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Old 12-18-2014, 04:48 AM   #1
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Default I found a Rialta but...


My wife and I have been looking to buy a small motorhome for our family of four (two young children) and stummbled on the Rialta. We have decided that this is the first motorhome we would like to purchase. We just looked at one near us 99 HQ and it seemed to be in terrible condition yet was listed for $17K with only $50K miles. I am not finding many available and don't know what is reasonable to expect in this price range.

Problems with this rialta (I took pics but can't figure out how to insert them): countertop edges delaminating, carpet needs to be replaced, front driver seat fabric worn through, shattered and cracked plastic around the grab handles both driver and passenger front seats, toilet pullout doesn't close all the way and only latches on one side, bathroom sink doesn't stay latched in upright position, skylight sags, vehicle obviously stored outside without protection in hot sun, completely faded decals, the engine smelled like hevy exahaust when started (never went away).

I can't comment on the appliances or even how it drives because the company selling it wanted money down before letting me do anything.

Should I expect this when looking for a Rialta in that price range and year?

How do I go about finding a Rialta. Craigs list seems like it's all scams. All others are so far away I would need to fly to see them. How do you evaluate a motorhome if you have to fly to see everyone your interested in?




edit: the model we looked at was the QD not HQ (which does not exist).

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Old 12-19-2014, 04:59 AM   #2
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Default I found a Rialta but...

Welcome CJ!

The Rialta is a good choice for a sporty, yet efficiently designed RV. Since I don't know how familiar you are with these I would recommend reading the many posts here. There are several models (floorplans) of the Rialta. The QD would probably best suit your needs to sleep 4 but I find the HD the most spacious to walk around in. Most Rialtas hold up rather well even in hot weather. It is typical for those side pieces by the grab handles to crack as well as the skylight (at the age they are now). I replaced both of those items in my '99 HD. The skylight as well as both sides of the door trim are available. The QD has more plastic in its cabinetry whereas the other models have more wood (less cracking). In 2000 they changed to the bigger horsepowered engine at 201 HP even though the litre size is the same. I have the smaller VR6 as far as horsepower goes but it seems they all get around the same MPG. I find the Rialta an amazing driving machine.

As for the price on the one you saw? I think you could get one in better shape for that price. My '99 is in excellent (like new) shape in and out and I would probably ask around $20k if I were to sell, which I am not. A good Rialta will ride like a dream and be virtually silent and rattle free. Ironically, the bed/dinnette makes a bigger bed than most RV's I have seen. Also, once you get used to the shower (actually try it) it becomes second nature. It doesn't feel cramped to me at all. With 4 people you may opt to use campground showers but it all depends on individual taste and sense of adventure. Since I like to cook and actually USE all of the features it has to offer, I got the HD model. It has the largest fridge, the 3-burner cooktop, microwave and optional lower Magic Chef oven.

At first you may feel the rig is small. Once I am at the campground and have the windshield curtains snapped it, captain's chairs turned around, it is awesome to just relax and watch TV and have the perspective of the rest of the coach to look at. Now, in the QD there are some differences like the TV location which is over the captain's chairs so each floorplan has its benefits.

As far as finding Rialtas? My best solution is to watch eBay. There are always good units for sale but you will most likely have to travel once you find one. Just talk to the people and ask for MANY photos. I live in Arizona and found mine in Florida. After all the photos and talk, I took the risk and flew there. It was just as described and drove like a dream. I drove it all the way back home and had the time of my life. There were a few glitches and ills but any motorhome will have these. I have mine ironed out for the most part. Age and lack of use of the many appliances and pumps were the main culprit. This forum was a lifesaver on many technical tips and similar problems others have had. You will find some of my own stories and solutions on here.

Best of luck with your search and I hope you enjoy this most unique design!


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Old 12-19-2014, 06:46 PM   #3
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Default I found a Rialta but...

Thanks Paul,

Great info. To be honest, I was a bit discouraged when I looked at the rialta I discribed above, and the general lack of availaility. You have given me hope and I think it's worth being patient and keeping my eyes open.

If anyone has one for sale let me know. I'll also place a wanted add in the swap and shop forum.

My hope is to have one by this summer. I have two back to back road trips planned for this July. SLC to ND and then to Seattle and back to SLC.


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Old 12-19-2014, 08:36 PM   #4
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Location: Smyrna, TN
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Default I found a Rialta but...

Here are three great sites for Rialtas for sale or technicial details. You will have to join them to read files and classified.,, and There are also social Rialta sites about trips and places to visit. The Rialtas for sale on these sites are ones owned by members who have taken care of their R and are in good repair.

The Rialta is great for two grown people and depends on how big your children are for roomeness.

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