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Old 09-11-2007, 10:00 PM   #1
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I am looking for an older Class C in the 20 foot range. We are a family of four with a 2 small kids (under 7) and will be towing a 16 foot fiberglass boat on occasion.
I like the idea of a big block engine for power but hate the price of fuel these days. Will a Chev 350 be enough to handle the extra weight?
Also, when considering different units to buy, would low miles be more important than condition?
For example is good mechanical more important than a leaky roof?
I am capable of doing all work myself.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:00 PM   #2
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I am looking for an older Class C in the 20 foot range. We are a family of four with a 2 small kids (under 7) and will be towing a 16 foot fiberglass boat on occasion.
I like the idea of a big block engine for power but hate the price of fuel these days. Will a Chev 350 be enough to handle the extra weight?
Also, when considering different units to buy, would low miles be more important than condition?
For example is good mechanical more important than a leaky roof?
I am capable of doing all work myself.
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Old 09-12-2007, 12:36 AM   #3
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I think a high mileage RV can have both items that need repair and mechanical problems.Got to remember most RV's have a high rearend ratio and wear faster than a car would.On the other hand,something that has low mileage that hasn't been used much and was stored on dirt or grass for a long term can have problems with things like the frig ,floor,roof,tires,brakes,brake lines,trans lines etc.When you look at a RV,look at the bottom of it and if you see 1/2 of the driveshaft(the bottom 1/2),the bottom of the rearend rusty(you can see a line where the rust is),that is a MH that has been stored on a nonconcrete area for a long time.The items inside a rv don't like not being used.If you look at a RV and smell inside the frig and it smells realy bad,likely it needs repair or replacement.That can get expensive.When you look inside look for loose wallpaper on the ceiling or discolored wallpaper on the ceiling.That is a sure sign of a leaking roof.Walking accross the floor and feel a weak spot is a sure sign of a rotted floor.Look at the propane tank and if the has a lot of rust scale on it.You can't expect a BB to get much in terms of gas mileage.Mine with a 350 gets dry about 8 to 12 mpg.I'll try to remeber some of the other things to look for later today.Got to go for now.

Gary
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Old 09-12-2007, 07:02 AM   #4
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Is there a lot of difference in the brand of chassis? I'm leaning toward GM because I've had a lot of luck with GM trucks in the past - not so much with Dodge.
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Old 09-12-2007, 07:17 AM   #5
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I may be a bit biased here as the old auto shop teacher but I would rather buy good body and coach equipement and do mechanical repairs as needed. I would suggest that on a 20 footer that the 350 will do just fine for your purpose even with a 16 foot boat. I have seen some great deals of well cared for coaches that need some engine work over the years and what does a crate 350 engine cost these days?. Short money.

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Old 09-12-2007, 11:38 AM   #6
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Hi Grant Brown, welcome to the forum and to the vintage site!
I think a 350 or 400 small block would be a good combo for a small home. Mine is 26 foot and has the 454 and is really more motor than I need most of the time, Mountains are the exception out west! If most of your driving is to the lakes or mostly flat lands, the small block ill do fine. Fleamaarketer has some good things to take notice of when you go looking for your home on wheels!
Nhgeezer, has some good ideas as well! chassis is easier to work on than the Motorhome itself.
Good luck with whatever you choose and again welcome to the forum,
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:50 PM   #7
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Hi Grant,
I should have started my reply with this.Nothing in RV'ing is cheap.The differance is when you chose a older MH you can save some over going to a dealer and have no payments.When I got my "Baby" I spent alittle less than $2,000 to get it road worthly.I replaced all the tires,new brake lines,new rotors,caliper,pads,rebuilt the carb,replaced the master cyclinder,replaced the brake rubber hoses,new deep cell batteries and added one more battery to the house side,replaced the brake drums and shoes,new gas lines,replaced some of the trim lights.All of it was needed because it had been setting for awhile.Oh,as far as the tires goes,remember they can cost as much as $100 each and consider getting tires that are rated for towing.I also added a hayden tranny cooler,the biggest one I could find.So it doesn't take very long before you can get to that $2,000 mark.Now I am involved in a ceiling/roof repair that the materials alone are in the $500 range just for the materials for the roof and that doesn't include the cost for the materials for the ceiling.From what I have seen from other members is the common thread is they and I really like the MH's they have and without payments.The saving grace is the price I paid for my MH was well below resale value.I get a chance to build one that is suited for me and do the improvements over what Winnebago built.I would guess my end costs would be in the range from $7,000 to $10,000.But to get one from a dealer would be in the upper 20's to lower 30's.
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Old 09-12-2007, 05:54 PM   #8
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And to add to what Fleamarketer said, If you have it done for you it can really add up quick! I had about $15000 total and then had to back-up and restart the whole thing which I let someone else do a good part of the work for a cool $24000. So I have a 1979/2007 Coachmen President 25!!! For $44000, it can be a 07 model!!!!
Word to the wise, Don't leave mh in a flood plan, even if you know it had the 100 year flood last year!
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Old 09-13-2007, 09:25 AM   #9
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Actually, what Dan said is how I actually got mine. It was given to my ex-wife because the previous owner did not have time to fix it, and needed it gone. My ex could not drive it or fix it, and I needed a place to stay, so it was given to me. I found a place to park it, with full hookups, and have been living in it since. . . I do repairs as I get the cash for parts. . .
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Old 09-14-2007, 09:53 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the advise. While I have no problem with repairs to the house, mechanical stuff is really where I'm most talented. I think I'll look for a dry/good body 20 foot with a small block. Hopefully I'll find something that doesn't need too much work, but if I have to put a motor or trans in it that's not the end of the world. In my neighborhood it seems there are lots of rich people with direct lines to the city bylaw enforcement officers. A clean, tidy rig parked in the driveway with the hood up once in awhile won't cause the hassles that a total rebuild would.
I'll post again when I get something.
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:07 PM   #11
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Grant Brown, Don't ya just hate co-ops????
A friend came down from Ill. and found out how real quick so he still wanted to live here so he got a piece of ground that didn't have a home on it and built it custom for himself! The biggest change is the 48 foot 13 foot tall 15 wide enclosed garage that keeps his Beaver nice and clean and dry and you can walk down the stairs and walk under the MH to do things like oil and fuel filters and oil changes... Must be nice to have that kind of money and still drive a Chevy pickup and wear blue jeans and looks dirt poor! A good friend to have!!! I love how he can thumb his nose at the street police as he goes on down the road!!
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Old 09-15-2007, 07:43 PM   #12
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Hey Capt Dan,
The shade tree mechanic's show on tv have a garage that has a lift and all the tools and equipment that any job would ever need.Gezzzzzzz,you mean it ant like that????.Thought everyone had things like that.
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Old 09-16-2007, 05:05 PM   #13
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With a Class C, you need to check the cab section where the RV section connects. It tends to be weak there (as evidenced by the sag indicating that the RV is breaking in half)

Also check the chassis frame just past the rear wheels. This is another area where poor construction may appear (like on our Frolic Mfg built Midas... morons!).
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Old 09-16-2007, 06:58 PM   #14
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I'm surprised to see that there is no Metal framing around that connection where the loft and the cab meat!! I would think they would have added 2X2 metal framing there to make it strong?? I'm wondering if all are like that or is it Winnebago??
I know that mine has a roll bar every four feet and wood studding about every 13" to 16" all the way across! They also used metal in the walls where any framework was needed for underside storage boxes.You should see the framework around the generator.Even the door frams is steal frame!
I guess thats why I went Coachmen!! I don't know if they still do it that way but in the late seventy's that is how they did it! To bad some of the other company's out there Didn't do that with there Motor Homes. I have seen soo many Fleetwoods that are de lambed because of no framing in those pressurized walls! I saw even a 27 Footer do it and it didn't have but about 1 foot longer behind the axle. Both sides no less! That is why we didn't go with a 28 model Pace arrow!! Also a Titan 26. I am Sooo glad we got this one! Sorry Lorna! Didn't mean to tromp your home but was making a observation about several models from that era. I can see why several company's went belly up!! Shabby Construction Just doesn't work with rv's, not if you plan keeping them till You die!!! I am hoping that is the way our home will be!! anyway, Catch you later,
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