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Old 01-10-2004, 04:20 PM   #1
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2004 22' International CCD
Tulsa , Oklahoma
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28,000 or 128,000 miles?

For a first motorhome, we're looking at this 1984 Classic.

See here at Dave's RV

They say 28,000 miles, the most recent owner swears that's the original miles, and it is 20 years old, but the engine is a little wet and dirty though no major drips on the ground, and it sounds like more miles than that. Kind of loud. It sure doesn't look like a recent engine does with 28,000 miles. What should a 20 year old 454 look and sound like with that few miles? Or one with 128,000 miles? It's not that I don't believe them, but could there have been a title error some where along the way? They have offered us a good trade for our travel trailer (not Airstream). It seems like a good way to try out motor home travel and start a decorating and refubishing project. Your advice would really be welcome. Thanks.

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Old 01-10-2004, 04:25 PM   #2
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
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It looks like it's in great shape.

You have to understand that some folks buy motorhomes and only drive them for vacations. It would seem to me not that uncommon to find a 20 year old motorhome that has far less miles on it compared to a daily driven or seasonally driven auto.

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Old 01-10-2004, 04:59 PM   #3
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As stated motorhomes can have low mileage and be older if they have sat in someones yard. Remember that disuse can be very destructive in rv's and boats and is a poor indicator of what the price should be.

If they are so sure that it is a creampuff, a warranty should be included or get an independent appraisal....I would not be scared off but be careful!!! When I hear engine is loud, I think of a cracked manifold and/or exhaust issues because these are common to older big block engines whether run in the yard or over the road.....

Plan to have some expenses on any 20 year old unit as repairs are inevitable and that is why Airstreams are the older coach to have. You can spend and fix and you still don't have a good unit with other brands due to basic construction inferiority as they are not constructed of materials that will last a lifetime as an Airstream has
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Old 01-10-2004, 05:21 PM   #4
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Take it for a drive and let the motor warm up.
While it is running in PARK with the brakes ON, pull the oil breather cap and see if ANY mist is coming out. Also is there any varnish on the inside?
If yes, than its 128K
Also pull the dip stick. If it is discolored at the bottom, thats bad!.

If you are uncertain, pay the guy $60.00 to drop the transmission pan, & inspect.
Even a trace of metallic filings on the magnet, or a tiny ball of black crud, they too are bad.

How about the exhaust pipe? It should be GRAY, not black.

I have a big block 456 w/ 162K and it is reliable!!! I swear by mine.
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Old 01-10-2004, 05:42 PM   #5
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Santa Rosa , Northern California wine country
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Looks good

I bought my '81 28footer for 13,250 and it had only 53K on it. The engine is strong, but yes, the maniflods were cracked and i replaced with headers.

Still, for that year and price, it's a good deal, although you WILL put more $ into it. Beats the price of a newer one though.
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Old 01-10-2004, 06:08 PM   #6
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huntsville , Alabama
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i can beleive it only has low miles. when i bought minr it has 17655 miles. parked most of the time. you will have problems from the sitting around and no use. and it is hard on the engine.
but when you get the bugs out you will have a great unit. didnt get the asking price, but i wouldnt pay top dollar. lol
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Old 01-10-2004, 06:13 PM   #7
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In a coach of that age, I would be looking to buy by condition, not milage. As noted above, the engine, exhaust system, and even (though not as likely) the transmission may be in very poor condition from 20 years of sitting, even if the milage is dead accurate.

To answer your question, I always check for discrepancies. Are the floor mats worn? Or maybe brand new? If so, why? What about the rubber on the brake pedal? And the steering wheel? And the driver's seat upholstery - including the arm rests? Check carefully for service stickers, they sometimes have milage written on them and are stuck in out of the way spots like the radiator.

The points above about engine vapor and transmission shrapnel are excellent.

Finally, 28,000 miles says nothing, nothing at all about the use the coach has had. It may have been driven once a year to a Florida beach and lived in continuously until spring. Condition, condition, condition.

Good luck!

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Old 01-10-2004, 08:11 PM   #8
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Look at the wear on the accelerator and brake pedals. At 28,000 miles, there isn't much at all.
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Old 01-11-2004, 07:16 AM   #9
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I saw that unit on the RVtrader. It looks like a great price for a nice 310. The interior color is a bit over the top(couch and chair,etc) But if you like it I would give this one a serious check out. Pay someone 50 bucks or so to give it a going over, or see if the dealer will give you a 30 day warranty on the engine and trans.
Also remember dealers will always leave room to negotiate 10% or so.

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