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New to me RV

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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: New to me RV
    Posted: 10 Dec 2022 at 1:16am
Since we sold the rpod 2 years ago we have been RV free. But it couldn't last. Our new acquisition:



1994 Chinook Concourse. Why an older Class B this time around? 

Our use case changed. When when bought the rpod we were living in Hatteras NC on the Outer Banks. We had the not fun experience of evacuating during a couple hurricanes and having hours of stalled traffic and nights sleeping in the car due to lack of hotel rooms. So we wanted a platform we could both use for camping and to bug out early and for extended periods, as folks aren't allowed back on the island for several days to weeks after a bad storm. Ultimately we gave up on the OBX,   too many storms and floods,  moved to the mountains, where we have a small farm with all the work that entails. So the rpod went to someone who could make use of it. 

But we missed travel and camping. What to do when we can only get away for a few days at a time? 

The answer requires a
a combination of two vehicles: an airplane to get somewhere quick, and a camping vehicle to stay in when we get there. Well, actually 3 vehicles, we need a car to get to the airport here....

It had to be a small class B that fits in a normal parking space, so we can leave it places we want to visit. It needed to be affordable because the airplane sucks up most of our limited disposable income. It had to be older. My wife had to be comfortable driving it (she never liked towing the rpod)  because I'm not talented enough to drive it and fly my airplane at the same time.. Over my wife, it  had to have a full bath with shower  And after all the structural, workmanship,  and water intrusion problems  with the rpod and other standard issue RVs we've had, I wanted a high quality fiberglass coach built on a robust platform.

The Chinook satisfies all those requirements and I think  still looks good too. Ford E350 dually chassis with a 460 V8. 21 ft long, drives and parks like a big pickup or large SUV. One piece fiberglass shell, no water leaks after 28 years. Nice cabinetry, fabrics, high quality fit and finish.

How does it compare to the Rpod?  It has about the same interior space as our 172, but  arranged differently. Nicer kitchen with a large fridge, double sink, and Corian counters. About the same interior and exterior storage, dining, and bathroom space. 

A bit more water storage, which is good for boondocking. The fresh water system is entirely within the heated space, so no freeze problems with that while camping. 

Less  convenient sleeping arrangement, it has a jackknife sofa we will have to pull out every night. Nothing is perfect. We could have opted for an RV with separate overcab sleeping but we're too old for all the climbing up and down to use the bathroom.

So next steps will be to fix  the broken and/or  not fully functional items one expects to find in a near 30 year old camper. I'm starting that voyage of discovery now...

Then a couple trial trips. If those work as we hope then the mods and upgrades can start.  My wife wants to do a few cosmetic changes  most notablly replacement of carpeting with vinyl flooring and new blinds.

 I'll begin a power system moderization to allow full off grid operation, including  air conditioning, food refrigeration, and winter freeze protection. That will entail a large lithium battery bank and solar array, inverter/charger, high efficiency heat pump/air conditioner, compressor refrigerator,  and heating for the black and gray tanks. It already has a 4kw generator which I plan to keep as backup for the solar, but I'd like the solar array to handle the food fridge and interior freeze protection  requirements without fuel use when the vehicle is parked remotely. 

We'll see how it goes... 

1994 Chinook Concourse
1995 RV6A Experimental Aircraft
2015 Rpod 179 - sold
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jato View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jato Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2022 at 5:13am
Very nice acquisition!  Either they still are in production or because of their build quality I still see a fair amount of these on the road or in the campground, especially out west.  So does that robust F-350 also come with the 390 V-8?  Many years ago, owning a 1982 F-250, it had that engine with a manual transmission.  A great dependable engine, funny how it always ran at about 11.5 - 12.5 mpg whether empty or fully loaded with a cord of wood in the 8' bed, but by 1988, and over 300 K miles later, too many Michigan winters had eaten up the body to where it wasn't safe to be on the road anymore.  One time, the truck was obviously overloaded with too much wood, it was stacked about even with the top of the cab and it was noted that going around curves on the road the speed was dropped to about 20 mph otherwise the truck would go straight.  And then, on that same trip as the truck was going up a driveway with about a 3% grade to deliver the wood it pulled a wheelie!  At that point a whole bunch fell out and then the front end came crashing down, not a good experience.  The truck never got loaded like that again.

I have to admit, the previous owner(s) took impeccable care in keeping your 1994 Chinook in pristine condition, at least the picture would attest to that.  Keep us posted how this all works out with you and the Mrs.  Welcome back to the world of camping!
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Jim and Diane by beautiful Torch Lake
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lostagain View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lostagain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2022 at 7:03am
Wow! That's a really nice camper.  Congratulations on your new acquisition.  From your list of upgrades, looks like you'll have plenty of fun projects to tinker with.  Looks like it is perfect for older campgrounds that don't have much parking space for larger RV's.  
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2022 at 7:51am
It's in very good cosmetic shape but by no means perfect. The worst appearance issue on the exterior is the clear coat  peeling off the stripes, which are painted not decals.  The fiberglass gel coat and cab paint are fine. No rust on the body anywhere I could see. 
My wife isn't happy with the stripes but I'm inclined to leave them alone. I didn't really want a perfect camper because perfect attracts attention and it's going to be left in little airport parking lots for extended periods. But, if anyone has suggestions on how to remove and respray clear coat on stripes without having to  repaint the whole vehicle I'd be interested to hear them.

 The engine is the 460 (7.5 liter) V8. I have no experience with that engine (yet!), but from my prepurchase research they sound like they're generally solid reliable machines. Its rated to tow a 5000 lb  trailer.   I can tell you it has plenty of power, went right up the  7 mile grade on I77 at Fancy Gap  at 65-70mph. Of course, I could watch the fuel gauge dropping the whole way up, but that's to be expected.LOL
1994 Chinook Concourse
1995 RV6A Experimental Aircraft
2015 Rpod 179 - sold
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David and Danette View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote David and Danette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2022 at 11:21am
 We are in Florida now and while visiting my mother in an assistant living home I looked out the window and a Chinook camper that looked like the one you bought was in the parking lot. I am guessing it belonged to one of the residents at the home who probably wasn't ready to give it up.
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2022 at 2:18pm
Guess all us old geezers think alike LOL
1994 Chinook Concourse
1995 RV6A Experimental Aircraft
2015 Rpod 179 - sold
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gpokluda View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gpokluda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2022 at 1:24pm
Congratulations. Very nice rig. Those Ford engines are work horses too, so you will get a lot of life out of it. Also, I agree that fiberglass coaches are the way to go. Keep us posted on the upgrades.
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