Keep the Faith
Wanted to reply ASAP as we bought a 1989 32' Excella last Fall. We would say "keep the faith" as you are on the right track with that vintage. We've had many type/brands of RVs but this was our first AS and we are very happy so far. We were looking for a Texas "snowbird" type unit for when my wife retires. We had wanted to stay in the 27'-30' range but are glad we found the 32'. We were coming from a 11'5" slide-on camper so anything larger was a plus!!!! What is nice about the longer AS's is that they seem to be plentiful and reasonably priced. Many folks speak highly of the 1986-93 vintage AS units (except for the OSB sub-floor). OSB flooring is what it is, and you just have to be extra careful with floor damage/leaks. Ours checked out well during the pre-purchase inspection (rear 4' of floor had been replaced). The only "discovery" we had was under the refrigerator where the floor was rotted because the refrigerator's condensation tube had not been routed correctly when it was replaced in 2007(note- check the condensation tube because ours crumbled apart when we tried to reposition it). Anyway, we fixed the floor, replaced the carpet w/hard flooring (easier to clean), plastic toilet to a china toilet (love it!!), 45amp OEM converter to 3-stage 60amp, 13.5k BTU OEM AC to 15k BTU AC w/heat-pump, changed the twin bed set-up to queen bed with lifting struts to access underneath storage, removed the gaucho couch/bed and built a carpet covered bench w/a tambour front storage access system(old roll-top deskn parts) and a piano-hinged top. We gained 14" of length to our living area and bought AS recliners for leisure use. The bench provides a bed for our dogs, easy access to the power converter and can be used as a set when the curbside table is extended. In addition, a person can sleep on it if needed. While any AS can be configured to your personal wants/needs, we find the "tweener" vintage is old enough to be user friendly (no circuit boards, ducted A/C, plumbing/water pump easily accessible, etc.) and while not "retro", still has a decent interior (except for the carpet). Your tanks/plumbing/electrical are still safe(from normal use). We replaced what we wanted (everything still worked) at our leisure. We had an RV tech look at the undercarriage as we were planning on replacing the axles ASAP and he told us to "use it" for a season or so to make sure its what we want/like before putting a lot of money into it. We'll replace the axles in a year or so as the unit seems to handle well now (did upgrade to 16" rims and LT tires). We also replaced the safety chains, breakaway switch, LP regulator/rubber hoses and the LP gas/smoke/carbon monoxide detectors for safety sake. We think as a full-timer, you could make many repairs on the road (except axles/AC/structural) if you are capable (you will be!!!) and have a few basic tools. AS parts can be a hit/miss thing (sewer coupling) but there is a good network of AS support nationwide. Finally, insofar as tow vehicles, trucks are a solid TV (what we use) but consider a Dodge Caravan, have read that they are very TV capable, family friendly and cost effective (in the $20k range) maybe not macho/sexy but something to think about as a FT'ing family. Good luck and "keep the faith" ...
James and Rebecca