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Old 08-13-2011, 03:29 PM   #1
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Newbies - 1997 Itasca Suncruiser 37RW

Hello folks,

Looked at a super clean 1997 Suncruiser today. It has 46K miles w/Banks system Ford 460CI engine. Dealer says we can go camping in his back lot.

One owner coach has been kept inside. Top looks good. It has good tires w/2309, is that 2009 date code?

Any suggestions, concerns or model specific things to look for?

Thanks, Dave & Christy
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:14 PM   #2
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1996 Itasca Suncruiser 37RW

It's actually a 1996 model year.
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:51 PM   #3
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A few thoughts from a guy whose been around motorhomes since 1974, and Winnebagos in 1998.

Pros:
Stored indoors (big PRO).
Price (I'll assume, 1997 coach just isn't worth a big number these days).
Slide.
46,000 miles (lots of miles left in it).

Cons:
Tag axle (owned one for almost 200,000 miles).
Pre 1999 V10 F53 (many upgrades besides the V10 that year).
46,000 miles (might not have been used much. Could have sat a lot, ignored).
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Old 08-14-2011, 11:49 PM   #4
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Tim,

Thank you for the reply.
Dealer asking $39.9K salesman said he thought high $20s would buy it. Still sounds high to me.
What are cons of tag axle?
Your comment about pre 1999 V-10 F-53 is important to me. Made me realize that going older than 1999 is not a good idea.

Thanks again, Dave & Christy
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okhwyman View Post
Dealer asking $39.9K salesman said he thought high $20s would buy it. Still sounds high to me.
What are cons of tag axle?
Dealer is smoking crack!
NADA Average Retail price is $12,740
It is amazing how they can spew out ridiculous prices and keep a straight face. Offer him $10,000 and then see if he can keep a straight face.

Tag axle adds stability, increased weight capacity and usually a smoother ride. Cons are 2 more tires to buy & maintain, another braking system to maintain.

1999 Ford chassis did come with bigger wheels, bigger brakes, higher weight capacity.

If you have a budget in the $20s, keep looking. You can do better.
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Old 08-15-2011, 05:04 PM   #6
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I agree asking price is high. Its my opinion that NADA on coaches this age is barely a starting point. New tires cost thousands. As does a new fridge, or new AC. It comes down to condition and what you want to pay.

I didn't like the tag for the reasons above, two more tires to worry about, more brakes (a second whole system in most cases), etc. I also didn't like the extra drag, it was like towing a trailer all the time. Small impact, but there. I also cringed when paying tolls. 3 axles is often double the price of two. Again small, but there. In a tag's defense, it did tow GREAT. The GVWR of the the chassis with the tag is 20,000 pounds. The non-tag F53 in 1999 was available in a 20,500 pound version. It was just what had to be done to make a 37' coach before the new F53 came out.

The chassis stuff depends too on how much you plan to use the motor part of the motorhome. If it's going to be parked at a lake permanently, who cares. We drive ours a lot so I'm biased that way.
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:55 PM   #7
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Tim & Nick,

Thanks for the insight. My knowledge base is steadily growing. Have several more prospective coaches bookmarked and we will start looking at them as time permits. Some are local all are within 200 miles. We plan to start off slow and build up to long trips so we want a MH capable of making long pulls and getting reasonable (for a MH) MPG. We also want to spend time in the Rockys.

Do either of you have any experience with oil analysis? Have read some posts related to oil analysis, but most seem to be owners testing oil when changing. I have a suction device (looks like the back part of a grease gun) and will add a long hose capable of fitting in dipstick hole to obtain sample. Do you think most MH owners would agree to sampling?

Would you stick V-10 F-53 Ford or also consider 8.1L Chevy w/Workhorse chassis or even Cummins w/Freightliner?

Thanks again for your input.

Dave & Christy
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:08 PM   #8
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No experience here with oil analysis. I've never bothered with it either prior to a purchase or as a maintenance item, but it could be worth it if the seller agrees and you are willing to wait for the results.

Ford or Chevy. Either is good OR either is bad depending on who you talk to. Coach condition and floorplan are usually more important issues. Most folks spend way more time sitting camping than they do driving.

If you are serious about diesel, then you obviously know that it will cost you more. If you have a flexible budget, then give the Cummins (or CAT) serious consideration. If you have a fixed and limited amount to spend (as I did) then that diesel chassis will cut into how new and nice of a coach you can get. For many of us, it is all about compromise.
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:40 PM   #9
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Nick,

Have seen more posts lately regarding Chevy 8.1 blowing up than Ford V-10. May need to do more lurking about Ford engines.

Yes, have noticed that diesels usually cost more, however, have seen a few in my price range. Maybe they are in really rough condition. Pictures look good though. Have concerns about diesel oil covering toad.

Your comments are appreciated.

Dave & Christy
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:44 PM   #10
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Dave:

Diesels do not cover toads with oil???

They have tons of power, are much quieter, much better ride, will last forever.

Yes thay are more expensive, maintenance is higher per say.

But you have to decide. Do a search.. there is mutiple threds on Gas vs Diesel.
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Old 08-18-2011, 04:48 PM   #11
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Pameridan04,

Thanks for clarifying that diesels do not lose oil. Will definitely keep that in mind as we continue our search for the "perfect" old/new MH.

Still trying to balance the need for a shorter MH to fit mountain campgrounds against the need for more more power to climb mountain passes.

Dave & Christy
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