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Old 07-15-2012, 12:25 PM   #1
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Default Newbie Full Time (sort of)

Hey All -

So just wanted to introduce myself and tell a little about why I registered.

I'm getting ready to buy my first RV. My RV budget is pretty low, around $2500 (plus $500 for any unforeseen repairs). Obviously it will be a used one. The major reason I am buying an RV is for work purposes. I fish in AK and a new promising / rewarding position on my boat requires that I work during shipyard in Seattle. I don't live in Seattle and we are not allowed to live on the boat during shipyard. Since I don't feel like helping someone pay off their mortgage, I thought about getting a Class B or C as temp (1 to 2 months at a time) living situation. Plus figured it'd be nice to have something that I could use later instead of just paying for a place to sleep.

After a bit of researching on RV living I have decided on a Class B. I found one in the area that I will looking at tomorrow. It's a 1983 Dodge Xplorer w/ High Top. I am posting a link. I don't know if I'm allowed to ask any questions here, so I won't. Figured I can get answers / feedback just by looking through the site.

Thanks and Have a Great Day,

-j

ps: if you do feel like giving some feedback, don't hesitate.
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: Newbie Full Time (sort of)

the link

http://olympic.craigslist.org/rvs/3129118489.html
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Newbie Full Time (sort of)

Welcome to the forum.
Ask as many questions as you want.
I knew someone who did something similar because of a job. Instead of motels or bunking with co-workers he stayed in his camper van. Worked great for him.
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:23 AM   #4
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Default Re: Newbie Full Time (sort of)

Thanks markopolo -

So I bought the rig. Got the priced knocked down a bit. Will pick it up tomorrow. Here's a list of what I was able to check (hope it's not too lengthy). I also have some basic questions regarding buying a used RV for the first time.

Body: Straight. No rust. Some dings. Paint is old (30 yrs old). Hi-Top is fairly new. Windows are solid. Vent windows driver / pass door close, but don't completely seal, can hear air leak while driving. Side windows in rear bedroom do have a lot of caulk around them, shabby job of sealing them. Driver's side mirror broken, just the mirror. Doors hang straight and feel solid. No rust in doorwells. Awning, one side seemed to be stuck, so wasn't able to check it. Seems like a simple fix. The door to generator cabinet has lock and key is missing. Will have to take care of that right-a-way.

Interior: Pretty Solid. Wear and Tear is better than I expected for something this old and in this price range. Water damage visible on kitchen paneling and brackets for cupboards above sink / stove (hence hi-top being replaced). Water damage looks pretty superficial and nothing on the body itself. Bathroom was clean and looked good. Two swiveling Captain's chair in front. Rear bed is large foam pad. Looks like there used to be another table in the back w / multiple cushions configuration. All lights, fans, and outlets work. Horn does not work. Front A/C seems to work. Dinette chairs / table in working order, no rips. No rotting doors / cabinets. The indicator panel seems to work. Overall in really good condition for age & price range.

Power / Drive Train & stuff that help it roll & stop: Starter is probably going to need to be replaced. Had to "bump" ignition in-order for starter to engage, but it did engage and it did its job. Starter is easily acessed. Engine started right up, no knocking, good idle, good acceleration (even on hills), no smoke. Tranny shifted smoothly while sitting still and while driving. Was able to get up to 55 (hilly, curvy country roads), no shaking, rattling, rolling and alignment seemed "straight". Suspension seems pretty good. Brakes were a little mushy, not bad, they did a good job of stopping and it's been a while since I drove anything this old carrying this much weight, so I don't know if it's normal for brakes on something like this to feel a little mushy or if I'm gonna need to bleed the lines. Fairly new alernator. Belts looked good. Newer deep-cycle battery in engine compartment. Curious about this since this is the only battery. Always thought deep-cycle batteries were not good for starting purposes??? Under-carriage is solid. No signs of rust. Exhaust manifolds are wrapped and they sound good. Mufflers are pretty rusty looking, but seemed solid. Tranny fluid looked clean. Engine oil looked clean. Tires are practically brand new.

Appliances & the such: Stove worked just fine. Furnance started right up and made it warm. Generator fired right up and ran smoothly. Tanks are dry so wasn't able to check any of that. Did "bump" waterpump, but didn't wanna deadhead it, so who knows. Wasn't able check fridge since we were on a hill while parked plus we were running out of time. I have some concerns here. Will have to fill tanks and just see.

Ok, so overall I think the rig is worth the price, even without being able to check the plumbing. The odometer reads a little over 40,000. It's a 5 digit odo, so i figured it had been flipped at least once, but maybe not. I was presented with a bunch of receipts of work and purchases. All receipts execpt one read milage that would reflect it being around 40, 000. One receipt did read 122,000 in milage section, but noticed that a "duplicate" receipt dated a few days later read 22,000.

I am having a little bit of "buyer's remorse" since I know very little about RVs, but this is normal behavior for me anytime I make a purchase of this size. I allocated $500 towards repairs, so I am covered on that end. I will more than likely be able to perform most (if not all) repairs myself. And my primary reason for this purchase (at this point) is just to have a comfy place to eat, sleep with facilities with the hope of being able to actually do a couple of trips along the WA / OR / CA coast

So that's the story so far. I will keep updating as things present themselves. Outside of any unforseen repairs, I do plan to make some mods to the interior and will share.

I would like to get some feedback on my purchase. I would also like to get any info I can about flushing out the tanks, things to look for when it comes to the plumbing, and basically anything else a newbie like might not think of.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: Newbie Full Time (sort of)

I think you got a great deal for spending less than $2,000. And, you were very thorough when inspecting it. I have the same stove as you. The generator compartment key might be that common key that seems to fit most RV's. I forget the number of it. Xplorer always made a high quality van from what I've read.
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Newbie Full Time (sort of)

Thanks again markopolo. Will research the key # and try get a copy before drilling out locks.

As funny as it might sound, I'm actually kinda excited to get working on this thing. And even though I'd like to have something that's mechanically / cosmetically sound, there is a big part of me that's looking forward to learning about how things are set-up in an RV. Plus re-thinking the layout and seeing if I can improve on it could be a fun exercise.

And like you said, for the amount of money I purchased it for, I think I got a pretty deal.

Will keep you posted.

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Old 07-16-2012, 01:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Newbie Full Time (sort of)

To sanitize the fresh water system (paraphrased from Roadtrek instructions):
1. In a clean container, mix ¼ cup of household bleach with 1 gallon of water.
2. Pour the water/bleach solution into your empty fresh water tank.
3. Completely fill your fresh water tank.
4. Turn on your water pump and slowly open all faucets and flush the toilet to release trapped air and to get the bleach solution to fill the plumbing pipes.
5. Close all faucets and allow the bleach solution to stand for 3 hours then drain and then flush with fresh water.
6. Drain and flush fresh water tank system again if an excessive chlorine taste or odor remains in the water.

Most RV’s have two waste tanks known as “black” for toilet waste and “gray” for kitchen sink and shower waste water. The two tanks will have separate dump valves to empty them. Usually, the dump valve handle nearer the rear of your RV is for the black tank. “Black is back” is easy to remember. Dump black tank waste first then dump gray tank waste to somewhat clean out the dump hose.

The waste tanks might need a good flush out if the RV hasn’t been used in a while. Half fill them with water, drive around a little and then empty the tanks at a sani-dump station. (some gas stations have dump stations). Two cups of Calgon water softener dissolved in a bucket of warm water and poured into your waste tanks (via the kitchen sink for the gray waste tank and via the toilet for the black waste tank) might help loosen stuck on stuff.

Re: your question about deep-cycle batteries used for starting purposes. You are right. However, there are “RV / Marine” deep cycle batteries that are kind of a blend of starting batteries and deep cycle batteries. They are not true deep cycle batteries but do an adequate job. They usually have plenty of CCA for starting purposes.
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:00 AM   #8
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Default Re: Newbie Full Time (sort of)

kinteka....Congratulations on your GREAT find. It looks in great shape. As far as the frig, the van should be close to level when you are running it, and it will take a whole day for it to cool down. If you find it is not cooling properly, removing it and tipping it upside down for a day may correct the ammonia in the lines. The GEO method for cleaning the black/gray tanks does work. Calgon, a small amount of HE low sudsing detergent or dishWASHER detergent, a bag of ice, and a drive down a bumpy road will help to knock off anything clinging to the sides. I like to do the stop, roll, stop, roll braking to get the water to slosh back and forth. I fill the toilet up to the top, let it sit overnight, dump a little (then add ice) and take it for a long drive. Some people refuse to use toilet paper to avoid the TP (toilet paper) tower. I am a BIG believer in using ONLY RV paper. It's not that much more then regular paper and better for your tank. The little bit more you might pay for RV paper is worth it, compared to cleaning the tank of the TP tower. When you dump your tanks be sure your black tank is at least 2/3 full.

Enjoy your camper van and the freedom from staying at hotels. Safe travels.
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: Newbie Full Time (sort of)

I feel your "pain" I just bought a 1992 Falcon 190 and had to replace everything water related, it wasn't used in a while so all of the o-rings and seals were dried out. By a while, I mean about 10 years.... But things are coming along. I hope you have as much fun with your project as I am having with mine!
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