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Old 09-21-2023, 10:49 AM   #1
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New to the RV world. 1985 Elandan 33 value?

Hi everyone, my name is Buff Thompson and I'm currently looking for my first RV. One of my customers has a 1985 33 foot Elanden with just 14000 original miles. She and her husband bought it new, has always been in a heated garage, looks new inside and out!! My question to you is what is it worth? I'd like to get a good deal but I also don't want to pay her too little. Thanks for the info!!
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Old 09-21-2023, 05:04 PM   #2
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According to the internet... $3,000. But for a 40 year old (almost) motorhome I'd sure bid very very low.

Offer to take it away at no charge and see if that will fly.

It's almost certain that Tires and Batteries will be immediate replacements and they are not cheap.
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Old 09-22-2023, 10:23 AM   #3
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One of the bigger truths is that a vehicle goes down faster when not used!
While they may look totally new, there are some hidden things to be aware of before choosing. One is the way things rust or dry rot.

Look carefully and you are likely to find small points like rubber vacuum lines, belts and hoses may have tiny little cracks if you squeeze or bend them. Moving tends to make them stay flexible but if they stay in one place for long term, they tend to form a permanent shape and that may break when they have to move!

Brakes are often an unseen point. does it have rubber brake lines at each wheel? They get brittle!
Brake fluid can snag us if we don't think. It draws moisture and when we drive it is often driven out to do no damage but if it is stored, it can be a killer. The water collects in the fluid due to it's natural properties and then when stored, that water in the fluid winds up in the master and wheel cylinders to rust them.
It seems to work fine and brake fine but each time we brake that rust scores the inside of the cylinder and after a few thousand miles we have leaks at all the wheels and have to replace all four wheel cylinders!
I would want to have the fluid tested before deciding to go with it. New recommendation is to change fluid every three years and we would assume it not being done? Perhaps pull the cap off the master cylinder and feel for rust inside the tank? If it's rusty there, assume the hidden spaces to be worse as they get less air flow!

It could be good or it could be a nightmare. Much depends on personal situation and how well you might be setup to deal with lots of unknowns. Parts can be a major hangup on that old!
If we are up to it, the everyday maintenance can be less complex, but if not, finding folks who know how to deal with the older ignitions can be a trick? If I remember correctly that will not be fuel injected?
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Old 09-22-2023, 10:37 AM   #4
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I have to admit, I've never heard of a Winnebago Elandan and don't remember ever seeing anyone ever even mention that model here in my 7 years here.

I had to look it up to be sure it was a Winnebago product.

I had a 5.0L Mustang in 1985 and I understand they are kind of collectable now, so people still seek those and buy them. But a 1985 motorhome is not collectable, nor easy to deal with either the chassis or the "home" built on top of it. Remember, it takes more than automotive skills to work on a motorhome, you also have to be an ace at home repair.

Think very long and hard before taking that leap. It's tough enough keeping a 20-year old RV running well. A 40-year old coach is at least twice as difficult if not more.
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Old 12-19-2023, 08:13 PM   #5
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Make a comfortable offer

I have an 85 32' Elandan too. Just got a new PVC roof on it, as it wasn't garage kept, and the caulking had cracked on both AC units, vents, etc.
So if you get yours, RENEW ALL CAULKING before parking it outside!!

I've also eliminated the rooftop ACs and installing a single ductless mini-split into it. Also installing solar and some other goodies.
Had to replace microwave oven, fridge, bathroom vent, carpet, etc.
Upgrading sinks and toilet, showerhead, master bed, and other smaller details here and there. Hoping to go tankless with the water heater too if the unit will fit. (It normally would, but the tank is remote on mine, and that may be for a reason... fingers crossed!) Also ordering a new awning cover as the old one was toast.

Yours is probably a GMC or Chevy with the 454. Easy engine to maintain and repair, kind of a gas guzzler, but has plenty of power to make the thing move pretty nicely, and it's got a good reputation as a reliable mill that won't be overworked by pushing the RV around.

Mine had new tires on it, so that was part of its worth, which I didn't mind paying a lil extra for. That should probably be the first thing you check on and do. It feels like driving a boat down a highway, so tires are one thing you don't wanna have any doubts about! (replace the spare in the rear boot too, because it's probably dry-rotted)

The fact yours has been garage kept is actually a great thing... wish mine had been.... because I may be painting mine too in the near future. Yours probably won't need it.

Another note about the roof... mine had a fiberglass sheet roof on it that I assume was factory. I didn't like the way it had a major seam right down the center from front to back, so check to see if yours does... if so, make sure to cover that bastidd with the appropriate topical sealer. I don't know what it's called, because I'm new to this stuff too, and still learning. My new PVC roof is one single sheet now, so one less thing to worry about. Heh!

My stock house battery charger worked just fine, but with the house batteries dead, I'm upgrading to Lithium batteries and a charger inverter that can maintain them, as the stock unit can't. If you do such an upgrade, make sure your battery maintenance system is lithium compatible!

For yours... I'd offer 3 to 4k. More if you feel it's worth it... and it very may well be. But as always, pay as little as you can.
Let us know how it goes!
Jack
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Old 12-19-2023, 10:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SqueakyWheel View Post
Hoping to go tankless with the water heater too if the unit will fit. (It normally would, but the tank is remote on mine, and that may be for a reason... fingers crossed!)
Greetings Jack,
You know, for 1985, the Elandan was ahead of its time. The brochure for it is pretty good. The Owner's Manual seems a little bit generic and not as useful as the more modern manuals. Is your Elandan a 30 amp or a twin 50 amp service?
I prefer regular tank-style water heaters. I believe you get a better shower out of them.
On my 1988 F-350, I finally bought a new spare tire for it a year ago, and obviously it was already way too old. Even after 36 years of use, my truck has never had a flat. Just lucky I guess.
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