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View Poll Results: Your opinion on the better roadtrek?
1996 roadtrek 1 50.00%
2006 roadtrek 1 50.00%
Voters: 2. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-20-2022, 03:34 PM   #1
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Red face Decisions decisions

Hi there, Iím completely new to the rv forum world but a friend mentioned it would be the best place to get objective advice and ideas. Iíve lived with a friend in a camper van for the past 4 years and feel itís time to go on my own with my cat. The problem being that I am still somewhat new to the whole rv world in general. I am completely stuck between 2 class B rvs. One being a 1996 dodge roadtrek versatile with 88,000 miles for $20k with only an outside generator and the other being a 2006 roadtrek popular with 156,000 miles for $28k with no refrigerator. My first instinct would be to go for the older, lower immediate cost as Iím 25 and currently only working minimum wage. However my apprehension comes to the cost of any breakdowns or issues I might face along the way with an older vehicle, in addition to having to purchase a generator or fridge. I know there tend to be minor fixes typically for any rv, but my concern is more on the bigger fixes I would have to go to a shop for and spends hundreds, possibly up to thousands to fix. Not to mention the current uptick in RV popularity makes it a bit hard to find a vehicle within a price range I can afford myself. Any advice or insight would be appreciated!
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Old 01-20-2022, 05:21 PM   #2
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Age and price of both vehicles you mentioned and the fact that you are working a minimum wage job are red flags. My take is neither van is right for you, but you would be better suited looking for a reasonably priced used empty van that you could do your own self conversion on for significantly less money. Youtube is your friend in more ways than you may think. It can help you learn how to build out a van yourself and even on doing maintenance and repair work. You are 25 and although you may not have a lot of experience you will gain experience quickly.

There are Youtube videos on simple build conversions of a bed with rear door kitchens to complete elaborate custom builds. You can find an old model Astro van for very little money in good running condition right through to cargo panel vans. If I was you I would opt for a modular build and build a kitchen module and bed module that fits in a reasonably priced used van. Add a cassette toilet and you are pretty much set for everything except showering (rec centres, gyms, campgrounds, truck stops)

I would look for a used GM Astro window van (windows are not cheap and it already has them), perhaps a Ford Transit Connect or even a Chrysler van (bonus if you could find a Toyota Sienna van for a reasonable price). You are looking for a old mom-mobile or retiree vehicle that has been lightly used but likely maintained mostly. Your vehicle budget could be $2,500-$7,500, figure $2,500 for the self conversion and put aside $2,000 mechanical repairs discretionary budget and you will have your first van that is very liveable and not setting you up for a financial headache beyond your abilities. Plus you will have fun learning without the burden of significant debt.
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Old 01-20-2022, 05:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chothulu View Post
Hi there, Iím completely new to the rv forum world but a friend mentioned it would be the best place to get objective advice and ideas. Iíve lived with a friend in a camper van for the past 4 years and feel itís time to go on my own with my cat. The problem being that I am still somewhat new to the whole rv world in general. I am completely stuck between 2 class B rvs. One being a 1996 dodge roadtrek versatile with 88,000 miles for $20k with only an outside generator and the other being a 2006 roadtrek popular with 156,000 miles for $28k with no refrigerator. My first instinct would be to go for the older, lower immediate cost as Iím 25 and currently only working minimum wage. However my apprehension comes to the cost of any breakdowns or issues I might face along the way with an older vehicle, in addition to having to purchase a generator or fridge. I know there tend to be minor fixes typically for any rv, but my concern is more on the bigger fixes I would have to go to a shop for and spends hundreds, possibly up to thousands to fix. Not to mention the current uptick in RV popularity makes it a bit hard to find a vehicle within a price range I can afford myself. Any advice or insight would be appreciated!

Welcome to the forum!


Regarding your question on which van to to buy, I'm afraid there's not enough information on the interior and mechanical condition. Either chassis could be well maintained or neglected and abused. My further concern is the Dodge having "only an outside generator". Does this mean the interior is gutted? Also, if the Chevy interior is missing a fridge, that could mean it has other issues that the prior owner failed to maintain. But generally I lean towards newer the better (even if initial cost is more), if condition and mileage is comparable.

Perhaps my biggest overall concerns are your income level (rv's are expensive to maintain as you note and gas is costly if you drive it very much). Also, you state after 4 years in a camper van that you still rate yourself "somewhat new to the whole rv world in general". Both these are reasons I cannot recommend this lifestyle for you unless you have family that can help in instances where you get financially overwhelmed.
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Old 01-20-2022, 06:33 PM   #4
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Unstated but perhaps implied by something in your post: Do you plan to live full-time in this RV? If not and you're looking for to camp in I'd go with the others: a RV is costly to maintain especially as it gets older.

I own a 1997 PleasureWay on the 1996 Dodge chassis. Got it from my FIL in 2016 and it had only 45k miles. Replace the old tires: $800+. Front brakes: can't remember. Recently replaced rear leaf springs, rear airbags, all 4 shocks: shy of $2k. If you have to replace fridge: $1k+ depending on size and type.
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Old 01-20-2022, 06:40 PM   #5
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I remember when I had to replace a gasket once on a 10 year old car. They gave me the old worn out brittle gasket afterwards and it practically crumbled in my hand. I think it was a $10 gasket that cost almost $2000 to replace. I learned my lesson on the risk of used cars that day.

There is zero chance I would buy a 16 or a 26 year old vehicle even if a highly qualified mechanic had gone over it with a fine tooth comb. That is an old engine and transmission. I would have loved to own a Class B when I was in my 20's so I can appreciate the appeal but it would be a big financial risk of $20-28,000 without having another large stash of money to support it. Class B's are expensive and they will get you one way or another.
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:05 PM   #6
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Good question. There are trade-offs that are difficult to evaluate from afar. You need to decide whether a newer vehicle or less miles are more important to you. Or, perhaps you spend more money on a completely different unit upfront, and then have less ongoing expenses for fixing/maintenance.

I think a lot of it comes down to how handy you are as a car mechanic. Doing a custom build can be rewarding, but you need to have expertise and available time. If you want an RV NOW it's not such a great option.
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Old 01-20-2022, 07:13 PM   #7
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how tall are you ?


Versatile models tend to be sideways sleepers


Popular models tend to have a longer fore/aft bed


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Old 01-20-2022, 09:52 PM   #8
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Based on the information given, I would choose the 2006. Initial cost is higher but its value will most likely be higher than the other when liquidation time comes.

I would start out using a cooler and a fresh bag of ice twice a week until a refrigerator is secured.

Either choice will provide its money's worth of RV education.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:31 AM   #9
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Again, I think it comes back to purpose and whether or not it's meant to be a full time living quarters. If it were, I'd probably opt to buy a small travel trailer.
Assuming OP has a car to get to work, the TT could be used as a residence at much less cost.
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