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Old 12-01-2009, 01:34 AM   #1
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Default 1997 Coach House purchase?

I'm considering purchasing a 1997 Coach House 194RS. I know nothing about engines and will be traveling alone most of the time.

Is there anything I should be aware of or check for when I actually see the van? Any tips?
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Old 12-01-2009, 03:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: 1997 Coach House purchase?

Not too familiar with that model and year. Have you googled that make/model/year and added "problems"
"recalls" "reviews" or "pros cons"? Sometimes you'll get some hits with hints as to what to expect.
What chassis is it on? Who built the van part? GM, Ford, or Chrysler? You could try going to a dealer
and ask them about what sort of problems you might expect for a van of that model and year.
Generally speaking, if you can get a third opinion from a trusted mechanic, or take the
vehicle to a dealer for an inspection (GM dealer for a GM chassis, Chrysler dealer for a Dodge chassis, etc.)
before you buy it, that would be your best bet. If the seller seems hesitant or reluctant to let you,
that might be a red flag.
We didn't do it, but we bought ours with really low mileage, and we just trusted the sellers to be honest about the
condition of the mechanicals and the frequency of the routine maintenance. I looked through the service
records they had, and was satisfied.
It turned out to be a good decision, as we haven't had any problems we could blame on abuse or other
maintenance related issues.
If you want to try pricing them, here's a link to 1997 Coach House 194RS at NADA.
Just plug in what you know and it'll tell you what sort of prices you should expect.
http://www.nadaguides.com/default.aspx? ... 2200004152
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Old 12-01-2009, 03:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1997 Coach House purchase?

That's good advice from Mike.

soohma - I'm gonna guess it is a Dodge van. Make sure you take it for a test drive on a highway if possible to make sure you like they way it handles. A 1997 should handle just fine. A few owners of later model Dodge (I think 199 vans have mentioned handling problem on RV forums.

Mileage and maintenance are what's most important. If there's no maintenance records then fluids, filters, belts, hoses, plugs, batteries etc. might all need changing. From age alone a 1997 van should be starting its 3rd set of tires. If the tires are older than 5 years they probably should be replaced. You should have the brakes checked if you don't know when they were last inspected.

Re: the engine - I can't offer much advice but there are members on this forum that are experts.

Re: the RV parts - Hopefully you are in a warm place and test the water system by turning on taps and flushing the toilet. You should make sure the fridge works as they are expensive to replace.

Hopefully the seller has maintenance records and will demonstrate that everything works. Repairs aren't the end of the world if you've factored that possibility in on the purchase price.
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Old 12-02-2009, 02:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1997 Coach House purchase?

Really appreciate your help. It's a lot of money when I'm not sure what I'm doing.
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