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Old 08-14-2022, 02:53 PM   #1
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Location: South Dakota
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When do you cut your losses from an old RV and move on?

So in the 2 years I have owned my 1997 Class C I have had a laundry list of things that have gone wrong and have been fixed. I try to do most of the repairs myself if I can (tires and brakes I let a shop do for sure), so while the repairs havenít cost me a ton for the most part, constantly having issue after issue is getting old. Its the running joke here that I donít know if itís possible to take a vacation without something breakingÖ I know everyone is different, but when do you just cut your losses and move on to a newer rig? I love this one even with its many faults but the thought of it being time to move on before something really big breaks has crossed my mind lately.

Here is the list of all the things that have gone wrong in the 2 years I have owned this: (I donít think I am forgetting anythingÖ)

1. Rear tire blew
2. Refrigerator would not run on propane
3. Starter went out
4. Generator stopped working as previous owner hardly ran it
5. Engine misfire on the coach
6. Rear tire valve stem blew
7. Refrigerator stopped working on electric
8. Exhaust fell off due to rust
9. Brake line burst leaving no brakes
10. Battery terminals got so corroded underneath by the gen that it wouldnít start, and battery power to the coach was iffy
11. Vacuum leak causing the front dash air to only blow out defrost
12. Driverís side bunk started delaminating
13. Roof air conditioner cover came off in pieces it was so brittle
14. Roof was so badly neglected by previous owner that it needed to be scrubbed, cleaned and coated with roof coat (it was black on top and should not have been. Owner before me was like ďoh, never been up there beforeĒÖ)

All of the list above has been fixed except the exhaust is currently only temp redneck fixed lol. That still should be fixed correctly at some point.

On top of all that, the refrigerator is still original (please donít be the next thing to go), the propane tank is rusty, the underside is rusty (not too bad, but it is rusty), and the side has a bit of waviness as the glue they used in the 90s was prone to that issue I have heard. The driverís seatbelt could use a new pretensioner as well.

So when do you all say its time to move on from your vintage RV? Part of me wants to keep it with all the work I have done, part of me says let it go before its really bad.

The other bonus is this rig is completely paid for too.

Its a hard choice. What have you all done in similar situations?
1997 Four Winds Chateau Class C - Ford 6.8 V10 - 76k miles
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Old 08-14-2022, 03:00 PM   #2
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Move up as soon as you have 3/4 million dollars to do so.. and even then.. be ready to dump another 20,000.00 in options .. until you got the cash.. you are just like the rest of us.. learning and leaning on great members here for help.. thank you all.. and thank you to your family..
Good luck and keep us posted
2000 southwind storm, workhorse custom chassis with 7.4l vortec
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Old 08-14-2022, 03:03 PM   #3
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Only you know when it’s time to move on and what you can afford. That said your coach is 25 years old so doubt the market value would be very high. Biggest challenge you face is trying to find parts for a 25 year old coach but at the end of the day if the coach gives you enjoyment, go for it. Best on whatever you decide
2018 Phaeton 44OH
2023 Chevy Traverse Toad
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Old 08-14-2022, 03:08 PM   #4
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Yeah I know. If I upgrade, it would not be brand new, or even slightly used. I canít afford that yet lol. Which makes me think just keep using this one. Market value on mine is around $10k if I had to guess.
1997 Four Winds Chateau Class C - Ford 6.8 V10 - 76k miles
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Old 08-14-2022, 04:35 PM   #5
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When you consider the age and mileage that's really not a bad list, you could buy one 10 years newer and have as many problems. Most RVs and components aren't built to the highest standards, many owners don't do a lot of maintenance as you found out when the PO of the one you now own said he'd never been on the roof. Older RVs often need a lot of deferred maintenance and repairs, they get used up then sold.
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Old 08-14-2022, 04:46 PM   #6
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Great points. My concern with a newer model would be going through all the stuff I just fixed all over again!
1997 Four Winds Chateau Class C - Ford 6.8 V10 - 76k miles
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Old 08-14-2022, 05:34 PM   #7
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My deciding factor with my class C was a cab over leak that had delamanation all over the cab over, also other spots of delam like under the fridge vent, and corners. A quote to repair the cab over was over $5000. I then threw in the towel. Was a 1998 coachman. I now have a 2019 coachman class C and have fixed many little things, but it drives SO much better.
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Old 08-14-2022, 08:06 PM   #8
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.....those are small issues.
P30, 454 ENG, TURBO 400 TRANS
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Old 08-14-2022, 08:08 PM   #9
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My 2020 Winnebago had 43 items my first visit to the factory service center.
New isn’t better, new is a roll of the dice
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Old 08-14-2022, 08:33 PM   #10
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Honestly, I don't think you have had that may problems with your MH. With its age you should be looking to upgrade and improve. If your refrigerator is giving you problems consider putting in a cheap residential model. Your MH would not scare me about much of anything except the delamination. What can you get that will actually be cheaper especially after you fix the issues correctly. I wouldn't even worry about a engine/trans replacement.

On my 1998 DP I have new air bags(8), air control valves(8), air ride valves (3) new shocks(6), new Tires (6), new AC units(2), new 12 Volt fridge( paid for and coming on the slow train from Dometic), New couch, Recovered pilots and co-pilots chairs, resealed the roof, new skylight in bathroom, new fantastic fan, New control board in the generator, new fuel lines to the generator, remodeled interior, new bed, new struts on the compartment doors and bed, Safe-t-plus with super steer trim unit installed, new 200 amp main solenoid, new dash radio, new interior stereo with dvd/cd player, Hotspot and router, TPMS, Garmin GPS, camera system with side and rear cameras, Wilson cell signal booster with trucker antenna, broken brake line, loose water pump belt, now replacing the water pump and flushing the radiator and I don't know how many other things.

Yes when something breaks it is frustrating!, but once I fix something it generally stays fixed for a decent while. Everything is way more expensive on a DP that a gas MH. I have spoken to people with new or nearly new riggs that have had more issues than I have. These things are not cheap nor are they as reliable as your basic automobile.

If you are done then move on, but don't expect newer or different to necessarily be better.
1998 Beaver Patriot Savannah
330 hp Cat 3126 DP
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Old 08-14-2022, 08:59 PM   #11
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I usually throw in the towel after I have fixed just about everything then give someone a good deal and move on to my next project. In reality it's like already mentioned, newer isn't always better and fixing is a great way to learn about them. Once you get to the 3rd or 4th one most stuff seems pretty easy, at least that's how I'm finding it.
I'm on the road with mine right now and have fixed a few things as we go along and even help a neighbor get their hot water heater working after a couple others had no luck.
In the end if you like the m/h and don't want to start all over with something that could be worse just keep tinkering with it. If you're getting over whelmed sell it and think if rv'ing is what you really want to do before buying another.
98 Monaco Windsor
2015 Rubicon Toad
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Old 08-14-2022, 09:15 PM   #12
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We bought our '98 Safari Trek almost two years ago. It's needed some stuff done to it. Aside from changing all of the fluids including the brake fluid we've replaced/repaired the fuel pump,
rear brake pads,
heater blower motor relay,
the totally aggravating 4-way flasher,
rear transmission seal,
all u-joints,
all front wheel bearings,
kitchen faucet(yesterday),
shower faucet,
roof A/C,
serpentine belt along with idler pulley and tensioner,
engine oil cooling lines,
transmission cooling lines,
rebuilt three sets of double glaze windows due to gasket creep and fogging,
domestic water pump, (replaced and relocated)
generator carburetor,
defroster vents supply hoses,
rear view camera and monitor,
small windshield leak,
loose tail pipe,
in dash stereo along with 5 speakers including a sub,
shock absorbers,
installed an air dam on top of the radiator that was missing or never installed,
chassis battery.

There's likely more that I can't think of but don't feel like wandering out to the coach to check the records.

In addition, the previous owner had installed two fresh house batteries, a fresh A/C compressor and six new Sumitomo tires.

In further addition we got rear ended out in AZ last year on I-10 so I was lucky enough to get to sort of rebuild the left rear area to include a new black tank and fabbing up additional support for the bay area that housed a fresh water and black water tank, each just under 40 gallons. Not the prettiest repair but it is solid and works for us.

This unit now has about 94k miles on it. The engine, transmission, rear end, front suspension, major appliances, and roof all seem to be in good to excellent condition.

Future projects are to rebuild two more sets of double glazed windows, new passenger side windshield, all coolant hoses, hook up the TV audio to the in dash stereo, replace or reinforce part of the dash, and maybe replace the gas fridge.

I've also added a 240 watt portable solar setup, a water system accumulator, vetiation system for the back of the fridge, a 500 watt PSW inverter, and an under sink water filter.

Now that things are pretty squared away I really don't feel like starting over on a different used coach with a brand new list of deficiencies. We have put on about 25k miles so far, another 4-5k in the next two months then a bit of a break.
1998 Safari Trek 2480, 7.4 Vortec
'15 Kawasaki Versys650LT, well farkled
Mid Flowriduh
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Old 08-14-2022, 10:34 PM   #13
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When do you cut your losses from an old RV and move on?

Thanks for the answers all! This is exactly what I was looking for. Given the responses here, I think I will hang onto it and keep on using it. Iíve driven it 12k miles so far, over about 5 trips. Paid $9k for it in 2020 with 62k miles so the way I see it, I have already gotten my moneyís worth out of it.

The delaminating I have (besides the bunk part that I fixed is all basically cosmetic. Yeah, this thing wonít win any beauty awards, but it will get the job done.
1997 Four Winds Chateau Class C - Ford 6.8 V10 - 76k miles
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Old 08-14-2022, 10:48 PM   #14
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I throw it the towel on a vehicle (RV, truck or car) when rust has made the vehicle unsafe, or I'm not invested in it. On an RV, I'd add mold is a deal breaker.

Crb478 wrote, your troubles have not been all that bad. The rust is more of a concern for me.

Same with SteveJ, with his listed of repairs, I can concur we've done much the same.

We have had a generator ignition module give out on hot July 14-day southwest trip. Plus on every trip we usually have something minor that needs attention. Be it a screw that needs tightening, or a step motor that needs to be pulled and the brushes cleaned. Bin there, done that.

Since getting the '96 Flair from my mom, after my step-dad passed away, we have had to perform loads of deferred maintenance items.
Brake calipers, hoses and master cylinder replaced and rebuilt.
Coolant, radiator, heater hoses, water pump, and belts replaced.
A/C system refilled, Schrader vales replaced, and filled again.
Replaced 7 tires, valves, balance beads, and bearings repacked.
Cleaned, sealed and recoated our EPDM roof.
All fluids replaced: coolant, brake fluid, engine oi,l transmission fluid and differential.
Replaced all failed and cracked marker, turn signal and brake lights.
Full engine tune-up including: plugs, wires, air & fuel filters, ignition coil, cap, and rotor.
Replaced leaking engine oil cooler hose, and replaced a failed A/C fan assembly.
Had to clean every electrical connector for the furnace, water heater, refrigerator, and stove top. They were all corroded form lack of use, and moisture from extended sitting.
Most recently the water pump was rebuilt. And replaced every O ring in the plumbing system.

That about does it for the maintenance.

For upgrades, the list grows even further.
2000 model year Chevy/UltarRV dash instrument panel. Transmission temperature gauge, bluetooth stereo, speakers, and USB phone outlets.
LED light inside and out, Hella halogen headlights and relays.
Added a multi-stage converter, and upgraded from 30A to 50A.
Replaced all faucets, shower head, toilet, and bath hardware & accessories.
Upgraded to a LED TV, DVD player and antenna.
Banks Power pack system.
Performance brake pads.
GFCI and USB/120V combo outlets.
Kitchen tiles, carpets, cabinet hardware, trim and handles in brushed nickel.

I'm sure there is something forgotten on the list.
Always bring your A game.
1996 Flair 29V, 454 TBI, 4L80E. Your life is your story, don't let someone dictate your story.
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