After an agonizing few days, I've more or less come to the conclusion I've been had and perhaps should cut my losses and take a major hit. Below is the ad I answered and the vehicle I purchased, taking possession in mid-July 2019. This exact description appeared on a major buy-sell website the day before I picked up the motor home. It's a 1991 Horizon 200, which is just what I wanted. Back story: I'm a semi-retired grandmother who's not yet seen her new grandson in Oregon -- he was 5 weeks old when I bought the Horizon here in Colorado, and I had all the best intentions of meeting him within a couple of weeks. He's 10 weeks old now, and I'm no closer to leaving that I was five weeks ago.
OK, here's that listing:
"Very rare and unique self contained 1991 toyota horizon 210 motorhome with very powerfull 3.0L V6 fuel injected motor and automatic transmission.
Fully contained with upgraded 6-lug, 1- ton full-float rear axle and 96,462 miles. Both batteries (engine and coach) are new as well as belts, newer interior with brand new light fixtures and curtains. Needs nothing and ready to take you on your trips right now. It has dash as well as coach air conditioning and heater. There are all camp site shorelines and hookups as well as Coleman power generator, 750 watt power inverter, propane water heater, bathroom sink, shower, toilet, 3 burner gas cooktop, double kitchen sink, microwave, TV, refrigerator.
All the appliances and equipment are in good working order as all the tires. Equipped with cruise control, tilt steering wheel, extra coach speaker and double tow hitch with carrier platform...."
I did drive the motor home before buying it, concerned more with engine performance than cosmetics at that time. The inside was adequate but nothing to write home about. The exterior was/is very rough, with lots of sloppy caulking, cracks and dings. But, as my younger son told me, no one would want to steal it, and that was actually appealing to me. I went to meet the seller and drive the motor home a week before I purchased it, and he assured me then everything worked. I had a list of questions from two different mechanics, and the seller answered them all to my satisfaction at that time. He also said he had winterized it, and it would have to be flushed. OK. No problem. I needed to learn how to do that.
The seller requested cash. Should have sent up some flags, but I paid him cash and he knocked off $300. On my drive down the mountain from his home, I turned the knob for the cab ac, and it blew hot. I thought, OK, no problem. Fixable. Then I set out for home, a multi-hour drive. Tried to plug in my phone charger, and the fuse blew to the dash lights that show what gear one's in. It shifts a bit stiff, so I had to "feel" my way to drive. But OK, no problem. Fuses are cheap.
On the drive home, I took mostly back roads to become more familiar with the vehicle before venturing onto the freeway. But eventually I had to get onto I-25 for about 3 miles, and when I hit 60 mph, all hell broke loose. The vehicle popped out of gear, and the engine revved up to unknown rpm's in neutral as semis roared by me on both sides. I pulled to the side of the road and gently moved the gear shift. I didn't grind, and I got it into drive. However, the same pop occurred a few more times.
Several times, when I crossed seams in overpasses during that 3 miles, I heard a tremendous "boom!" noise. Scared both me and my dog. Think it was the crank-up tv antenna up on the roof, but not totally sure. Multiple times the door to the propane tank flew open, necessitating my stopping and relocking it. I absolutely did lock it each time, but because the propane tank wasn't secured inside its space, it rolled forward and popped the door open. Nuts and bolts completely gone. Pretty scary, actually.
Called the seller, and he said he had no idea what was going on. Neither of those things ever happened to him. He wished me all the best. Got home after more than 4 hours on the road. Took the vehicle to a mechanic the next day, and he told me basically I had some issues. When I had asked the seller about a timing belt, he told me the vehicle didn't have a timing belt but a timing chain. Well, the timing BELT, rubber, had worn out and needed replacing, but the mechanic couldn't even get to it until he replaced idle arm. Bottom line there was $1,000 for belt, water pump and pulley. Also he said leaf springs are shot. Estimate for that is $850. But the mechanic did say the transmission is good, and he could not get it to replicate the "pop." And the fuse was replaced for the gear indicator lights, so there's no guessing what gear I'm really in.
More bad news, though: When we put water into the tank to flush it out, it ran clear inside -- faucets do work, and toilet does flush -- but unless the antifreeze was clear, it had all leaked out through a busted pipe and broken tank on the outside. We figure that because most of the water that was run into the tank leaked out. So for all intents and purposes the water doesn't work. I haven't gotten an estimate on that yet. The coach ac doesn't work. I was told it's not fixable. The refrigerator that came with it is 110, like one you'd find in a Holiday Inn Express room. That's OK, I thought. I'll do solar.
The door to the coach isn't working. I can't even bring myself to ask the guy who's working on it why the door doesn't work. It did work, and now it doesn't That's all I know.
Looking ahead, all new tires will run about $1,000. (There are at least two different sizes and varying stages of wear that were not all that visible when I looked at it initially, but again, my fault for being too trusting...)
Right now I'm $20,000 into it with work on the inside, timing belt, etc., and my retirement savings is going fast. This was my bucket list extravaganza, and I told the seller my primary reason for getting it was to go to Oregon and meet my new grandson. He said, "You'll have a blast."
I'm not having a blast. Of course I know it's my fault, and Colorado lemon laws don't cover used motor homes. So with what I've described here, am I better off just listing it and getting what I can for it, losing probably $10,000, or does anyone see a light at the end of the tunnel? God bless you all for indulging a senior woman whose dream of a road trip has been trashed.
OH, and one more thing, a laugh, really. The TV that came with it was an old portable with hook ups for a VCR. The second right turn I made, not a sharp turn at all, caused it to slide on the shelf and crash to the floor. It rattled ominously when I picked it up. I really did have to laugh at that one.