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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Motorhome
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 01:06:06 EST
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

LeRoy Wilson wrote:
> We are looking at a Midas is a 1978,15,746 miles on it.Does
> anyone know the book value on it.Very good shape but needs new tires.

No such thing as book value on one that old.  Here's why. 
Regardless of the mileage, you'll end up working on everything on
the vehicle over the first year of ownership.  Critical items,
things that will leave you stranded on the side of the road such as
hoses, belts and so on, must be addressed before you go out the
first time.  Other things must be fixed as you get a "round tuit"
:-)  For example, the rubber seals around the windows are likely
dried out and shrunk.  will need to be replaced or caulked.  If the
roof has a center seam, that will have to be dug out and re-caulked
because the old stuff will have dried out and will crack under the
stress of normal use.  The water pump's diaphragm or valves have
probably dried out and will fail.  Ditto the seals on the toilet
valve.  The refrigerator's generator is probably rusted, will shed
rust and will stop up the burner openings in short order.  The foam
in the cushions and bed will be shot and will have to be replaced. 
Even if it looks good, the upholstery is probably rotted and will
easily rip, requiring replacement.

None of this is necessarily bad.  If you like to work on things and
have the tools, then you can get a very nice motorhome for almost no
money and a lot of elbow grease.  But you have to be mentally
prepared for it.  And you have to remember that after you get it all
fixed up, it's still a 22 year old vehicle and so you will not
recover your investment when you sell it.  Better be ready to own it
for awhile to recover your investment.

The upside is you can get into RV camping for very little up-front
money.  I'd probably not pay more than $3000-3500 for a MH of this
age.  Most folks can pay cash for something like that.  Figure a
couple thousand to get new tires, possibly new wheels and all new
rubber under the hood and you're ready to roll.  You still don't
want to take any long trips because on every trip something is going
to go wrong for awhile and you don't want to be too far from home
when that happens.  You might end up with $10k in the rig before
you're finished.  Sure you could buy a newer rig for that much money
but the advantage to an old rig is that you don't have to come up
with the full $10 at once.  Plus insurance is very cheap for the
older rig.

Last comment:  Go over this unit with a fine tooth comb before
committing.  You want to look for serious structural or systemic
defects that will involve severe expense or time investment.  For
example, make sure that mice haven't gotten into the wiring and
chewed it up.  Or the previous owner, for that matter :-)  Look rot
and rust.  These old rigs just aren't worth doing any major
structural work on.

I bought an 82 Itasca with similar mileage last year.  The former
owner had taken meticulous care of it including building a fully
enclosed barn to store it in.  Yet I've had to do all the stuff I've
talked about.  The vehicle has never stranded us or spoiled a trip
but I did do a lot of fixing in the beginning.  My punch list is
currently down to about half a page so I see the light at the end of
the tunnel.  I'm to the point now where I don't have to do anything
to it between trips other than to reprovision it.  Best part it,
it's paid for!  Leaves me the money to actually travel and buy this
high priced gas :-(

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