Me and my husband have been looking for a good while for a bigger, newer camper than what we already have.We have a 20ft 1974 Wildreness travel trailor which was great for just us two but we now have 2 small children and well were kinda outgrowing it.We came across a 1983 Fleetwood Southwind Motorhome and the seller is wanting 4000.00 for it, it's got 40,000 miles on it, and in really good shape.My question is, is this motorhome (just judging by the information I am giving you) worth the price? Has anyone had any experience with this year model motorhome?
my first class A was a 1989 fleetwood pace arrow. I gave 12k for it and had good luck out of it. it did have some delamifacation, but was a good motorhome for the two yrs i owned it. mine was 32' I decided i want a little bigger so i bought a 96 safari 38' DP. I would think it would be worth the money your talking about.
1996 Safari Serengity, 3126 Cat,Allison 6 speed, 38' DPNS, 2005 Honda Element,vip tow brake. doran tire, Magellan750Nav,
and 1 good looking wife, and missy and Alex(died 11-03-06) and AJ, born 09-06-06 my carins. and Max, teacup yorkie
FMCA # F374886
We bought our 82 going on 5 years ago. Decent shape, fairly new engine and new transmission. When I got it home we had to get some work done on the front end (bushings and one air bag). Since then I have replaced most of the rubber hoses, tires and last year brakes. Brakes were alright but one rear caliper blew the seal and wore the pad down to bare metal in a short time (at that time mostly mountains). While we had it all apart I changed rear axle seals and both rear rotors and new pads front and rear. Not too much trouble finding parts and prices were not too bad. Other than that all we have done was to make it handicapped accessible and cosmetics. I like it and it would do fine for a family with front drop down bunk, and two couches that make into double beds. Ours is a 82 Triple E and had most options available at the time. We have put almost 60,000 km (40,000 miles) on it in the five years so it does get used a fair bit, mind you a 400 mile round trip almost every weekend through the summer adds up in a hurry.
Get it checked out and make sure things work, check tires age
Amanda keep in mind over the next 2 years you could find the need to spend another $4K on the 26 year old motorhome if you plan to take long road trips in it. Tires will eat up $1000-$1500 of that amount. Check out the roof because any leaking can total out a 26 year old MH fast.
How did you use the TT? If you only go 40 miles to a state park then you can run with a weak radiator, no dash air, etc and drive it until it breaks. It is too expensive to handle repairs that way on the road plus if you have jobs you need something road worthly.
You can buy 10 years newer for another $2-4K and get into fuel injection models and maybe side step some age related issues of both the house and the chassis.
It really depends on its condition, especially the roof and how do you plan to use it from my personal experience buying a 1993 two years ago?
We had an '83 Southwind from 1983 to 1998 and put 140K miles on it. For sure, you will have some problem on that year. In our use, we had to have the transmission rebuilt, and had a chronic problem with the fan belt which drives the water pump, air pump, air conditioner and alternator. The fan belt was a marginal design, and Chevy replaced it with a serpentine belt in about '86. Another known problem with that era chevy is the exhaust manifolds. They warp and leak, giving a pfft-pfft sound at idle. They also eat spark plug wires from all the heat. The upholstery disintegrated in about 3 years, but we had the interior redone and it lasted very well. Since you say that it looks in "really good shape" I'll assume that it has been redone. The other thing to look for is that the body is straight. Ours developed a twist and had problems with the windshield as well as cabinets pulling away from the walls, especially around the stove area. Back in '83, the original cost was in the high $30K range for a 29 foot model.
Your best bet is to find someone who knows their way around motorhomes to carefully examine all the construction, as well as someone who is a good mechanic. It helps if you are handy and can repair stuff yourself. If you have to have it done at a shop, your $4K investment will be just a down payment.
If is is truly "in really good shape" it is worth the $4000. That is in the range of the floor prices for that class of motorhome, where age and mileage no longer matter, only condition. Old Fleetwoods and even older ('70s) Winnebagoes sell in that price range when they are in good condition, need no significant repairs, and have usable miles left on the chassis.
From that point, prices start going up, as the RVs become collectible classics.
At that age, expect higher costs for ongoing maintenance, if you are going to use the thing and not put it in a museum.
Amanda,and welcome to the Forum.
Wh en shopping for your next step in recreation, whether Tent, Camper, or Motorhome, buy what you can afford comfortably that will fit your needs. Fleetwood makes a good unit. I have owned all the above, and previous unit was a 1982 Fleetwood Pace Arrow, 31ft.on P-30 chassis with one A/C unit. We drove it five years without any major expense.
The Southwind you mentioned is awfully close to the unit we had. Drive it, and have a Mechanic look @ it & drive it, make sure the Dash A/C works, and don't fall for the famous excuse, "IT JUST NEEDS A SHOT OF FREON", what a lame excuse for a problem. Remember, it's yours when you buy it, so get the most for your money. If they will not let a Mechanic of your choice test it, walk away.It's a BUYER'S MARKET.Good Luck.
1997 Fleetwood Southwind 37Y/Ford 460/Power Platform/ Tag Axle
Crew:Yorkie,Twin Japanese Chins,Standard & Minature Poodle,Chihuahua,Cockatiel,and last but not least,MOM,wife & CO-PILOT. 1999 Tahoe 4 Dr.
Proudly served,USAF 1959-1963