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Looking At A 1984 Winnebego Elanda Type A RV

by C EDSALL
(LATROBE, PA.)

A LOCAL DEALER HAS THIS UNIT ON SALE FOR JUST UNDER $5,000. IS IT FEASIBLE TO CONSIDER THIS UNIT? WHAT ABOUT THE FREON FOR THE REFRIG AND AIR CONDITIONER?

ANSWER Let me first thank you for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page. Yes, it is feasible to consider purchasing this RV. Because an RV is older, does not mean it is in bad shape. If an RV has been well maintained over the years and small problems have been repaired before they have become big problems then you could say that it would be a great deal.


I am assuming that this Class A is powered by a gasoline engine. You do not tell me how many miles the RV has on it. When you start looking at RVs that are over 20 years old, mileage is a big consideration. If the mileage is very low, it is a good thing. When you start seeing miles in the 60,000 mile range and above in a gasoline powered engine, you have to realize that gasoline engines tend to wear out faster than a diesel engine.

In a diesel powered RV with 60,000 miles on it, most people say it is just getting broke in. A gas powered RV with 60,000 miles on it considered to be getting up there.

One factor you must consider when buying an older RV, even from a dealer is they are usually sold AS-IS. That means if you drive it off the lot and wheels fall off of it, you are responsible for the repairs, not the RV dealer. Some RV dealers may provide some sort of used RV warranty. This is a question you need to ask them before purchase.

The one step I would recommend is that a used RV Inspection be performed. There are companies that you can hire that will actually come out and do a thorough inspection of the RV for you. Once they complete this inspection you will be provided with a report that will tell you what problems; if any there are with the RV.

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Remember, you are the one that will be paying for this inspection. The money you spend on this inspection will be well worth it and could save you a lot more money in the future if the inspector finds a major problem on the RV you are considering buying.

If you feel comfortable performing the inspection or if you have a friend that is very knowledgeable about RVs, you can save money by performing the inspection yourself.

The bottom line is that you should not buy a used RV of this age unless a Used RV Inspection is performed.

We feel so strongly about these inspections that we have dedicated a whole section of our website to Used RV Inspections. I would suggest that you click on the links below and review the information we have provided.

Used RV Inspection, Is It Important?


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Section 1 is for motorized and non motorized RVs.  It covers the guidelines for reviewing important documents about the RV, the inspection of the interior and exterior of the RV.

Section 2 is for motorized RVs and covers the guidelines for inspection of the engine and the guidelines on what to look for during a road test of the RV.

Now, to the second part of your question regarding Freon use in the Air Conditioners, Refridgerators of the RV. Freon released into the atmosphere has been identified by scientists as a contributing factor in the deterioration of the earth's ozone layer, which is leading to global warming.

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The use and production of Freon in the US for all intents and purposes has been banned. There are substitutes that can be used to replace the old Freon. One of the main complaints about these substitutes is that they don't cool as well as the old Freon did.

Over the years these Freon substitutes have gotten better and there are less complaints about them not getting as cold as the old Freon. There are different Freon substitutes that replace the different types of Freons used in the past. Not knowing what was used in the AC and fridge of the RV you are looking at, I would not be able to pinpoint which substitute would work for you.

I would suggest that you either contact Winnebego and find out what they recommend or contact an RV Repair shop and find out what they use. I would not be too worried about this unless you are told that no Freon substitutes are available for your RV.

Hopefully, this will help you better determine if the Used RV you are looking at is a "Great Deal" or "Bad Deal".

As always our visitors are welcome to add their input to this topic by clicking on the Submit A Comment link at the bottom of this page.

Good luck on your RV hunt and Happy RVing

RVing Al

Comments for Looking At A 1984 Winnebego Elanda Type A RV

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I wouldn't!
by: A friend

Your question about buying a 1984 "Elandon" by Winnebago. If $5,000 is what you want to invest on an RV, I would think you can find something much newer. The 84 Elandon was a low profile coach probably on a Chevy P30 Chassis. It as both a driver and passenger side door up front.

The refrigerator doesn't run on freon, it is a ammonia and hydrogen gas absorption unit. It is 20 something years old. If it hasn't been replaced, I am sure it won't be long before you will have to. With the Elandon being a low profile unit, replacing the fridge isn't easy. You have to get it out of the RV. Sometimes the entire door of the RV has to be removed to get the fridge out. You are looking at mininum $2,000 to replace the fridge, with labor, more.
The engine is a 454 Chevrolet V-8. The older Chevies were prone to manifold leaks. Again if someone hasn't replaced both exhaust manifilds, you will need to do this, and you can end up spending $1,000-$1,500 time labor and parts are figured in. That is if you are lucky enough not to break off the manifold bolts going into the heads. If that happens you will have to remove the cylinder heads to have them drilled out.
If I were you, and I certainly don't know your budget range, but if you can afford a little more, or even consider financing. I know I know, you probably don't want to make payments. But if you have to rebuild this old coach while using it, it would be chealer to make payments, and you would have something a lot more dependable.
On a resale value that old Elandon isn't worth anywhere near $5,000.

Just my two cents.

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