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Old 07-20-2010, 08:45 PM   #1
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A news tidbit for those of you who were so supportive after we wrecked our Sunny back in October...

Tomorrow evening we are headed to Gettysburg to look at a new (to us) rig. It's a '97 GulfStream class C. No more trailers for us, I'm afraid.

We've seen a number of newer class C's with low mileage, and this one has about 80,000 on the odometer. I am frankly less worried about relative high mileage than I would be about "lot rot." For example we saw a really pretty 2005 Holiday Rambler Atlantis up in Delaware, but it had only 2,900 miles on the odometer and had been sitting on the dealer's lot, on consignment, for two years.

Any thoughts about this? I have never had much luck with vehicles that were too-seldom driven. This MH has been stored inside (or under cover), non smoking owners, one-owner, all maintenance records. The only drawback is no slide-out, but the floor plan looks roomy enough without one.

Stan
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:06 PM   #2
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Stan good for you and your wife!!! We wish you the best and you can become and official member of the Sunline Alumni Association!

As to motor homes, can’t help you much on them but I do agree be on the look out for “lot rot”. If you can find a owner who is trustworthy and tell you and point out to you the good things and the issues, you can feel better about the situation then getting a sales job.

Good luck

John
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:13 PM   #3
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Hi Stan,

Glad to see you back, hopefully you're feeling better!

Here's a couple thoughts about C's. We had one for about a year and a half.

-Check for rot in the lower front of the upper bunk in the front. I've seen this is a common place for water damage.

-Check for water damage around the upper front bunk window.

-Check for any water damage around the roof vents.

-What do these maintenance records look like? More age than mileage related, I'd be looking at changing all fluids, engine oil, trans fluid, rear end fluid, coolant flush, fuel filter, plugs/coils, etc.

-Keep in mind all the little things, like wiper blades, bulbs, fuses, etc.

-Tires may or may not need replacing

-See if the refrigerator recall has been done. If not, plan to do this quickly (and it doesn't cost anything)

-Check about the front end alignment. It seems that these IFS systems on the Econolines tend to toe out quite easily over time, so it may need an alignment soon.

What year is the chassis? I'm assuming it's probably the Ford E-3/450 or E-Super Duty, probably the E-Super Duty. It probably has the Triton V10 too then, unless the chassis is a '96 and then it probably has the 7.5L V8. 1997 was the first year for the V10, and as far as I know there were no major problems with it specific to that year. There is a problem that plagues all large block V10s, 1997-01, and that is with the spark plug cylinder threads being a little short and in some rare cases, the spark plugs will blow. I'm not sure if that also applies to the short/chopped block V10's in the Econolines (there's not the same space in the Econoline as in the F-series pickups, so they downsized it), I've never searched for or seen cases, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

We had an '00 Tioga 31W for about a year and a half and about 5600 miles. It certainly had a lot of power (though it's no diesel...), but the chassis seemed light duty for the coach. It was an E-450 with the V10. It was just very unstable on the road and made for a somewhat white knuckle drive. Keep in mind that it was like the longest class C produced on that style chassis, so I'm thinking 23-24' or maybe even 26' class C's on the same chassis would be more stable. I think the slide we had made a difference too. Keeping that weight off the top will probably make a difference. So in conclusion, I'd make sure to try to get a test drive of either that one or just any Class C to get a feeling of how they really are before you pull the trigger, especially considering your past experiences. I know after having ours that I would never want to drive one on the highway. The big difference between the bus style diesel pushers and the Class C's is the rear axle has an air bag suspension, and the bags are at the rear of a hinged platform. So the only play side to side is in the flex in the platform (not much) and the flex in the tire sidewalls.

So to make a Class C more stable, they do make some stabilizing bars, but I'm not sure how they are. Though I haven't heard of any customer results from these, I've heard of people adding air bag helper spring kits to the rear of the Class C's, and this might get rid of some of the side to side wobble when inflated a lot. Of course it would make the ride a little stiffer too...

Jon
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:29 AM   #4
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Stan....

Good to hear you're still with us! Jon has clearly dealt with the mechanical cautions, but I'd like to add a few "preferential" comments.

Sharon and I have made a practice of avoiding slide-based RVs. We've visited (and enjoyed the additional space in) slide-equipped RVs, but for our lifestyle we avoid them because:
===> The slide-based RVs are almost always a full 9" taller than the same make without, due to the framing needs to support one or more slides, and...
===> The accompanying design complexity makes mechanical and leak-related problems more likely, and...
===> They are heavier, and require (for us TT types) more tow vehicle capacity, and....
===> These days, RVs without a slide (while harder to find in our preferred sizes) tend to cost significantly less.

All that said, your ability to be fully comfortable in any model is still a final key ingredient that must be considered. In our case, 25,000 miles into the Que SE's stay with us we found our "cram tolerance" stretched past its limit....

Happy hunting! Sounds as though the SOC Alumni Association will expand a bit!

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Old 07-21-2010, 06:51 AM   #5
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Stan,

Glad to hear you are returning to RV'ing. Hope you have many miles of wonderful travel ahead.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:46 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the good wishes and the sound advice. I am not yet certain what chassis and engine we're dealing with. The owner has been very forthright about the MH, and has even offered to let us have it for a few days to do our own mechanical checks, test drive, etc.

Last May we rented a similar size MH from Cruise America, and that gave me some notion of what I do NOT want to see in one of these. The rental was very poorly maintained: bad rear shocks, had a broken windshield, and was a crummy design in the first place.

Neither of us is in a mad rush to complete this (or any other) deal, and the owner seems sympathetic to that. Will check back with y'all after tonight.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:05 PM   #7
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I seem to remember from the class C days that you really only could get a Ford E-350/450 or a Chevy 3500, and the Chevy was only available on select units, like the 22-24' range. I think it must be due to less available chassis rail lengths and maybe a fear of extending them. Ours has the longest Ford wheelbase available, seems like it was around 220", and probably had a 6' frame extension on the back.

So depending on the length, it could have a Ford for sure.

That's good that you rented a Cruise America, at least you had the opportunity to drive one to see what it's like. Those units are built very cheap though, so don't make too many decisions based off of that...they may have stuff on there you won't find on a normal unit.

Jon
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:05 PM   #8
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I seem to remember from the class C days that you really only could get a Ford E-350/450 or a Chevy 3500, and the Chevy was only available on select units, like the 22-24' range. I think it must be due to less available chassis rail lengths and maybe a fear of extending them. Ours has the longest Ford wheelbase available, seems like it was around 220", and probably had a 6' frame extension on the back.

So depending on the length, it could have a Ford for sure.

That's good that you rented a Cruise America, at least you had the opportunity to drive one to see what it's like. Those units are built very cheap though, so don't make too many decisions based off of that...they may have stuff on there you won't find on a normal unit.

Jon
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:01 PM   #9
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We drove up to Gettysburg this evening, looked over the Gulfstream and reached a handshake agreement to buy it.

The chassis is a 1994 E-350. There's a bit of wear and tear on the interior and exterior, but it's quite serviceable, the floor plan is as roomy as you will find in a non-slide class C, and the owner agreed to an offer $1000 less than his asking price, which was right at the NADA bluebook.

This will be something of a "project" rig, but the problems are mostly superficial.

Peg thinks we should title it in NV or TX, to avoid sales tax. Anyone have experience with that?
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:03 PM   #10
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Congratulations Stan!

Once you get your project underway, please post some pictures for us..

How are you feeling these days?


The 299's parts are coming in VERY handy, for those in need!


Gary




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Old 07-24-2010, 09:38 AM   #11
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Gary, I am so glad that you and Jon salvaged the 299...

Will definitely post pics of the GulfStream once it arrives.

I think my back is as good as it will ever get, which means that I'll have swelling any time I overuse it. There is occasional numbness in both arms that I find bothersome, and am looking into. It seems to be worse when I'm under stress, but I think it's related to the injury.

Peg is probably no worse than she was before the crash, but she's had chronic probs for some years with arthritis, especially near the site of her back surgery 16 years ago.

...and unfortunately there is still no news of Annie.
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Old 07-28-2010, 07:32 PM   #12
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Smile

Got it home last night. Off to the shop tomorrow for a preliminary safety inspection.
It's a 1994 GulfStream Conquest, 30 footer. Ford E350 chassis, 460 V-10.
The seller was kind enough to fill the gas tank before meeting us to deliver it!
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Old 07-28-2010, 07:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan47 View Post
Got it home last night. Off to the shop tomorrow for a preliminary safety inspection.
It's a 1994 GulfStream Conquest, 30 footer. Ford E350 chassis, 460 V-10.
The seller was kind enough to fill the gas tank before meeting us to deliver it!

Congratulations Stan!


Is it as "Easy" to park, as the 299 was?
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:24 PM   #14
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Congrats Stan! Looks in good shape. Now starts that phase of , where do I put that? No thats not good let's try over here? Na, no good there either.....

Enjoy your new camper

John
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:46 PM   #15
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Gary, I have not yet tried backing it into the parking space out behind the house. It's going to the shop tomorrow, and we have to move some stuff that got temporarily stored on the parking pad. You've seen my garage, so you have an idea how bad I am about clutter. That's also the scary thing about this MH: it has so much storage space.

I think it will be easier to back in than the 299. For one thing, the entire rig is shorter by the length of the Suburban. I may invest in one of those inexpensive wireless back up cameras, but there's enough other nickel-and-dime stuff to be done first.

One of the first changes will be to upgrade all the interior lights to LED. Luckily they are 12v incandescant, so it's just a matter of buying the replacement LED lamps. The on-board generator is long gone. That's what belongs in that black hole where the second compartment should be. I am going for a portable gennie, so I can use it to power the house as well. I'm looking forward to having the ability to boondock.

Of course we have discussed where we might go on our maiden voyage. For some reason, Peggy thinks she'd like to go to the ocean, rather than driver over to Blackwater Falls. Can't imagine why...
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:14 PM   #16
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I may invest in one of those inexpensive wireless back up cameras, but there's enough other nickel-and-dime stuff to be done first.
Stan,

One thing you reminded me of is something we had in ours, and is much cheaper than a camera. If you have a back window, they sell a thing that clings to the window that distorts the view out, but when you look in your rear view mirror, it will show you the image looking down so you can see if there's something behind you or watch your toad.

CIPA-USA - Your one-stop source for mirrors and aftermarket accessories Click on products, then RV & towing, then Wide Angle Lens

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Old 07-29-2010, 12:11 PM   #17
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Jon, I have never owned a vehicle with one of those fresnel lens setups you've described, but I do find them quite distracting in the rear view mirror.
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Old 07-29-2010, 01:20 PM   #18
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Well, it took less than ten minutes to back the beast on to its parking pad, and that will only get easier. Gary can tell you about my parking situation, where you come down a 11 foot wide alley and have to back around a corner next to the garage to get into the yard. It was really tireseome with the 299, because of the extra length of the tow vehicle.
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