What makes people that are selling something, not tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth???? I'm confused. (~smiling)
On the phone this morning the seller said it was a 1984, the date wasn't listed on the ad. I ran a NADA to get some idea of the value plus looked at other rigs for sale from 1985-1990 Holiday Ramblers. Once again it was way under priced based on NADA for a 1984 Holiday Rambler Imperial. As the ad said he took it down to TN just last weekend. I looked up that trip on google maps and found it to be a 750 mile round trip. So I felt pretty good about the rig I was going to go look at.
Back in the years 2002-2008, I was buying VW Buses from the years 1961-1967, with the 67's being the last year of the split front window. I learned early from buying them online, always out of state, that most likely they will not look as good as the pictures on the sales ad. That's fine, I have no problem with that. This rig didn't either.
So last night a follower let me know there was another Holiday Rambler for sale in Indianapolis which is only a 1-1/2 hour drive from my house. The photos looked fantastic. The ad had a lot of detail except one ... what year was it? I was so excited about the possibilities, I called him at 8am, hoping it was still available. It was. Arrangements were made to meet today at 1pm to take a look at it. The seller was recovering from knee replacement, so he stayed inside the house while I went over the rig, inspecting it. I was there a total of 2 hours looking at everything and starting it. The rig was plugged into house power.
I started with the outside, yes it wasn't bright and shiny like the pictures, that middle striping was pealing but that didn't bother me. Over all outside was good, small dent in rear passenger side corner. Tow bar and 7-pin plug was good but looked like it wasn't used recently. That was kind of confusing because he kept telling me that he tows a trailer with his motorcycles when he travels. I climb up on top, caulking was old but that wasn't a big deal, I could re-caulk myself. Roof looked in great shape.
I went though all of the bay doors, everything was in good shape, no water damage, no rotting inside, original bay material was still in good shape. The two windows on the drivers side had both window awnings that were in great shape. On the drivers side, the 15 ft awning even included the correct piece in the middle that was attached to the rig as designed. The steps came out when the door opened just like the ad said ... even the doorbell worked. The tires are an off brand name but all are new like the ad said. As I step inside to inspect I am feeling really good so far about this rig. For a 1984 it's in great shape.
The inside was even better. No water stains anywhere, inside cabinets, lower cabinets, under sinks. No mouse traps were set but at the same time they were using this rig is what I am told and had just bought a huge 5th wheel. Everything from the driver's cab to the back bedroom was fantastic. All the closets were still in the original design, no modifications. The electrical outlets worked for the tv, all the lights worked ... every one. The oven and microwave were in new condition and as advertised the refrigerator and freezer were a new stainless steel unit....both were working.
I turned on the water pump and hot water heater, then went to look at other things while the water heater warmed up. I kept listening for the water pump to kick on but it never did after 30 minutes. I had pulled off the center console of the engine bay between the two front seats. Still after a while I never heard the water pump kick on. Of course what might explain that, while looking under the rear bed at the water tank valves and for water damage, I actually moved the tank with my hand a little and looked closer .. the fresh water tank looked empty. Hmmmm, thought they used it last weekend on a trip??
Still the inside was FANTASTIC!! At this point of the inspection I am thinking this rig is soon to be mine. In one of the cabinets I find the large notebook with the original owners manual just like the CL ad showed in the photo ...with one problem. He told me this was a 1984 and all the manuals say 1982. Then I find and take a picture of a manufacturer type title with the VIN and year from the factory ... 1982. So it's not a 1984 like he said on the phone and there is no year listed on his CL ad.
What do you think about that? Make me wonder if this is common or not.
While inspecting the inside the rig, two other people drove up and hung out for a bit by the rv. I asked if they were here to see the rv and both gave different answers..."No, I'm here to see the Honda Accord that's for sale, are you ....?" and "No, I'm here to see the truck that is for sale" I'm looking around, there a huge 5th wheel, a truck, an Accord his daughter drove up in, two cars parked behind mine. I'm wondering at this time what this guy does. I had the wrong impression based on the phone call. Based on the phone conversation I'm picturing a family using the RV I'm wanting to buy, to travel in every summer, they have had it forever and they just moved up to a 5er and a new truck...a new truck is nowhere to be found. Now I'm wondering about this phone conversation and what is going on here.
All that doesn't matter ... the rig looks great, the generator looks great ... I'm feeling pretty good at this time. As we agreed, with the seller recouping from knee replacement, his 2nd in 7 months, I was to come to the house to get him when I had questions. Well I needed the keys to start it up and test drive it. The plate was current. While inside when I pushed the buttons for the pump and water heater, it was the same screen showing they were on as the levels of the different tanks, gas etc. Well nothing showed up for the tank levels nor the gas level. The propane tank showed full on the gage outside.
Before I go back out to start the rig we begin talking about all the trips he has been on but he mentions this "other 30' Class A toyhauler I had" and "the 5er". No mention of the one rig I'm looking at as being the rig of choice for summer camping trips. A small flag goes up in my head....lol. I also mentioned to him that I wasn't sure if there was any water in the fresh water tank to test the faucets, water heater and water pump. "Oh no, there's no water ... the rv is still winterized, in fact I have no idea when the oil was even changed last" I replied that I had checked the oil on the dipstick and it look like it had just been changed.
The man checking out the Honda stops us to ask if there is a license plate he can use to test drive the car. The seller says "I have dealer plates you can use, I'M AN RV DEALER" .... I hold back from laughing but I'm thinking to myself "what is going on here???" LOL....Unbelievable, you cannot make this stuff up!!! LOL On the inside my laughter is out of control....I am even laughing again as I type this.
I get the keys...I go back out and pull off the center console again so I can see and hear what this engine does. In my first inspection there was heavy oil residue around the valve covers....I'm thinking at the time that's ok, it's easy to get to and I can replace those cover gaskets myself. Well I turn they and it's cranking but not starting. The seller who had walked out to where I was because a truck had arrived to deliver another car with auction markings on it....so I figured it was another car to sell, since he did say he was an RV DEALER....I mean, come on, what did you expect?? lol
He tells me it might take a few times because its a carburetor. I'm old enough to know about those so I keep pumping the gas and finally get it to kick over. Now remember before I tell you what happened...the seller told me in person and on the ad they had taken this rv on 750 mile round trip just LAST WEEKEND! Well when the engine turns over, there is the highest shrill sound combined with a loud LOUD sound as if the muffler was not attached to the exhaust manifold. I had to cover my ears, it was that loud and high pitched....sounded like a belt or something that turns a belt....???
It finally stops...and the engine is idling with that loud no muffler sound. I checked under the rig when I was outside and would say the mufflers were more to being new than rusted and old...they were shiny silver. I also hear a loud tapping sound of the valves....a sound I remember with untuned vw engines....the loud tapping sound was only on the right side, not the left. I turned on my iPhone and made a video so I could record the sound. But the whole sound of the engine on the passenger side did not sound normal at all ... not what a healthy engine would sound like.
I saw no blackened area around the headers like was suggested a few days ago. All I saw in question visually with the engine was the leaking valve covers...and those were nothing more than gasket replacement I think. So I rev the engine....the loud exhaust sound gets louder, small race car backfire....NO...I'm not making this stuff up. My Coachmen Class C was quiet, very quit at idle. Even the HR I passed on was sounding better than this one. My impression of the engine....I would be afraid to drive this out of his driveway....no test drive, I had heard enough. But they did take this on a 750 mile trip just last weekend!!
So I go back inside to let him know that I had made a recording of the engine sound I couldn't identify and was going to let my mechanic listen to it and I would get back with him. I told him I liked everything else but I want to check the engine out first. He replied "that is a great engine, like I said we took it down to TN just last weekend".
So I left, did not give him any money for a deposit and returned on my 1-1/2 hour drive which gave me time to think.
I will not be buying that rig.