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Old 01-12-2019, 05:39 PM   #1
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1997 Adventurer as our first RV?

Hello Winnie Owners!

We're starting to hone in on our first RV! We've done a few trips rented vehicles, and we've done our first few rounds of research when it comes to tips for first-time buyers.

We've begun looking at listings in our area, and we're currently enjoying one we've found for a 1997 Adventurer 30. The listing identifies it as a Ford v8 460. "MPV WCG30WQ". ~30k miles.

We're curious if there's any known to be aware of with this generation Adventurer. It checks most of our boxes, however we're admittedly still quite new to all of this. In addition, I found the following quote online, and I'm wondering if it would apply to model like this since it's kind of worrying to us: "30,000 miles on an RV is like having 200,000 very hard miles on a regular car or truck- its worn out mechanical at that point."

Here's what we'll be using it for:
- a handful of long weekends away with her, the pup and me. Burning Man would be one of our known destinations. Would prefer to limit the chance of breaking down in the Nevada desert
- perhaps a few rentals a year if we feel comfortable taking on that responsibility

I'm no mechanic but am comfortable with basic maintenance. We live in the SF Bay Area and figure we'll make friends with a local tradesman for the rest of the maintenance and repairs to be expected.

Thanks in advance for any guidance. Have a nice Saturday!
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Old 01-12-2019, 07:13 PM   #2
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- perhaps a few rentals a year if we feel comfortable taking on that responsibility

what does that mean? if you're thinking of renting it out to others i'd seriously think again. renting it to others is the surest way to destroy your MH short of running it headlong into a brick wall.

beyond that i'd pay to have a certified Ford mechanic inspect the engine/chassis/drive train and a certified RV inspector inspect the coach portion, tires, appliances, tanks, water lines, etc.

do a bit of research and ensure that the asking price is reasonable.

got a place to park it when not in use?

good luck.
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:22 PM   #3
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[QUOTE=EverSF;3832136]Hello Winnie Owners!

"30,000 miles on an RV is like having 200,000 very hard miles on a regular car or truck- its worn out mechanical at that point."


I don't really believe that at all. If anything I suggest the opposite may be more accurate. After all, most of an RV's life is spent either sitting still (seasonal storage, in campgrounds, etc) or cruising down the highways.


I've been a Ford guy for all my life but I have no experience with the 460 engine. That said, the only negative thing I ever heard about it is that the fuel consumption is high.
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Old 01-13-2019, 06:57 AM   #4
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30,000 miles means less than 1500 miles per year. Posibly a lot of time sitting unused which is sometimes the worst thing if no-one was taking care of it. I agree with having the RV thuroughly checked out before purchasing so you know what you are getting into and how much its going to cost you to bring it up to snuff.
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Old 01-13-2019, 10:26 AM   #5
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1. Forget the rental thing. Renters will not take care of it and I don't think you're going to find that many "good" renters are going to be interested in a 1997.

2. I think you'll find that most (but not all) of the problems that occur from sitting too much relate to deterioration of seals, hoses and the like. All these are replaceable so get a good estimate before buying so you can negotiate. And find a good truck repair shop familiar with your Ford chassis.

2. Read all you can on this forum about the Winnebago windshield leak issues and make sure the MH you're thinking of doesn't have the issue. If the resulting rust has gone to far, this is a cause for rejection.

3. As far as the "house" is concerned, be especially aware of any damage from water leaks. If left unattended for long, the damage can be catastrophic. The most expensive systems are A/C, generators and refrigerators. Hydraulic or electric slides and jacks if you have them are also big ticket repair items. Most other things, water pumps, converters, toilets and the like are relatively inexpensive and can be done DIY. Nonetheless, use the full dealer-installed/repaired price for negotiating.

I have a 2002 and, unless I was looking for a "fun" restoration project and I was paying a rock-bottom price for a rig that was in excellent condition for it's age, I think 1997 is a bit old in the overall scheme of things.
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Old 01-13-2019, 04:25 PM   #6
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Even though we bought or Minnie Winnie from a motorhome rental company, we got a unit that was extremely well cared for. I did ask the sales rep about the potential for renters to abuse the vehicles. He said they charge a pretty hefty deposit to prevent that abuse and it seems to work reasonably well. I don't believe I would be comfortable renting our MH to anyone off the street. It seems an awful lot of people nowadays just don't want to bother taking care of a vehicle - even their own.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:13 PM   #7
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I have a 99 Adventurer. It's not my first, but I'm liking it.
I had a 460 in an F-250 that I did a bit of towing with. It's a very solid proven engine. To my knowledge, no real weak spots.
The V-10 which came just a year or two later is an improvement, but not in any glamorous way. Both should last a good long while, and as noted above, the 460 will probably use a bit more gas in the process, but if you do the math, it doesn't really add up to a lot.
I have bought motorhomes with 30K, 90K and 110K on the odometers. They were not junk in any cases. Many motorhomes see very little travel other than Interstates with moderate loads. Some get abused severely. You have to look for clues and pay attention during test drives, but I would say the formula you were given is without basis in fact, especially on the well made aluminum/steel units.
I would be more concerned about the coach above the chassis than at and below.
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:34 PM   #8
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I agree with some of the other responders. While I have tended to purchase older model, low miles RVs it’s only one factor. It really depends on how it was maintained inside and out, including storage.

The advice I usually give new RVers is that there will be something to learn, fix, or maintain on every trip regardless of how new/old the RV is. Many people buy a new car because there will be less maintenance issues but that isn’t necessarily going to apply to RVs. RVs have lots of complicated systems and each one seems to be different. I’ve been RVing since the 80’s with 5 different ones but almost every time out I still learn something new..

As for renting it out-no way. It’s not just people don’t care and ruin/break things; it’s that these things have a long learning curve and they just don’t have the experience. Things will break, they are usually expensive or the parts/tools not available to fix. I don’t even let my adult children use it without me!

This all sounds very negative but every challenge RVing I have had has been more than made up for with great adventures and memories. If you can afford it and are willing to learn and maintain an RV go for it. You won’t regret it!
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Old 01-20-2019, 06:46 PM   #9
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1999 35C owner. You get what you pay for. Some where around 12,000 would be good price. There are going to be problems, don't worry about it.
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Old 01-21-2019, 07:12 AM   #10
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Forget about the life prediction of the motor home. I have a 1996 Winnebago Adventurer with 54000 miles on it and it still doesn't burn oil, nor does it knock. It is a sweet running 454 Chevrolet engine.
These old P-30 chassis motor homes have an auto park system on them that usually give problems. There is plenty information on different forums.
This system has a hydraulic unit underneath the coach mounted onto the frame. It has to work for the park and the emergency brakes. If it isn't properly adjusted, the motor home will roll if on an incline even though the selector lever indicates it's in park.
Make sure you have this checked out.
You'll enjoy your Winnebago Adventurer.
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