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Old 06-04-2012, 09:50 AM   #1
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keep it or sell it

Hi all,

I've been asking few questions here and there and I'm at a point now where I have one major one and I'd like to hear what you would do in my situation.

I have a very old motorhome, I wish I had some of the nice ones folks half here. Mine is a 1978 Dodge Winnebago Sportsman with 80k miles on it and 360 under the hood.

Now since I've got it, I had about 3 issues.
1.) Was with the fact that the guy before me installed new markers before winter and didn't seal them. That caused a leak big enough that I had new friends make their nest in the wet wood and two the wood was very wet. That's in the bunk bed area. Nothing else leaks. So I ripped everything off, and fixed, sealed, etc... It took about a month for the friends to move out. Now everything is good.

2.) I had an AC leak because of the gasket that no one ever replaced. Fix that and no leak other then a tiny bit one because of the shroud being damaged to a point where its missing a nice chunk of it from the top area and water gets to the ac unit and leaks that way. Easy to fix.

3.) The batter on a first trip didn't charge or kept a charge. So, we stalling was fun every couple miles. Easy fix was that I've had to fill the battery tanks up. Now it keeps the charge and runs.

So fix 3 areas and who knows what else but so far I'm done. I yet I need to test the propane tank, stove, furnace. Not sure they work or how the gas lines are.

Now here is my problem. My wife started to freak out a little. Telling me I should stop putting money in it and just sell it. Try to get as much money as I can for it in current shape. It's nice, it runs, I don't want to but then again I do want to sleep in my own bed with my wife at night.

What would you guys do? The mentioned friends that moved in and out, were ants. The amount I spent so far on fixes is about $500.

I honestly don't want to get rid of it but I don't want to be awaken by a bigger issue like engine failing. My wife doesn't think it will drive for more then an hour overheat or die half way into an 8 hour trip. I don't think so but heck I'm stuck don't know what to do. I don't see any new any time early issues.

Let me know what you guys would do.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:04 AM   #2
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Regardless of whatever RV you end up with you will have repairs and expenses. I tend to side with your wife that putting money into an almost 35 year old RV is, in my opinion, not a sound investment in RVing.
However, if you can do repairs yourself and keep it usable then your 35 year old RV may be just the thing for you. Having said that only you can make the final decision.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:11 AM   #3
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Hi

I do understand that and so far I havent done much and I did it myself all of them since I watch my every penny. If its something I really can't do then I think about if its worth or not.

Now my breaking point would be if the furnace or stove doesnt work and water heater also, if that's the case what's broken and how much will it cost. If its more then $200 for a part then I'm done. Than again I didn't spend 30k on it and so far, all together it cost me $5k including the RV purchase, license, registration, etc...and the repair of $500 material cost.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:20 AM   #4
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The furnace, stove and water heater are relatively easy. If there is a problem with either of them you could most likely find an inexpensive replacement at a RV junk yard.; The gas line itself would be easy to repair if needed. Pressure test it with less than one (1) pound of air pressure. Isolate the line from the outlet of the regulator to each appliance. If there is a leak disconnect each appliance in turn and cap it's line until you have a secure system. Then deal with each appliance you had to disconnect, if any.
To assure yourself of the engine, trans, etc. you could take a day trip of say 50 miles and see if you have a problem.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:41 AM   #5
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Hi

I've never pressure tested a gas line, any step by step instructions and tools I need to do that?
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:26 AM   #6
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I don't know your situation but you sound like you know how to use a wrench and a screw driver. It has been said that the definition of a boat is a hole in the water in which to throw money. I have also heard of RVs being called land yachts. Part of the fun of owning an RV for me is customization. Things break over time and we have the choice of repair or replacement. So far it sounds like the fixes have been big jobs at a small price. Had you taken that to a shop to be done it would have set you back more than you spent for the RV.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:49 AM   #7
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How much does it cost to own an RV? Answer: All of it.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:48 PM   #8
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My suggestion is to disconnect all appliances and cap the gas lines at the appliance. Then disconnect the gas line at the outlet of the regulator and build on a pressure gauge (0-5 psi) and a way to pressurize the line. Then pressurize the line to about 1 psi and leave it for about 10 minutes. If no pressure reduction then the lines are good to go. If it leaks then you have to find and fix the leak.
Once the lines are all good then it would be my suggestion to replace the regulator (assuming it's original) and reconnect the regulator to the gas system. Re-mount your pressure gauge to the inlet of the gas line and run another test to ascertain the integrity of the regulator. This test should be run at about 5 psi. The regulator will reduce the pressure to approx. 11" w.c.
If all good reconnect one appliance and re-test. Repeat until all appliances have been added back in a no leaks.
Be aware that in older appliances the pilot light supply must be shut off for a leak test. Sometimes this is difficult to get done as the seals are old and don't seal well. Another fact is that pilot systems are antiquated and have been replaced by DSI (Direct Spark Ignition). Pilot lights create heat, and use gas. DSI systems do not have a standing pilot light. If you can't live with the standing pilot system then you should replace that appliance with a DSI equipped one. Hope all this helps you.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catbones View Post
so far, all together it cost me $5k including the RV purchase, license, registration, etc...and the repair of $500 material cost.
WOW.... you've got off easy! LOL. We bought our 1984 Winnebago for $4500 and now have a very large undisclosed amount of money in it. We keep throwing money in the pit and it still isn't full yet! If you like the motor home......have you thought about selling your wife? Just kidding.

All jokes aside it is really only a question that you can answer yourself. Luckily my wife has grown to love our motor home and has even helped me with a lot of the renovation that we did. We have been on a couple of 1000+ miles trips and have had some coolant leaks, an alternator fail, fusible link fry etc, etc. But like a previous post said all motor homes require maintenance and repairs. This fact is much more prevalent on older motor homes. For us, I tolerate our older motor home because the up front cost of ownership was very low and I can handle the repair and maintenance needs that must be put into it. If a larger repair becomes necessary then I will evaluate the cost associated with the repair as needed. I also did a thorough inspection before we purchased the motor home, so I knew exactly what we were getting before we purchased (everything worked, but the front A/C). When it comes down to it my wife can be a pain it the butt sometimes, but she's a keeper.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:01 PM   #10
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Seems to be an easy enough question to answer:
1. If you have the money and or credit (and want the debt payments), sell it or trade it in for a newer model that SHOULD have less problems. Maybe even a new one?!?!
2. If you don't have the money or credit, fix what you have.

But, in either case, your wife is right. I've learned over the years that when my wife is happy, the world is a nice place to be.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:18 PM   #11
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Catbones... She doesn't have any expensive toys does she....makes it harder to understand your desire for a toy, albeit an old one. If you are comfortable fixing an old engine like that, the rest probably won't be so expensive as it wears out, and might even outlast you! She'll get over it eventually if you have your heart set on it. If she can't, you can sell it to make amends.
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