Saturday, November 2, 2013

My New Rig Comes With A History!

Back in the late 90's I worked for an RV dealership in Tuscon AZ. Later I worked delivering new RV's for the same dealership. It was during that time that I became familiar with Fleetwood's American line of coaches.  The American Eagle, Dream, and American Tradition were some of the most elaborate and luxurious RV's I'd ever seen.  Occasionally I would be sent somewhere to deliver one of these highway liners to a customer, an RV show, or return them to the dealership as a trade-in.

Diesel Pusher motorhomes are generally the top of the line for any RV manufacturer. The American line is surly the best of the best in Fleetwood's lineup.  It wasn't until I got my recent purchase home and did a little online research that I came to discover the history of the 1993 Pace Arrow Diesel Pusher.

The Pace Arrow line was Fleetwood's top of the line until the early 90's.  The Pace Arrow Limited was transformed into Fleetwood's first entry into the Diesel Pusher market as the new American Eagle.  In 1993 the Pace Arrow Turbo Charged Diesel Pusher was introduced.  18 months later it too was re-branded as the new American Tradition, another top shelf coach in Fleetwood's American line.

I suspected as much noting the Oshkosh Chassis, 8.3 Cummins engine, and Allison World 6 speed transmission. I'd driven the best of that era and this was the same running gear.

Another earmark of the American roots is the level of engineering. This Pace Arrow is equipped with an inverter capable of running everything in the coach, minus the A/C's. There are two fully ducted furnaces, dividing the 36' into two zones for maximum comfort. Combined with the automatic switching gear and 8KW diesel generator, there is some serious electronics in this rig.

There's a reason today's new American Tradition's come with a price tag north of $400,000. They are still the best of the best.  Twenty years ago the Pace Arrow Turbo Charged Diesel Pusher was considered one of the best rigs available.

It's no surprise, even back then they were made to last.  Except for a few minor cosmetic updates I won't have to anything to this thing for a long time.

My first two improvements will be to discard the bulky ice maker and cabinet located behind the co-pilots seat.  At the same time it's adios to the pinkish mauve carpeting. That's one thing that really didn't age well.

Back In The Game Again!

I claim a DO Over!!  OK, so I  pulled the plug on this blog a little prematurely, maybe it was just time for a new beginning instead of scrapping what I had started.

True, I sold my previous motorhome in favor of what I thought would be a more economical combination. Little did I realize that no matter what combination you come up with, if it's comfortable and has most amenities, it's not going to get very good mileage.

It didn't take but one week on the road with my partner to determine this little trailer and Jeep just wasn't going to work out for anything beyond local weekend camping.

Sure we do a fair share of that, but what we really enjoy is hitting the open road for distant regions of the country.

It was time to just take a lose on this rig, and move on to something more practical for us.

Naturally all it took was a trip to our local RV dealer to come up with just the rig. This is going to be the cure all to all our issues and problems.  Ya, right!

Now to the casual reader, this may have the appearance of jumping out of the frying pan and straight into the fire.

While I admit it was a sudden move, I will also say in my defense that I knew exactly what I was looking for, and luck was definitely on my side.

I've owned many large RV's costing many thousands of dollars. Along with them came huge payments, and often accessories that didn't really add to their functionality.

This $90,000 Bounder had a washer/dryer combination unit that took 3 hrs of grinding away to wash and dry a very small load. Pretty much useless in my mind.

Buying new is a killer. The cost is heavy and the depreciation is severe. I gave up on that a long time ago.

Let's get back to today's new motorhome.  I went into the dealership with a list of possible candidates taken off their well laid out website. I was most interested in a Diesel Pusher, both for their operating characteristics and their longevity.

Everything I had listed was 2000 or newer and there were a couple near that vintage with pretty good prices and low mileage.

All it took was a peek at the underside to eliminate my top two prospects.  Loaded with rust, it didn't matter to me what the interior looked like. Corrosion of the frame, suspension, and engine related components is a quick route to massive repair cost.

The salesman told me he had a 1993 that was uncommonly clean and I might be interested in it.  The underside was spotless, it looked like new. He said it was traded by a California couple passing through that decided to upgrade.  Twenty years old, it only had 75,000 miles.

For a gas powered rig, that would be normal mileage, but approaching the end of it's life.  For a diesel pusher, it's just broken in.  We're talking 500,000 miles before it needs any real maintenance.

The interior matched the super clean engine compartment. Not the slightest indication that it had ever leaked or seen water damage, and the condition of the cabinets and drawers told me this wasn't a full-timer's home on road.  You could see wear, but only light wear, it was well taken care of.

I was familiar with the Oshkosh Chassis, 250 hp Cummins engine, and Allison 6 speed World Transmission. This was top of the line for it's era and is still used today in many models of coach. A test drive confirmed it still drove like it was only a year or two old.  Not a squeak or rattle anywhere.  After 20 years there is still plenty of life left in the old girl.

With an original sticker price of $139,000 I drove off the lot for 1/5 the price. No new vehicle 25% instant depreciation for me, this will hold it's value for a long time.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Turns Out You "DO" Need A Ton Of Money

Just like the title says, I guess you DO need a ton of money to live the RV lifestyle.  The cost of gas, the lack of time to travel, other more pending concerns, this and more has forced me to face reality.

Recently I posted my motorhome on Craigslist and was fortunate enough to sell it to a very nice couple from Canada.

For now, when I want to travel alone and cheaply, it will be the new and improved Stealth Van. Comfortable sleeping accommodations and three times the miles per gallon of gas.

To that end, this will likely be the last post for this blog. To continue following my exploits I suggest you follow my main site:  The Stealth Van Dweller.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Matching The Truck To The Trailer: IMPORTANT!!

It's big, actually huge!  Now I can climb the biggest mountain, or so you'd think!  Click on the link and I'll tell you about my "Biggest Mistake" when I didn't Match The Truck To The Trailer

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Declaring All Out War On Rodents!

Squirrels, they're smart little devils.  I've spent all winter at war keeping them out of my motorhome.  Click on the link and I'll let you know How I gained the upper hand...For now! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Roadtrip 2012, Start Planning!

Is your RV sitting in storage waiting for warmer weather? It's time to make plans for next summer. Click on the link and learn how to make the most of your roadtrips.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Not All RV Insurance Is Created Equal

When all hell breaks loose you want to know you're properly protected.  If you get your RV insurance from your auto insurance agent that might not be the case.  Click on the title and learn what you need to know.  Photo by calaggie on flickr

Friday, February 18, 2011

10 Expensive Problems To Watch For When Shopping For A Used RV

If you're in the market for a used RV click on the title and learn what to be looking for so you don't make a big mistake.  Photo by: Curtis Carper

Friday, February 11, 2011

Is Your RV Buried In Snow? Better Get The Snow Shovel

Any more than a couple inches of snow on your RV can do some serious damage.  Click on the title and get some tips on how best to take care of the situation.  Photo by: Curtis Carper

Friday, November 26, 2010

Winter storage

This is a bad sign, the season for travel is over for this year.  Add about 6 " of snow to this picture and you'll know what our motorhome is looking like.  All bundled up to prevent water infiltration.  Photo by: Curtis Carper

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

When An RV Outing Goes Bad, Call For A Do-Over

We weren't discouraged when our recent outting turned into a disaster.  Click on the title and see how to make lemonade from lemons.  Photos by: Curtis Carper

How to Finally Cure Those Old Leaky RV Windows

Leaky windows are a real "Pane".  click on the title and find out how to tackle the problem once and for all.  Photo by: Curtis Carper

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How To Turn Off Your Internal Time Clock

Fighting that urge to move on to the next town prematurely is something every new "Full Timer" goes through.  Click on the title and figure out how you'll tackle this issue.  Photo by: Curtis Carper

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Leaking Windows Got Your RVs Interior Walls Looking Lousy? Here's the cure.

 Before, water soaked from rain water coming in around the window.  After repairs the bedroom  becomes a comfortable log cabin that can take you anywhere  you think a log cabin should be.  Click on the title and see how you can fix interior water damage for not a lot of money and make your RV cozier than it was before.  Photos by Curtis Carper

After Repairing Our Motorhome We Tried For One Last Outing

 Thinking the season was over, after making repairs to damage caused by vandals, I had winterized the motorhome.  Unseasonably warm weather inspired us to make one last outing.  Click on the title and find out what happens when you pull straight into a camping spot in the dark giving yourself no easy way to escape.  Photos by Curtis Carper

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Don't Get Stuck For The Deductible When Your Insurance Won't Pick Up The Bill

So you've settled up with the insurance company only to find you're $500 short of the cost of repairs.  Click on the title and see how you can avoid part or all of that expense.  Photo by: Curtis Carper

P.S.   All the damage has been repaired, happily we're on the road again.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How You Can Prevent Vandals From Damaging Your RV

Yes, my motorhome was the target of vandals.  Click on the title to find out how you can prevent the same thing from happening to you.  Photo by Curtis Carper

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Whole Community Suffers When Vandals Strike

It really sucks when someone trashes your belongings.  Sadly the owner isn't the only victim.  Click on the title and see how so many are affected when vandals strike.  Photo by: Curtis Carper

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Yes, RVing Is Still The Cheapest Way To Travel In Comfort

Ok, so I'm not the most handsome guy, but you can bet I was comfortable cruising all day in our motorhome.  Sure beat being squeezed together in an economy car and guess what, it was a whole lot cheaper too.  Click on the title and see how the numbers crunched comparing an economy car to a motorhome.  Photo by Curtis Carper

South Dakota's Original 1880's Town Is An Accurate Image Of The Past

This is how the west was settled, complete with small farmsteads and local dance hall girls.  Click on the title and see how your ancestors lived in the 1800's.  Photo by Curtis Carper

Every Where You Go Free Camping Is The Best Way

Our journey covered 1,500 miles.  Did we pay for our nights lodging?  Not hardly. Click on the title and find out how we found the best places to park for the night for free.  Photo by Curtis Carper

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Perfect Portable Grill

What's the best portable grill you ask?  Click on the title and see why a small cast iron Hibachi beats the heck out of a tin foil disposable grill.  Photo by: Curtis Carper

Friday, July 2, 2010

Community Museums Make Great Free RV Activities

Small towns have been around... well forever! What better way for them to attract visitors than to show case their history.  Museums make great stop overs for RVers.  Click on the title and see why.  Photo by Curtis Carper

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Save Big Money On RV Toilet Paper & Toilet Chemicals

Every RV dealer wants to keep you coming back to buy more and more.  Is it really necessary?  Click on the title and find out.  Photo by: slworking2 on Flickr.

Friday, June 11, 2010

RVing Can Be As Cheap As Living At Home

If you plan your RV outings so that you take advantage of cost saving opportunities that are almost everywhere, you can travel for not much more than the cost of your normal day to day life back home.  Click on the title and find out how you can travel on a small budget.  Photo by Curtis Carper

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Great Weekend RV Outing For The Price Of Gas

That's right, by being self contained we stayed in the middle of resort country for the price of gas.  Click on the title and read about our weekend in Mille Lacs Lake Minnesota, land of plentiful walleye and numerous opportunities to spend money.  Photos by: Curtis Carper

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Water Leaking Into Your RV Can Do Serious Damage, Seal Those Seams!

Annually inspecting all seams and joints will help you keep water from seeping in and doing serious damage to your RV.  Click on the title and see what sealers and products work best to keep your ship water tight.  Photo by: Curtis Carper

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Davidson Windmill On Hwy 13 In Northwest Wisconsin

A great little spot to take a break from driving and learn a little about local history.  Click on the title and read all about it.  Photo by Curtis Carper

An Early Season Trip To Herbster WI Was Loaded With Surprises

All the surprises were good ones.  It was a great RVing destination.  Click on the title and read how our weekend outing on the shores of Lake Superior was filled with surprises.   Photo by Curtis Carper

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Off Season Is The Best Time To RV

Peace and quiet, no crowds, yes off season is the best time to go RVing.  Click on the title to find out more benefits to RVing during the off season.  Photo by Curtis Carper