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Advice on specific RV we're considering


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Hi everyone! Wife and I are new to the forum, we are hunting our first full time rig. Here's more about us if you're interested: http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=122207


We have narrowed down price, age range, motor and chassis, floor plan and length requirements for our rig. We've found one that checks all the boxes, was wondering if folks wouldn't mind throwing in their $0.02.


Oh, I should add we're pretty handy. I'm no mechanic, but can get my hands dirty. My wife was trained as a carpenter and used to work in construction. I can figure out a lot of things with the help of the internet. :) I have a good mechanic who can go over and tune up the motor. Also, we aren't starting full time in earnest until August 1st, so we want to get something soon to give us plenty of time to trouble shoot, repair and renovate. Our budget is $8k, including repairs.


Here's what we're looking at, same RV in both listings. Had a good conversation with the owner last night, asked a lot of questions as it's 2.5 hours from our home in Denver.





Purchased locally last fall, driven with 8 people to Chicago and back. Current owner can only confirm the furnace works, the water heater boiler burns and the generator turns on but not getting power to the rig. He says the previous owner said everything worked, but he personally has never used the A/C, furnace, stove/oven. Mechanically in great shape, no leaks, doesn't burn oil. Chevy TBI 454 with overdrive. Unsure on age of tires but good tread and no rot.

I flat out told him for his asking price of $6k I wanted everything to be turn key. I told him I had to know how old the tires were and that the fridge worked on both 110 and propane before I'd even consider coming and seeing it, and even then I wouldn't be offering $6k. He asked what I was thinking cash wise, I responded if the tires were less than 7 years old AND the fridge worked on 110 and propane I'd be around $4500. Depending of course on what I see in person. Seller seemed ok with that, said he'd work on getting the fridge going and would send me the tire date code in the next few days. He asked if I would like to come up this Sunday, I said yes on condition of tires and fridge.

I'm betting the genny just has a tripped breaker. If not, it's likely the transfer switch, which looks to be a $100-$200 part depending. At $4500 or less, that gives me a bunch of room for repairs, and as long as the fridge is working and the tires don't need to be replaced I'm confident any repairs would not be significant and likely DIY jobs. Any water damage is something I'll have to gauge in person, that could be a deal killer.

What I like about this rig and why I'm interested in it is it's age (it's 3+ years newer than a lot of what we're finding), the 454 TBI motor, the overdrive, what looks to be a well cared for interior and that it's been driven recently.

Biggest concern: I totally spaced asking if he's got enough juice in the house batteries to get the water pump running. Is this thing worth going and seeing if I can't turn the water on? Hard to check for leaks without running water and those could be a bear to chase down. However, seller states he bought this locally in their small town of Holyoke. Farming community, nice people out there. I'm betting he knows the previous owner and I'm inclined to trust that everything works based on the word of the guy that owned it previously. Do I go up there and locate the breakers, see if I can get power to the rig to be able to test the water pump? Then less negotiating room cause shazam I've just fixed his genny problem. OR, don't touch the genny and just take the water leak risk?

I'm not committed to seeing it yet, seller is going to get back to me in a few days with more information.


Any thoughts? Thank you in advance!

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Wow! Lots of things which you don't know if they work or not. Generator and engine/transmission maintenance could be an issue with a rig 25 years old. Rain water leaks in walls/roof are very hard to see and you could have lots of dry rot. Class C's are bad for water leaks in the cabover.


If you are serious about buying the rig, go see it with the plan to spend to spend two days testing. Bring your own 12v fully charged car battery if you are not sure the house battery is good. About the fridge, run it on gas or elect the afternoon of the first day then let run on the other source over night. Freezer & fridge should be about the same temp on either gas or elect. Also leave the water pump on overnight and check for water puddles in the morning.

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How did you determine if $4500 is even a fair value for a 25 year old rig? I did a quick check on NADA for a 1991 23' Four Winds class C on a chevy chassis and average retail is $4000 and low retail is $3300. I know a Four Winds is not an Eldorado, but I didn't see an Eldorado listed, and I am not sure who made Eldorado's, so just grabbed the first class C I could think of.

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Al, good idea on the car battery. I don't have a spare, but maybe can find one. Or I bet the seller has one sitting around. Aware of risks regarding engine and trans on older vehicles, thanks! Nothing around here goes for NADA, not even close. I've been keeping an eye on our local market for over a year. So my offer is based on what these things are really sold for around here. Can you find me something similar for $4k with everything ready to go? I'd definitely be willing to travel for that sort of deal! However I haven't found that to be the case searching surrounding states both on Craigslist and RV Trader. Certainly not trying to be argumentative here, just sharing what I've found.

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You don't really give us enough to determine exactly what you are looking at so I'll just give you what I can find. The Eldorado was built by Honorbuilt and went out of business in 1996. I'm not quite sure when they began production but there weren't around for many years. Looking at the NADA site, it looks like the 91 Eldorado was built in lengths ranging from 19' to 36' 6" so it is hard to judge just what you are shopping for. The prices currently range from a low retail of $3,350 for the 19' to an average retail of $10,300 for the 36' rig.


While the generator could easily have just a circuit breaker tripped as if it should be an Onan, they do not continue to run unless the generator is putting out electricity. If it is connected to shore power there should also be 12V power from the converter to enable the operation of things like the water pump and the furnace blower. If you do not have any 12V power the refrigerator will not operate on either propane or 120V-ac since the controls for RV refrigerators have been 12V-dc for many years. That is why they have the ability to select between 120V or propane automatically, but it means that no 12V and no refrigerator. The water heater and the furnace also require 12V to be available. But the battery being down does not mean it won't run because there is also a converter that takes 120V-ac when available and converts that into 12V-dc to operate the RV and recharge the battery.

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That tire cover got me curious so I Googled Cuzin Eddie. It appears to be a rock band out of Danville, IL. For whatever that's worth. All I really know about Danville is that they had a nice community swimming pool back in the 50s when my cousins took me there and they do get winter so winterizing the rig might have been of concern.


Linda Sand

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Kirk, you know as much as I do at the moment! If the house batteries have enough juice we should be able to test the 12v stuff. If not, it'll all be a moot point as he won't be able to get the fridge running on propane, in which case I wouldn't even go see it. :) Thanks for the research on the builder, I was checking that out too.


Ha, Linda I just figured it was a National Lampoon Christmas Vacation reference.


We certainly aren't set on this RV, but I definitely believe it's worth a good look at the lower price point with tires and fridge in working order. I think a few people are wondering what are requirements are, here you go! A good number of older rigs here in this price range, just have to find what we're looking for specifically. Oddly, what's been more difficult is finding ones SMALL enough. Most of what's available is in the 28-30' range. Ha! Also have a want ad posted: http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=122205

  • Class C
  • 23'-25'
  • Sub 100,000 miles
  • No slides
  • Rear corner bed, rear bath
  • Awning
  • TBI or EFI
  • Overdrive
  • Good running condition
  • All systems in working order
  • 110/propane fridge/freezer
  • Cosmetically challenged welcome!
  • Have no issue with older rigs as long as TBI/EFI
  • BUDGET: sub $8k, cash
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Your best bet as it is fairly close, is to plan a day trip to go look it over without the intention to buy it that day. If it looks perfect, you can always see if they will take a deposit to hold it until you can have it mechanically checked out by a local person you think has a good reputation. Take it for a long, couple hour drive to see if any issues pop up. Get a pair of coveralks and some cardboard and a flashlight and crawl underneath and look at every spot you can. Looking for rot, rust, leaks, etc..

Bring a folding ladder and climb up and look at the roof.


8 people in that thing for a long trip would seem like a tight fit. Renting a van would seem better as I doubt they slept it on the way.


Just remember it is a 25 year old vehicle that probably needs or will need service. You need to keep a reserve fund for items not caught in an inspection. Yep, the refrigerator may work now, but I would not expect it to last and you need to price one of those RV styles, they are quite expensive and that is just for the part without installation

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Zooming in on the picture at the "Cab Over" there seems to be body putty on the seam at the passenger side front and around the side over the door. The trim on the side appears to be pulled away from the body. Those 2 things alone would have me very worried as they would be indicators of water intrusion. C class vehicles have a problem with this front area and rot. It may not be very evident from inside but a little poking around could reveal major problems. Search YouTube for videos on problems in this area.

There are LOTS of RV's out there don't rush in on the first one you see that sees like a bargain. Good older units are available but you need to be diligent.

The seller has apparently dropped his price by 25% before you even show up, personally I'd be wondering how badly he wants to get rid of it! If I had a good rig for sale I'd be sticking to my price until I had a buyer looking at it and actually showing an interest.

Be patient and the right vehicle will come along, ours did.


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We will give it a good long look Star! Had a local friend of a friend walk us around his '76 class C RV last weekend. He's owned motorhomes and campers for 2 decades, it was great to have a hands on example of what to look for and how to really inspect things.


scouser, yes we will pay close attention to possible water damage in any rig we look at. We are certainly not set on this, but what I do like about this rig is the power train and transmission. Most things in our price range are too large (28'-32'), or if they're the right length they're a carburated or a 350. If this one didn't have the TBI 454 with OD I don't think I'd even bother considering it. I believe he dropped the price because he's had it listed too high considering he can't show all the systems are operable.

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Thanks! I believe many Class C's use the same chassis, sorry to hear of your sister's misfortune!

Yep, if you see a class C (or class A for that matter) built on a Ford or Chevy chassis, then the chassis is pretty much the same no matter what brand of RV. There are minor differences, but for the same length, year and weight of RV the engine, transmission, rear axle and suspension are almost identical.


There can be differences when the RV mfg bought more chassis in one year than they use then they just start building the next model year RV on the old chassis. On occasion you will find a RV that the RV mfg model year is 2 years newer than the chassis it is built on.

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