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Old 10-27-2019, 04:55 PM   #1
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Default Opinions - TOO OLD, OR TO MANY MILES??

Opinions on age, and high mileages for Dodge based RV? I know any used vehicle has risks, some more than others. At what point is too old, and how many miles is too many? Is 20 years and 20,000 miles a crossing point?
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Old 10-27-2019, 05:02 PM   #2
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Default Age is definitely way more important than mileage

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Opinions on age, and high mileages for Dodge based RV? I know any used vehicle has risks, some more than others. At what point is too old, and how many miles is too many? Is 20 years and 20,000 miles a crossing point?
It's not the mileage.... it's the years......that in my opinion is a much bigger risk.... proceed cautiously.....

Condition is everything on used vehicles.....

I would really question a 20,000 miles on a 20 year old vehicle....do you know anything else about it... how many owners??
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Old 10-27-2019, 06:32 PM   #3
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Darn, supposed to be 200,000 miles, not 20,000. It would be extrememy rare to find a 20 year old RV with only 20,000 miles.
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Old 10-27-2019, 07:01 PM   #4
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I don't think there can be hard and certain rules about this, as there are too many other factors.



Condition is obviously one of them and all the related things like was it stored inside or outside, north or south, sun or shade, salt from road or ocean, etc. Have any/most things been updated?


The elephant in the room, IMO, is how handy and willing are you to do major repairs and maintenance? If you need to hire it all done, older vans can turn into a very unpleasant experience. If you like to do that stuff, it also qualifies as a hobby so much easier to justify


Past history for me would be that around 17-18 years and/or about 175K miles, of normal use, many vehicles are really starting to show their age. Most of the rubber parts will be worn or aged out and the mechanical systems are on the downside of the reliability curve. Most of it can be fixed but the parts are also getting pretty scarce for some vehicles by then. We have always driven our cars until dead, so we have been through it all, but we do nearly all maintenance and repairs ourselves including major stuff.


A lot depends on your tolerance for problems and how risk aversive you are. Some here roll with most anything that comes up without much concern, and others are ready to hang it up if anything goes wrong, so a very wide range.
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Old 10-27-2019, 09:19 PM   #5
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Our 2000 Versatile 200 on a Chevy chassis turned over 200k miles a couple of months ago. We bought it at 120k, quite neglected. It did have recent front suspension work including ball joints, tie rod ends and I can't remember what else. Motor and trans still seem to be quite solid. We've replaced the fridge, drive shaft, water pump, exhaust system, fan clutch, and replaced the Onan genny with a Champion. Otherwise, just normal maintenance stuff.

The older Dodges are pretty solid drive lines though the trannys seem to go in the mid 100k mile range. One of my brothers has a 93 RT Dodge 318 ci with about 160 on it. The tranny was replaced at about 140. Another has a 97 with 170k miles that is currently having trans issues.

With this older, well used stuff maintenance records become quite important.

Buying older stuff is not necessarily for the faint of heart, stuff wears out or fails outright. Being able to roll with the flow helps a lot, as does the knowledge of D-I-Y. I would not recommend something older and well used if a shop will be doing most of the work. I have a long, expensive, and drama filled story of dealing with my drive shaft due to taking it to a shop.
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Old 11-03-2019, 05:13 PM   #6
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RV's are kind of like old cars. Especially now with the big vintage movement. There are only really a few things to consider. Condition, is it worth rebuilding mechanically? and cost , can you afford it? Last are there parts available.
If frame and body is sound it's just a matter of money to rebuild it. Which in most cases can be alot cheaper than buying a new one.
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Old 11-03-2019, 05:32 PM   #7
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Default Old? Thanks..

Thank you all for your input as It confirms my checklist and thought process. As always, one pays their money, and takes their chances. Even with new RV's, but they just cost more. All things mechanical and electrical will fail......simply a matter of when. Sure helps to have an idea about the "when".
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Old 11-03-2019, 05:58 PM   #8
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Price is also an important factor. About 7 years ago I sold my '94 dodge PW with 225,000 miles for $7500 to a neighbor. 360 engine still running strong. Tranny was replaced. He did a lot of work on it not because it needed it, he just didn't want problems on the road.

I was thinking of keeping it and restoring but then I weighted the + - of drivability, cost, and after all the investment I'd still have an old van. We purchased a 2008 PW Chevy, rides better, handles better, more creature comforts. We use it a lot and all that is important.

Pay now or pay later, it all has to do with budget and price.

One more thing, I was constantly doing repairs to the dodge. Brakes once a year, bearings, differential, a/c, generator, all van stuff. I was spending 2-3k a year (20k+ mpy) on maintenance. Have fun, Jim
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Old 11-03-2019, 06:00 PM   #9
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I have a 2001 Dodge roadtrek 190 popular with over a 140000 miles. I replaced the alternator,radiator,heater core, heater fan blower motor,the refrigerator and the transmission and a bunch of smaller items. But anytime I want to get out of Dodge I know it's in my driveway all I have to do is turn the key and go... Priceless!
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Old 11-03-2019, 06:19 PM   #10
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I agree with SteveJ in regards to Dodge trannies, with the exception being the pre-4 speeds (3 speed Torqueflights, which are indestructible) but then you are buying a really old vehicle! I have had 5 Dodge RV's, and overall I feel they have the best class B chassis, but the 4 speeds really need to be babied if you want them to last 200,000 miles. Warming them up gradually is important, especially if your first gear selection is going to be reverse, as is trying to insure that 3rd to overdrive (4th) shifts are made as gentle as possible, and by anticipating the need for a downshift from overdrive by manually disengaging before it wants to by itself and unloading the tranny momentarily during 4th gear upshifts. Sounds complicated but it's not. I also change fluid at 50,000 miles. One thing to look out for is if the drivetrain is fully warmed, a shift to reverse should be quite immediate, but when cold it's normal for them to take a second or two to engage, which according to Dodge is acceptable. If I'm in a rush to leave when cold, I rock the tranny from drive to reverse at idle a couple of times before attempting to move.
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Old 11-03-2019, 07:37 PM   #11
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What transmission model are you folks finding in your Dodge vans with the 4 speeds? They made 3 different versions in that era, I think, t46, t47, and t48 for the various applications and years. All are 727s with overdrive basically. The t48 were even used in the Cummins turbo diesels in the pickups and would have much stronger internals than especially the t46, and I would imagine all/many those parts could be upgraded into a t46 to improve durability. Or there may be an iterchange that would fit between models for vans, but they often move the rear mount or tailshaft length, so moving parts might be only way.
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Old 11-03-2019, 08:10 PM   #12
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I have owned a '96, two '97's and a '98 and they are all 46's I'm pretty sure, but I liked the '96 the best as it had what I believe was a hydraulically controlled overdrive vs. the electronically controlled ones on the '97-'98's, as with judicious throttle control I could choose more or less when the torque converter locked up, both in 3rd and fourth gears. It just gave me better gearing options in the hills. The electrically controlled model is almost impossible for me to control in that fashion and locks up too early to boot in almost all conditions.

I'm pretty sure that the 47 and 48 were considered heavy duty models and were only used on the Cummins diesels and V-10 gas motors but I might be wrong there.
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Old 11-03-2019, 08:47 PM   #13
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Five to ten thousand miles a year is relatively low use, but sufficient to suggest maintenance throughout the history of the vehicle. Only 20,000 over 20 years is so low use that I would be suspicious. My 1997 Dodge Roadtrek 190, now at 127,000 miles, runs fine, with routine maintenance, and my mechanic foresees no reason that I can't continue. Ahead of me, the transmission might go anywhere between 175,000 and 200,000 miles. He says that the transmission will be decision time, but that a major-cost replacement transmission can extend the life considerably.
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Old 11-03-2019, 10:20 PM   #14
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These are all good responses that cover just about everything. A sokid well maintained older unit id almost always gonna be way cgeaoer than a newer low mikeage one, even after updating and repairs.
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Old 11-03-2019, 10:49 PM   #15
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Just FYI if you buy an old Dodge parts are a tough find if at all. Ac an heater make sure it all works perfect parts for that even in salvage are not
Good luck
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Old 11-04-2019, 01:31 AM   #16
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Default Anne, I think it's 200,000

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Five to ten thousand miles a year is relatively low use, but sufficient to suggest maintenance throughout the history of the vehicle. Only 20,000 over 20 years is so low use that I would be suspicious. My 1997 Dodge Roadtrek 190, now at 127,000 miles, runs fine, with routine maintenance, and my mechanic foresees no reason that I can't continue. Ahead of me, the transmission might go anywhere between 175,000 and 200,000 miles. He says that the transmission will be decision time, but that a major-cost replacement transmission can extend the life considerably.
The OP clarified that it's 200k miles above... I think...go back and look...

I agree with Booster that 17 years or more is a lot for any vehicle and 200,000 miles plus is definitely for the "adventuresome" traveler......I'm not saying it can't be done, the real question is "do you want to"???
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Old 11-05-2019, 04:10 AM   #17
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Well, here's my story. I acquired a 1997 PW on the Dodge 3500 chassis in 2016. When I got it, it had 45k on it. Now has 65k. I have the advantage of getting in from my father in law who bought it new. The reason for the low miles is that after 5 years, his wife developed an illness that prevented them from traveling. But he "exercised" it regularly with short trips to the store, and did all of the routine servicing including batteries and tires. So I knew it's history.

Every year I take it to a small auto/small truck repair that I've taken my cars to over 30 years. They check brakes, suspension, transmission and steering components. I also continue to follow the factory service recommendations. In the almost 4 years that I have had it, it's never failed emissions testing and runs smooth; hauls well.

My situation is probably not unique. I don't worry about traveling with it at all. Eventually all cars get to the point where some things begin to wear and you have to make the decision to invest or sell and buy something else. I do some simple things myself but because of its size would rather farm that out.

For perspective: In 1996 I bought my brother-in-laws 62 vette and did a frame up restoration. My wife is still amazed that when I got it all back together it started right up. It was my daily driver for many years. So it's not like I don't have any experience working on cars. It's just that I'm a bit intimidated crawling under that PW.
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Old 11-06-2019, 04:36 PM   #18
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Default Knowing the history of the vehicle is key

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Well, here's my story. I acquired a 1997 PW on the Dodge 3500 chassis in 2016. When I got it, it had 45k on it. Now has 65k. I have the advantage of getting in from my father in law who bought it new. The reason for the low miles is that after 5 years, his wife developed an illness that prevented them from traveling. But he "exercised" it regularly with short trips to the store, and did all of the routine servicing including batteries and tires. So I knew it's history.

Every year I take it to a small auto/small truck repair that I've taken my cars to over 30 years. They check brakes, suspension, transmission and steering components. I also continue to follow the factory service recommendations. In the almost 4 years that I have had it, it's never failed emissions testing and runs smooth; hauls well.

My situation is probably not unique. I don't worry about traveling with it at all. Eventually all cars get to the point where some things begin to wear and you have to make the decision to invest or sell and buy something else. I do some simple things myself but because of its size would rather farm that out.

For perspective: In 1996 I bought my brother-in-laws 62 vette and did a frame up restoration. My wife is still amazed that when I got it all back together it started right up. It was my daily driver for many years. So it's not like I don't have any experience working on cars. It's just that I'm a bit intimidated crawling under that PW.
In your case, it's great.... and, 20,000 miles in 3 to 4 years is absolutely nothing.....as long as it's not rusted out, or in bad condition from sitting idle ...A 1997 vehicle with so few miles is quite rare, but, it is an RV... generally RV's don't get used more than 5,000 miles per year....

Question, if your engine or transmission failed would you put the money into fixing it?????? Or some other really expensive systems failure on the RV..

At what point do you just cut bait and retire the vehicle?
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Old 11-06-2019, 08:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadtrek Adventuous RS1 View Post
Question, if your engine or transmission failed would you put the money into fixing it?????? Or some other really expensive systems failure on the RV..

At what point do you just cut bait and retire the vehicle?
That's the $M question, isn't it? It would depend on the cost and the condition of other components not related to the repair. It also depends on your use of the RV. If it's in constant use traveling long distances, it becomes more of a liability that something that's worn out will fail 1000 miles from home. The more time in it, the more you want more current features not on a RV as old as my PW. I think of my PW as a "camper." I primarily camp in N or S forests and tend to think of it as a "really nice tent." For us, it offers us an escape from the city.
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Old 11-07-2019, 02:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitrock View Post
Just FYI if you buy an old Dodge parts are a tough find if at all. Ac an heater make sure it all works perfect parts for that even in salvage are not
Good luck
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This is simply not true, why are you spreading FUD?
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