ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Fluff > Shiny things
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 115 votes, 4.90 average. Display Modes
Old 11-30-2012, 01:38 PM   #3091
PirateJohn
Banned
 
PirateJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Uvalde, TX
Oddometer: 22,219
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSJEEPER View Post
Here is a question for all ya'all gurus.

Thinking about moving from travel trailer to motorhome in the next few years. Part of the motivation would be the ability to tow a Jeep with me for off-road excursions, and part of the motivation is that the ol' lady doesn't really like driving our tow rig as her every day car. Nor does she like driving my old Jeep. So, I'm faced with decent tow rig, PLUS a car for her. Or, ditch the tow rig, get her a car, and go motorhome.

Question is, what is the thought as far as age and value, and the sweetspot intersection of the 2?
Previous poster was quite right. Read what he said, particularly about Foretravels.

Are you expecting to drive it a lot or live in it a lot? Or both?

After a bit of touching up and repairs my 30 year old PT-40 Wanderlodge was VERY comfy to full-time in but Lord was it expensive to operate (4.5 to 5mpg). Then I had a relatively simple breakdown in a tiny Texas desert town 45 miles from Laredo and that dragged on for 2 weeks when I couldn't get the parts, and couldn't get a qualified mechanic to look at it, and I am physically too large to either crawl into or under the thing.

So if I were to go to a Class A again and on a budget I would consider:

* Forward Control Wanderlodge (shorter than a PT but more like 8mpg and probably better engine access). Pros: Solid steel; very strong. Cons: Fawking heavy, a bit old fashioned and dark interiors for my tastes. Expect to pay $15-$25K for a 1981 to 1985 or so (last year of production was in that range)

* Foretravel Grand Villa of about 33-36 ft. Expect better mileage by maybe 1 to 1.5mpg than a FC Wanderlodge. I have seen some CAT-powered ones built in the early 90's for as little as $15K. A little funky looking with a pointed nose but mechanically they seem excellent and I like most of the interiors. Be aware, however, that Foretravel offered a bewildering array of RVs including some front-engined gasoline versions that used the same bodywork as well as a 40 footer with a big Detroit engine in it so compare apples to apples. I would stay away from the ones with the mid-sized 4-stroke Detroit.

* Fleetwood American Eagle/American Tradition/American Heritage. Contemporary look, nice interiors, Mileage is going to be in the same range as the mid-sized Foretravel minus maybe .5 mpg. I see single axle ones made in the early 1990's for $25K or so.

Both the Foretravel and the upscale Fleetwoods were among the nicest fiberglass diesel pushers available in their time. All of these are what you would think of as mid-sized.

Another option, if you need more space, is to set a search on eBay for "bus conversion" and see what pops up. Older bus conversions have dropped like a rock in price (think $150K to $15K in a year ) but they come in all styles and all sorts of quality since most were custom projects and for many people a hobby project. With a big bus you will get into what I got into with a big Wanderlodge - running a 6V92 or 8V92 Detroit is bloody expensive unless you can source Mexican diesel, and they can be REALLY tough to work on.

Just FYI since you talk about carrying a motor vehicle I would suspect that your interests are like mine. I have pretty well decided to go to a mid-sized diesel truck and trailer(s) combination in order to have an economical vehicle that I can travel with and carry at least two bikes.

Good luck!
PirateJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2012, 04:16 PM   #3092
sailwing2003
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Pantego (DFW) TX
Oddometer: 380
Pirate John brings up some great points about what to look for in your search. In my search I noted the difference in weight between the Foretravel and Wanderlodge coaches that I was researching. The power to weight ratio was better on the lighter weight Foretravel with more hp, and the sloped nose has been great, in what seem to be always head winds. We just drove south in 25-30 mph headwinds at 65 to 75 mph on the new toll road, (85 mph speed limits!) around Austin, and got 8.3 towing the car. We have gotten 9.3 other times not running as fast or with as much head winds. I figure fuel at $4 per gallon, and mileage at 8, and plan $ .50 per mile for fuel, so far under budget on every trip.

Best advice off the net was to figure $10K to do upgrades the first year, with tires, batteries and misc. Then to budget $5K per year to run and own the next years. So far we are under budget for the first 2 years. But we were lucky to have found an older coach with many upgrades, and recent expensive replacement items already done before by two very well heeled former owners. New coaches are being offered with fuel savings designs like sloped fronts, just like Foretravel's from the late eighties and nineties.

I found the Foretravels were 10,000# lighter, and $10,000 less expensive, and 10 years newer, with a factory offering service just 200 miles away, than Wanderlodges. After 20 months of ownership, we are more than pleased with the coach, the build quality, factory services, and the internet group of helpful experts.

A good site to follow is Motorhomes of Texas in Nacogdoches. They are up the street from the factory, have many x factory employees, and the largest number of used or consignment coaches listed.
__________________
Dave Cobb
Pantego (DFW) TX

1998 Foretravel 36' Unicoach 295
Just sold the 08 GSA Adventure

sailwing2003 screwed with this post 12-01-2012 at 05:47 AM
sailwing2003 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 05:17 AM   #3093
wilfred
juvenile delinquent
 
wilfred's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2004
Location: Planet Earth
Oddometer: 901
The fore travels are nice looking units.
__________________
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects the wind to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”


semper-fi
wilfred is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 05:48 AM   #3094
FAW3
Old wanderer
 
FAW3's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: No.VA.
Oddometer: 459
KSJEEPER: the previous replys to your questions about a motorhome are right on point...something to also think about is who and how are you going to maintain the RV and what are your critical needs as far as beds/space/storage and activities?

There is a slow progression in RV electronics, computer controls (for RV systems, engine controls), basement storage and slide out/bump outs over the years...

My '85 coach has what I call a bare naked diesel...no electronic controls. A simple engine...I am not a mechanic...but routine service and troubleshooting are in my view much easier on such an engine. If this engine has air, clean fuel, and cranks over = it runs. My drivetrain is rock solid...but I only have 250 HP. All in all...I knew I was not getting a race car and I can tow up to 10K on the rear hitch.

Most of my "RV systems" and engine/chassis circuits & systems are either simple switch/fuse/relay type systems or air powered. Again...normally within my ability to fix. This is especally true when you have excellent reference/owners manuals and forum support which some brands have. I am glad I lack expensive to repair/replace computer controlled systems....and with the recent demise of many RV builders - what is the availability of custom circuit boards for an RV built by a closed company? And for what I miss in interior space not having "slides", I get back in not having any "slide issues".

The bed/couch layout, individual storage space, and the bathroom & kitchen set up on my coach fits MY family. This is critical so keep these aspects high on your priority list.

I have a coach that has minimal basement storage space compaired with later generation RV's. We do fine...but consider this aspect carefully...leaving behind "stuff" you need/want is a friction point to avoid.

Last...back a dozen of so posts is a photo of my coach towing a boat and our DR200 on a hitch mount, and a kayak on the roof. As a MC family, the ability to carry our DR or KLR along with towing a jeep or boat is just wonderful. As you consider the RV aspect...consider related activities that you consider "essential". Make sure your RV and the accessories you can mount on it support all your key family priorities. The old wanderlodges have a aluminum roof plate and a sturdy steel ladder...you can sit in a chair on the roof and watch the stars, NASCAR (the race of the best show: the fans) or a NASA launch from a great perspective.

If you read the boards of any RV forum...just like ADV, there is a hell of a lot of discussion about problems. Yep, your going to have some. But we have enjoyed our RV for over 10 years...and my kids, now teens, and my wife (and our dog) still love to roam in our FC. There is no finer way to travel over the land.
__________________

FAW3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 11:18 AM   #3095
cjbiker
Nobody's Robot
 
cjbiker's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Southern Maine
Oddometer: 2,302
I need to stop reading this thread. Now I'm daydreaming about selling my house and buying something like this.

http://www.birdconnection.com/showro...=225&show=2643

cjbiker screwed with this post 12-01-2012 at 11:39 AM
cjbiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 01:23 PM   #3096
PirateJohn
Banned
 
PirateJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Uvalde, TX
Oddometer: 22,219
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjbiker View Post
I need to stop reading this thread. Now I'm daydreaming about selling my house and buying something like this.

http://www.birdconnection.com/showro...=225&show=2643


That's a good price all things considered.

Replacing that refrigerator will set you back about $2,500 (roughly $1,600 for the unit and the rest for professional labor, which you will need) *IF* you replace with a proper Dometic-type RV refrigerator. Having been there, done that (and discovering that Dometic sent us a defective 'fridge that needed to be replaced again - the whole episode caused me to miss the Iron Butt Dinner where they were going to surprise me with an award ) I would seriously consider putting in a household refrigerator even if you had to significantly modify the cabinetry.

In my experience the basement A/C units are practically impossible to work on. In Jacksonville there was a Prevost factory garage and the one licensed mechanic in the place refused to work on mine despite Prevost having offered the very same units in their buses. I had Cruiseair units and the only authorized Cruiseair place that I could find did a yacht business and wasn't geared up for motorhomes. In a PT Wanderlodge you have to lift the bus to get to them and in Jacksonville none of the RV places had a lift strong enough for the Wanderlodge. So I replaced mine with more conventional overhead roof units.

Two year old tires and one year old batteries are generally a good thing. Early 80's Wanderlodges are notorious for having inadequate batteries and many have been modified with an extra bank of batteries. One of the issues with mine that scared people off was that that it had mystery electrical issues that took some serious trial and error to sort out - battery chargers dying mysteriously and often (I discovered that the water drainage line to the rear basement A/C unit was clogged and dumping water periodically onto the tray where the chargers sat), broken cables between the batteries, and a mystery switch hidden under the dashboard that acted as a secret anti theft device by killing ALL electrical power.
PirateJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 05:03 PM   #3097
cjbiker
Nobody's Robot
 
cjbiker's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Southern Maine
Oddometer: 2,302
Thanks for the info, but it's just a dream. I think something like this is more realistic for my wants:

http://www.parkliner.com/

It is difficult to swallow the price of a small trailer like that, knowing that one could get a used coach for the same price. I know that the initial purchase price will be but a small part of the total cost of ownership on an older coach, however.
cjbiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 05:17 PM   #3098
Kubla
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Oddometer: 1,222
I have the mystery switch under the dash and only 1 working cruiseair out of 3, and now a leaking power steering hose
__________________
1996 Harley Tour Glide
1998 Honda Helix
1989 Honda Pacific Coast
2000 westward Go-4
1982 Bluebird wanderlodge
Kubla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 11:36 PM   #3099
PirateJohn
Banned
 
PirateJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Uvalde, TX
Oddometer: 22,219
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailwing2003 View Post
Pirate John brings up some great points about what to look for in your search. In my search I noted the difference in weight between the Foretravel and Wanderlodge coaches that I was researching. The power to weight ratio was better on the lighter weight Foretravel with more hp, and the sloped nose has been great, in what seem to be always head winds. .


Thank you Amigo - I appreciate the nice comments.

Yes, there are some serious trade offs when you consider RVs. Wanderlodges are great and hugely strong structurally, but the all steel construction rendered them uneconomical when slide outs became the norm. Fiberglass may be considered cheesy in some circles but the truth is that you get better performance and better fuel mileage.

One pays their money and one makes their choice ...
PirateJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 11:37 PM   #3100
PirateJohn
Banned
 
PirateJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Uvalde, TX
Oddometer: 22,219
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
I have the mystery switch under the dash and only 1 working cruiseair out of 3, and now a leaking power steering hose


Make sure the power steering container is full of fluid. I found that made a big diff in handling.
PirateJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2012, 11:42 PM   #3101
PirateJohn
Banned
 
PirateJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Uvalde, TX
Oddometer: 22,219
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjbiker View Post
Thanks for the info, but it's just a dream. I think something like this is more realistic for my wants:

http://www.parkliner.com/

It is difficult to swallow the price of a small trailer like that, knowing that one could get a used coach for the same price. I know that the initial purchase price will be but a small part of the total cost of ownership on an older coach, however.
I don't see trailers as being glamorous but having worked through the numbers and having to somewhat start over from scratch after several years of RVing I see the truck and trailer approach as being the most practical for most of us. Which explains why in the retiree RV parks there are usually tons of trailers and few Class A motorhomes.
PirateJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2012, 05:23 AM   #3102
KSJEEPER
Beastly Adventurer
 
KSJEEPER's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2005
Location: Kansas City area
Oddometer: 4,304
Quote:
Originally Posted by PirateJohn View Post
Previous poster was quite right. Read what he said, particularly about Foretravels.

Are you expecting to drive it a lot or live in it a lot? Or both?

After a bit of touching up and repairs my 30 year old PT-40 Wanderlodge was VERY comfy to full-time in but Lord was it expensive to operate (4.5 to 5mpg). Then I had a relatively simple breakdown in a tiny Texas desert town 45 miles from Laredo and that dragged on for 2 weeks when I couldn't get the parts, and couldn't get a qualified mechanic to look at it, and I am physically too large to either crawl into or under the thing.

So if I were to go to a Class A again and on a budget I would consider:

* Forward Control Wanderlodge (shorter than a PT but more like 8mpg and probably better engine access). Pros: Solid steel; very strong. Cons: Fawking heavy, a bit old fashioned and dark interiors for my tastes. Expect to pay $15-$25K for a 1981 to 1985 or so (last year of production was in that range)

* Foretravel Grand Villa of about 33-36 ft. Expect better mileage by maybe 1 to 1.5mpg than a FC Wanderlodge. I have seen some CAT-powered ones built in the early 90's for as little as $15K. A little funky looking with a pointed nose but mechanically they seem excellent and I like most of the interiors. Be aware, however, that Foretravel offered a bewildering array of RVs including some front-engined gasoline versions that used the same bodywork as well as a 40 footer with a big Detroit engine in it so compare apples to apples. I would stay away from the ones with the mid-sized 4-stroke Detroit.

* Fleetwood American Eagle/American Tradition/American Heritage. Contemporary look, nice interiors, Mileage is going to be in the same range as the mid-sized Foretravel minus maybe .5 mpg. I see single axle ones made in the early 1990's for $25K or so.

Both the Foretravel and the upscale Fleetwoods were among the nicest fiberglass diesel pushers available in their time. All of these are what you would think of as mid-sized.

Another option, if you need more space, is to set a search on eBay for "bus conversion" and see what pops up. Older bus conversions have dropped like a rock in price (think $150K to $15K in a year ) but they come in all styles and all sorts of quality since most were custom projects and for many people a hobby project. With a big bus you will get into what I got into with a big Wanderlodge - running a 6V92 or 8V92 Detroit is bloody expensive unless you can source Mexican diesel, and they can be REALLY tough to work on.

Just FYI since you talk about carrying a motor vehicle I would suspect that your interests are like mine. I have pretty well decided to go to a mid-sized diesel truck and trailer(s) combination in order to have an economical vehicle that I can travel with and carry at least two bikes.

Good luck!
Much thanks, I will start checking out the Foretravels. Not sure I've even seen one before. Due diligence begins.
__________________
2002 KLR650 - 2007 HD Electra Glide
'It doesn't matter how big a ranch ya' own, or how many cows ya' brand,the size of your funeral is still gonna depend on the weather.' Harry Truman
"Death smiles upon us all, a U.S. Marine smiles back"
KSJEEPER is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2012, 05:27 AM   #3103
KSJEEPER
Beastly Adventurer
 
KSJEEPER's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2005
Location: Kansas City area
Oddometer: 4,304
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailwing2003 View Post
For what it is worth. You can find some very much better built brands of coaches, that don't use wood construction in the walls, and ceilings. 5 years ago the RV industry was maybe at it's peak of production numbers and many companies are gone today. As to the price dive, it has gotten very hard to finance RV's over 10 years old. Cash buyers for those old classic quality coaches drive the market. The consignment lots are full of coaches that will never bring the money. We looked at a perfect Blue Bird, that sold for $70K, and I know the seller wrote a check to his bank for another $50K.

Blue Bird Wanderlodges, Prevots, Foretravels, Newells, and couple of other brands build steel framed coaches. That is not just the running gear frame that you might have seen being driven down the road to some RV company. Most RV are built on some other companies frame, like Roadmaster, Freightliner, Spartan, Ford or GMC. Then the RV company builds and fastens the floors, walls, ceiling and end caps. All of those are subject to the problems and leaks do to age.

I looked hard at Wanderlodges, and Foretravel on Foretravel chassis, and settled on a 18 year old classic, that was over $200K new, when many RV were less than half that cost. My coach has a full steel unibody frame system, and fiberglass roof. Prices are 10-15 cents on the dollar for Foretravel's. History shows lots of them with 100-300K miles of travel, with happy owners. Mine has 110K, and is squeak, rattle, and leak free. Interior is sold walnut, or walnut plywood, full extension Accuglide drawer glides, Corian counters, 50 amp when most are 30 amp, dual furnaces, dual AC, convection mircowave, plus 4 burner and oven, computer leveling, and metal covers on awnings that cover every window, plus the patio. I have more hp than most coaches of the model year. New Foretravels have transmission retarders for additional braking, smooth wall slides with air bladder seals, not the typical over flange seals and higher hp ratings than other brands as well. I have full under belly pan, and heated basements, and so much more than the typical RV of the age.

Many of the Foretravel owners on the Foreforum would not trade for any other brand, or to get a newer coach, or have come back to Foretravel from newer and bigger multi slide other brands RV's. In addition there is an factory service center in East TX, and a number of other companies in town that also do Foretravel work by old company employees. They have only build about 6600 units in 40+ years, and many were custom built for the original owner. The factory has staff that knows the older classic and I have gotten both fantastic service and help by phone.

Watch out for roofs, a rubber roof is going to be a huge problem, with 5 years being the service life and outside storage kills RV's. Systems are sort of the same, with the better coaches using house plumbing parts and faucets, better microwaves brands, better door hardware.
RV gas refers are good till they fail, 5-15 years, and many are replaced with residential units for 1/3 the price and run with inverters, and no fire hazard from the RV style system. Roof AC are $1200 each and up, and easy to replace. Furnaces are all from two makers and $700 and easy to replace, same with hot water heaters. Big cost items are slide room repairs, roof replacement. Some of the whole coach heating systems like AquaHot or Webasto that heat the water, the coach and preheat the engine, $7K to replace with a rebuilt. PacBrake ($2K), or Jakebrake, or retarders ($10K) are nice but expensive options hopefully on your new coach.

Service records and a full number of notebooks and binders of all the systems, wiring and plumbing diagrams, add to the price. A two hours walk around and lesson about systems is important. Better is a half to full day and night spent on the back lot to make sure everything works is priceless. I spent 2 days and 3 nights at the sellers place as we went thru the systems and learned where things were located (hidden).

Good luck with your search, you have stepped on a long and slippery slope.
Thanks! I will dig into the Foretravel thing, since both of you guys pointed me that way. I certainly prefer quality over newer / lesser quality.
__________________
2002 KLR650 - 2007 HD Electra Glide
'It doesn't matter how big a ranch ya' own, or how many cows ya' brand,the size of your funeral is still gonna depend on the weather.' Harry Truman
"Death smiles upon us all, a U.S. Marine smiles back"
KSJEEPER is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2012, 07:26 AM   #3104
hppyfngy
not dead yet
 
hppyfngy's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Where the Skyline meets the BRP
Oddometer: 4,041
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjbiker View Post
Thanks for the info, but it's just a dream. I think something like this is more realistic for my wants:

http://www.parkliner.com/

It is difficult to swallow the price of a small trailer like that, knowing that one could get a used coach for the same price. I know that the initial purchase price will be but a small part of the total cost of ownership on an older coach, however.
Consider the Casita too if you're looking at these. Of course it depends on your needs and especially the size of your family.

I've had a 17' Casita for 7 years and love it. But I treat it like a hotel room in Paris. Somewhere to retreat to for sleep or a sandwich. Shower and crapper are a bonus and minimal systems are the biggest plus. Amenities are good enough.

Park 'em and go on about your business. I've mulled over the options for years but always come back to being pretty happy with my little Casita.

Put it this way, if when you're at home, you hang out outside a lot, you'll like a small camper fine. If you sit inside and watch tv all the time, you'd get claustrophobic in the little camper. Me, I'd rather be at the picnic table or by the fire so the Casita works great.
__________________
Some say I'm apathetic, but I don't care. - Randy

'13 KLR650 ~ For Sale!
hppyfngy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2012, 07:46 AM   #3105
PirateJohn
Banned
 
PirateJohn's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2001
Location: Uvalde, TX
Oddometer: 22,219
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSJEEPER View Post
Thanks! I will dig into the Foretravel thing, since both of you guys pointed me that way. I certainly prefer quality over newer / lesser quality.
I will repeat that when looking at Foretravels you need to read the details closely because they used essentially the same bodywork on a wide array of coaches, anything from diesel pushers to front engined gasoline versions. They also bought a variety of chassis from other manufacturers.

You could get a variety of engines in the mid-sized diesel pusher versions including the same CAT that Bluebird was using. Personally I would prefer the CAT, and avoid the fuel-squeezer four-stroke Detroit that was offered - those are notorious for serious mechanical problems and the years of use by Foretravel would put you squarely into the range with the biggest issues. Foretravel also made a 40 ft. coach with a Detroit 6V-92 and that is an entirely different animal - the 92 series was a two-stroke and I really liked the one in my Wanderlodge but it's an archaic design and just really freaking thirsty.

One thing that I like about Foretravels is that they usually seem to have really nice interiors with decent kitchen counter space, bright colors, and many have hardwood floors.
PirateJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 09:24 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014