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Old 10-16-2021, 08:18 PM   #1
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Question Opinions - 1989 Ford Rockwood w/460 - carburator

I am brand spanking new to RVing... looking for my first MH and since i know nothing but what I have read about rv's I would love some insight from some weathered veterans, or at least some people who have a clue I am going to look at a 1989 Ford Rockwood with a 460, carburetor, 80k miles, 6 new tires, all systems work, no leaks, currently or in the past... from what i am told. The current owner has had it for 4 months, they claim to have purchased it as a one owner that was well taken care of (from the pictures, this looks to be true - my own eyes should tell me better). My guess is it was a fun summer, they don't want to store it and maybe it just wasn't their thing.
I know to check for soft spots, damp spots, mold, etc.... i have general mechanical knowledge (worked in the autoparts industry and in my 20's learned to work on non-computerized american made cars - my memory is a bit fuzzy, it has been a while, but when refreshed i can comprehend mechanical info well). What else should i check or test?? What are your opinions of this vehicle - good, bad, ugly??
I am looking to ease into RV life by using this as a craft work/sleep space that i can take to local festivals next season. I would like something in the class C range, maybe that i can put a moped on the back, must have a toilet/sink/shower - cooking/food area, etc. Nothing big or fancy. I am an artist, 50yrs old, disabled but mobile on good days (tendon connection issues), I am only 5' tall, so no worries about binking my melon on anything...lol. I am trying to start modest with something around 5k so i can make a work space and have room financially if i need to do any repairs in the next year or so. I did like what i saw on the Toyota class C's, but i think I may be hard pressed to find one of those in decent shape for what i am looking to spend as a "starter mh".
Please, feel free to give me any insight into this journey and which transportation may be a good choice....
I am in the Milwaukee WI area, is there a place or person who could teach me the basics of having a MH? Water, electric, propane, generator, etc...
TIA!
Deb
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:04 PM   #2
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You are asking about a 30+ year old RV, everything in it is subject to age related failure, as a general rule anything made out of rubber is subject to dry rotting after 12-15 years, at 30 rubber simply crumbles away, and plastic is so brittle that it shatters if touched. Then comes the fact that it most likely has a 3 speed transmission designed in the era of the 55 mph national speed limit, which may be ok if you were to plan to only take it to the local lake on the weekends, but is probably not the best choice for a major road trip no matter the condition of the rest of the RV. Such a project should probably best be left to the type people that restore antique cars for fun.
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Old 10-18-2021, 02:15 AM   #3
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Thank you for your experienced insight. It is honestly appreciated. A bit more insight on myself, i am not expecting perfection, or even close to it. My current income limits my base funds (I would rather have a cushion for repairs and updates than to spend more and have a very limited cushion) I am however, fortunate enough that my background knowledge and experience (and AAA) can still make having an RV for local travel as a vendor possible. Anything i may not be able to physically do, i can direct my BF in what needs to be done. I have no problem getting down and dirty with the mechanics, I have (sometimes with assistance) worked on: 60's chevy pick up - push button clutch shift on the fly, 71 & 74 Mustang ground up engine rebuild, assisted with work on a 68 Nova SS Drag car with nos i believe it ran in the respectable 8s or 9s?, and other various Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Olds... i have repair/replacement experience with Alt, Starters, Carbs, plugs, dist, wires, coils, manifolds, heads, valve covers, rods and rockers, steering system, suspension - but not coil springs, i have a healthy respect for those, radiators, water pumps, thermostats, blower motors, belts, hoses, calipers, brakes, rotors, drums, wheel bearings, seals, very limited experience with timing, fuel, AC, brake lines, electrical is a pain...etc... I also managed a couple Advance Auto Parts locations in Milwaukee and i have passed my ASE certification for retail parts and systems knowledge. (from lack of daily use, i am a bit fuzzy, but picking back up quickly)
i did in fact pass on the rockwood. I did take a look at a 1990 Mallard Sprinter econoline 350, VIN lists it as an 89 Ford Cut away Van E350 138" WB Commercial, it has a V8 7.5, 460 gas... First owners were an elderly couple who traveled through out the midwest and down to TX, Second owners (current) have had it for over 5 years, it has had regular documented maintenance (just winterized it this week). The roof did spring a leak last year and the whole top was stripped off and replaced, seals replaced, the interior ceiling paneling they DID NOT replace there is some damage but everything is dry - future project if i decide on it. Other than that, interior is in good shape for 30yrs old, floor is solid all appliances and heat work. Roof top AC worked until this year, the owner went to flip the switch and it was silent- could be an easy fix, fuse or wire - but at least the cab ac works and it has good vent fans. New tires, brakes, Drums, brake hoses, E-brake lines, they never used the Genny, it engages but doesn't catch (I am not familiar enough with them to hazard a guess) Windshield washer pump not working. All to this point i believe manageable...The only thing i found that will definitely need to be fixed is the steering, the gear housing connection to the shaft is twisted and there is leakage. Now to find those parts or alternatives and the diagrams and blow ups - i would love to replace the whole thing with something that telescopes to make it easier for my short little self to see where i am going and still be able to touch the pedals - if i decide on it. Now i get to research availability and price of parts and difficulty of job. So off to the vintage forum i go to see what i can learn
Start small, dream big... maybe in a couple years, as i learn more about RVs and vend at more fairs, i will be able to afford a more worry free RV!! Just think of all the knowledge i will be able to gain by that time!!
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Old 10-18-2021, 10:51 AM   #4
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In my opinion all else being equal you get a lot more bang for your buck if you were to look at something a little bit newer, say built after '97 on the Chevy platform or after 2000 on the Ford, this would get you the 7.4L MFI engine on the Chevy (prior to 1997 it would be the 7.4L TBI), or possibly the 8.1L after 2001, on the Ford you will get the 6.8L V10 starting in either 1999 or 2000, you will also get at least a 4 speed transmission in that era, and of course a fuel injected engine with an OBD-II diagnostic port starting around 1996-1998 depending on brand (the OBD-II switchover date was more flexible in RV's than it was with the 1996 date on cars).


Bottom, line a well maintained 20-22 year old RV has a number of potential advantages over a 30 year old model, as to specific RV models, be aware some were built better than others, and some building materials hold up better than others. Try to stay away from models with lots of plastic plumbing fixtures, etc. as they get brittle with age, look for models with solid surface or metal sinks instead of plastic ones, and fiberglass instead of plastic shower surrounds, ideally I would suggest finding something with a fiberglass or Aluminum roof instead of EPDM rubber membrane roof, though this is hard to find in a class C.
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Old 10-18-2021, 12:40 PM   #5
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By 1989, that would be throttlebodies, I'm pretty sure at least, so someone put a carb on it.
I believe 86 was last year for carbs I may be wrong but something you might want to verify.
Nothing wrong with a carb, just want to make sure if it was converted it was done correctly.
I'd stay away from any v10 unless you can verify they fixed the plug issue. And anything used will require money or knowledge. I prefer used even if it's a headache at times.
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Old 10-18-2021, 01:55 PM   #6
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I agree that the early V10's had problems blowing spark plugs, and the fix was very expensive initially, however the spark plug thread repair kits have fallen significantly in price over the years, with DIY kits now under $300
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Old 10-18-2021, 08:02 PM   #7
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while in the parts industry, i do remember hearing about the V10s issue, i believe they were called titans? I think it was an aluminum block and a ridiculously low thread number for the plugs, like 3 or 4? These things would pop out like popcorn.... I actually had a plug do that to me on the 05 Escape (fortunately it was a front plug) we picked up a rethread kit (about $30?) I still don't trust that suv. Also with that suv, Ford oopseed and put in plugs that caused some type of electrical issue that would fry the coil and that would in turn fry the computer, replacing the computer also necessitates having to reprogram the key fob and alarm, alternator is at the BOTTOM of the engine right behind the passenger side CV axel, you know, where all the water gets kicked up from the road - engineering genius right there, it made me wonder if they hired an engineer from chrysler? - fun times that $%^&#$%^ Ford. Can you tell I am a chevy girl? How were the V8s on the older Ford based MHs? My first MH will probably stick to the "flatlands" of the midwest, we aren't to hilly in WI/Il. The only potential hills or distance i would be tempted to do would be to visit my son north of Pittsburg, but I would most likely take the Equinox since he has plenty of room for us to stay. I do prefer to work on older engines, pre-computer or limited computer. (I also don't mind carburetors, I learned how to rebuild them.)
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Old 10-18-2021, 09:09 PM   #8
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The Ford 460 was a much loved, long lasting engine, with a multi-decade production run which ended with it being replaced by the 6.8L V10, it however was not the greatest on fuel economy.
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Old 10-20-2021, 09:29 AM   #9
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@isacc-1, it's still a bear of a job, especially since they like to puke them out against the firewall.
And yes aluminum heads with 3 threads..
So stupid really.
Sadly I see a new thread with this issue.
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Old 10-21-2021, 05:50 AM   #10
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having only worked on regular vehicles, discovering the "dog house" access in an RV was wonderful moment...lol
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