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Old 07-16-2018, 02:08 AM   #1
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Default Talk to me about Class Bs

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, 02:26 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, 02:33 AM   #3
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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).
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, 02:48 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, 03:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BBQ View Post
.

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, 03:16 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, 03:21 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, 03:55 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, 04:22 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, 12:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherbs View Post
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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Old 07-16-2018, 03:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hepcat View Post
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!
I second Hepcat's Craigslist recommendation. I would also suggest doing a search on RVT.com and RVTrader.com. You will see mostly units offered by dealers, but there will be lots of pictures and you'll be able to see what models are available, cost and configuration.

Once you find something that looks interesting, you can do a search on this forum and see if anyone has written anything about it, good or bad.

Good ones go quickly so it pays to do a fair amount of research before jumping in.

My best advice is to avoid anything that smells like mold when you go inside. It is very difficult to disassemble the interior to get rid of it.

Good luck with your search!
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Old 07-16-2018, 03:29 PM   #12
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Mine is 30 years old but has the 318 engine and just turned 97,000 miles. If you can, I would wait until close to fall. Sellers tend to negociate a little better after camping season. With a bigger dog, you may want to go with a B+ version. See my signature of what the fiance' has. Best wishes,

Not that if you bought a B and decided you did not want it and was not the right fit, it will sell fast and you would probably make a little money on it anyway.

My opinions are worth as much as you paid for them.
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Old 07-22-2018, 05:16 PM   #13
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Buy a Rialta. They stopped making them in 2004, but they have Volkswagen running gear and get up to 20 miles per gallon on the highway. They can be had for not much more than you’re looking at, if you shop around and are willing to travel to get one. I live in Syracuse New York and had to drive to New Haven Connecticut to pick mine up. Pay a little more and get the latest model that you can find, because they have a different engine and are much more reliable. They can be had for not much more than you’re looking at, if you shop around and are willing to travel to get one. I live in Syracuse New York and had to drive to New Haven Connecticut to pick mine up. Pay a little more and get the latest model that you can find, because they have a different engine and are much more reliable. I had one and felt it was the best camper available, given the size. I sold it and now have a RoadTrek, but the Rialta had a much better layout in the interior.
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Old 07-22-2018, 06:18 PM   #14
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Default Another way to locate a van.

Another way to locate a van. In 2010 I hired a friend of a friend to locate a Roadtrek for me. He searched for a month or so and found one in Oregon. We live in N. California. It was a 1998 190 RT for $20,000. He drove to Oregon to check it out with his girlfriend with $20,000 in cash. It checked out to his satisfaction and bought it and drove back to CA. He locates cars/equipment etc for people as a full time living job. He charges 10%. This may not be what you can afford but just pointing out another way to locate a van. I knew nothing about vans.
The '98 RT was in great condition inside and out, previous 2 owners, no kids, and no pets, 95,000 miles. It is on a Dodge 3500, 318 engine and gets 15 mpg. I still have it and have put 20,000 miles on it in the last 8 years. See photo.

ps: I replaced the transmission 4 yrs ago before a 2 month cross country trip. Cost $3,000 parts and labor - new transmission.
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Old 07-23-2018, 02:56 AM   #15
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You can rent RVs. I point this out to anyone looking to buy something so it gives you a price comparison. To a large extent, it comes down to how much you’re going to use it. For us, the break even point in our van is 5 to 6 weeks usage each year. Obviously we’re beyond the handful of weeks holiday stage a lot of ppl are caught up in.

AC power is huge in new RVs. People hate the loud generators. Regardless of what you pick up, having power is handy. Primitive camping is awesome. Think about something like a Honda generator - whisper quiet and reliable as hell.

For us, after comparing used to new, we found we were better off it buy new. The older units hold their value almost too well. Your circumstances I gather are different.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 07-23-2018, 10:28 AM   #16
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Craigslist worked...found this quick. No affiliation.

https://orlando.craigslist.org/rvs/d...641928090.html

2002 VW Volkswagen Rialto QD Winnebago. It is 22 feet long. A fully self contained vehicle. Seats 8 adults and sleeps 4 (or sleeps 2 adults and 3 kids). Fully loaded with an onboard generator. 85,000 miles. Runs and drives excellent. Extremely clean. Gets 17 mpg. Many upgrades such as: tv, blu ray player with WiFi, 1200 watts power inverter, LED headlights, new tires, new hot water heater, etc.

Call or text (five one six) 885-1570.
Rialto is located in Long Island, New York for pick up.
Local pickup only
Cash only
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Old 07-24-2018, 05:18 PM   #17
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I bought a 1995 Dodge Xplorer 230. It only had 19 or 20,000 original miles. It sat for 5 years so there were the normal repairs. The Onan generator was the most expensive repairs. After many, many repairs I had to much into it. I should have replaced with a Honda in tray on back of camper. Anyway have had many trips from Maryland to Florida with over 2 month stays. My wife and I never felt cramped. Love our Class B!
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