Toyota Motorhome Criteria

Hello All,

This newbie plans sometime inside the year 2015 to purchase and live full time in a Toyota Motorhome, perhaps a Nissan, or...
I made the list below thinking that others could or would correct me on some of the items or perhaps suggest some I have missed.

I am under the impression that a smaller footprint, and small vehicle weight or mass will allow better mileage i.e. a Sunrader 18 footer or similar.
My other thoughts are to being able to do simple maintenance, and stuff like change out a starter, etc.
I sure don't want to try to fit even my small frame around the V6 engines.
One of the other items which concerns me is trying to work on or replace an automatic transmission versus a manual.
The 5-speed manual should get the best mileage of all, right?
Also, I am not at all married to cruise control and all the fluffy stuff.
Just wanting an easily maintained, basic, rock-solid and dependable place to call home:)

Thanks in advance for your opinions and suggestions regarding this criteria list.


Toyota Motorhome Criteria
Coach Desirables:
  • Sunrader Style or Seamless one-piece roofing
  • Winnebago Warrior or similar due to outside shower
  • NO Cigarette Smoke, Drugs, and Pet Hair (dander) I have breathing issues
  • 17 foot to 18 foot and streamlined for better mileage
  • Well Insulated --- water piping etc. protected by insulation
  • One Owner and Well Maintained --- Full Paperwork and Documentation
  • No DRY ROT
  • Flooring NOT CARPETING
  • Reinforced roof rack –w- ladder
  • Solar Panels
  • Larger Holding Tanks
  • LED Lighting
  • Best available deep-cycle batteries
  • Inverter
  • Generator
Mechanical Desirables:
  • 22RE or 24NAPZ i.e. Four Cylinder, preferably with Fuel Injection (no turbo-charge)
  • 1987 - 1988 body style --- better constructed and usually has one-ton full floating axle
  • Synthetic lubricants used in vehicle
  • Manual Transmission (easier to work on and replace), preferably 5-speed
  • One Owner and Well Maintained
  • Full Paperwork and Documentation
  • Factory OEM for truck and for coach
  • 6-lug i.e. FULL FLOATING AXLE --- matching front and back lug bolt patterns
  • Signal and Headlamps, etc. in working order (drivable), I can work on coach later
  • Low mileage --- Nothing over 70,000 miles; well ok --- make that 140,000
  • No daunting coach or vehicle damage, major work, or cop magnet

C Nash

Senior Member
Are youthe only one that will live in the RV? If others you have to know what they can live with. How will you be camping? Long stays or lot of travel? Be sure to ck the age of tires. This can be determined by date posted on sidewalls. If you dont know how to read the code just goggle "tire Age". Yes on better MPG but no better than some of the later diesel powered RVs. Only you can make the decisions on what is right for you. Do the research. Pretty simple rv to do repairs of if you are mechanically inclined. Straight shift should get better MPG if driven properly but I can see no difference in removing one over the other. You can expect clutch failur on the stick. 140K is getting near the end for it but JMO. Good luck and welcome to the forum


Senior Member
Nice list but I can see a couple of deal breakers in there. One owner with full documentation; 140k miles. Remember you are looking at a 20 to 30 year old RV. Most of these will have had more than one owner, and it has been my experience that nobody keeps the documentation. Unless you are really stuck on a old Toyota, I would recommend you look at a newer Class C built on a Ford or Chevy chassis. Good luck with you hunt and post back with your results.
Thanks C Nash

I appreciate your response --- gives me some more to chew on.
I had forgotten about tires, you know 8-ply etc. and of course, how old they are.
This will be fulltime RV'ing for the retired poor person.
This is why a cheap older MH with accessible engine and repairable simpleness.

Uh' Yeah I know that these little beasts will likely be more than one-owner. Just daydreaming:)
I cannot afford the fancy new gas guzzlers.
This and the fact that I have owned multiple different mini-trucks in the past and am familiar with their care and feeding.

Thanks for helping me think it all out, akjimny

Can anybody who does their own mechanical work advise me about staying away from the 3.0 V6 or Automatic Transmissions.
I need to know if this is something I can handle.
My mechanical experience is in keeping old beaters running and I am a "Shade Tree Mechanic Extraordinaire".
This is why the need for OEM manuals and supporting documents.
I am book trained mechanic --- ex submarine service --- fix-it-yourself --- popular mechanics sort of Motor Homer:)

C Nash

Senior Member
I have seen several fulltimers (single) in the exact setup akjimmy suggested. The Scamps are great little rvs.


Junior Member
If it is all about money, I recently purchased a 2010 View which runs a Mercedes 3.0 diesel and after about an 6500 mile trip averaged 15 mpg. Why I mention this is because your criteria had to do with cost, mileage and maintenance. I put $5000 down and pay under $300/month on the balance. Diesels have many fewer problems and the View is much more comfortable than the smaller ones you listed above.. The View drives very nice and has no problem with the hills. Not to big to take most places. Just a thought.
Excellent point about the money and about the mileage and the dependability of diesel engines. There is a great 2.4 litre diesel powered Toyota rig in my area now that I want badly to purchase, but I am still waiting on a settlement from social security.
Thanks for your ideas.