Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 06-19-2019, 02:29 AM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: palm springs
Posts: 2
Default Advice on Roadtrek 190 / 1997 - 2002

Hello!

I have been wanting to jump into the Class B pool for a while now, and have started looking at the Roadtrek 190 models. It's reasonably priced, so I can get my feet wet without breaking the bank - there seems to be many available locally or not to far from Palm Springs, CA with mileage ranging from 50k - 175k. Because it's based upon a Dodge 3500 van, it's not intimidating to me - I can easily work on the platform, and it's relatively inexpensive to fix. I realize there are drawbacks to the gasoline vs. diesel, but at the price point - perhaps they are worth it. In any case - I'd love to get some feedback from folks that know.

Are these decent entry-level Class B RVs?

What would be the things to look out for when inspecting?

Any helpful Beta for a newbie would be most appreciated!

Thank you kindly!!
__________________

dsafian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2019, 03:13 AM   #2
Platinum Member
 
rowiebowie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Texas
Posts: 945
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsafian View Post
Hello!

I have been wanting to jump into the Class B pool for a while now, and have started looking at the Roadtrek 190 models. It's reasonably priced, so I can get my feet wet without breaking the bank - there seems to be many available locally or not to far from Palm Springs, CA with mileage ranging from 50k - 175k. Because it's based upon a Dodge 3500 van, it's not intimidating to me - I can easily work on the platform, and it's relatively inexpensive to fix. I realize there are drawbacks to the gasoline vs. diesel, but at the price point - perhaps they are worth it. In any case - I'd love to get some feedback from folks that know.

Are these decent entry-level Class B RVs?

What would be the things to look out for when inspecting?

Any helpful Beta for a newbie would be most appreciated!

Thank you kindly!!
Welcome to the forum dsafian!

No matter what motor home you choose, it needs to be mechanically sound in order for you to enjoy your travels. An older motor home like you are suggesting, makes that more of a challenge. But if you are comfortable with the mechanics of the Dodge van, then the Roadtrek should be a good choice as you say "to get your feet wet without breaking the bank".

Normal things to check are engine, brakes, tires, transmission, cooling, a/c etc. You can have these items checked by a mechanic, or if you feel competent you can do so by checking for leaks, fluid condition, and make sure no smoke is coming out of the exhaust. Take a lengthy test drive under different road conditions to test the suspension, brakes, and steering. Get it up to operating temperature, highway speeds, and make sure you're out long enough that the motor doesn't overheat. Check all the coach appliances, generator, roof air, water pumps, batteries, etc.

Expect to fix and/or replace some items as this would be normal. If the price is right and it takes into consideration these items, then make the call as to whether it's the right rv for you. Took us over a year to find our '2012 class b. Happy with the purchase, yet I've had to spend several thousand dollars on roof a/c, batteries, tires, shocks, macerator, and water pump among other things. Now that those items are fixed, no problems on our last several long trips.

Good luck, keep us informed, and feel free to ask any questions. This forum is a great resource.
__________________

rowiebowie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2019, 04:07 AM   #3
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: palm springs
Posts: 2
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
Welcome to the forum dsafian!

No matter what motor home you choose, it needs to be mechanically sound in order for you to enjoy your travels. An older motor home like you are suggesting, makes that more of a challenge. But if you are comfortable with the mechanics of the Dodge van, then the Roadtrek should be a good choice as you say "to get your feet wet without breaking the bank".

Normal things to check are engine, brakes, tires, transmission, cooling, a/c etc. You can have these items checked by a mechanic, or if you feel competent you can do so by checking for leaks, fluid condition, and make sure no smoke is coming out of the exhaust. Take a lengthy test drive under different road conditions to test the suspension, brakes, and steering. Get it up to operating temperature, highway speeds, and make sure you're out long enough that the motor doesn't overheat. Check all the coach appliances, generator, roof air, water pumps, batteries, etc.

Expect to fix and/or replace some items as this would be normal. If the price is right and it takes into consideration these items, then make the call as to whether it's the right rv for you. Took us over a year to find our '2012 class b. Happy with the purchase, yet I've had to spend several thousand dollars on roof a/c, batteries, tires, shocks, macerator, and water pump among other things. Now that those items are fixed, no problems on our last several long trips.

Good luck, keep us informed, and feel free to ask any questions. This forum is a great resource.
Appreciate the quick and thoughtful response. Standard vehicle vetting, I totally get. Thanks for the details needs specific to RV ownership - very much appreciate it.
dsafian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2019, 05:11 AM   #4
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Arizona
Posts: 312
Default

Ditto rowiebowie's comments. So I bought a 97 PW more in the vintage that you're describing. It had unusually low miles and a remarkable interior. BUT in the 3 years that I've had it here are some of my expenses:

Before I first drove it home from my inlaws who I bought it from:

Minor engine tune up; new serpentine belt, adjust tranny replacing fluid and filter, lube drivetrain ujoints, drain and refill rear end, repack all wheel bearings, replace front brakes and front shocks. 4 new tires. Drain water heater and replace anode, new cabin battery, replace circuit board in heater.

That was all, surprisingly, done for $2200 because it was primarily done by a father/son shop that we've used for over 20 years.

Expenses after that were primarily by choice:

Add solar panel/controller. Add better battery monitoring capability.
New cabin battery charging. Upgraded radio (it had a radio/cassette!!).
Surge protection.

And then routine maintenance expected of any vehicle (oil changes,etc.).

Point: My RV is in the age range of what you're looking at. All of rowiebowie's observations are correct. What I'm adding is that usually with a vehicle that age you'll have to immediately sink a bit of extra cash into it to get it up to snuff.
GallenH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2019, 12:23 PM   #5
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 7,576
Default

That vintage of Dodge had issues with handling, especially in wind, so be sure to drive it in windy conditions and around semis on the freeway. It is not consistent between vans and can go from poor handling to scary depending on the unit. Very low, low miles ones can sometimes be the ones that folks were uncomfortable driving. The handling can be made better, but probably not great, with a number of modifications like new steering boxes, alignment specs, rear springs, shocks, swaybars, wheel spacers, tires, etc. but it can add up.
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2019, 01:55 PM   #6
Platinum Member
 
jmai's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 118
Default

I have a 2001 Dodge Roadtrek 190 Popular. It is the perfect size for two people and maybe a dog. It has a very workable layout, plenty of storage, and a galley that can actually be used (by one person). The outside storage along the driver's rocker panel can easily hold the jack, electrical cords and adapters, water hoses and several other items. The storage area accessed by the back door can hold chairs, screen house, small barbecue etc.

The generator is mounted under the rear of the vehicle behind the rear wheels. There is an access cover, but it has limited access for repair. If you need major work, the generator needs to be dropped. (An expensive job for labor, bit doable by a backyard mechanic). There are parts and service manuals available and parts can be ordered directly from Onan.

Chassis components and drivability do vary as Booster has stated above. I'd recommend the heavy duty Bilstein shocks and a steering stabilizer (Dodge Ram Steering Gear Box Stabilizer). This unit is easily installed and fits perfectly. I recently installed new brake drums, front rotors and loaded front calipers by Centric. The drums and rotors were their Premium version and the rebuilt front calipers were reasonably priced and made a big difference. (I replaced these components primarily due rust). If you need front end components, such as steering, ball joints, control arms, and bushings, Moog makes almost every part for the Dodge chassis. If you need upper and lower balljoints, consider getting the whole upper and lower control arm which includes new ball joints. (I wish I had known this before I replaced my ball joints). Some people replace the rear springs with new, aftermarket or custom springs from a truck repair facility or use several versions of helper springs. I have noticed that Dodge has discontinued many parts for this series of vehicle, but aftermarket companies provide parts or truck companies can do suspension work.

My RV has a solar panel and two AGM batteries. The interior lights are all LED and the previous owner installed USB ports in several places. The solar keeps the batteries charged and gives us some freedom when no electric hook-ups are available. We still cannot run the AC or microwave, (except by the generator) but with the ceiling exhaust fans and the windows open, fresh air is easily circulated.

The size of the 190 is perfect for parking and going into a city. The main concern is the large turning radius if doing a U turn. The 4 speed automatic transmission (3 speed plus overdrive) is suited to the engine. When I am going up or descending a long grade, I often disengage 4th gear or overdrive, by a simple push of the button (very convenient). The transmission easily downshifts (kicks down) with a firm push of the pedal making hills doable. The 318 (5.2L) engine has more than enough horsepower and torque to power the vehicle when fully loaded.I drive about 60-65 and get 15MPG on the highway and 13-14MPG in very hill terrain with ing periods of 2nd and 3rd gear use, like the Blue Ridge Parkway of Cabot Trail in Canada.

When evaluating the vehicle, I approach it as an automobile and a house. Check the systems of each in detail. In terms of an RV (house section), everything is compact and tightly fitted together. Often things have to be moved or accessed to get to major systems for repair. The biggest concern of the older vehicles is rust and if there has been interior water damage. Mold and mildew smells are not easily removed once they get into cloth or foam.

Good luck with your purchase.
__________________
Joe
jmai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2019, 07:04 PM   #7
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Iowa
Posts: 71
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsafian View Post
Hello!

I have been wanting to jump into the Class B pool for a while now, and have started looking at the Roadtrek 190 models. It's reasonably priced, so I can get my feet wet without breaking the bank - there seems to be many available locally or not to far from Palm Springs, CA with mileage ranging from 50k - 175k. Because it's based upon a Dodge 3500 van, it's not intimidating to me - I can easily work on the platform, and it's relatively inexpensive to fix. I realize there are drawbacks to the gasoline vs. diesel, but at the price point - perhaps they are worth it. In any case - I'd love to get some feedback from folks that know.

Are these decent entry-level Class B RVs?

What would be the things to look out for when inspecting?

Any helpful Beta for a newbie would be most appreciated!

Thank you kindly!!
You've already gotten some great, detailed responses, so I'll just add that these are great entry-level Class B's! I've owned a 1998 Coach House, a 2000 Coach House, and now a 1999 Roadtrek 190 Popular for about the past 13 years. I've been fortunate and haven't had to do too many big repairs. Most of mine have been vehicle related, and not so much the house part. While there are some things I liked much better in my first Coach House, the Roadtrek definitely has more storage spaces. My Coach Houses had around 74,000 miles on them when I got them, and the Roadtrek had 39,000. I thought the lower miles would be an advantage, but not in this case. It looked like the Roadtrek had been a bit neglected in some areas and sat too much, while the two Coach Houses were in much better shape, mechanically and physically.

I mostly use mine to travel to dog shows but have gone as far as from Iowa to Vermont and back. I currently travel with 7 small dogs. I'm planning on living in it full time in 3 years. There's a Facebook group for owners of the older Roadtreks that you might also check out (2004 and older).

Pam
Pam G is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2019, 05:01 PM   #8
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 14
Default

Two years ago I bought a 2003 Roadtrek 190 popular with 25,000 miles on it. I took it to a mechanic and had it thoroughly inspected and he could find nothing wrong with it. The gentleman who owned it was a friend of mine from our church and had it for 12 years and took excellent care of it. It’s on a Chevrolet 1 ton extended wheelbase Sa two years ago I bought a 2003 Roadtrek 190 popular with 25,000 miles on it. I took it to a mechanic and had it thoroughly inspected and he could find nothing wrong with it. The gentleman who owned it was a friend of mine from our church and had it for 12 years and took excellent care of it. It’s on a Chevrolet 1 ton extended wheelbase chassis. I highly recommend the Chevy over the Dodge for all of the reasons listed above. The Dodge has a much shorter wheelbase which is part of the reason for the handling problems. We’ve taken the camper on several long trips and have had no problems with it at all. Mileage seems to be consistently 15 or 16 miles per gallon. The advantage of a Chevy chassis is that you can get service pretty much anywhere in North America.
cbrown154@me.com is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2019, 05:34 PM   #9
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: CA
Posts: 1,139
Default All depends on your price range...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsafian View Post
Hello!

I have been wanting to jump into the Class B pool for a while now, and have started looking at the Roadtrek 190 models. It's reasonably priced, so I can get my feet wet without breaking the bank - there seems to be many available locally or not to far from Palm Springs, CA with mileage ranging from 50k - 175k. Because it's based upon a Dodge 3500 van, it's not intimidating to me - I can easily work on the platform, and it's relatively inexpensive to fix. I realize there are drawbacks to the gasoline vs. diesel, but at the price point - perhaps they are worth it. In any case - I'd love to get some feedback from folks that know.

Are these decent entry-level Class B RVs?

What would be the things to look out for when inspecting?

Any helpful Beta for a newbie would be most appreciated!

Thank you kindly!!
In my opinion years are way more important than mileage....a low mileage 20-25 years old vehicle is more of a gamble than a 10 years old vehicle with many more miles on the odometer.

If the vehicle has a generator make sure you can see if its been used and serviced regularly.

With any used vehicle "condition is everything".

Good luck.
Roadtrek Adventuous RS1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2019, 07:16 PM   #10
Bronze Member
 
Bobow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 47
Default

I have made two replies and each time I posted it said I was not logged in.
Lost the lengthy and informative post.

I am done. Don't know what is the problem.

Maybe this will work.
Bob
__________________

Bobow is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 03:06 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.