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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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Old 08-08-2013
Labrador's Avatar
Labrador Labrador is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Huntersville, NC (Metro Charlotte)
Posts: 394

Buying aBluebird is a lot like buying an older house; maybe it was well maintained and will hold together great, maybe it will be a money pit. Even if you bought from a anal retentive owner or dealer with a great reputation, did the best due diligence and pre-purchase inspections, something could still go really wrong (spun engine bearing, transmission failure, electrical meltdown,etc).

On the other hand you could get a great deal, buy on a hunch, and everything could work out perfectly. I shopped around, compared pricing on Craigslist, eBay, brokers, and dealers and ended up taking the alligator strategy: I just laid low and waited until the right deal came by. I ended up with a bird that is exactly what I wanted, in great condition, for a very good price. Then again, I could shoot a connecting rod out the side of the engine block on my trip to the beach next week.

These are by and large machines that are two to four decades old and every one is a crapshoot, just like a used Hattaras or other expensive toy. Buying one is gambling to a certain extent; like any other bet you need to listen to your gut when you get ready to buy. Like gambling, when you are looking at a coach and are not sure what to do it is probably best to back away. But if your gut (and some base of knowledge) tells you the deal is right you need to be able to pull the trigger.

Aside from obviously neglected or abused coaches, there is no small amount of luck in getting a machine that does not grind up your budget. Knock on wood...
Tom Anderson
Huntersville, NC
1987 PT38 8V92 (SOLD)
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Old 08-08-2013
Posts: n/a

Future New Owners: Take Note:

There are many things on a Wanderlodge that need periodic repair and/or replacement. It doesn’t matter whether it is a 2007 model or a 1967 model; all are aged to the point of needing money spent on them to keep them roadworthy.

I assure you that there is not a Wanderlodge out there for sale that is not in need of some repair or replacement parts. Inspections prior to purchasing by a knowledgeable person will help determine the extent of repairs needed but even a professional will not find all the issues as they may not be immediately apparent.

The amount of repair monies spent on a new purchase will vary depending on what road worthy condition you are satisfied with. If you want to keep your bus in near pristine condition: be prepared to invest large sums. If you are satisfied with a fair condition but road worthy bus; you can accomplish that with less dough invested by selecting the most needed components initially and spreading the other repairs over time.

I consider myself a pretty savvy BB buyer considering I have bought and owned three of them. All three needed substantial monies spent on them immediately following their purchase. And the parts and labor to keep them in good order aren’t cheap.

I knew going in that my present 2000 LXi needed work when I bought it. I was willing to do the repairs because both Tela and I really liked the bus. So I ended up spending $15,000 on it immediately after I bought it. And there’s more that needs to be done. I could have spent less by doing the work myself but I chose to hire it done. That did not include any new tires or batteries.

At any rate; you will probably spend more money on buying and repairing the bus than you will ever be able to get out of it when you go to sell it. But owning a Wanderlodge isn’t all about making a good investment. It’s the joy and pleasure derived from owning one of these beautiful creations.

So if you are considering buying a Wanderlodge; buy it because you like it and because of the joy and pleasure it will bring to you and your family and don’t fret about spending more money on it than it’s worth.
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Old 08-09-2013
Alan Alan is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 887

I feel quite blessed then - 1,500 miles and only a $40.00 generator thermostat in the first month of ownership (knock on wood). The person I bought it from predicted that it would be the least expensive part I ever buy for it.
1998 Wanderlodge LXi 41' "The Alan Darson's Project"
2013 Lincoln MKX (toad)
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Old 08-09-2013
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Bill Pape Bill Pape is online now
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Commerce
Posts: 11,461

Originally Posted by Pletcher View Post
Okay, I think some were missing the point of my post. I am not complaining or whining about the amount of money that was put in to the bus. I was merely trying to point out to perspective buyers what to expect from a older neglected bird. I allotted all monies that was talked about. So if my point(s) were misinterpreted, sorry. Just trying to give a current happenings on my project. I take a lot of pride in the amount of work that was done so far and have no plans on stopping anytime soon. No matter the cost.
Hi John, sorry if we strayed off topic,

I met John (WrenchSlinger) at Hershey , http://pletcherfire.com/
He was enthused about his potential purchase, He was excited, spent the day and asked all the right questions.
We tried to confuse him, but he was focused and on task, he seemed very aware of becoming a BB owner.
He will soon or now be one of our strong tech support folks.
Bill & Patty
1988 FC, Silver Edition
Commerce, Michigan
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Old 08-09-2013
jwasnewski jwasnewski is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Dahlonega, GA
Posts: 1,111

Yep, for years I have preached that restoring a BB is far more expensive than flopping down the money up front. And for years folks have continued to bottom feed and look at me like I am nuts. There will always come a day when the price goes up and leaves you behind wishing. The value of these things are not going to zero, contrary to popular belief. ------------PARTS----------------value greater than the whole. Get it? Ask Randy.

When I purchased my Bird years ago, I paid a fair price at the time for a top quality unit. No junk; really top quality. It has not let me down. It is still one of the finest examples available.

Now, I have an issue with the $10K repairs being bantered around.

Folks, you simply cannot include elective upgrades in that number. Things like a GPS, which I do not use, do not count. I have found my way for 70 years without it. Other things like flat screens, blue teeth, (i like white teeth ) electronic coach monitoring systems, outside entertainment systems, upgraded zap ovens, conversion to hydronic heat, wood floor upgrades and the like should not be included in this mysterious 10K first year discussion. Deferred mechanical maintenance of existing items should be the only things included. Yeah, tires, I will give you that!

If I am a seller, I have no interest in paying for Susie's new wood floor. Susie needs to pay for that. If Susie does not like the couch color and the couch is in top notch shape, well, Susie can fund that change. See what I mean. I am not hanging with Susie.

Now, if I did not change the oil, then I need to do that! And so on.

Good day.
Leroy Eckert
Dahlonega, GA

Former "Smoke N Mirrors" caretaker
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Old 08-09-2013
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birds_first birds_first is offline
RV Appraiser
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 5,239

I agree with Leroy on this one; I have been in hundreds of birds and have inspected or appraised nearly 300 since 2007. Out of all I have seen I can say there has been a few that should have never been bought by the owner. As much as we all would like too we just can not rescue every basket case out there and there were a few. None recently, but I have seen a few that should have made their way to a good parts yard. I once ran into a bird that the young man paid way too much for it to begin with then he paid an RV dealership a ton of money to sort out other isses and before it was over he had over 25 grand in a 8000 coach. We'll always be spending money on these vehicles but I beleave it is better to buy the best you can buy for the money you have at hand, but if you have to spend 20+ grand to make it safe and presentable save your money. A bargain can be found almost every day. I for one would rather spend money on fuel, oil & tires and take my family to places we always want to go, if I had to put a ton of time & money into a project I'd not have the money to spend the time with my family & friends. JMHO
John McGinnis,
95WB42MD S60, Mid-Entry "B-Rex"
88FC35 (SOLD)
Louisville, KY/Jeffersonville, IN
2000 Jeep Cherokee
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Old 08-09-2013
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warbucks13477 warbucks13477 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Vernon Center
Posts: 1,302

Leroy you are like John the Baptist praying in the wilderness on this issue! but it is the only way to look at it. comgratulations Its a wonder after reading this thread that any reasonable person would even think about buying a 20 year old bluebird. every coach I have purchased was first evaluated to see what it needed to put it in condition so that when we hopped in it, we were reasonably assured that we would get to our destination safely and without breaking down. That means good tires, good brakes, good reliable generator, and an engine that starts immediately and idles well, and a tranny that does what it was designed to do. That concept has worked well for me, evidenced by the fact that I have never broke down on the road. Well actually last week I was stranded only 20 miles from home. But it was not the coaches fault nor mine. I had just gone thru a large road repair and bridge job just outside Rome,NY, and almost thru it lost the power steering. Was towed back to Vernon, and the coach dropped off at the diesel shop. Next morning the hose was removed, a high pressure stainless steel reinforced hose and found to have a piece sliced out of it proably caused be something left in the road. Other then that none of my coaches have ever been towed.

As far as prices on coaches There is absolutely no way you can buy a cheap coach and get it to the condition my coach is in for the price I offered it for on WOG earlier at $45k. I paid $65k for the coach and another 8. 75 percent tax on it plus round trip airlime tickets for my wife and I to Dallas,Tx. the coach was a bargain. I am going to advertise the coach here locally at a price of $40k OBO this week and see if it will sell here. Who ever is lucky enough to get it will get enough parts with it to last a long time. it has been serviced right and the major mechanics, hotwater heater brakes etc have all been upgraded. it needs nothing. I have enough technical data and parts that go with the coach to fill the large lower storage bin
Tom Warner
Vernon Center,NY
1985 PT40 SOLD
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Old 08-10-2013
kb0zke kb0zke is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Urbana
Posts: 389

"Paul there isn't a week that goes by here on WOG where a member doesn't comment on finding something they didn't know about their bus." The same can be said about most coach owners. No matter how well you think you know your coach, someone has learned something about their coach that you didn't know.

The previous owners of our coach didn't know that the steering wheel telescoped as well as tilted. They knew the original owners and had owned a similar coach prior to buying the one we bought from them. They had owned two different Foretravels for 20 years and didn't know about the telescoping steering wheel. I knew about it because I read it on the forum.

That is the real value of these forums, and why I continue to read this one regularly. I have learned so much from all of you generous people here. I regularly recommend this forum to people who might be interested in a 'Bird, and urge them to call Randy. Thank you again for all of the help you have provided. Some day we're going to get to the WOG Rally so we can meet all of you fine people in person.
David Lininger
Urbana, Missouri
1993 Foretravel U300 40'
Build number 4371
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