An RV fell in our lap and I'd greatly appreciate some advice!

Discussion in 'Beginning RVing' started by BartFlaherty, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. BartFlaherty

    BartFlaherty New Member

    So, to make this short and not bore any of you with the details, my wife and I have always wanted to retire to RV life. It's been a dream of ours to perhaps get an old Greyhound bus and convert it. While speaking to someone about it today they made us a great deal on an '87 Pace Arrow 34'.

    The payments are well within our budget and the total asking price is $3,000. It has a new Generator (I think a 2000 Onno?), brand new tires that were only driven home from the Big-O and parked, new brakes and a new fuel pump. I've had many years working on cars and it seems to run fine but I admit I know little about RV's. The interior could use some work as the ceiling lining is falling down but the wood under it seems solid. So, a few cosmetic things here and there...but certainly a "fixer upper" to get it to really nice condition.

    Outside the decals are cracked and a couple of the compartment doors are bent, but nothing major. Just a tad of surface rust on some of the undercarriage.

    My question is if there is something we should look out for on it. Is there something in particular about RV's that we should have looked at prior to purchasing it? We're still far from retiring so this wouldn't be our final choice but it seems to be such a good deal (mostly the payments) that I'd hate to pass it up as something I could treat as a weekend project.

    Who knows, maybe parts for these are incredibly expensive or they may be prone to suspension or transmission problems. That's the kind of thing that has me hesitant.

    Thank you so much for your time!

    - Bart
     
  2. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: An RV fell in our lap and I'd greatly appreciate some advice!

    welcome to the forum Bart. Which chassis and motor do you have? How many miles/ Do all the appliances work? I would look very close for watrer damage. This is one of the major problems on rvs. Water leaks can really do major struterial damage and expensive to repair. The lining falling would concern me but it does not mean it was caused by a leak as some are prone to fall. It can be a great deal if it turns out to be solid. Good luck and keep us posted
     
  3. BartFlaherty

    BartFlaherty New Member

    Re: An RV fell in our lap and I'd greatly appreciate some advice!

    Well, the person is trustworthy but I haven't "seen" the stove work. Other things seem to. It has 110k miles which concerned me a little. Unfortunately, he has no paperwork to prove if the motor has been rebuilt (although a 454 with 110k would just about require an act of God to continue running).

    I'll look closer for water damage.

    It has a 454 Chevy, not sure on the chassis. Could it be identified by the VIN?

    Thank you again very much for your time and help!
     
  4. DL Rupper

    DL Rupper Senior Member

    Re: An RV fell in our lap and I'd greatly appreciate some advice!

    Hey BartFlaherty, welcome to the forum. How old are the "new tires". Tires are only good for 6-7 years whether or not they have any miles on them. They age from sun and ozone exposure.
     
  5. Pillaz

    Pillaz Senior Member

    Re: An RV fell in our lap and I'd greatly appreciate some advice!

    Bart, Welcome to the forum.
    The vin will tell you which chasis you have. It is most likly a GM P30 Chasis. Check through the unit. When was the Motor rebuilt. Has it sat for a long time and not used? The Pace Arrow was a common model and I believe a pretty good one back in 87. Check to make sure the Refridgerator is working. If it is not that could be very expensive. So is water Damage. You can get body parts from salvage yards that you can find online.
    110K miles is a lot for a 454, especially as back then they came with a 3 speed trans. However if it was proplerly maintained you should be ok. Exhaust manifolds tend to go on the 454 and they are expensive. Check the moter for smoke, check to see if it is leaking any fluid.
    Most of all have fun. You will learn a lot.
    Just keep asking questions on this forum and you'll do fine.
    JMO
     
  6. ARCHER

    ARCHER Senior Member

    Re: An RV fell in our lap and I'd greatly appreciate some advice!

    Welcome Bart.

    In my opinion the following items should be checked, etc.

    Tires good, no dry rot
    LP system good, no leaks (use soapy water at all connection points
    LP leak detector working properly
    Batteries (coach and motor) ok, full charge with distilled water
    Brakes in good shape
    Transmission in good shape
    Any leaks under motor, transmission
    Lights all work
    Radiator fluid in good shape, should prob drain, flush and refill
    Last oil change, filter?, what kind of oil was used
    Shocks/springs in good shape
    Battery charger/converter working properly
    Fridge working ok on electric, LP, Battery (if three way).....let it run overnight before checking for temp
    Shorepower line in good shape, plug also
    Check roof for any leaks, cracks, etc.
    Check window weatherstripping, doors also
    Check muffler and exhaust system (manifold also)
    Check all fluid levels
    Check water lines for any leaks under shorepressure
    Check hot water tank to make sure it will heat up, electric and/or LP

    that is about all I can think of at the moment. I had a 1989 Winnebago Chieftain with the 454 engine and Chevy Chassis with only 19K miles when I sold it this summer. I always make a list of those things I want to check before I hit the road, keeping in mind your safety as well as your family and others on the road and in the parks are dependent on your being causious and safety minded.
    Have fun......and ask away on any questions you may have......lots of great people on this chat to help ya.
    :) ;) :) :)
     
  7. rjf7g

    rjf7g Senior Member

    Re: An RV fell in our lap and I'd greatly appreciate some advice!

    I would add to check the brakes, AC (both coach and house)...make sure you know how to use all of the electrical systems - 12 V/110V/generator, check the doors to make sure they close tightly, check the awning(s), really inspect the storage compartments - this might help you find any leaky spots. I wish I knew what I know now when I bought a used class C about a year and a half ago.
     
  8. ARCHER

    ARCHER Senior Member

    Re: An RV fell in our lap and I'd greatly appreciate some advice!

    OOPs forgot to add :
    Check generator if you have one. Don't forget to plug in shorepower to see generator is working ok.....when was it serviced last? Oil change on it.....
     
  9. BartFlaherty

    BartFlaherty New Member

    Re: An RV fell in our lap and I'd greatly appreciate some advice!

    It's been parked since the last oil change and the generator is new. Everything appeared to run ok except the coach AC (in the dash) however both of the overhead units worked. He said there is a leak in a hose which is why it didn't work but I'm not sure how long it's sat like that. There was no smell of propane in the vehicle but we never actually turned on the stove. The brakes were recently replaced (just before his last time driving it) so if the paperwork is right they're practically new. I'm going to have him run me through operating everything since I have no idea how to use the electrical systems (Perhaps I should download the manual). I did check the storage areas and they were dry. The only leak I could find or that he's aware of is from the vent over the shower where the plastic dome is cracked.

    As for the motor, that many miles does concern me. There was no smoke while it ran but I could see that the oil pan was grimy. I'm told that during a trip from Estes Park, CO to Phoenix, Arizona it only used 1qt of oil...which is a little more then I'd like, but may be normal on an engine that big?

    Again, I'd like to thank you all for your time and knowledge. Having the mobility to visit the country has been a dream of my wife's and I for many years so being able to finally take a step into the community is very exciting to us!
     
  10. H2H1

    H2H1 Senior Member

    Re: An RV fell in our lap and I'd greatly appreciate some advice!

    Bark I don't know if that a god thing or not about the oil. I have a 8.1 chevy and we didn't use any oil from Ga to AZ and back thru the lower part of Texas. So yes I would be concern about that, but just keep an eye on it and ck each and everytime you stop.
     
  11. C Nash

    C Nash Senior Member

    Re: An RV fell in our lap and I'd greatly appreciate some advice!

    Most of the older 454 were prone to using a little oil. I don't know how far it is from Estes Park to Phoenix but some would use a quart ever 800 to 1200 miles. Does it smoke when first cranked or after a long idle? If so the valve seals might be bad. Valve train was prone to problems with lifter leak down. Heavier weight oil would sometimes cure this.
     
  12. hamdave

    hamdave New Member

    Re: An RV fell in our lap and I'd greatly appreciate some advice!



    That is a lot of miles. Look at the vin# and if you see a 'P37' in the sequence it means it is a motor home chassis and is a P32 chassis(some like to call it P30). If its been setting a long time, the brakes need going over because they may have grease, dirt or just plain rusty calipers etc. The brake fluid probably needs flush/replacing as well. A look at the DOT code of the tires will tell you how old they are. if at 6+ years, you should replace them. I don't know if the price is right or not, depends on condition etc of the rig and of course you know you are buying it as is. After all its an 1987 ?

    If the engine uses oil that's a problem in itself and there are better '454' mechanics than I that are on this site that can help you. I would take it to a 'chevy mechanic' (not a factory or dealer type) and have him go over it. If the engine is solid, you still may need new belts, water pump, alternator etc. A lot to consider for sure and thats not even starting on the coach itself.



    Good luck



    cheers
     
  13. Charles T

    Charles T New Member

    Re: An RV fell in our lap and I'd greatly appreciate some advice!

    I would also check the front suspension and steering linkage.

    Charles
     

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