How Long Will It Last?

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July 10, 2012

How Long Will It Last?
You addressed RV refrigerator longevity in the May issue of Highways. What about the RV itself?

I’m the original owner of a 1978 Midas Mini Series 1000 motorhome on a Chevy 30 chassis. This 21-foot RV has 130,000 miles on the original dual-rear-wheel axle differential, 300 transmission and 350 engine. Because it is fairly easy and inexpensive to repair, and the fuel consumption isn’t much worse than newer models, I don’t think I’ll replace it anytime soon.

I’m interested in the structural integrity of the “box,” which was built in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Although I don’t feel or sense any problems with the framing or the attachment to the chassis, I am seeing a little daylight and feeling more draft inside. I’ve had only one small water leak at the cabover window.
Perry Michelini
Chicago, Illinois

Bob: Motorhomes have come a long way since the ’70s. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t get too wrapped up in comparing how yours was built with the techniques used by today’s manufacturers. If it’s still around after almost 30 years, the company did something right.

Water intrusion is a major enemy of motorhomes, especially in the early models where the roofs are problematic. Make sure you inspect the roof, clearance lights and roof vents—and any other accessory or part that required a hole for installation—frequently. There are good lap sealers on the market that can keep the interior dry. I’m not sure what you mean by “seeing a little daylight,” but that’s certainly an area where repairs might be in order.

Again, don’t get too worked up about structural integrity. Today’s motorhomes are certainly safer and stronger, but I wouldn’t discount the integrity of your old rig. After all, it’s still going strong after 130,000 miles.

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