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Old 07-21-2016, 02:47 PM   #1
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1977 28' Argosy 28
Mission Viejo , California
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 62
How far would you drive in a vintage MoHo?

My 1977 28 foot Argosy motorhome starts, runs and stops well. It keeps its cool on the hills, the tires are new and all of the coach camping features work fine. The chassis has less than 50,000 miles on the clock, all fluids looked good but were recently changed; still I'm *too chicken* to drive it over the passes or further than 100 miles from my home in Southern California.

What is your experience with reliability and driving long-distance in a vintage rig?

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Old 07-21-2016, 03:13 PM   #2
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1997 30' Excella
1961 26' Overlander
1954 22' Flying Cloud
1981 28' Airstream 280
San Antonio , Texas
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I once drove an '81 280 from Kenosha, WI to San Antonio, TX-1694 miles

I bought it off of Craigslist, had seen the coach in person, and had the two front tires changed. Was supposed to be road worthy. For the most part it was.

Would I do it again-probably not.

As a friend of mine told me-by the time you get to Texas you will know 3 things-What works, what doesn't work and what I have to fix-he was right.

Sounds like your coach is in better shape than mine was. I would sign up with GoodSam roadside assistance and start exploring. Maybe have a friend standing by in case of trouble. You won't gain any confidence unless you get out there.

Think about this- a late model tow vehicle with a tow behind can also have an issue. Make sure all rubber components are new or in very good shape(hoses, belts, tires)fill it full of gas and oil and take off!!

Safe travels my friend!

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Old 07-21-2016, 03:23 PM   #3
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1975 20' Argosy 20
Manston , Kent
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JM2 bought his 20ft in California and set off for New Jersey to drive it home.....just don't expect the trip to be uneventful.

Our MH Bella is totally rebuilt but I tend not to drive more than 500miles a day, and check fluids before starting off each day.
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Old 07-21-2016, 03:28 PM   #4
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1982 28' Airstream 280
Port Angeles , Washington
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The longest trip in my '82 280 was 16,000 miles in 4 months. It was around about from West coast to East coast and back. A couple of years later we did 9,000 miles in 3 months to Alaska. Nothing to be afraid of. Be reasonably diligent with maintenance and necessary repairs and go have fun.
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Old 07-21-2016, 03:35 PM   #5
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1983 27' Excella
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Charlottesville , Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 79
I had an 87 Bluebird Wanderlodge. My first trip in it was from New York to Virginia after I flew in to pick it up. In December, with snow flurries near Syracuse, and I couldn't figure out how to operate the many heat systems on the bus while driving.

I had never driven anything bigger than a van before, and now I was at the wheel of a 32,000 lb bus. 35 mph up the mountains. It went ok in that I made it home without incident. Luck of the naive.

My second trip involved the whole family and a ten hour trip to Tennessee. A long long long ten hours while I drove with a falsely confident face for the family.

While a lot went wrong, the bus never broke down, though on long hills I had to keep an eye on the temp gauges. The Cat 3280T never missed a beat.

So what I am suggesting is: get in it and drive it. Its a great adventure and a relief to arrive.
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:01 PM   #6
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1977 20' Argosy 20
Arlington , Texas
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 97
77 Vintage Argosy Motorhome

I have a 77 Argosy 20 that I purchase used from the first owner in 1978. It presently has about 80,000 miles on it and I know it's history since the beginning. Needles to say it did sit for 20 years and I have been going through it to go again. I have taken it on short day trips around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Also I took it down to Austin, TX in late May -- about a 400 mile round trip. With these runs I locate issues and work them out back at home. My goal is to be able to go to the mountains in New Mexico and Colorado. And also ultimately some trips to my daughter's place in the CA Bay Area.

Start with some shorter trips and then sprout your legs and go!

In past years we have traveled all over the western U.S. in our Argosy 20.

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Old 07-21-2016, 07:20 PM   #7
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2015 28' Flying Cloud
Newtown , Pennsylvania
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The chances of a properly maintained older rig breaking down are no greater than a new rig breaking down. Probably less. Not as many things to go wrong.

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Old 07-21-2016, 08:19 PM   #8
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1974 20' Argosy 20
Richmond , Kentucky
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I'd be happy to just be able to drive mine around the block
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Old 07-21-2016, 09:36 PM   #9
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1983 31' Airstream310
Hillsburgh , Ontario
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At our last get together in Limestone PA, we had a family in a 1983 300 drive up the east coast from Louisiana. They ended up at Niagara falls NY, then drove home. I don't know what their total mileage was. Yes, they had a few issues, but nothing that couldn't be solved by the local NAPA store.

I am starting to feel more and more confident in my 1983 310 turbo diesel, so next year planning a trip out to the East coast of Canada, which should be easily a couple thousand miles.

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Old 07-22-2016, 05:33 AM   #10
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1982 31' Airstream 310
champaign , Illinois
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Ive driven my '82 310 TD 2000 miles round trip twice so far and other trips that were 1000 miles. Only one major breakdown involving ball joints. I might be crazy or stupid but Im pretty confident in the old bird. I also carry a pretty good stock of critical parts and tools just in case.

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Old 07-22-2016, 06:49 AM   #11
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I have a trailer, but a vehicle is a vehicle.

Everyone of my trucks started to get expensive problems after ten years.

But you have tested it on short runs. I would sign up with Triple A or similar.

Maybe have an emergency fund for towing, mechanic, and motel.

My brother and I were car camping, I think it was near Canyonlands. We were warned that we were off the beaten track, and that towing fees to a repair shop was about $1000..for a car !!! You have to pay for a truck to get to you, then get you out. ( round trip, truck , driver, and gas $$$ )

We were on rugged dirt roads though. Motor Homes usually are near a paved road.

My point is that besides how far you go, where you go comes into play.
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Old 07-22-2016, 07:18 AM   #12
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1978 28' Argosy 28
Austin , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 207
I love this question! I think most of the above is great info and rings true. I bought our '78 last year and have put on about 8k miles so far. 2 trips across the country to Minnesota and back from TX. I did my due-diligence on maintnance as many have stated about. Took me about 2 months of work to go through most of the mechanicals and mentally note what to keep track of, what was in good shape, and what needed to be done immediately. And, after that... off to the races. No fear. I pack some extra parts that commonly go out. (fuel pump. , thanks Peter for your help.) But, if you're not planning on having some kind of breakdown on the road you shouldn't be driving a vintage motorhome. Something WILL go wrong. Prepare for what you are able to fix, and be gracious and patient whem something breaks that you can't fix. It'll happen.
I'm a huge fan of the GO part of owning a motorhome. I love turning the wrenches, but not as much as I love exploring new places with my family.
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Old 07-22-2016, 07:59 AM   #13
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1983 27' Excella
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Charlottesville , Virginia
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Somewhat OT but I have been following the adventures of this 77 year old person who is on a round the world tour in a 1930 Hudson.

Also, I heard a Bentley restorer in England talk about his childhood tour of America in the sixties. His father loaded a 1930s Bentley with the wife and three kids and did a 28,000 mile tour of North America.
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Old 07-22-2016, 09:01 AM   #14
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2015 23' FB Flying Cloud
Walnut Creek , California
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If you can DIY the small stuff, afford to have it shipped home to fix the big stuff, and don't have to be at work on Monday, then go for it. If not, save more money and upgrade the rig until you can.

As a kid, I took a Boy Scout Trip in an old School bus from Kansas to the East Coast. We got as far as St Louis before the clutch blew, Waddy Kentucky before a bearing started knocking, and Anstead West Virginia before we gave up with the fixes and put in a rebuilt short block. The repairs were all performed shade tree style by a mechanic and a couple of adult helpers. We finished the trip without any other breakdown. It can be done, but not on a schedule and not without money and skills. Sounds like your rig is in much better shape than that old bus, but any vehicle can break. A retired coworker had the turbo blow on a 1 year old MoHo.

The standard approach is to drive 50 miles and fix any problems. Then expand to 100 miles and fix any problems. Then expand to 200 miles and continue that approach until the rig is bullet proof. It would always be a good approach to stay within 200 miles of civilization.

I always think that for about $5K you can buy an old Corvette to get home and for a few hundred more the rig can be stored until you save enough money and time to come back and fix it. So, no problem ..... or you could just stay home and polish it. Back yard camping works too. Pat

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