Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Class C Motorhomes: Where to begin
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Wannaberetiree

Minnesota

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Posted: 05/04/21 10:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have inherited a 1983 Chevy Class C. My uncle had it parked at our family cabin for the better part of the last 10 years. Every time he visited (a few times a year) he'd fire up the engine, and let it run for awhile. I inherited it 2 years ago, and kept up the habit.
But, I want to get it back on the road. I know I need new tires, and have plans to bring it to our mechanic to get the engine the once over.
But, I have no idea where to start when it comes to maintaining the "home" section of my "motorhome".
I've tried online sites before, but they all talk about campers that are much newer then mine. I can't even find an owners manual for it.
Any guidance and suggestions on how to start would be greatly appreciated!

PartyOf Five

Wheaton, IL

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Posted: 05/04/21 11:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Old class C tend to leak in the upper bunk area first. You also want to check around for mold and decay from all those years of sitting. And also establish a budget (versus considering it a labor of love). The cost goes up significantly depending on your DIY skills.

I think your plan is a good one: find out what it'll take to get the mechanics in order to be able to drive it, and then from there you can start on the house part, if it makes sense.


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MDKMDK

Lockdown Gulag

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Posted: 05/04/21 11:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

To start, try giving people more info as to the year/make/model/style of the class C motorhome/coach part, not just the chassis info. There were probably more than a few class C motorhomes built on a 1983 Chevy chassis.


Mike. Comments are anecdotal or personal opinions, and worth what you paid for them.
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smarty

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Posted: 05/04/21 11:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would advise you to create a budget for your "project". A rig that old has, essentially, zero value. How much are you willing to invest in the rig to get it completely road worthy? Know this before you start. IMHO.

valhalla360

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Posted: 05/04/21 12:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

smarty wrote:

I would advise you to create a budget for your "project". A rig that old has, essentially, zero value. How much are you willing to invest in the rig to get it completely road worthy? Know this before you start. IMHO.


Figure $1500 just for tires. Any mechanical problems can add a few thousand more.

Biggest question is the house sound and dry. If it's leaked and rotted out, it makes zero financial sense (sentimental value maybe).


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bobndot

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Posted: 05/04/21 02:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Where has it been stored, inside or outside ? If out in the sun, expect the caulk to be dried out.
Try your best to determine if it has water intrusion .
Check to see if the floor is solid as you enter the rv, that has a history of being a leak source. You'll be able to smell and see mold.

You need to open things up to look for evidence of rodents and damage from. You could have electrical issues from chewed wires, a common problem.

lwbfl

Florida Panhandle

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Posted: 05/04/21 04:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here is another opinion (From owning a 1980 Class C). 1 New Tires AND Brake system check. You're usually safe it wont go, never save if it won't stop. 2) Roof - clean and seal the roof even if it looks good. Once it starts moving it will flex and all that dry seal will crack. 3)Electrical System 4) Do whatever you want with the house, don't think you can only use RV stuff, make it your own to enjoy. 5) ENJOY IT!


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Grit dog

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Posted: 05/04/21 05:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

MDKMDK wrote:

To start, try giving people more info as to the year/make/model/style of the class C motorhome/coach part, not just the chassis info. There were probably more than a few class C motorhomes built on a 1983 Chevy chassis.


That makes a difference? Do you have different recommendations to fix leaks and make sure the water, furnace, fridge and stove work based on brand or model?


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Grit dog

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Posted: 05/04/21 05:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Since you provided very little info about the condition of the moho other than apparently the engine starts and runs....

Before spending more than $100 on it. Assess whether it's a gem, a diamond in the rough, or a mushy leaky basket case.
If it's #2, proceed with caution, #3, hopefully you can find someone to haul it away or drive it away, or part out the drivetrain and stuff the rest in a dumpster/haul the chassis to a scrap yard.

Another word of caution, if you need to take it to the "mechanic" for a "once over", an almost 40 year old van parked at the cabin for 10 years may not be financially viable for you, even if it's in "ok" shape.

I'd go to the camper armed with an air compressor, extension cord (to plug into the cabins power, a good battery, bottle of propane and a garden hose.
Make sure there's air in all the tires, trans fluid looks ok, engine is not low on oil and coolant is full and brakes don't go to the floor or don't stick. If all that checks out, fire it up and take it for a hot lap and see if it appears roadworthy.
If it's not, the rest of the RV doesn't really matter.
If it is and it drives good and doesn't come back with a stuck brake or fluid pouring out or overheating, move on to the house.
Put a battery in it and see if all the lights and water pump work.
Fill the water tank, see if it pumps and check for leaks.
Fire up the fridge, stove and furnace.
Check for rain leaks (presuming there isn't obvious water damage. If there is assess that before worrying about the test drive).

After you've done all that and compiled a list of everything that does or will need work, put a $ figure to each item, however you'd handle fixing that item. Add up the numbers, multiply by 1.5 if it sounds reasonable to you. See if that number sounds reasonable and then decide whether to call your mechanic and tire shop or a scrap yard.

Good luck!

Bordercollie

Garden Grove, CA, USA

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Posted: 05/06/21 12:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It Depends on your RV body, auto electric, mechanical, plumbing and RV appliance troubleshooting and repair/replacement skills, work space available, and time from start to completion/camping touring ready status, and most of all total cost. Bear in mind that an old Class C's market value will not be more than $5000, regardless of how much money you spend on it. Buyers can't get loans on old Class C's. Old class C's usually need to have radial tire wheels and tires installed, can't get 800x16.5 bias belted tires. Tires need to be changed every 5 or 6 years. You might be better off selling the rig for whatever you can get and consider buying a camping/touring ready motorhome if you and your family really want one and will use it frequently. (Don't ask how I learned this.)

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