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Old 03-05-2017, 03:29 AM   #1
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Default Any 90's Coach House folks out there?

I'm going to look at and probably buy a 1993 Coach House 192RL Vandura 3500 with 79k miles on it. It looks to be very clean. I'm trying to arrange for an RV repair man to help me inspect it but, if that doesn't work out, is there anything specific I should watch out for? I don't know how to start the generator, or read the date codes on the tires. I'm a little nervous about the whole thing, but I've looked long enough and I think.this RV is the one, finally.
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Old 03-05-2017, 04:41 PM   #2
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Default Have realistic expectations

A lot of your satisfaction will come from having realistic expectations of a 25-year-old vehicle. After that long, the brand and build quality start to matter less than the fact that, well, it's old.

What you can do is have realistic expectations and do the vehicle-specific homework. That means expecting occasional small problems which require $200-$1000, and probably once in a while, more major things that require $1k-$3k to fix. Plan around that by having a "maintenance fund" (ie, some spare cash) ready.

Get it inspected by a third-party mechanic. This should cost $100-$200. If the vehicle is not near you, the seller or the dealer can take the camper to a mechanic of your choosing and you can pay the mechanic directly. This is the most valuable ~$150 you'll ever spend on an RV, because it prevents a lot of regret later on. If something big does fail, it was either chance (unpredictable) or predictable but all but impossible to discover before purchasing.

Finally, you've probably done this already (or the mechanic may do it for you as part of the review), but if not: check the Carfax, NMVTIS, or similar title report. In particular, see whether:
- the mileage recorded at past sales seems logical
- there are no obvious discrepancies with what the seller is telling you (salvage title, many owners, etc). This vehicle may have had enough owners that even an honest current owner's description is totally wrong.
- at least some recent owners held on to it for a while. If it's changed hands a lot, it may be a hot potato. Some people buy old class Bs to use for a season, but if you see 3 or 4 of those in a row, it's a hint elective maintenance may have been skipped during those years and/or that buyers were not satisfied.

Again, none of this is specific to Coach House or the 3500, it's specific to buying an old vehicle.

Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2017, 05:05 PM   #3
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I bought my 93 Pleasure Way a few years ago after a long search. I bought it with a plan for a budget of $10k and ended up spending a little more than half of that. My initial price was $2200 if I recall correctly. The van was solid, good drive train and parked under trees which made it dirty and covered in tree sap. This is probably why it didn't sell because it didn't look good.

I spent days removing the tree sap, and $30 or so on cleaning compound. It went from a mess to a nice looking van.

Then I spent around $3500 on it and replaced everything under the floor. Complete steering, complete brake system, suspension, tires etc. It now drives like new and will go many years without any major front end, brake or suspension work. And I can count on it to be reliable.

Most mechanics can work on your 93, and parts will be quite cheap compared to newer vans. Parts are plentiful at most shops and even backyard mechanics could fix your van if you were in a pinch.

The motorhome part is a different story, but overall it's not that complicated. Take your time to play with things in your driveway and make yourself a list of what you'd like to work on/fix. Once you have your list come to the forums and search as many items will already have fixes or suggestions on how to fix. For everything else just ask and someone will help you.
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troyd View Post
A lot of your satisfaction will come from having realistic expectations of a 25-year-old vehicle. After that long, the brand and build quality start to matter less than the fact that, well, it's old.

Good luck!
Thank you for your guidance. I appreciate it. I plan to use the van for about 1 1/2 yrs or less to locate a place to live after my house closes in 30 days. I doubt I will put more than 1000 miles on it. I then plan to sell it. I decided to buy older because I'm not planning to keep it. I assumed I'd have to put some money into it, but definitely hope to avoid a lemon.

Every Class C RV I've looked at over the last year has been overpriced, and a wood rotted leaky mess. I decided to look at vans hoping water intrusion wasn't an issue. To be honest, I'm fairly reticent about buying one for fear of being ripped off, but people seem to buy sight unseen a lot. The rig I'm looking at now is 12k. It seems like way too much money, but I guess it depends on the condition.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bruceper View Post
I bought my 93 Pleasure Way a few years ago after a long search. I bought it with a plan for a budget of $10k and ended up spending a little more than half of that. My initial price was $2200 if I recall correctly. The van was solid, good drive train and parked under trees which made it dirty and covered in tree sap. This is probably why it didn't sell because it didn't look good.

Most mechanics can work on your 93, and parts will be quite cheap compared to newer vans. Parts are plentiful at most shops and even backyard mechanics could fix your van if you were in a pinch.

The motorhome part is a different story, but overall it's not that complicated. Take your time to play with things in your driveway and make yourself a list of what you'd like to work on/fix. Once you have your list come to the forums and search as many items will already have fixes or suggestions on how to fix. For everything else just ask and someone will help you.
$2200 was a great price. The one I'm looking at is 12k. I keep losing out because I either think the seller is asking too much, or it's too rickety. Inevitably, someone comes along and buys it, nearly sight unseen. This time, I decided I'd buy it and hope to not put another 10k into it.

It seems a lot of folks try to unload their rv problems onto someone who doesn't know better, like me. I must buy something soon, so I'm going to take a shot at this rv. I wanted an engine anyone could work on, so your comments made my day! 12k is a lot of money for such an old rv, but I don't seem to have much choice. I plan to live in it for about 1 1/2 yrs with my dog looking for our new home. I hope it will last that long.
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