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Old 01-28-2018
RustyBuns RustyBuns is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 11
Question Went to look at a 94 WB

-Vital Stats-
1994 40' wide body
500hp 8V92
5 speed Allison
158k miles
3822 hours (on engine)

I recently went to look at a 1994 WB and while very impressive it is at the top of my budget ($40k). Also, if I'm gonna have an electronic diesel I'd just as sooner go for the series 60. But this WB is tempting and I've always loved the sound of a two-stroke diesel...

I'll hopefully be going back to put that WB through a proper inspection to see if I really want to tangle with it. A lot of money has been recently spent on this coach. IIRC, within the last 3 years the following was done:

all new tires (virgin, not retreaded)
all new airbags
all new coach batteries
new fridge (Samsung french door, house model, 120V only)
new micro/convect combo (matching Samsung)
new/never slept in queen memory foam mattress

There was also a few receipts for other work (like generator service and other stuff I didn't look at because I wasn't focused) that I forgot to take pics of but I'll get them when I go back. Would this coach have come stock equipped with a Power Tech generator? If not then at least the power head has been replaced. I'll get a shot of the genny engine and power head data plates next time. I didn't climb up to the roof yet but I was told that there is a satellite system up there. Primus system was present, will test next time.

It looked and (more importantly) smelled very clean inside. Not musty or moldy or anything off. All the leather seats and jack knife sofa were in excellent shape. The fabric dining chairs were clean and the dining table leaf was stored in a bedroom cabinet. The floors were white marble tile. The carpet needed a little shampooing but that's to be expected when you have white freaking carpet!

The only thing that gives me pause is that there is no history for this coach. I believe the current owner bought it from a dealer but there is no paperwork or owner's manuals showing long-term maintenance. The other thing I don't really like is the computer controlled 2-stroke. I have heard that the 3rd gen pretty good in comparison to the 1st gen so maybe I'm just being a baby about that.

I guess it would help if I told you why I'm buying a Wanderlodge. I will be working 3 seasons a year for my buddy and he's setting me up with a place to hook up on his property. When work is slow in winter I'll take my coach down and visit family/friends in it. So I'll be living aboard about 10 months out of the year.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can give me. I'll attach some random photos I took while touring the coach.
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Los Angeles, California
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Old 01-28-2018
Birdman9096 Birdman9096 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Tampa
Posts: 411

I’m not going to discount maintenance records and history of a coach. They can certainly give you an ideal of what’s been addressed and repaired. I know that it may not be the norm, but I wouldn’t let the lack records prevent me from buying a coach that I like. Some people are very handy and the DIY type and keep the rigs in tip-top shape. They don’t necessarily write down the cost of materials and labor for everything. We’re dealing with 20, 30 and 40 year old coaches, so you never really know what’s behind the curtain. I would have it inspected as best you can and go with your gut feeling.

Kent & Pearl Glover
1985 FC-35RB "Wild and Wanderful"
Tampa, Fl
(813) 454-6347
Email: juballer22@gmail.com
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Old 01-28-2018
RustyBuns RustyBuns is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 11

Solid points. I'm going back and giving a thorough inspection. Things like extending the jacks and leveling it, running the heaters, etc. Basically follow that inspection checklist linked in this section and turn every knob and throw every switch. I've been reading the owners manual pdf in preparation of my inspection so I know how to operate every system aboard. The current owner didn't know what he was getting into when he bought it. His wife saw the ad online and they bought it, then spent a ton of money on airbags and such, went on one 300 mile trip and the wife didn't like it. Scared of driving it and wants something smaller. So when they sell this WL they'll be picking up a smaller class C like most of their neighbors have (retirement community).

He's a retired trucker so the engine was well looked after while he had it. I was a trucker, too and I took it for a drive around his super tight trailer park community streets and never had to stop and back up once. Drove very smooth and I look forward to a real drive down the highway in her. Even had a tight street with two jokers parked on either side and I slipped through easily. The tires were off-brand but looked about right for having 1k miles on them.

Short story long, I'm gonna go back this week (hopefully) and find out what shape it's really in. There are many pluses to this coach. It sure would be convenient to only have to travel an hour and a half to get my Wanderlodge...

Again, thanks for some insight.
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Los Angeles, California
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Old 01-28-2018
arcaidy arcaidy is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Peachtree City
Posts: 183

I'm not sure how much looking you have done, but I was a lurker for years. Last year I took the plunge and bought mine.
From the pictures and your limited inspection so far that WB sounds like a nice deal.
I wasn't looking to purchase when mine popped up but it fit what I wanted so made the decision to buy. You've brought up concerns with the computer controlled engine. If you don't want that in a PT you'll have to go several years older. I have an 83 with out a computer and like it. Less electrical stuff... I also like the older interiors. Some people don't so if you'll need to decide which interior, bed and bathroom setup you like. The rest may fall in place based on those answers.
I don't think you will find anything with a series 60 that you'd want to buy for 40K...

One of the main selling points for me on mine was the recent maintenance put in to it so I understand the concern for records. I am not sure that would be a deal breaker if I found the bird I wanted though.
James Coffey
Peachtree City, GA
1983 PT35
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Old 01-29-2018
Skidder's Avatar
Skidder Skidder is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Mount Hope
Posts: 283

Mr B.

I have been monitoring this forum "every day" for many years now I am unable to get a bird as I don't have my wife's support.

I tell you this so that you will see, "wanabee" and think "what does he know"?

I can assure you that the one thing you should do is "read the DOT date code on the existing coach tires".
A.W.(Art) Moore
Mount Hope, ON Canada

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Old 01-29-2018
Gatorgrl's Avatar
Gatorgrl Gatorgrl is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Fort Myers
Posts: 2,249

Originally Posted by Skidder View Post
Mr B.

I have been monitoring this forum "every day" for many years now I am unable to get a bird as I don't have my wife's support.".
Get a new wife. lol
Dana (The Wanderer, Builder, Restorer)
Tony (The Grumpy Mechanic)

Lee County, Florida

1983 FC35 3208T "Gen X Express"
1991 Toyota 4Runner TOAD or
1980 Camaro TOAD

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Old 01-29-2018
Bill Pape's Avatar
Bill Pape Bill Pape is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Commerce
Posts: 11,403

Lots of 8V & 6V's still in operation, old design is still dependable.
Bill & Patty
1988 FC, Silver Edition
Commerce, Michigan
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Old 01-29-2018
rrueckwald rrueckwald is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: St. Joseph
Posts: 3,233

Both BB's I bought had limited maintenance records, none from the '95 I bought from a dealer, and records only of the current owner when I bought directly from the prior owner. I have been told dealers destroy records so as to preclude any liability for not disclosing something that was in the records. A very good inspection including driving by someone knowledgeable is about the best you can get when the records are missing, which is often.

The upside is that these vehicles are BUILT! Lots of redundancy and reliability. Way overbuilt. I love them, and I am an engineer.
Ron & Dorinda Rueckwald
St. Joseph, MI
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Old 01-29-2018
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isp2952 isp2952 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: 1520 N. Binkley Rd., Larwill, IN 46764
Posts: 6,359

I have a '93 I bought about 10 years ago. It had a lot of records, that I still have. In the last 10 years I haven't kept them up. Too many years at a job where I had to detail every move I made on paper and I got tired of it I guess. I have done a lot of stuff on this bus fortunately it is all documented here on WOG. I don't list each and every oil change or filter change that I do annually, but anything out of the norm is posted here because I had to ask, "how do I fix this?" or "Look what I just did." So if this bus belonged to a former WOG member, maybe he did the same thing. Worth a search here if it is something that really worries you. I'm like Ron, just because there are no records doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't taken care of. It's a good indicator if there are records, without a doubt, but it doesn't guarantee a thing. As far as the DDII electronics and the 2 stroke, not been a problem for many of us. The bus will certainly get a lot attention, when going through the RV park. I always smile as everyone stops and turns to see what is coming I can never hear them, but the wife will tell me people say "Wow", "That thing is huge", "Man that's nice", and so on. So if you like riding Harleys and getting people's attention, you'll love driving this bus and doing the same. It is a small perk of owning one of these gems. Also, from what I know, I'd say the price you are stating is a good one. I wouldn't sell mine for that! So you may be over thinking it.

Jim and Michele Walters
'93 WLWB
Bluebird of Happiness
2002 Silverado Diesel 2500 HD 4x4
2003 Harley Ultra Classic
Larwill, IN
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Old 01-29-2018
RustyBuns RustyBuns is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 11

Thanks for your opinions, everyone. I should clarify a few things:

I love 2-stroke diesels. Always have and always will. The Detroit is dead-nuts simple...till you add electronic control. I'm not going to turn down a coach with a 71 or 92 but I'm very leery of the early DDEC system. I remember when these engines were new and we had tons of reports of drivers stranded because of ECU failures and the weird semi-separated relays frying. Now this was with the 1st generation and the 2nd was much improved. I can't verify but I'm pretty sure this 94 WB has the DDEC III system and from what I've read it's the best of the electronic systems till the IV came out with the series 60.
I will note that the complexity of an electronically controlled engine isn't a turn-off for me. I've been working with mechanical and electronic engines since I was old enough to see over the fenders. My buddy was also a heavy duty diesel mechanic (Caterpillar) so most minor to moderate problems can be handled by the both of us. We just don't have any hands-on experience with the DDEC system.

The date codes on the tires were some time in the middle of 2015. I meant to take a picture of it but I forgot (as usual). A lifetime ago I worked as a tire buster at a shop so I'm very aware of DOT codes on tires. I had seen cars come in with perfectly fine tires...that were 13 years old. Man, trying to explain to people that their "perfectly fine tires" needed replacement was not a fun job. lol

I've wanted a motor home since my grandparents took me for a ride in theirs when I was a kid. Beyond that, as soon as I learned what a Wanderlodge was I wanted one instantly. It's been a mini dream of mine to have one for many years now and I'm finally in a position to make that dream a reality. Of course, that's why I'm nervous about moving forward. I don't wanna screw up my dream. I learned a valuable lesson in boot camp from a drill instructor who said "It's good to learn from your mistakes but better to learn from the mistakes of others" so I've come here seeking some wisdom and mostly to put my fears to rest. I was very wrapped up in the whole this is a dream come true feeling I had while touring the coach that I had to calm myself down and take some time to really be sure I'm making the right decision.

Thanks for all the comments. I do feel better about the lack of maintenance records now.
Los Angeles, California
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