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New Buyer With Questions


chuckbear

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We are new buyers and new to the RV world and have a couple of questions I hope someone might help us with. We are looking at buying a 1997 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 35 with only about 30,000 miles, with a Ford engine and chassis. I have a couple or concerns that the more experienced owners can offer some insight. The coach has belonged to the current owner for about 12 years and for that time it has been kept in a garage. He keeps it set up on the hydraulic levelors at all times. I have been over all of the systems and everything except the heater and one of the overhead vent fans works fine. One thing that worries me are the tires. The owners have used the coach MAYBE 10 times since they owned it. The tires look like brand new except they are 8 years old. So might this be a problem? Also, during the test drive yesterday, once the coach reaches about 40 to 50 miles an hour, there is a very loud high pitched sound that appears to be coming from the outside on the passenger side. It comes and goes so it isn't constant. But it's loud enough to be annoying inside. When stopped or at slow speeds it is not heard. Thanks for any feedback you can give me. Chuck

 

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First, welcome to the Escapee forums! I'm glad that you have chosen to join us and we promise to do all we are able to help you out.

 

The chassis you are looking at will be a Ford 460 engine. While the mileage is very low, my biggest concern there would be that it has sat what might be too much. I would definitely want a sample of the engine oil sent for analysis after the rig has been driven at least 50 miles. The same for the transmission fluid would also be a good idea. Those will give you a good feel for the internal conditions, I would also want the noise to be investigated by a qualified mechanic as I do not like unexplained noises.

 

As far as the tires, sitting is often more damaging to tires than being driven. They may look good but any tire that is 8 years old is a potential blowout and with them having sat most of the time, the danger is far greater. I would absolutely want new tires soon. In addition, with an RV that is now nearly 19 model years old, I would also replace all belts and hoses and pretty much any rubber parts as they will be starting to crack and fail.

 

Based upon the NADA website, it looks like the rig should be priced somewhere between $12,000 and $15,000, depending upon condition.

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Thanks Kirk. The owner is pretty set on a $12K price. The coach appears to be in excellent condition and he had had the Banks exhaust system installed since he purchased it. He is the second owner. As to an oil sample, the oil in the generator and engine was recently changed so the option for an oil change before purchse is probably not going to be helpful. We are considering having someone do an inspection on the rig before we purchase. I was concerned about the tires and suspect replacements won't be cheap. Replacing belts and having the engine serviced would be the first thing I would do. Chuck

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It has 16" tires but I'm not sure about the weight ratings. You might want to get it weighed also and compare the actual weight to the GVWR which should be listed on a sticker inside of the RV. I suspect that it has a GVWR for the chassis of 16K# and it definitely won't be any more than 18K#. You should also plan to replace all of the caulking on seams of the roof if you buy this one. Did you check what material the roof is made of? It is probably aluminum.

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. The roof is aluminum and at some point during the current ownership, a dealer has sealed all of the seams in the roof and sealed around all of the windows. Chuck

You should still make sure to examine all caulking and seams as it will crack and loosen with age, even when inside. That is a maintenance which should be checked every year and usually replaced somewhere between 3 & 5 year intervals.

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All good to know. because it's kept inside a garage, there is no way to know if it ever had leaks in the past. I have a price from the local Firestone dealer for $1230.00 out the door for tires. The tire price is usually only half the cost. I haven't been able to get any other quotes yet. Dutch, here in Florida I can't find tires for my Chevy HHR for $120.00. Chuck

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There are 19 "Tire Kingdom" stores in Florida that carry or can order 235-85R16 Load Range 'E' 16" tires for your coach in a variety of brands. I ran their private labeled "Mesa" tires, made by Cooper in Ohio, on our previous coach for the last 3 years we owned it with no problems. They cost $120 each, and if I recall correctly, mounting and balancing added about $10 per tire. They list Firestone's "Transforce HT" tires in that size at $135/each.

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