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Macodiva

Good buy or Avoid like the plague?

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Hi All

After some opinions please. 

I'm going to look at/test  drive 1997 Pleasure Way STW this weekend. It looks like a wide body in good condition in the photos. 32000 miles always been in California. They are asking $16,500. 

It's a little older than i'd like but the price seems reasonable compared to anything i've seen, especially here in Cali. 

What do you think?

Has anyone owned this make, year, model? 

I've read a lot about some having steering problems (obviously i'll see when i drive it) does that pertain to a particular year?

Thanks in advance.

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The first thing that I did on reading your post was to visit NADA Guides to check prices. There I found the average retail as $9,000 and low retail is only $7,400! Even with ideal conditions, this is far more than this RV should be priced at, but it is listed with OBO(or best offer).e

I did a search for the RV you are looking at and I found this ad on RV Trader, which seems to be the RV you are considering. The ad indicates that they replaced the tires when they bought it, but doesn't state how long ago so make sure that you check the date codes to see how old those tires are as you should plan to replace them if more than 5 years old, and don't forget the spare. They also do not mention replacement of all belts and hoses so you need to consider replacing all of those if you buy it as they have been in service for 22 years. Loss of a radiator hose can be disastrous if out in a remote area and brake connections to the wheels could be even worse. I believe that engine has at least 2 fan belts also. The appliances are all of them now 22 years old so you can expect that some of them will fail, even if they have little use history. A new refrigerator is very likely to be needed in the not too distant future and repair pars for one that old are probably not available. 

You haven't said how you plan to use this RV but keep in mind that it has a wet bath, meaning that you must stand in the toilet when you wish to shower. For me, that would be a deal breaker if considering fulltime. The pictures make it look very nice but keep in mind that a good camera can hide a great deal of wear so look very closely. If you are looking to try the RV life with minimal investment, this could be a good buy but the price is much too high. I would not offer any more than $10,000 and pay no more than $12,000 even if it looks to be perfect. 

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Thanks for the advice Kirk

You're right good photos can hide a lot. I've wasted plenty time looking at used cars that didn't even look like the ones in the pictures!

I agree the price is a lot when you consider an MSRP of $21,000 when new 20+ years ago! However all the ones i've see of this age/condition/miles ect are asking for $22,000+ and getting it :o

I've checked NADA values for quite a few RV's & they're all almost half. I think perhaps the NADA values are for the actual vehicle, like the van bit & don't take into account the RV bit.

My full-time plan has been put on hold for the foreseeable future so this RV would be more of a knock about.

I didn't think about the appliances being old i was thinking more that without much use they'd be ok but sure you'd probably know better than me, so thanks for the heads up, i hadn't considered that.

 

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1 hour ago, Macodiva said:

I think perhaps the NADA values are for the actual vehicle, like the van bit & don't take into account the RV bit.

You are mistaken about this. NADA lists a 1997 Dodge van 2500 at high retail of $4,550. The MSRP of the van you are considering was $49k so the current value of $9k is just under 20% of the original price and probably a bit more than 20% of what it actually sold for. That is pretty good for a vehicle that is 22 years old. 

 
 
 
 
3
1 hour ago, Macodiva said:

I didn't think about the appliances being old i was thinking more that without much use they'd be ok but sure you'd probably know better than me, so thanks for the heads up, i hadn't considered that.

Appliances do age even when sitting around unused. The refrigerator is most impacted that was because the refrigerant is a mix of distilled water and ammonia, with some anticorrosion chemicals added to that. Sitting unused can cause the chemicals to crystalize and when you start using it the solids can block the cooling tubes or other restricted places in the cooling system. In addition, humidity and dust can cause harm to the electronics of the appliances, and the lubricants in the bearings of the furnace can become hardened. Rust and corrosion are always a factor over time. They may all work fine today but it is impossible to predict the lifespan that may remain. It could be several years or it might be several days, or anywhere in between. 

Do not overlook the chassis also. Sitting around, not driven can cause moisture to condense in the engine, transmission and even the fuel tank causing rust to begin. The rubber components have all of them aged and those should be replaces if you buy this, for your own safety. If your brakes should fail on a mountain road it could be disaster. If a radiator hose fails it could leave you stranded and in need of a tow to the nearest service shop. 

Since you are not thinking of fulltime, this may not be a bad choice if you do not overpay for it. But the prices from NADA and also from Kelly Blue Book (nearly the same) are an accurate indication of what it should sell for. Pay more if you wish but do so knowing that you will have a vehicle that has a true value of less than $10,000.

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Kirk has given you some excellent information, keep it in mind.  

Especially:

-- Tires

-- Appliances

--  Chassis, sitting around

Additionally, be sure to get the VIN # and research the vehicles history before going to look at it.  If the seller has only owned it for 2-3 years, why are they selling it?   Beware of a gloss over story on why they are selling.  

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4 hours ago, Al F said:

--  Chassis, sitting around 

 

I favor buying used vehicles.  However, one of the things I look at is age vs miles.  The vehicle you are considering does not have many miles for how old it is.  This leads to all kinds of problems with brake seals, bearings, hoses and belts drying out.  If you can get it for a better price than they are asking, and if you are handy, these could all be addressed/replaced for not much money.  Definitely look at tire age as Kirk has mentioned

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11 hours ago, fly2low said:

I favor buying used vehicles.  However, one of the things I look at is age vs miles.  The vehicle you are considering does not have many miles for how old it is.  This leads to all kinds of problems with brake seals, bearings, hoses and belts drying out.  If you can get it for a better price than they are asking, and if you are handy, these could all be addressed/replaced for not much money.  Definitely look at tire age as Kirk has mentioned

How safe would you feel in buying a 20 plus year old car and taking off for a cross country trip?  That is one of the disadvantages of a motorhome.  At a certain point they are not worth the risk.    

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Thanks everyone lots of good advice. I'll probably go look at it just to get a feel of size, drivability ect. I had figured in having to replace all the hoses ect but hadn't thought so much of the appliances.

Thanks Kirk for the explanation on the fridge, that makes it easier for me to understand why there is more chance of problems much better than it's just old :)

Jim K

5 hours ago, JimK said:

How safe would you feel in buying a 20 plus year old car and taking off for a cross country trip?

That 1 line gave me a good perspective & has done the most to sway my mind. Been there done that & your line reminded me of it! Lol

I admit it's just a 'i want & i want it right now'. I'll hold out for the 'right' RV at the right time. I've been keeping my eyes open for so long for the right van/deal & this one is so close to home. My want is getting ahead of my practical, sensible, common sense side. 

Thank you all for keeping me in check & my money in my pocket. I don't mind calculated risks but i hate throwing it away!

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