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Old 07-16-2018, 01:08 AM   #1
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I would like to buy an older, pre-owned campervan for short weekend trips (2 adults, a large dog) around northern California. I have no idea where to start.

Requirements:
- Toilet
- Good mileage
- Reliable engine
- Able to sell on in a few years time without losing too much money

Interior is not really important as I'm happy to renovate and I don't mind driving around in something with a few scrapes and scratches.

What do you experts suggest for a van newbie with a small budget (less than 10k).
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Old 07-16-2018, 01:26 AM   #2
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.

Older?

How old do you have in mind?

10 yrs old? 20 yrs old? 30 yrs old?
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Old 07-16-2018, 01:33 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Sherbs View Post
I would like to buy an older, pre-owned campervan for short weekend trips (2 adults, a large dog) around northern California. I have no idea where to start.

Requirements:
- Toilet
- Good mileage
- Reliable engine
- Able to sell on in a few years time without losing too much money

Interior is not really important as I'm happy to renovate and I don't mind driving around in something with a few scrapes and scratches.

What do you experts suggest for a van newbie with a small budget (less than 10k).
Nobody buys an RV for good mileage.

What is "good mileage" to you? 10 mpg? 15 mpg? 20 mpg? 25 mpg?


You want to go on weekend trips?

how far away? 1 hr's drive? 2 hr's drive?

Let's say 2 hrs away... that's a 4 hrs return trip.

if you drive at 65 miles per hour, that 260 miles.

if your RV gets 10 mpg, you will need 26 gallons for the weekend.

if your RV gets 15 mpg, you will need 17 gallons for the weekend.
A difference of 9 gallons.

At $4/g, that's $36.

Is that going to break the deal?

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Old 07-16-2018, 01:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherbs View Post
I would like to buy an older, pre-owned campervan for short weekend trips (2 adults, a large dog) around northern California. I have no idea where to start.

Requirements:
- Toilet
- Good mileage
- Reliable engine
- Able to sell on in a few years time without losing too much money

Interior is not really important as I'm happy to renovate and I don't mind driving around in something with a few scrapes and scratches.

What do you experts suggest for a van newbie with a small budget (less than 10k).
Craigslist is your friend.

use this in a google search:

"camper van" site:craigslist.org and when you've exhausted those,
then search on "class b" motorhome site:craigslist.org

Using the tools, limit the search to the past 30 days. That will allow you to see pretty much every B-van for sale across the country and give you a good idea what $10k will buy you for age, mileage, and condition. Most of them in the $10k range will have between 80k and 120k miles, be in the early to mid '90s model years, and most of them will be in pretty good condition cosmetically.

Plan on 10mpg for whatever you buy. You may get a little more or a little less, but not much either way.

Good luck!
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Old 07-16-2018, 02:11 AM   #5
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.

Older?

How old do you have in mind?

10 yrs old? 20 yrs old? 30 yrs old?
10-15? I reailze my budget is low but I probably wouldn't go older than 20.
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Old 07-16-2018, 02:16 AM   #6
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Nobody buys an RV for good mileage.

What is "good mileage" to you? 10 mpg? 15 mpg? 20 mpg? 25 mpg?


You want to go on weekend trips?

how far away? 1 hr's drive? 2 hr's drive?

Let's say 2 hrs away... that's a 4 hrs return trip.

if you drive at 65 miles per hour, that 260 miles.

if your RV gets 10 mpg, you will need 26 gallons for the weekend.

if your RV gets 15 mpg, you will need 17 gallons for the weekend.
A difference of 9 gallons.

At $4/g, that's $36.

Is that going to break the deal?

Ha, thanks: see total newbie . No it won't break the deal.

But surely there are some vans that are known to have more efficient consumption than others? If not, I'll scratch that off of my list.

And surely there must be makes that are known to be more reliable than others (with cars, we all know that the older Subaru/Toyota cars are the travelling (wo)man's relentless workhorse).
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Old 07-16-2018, 02:21 AM   #7
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But surely there are some vans that are known to have more efficient consumption than others? If not, I'll scratch that off of my list.

And surely there must be makes that are known to be more reliable than others (with cars, we all know that the older Subaru/Toyota cars are the travelling (wo)man's relentless workhorse).
Nope. My '94 Airstream B-190 E-350 with a 460 got 8mpg. My '95 Coachmen 19RD e-250 with a 351 gets 13mpg.

You'll have a choice of mostly Fords and Dodges with a smaller number of Chevy's thrown in the mix. Really the only thing to watch out for is frame rust on the Dodges around the front suspension attachments. Other than that, it's condition, condition, condition. Oh and mileage on the odometer of course... but even that's not such a big deal if the drivetrain has been maintained.
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Old 07-16-2018, 02:55 AM   #8
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My brother just scored a 3 Roadtrek for his son for 6500. It doesn't have a shower or generator so that kept the price down. It has about 120k miles on it and runs excellent. He drove it 200 miles to deliver it. Paint is a bit rough but everything else is pretty squared away.

So yeah, they are out there. He bought it within 24 hours of beeing listed on Craigslist, in Minnesota.

On TDY near Montrose Co, boondocking on BLM land. Ya gotta love free.
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Old 07-16-2018, 03:22 AM   #9
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I will add that I and two brothers own vintage Roadtreks ranging from 93 to 00. We all get plus or minus 15 mpg on the highway. Two Dodges and a Chevy. That's running between 60 and 65.

HTH. Good luck.
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:34 AM   #10
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10-15? I reailze my budget is low but I probably wouldn't go older than 20.
A 20 yr old B van if in good condition should still be a very good unit to own.

Chevy van had a redesign in 1997. That series ran from 1997 to 2002. I see them as fairly modern vehicles : driver & passenger air bags, keyless entry, power windows etc., OBDII.

Dodge vans were more common as B van conversions back then it seems. Dodge had the redesign for the 1998 model year. I'm not that familiar with the Dodge vans but recall that they got got the thicker, more modern type steering wheel, more modern dash and less intrusive doghouse.

I certainly wouldn't exclude a 1997 or older Dodge or older Chevy from my search but I have a preference to obtain a vehicle in the most current configuration that fits in the budget.
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