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Old 06-07-2015, 01:22 AM   #1
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To buy or not buy a 2004 Class C with 3,500 miles

I know the rules:

Vehicles and RVs are best to not just "sit"

Generators need to be regularly exercised, preferably each month

We've been pondering moving to a little bit bigger than our present RV and yet stay under 25 feet long and at similar $ value at what we own today.

I stumbled on a 24 foot 2004 Bigfoot Class C with 3,500 miles, one owner, 2003 E450 V10, 100% garage kept, 1 slideout, 80 hours on the genny. These are not misprints. It's a time machine. The owner fell ill after buying and was limited to very local trips. It's never even been cooked in and is in pristine shape. Owner wants $44k. (high book when adding the options not included in the NADA figure)

They put new tires on it due to age and I've started asking the obvious "how did you maintain it and wake it from its slumber" over this period.

Bigfoot's are true 4 season coaches with gelcoat sidewalls and roof (not filon) and were built in Canada (BC). They went out of business but returned later in their core area of truck campers and trailers. http://www.bigfootrv.com/m/docs/broc...20Brochure.pdf

We like the rear kitchen & bath layout. I've not had a slide previously just to keep things simple yet I understand their appeal.

For $10k more I can buy a 2008 Winnebago view (24h) on the Mercedes chassis which also has a good floor plan, 28k miles, 78 hours on the genny. It's also one owner and in good shape but not as pristine as the Bigfoot. Length is within 3 inches but width is 8 inches different between the two. We like how it is narrower for parking benefits for day trips which is a notable part of our current coach's use (width between view and Chinook are comparable). I should mention that the 24h is the gas model.

If choosing and know that this is both for camping and day trip use, which would you get? Note - I also tow our Chevy tracker (3000lbs) on occasion. Too risky for bringing the "North American iron" back to full use on the Bigfoot and save $10k? Go for the view to get a narrower chassis and 3 years newer?

MPG of View (gas) 12.5 MPG per conversations with a present owner
Bigfoot (v10) 9-10 MPG

Or bag it all and stay with our Chinook that is in pristine condition (34k miles) ?
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Old 06-07-2015, 07:36 AM   #2
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You won't gain anything by trading your Chinook to that Bigfoot !
I'd keep my Chinook anytime.
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:02 AM   #3
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$44k for an 11 year old vehicle sounds high. I'd still do all basic preventative and scheduled maintenance as if it had 50-70,000 miles on it. i.e. brake pads, tranny flush, filters, etc. New tires is a plus


IMHO - ultra low mileage isn't a plus unless I'm buying a classic car.
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:02 AM   #4
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I'd buy it. Maybe get the price down a little.
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:15 AM   #5
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Check the specs, you may not have the capacity to tow the Tracker with the View.

If you need the cold weather performance the Bigfoot sounds interesting. If you are doing much local driving that should sort out the age out chassis issues. If the rotors are rusted the cost of replacement may be a shocker.
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:24 AM   #6
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Looks like it's reasonably well built. The V10 is nothing special. Price is a bit high, esp for a 2003, just note that you'll have depreciation not typical of a 12 year old RV. I like the no-window front cap which looks solid, and the fact that it's well insulated.

Be assured, sitting that much it will require complete fluids change, likely brake work (stuck calipers / brake fluid absorbs water), maybe carb work on the generator. Fuel, if it has any, is suspect.



It's roughly the same plan (maybe a little longer) than the sprinter. Sprinter, as you know, is a different vehicle, it'll do 100% better in the MPG department. It may even be a better vehicle in the mountains in terms of power as the turbo altitude-adjusts...
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:50 PM   #7
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There are several positives with the E450/V10 in that any Ford dealer and local shop can do whatever is needed on it for repairs. The M-B chassis and driveline will need a specialized shop and probably premium priced parts. Now the one negative to the pre 2005 V10s - it's a '2 valve' engine while the later are '3 valve' and higher horspowered. The 2 valve engines have had incidents where a spark plug has blown out with the ensuing repair be pretty expensive though the right mechanic wont have to disassemble the heads. Of course the 3 valve version isn't without a problem too as the 'fix' for plug blowout was to increase the number of threads and unless the Ford TSB isn't followed to the letter, oops, the plugs may break. The engines use good 100,000 mile plugs though (they really are!!). Both engines do like their thirst slaked by plenty of gasoline.

Now, which one would I purchase if in the market and the prices adjusted - I really like that V10, even with the known plug and thirst situation plus the fact that the E350 version is like new. Oh and yes, I have owned Ford V10 powered vehicles in the past and never had a lick of trouble
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Old 06-10-2015, 02:49 PM   #8
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My experience with the V10 has been that (like the Sprinter) - most dealerships won't touch it for anything that would require a lift. Most simply don't have the lift for a truck that size...
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Old 06-10-2015, 03:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb1000rider View Post
My experience with the V10 has been that (like the Sprinter) - most dealerships won't touch it for anything that would require a lift. Most simply don't have the lift for a truck that size...
Heck, they cringe with my long bed F250 crew cab with the 5 gallon DEF and 39 gallon diesel tanks in the way plus the air bags that they have to deflate first. Most bigger dealers have a drive on lift or - gasp - a pit
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Old 06-10-2015, 09:49 PM   #10
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My experience with the V10 has been that (like the Sprinter) - most dealerships won't touch it for anything that would require a lift. Most simply don't have the lift for a truck that size...

Yes, if it's something that needs a lift, you'd need a ford truck dealer but they aren't that hard to find. Many things though don't require a lift and any ford dealer can handle.
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Old 06-11-2015, 07:20 AM   #11
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If it were me I would keep the Chinook. The gas engine in the View only lasted one year and then Mercedes discontinued them. 55K is too high anyway. For 44K you can buy an almost new MH, if your set on upgrading check out eBay, MHSRV or RVT. if nothing else you'll gain some pricing perspective. Chinooks are great MH's and will sell fast if you're looking to upgrade. Good luck.
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Old 06-11-2015, 07:34 AM   #12
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Some years back, we stumbled upon a Bigfoot rally in a northwest area campground, and toured some of the factory models. Very impressed with the designs and construction quality. These were not entry level products. If the one you are considering meets your lifestyle, it certainly is worth pursuing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderso View Post
...Bigfoot's are true 4 season coaches with gelcoat sidewalls and roof (not filon) and were built in Canada (BC). They went out of business but returned later in their core area of truck campers and trailers. http://www.bigfootrv.com/m/docs/broc...20Brochure.pdf.....
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC2 View Post
There are several positives with the E450/V10 in that any Ford dealer and local shop can do whatever is needed on it for repairs. The M-B chassis and driveline will need a specialized shop and probably premium priced parts. Now the one negative to the pre 2005 V10s - it's a '2 valve' engine while the later are '3 valve' and higher horspowered. The 2 valve engines have had incidents where a spark plug has blown out with the ensuing repair be pretty expensive though the right mechanic wont have to disassemble the heads. Of course the 3 valve version isn't without a problem too as the 'fix' for plug blowout was to increase the number of threads and unless the Ford TSB isn't followed to the letter, oops, the plugs may break. The engines use good 100,000 mile plugs though (they really are!!). Both engines do like their thirst slaked by plenty of gasoline.

Now, which one would I purchase if in the market and the prices adjusted - I really like that V10, even with the known plug and thirst situation plus the fact that the E350 version is like new. Oh and yes, I have owned Ford V10 powered vehicles in the past and never had a lick of trouble
I have read that the 3 valve V10 engine does not fit in the Ford E chassis so all E based models up to present only have the 2 valve V10. I can't cite a source for that so I guess one will have to do their own research. The HP of the V10 has increased over the years.

The spark plug blowout issue has been much ballyhooed but in reality you can pretty much eliminate it as a concern. First it was only an issue in the early production V10s with the fix coming in 2001. Secondly, if you use the correct plugs and torque them correctly you are pretty well assured you won't have an issue. Although Ford recommends plug replacement at 100K miles, it is better to replace them at 60-75K before they become an issue. I will acknowledge that many folks did have issues with plugs blowing out of their holes with the early V10 but it wasn't every V10, in fact it was distinct minority. My '99 F250 with the V10 had 110,000 miles on it and never gave me a minutes problem with the plugs. Yes, I did change them at 70K. Later models did have issues with plugs breaking upon removal but that was also a short term problem that was corrected within a year or so. For me the most problematic issue with the V10 is the breaking of the exhaust studs and the resultant exhaust leak. It costs way more to repair that than a blown plug.

As far as thirst, yes, they are pushing a house down the road and that should be factored into the MPG attainment figure. My 2008 E450 Aspect 26A just returned 11 MPG on a 300 mile round trip to the ocean and back. No toad or genny use but I did have the Cab AC on the whole time. Pretty proud of that! It consistently delivers 9-10 MPG since I have owned it.

I hope this isn't construed as argumentative. I just wanted to make sure that the information presented was factual as it ran counter to what my experience was.
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