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Andy,

I enjoy going to your website and can see that you have put a lot of effort into it. It is a great resource for people that are interested in vintage motor homes, weather they own one or are thinking of restoring one or just love the history.

I don't know if are aware but I am the owner of two places of business, Soapstone Valley Equipment is a truck and equipment repair shop, with myself and three mechanics since 1994, and next door Classic Motorcars of Ellington, where we have a show room with 20 - 25 antique cars for sale, we also offer repair service and parts for old cars and trucks.
www.oldantiquecars.com

The reason I tell you all this is because after being in the truck and antique car repair bussniess for 35 years, I have a few thoughts I would like to share with people who are thinking of restoring a vintage motor home.

I'm sure you have seen other web sites or blogs about Travcos. Some have done wonderful jobs and inspire the rest of us. Others seem to jump into a total restoration project without sitting down first and counting the cost. I have seen this many times when it comes to old cars.

I tell people the most expensive car (or in this case motor home) is the one you can get for free.

The real cost of a restoration is staggering.

People start with good intensions, tow home an old Travco and rip out the interior, try to get it running, after a while reality sinks in, the list starts getting longer and longer, rust issues, fluid leaks, wood rot, glass, electrical, paint, brakes, tires, exhaust, interior, etc. and all they wanted to do is take a trip in a cool old motor home. Sadly some get frustrated and give up.

I really admire those who stick with it and end up with beautiful rigs even if at a great cost.

I would encourage wannabees to consider buying a vintage coach that has had most of the work done, this has proved over and over to be the most cost effective way to enjoy the hobby.

Good running, driving Travco can be bought for $5,000 - $7500 and is far less than the cost of a restoration.

We that have old vehicles know that there is always things that need attention or find that even a good unit is a continuous work in progress. Or better said, we get to use out rigs and are always tinkering with them too.

It is my hope that someone reading this might give it some thought and that more people would be able to enjoy this great hobby.

Thanks Arlo Hoffman


Archive

First Winter

The heater did not do a very good job of keeping me warm going over the mountains on I-75.  The sign said that it was minus one degree.  The engine temp was over 200 degrees.  The dash had gauges for water, transmission and engine oil temp.  I noticed that in hard climbs that the engine oil would heat up first and cool down last.  The newly overhauled 440 ran great.  I thought that the glass pack mufflers were a little loud.  The sellers told me that they got 17 miles per gallon.  I did not believe that.  Shaggy and the Winnebago always got between 6 and 7 miles per gallon, which was what I expected.  I stayed all night at my cousins in Morehead, Kentucky.  It was a good drive home.  I averaged 7 miles per gallon.  When I braked, there was a lot of noise that I recognized as bad king pins.  It ran great.  i would worry about the king pins next spring.
Broken Wiper
The next problem was caused by the heavy snow of 2007.  The weight of the snow broke off the drivers side windshield wiper.
Good wiper
The passenger side survived.  Luckily, I had some spare wiper motors from the spare Travcos that I used to own.

 
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