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Old 01-21-2010, 08:50 PM
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DarkAisling DarkAisling is offline
 
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Default Refurbishing Old Motorhomes

Hubby just got a call from a friend about an old motorhome. It's a 26' 1978 something or other. I have no idea what class it is. His friend picked it up at auction a while ago, and he did a little bit of work to it. He no longer wants it, and is willing to sell it to us for little more than a song ($1500). It has been safetied, and is insured.

Hubby is very excited. I'm not (though I'm trying hard not to burst his bubble). I'm pretty skeptical of the whole thing. We're supposed to have a look at it this weekend.

Do any of you have photos of motorhomes that you've refurbished? I'd love to see some pics before we look at it, or at least read about some of the improvements you've made. I'd like to be able to view it optimistically.

Edit: Just found out it is a Pace Arrow.
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Last edited by DarkAisling; 01-21-2010 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:36 AM
Dmay Dmay is offline
 
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Re-upholstery and new curtains are an economical way to quickly update an older interior.........
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Old 01-22-2010, 02:24 PM
skain11 skain11 is offline
 
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Buddy of mine did the same thing, bought an old motorhome, replaced curtains, flooring, re-upholstered, new tires, engine tuneup, added flatscreen for the kids. Then packed a repair kit ( spare alternator, battery, various belts and fluids) and took off for a 3 week tour to Alaska. Made it back no prob excepting it rained everyday save for one. I say give it a go but there is no changing the poor gas mileage...
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:09 PM
Whiskey Wish Whiskey Wish is offline
 
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Hey DA...wecome to the RV world.

I hear ya about your concerns. The big thing for me would be making sure it is Mechanically Sound. The thought of breaking down in the middle of nowhere with my wife and kids on vacation is enough to make me sick to my stomach. If the unit is mechanically sound then the rest is simply effort, materials and skills. I say this comfortably as the husband of a cabinet maker.
But really...what's inside an RV? Padded furniture, plumbing, electrical, some carpet, man toys, kitchen, toilet, AC, furnace, .....basically a house on wheels.

Okay....successfully talked ME out of ever doing something like this. Thanks for the post DA. Good Luck!!

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Old 01-22-2010, 04:31 PM
tonyflyfish tonyflyfish is offline
 
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and if required there is a place east of Vernon on Hwy 6 that carries absolutely everything you would ever need for RV repair/up date. And they have a great selection of fishing equipment.

I hope you join the RV crowd!

t
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:28 PM
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Ken07AOVette Ken07AOVette is offline
 
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Murphy's in leduc is a great place to buy RV stuff too.

I redid an old Dodge Class A years ago, stripped the junk paint off the cupboard and drawer doors and stained them a nice dark cherry, new paint, carpet, lino, self-upholstery and it looked like a million bucks.
I don't know if I would ever do it again, but it is a learning experience. The biggest thing is that it is safetied and insured, everything past that is just creature comforts if the engine/tranny/tires/rearend/steering/brakes are all good.
Have fun, and remember to post some pics when you get it done!
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:30 PM
HILLYBILLYBARRY HILLYBILLYBARRY is offline
 
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well i got a story for ya i took an old 1977 travel trailer and turned it into a 5th wheel that was alot of fun was kinda small so i sold it got all my money back plus more adn bought a bigger one but iw was fun working on it and building things. i would do it all over again if i had the chance but the old lady would kill me if i took away the 30ft 5th wheel. but what you are goign to do i think your on the rite track for a good starter motorhome you might be surprised and keep it for many years and have fun with it l Goood luck
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:33 PM
big zeke big zeke is online now
 
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A few years ago I bought a truck camper of a similar vintage with plans to fix it up. I spent most of a summer changing pretty much every system on the unit. I did the work myself as I'm fairly handy and had enough spare time. Most parts were hard to find so many things needed to be replaced entirely rather than just fixed up (a 3 way fridge is quite a bit more money than one you would put in your house and fixing them is a waste of money by the way). In the end I did resell it and might have broke even on the parts I put in, the labour (a few hundred hours) was a loss...it was also really tough to unload it as most people avoid older units despite the good condition.

Unless this thing is pristine and fully up to snuff mechanically I'd steer clear, Shop rates for repairs will kill you (some won't touch a unit that old) and in the end you'll be the proud owner of a 30 yr old motorhome that will have an insurance value of say $2000 and would be tough to sell on the open market for any more.

Just my $0.02
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:38 PM
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Grizzly Adams Grizzly Adams is offline
 
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I've worked on some older campers and I expect the challenges are the same. If it's of wood construction, like a lot of that vintage are, I'd be checking for structural integrity, before I got too carried away. A small leak, over all those years can practically destroy the whole thing. On the plus side, lots of these things spent most of their life parked and the mileage may not be excessive.
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:53 PM
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Pace Arrow is a good name, if its in decent shape you would be getting a very good deal.
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Old 01-22-2010, 06:42 PM
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greylynx greylynx is offline
 
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Make sure the skin on the motorhome is in reasonable shape.
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  #12  
Old 01-22-2010, 07:00 PM
skidderman skidderman is offline
 
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Bought an 81 a few yrs ago with only 38,000 k on it. Due to age the head gaskets were compromized causing one bad cylinder and a cracked head. [I] took the motor out myself, had it rebuilt and used it for 3 years. Always overheated and ran rough in hot weather. Turns out the original owner overheated the engine as well and wrecked the rad as well. Another $900.00 to get the air conditioner working. We liked the room & ability to stop any time and make lunch, go to restroom & so on. Bottom line is With the repairs I spent $13,500 and sold it 3 yrs later for $8500. The amount of work was measured in weeks, not days and because I worked on it so much I hated it. Would never touch it again but to encourage you get both a mechanical and safety inspection done on it. Had I had a mechanical inspection I either would have paid a lot less or gone somewhere else and would have saved tons of grief. Good luck!!!
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  #13  
Old 01-23-2010, 09:59 AM
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DarkAisling DarkAisling is offline
 
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Thanks so much for all of the great info guys

I read all of your comments to hubby, and he's now much more cautious and thoughtful about the whole thing. He mentioned that it may just be best to get a trailer (which was our original plan for this year), especially since the truck we just purchased has an excellent towing package.

Many of these things he'd considered, but something neither of us realised was that the motorhome could have a wooden frame (thanks, Grizz!).

We'll see how the inspections go. We can certainly do a good job of cleaning up the interior (he's in flooring and works with wood, and I'm good with sewing and fabric). That potential wood frame makes me nervous, though.

If we decide to purchase, it I'll post photos and a log of the work we do on the board.
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:26 AM
59whiskers 59whiskers is offline
 
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If everything works and it dosen't leak, for $1500 you have nothing to loose. How many times a year do people use these units? Buy one for $30000 or more while making payments and you will watch it sit in your driveway or a storage lot for 95% of the year depreciating in value. I wouldn't buy a new unit unless I used it 3 months a year.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:36 PM
GeoTrekr GeoTrekr is offline
 
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We had a '78 camper we bought in '90 or so, and used it for many years. Towards the end of its life, in 2002 or so, we drove the truck to the dump, and they used the dump Cat to push it off the back of the truck (jacks were broken).

Upon hitting the ground, the sides split, and that's when you could see all the black mold on the yellow insulation in the panels.

Not saying an older unit is ALWAYS bad or rotted, but it's something to look for for sure.
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:01 PM
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WayneChristie WayneChristie is offline
 
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if you do pick it up, I know where you could store it. room for that brand new boat too
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