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Old 07-30-2020, 12:38 PM   #1
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Default 1994 Dodge Pleasureway- is it worth fixing?

Brought my 1994 Dodge Pleasureway in for it's annual checkup in June. I've owned it since 2016 and so far it's been great. But this year my mechanic gave me a $3K+ estimate on parts & labor to replace the front brakes, shocks and ball joints. He said it was up to me if I wanted to get the work done but said spending that much money on it was at my risk because the van also has some rust on the body, and at this age, any number of things could go wrong with the engine in the coming years and parts could be harder to find.

The van is not perfect and has its idiosyncracies but overall I really enjoy it and doubt I'd be able to afford another. It's parked right now but I'm torn between saving up the money to fix it or just selling it as is.

Any thoughts from other 1990's-era class b owners?
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Old 07-30-2020, 02:13 PM   #2
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$3k is a lot of money to invest.

But throwing another $3k at it of you want to improve, repair or upgrade it could easily by $9-12k but you would have an upgraded, know every problem, its beautiful on the inside ownership experience.

Only you know your budget & desires.

There is a lot of perfectly functional, road worthy, older units like yours doing service all over the USA - except for the jigh tech paraphernalia in many of the brand new units, uou go back a couple of years & find for 30 years they all used the same literations of low tech pump, water heater, stove, fridge*, ac & furnace, etc.

What about the interior condition?

Any leaks, mould, damaged upholstery?

Bubbles in the roof or floor.

If you can resurrect for a little bit of money, the same levels of reliable performance from the lower tech equipment you will end up with a unit that has high quality doors & cabinets & a sense of good bones versus the flypaper construction of most new coaches for $120k.

Or $107k less for a very similar camping experience.

Hope this helps.

When i see the older rigs around I know there is a lot of love & pride in their ownership versus the van life yuppies who roll up & you can feel about $30-60k of buyers remorse underneath the glossy paint ...
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Old 07-30-2020, 06:02 PM   #3
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I own a 1997 Pleasure Way that must be very similar to yours. Stove, water heater, furnace, fridge and toilet are all original equipment. So we're probably in similar situations. I've had front brakes done and they're not cheap. Agreed. At last check my steering linkage was ok. History was that it came from my father-in-law who bought it at 1-year old. So we knew the care it had. There is minor surface rust on some of the chassis; not the body.

I've never had anything major done to the engine or transmission. Still runs fine. Given the use Dodge made of that engine, I don't think parts are a major issue but others might know better.

I expect to gradually have to repair or replace most of the above mentioned appliances. Hopefully not all at once.

The question that you're asking, though, is the age-old question with cars. At what point does it make sense to stop putting money in repairs and just buy a new one? I only have 65k miles on the PW. I should be able to get many more and, for me, it's worth it to continue getting things repaired or replaced.

As a side: I have relatives who have owned 3 classA RVs. They get a new one every 5 or so years. Even though their RVs are never very old, they've had a lot of repairs.......some under warranty.......some not.
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Old 07-30-2020, 10:01 PM   #4
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That's a lot of money but it is only a few payments on a new one. If you totaled it when you were driving home from the shop, would you get that much for it from insurance? What could you sell it for "as is"? These are the kinds of thoughts and questions that go in to my decisions like this.
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:47 PM   #5
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That's a lot of money but it is only a few payments on a new one. If you totaled it when you were driving home from the shop, would you get that much for it from insurance? What could you sell it for "as is"? These are the kinds of thoughts and questions that go in to my decisions like this.
Good points. I'd like to add that alot also depends on your use. When we got our RV my BIL also was interested in it even though he had a class A. He wanted it for when he went by himself fishing. We use it to "camp." We road trip around the southwest for 4-5 days at a time. We don't plan to use it to tour the country....although with covid who knows if we'll travel back east to visit our daughter and grandkids.

Point is, how much do you want to invest for whatever use you intend? If we do travel 2k miles to the east and back, I'll probably revisit the fridge and upgrade in some form. That alone is probably $2k-$3k. I can do that. But am not particularly interested in doing so if I only travel within the SW.
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Old 07-30-2020, 11:49 PM   #6
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Excellent points.
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Old 07-31-2020, 02:44 AM   #7
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Gallen,
Without going off topic, maybe a chest type freezer is good enough for your needs in the future, especially if it's short trips? You still might need a little solar though. Beware; none of the chest type fridge freezer units will fir in your rig unless you put it on a slide, under the sun - having it protrude into the aisle is an issue though.

For the prospective owner, these are the sorts of think through.
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Old 07-31-2020, 11:28 AM   #8
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Thanks for the great points, everyone.
The engine is at over 250,000 kms... another reason I'm worried about how long it will last.
I put in a brand new propane tank and batteries 2 years ago so the fridge/stove/heater/hot water/pumps/lights are functional and hopefully won't need replacing anytime soon.
Interior is in good condition, no mould or damaged upholstery, or bubbles in the roof or floor.
There are a few leaks I've noticed after heavy rain that I'll get looked at if I decide to keep it.
The insurance probably wouldn't cover the cost of replacement, definitely not to buy a newer Class B, say a late 1990s or early 2000s model, which I've seen priced at about $20K to $30K.
I park it indoors from November to May. During the warmer months I'll drive it less than 3,000 kms per season, usually to campgrounds in the region or to visit different cities (where we've been fine to overnight at highway rest stops, casinos, walmarts or paid parking lots). So no big cross country road trips.
I have the feeling it still has more life left in it, but yes, it's a matter of deciding whether I want to keep putting more money into this project.
We went back to tent camping this season and did we ever miss the bathroom, comfy bed and ice cold refrigerator!!
I've asked another mechanic for a quote. I think the first quote for repairs may have been overpricing the parts.
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Old 07-31-2020, 11:57 AM   #9
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If the bones are fine, you can always put money aside for a Jasper Engine - been making everything mechanical, 10 times better with warranties to match
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:06 PM   #10
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Our Roadtrek is a 2007. We bought it new, sold it to a lady and bought it back when she got ready to sell. She had it about three years. We love the RT as witnessed by the fact we bought it back. We looked at new rigs and failed to find the quality we had in the 2007. The layout is perfect for us and I don't know one way we could improve it for our usage.

Simply, we like the design of the older rigs and the newer look is just not as attractive to us. To each his own. We go camping to get away from technology and every day life and don't give a whit to take it with us. Now, that is something that a lot of people would find totally unacceptable to their life style. Again, to each their own.

Kwemobile, if you are willing to spend a bit on your Pleasureway and given the way you indicate you use it, I suspect you have a few more years of use and reasonable maintenance expense as the cost. You are talking about spending about three percent of the cost of a new B!!! In that perspective, it may seem worth it. Those old Dodge engines in vans were bullet proof babies. I had a 96 Roadtrek with the 318 (5.2L) engine and it was the second favorite motor I ever owned in anything . First was the straight six 4L Jeep used for years. I wouldn't worry a whole lot about the ability to get parts for a Dodge van of that vintage. You might have to scrounge around a bit at some point but so what?

We all know these things are not an "investment", they are a lifestyle. Enjoy your Pleasureway.
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:44 PM   #11
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If the bones are fine, you can always put money aside for a Jasper Engine - been making everything mechanical, 10 times better with warranties to match
Note that any engine swap that does not preserve emissions systems as of the year of the vehicle's manufacture is considered tampering under the Clean Air Act and is thus illegal.

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production...ngswitch_0.pdf
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Old 08-01-2020, 04:58 AM   #12
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Avanti,

Thank you - I didn't think of that.

I mean what's the point of re-engineering motors for resale if the epa blocks their use?

But surely Jasper has?
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:49 AM   #13
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I mean what's the point of re-engineering motors for resale if the epa blocks their use?

used/rebuilt motor in some states ( CA for one) can only be installed if the engine block is same series as was available in that car

for instance a 8.2 litre 502 caddy motor can;t be put into a camaro which came in with the 302/327/396 blocks available


some outlets sell "off road use/closed competition" which means not certed for emissions


you'll see the signs for watanabe used japanese motors on sherman way and laurel- routinely motors there are replaced at 40k and shipped to US as replacements.
motors can be swapped, but you have to know what you are doing- per jurisdiction

( I'm an ASE tech and was schooled in CA in early 90's, my emissions knowledge may be outdated)

the OP in Ontario is dealing with annual inspections which include perforation rust

OP if in Ottawa I know of a good shop. most of your concerns are "dodge" not RV

look for a 2nd opinion unless your mechanic is related-

checks of the ball joints are easily done by experienced tech by lifting the wheel off the ground and levering against the wheel feeling for slack/wear
or found when attempting a front end alignment, and out of spec


if the van is passing emission with good numbers ( ask the tech to interpret), that indicates a sound worry free motor. if it has been taken care of with synth oil and tranny fuild/filter changes- keep going. inpect U joints

a set of brake pads is $80 cdn each corner...the parts list comes out under $1200 for top of the line parts to rebuild front end and do brake pads and turn rotors- labour rate is what it is ASK if the labour is based on realtime or mitchell manual- if manual ask to see, and let them know you are shopping the work- even ask cdn tire

there are 10's of millions of those drivetrains on the road- you can get parts for them anywhere. do not let "parts availabliity" scare you

a set of bilsteins would be maybe $800 for your van and go on in an afternoon in the driveway

rust- don't ask a mechanic- ask a body shop. Ontario body shops know rust- do this early in case they find terminal cancer and deem the entire vehicle not worth fixin ( I sent a 1977 el camino to junk due to rust in 1984- ontario roads and salt)

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Old 08-01-2020, 03:12 PM   #14
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MK, I didn't realize you had a Certified Background in Mechanical stuff, perhaps we can meet if you are ever down in LA again
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:14 PM   #15
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and Yes, I assumed if a Dodge motor with 250,000 miles on it died, a Jasper unit would bolt right in and give 750,000 miles of service without the EPA being involved
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:19 PM   #16
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I would get a second and third estimate for replacing those brakes, ball joints, and shocks.
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:59 PM   #17
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and Yes, I assumed if a Dodge motor with 250,000 miles

he's using kilometers - about 155,000 miles
not that many really


I was an avid hobbyist- which is why I went to school.
less so now, I've sold off most of the old cars and bikes



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Old 08-01-2020, 04:23 PM   #18
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used/rebuilt motor in some states ( CA for one) can only be installed if the engine block is same series as was available in that car

for instance a 8.2 litre 502 caddy motor can;t be put into a camaro which came in with the 302/327/396 blocks available

some outlets sell "off road use/closed competition" which means not certed for emissions
The Clean Air Act is federal (not CA). California may have even stricter rules, but as the link I provided shows, emissions tampering is illegal everywhere in the US, and engine swapping across series is almost always prohibitively difficult without violating the law.

"Off road/closed competition" is completely irrelevant. No such exemptions exist for ANY ICE vehicle that was originally designed for on-road use. There ARE exemptions for race vehicles, but only if they were designed from scratch for this purpose.

There are lots of sleazy businesses that attempt to skirt these laws, but the EPA eventually catches up with them and the results are very painful to them. (Ask the guys at Green Diesel Engineering). Enforcement actions against end users are rare, but tampering is just as illegal for owners. The law applies to everyone.
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Old 08-01-2020, 04:29 PM   #19
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MK - yes kms are much different, my mistake

Avanti - I don't advocate lawlessness but if the Emissions System is then bolted onto a Jasper engine, isn't that legal.

Jasoer do not soup up equipment, they make them Bulletproof ie; their Transmission with 100k warranty, etc
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Old 08-01-2020, 04:37 PM   #20
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Avanti - I don't advocate lawlessness but if the Emissions System is then bolted onto a Jasper engine, isn't that legal.
No. At least not unless it is the correct original engine type for the chassis and each and every emissions-related component remains unmolested. Any other configuration would not have been certified, and so would be constitute tampering under the CAA.
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