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Old 07-18-2016, 11:33 PM   #1
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Default Safe reliable camper van recommendations

Hello!
I am just beginning to research camper vans and came across this forum. Can any of you "experts" tell me what I should be looking for when it comes to purchasing a used camper van? What brands, models do you recommend? We don't want an RV, we want a van that has a bed, sink, fridge, stove, toilet. We'd like to keep the price under $20,000.00
I checked consumer reports and can't find anything on used camper vans. Thanks for any suggestions!
Anne
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Old 07-19-2016, 12:24 AM   #2
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Hi Ann,

Welcome to the forum.

A van that has a bed, sink, fridge, stove and a toilet is an RV. What do you mean when you say that you don't want an RV?

William
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Old 07-19-2016, 12:30 AM   #3
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I'm referring to the size of the rig. I want it to be the size of a van versus a box truck. Does that make sense?
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Old 07-19-2016, 12:37 AM   #4
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I'm referring to the size of the rig. I want it to be the size of a van versus a box truck. Does that make sense?
Sure does! So, you've figured out from day one that the ideal choice is a class B. You'll obviously find a lot of sympathy for that way of thinking here!

Could you tell us how you plan to use it? Will it be mostly weekends in campgrounds? Long trips boondocking? How many of you will there be?

Do you want to buy new, used, recent or a vehicle with lots of experience?

William
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Old 07-19-2016, 12:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
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I'm referring to the size of the rig. I want it to be the size of a van versus a box truck. Does that make sense?
Yes, you have come to the right place.

The box-van type is called Class C RV.

The panel van type is called Class B RV.
That's what this forum is all about.
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Old 07-19-2016, 01:01 AM   #6
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For now, it would be used for short trips, a couple of hundred miles, a couple of times per year - spring, summer and fall. There are two of us and our dog. I can't afford to spend a lot of money so hoping to find a well loved older model.
In the future, my husband and I would like to travel more from Washington to who knows: Arizona, Montana, California? We plan to stay at state parks and use their facilities. At my age, I find it a hassle to walk down to the restrooms at 2:00 in the morning, so having a toilet during the sleep hours would be wonderful.
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Old 07-19-2016, 01:05 AM   #7
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$20k?

You are looking at a 15~20+ yrs old RV.

The popular names are

Roadtrek
Pleasure-way
Xplorer

They are Ford, Dodge, or GM based RV

I would stay away from the Volkswagons.
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:54 AM   #8
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.

$20k?

You are looking at a 15~20+ yrs old RV.
For $20k USD I can put you in a 20 year old Class B and rebuild it so it's mechanically brand new and have a few thousand lying around to spend on fuel.

Lots of nice class B's for sale in the $5-15k range. Shop around, take your time and learn about them before you buy.
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Old 07-19-2016, 12:41 PM   #9
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Lots of asking prices seem high to me.

Take a look at the sold listings here - Roadtreks for Sale - Road Trek International - for an idea of what they actually sell for. Figure in that there was probably some negotiation off that last published price also.
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Old 07-19-2016, 01:37 PM   #10
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For $20k USD I can put you in a 20 year old Class B and rebuild it so it's mechanically brand new and have a few thousand lying around to spend on fuel.

Completely rebuilding a 20 year old RV so it is "mechanically brand new" for a total price of $20k would have to assume that one can do most of the labor themselves.

I just spent almost $1000 on labor to install a cheap and worn out $20 engine gasket on my wife's 12 year old car. It would been a cheap fix if I would have had the time, tools and mechanical skills to do it myself but instead turned into a very expensive repair for a single cheap and worn out part. After looking at that brittle and cracked 12 year old gasket I was reminded of these RV posts where people are considering buying 20-30 year old RV's. In the end, you can't beat Father Time. In most cases, old is old.
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Old 07-19-2016, 01:39 PM   #11
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.

This is a timely post.

What Should I Do? Keep RoadTrek?
http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f5...html#post46259
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Old 07-19-2016, 07:07 PM   #12
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The good news is it sounds like you know what you want, and you are poking around in the right place.
The bad news is (for a buyer) that Used Class B's that have been well maintained retain their value very well..
You can sometimes find apparent "deals" on rigs that were purchased by someone and not used very often; but that brings up a whole nother set of issues. Non-use leads to break downs in any RV.. Rubber seals and gaskets, caulking, belts, hoses, humidity, mold, UV damage, batteries, mice, leaking, etc..
If you are handy (or know someone who is) you might consider buying a better empty Van and doing a small conversion yourself if your needs are not too complicated.
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Old 07-19-2016, 10:47 PM   #13
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That is why I stated "I" could do it.

But it's possible do have a mechanic do it as well. You need to find a good mechanic which means no dealerships. And you need to have knowledge of the process. But either way, you can get into a nice older unit for $20k.
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Old 07-20-2016, 03:34 AM   #14
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I agree. If you're a handy person you've got it made. If you're like me and not mechanical minded then you're beholden to what you're told. I paid $25k for my 2003 RoadTrek. Then the engine went out soon after purchase on eBay. I wasn't protected because eBay only goes back 10 years I found out. The dealership said I needed a new engine. What was I going to do? Drive around with the engine light on? I figure it really did need a new engine, but I paid a premium for having the dealership do it. On the other hand, I was reassured they were going to do it right. As a single woman on the open road, I want to feel reassured!
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