was a winding steep 2 lane canyon road. Just started out conservative and made sure the coach did not get away from me. If one is dependant on brakes, it doesn't matter if they are drum or disk, in those situations, they would way overheat.

Really your DPs all have drum brakes, even though the are air operated (OK technically spring operated) The advantage of a DP is engine braking.

BTW: Is the FT a gas pusher or is it diesel? If its cheap, that makes me wonder if it is a gas pusher. If it is, it is really under powered. The FT owners don't think particularly high of the gas pushers. If it is diesel, then you are talking a pretty good unit. An FT is the only thing I would consider an upgrade from my Revcon, even compared to modern coaches. I know you also were thinking of looking at the FMC that was local. IF you do, make sure you drive it at freeway speeds. FMC was a well built coach, but being a short chassis pusher, the weight distribution is less than optimal. It has a low center of gravity, so it is going to drive better than a P30 chassis or a Dodge chassis of the same era, but it is not as good as it should be. I read both sides of that story, where some will say it drives great, and others will say it really needs more weight in the front end. So if you are thinking serious about it, don't make any assumptions either way, just make sure you drive it up to speed to confirm it is what you want.
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:28 AM   #32
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The FT has the Detroit Diesel 8.2 turbo diesel. I was wrong above when I said 8.1. Reviews are horrible about this motor from multiple websites. Of course reviews are horrible for the range rover and I have loved mine more than any other vehicle. I guess it's all in expectations.
The FMC doesn't run so it would be a leap of faith. It's missing it's carburetor and "needs complete restoration". It's $5k which is a lot compared to other coaches but these are crazy expensive if in decent shape. Usually in the 20-30 range. You can fin them a little less but I can find more of these above $50k. Not sure if they are actually selling them at this price but it makes me wonder. They are over 40 years old
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:36 AM   #33
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The Revcon in Indianapolis would be tons better deal than the FMC. Truthfully, I think its priced a little low. The guy states the upholstery needs attention, but if I had to guess, its probably more like just out of date (80s blue) With only 38K miles, I would be very surprised if its actually worn out. There is a part of me that is tempted to buy it myself, swap the 502 and 4 speed into it, and then just sell mine off. If it its till around by Easter, who knows, maybe I will look at it when I'm down there.
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Old 03-15-2014, 04:59 PM   #34
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I'm on my second Allegro the first was a 1986, 454 gas front engine. The second is a 1994 DP with a 6 cyl cummins. I much prefer the DP. It hadn't run for five years. It took a lot of work and money but we're still ahead of the blue book price. We have the benefit of two new roof mtd AC's, all new vents and roof covers, re-roofed with new material, two rebuilt heaters, new gas/elec water heater, replaced water pump, new sink faucet, six new tires, and a new 841 gas/elec ref. We could have bought another one that didn't need all of this work/item replacement for about a $1,000.00 more, but when you figure how long we should be able to run without having to replace anything major, we're much better off. You don't know that just because you spend more money the equipment will run any longer or better.

If we had stayed at home during the "rebuild/replacement" phase it wouldn't have taken us two and a half years to get it up to snuff but we replaced what we had to have to do the trips that we wanted to do. The first trip ( three days) we went with one AC and a Coleman cooler.

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Old 03-16-2014, 02:07 PM   #35
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Daveinet - My Country Coach has disk brakes in front. Between my GMC with all disk brakes and the gas motor, and my current Country Coach with air brakes and engine braking, the GMC was much easier to go down big hills. The big downhill on I 8 going east from San Diego to the Imperial Valley was really easy in the GMC. I just used second gear most of the way. Hardly had to tap the brakes at all. The difference is 42,000 lbs + tow car likes to go downhill very fast very quickly. The GMC was like a big van. On the CC I put the engine brake on the I 8 grade and have to tap the brakes once or twice but you have to watch the revs. Big CAT motors have a 2,100 max rpm rating. And the Allison goes into 4th when you have on the engine brake. That means 60 mph max.

Daveputt - Some of the early to mid 1980's Country Coach diesel motorhomes are pretty classic looking. No slides, but with cool style. I have seen them on ebay in your approx price level. I have driven a couple. Very good coaches.

Daveinet - I would agree that some Foretravels are better than Country Coaches. An Inspire vs a Nimbus for example. But we have some very close friends with a 2004 Nimbus they bought new. Our 2002 Country Coach Affinity is a nicer motorhome. They paid lots more than we did. Our exterior paint looks quite good. Theirs, dull, like many Foretravels. This is not a small deal. A good motorhome paint job can be 30 grand when you use something like Imron. Our interior is nicer. Their's is not bad, but just not up to the level of ours. They have a 400 hp Cummins. We have a 505 hp CAT. But without a doubt both are fine coaches.
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:44 PM   #36
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I have an 88 Beaver 3500 with the "dreaded" 8.2 Detroit. I bought the MH 4 yrs ago because it fit my budget at the time and I was taken with the quality of the coach. I later started reading all the negatives about this engine, mostly on truck forums. They scared me for a while although I have never had one problem related to this motor. I suspect that most of the criticisms involve daily heavy work use, more extreme than my rv will have to endure.

This motorhome was in use when I found it, which I think is critical rather than buying one that has been sitting for years. All systems functioned as they should from the start. Since I have owned it I have had to replace/repair things but I look at it the same as my house. It's common to both rv and home ownership. I have never had an issue with the engine or drivetrain to date. I think it all comes down to how it's been maintained all along. By the way, everytime I think of making a change and look at some of the newer ones, I really appreciate the way this Beaver is put together.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:34 PM   #37
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You have to be careful when reading reviews about things like this. I really got scared since there were soo many negative comments. It probably represents 1% of these motors and your right, probably being used for Fulltime trucking.
Glad to see you like it. BTW, what fuel economy have you seen?
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Old 03-18-2014, 05:00 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mocha Latte View Post
I have an 88 Beaver 3500 with the "dreaded" 8.2 Detroit. I bought the MH 4 yrs ago because it fit my budget at the time and I was taken with the quality of the coach. I later started reading all the negatives about this engine, mostly on truck forums. They scared me for a while although I have never had one problem related to this motor. I suspect that most of the criticisms involve daily heavy work use, more extreme than my rv will have to endure.

This motorhome was in use when I found it, which I think is critical rather than buying one that has been sitting for years. All systems functioned as they should from the start. Since I have owned it I have had to replace/repair things but I look at it the same as my house. It's common to both rv and home ownership. I have never had an issue with the engine or drivetrain to date. I think it all comes down to how it's been maintained all along. By the way, everytime I think of making a change and look at some of the newer ones, I really appreciate the way this Beaver is put together.
I completely agree!
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:57 AM   #39
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Dave,
I get between 9-10 mpg., which I consider reasonable. Years ago I had a 27' Class C with a Ford 460 V8 and got between 10-11 mpg. Considering the difference in size and weight, I think I'm doing pretty good.

As for issues, I would say that the most common types of problems with any older rv are likely to be electrical more than anything else. Wiring and contacts deteriorate over time. They usually are not that expensive to deal with but they can be very perplexing. On the brighter side, most of these older units don't have any computerized systems so it's mostly tracking down things like fuses and relays etc.
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:26 AM   #40
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Dave,

I'm happy to see a thread about buying/fixing up/using an older MH.

My only cautions are to be careful not to underestimate parts cost and level of effort. I've enjoyed my 1994 "project" but am occasionally surprised at the actual cost of things. Tires, for example, were much more expensive than my research indicated.

Something to keep in mind - many of the things that appear to be "broken" are often not. The typical approach seems to be to start replacing parts (if not haul it to a mechanic) rather that finding the problem. I've documented an example here (leveling jacks) - I have others (house heater). The good news is that the cost to fix is often low, the negative (maybe) is the large amount of time spent actually finding the problem. If you can enjoy the adventure of finding the issue, it is very rewarding.

I wish you the best of luck with your purchase/project!!
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Old 03-19-2014, 12:05 PM   #41
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Part of the attraction is the fixup! I just want to be prepared. Tires, engine and transmission condition are top priority. I feel like I have narrowed down the search to the brands of RV that are not prone to leaks due to construction.
Most people claim that everything is in working condition but the pre purchase inspection should validate that statement!
Good writeup about the leveling jacks. I just got off the phone with a guy selling a HR Imperial and says he saw the jacks operate when he purchased it but it doesn't have a switch. He said he never used it since he parked it and lived in it while on the job site. I just posted a new thread here about it in case anybody could fill me in!
Holiday Rambler leveling jacks
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Old 03-19-2014, 05:10 PM   #42
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Quote:
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Did you miss this one?

ORIGINAL LAND YATCH - 88 CLASSIC REVCON 34"

Looks like it is about 4 hours away. An 88 is a little wider, and the interiors are nicer. The outside looks like it could use scrubbing, but likely worth the price. Interior doesn't look bad either. Beauty rings are missing from the rims, so it affects the look, but many of us have converted to 16 inch aluminum wheels which improves the tire selection and saves money on tire replacement. (you can buy 16" tires and rims for nearly the cost of 16.5" tires) Truthfully, if I didn't have so much invested in mine, I would be shopping that one, just for the larger interior.
This one looked like a really good deal. I email and called twice and left message in the first few days it was online. Never got a response. Makes it tough to get deals quick when they aren't local.
Twice in the last month I have negotiated a price and time to meet and it fell thru. First time I drove 2 hours and got hotel room to meet early in the AM. He never showed. Yesterday I received a call on the 2nd RV ti let me know transmission just went out. Could be the truth but part of me thinks he had a local guy give him more money. Maybe he will call me in a few days and tell me he has a new transmission and its ready for pickup?!
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