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Open Roads Forum  >  Class C Motorhomes

 > 1995 Ford 350 Coachman F290 Santara

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dobbler98

Ohio

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Posted: 09/24/11 06:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looking at this model. Does anyone have any opinions? How about knowledge on gas mileage? or problems with the handling or chassis? thanks in advance


1993 Minnie Winnie
Class C 24'
Chevy 350
Usually pulling one of my toys


Golden_HVAC

Fulltime, CA, USA

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Posted: 09/24/11 06:21pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My guess is it's a 460" engine with a huge radiator, and by looking under it, see if the oil filter is mounted to something that has the lower radiator lines conneted to it. That would be a large oil cooler, so the engine will run fairly cool, even on a hot day.

Check the GVWR. If it is 14,050 pounds, then it is likely a E-450 chassis, the normal for this sort of class C motorhome. Probably is over 12,000 pounds empty. So make sure that the weight will be OK for your family.

I have always suggested that you take a class C to a scale, check the weight before buying it. Many are overloaded from the factory. Coachman was pretty good about not overloading it's RV's. Some brands had as little as 500 pounds between the empty weight and GVWR. Some had to long of wheelbase, with generator up front leading to overloaded front tires, or the left front position was overloaded due to the slide being on that side.

The chassis is probably fine, has a really long track record.

Fred.

Golden_HVAC

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Posted: 09/24/11 11:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

I might add that I get about 7 MPG with my 97 Bounder class A, on the F-53 chassis with the same 460" engine and 4 speed auto transmission, 17,000 GVWR, so you might expect to get 8 - 8.5 MPG, better if you stay at 55 on the freeways.

Fred.

dobbler98

Ohio

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Posted: 09/25/11 09:07am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes, it has a large "cooler" under the front end.
I'll have to check the weight info. The owner was at a wedding when we looked at it. thanks.
Some cosmetic issues with cheap fabric on the seats and 2 armchsirs, and it has a soft spot in the side wall from the cabover windows leaking. It's delammed, a section about 2'x2'. The leak has been repaired, and the cabover has a new metal exterior and no windows.
We get 8-10mpg with our current Chevy Winnebago. A mile or two give up would be a good tradeoff for more engine power I think.

dobbler98

Ohio

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Posted: 02/06/12 08:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well this unit has again been brought to me for sale. He wants next to nothing IMOP for what it is.
Opinons please!

I have a 95 chevy 350 24' minnie winnie. 120k miles. new AC compressor, alternator, chassis battery, 60 amp charger w/Wizard, house Trojan battery, Bilstein shocks, other mechanical parts and new tires. Interior excellent, lots of little extras. The roof has been sealed with Eternabond, has a Winegard TV antenna, and is wired for solar and cable TV. Needs no repairs. she's a pretty little thing lol and good to go.

Would be moving to the above mentioned 95 Ford 29'Santara model with only 39k miles. Bigger, room we need for the retirement future and when the kids show up now. This one needs repairs; the chair upholstery, carpet stains, etc don't worry me. Its the side window leak and weak wall under it. Everything else on the house is structurally sound; the entire cabover has already been replaced. The frame is good, and mechanics seem sound but since its only driven a couple times a year who knows. Because the interior is so worn, I think it was parked somewhere seasonal. The current owner drives it to two Nascar races a year.

My plan would be to move the new tires and solar panels from mine to it, and use the sale money from mine to fix the sidewall and interior. What do you folks think? A soft side wall can last a long time on a budget.....lol That I can fix at my leisure. Mostly looking at this because of the bigger size and less miles.

Is it a good trade for me to go from a known durable Chevy 350 with miles to an unknown low miles Ford 460? does anyone know of problems or have advice? I have always been a Chevy owner and a (2 time)winnebago owner.. Never a Ford or Coachman. Advice, opinions,...please.

thanks so much in advance

j-d

Sunny Florida USA

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Posted: 02/07/12 09:02am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ok, OPINIONS:
Winnebago is a better "box" than most others.
Chevy has more cab room and tracks on the road better than Ford.
The Ford will be E4OD transmission which means it's overdrive. If the Chevy you have now is not overdrive, you'll like that feature on the Ford.
Many complain about 460 Ford but I'm not one of them. Rather, I believe 460 is an awesome engine and I don't think it'd disappoint you in any way except fuel mileage. Plan on 7-8 so you won't be disappointed.
460 we had in a 1983 E350 chassis was bulletprof. Power was stunning, but coach was 24 feet. I personally would take a late model 460 over a V10.
Big block engines in Class C coaches tend to warp/crack exhaust manifolds and/or break mounting bolts/studs. They can be a bear to repair.
Check the chassis door label. If its GVWR is 14,050 pounds then it's what they called "E-Super Duty" which is essentially an early E450. Don't confuse that with later badging of "E350 Super Duty" which is till E350 with capacity in the 12,000-something range and marginal for a 30-foot coach.
You need to be sure there's not much wrong with the "new" coach and chassis beyond what you already know. Like more water damage, needing a roof, etc.
The limited use of the chassis and extensive use of the house concerns me.
Chances are the brakes'll be stuck.
You seem handy. Build a pressurizing device (like a furnace blower) and pressure test the unit for leaks. Put high volume pressured air in, and spray seams and body penetrations with soapy water. Bubbles'll reveal leak sources. Much more reliable than trying to trace drips inside. Or take it to an RV shop with a pressure tester and pay them an hour's labor to check it with you present.


If God's your Co-Pilot Move Over, jd
2003 Jayco Escapade 31A on 2002 Ford E450 V10 4R100 218" WB

bobm253

getzville,ny

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Posted: 02/07/12 04:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a 1997 class c santara with the 460 engine. Got 6.1 to 6.3 mpg on my first trip.......

dobbler98

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Posted: 02/07/12 05:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the quick replies. I love Winnies, quality lasts. But it's possible I can get this for as little as $1500. Yes, my chevy has overdrive.
I'm handy, but I've never owned a ford lol so I can't say " oh that's a normal engine noise" and other comforting thoughts.
I know the Coachman is a lower tier house, but if I Eternabond the roof, fix the side wall, and clean up the interior, learn about Fords could be/is this a great deal?
For me the high points are the extra space and lower mileage.

Handbasket

Asheville, NC

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Posted: 02/07/12 06:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Based on reading posts here, the Ford E-series chassis have considerable history of handling / truck wind issues. Probably fixable if this one has it, but $$$ unknown. Check the tire pressures and take it for a long test drive including some fast 4-lane with passing trucks. If it's got a generator and it's low hours, check to be sure it starts and carries something close to full load.

Jim, "Every one seems normal until you get to know them."


'06 Tiger CX 'C Minus' on a Silverado 2500HD 4x4, 8.1 & Allison (aka 'Loafer's Glory')

dobbler98

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Posted: 02/10/12 01:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can you explain the handling issues you mention? By $$ do you mean better shocks, swaybars?
This could be an issue. I drive a 24' now and the Ford is 30'

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