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Old 01-14-2021, 06:24 PM   #1
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Default Question on hi-mileage Roadtrek

Is it worth buying a high-mileage vehicle (around 300,000) if the price is so low it would be affordable to put in a new engine and transmission, plus other necessary work? Wondering if it might have so many small issues that it would be too annoying, or if once I dealt with whatever need replacement it could give me service without too many issues? Thoughts?
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Old 01-14-2021, 06:36 PM   #2
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Is it worth buying a high-mileage vehicle (around 300,000) if the price is so low it would be affordable to put in a new engine and transmission, plus other necessary work? Wondering if it might have so many small issues that it would be too annoying, or if once I dealt with whatever need replacement it could give me service without too many issues? Thoughts?
Well, don't forget that the vehicle you are asking about has all those miles on the rest of the unit. How old are you talking? My 2008 RT has 166,000 miles and I would not hesitate to take off for California in it now. It is a lot cheaper to put a re-manufactured gas engine and transmission in a chevy than it would to replace a diesel in a motorhome. A 5.9 Cummins in my old Foretravel cost me $15,000 plus about 3 weeks motel cost. Cummins wanted over $20,000 but I threatened to give them the title! Was 1500 miles away from home at the time.
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Old 01-14-2021, 06:38 PM   #3
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Thanks ... nearly 20 years.
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Old 01-14-2021, 11:43 PM   #4
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Default Wait a minute...

I recently bought a '98C200V with 300,000 miles on it. I have had to do a ton of work to the rotten walls and wood on the insides dues to leaks, but the fiberglass shell was fine. So far, the truck itself runs great! 5.9L Chevy
Paid $4,500 - Have about $2k more in at this point. The engine & trans run so well I'm not even gonna worry about a new engine until it needs it. You may be looking at a bargain!
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Old 01-21-2021, 04:55 PM   #5
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I would be more concerned about concealed structural rust. Bought a really nice Rialta that turned out to require major structural repair. Very discouraging.
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Old 01-21-2021, 05:43 PM   #6
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I would be more concerned about concealed structural rust.

reminds me of putting down my 77 elcamino in 84 due to rust ( toronto)


my vehicles in AZ have zero rust, every fastener underneath is easily turned


- point is depends on the vehicle, get under and inspect, does it have maint records?
how was it used ? a 500 mile day on the interstate can put less wear on the brakes & tranny than a trip across town




assume that a 8000#+ vehicle is going to need rebuild of suspension and steering systems, driveshaft, rear end, tranny, motor at some point


confidence in taking that cross country trip requires preventive maint so costs up from- but you get to choose when, rather than sitting in a wyoming motel for a week


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Old 01-21-2021, 06:10 PM   #7
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I would be more concerned about concealed structural rust. Bought a really nice Rialta that turned out to require major structural repair. Very discouraging.
I'll second that point about rust. The Dodge Ram vans on which these older Roadtreks are built are susceptible to the frame rails rusting out in the front. It easy to inspect, though. Just crawl under the front of the van with a flashlight and look at the rails and cross members, especially on the drivers side where the steering box is bolted on to the rail.
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:49 PM   #8
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I would think so if all else is in fair condition and depends on the price and what else it needs.
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Old 01-23-2021, 01:29 AM   #9
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Thanks ... nearly 20 years.
I'm thinking if you have to ask, you probably shouldn't go for it. Any 20 year old vehicle is going to have things going wrong with it, since a lot of the parts are 20 years old. Whether it's worth it or not is up to you. Would you consider it a worrisome disaster to be stranded on the road somewhere that cell phones don't work, or are you the type of person that figures, no problem, someone will come along eventually, we'll just pop out a beer and wait? Or maybe you never go places where cell phones don't work, and it's just a day or two on the road and then camp in one place for a couple of weeks for some fishing? Then there is the price. If you simply cannot afford a younger vehicle with fewer miles, then it might be worth it. At least you'll be camping instead of dreaming about it. My advice would be to have a good mechanic inspect it with a fine tooth comb, particularly for any rust. But I may be biased. I once had a brake line rust out on a much younger vehicle than you're considering, and it wasn't a nice experience.
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Old 01-26-2021, 01:33 AM   #10
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Is it worth buying a high-mileage vehicle (around 300,000) if the price is so low it would be affordable to put in a new engine and transmission, plus other necessary work? Wondering if it might have so many small issues that it would be too annoying, or if once I dealt with whatever need replacement it could give me service without too many issues? Thoughts?
If you don't care to replace parts no problem except there will be little resale value as now but if you are going to keep it sounds good.
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Old 01-26-2021, 12:14 PM   #11
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Default It's not the bargain you would think

I can only speak to having bought a 20 year old Roadtrek with 100,000 miles and it's been a two-year plus or minus project. First choice for me if I were to do it all over again (if you're capable) would be a DIY van build. But I wasn't able to undertake anything that huge myself, and the prices for some of the van build companies are astronomical. We got ours working pretty well with a new engine & radiator, some upgrades like a suspension lift, repairs for multiple window and fridge area water leaks and re-building the bed area due to rot, replacing the AC, you get the picture. One headache with doing this is that you never quite know when you're truly done with repairs because new things keep cropping up, and then some of the mechanical repairs we had done have failed twice (the starter, the coach AC and now the fan clutch to name a few and the front brakes have had 3 different repairs). It's not the bargain you would think it is, and once it's that old some items can't be found, like replacement window glass. But if you can do your own automotive repairs and enjoy that it might make more sense financially anyway. From a comfort standpoint though we prefer ours over some of the Sprinter vans builds.
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Old 01-27-2021, 01:10 PM   #12
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I can only speak to having bought a 20 year old Roadtrek with 100,000 miles and it's been a two-year plus or minus project. First choice for me if I were to do it all over again (if you're capable) would be a DIY van build. But I wasn't able to undertake anything that huge myself, and the prices for some of the van build companies are astronomical. We got ours working pretty well with a new engine & radiator, some upgrades like a suspension lift, repairs for multiple window and fridge area water leaks and re-building the bed area due to rot, replacing the AC, you get the picture. One headache with doing this is that you never quite know when you're truly done with repairs because new things keep cropping up, and then some of the mechanical repairs we had done have failed twice (the starter, the coach AC and now the fan clutch to name a few and the front brakes have had 3 different repairs). It's not the bargain you would think it is, and once it's that old some items can't be found, like replacement window glass. But if you can do your own automotive repairs and enjoy that it might make more sense financially anyway. From a comfort standpoint though we prefer ours over some of the Sprinter vans builds.
Sorry to hear of your trials with your RT. Except for some drama over the drive shaft induced by a poor repair ours was relatively trouble free, with regular maintenance. I hear you on the two fan clutches, the Hayden that I put on lasted just over a year. The Oreilly brand was still good at the sale.

We bought it with 122k on it and sold it in 36 hours with 222k on it.

We did have the awning fall off at the USFS site north of Mammoth Lakes and the coach A/C went kaput after placing the for sale ad. I knocked a grand off the price and the buyer was good with that.

I still think the video that you did for replacing the A/C was most excellent, thank you for that.

We've replaced the Roadtrek with a 23 year old Safari Trek. Lotsa fun "making it ours".

https://www.nwtfc.com/wp-content/upl...LARGE-FILE.pdf
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Old 01-27-2021, 01:53 PM   #13
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Sorry to hear of your trials with your RT. Except for some drama over the drive shaft induced by a poor repair ours was relatively trouble free, with regular maintenance. I hear you on the two fan clutches, the Hayden that I put on lasted just over a year. The Oreilly brand was still good at the sale.

We bought it with 122k on it and sold it in 36 hours with 222k on it.

We did have the awning fall off at the USFS site north of Mammoth Lakes and the coach A/C went kaput after placing the for sale ad. I knocked a grand off the price and the buyer was good with that.

I still think the video that you did for replacing the A/C was most excellent, thank you for that.

We've replaced the Roadtrek with a 23 year old Safari Trek. Lotsa fun "making it ours".

https://www.nwtfc.com/wp-content/upl...LARGE-FILE.pdf
Fixing up the Safari Trek looks like fun, and don't you just love those old school names like "ElectroMajic Bed"? People were different back then...
Thanks for the mention of the fan clutch brands!
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Old 01-27-2021, 02:13 PM   #14
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... and the front brakes have had 3 different repairs).
Reminds me of our 2000 RT 190 Popular. The front brakes froze up a few hundred miles from home. We were able to get a mechanic out of bed to get us going again (aren't small towns great? Although I have no idea where he got the parts). In the next few months the brakes kept going bad (mostly, if I remember correctly, pulling to one side) and we kept replacing parts. We finally had all the parts replaced at one time (calipers, pads, hoses and rotors) and that seemed to do the trick, a few thousand dollars later!
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Old 01-27-2021, 02:14 PM   #15
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Fixing up the Safari Trek looks like fun, and don't you just love those old school names like "ElectroMajic Bed"? People were different back then...
Thanks for the mention of the fan clutch brands!
And then there was the Magic Fingers Bed 1916-2009

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Houghtaling
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Old 01-27-2021, 02:48 PM   #16
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Fixing up the Safari Trek looks like fun, and don't you just love those old school names like "ElectroMajic Bed"? People were different back then...
Thanks for the mention of the fan clutch brands!
PM sent. extra characters.
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Old 01-27-2021, 02:50 PM   #17
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Reminds me of our 2000 RT 190 Popular. The front brakes froze up a few hundred miles from home. We were able to get a mechanic out of bed to get us going again (aren't small towns great? Although I have no idea where he got the parts). In the next few months the brakes kept going bad (mostly, if I remember correctly, pulling to one side) and we kept replacing parts. We finally had all the parts replaced at one time (calipers, pads, hoses and rotors) and that seemed to do the trick, a few thousand dollars later!
Yes, that's what we've ended up doing in the space of about a year. They're amazing at the moment...time will tell.
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Old 01-27-2021, 04:51 PM   #18
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High mileage is one thing, but old is another!! And then lots of miles vs very high mileage is another! Engines are rated to run so many miles. 150,000 miles on a Chevy nothing is very achievable, but 300,000 miles is really up there. I might take off on a trip to the other coast with a well maintained chevy engine that has 150,000 miles, but I would not if it has 300,000 miles. Same with transmissions. But a 20 year old Class
B is going to needs lots of tender loving care, and lots of money for fixing it up.
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Old 01-27-2021, 05:44 PM   #19
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High mileage is one thing, but old is another!! And then lots of miles vs very high mileage is another! Engines are rated to run so many miles. 150,000 miles on a Chevy nothing is very achievable, but 300,000 miles is really up there. I might take off on a trip to the other coast with a well maintained chevy engine that has 150,000 miles, but I would not if it has 300,000 miles. Same with transmissions. But a 20 year old Class
B is going to needs lots of tender loving care, and lots of money for fixing it up.

Age certainly matters as does mileage but both are extremely variable depending on use patterns and where in the country you live. Storing outside ages vehicles very much more quickly here in Minnesota.


The previous generation of Chevy engines that were based on the Gen1 small block design and were used in GM cars a light trucks up until things started changing in the late 1990s and carried on for few years longer in some of vehicles like the vans until 2002 or so. The older engines were durable and 150K very possible in them with decent maintenance. The LS engines that replaced them appear to be significantly more durable from what I am seeing and hearing. 300K is probably a good high end these days, as I see them that high in vans on Craigslist and other sales sites that high. The high end, more race and hot street engines, shop I am using for the machining on my old Buick engine build specializes in GM stuff and said he sees 200K pickup LS engines all the time and when he takes them apart they look nearly new inside. And these are Minnesota driver trucks, not show or hotrod ones, but most come out of his shop much more hotrod than when the went in
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Old 01-27-2021, 09:51 PM   #20
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Make sure you run a chemical block test! We didn’t know about those...around $40 maybe...our biggest buying mistake.
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