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Buying a Wanderlodge, a Bluebird or any RV Ready to take the plunge or looking to upgrade and you have questions? Folks are standing by ready to help.

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  #1  
Old 01-19-2020
Stretch44875 Stretch44875 is offline
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Default My saga of trying to buy wonderlodge yesterday.

Guess I can start on why I want a Wonderlodge. 20 years ago, I bought a school bus for 500 bucks. Just used it as a party/moving bus, but, my buddy really liked the idea of converting it.


15 years later, he buys a Bluebird tc2000, and I help convert it. Start looking at other school buses, then discover Wonderlodges! So I love switches and gauges, the deck on top, looks of the 88-early 90s WB. I am very good mechanically, and decent with electrical. Can't see myself just sitting when traveling, so have to have something to tinker on. This would be our pre-retirement gift, so it's paid off and ready for the road in 6 years. We have a perfectly good 5th wheel, but love traveling in bus, especially with our 2 large dogs.



So on to my saga of yesterday. 1988 WB40, silver 25th edition, 66k miles. Condition looks excellent in photos, new tires, new batteries, just had 9k in work done at a bus garage, by a tech that worked on Wonderlodges. Price is 55k with taxes.


Drive 300 miles to dealership, and bus is broke down, on the road, coming back from bus garage. Since I brought my tools (it is 32 years old, lol) I drive 60 miles to broken bus. And its winter, and bus is in MI. And my dear wife isn't happy...


He thought it was fuel filters, but thanks to my previous reading of the forums, we were able to figure out it was low on coolant, and engine was shutting off due to coolant sensor. Go after coolant, and dump 4 gallons in. After 10 mins, we have a leak. Took me 30 mins, lifting bus up, and putting jackstands under, to figure out it's the coolant hoses for air compressor, and there is no way I can fix them there. I had read about those, and it was on list to check before I started using bus. He calls for a tow back to bus garage, and I drive 300 miles home.


The pictures didn't lie, and bus is in excellent shape. Engine sounds great. The whole reason we wanted this bus, and willing to pay 55k, was condition, tires, mileage, etc. The garage did oil, filters, generator diodes, lots of plumbing, headlight wiring, and a whole bunch of other stuff.



BUT... I consider 30 year old coolant hoses basic maintenance. Wondering what else was missed. Here is what I noticed broken, most of which bus garage is supposed to fix.


Looks like no power from generator, or at least batteries were not charging.
rear coach lighting left turn signals
leveling jacks not retracted all the way
generator temp gauge
heater strip in front AC not blowing
LP heaters



Some of this could be a switch not on, or breaker tripped, but I didn't have time to really look. He is offering to deliver after repairs.


We are concerned about paying that much. Seems like a list of stuff has not been maintained, and I didn't even look at half of the coach. It's all stuff I can fix. It's in excellent overall shape.


I understand it is a 30 year old bus, and I'll have to do repairs and maintenance, but is this typical for this price range? And I'm not saying seller or garage did anything wrong.
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Dennis and Melissa Viers
Tiro, Ohio
91 WB40
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  #2  
Old 01-19-2020
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atckip atckip is offline
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The best advise is to find a known coach.... one for sale from a forum member. You can't go wrong by starting on Randy's Bye Bye BlueBird site. For your price range there are some nice known coaches for sale right now
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  #3  
Old 01-19-2020
Stretch44875 Stretch44875 is offline
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I have been checking the buy bye site everyday, just haven't seen one close enough I like better than this one.
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Dennis and Melissa Viers
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91 WB40
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  #4  
Old 01-19-2020
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susanmarycamilleri susanmarycamilleri is offline
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What is " close enough"
I bought mine in Florida, I live on Vancouver Island. Flew there, drove it home 3300 miles. If you only look buses that are close, you limit your choices. The money that you spend in travel could easily be saved if you buy the right Wanderlodge.
That bus looks good, but you might regret not widening your scope.
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  #5  
Old 01-19-2020
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isp2952 isp2952 is offline
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You can thank your lucky stars that the compressor hoses let go when they did. After you were on your way home you would have been another $25K into this bus for a new motor. If you have the skills, I guess I would buy it until I was able to go through everything with a fine tooth comb, to make sure it worked or had been fixed properly. I agree with Kip about a known bus of a member is usually the safest one to buy. You end up reading about what that owner has done to maintain the bus and see it many times at a rally and you can ask a lot of people about it that may know the owner and the bus.

Having sad all that, nothing is guaranteed on anything you buy. Stuff happens as they say. Do you know who may have owned this bus before? Somebody here may know it or at least the owner. I personally don't recognize it. The Wanderlodge mechanic working on it, is he from Holland Motorhomes and Bus Co.? They usually do good work and I know several people that have had them work on their coaches. I would think if the dealer knows you are serious about buying he should work with you to make sure you are afforded to opportunity to inspect this bus thoroughly to your satisfaction.

Whatever you do we wish you the best of luck.

I just read Peter's post and I agree with him. I missed that in your previous statement. You have to be willing to travel to find the right bus. If you don't you may regret it.
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  #6  
Old 01-19-2020
Stretch44875 Stretch44875 is offline
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I'm very grateful the coolant sensor worked, and I wasn't on the way home with bus when hoses let go. It is at holland, so hopefully it's well taken care of.
We are pinching penny's right to too get to his price, so I'm not sure I'll be able to spend the fuel and travel costs for anything too far.

If it gets fixed, and he delivers, do you guys feel it is a fair price? Think I'd rather have a excellent condition body/ major mechanical, and fix other issues myself.

Whoops, just saw were you said to get it and go through it, lol.
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91 WB40
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  #7  
Old 01-19-2020
Stretch44875 Stretch44875 is offline
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No idea on previous owner, dealership owner has used it a little. Think it was an estate sale
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  #8  
Old 01-19-2020
DW SD DW SD is offline
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These are great rigs! I wouldn’t focus too much on that one flaw.
Winter is a buyers market.
I think $55k is too high.
Looks nicely cared for though. And good color scheme.
Maybe Offer $40k and haggle.
Lots of older ones need radiator. Hoses. Fuel and coolant. Can / Did you inspect those?
How is the paint? Any signs of rust, including on chassis?
I miss the comments and conversations and question the old PT inspired.
Newer is more user friendly and easier to drive with more room and storage. But looks blend in with the crowd.

Good luck. Doug
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  #9  
Old 01-19-2020
Stretch44875 Stretch44875 is offline
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Undercarriage looks great, I'd replace all the fuel and coolant hoses. With the losses he's taking, not sure I can haggle down much. I'd already got 5-6k knocked off.
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91 WB40
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  #10  
Old 01-19-2020
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Mike Hohnstein Mike Hohnstein is offline
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Relevant content to the max:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXKDljUdPAQ
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