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 > 1997 Class C Winnebago, 47,000 miles too old to buy?

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Xavpil

Los angeles

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Posted: 05/17/20 10:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I did my due diligence and read the FAQ and also did a search
I am looking at a 97 Winnebago Minnie Winnie with a ford engine with 47,000 miles on it.
It looks great cosmetically and drives good. But I know this is the tip of the iceberg and it will require a thorough inspection.
It is my first RV. I’d take it across country.
I know it depends on a lot of factors but is there a rule of thumb that says RVs shouldn’t be older than....
Thx guys

A1ARealtorRick

Gulf Shores, AL

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Posted: 05/17/20 10:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In my opinion, no, it's not too old, especially for a first-timer. Definitely do your full due diligence, and get a good thorough inspection, but expect the inspector to find a good number of issues (as with a home inspection) -- then you would have to decide which of the issues are worth spending money to fix, and if the purchase makes sense at that point. 47K is nothing, assuming it was used regularly and hasn't sat idle for an extended period of time (47K on a '97 is only an average of a little over 2000 miles per year). Also, the unit you describe is probably no more than a $12 - 15,000 motorhome, so if you bought it and ended up hating it, you surely wouldn't face a huge loss re-selling it as you would on a much newer unit. The only drawback is if you ran into one of those snooty campgrounds that doesn't allow units over 10 years old, but you probably don't want to stay there anyway! Good luck to you!


. . . never confuse education with intelligence

Xavpil

Los angeles

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Posted: 05/17/20 10:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for so much for the answer. It makes a lot of sense.
It is exactly how I approach it as far as “in case the RV dies”... at least we didn’t bury ourselves in debts.

gbopp

The Keystone State

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Posted: 05/17/20 10:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

No, there is no rule of thumb. Many of us have older RV's.
CONDITION, is the important factor. If you are not familiar with RV's hire a mobile RV Tech and a qualified mechanic to do a prepurchase inspection.
Leaks are a killer of any RV. And, if you don't know, RV tires age out before they wear out. Factor in the cost of a set of tires when making an offer.
The roof condition is another consideration. It may need coated or replaced.
Do not give the seller, dealer or private, any money or sign anything until you are satisfied with the condition of the unit.

You're doing it right by asking questions before you make a purchase.
Don't hesitate to ask lots of questions on the forum, someone will have the answer.
Use your search as a learning experience

* This post was edited 05/17/20 02:30pm by gbopp *

Lwiddis

West & above Bishop, California

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Posted: 05/17/20 10:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Twenty-three years old and cross country...I wouldn’t.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


Grit dog

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Posted: 05/17/20 11:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If it is well cared for, good mechanical and rv systems condition and un-molested (i.e., not full of hack repairs), it should be a very serviceable unit. And a great value at that.
Again, the miles are super low and that is a bonus, but don't falsely believe that the chassis and drivetrain will be totally relaible as if it was 3 years old and driven 15k a year.
i would have no issue with it, but my view is that I can/will repair most anything save for rebuilding the engine or trans as it comes up.
Realize even "simple" repairs are expensive if you're paying someone or a tow bill.
Are you comfortable with major pre emptive maint/repairs before you embark, or potentially fixing cooling system or brakes or ..... For example? Or is it a tow truck to the nearest shop and a repair bill for you?

At a minimum, all fluids, hoses, belts, tune up, newer tires etc "should" be done to minimize the chance of the "little" stuff breaking down. Budget for that.
Not trying to be pessimistic but that's what you need to prepare for with an old rig. It's not a certainty, but you dunno until it happens.

The RV portion on the other hand is less of a concern, IMO. Most repairs are fairly basic. And aside from losing the fridge, for example, can be worked around with relative ease. (You can figure it out for a few days if say the water pump dies or heater don't work, unlike breaking a fan belt on the rig and being out of commission on the side of the road without the knowledge or parts to fix)

IMO, the nicest 23 year old class C out there is worth maybe $10k tops, budgeting for making it reliable.

I know this sounds negative, but it's how I'd view it having good knowledge of mechanics, and kind of a prepare for the worst and then you won't be disappointed and likely have a better experience.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

midnightsadie

ohio

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Posted: 05/17/20 11:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

sounds like a great barn find. this one should have a rv inspection. coat a little but you,ll learn more in his report than you could find. one thing,IF theres water stains ????? run. mines a 2007 and we load it and drive it to AZ all the times. this winne will need new belts hoses oil etc before you go 10 miles, tires will be your big chunk of money no cheap tires michelins for me. nothing kills a trip like a tire blow out.have fun and when something does break laugh it off/

bobndot

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Posted: 05/17/20 01:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

is there a rule of thumb that says RVs shouldn’t be older than


As said, very good inspection then weigh to cost difference of repair over a newer unit. Personally I would prefer a newer 6 speed tranny over a 4 speed.

It also will depend on where it was stored. If it was in a dry climate that's a good thing. If it sat next to a boat ramp or was on an oceanfront lot of a beach club then I would pass on it.
You would probably also pass on it too when you attempted to move it and the wheels feel off. Regarding the chassis I think rust and corrosion will be the enemy to inspect.
Regarding the coach, it will be the caulking and how it was maintained over its life. Water intrusion will seeks the lowest level to settle and follow gravity using the framework as roadways. If you have water damage in the drivers side rear, the leak might have originated on the passenger front side. Floors and such should feel solid not spongy, check the floor at the entrance door. Rv doors are notorious leakers.

DrewE

Vermont

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Posted: 05/17/20 02:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lwiddis wrote:

Twenty-three years old and cross country...I wouldn’t.


If it's in good condition, I would. I may do just that thing next year, in fact; and I took my nearly 20 year old class C to Alaska and back to Vermont a few years ago.

The technology for the house part of an RV hasn't changed all that much in the past 20 years; the appliances and systems are very much similar on new units, with not many exceptions. Converters have improved some; and entertainment/TV systems are different now, and there may be the odd gizmo that's popular now but was not previously, but otherwise...not much has changed. The chassis I think would be pretty nearly the same as a modern chassis, the engine and transmission a generation or two older but still computer controlled and fuel injected and generally reliable. Things that go wrong with the chassis are the usual sorts of things that happen to older vehicles, and not too hard to check or fix: ball joints, brakes, hoses, belts, that sort of thing.

Of course, everyone has their own level of comfort with these sorts of adventures; but plenty of people make long-distance trips in not too new vehicles.





Lwiddis

West & above Bishop, California

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Posted: 05/17/20 02:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That’s a fair comment, DrewE. I guess if I couldn’t go any other way...

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