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Old 11-11-2009, 01:56 AM   #1
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Were the Older RVs Better?

It's often been said that when it comes to cars, they don't make em' like they used to. Do you think the same is true for RVs? Maybe the lucky owners are the ones that bought one back in 1986. I know that modern RVs have more conveniences and certainly more options but are they built better? More importantly, are today's RV less reliable?

Jack
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:45 AM   #2
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It's often been said that when it comes to cars, they don't make em' like they used to. Do you think the same is true for RVs? Maybe the lucky owners are the ones that bought one back in 1986. I know that modern RVs have more conveniences and certainly more options but are they built better? More importantly, are today's RV less reliable?

Jack
"Tuff" question, Engines along with the rest of the running gear are better (6 speed trannies) and more cubic inches along with better fuel consumption but IMHO the electronic failures that drive them fail often.....
Heat and cold drives the electronic boards nuts...I can go on but feel the rigs are getting better by the year except for the workmanship.

Jim
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:59 AM   #3
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I`ll throw in my opinion and say that with most things now days ya pay more and get less, everything is made of plastic and breaks easily and many companies don`t stand behind they`er waranty.
As far as engines I agree with Jim, we never dreamed of a engine that would run 250,000 miles in the 70`s .
I think choosing good brands is smart, research research and even then ya can get a lemon
Modern stuff is more hands off and ya have to have special equipment to work on it which cost more. The older rigs could be worked on along the side of the road.
I still miss points
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Old 11-11-2009, 09:22 AM   #4
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Points....Don't miss them at all.....
Dual points were even worse'errrrrrr

Jim
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Old 11-11-2009, 09:41 AM   #5
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Points....Don't miss them at all.....
Dual points were even worse'errrrrrr

Jim
I`m remembering the old Harley's we used to ride, what could go wrong that ya couldn`t fix on the road. Electrics consisted of a few wires for lights , coil, batt. and points. My 01 quits sparking along the road and i`m at the mercy of others.
Cars wern`t any different, you surprise me Jim, i`d thought you would miss those days.
I grant that these new vehicles are nice, as long as they don`t break.
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Old 11-11-2009, 09:43 AM   #6
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If by better you mean simpler to fix, yes. In all other objective categories I would say no.

Modern motorhomes are built on purpose built heavy duty chassis that handle better, are more reliable, and light years more capable. The "boxes" are built to higher tolerances and generally are lower maintenance. Everything else is an apples to oranges comparison...older units just didn't have all the modern conveniences. If you were to build a simple, no slide, no electronics unit today, would it be better or worse than a 1986 unit? Maybe that should be the question.

To wit, I don't see many folks trading their 2009 motorhomes in for '80s models
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Old 11-11-2009, 09:53 AM   #7
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We have a 1999 Tradewinds and from reading the posts on this and other boards I'd say we have a lot less problems. I always thought it was because 1999 was before National really got into trouble and they paid more attention to quality than survival. This could be the case with the newer MH's being built today. In these hard times I'm sure companies are very mindful of costs and are willing to take more chances with quality to keep afloat.

Dick
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:12 AM   #8
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There must be trade-offs with any manufacture to establish, cost, value, safety, durability, etc etc. Times change and public demand changes that force an emphasis on different engineering and design aspects. Right now we are in a fuel economy driven market. Everything is MPG. Before that we were in a safety market, and before that, quality/longevity. Also, it would appear we go in cycles with the emphasis changing as the local and global issues drive designs. Trying to get all of this together is a juggling act that manufactures must deal with.

Bottom Line: Clearly and Certainly, a 2010 Motorhome is far advanced over a 1970's unit in all areas.
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Old 11-11-2009, 12:36 PM   #9
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HMMmmm - I'm probably not real qualified to post any sort of "expert" opinion - and likely few here other than those older individuals who actually WORK on them all, on a daily basis as their livelihood, are truly "experts".

I'd suspect that the term "older" would have to be more precise - comparing a 1970 bottom of the line trailer or MH against an upper class 2009, probably is unrealistic - but get into the '80's, brand for brand and model for model - as well as $$$ for $$$ , and then the comparisons might take on a new light!

Take our own rock-solid '88 Winnebago 27 foot Super Chief - sold new for about $45K, and after over 20 years of what appears decent - but not exceptional - care, is still perfectly structurally sound and solid, NO water leaks or related damage, outer surfaces straight and still buff out with a great shine - and only casualties *I* had to deal with were new shock absorbers all around, and replacement of the refrigerator freezing unit. No peeling or deterioration of interior surfaces, hardly ANY plastic to peel or distort, and none WAS! Fabrics and carpet all in great shape - and the list goes on and on:





The nearest comparable Winnie I now see available, sells for WAYYyyyy over $100K - undoubtedly has lots more "refined" electronics and other gadgets and features - as well as better fuel economy - but is it REALLY built any better, out of better materials - and will it hold up over the long haul as well as our '88 has, with the same general care?

Somehow, I sorta doubt it...
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:08 PM   #10
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That looks very nice
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:40 PM   #11
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HMMmmm - I'm probably not real qualified to post any sort of "expert" opinion - and likely few here other than those older individuals who actually WORK on them all, on a daily basis as their livelihood, are truly "experts".

I'd suspect that the term "older" would have to be more precise - comparing a 1970 bottom of the line trailer or MH against an upper class 2009, probably is unrealistic - but get into the '80's, brand for brand and model for model - as well as $$$ for $$$ , and then the comparisons might take on a new light!

Take our own rock-solid '88 Winnebago 27 foot Super Chief - sold new for about $45K,

The nearest comparable Winnie I now see available, sells for WAYYyyyy over $100K - undoubtedly has lots more "refined" electronics and other gadgets and features - as well as better fuel economy - but is it REALLY built any better, out of better materials - and will it hold up over the long haul as well as our '88 has, with the same general care?

Somehow, I sorta doubt it...
Well, first of all, $45K in 1988 is equivalent to about $75k today due to inflation. Second, Winnie's shortest class A is 26' and has a lot more "stuff" in it today, like slides, so not apples to apples, but can be had brand new for about $75k (my '09 35J optioned to the hilt was only $90k).

So what I am saying is you get actually get more "stuff" for your money today. Whether it lasts like your beautiful '88...we'll have to wait and see.
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:46 PM   #12
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looks like reality got thrown in the back seat pretty quick ...
Quote:
IMHO the electronic failures that drive them fail often....
and
Quote:
I`ll throw in my opinion and say that with most things now days ya pay more and get less, everything is made of plastic and breaks easily and many companies don`t stand behind they`er waranty.
Remember when there were corner gas stations that had a wall full of water pumps, fan belts, and other stuff? Nowadays it's 100k mile warranties and we don't worry about crossing the desert in mid afternoon on a summer's day nor do we worry about having to gear down and watch temperatures getting over the pass.

As for cost, it used to be that a car was about 6 months wages. An RV was about a year's worth. Nowadays that'd be either a very low paying career job or a higher end RV - we tend to forget inflation and cost of living when remembering prices.

As for the modern materials - plastics - oh my. More strength, less weight, greater safety, colors, style, function, durability,

As for warranty problems, I look around at threads about Fantastic Fan repair or about how some of the other RV manufacturer's treat their customers and I can only conclude you're sour on this because of poor choices or other 'special' problems.

But yes, things do go wrong. I look at the tales of woe from a Monaco coach owning friend of mine as example.

Then I see that Dexter just came out with self adjusting brake backing plates. I see friends trying to deal with flat batteries after watching a movie on a boondocking outing that turned a bit cool. I look at the size of their RV's and the luxurious accommodations compared to the typical RV when I was growing up. I see the friend who upgraded to a semi-auto satellite antenna for his TV in the RV. I go out in the boonies and I see these toy haulers and all their stuff. I note the continual arguments about gensets and when it is best to use them.

They don't make them like the used to and thank the Lord for that! We have so many benefits and blessings from innovation and invention we take for granted that we loose sight of just how blessed we really are.
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:22 PM   #13
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looks like reality got thrown in the back seat pretty quick ...

and


Remember when there were corner gas stations that had a wall full of water pumps, fan belts, and other stuff? Nowadays it's 100k mile warranties and we don't worry about crossing the desert in mid afternoon on a summer's day nor do we worry about having to gear down and watch temperatures getting over the pass.

As for cost, it used to be that a car was about 6 months wages. An RV was about a year's worth. Nowadays that'd be either a very low paying career job or a higher end RV - we tend to forget inflation and cost of living when remembering prices.

As for the modern materials - plastics - oh my. More strength, less weight, greater safety, colors, style, function, durability,

As for warranty problems, I look around at threads about Fantastic Fan repair or about how some of the other RV manufacturer's treat their customers and I can only conclude you're sour on this because of poor choices or other 'special' problems.

But yes, things do go wrong. I look at the tales of woe from a Monaco coach owning friend of mine as example.

Then I see that Dexter just came out with self adjusting brake backing plates. I see friends trying to deal with flat batteries after watching a movie on a boondocking outing that turned a bit cool. I look at the size of their RV's and the luxurious accommodations compared to the typical RV when I was growing up. I see the friend who upgraded to a semi-auto satellite antenna for his TV in the RV. I go out in the boonies and I see these toy haulers and all their stuff. I note the continual arguments about gensets and when it is best to use them.

They don't make them like the used to and thank the Lord for that! We have so many benefits and blessings from innovation and invention we take for granted that we loose sight of just how blessed we really are.
Hey i`m not disagreeing with you about a lot of what you said, in fact I stated that we would of never believed a engine that would run for 250,000 miles with out hardly nothing done to it in the 70`s.
A lot of this what`s best comes down to the size of your pocket book, if your wealthy then it doesn`t really matter, but for someone on a budget then there is no comparison . I know that if I sold the ranch so we could travel in one of those fancy rigs and something goes wrong with it were probably not going to be able to afford to fix it. If I had to I could overhaul the engine on this 85 Winny fairly cheap and along the side of the road.
The parts for the engine rebuild kit probably cost about the same as a muffler on a high end rig.
Something to consider.
Weird thing is we will probably sell the ranch next year and buy a nice rig, must be the American way God help us if that Diesel engine blows a cork.
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:27 PM   #14
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One thing we noticed as we shopped around for an older and relatively short MH to pull our fishing boat to relatively local wilderness-type areas, was the near total LACK of reasonable maintenance to preserve and protect the owner's investment as revealed in the sad condition of MANY older RV's.

Sure, lots of RV failures and weaknesses are the result of poor design and materials - but I find it hard to understand those who DO pay "a year's salary" for a nice RV - and then neglect it and essentially abandon it between uses - then complain when problems arise.

This may seem a bit off topic - but actually is a main ingredient when it comes to comparing materials and workmanship on old - or new - Rv's...
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