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Old 09-26-2022, 02:44 PM   #1
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Question 2003 Pleasure Way Excel TD question

Question as I am a noob to the RV/Van life.
Someone in my town is selling a 2003 PW Excel TD with only 26,000 miles. Carfax has 5 owners, current owner has had a year, owner poor had 7 months. I love the low miles obviously but being 20 years old and so low if its sat so long does that mean the engine could be not the best as I have no idea if previous owners started the engine every 4-6 weeks just to keep things lubricated. Seller is asking 48k I think thats rather high. Any thoughts?
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Old 09-26-2022, 03:43 PM   #2
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Hi & Welcome,


if you suspect mileage tampering look at the rubber on the gas/brake pedals- it should be "brand new" almost at 26K.

look at tires ( new set $1000) DOT date codes


probably be ready for new batteries too- $250 at costco for chassis and coach ( RV) batteries



check the chassis vin ( likely a 2002 ford) and the RV vin 2003 PW



you could have the ford part checked by a good mechanic, either someone you know or the East Valley has Salem Boys Auto, Mark Salem had the "fix yer car " show on KTAR for years


the RV parts have checked by an rv person unless you are familiar with teh usual systems from dometic, suburban and onan.


RV's like motorcycles and boats are often purchases and left to sit as the bloom comes off the rose- Dad's "wonderful idea" can loose favor if the family has other interests.


like all vehicles in AZ get the title notarized and look carefully at title and seller's ID- if it is registered out of state, get the seller to go through the MVD inspection first- then buy it with an AZ title ( as a PW, not as a ford)
they can also clear any liens



I'm very happy with the quality of my PW on a chev.


Cheers, Mike
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Old 09-26-2022, 03:54 PM   #3
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5 owners with that low of miles is always questionable from a couple of viewpoints.


The obvious one is that it has been turned back on mileage or the cluster replaced. A Carfax would probably show you mileage at owner changes or services and would be a good investment.


The van is 20 years old so take a good look at the rubber parts, especially in the suspension if you can see it. If it sat outdoors it could be considerably rusty on the underside depending on climate in the area. An inspection certainly would be in order, including a compression and oil pressure test for the engine.


A big concern for me would be that some of the Ford based Excels had very poor handling and one of the signs is low miles and/or quite a few owners. Be sure to drive it in many different conditions like wind and road types. It might be scary to drive.
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Old 09-26-2022, 05:03 PM   #4
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Thank you Mike! I did run a carfax and I don't suspect mileage tampering, the last two owners in the last two years I think owner 4 was older and health issues so after 7 months sold it and owner 5 has had it a year and put 800 miles on it. I did read the 98-2001s were pretty scary in high winds.

Tires are 2 years old (4620 stamp on them)
Thanks for the info on the chassis vin vs rv vin. I just took what was off the dash. I will look at the engine vin tomorrow.

The owner is in AZ, sadly we are 3 hours south of Tucson so East Valley mechanics wont be possible and I will be at the mercy of small town mechanics. Going to check on NRVIA to see if anyone close by and will come down to check her out as well.

I will look at the pedals of the gas and brake to look for wear, shouldn't be much if she has just sat.

I am test driving this one tomorrow. Fingers crossed. I have an appt for a shop to take a look at it in 2 weeks (soonest they could get it in), we will see if someone else buys it before then.

I appreciate your thoughts and comments you have given me.
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Old 09-26-2022, 05:36 PM   #5
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most of the B's are near limit for weight- I suspect the widebodies even worse.
I like the space, but I'm happy with my steel body lexor on a chev


we have to smog our vans every year in az, the emissions will tell alot about the engine condition.


in my estimation is it worse for your motor to start it for short periods every few weeks than to let it sit. these short starts do not get to temperature, yet can cause condensation to form in the motor/tranny cases - and also rot the exhaust from the inside out.


there are XL owners who adapt the rear suspension, space the wheels out, convert to dually.

I dunno.


I have a neighbor with a 2000 XL who did a self conversion to 4wd- he did this for use in the baja desert. he says he's hairy and maxes out at 55 for the drive down from PHX- but that's an extreme case.


I talk to other XL owners who are satisfied with their van as is.


good tires, shocks and I use "sumo springs" in place on my F&R bumpstops to reduce body roll somewhat
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Old 09-26-2022, 05:36 PM   #6
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Thanks Booster!
Weird thing on CARFAX is the owner #3 had it from 2010 - 2020 and shows maybe 1000 miles put on it. So it just sat for 10 years? Hmmmm. Owner 4 had the PW for 7 months and supposedly sold due to health issues (think he was late 70s when bought it) looks like he maybe drove it from CA to AZ and then possibly did one trip after as I saw a receipt for a new fuel pump in May 2021. Owner has put about 800 miles on it in a year, selling it because bought other hobby things and now that is taking away from the travel. (of course this is what they tell me if its true who knows)

Just super nervous for such an expensive purchase and this would be my first one. Also not sure if the price is reasonable, a friend thought 36-38k was more reasonable since it is 20 years old has no warranties etc.

oh also she stated the onan generator doesn't work (not sure if she disconnected it or if it just doesn't stay on)

Any other things to think about toss my way. I will be doing more research today.
Thanks for your thoughts, I greatly appreciate the things to consider.
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Old 09-26-2022, 05:40 PM   #7
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super common for the onan to need service.


they need to be run regularly or the gas in the carb varnishes & blocks passages.


this a top 5 rv forum topic
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Old 09-26-2022, 05:43 PM   #8
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That the one south of sierra vista ? pics look nice


there are a couple of newer xl's in the Valley for 5 and 15K more ( asking)
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Old 09-26-2022, 05:45 PM   #9
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Yeah emissions is for Phoenix and Tucson, I am in Cochise County (Sierra Vista, AZ...aka Mexico ha ha).
What do you mean by near limit for weight -> "most of the B's are near limit for weight- I suspect the widebodies even worse."

Carfax shows in CA it failed emissions in 2009, then it passed, then failed again in CA in 2012 and that is the last time is shows it failed. So it could fail but I wouldn't know as we don't do emissions here.
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Old 09-26-2022, 05:45 PM   #10
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yes in Hereford
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Old 09-26-2022, 05:55 PM   #11
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ok so the Onan is a normal thing I can have fixed. Good to know! Are there better sites to find PWs on? I know there is rvtrader and rvt and the usual craigslist. I am thinking about I could get newer for a few thousand more, so I am tossing that idea around too.
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Old 09-26-2022, 06:13 PM   #12
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you could drive it up to tucson and get tested on the rollers for $20 and get results which indicate much about the condition of the motor.



I would guess that for an owner who isn;t handy the genny could be $600~1000 to replace the carb.


I have never used the genny while camping, I go where I don't need AC.
But I keep mine ready to go, using it to power my hedge trimmers and stuff in the back.


the GVWR is usually on an inside cabinet door and also on the driver door pillar.

2 people, clothing, galley stuff, a dog and full tanks will put you close to GVWR


compare to the 2006 in PHX which is 5K more ( or $3k if the 03 needs $2k of tires and genny service- our tires are good for 5 or 6 years no matter the tread)


the 03 has an overhanging cabinet over the pass bed- the extra storage is great (!), but I prefer a more open cabin, such as the 06
both of these are TD's twin dual beds which can fill center aisle for a king bed.
the 09 is a TS with a fold down sofa- no thanks as a bed, but great belted seats for kids
all 3 of these will have similar ( old tech) appliances





when we were shopping we went to dealers, and checked ads all over the place. our van was listed on craigslist- a very motivated seller
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Old 09-26-2022, 06:26 PM   #13
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Thanks again mkguitar! Its $120 at the shop for them to check it out down here....I will see if the seller cares about the Tucson drive. Understand now about the weight limit, thanks for the breakdown. I'll look for that 2006 that's 5k more at lunch. I think the best dealers are in Phx and being I still work its hard for me to make that trek every weekend to hunt, the joys of small town living. I will keep scouring ads and websites and craigslist. Just wanted to make sure there was no secret amazing website to look at thank you again for all the replies!
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Old 09-26-2022, 07:33 PM   #14
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the more units you look at, of all makes, the more you will be able to determine the features you want, and those you don't


we looked at about 30 units before finding ours


watch videos for how easily people move around inside the van as they display the features.
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Old 10-03-2022, 01:05 AM   #15
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Seems a bit high, being 20 years old I would not be to worried about the engine. You will probably have to replace other parts that have aged. When I bought my 2004 RoadTrek 200 I had to service everything, oil change to engine and transmission, rear end, shocks, etc. but mine had 106,000 miles. Has been great but little things break all the time mostly inside.
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Old 10-03-2022, 04:52 PM   #16
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I see the seller is posting it on FB now
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Old 10-04-2022, 02:42 AM   #17
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Thank you Hammernine. I thought it was a little high as well and am still on my search. I don't have a problem with if it needs servicing right after I buy it. I'd probably do that as well for peace of mind knowing it was done and when. My search continues.
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Old 10-04-2022, 02:47 AM   #18
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Hi mkguitar! yes I told her I was passing on it. The price was just too high for me for it and the fact it was on the 5th owner felt weird too. I saw it on Facebook as well and I did see someone commented about it in their own post without mentioning where it was or what model. Just saying to pull a carafe and see what you find. He was pointing out that it didn't pass emissions a few times in CA, but they obviously fixed it as they did get it registered in Tucson. Tucson and Phoenix are the only cities in AZ with emissions testing. I do hope she finds someone who will use it and give it the adventures it was built for. I took it for a test drive and it rode pretty well. I need to test drive another to see if all the brakes are like that one. I felt like Fred Flintstone wanting to put my feet through the floor to slow it down. It definitely needed good space to slow to the stop. Thanks for your thoughts on this one, my search continues so I may be picking your brain again
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