I was able to go through the van today. It will go to a mechanic tomorrow to have the mechanical systems assessed.
I have answers to the questions posted. Here is what I discovered. Given the info below any thoughts on value for this van. I have linked to a album of pictures.
Quigley: Bushing, Tie Rods and Brakes - some of these are Quigley only items. Are the trailing arms squarish channels or are they round. The squarish channel arms are prone to cracking and most rigs have paid for the update to the round tube arms and new bushings.
A: The channel arms are square. No cracks but will call Quigley tomorrow to get a price to replace. Bushings appear to be ok.
Steering - tight? Not going to be sportscar but should be positive without slop.
A: Steering seems pretty good. Not super sloppy but not tight. Felt comfortable test driving at highway speed.
Trans - fluid looks good, no wrong smells, shifts are smooth? Should be fine. A new tranny from John Woods or BTS was around $3.5k for the tranny last time I checked.
A: tranny was replace with new Ford unit at 50k miles
v10 - have the plugs and coils been changed? That needs to be done, if not. Cost will be around $800 (maybe higher?) and will be good for another 100k miles. Should be no leaks, idle should be near silky smooth.
A: plugs and coils not replaced but the engine idles perfectly. Will get cost to replace and budget for this some time soon.
Check the cabinets for swelling from humidity or spills. if lights are incandescent bulbs, you will want to consider mods to LED.
A: No water damage or signs of water anywhere.
AC / Heater- There is no way the AC was running for the pets unless the rig was plugged in. It will not run on the batteries. Heat - no problems, runs on Propane. Make sure you listen to that heater (Suburban??) running to make sure you will be happy sleeping with it on. The CO sensor should be no more than 5 yrs old. They have 7 yr life.
A: It's a suburban heater. Turned on and off ok with thermostat but the heater makes a noise like something is stuck tumbling around in the blower. Is it a hard job to access the blower? I was able to find the unit at the bottom of the side closet but it's enclosed in metal and not an obvious way to get at the blower.
Video of sound: https://photos.app.goo.gl/kDgvaSnS5s6zkfg48
If there is a water heater, pretty much expect that will have to be replaced since it is near 20 yrs old.
A: The water heater is the original but the owner pretty well never used it. The pressure release valve is frozen and the threads where the anode rod goes is very rusty. The anode was not in place so I was able to peer a bit into the tank. I am guessing you are correct that it needs replacement.
Battery- House - check condition. Age does not really matter under 5 yrs but the way it was used and charged does. A 6 month old battery can be easily destroyed if regularly drawn down, left under charged, not maintained on a charger. The battery separator will likely be blue and under the hood on the drivers side fender. That will probably be nice to update.
A: There are 2 huge house batteries under the van. One is under the side double doors and the other is toward the back of the van between the gas tank and the under floor storage. The are completely dead and need replacement. The are Lifeline batteries and cost $600 each to replace. Ouch
Any solar? You will want to add if not. Budget $1 to$ 2k
A: no solar
Pop Top - raises and lowers smoothly? Check the lifting bars for bends and cracks. The bends will be visible looking at the bars form the side, the cracks will be around the pivot bolts.
A:Top was in good shape and frame was good with no cracks or bends.
Check the van roof for rubbed paint where the bulb seal rests against the roof and around the gutters. Sand gets between the bulb seal and paint and the road vibration turns into a sanding strip. If it has thick black protection tape all around the roof where the bulb seal contacts, that is good! Check the Pop Top bolts on the outer surface. They should be plastic capped and not rusty.
A: there was paint rubbed off in this area but no rust at all. Top bolt covers where there but the washers were a bit rusty.
Under carriage rust - undercoating can trap moisture in between the under coating and the metal. if the frame look structurally sound you should be good. May require some attention. Any body metal rust should be looked at very, very closely. check under the floor mats up front, Some rigs have leaks that will rot out the floor from the inside.
A: There is a lot of rust under the van. Most looks to be surface rust other than the propane tank has scaling rust and the battery holders have scale. Rust is pretty well all over and I feel like it would need to be treated to keep it from turning into a problem. Surprisingly there is no rust on the body at all. I have pictures and would like to hear feedback on how big of a problem this is. See pictures.
Rear axle - check to see if it is a full floater or if it is a semi floater ( you can search for how to tell, just have to pull the rear wheel) Full floater is much more desirable - worth extra $2k
A: Not sure but I think it's a full floater. See pictures.
Make sure the AC in dash blows cold. That can be $300 to $2k to fix.
A: AC was good
Gas tank - I would expect (hope?) it has a Transfer Flow (TF) 46Gal tank. You can tell by looking at the build sheet from SMB or by looking at the tank - it is flat bottomed an has lettering on th e side. There should also be a sticker on the door. IF it has the separate auxiliary rear tank (usually listed as 52 or 55 gal total capacity) ther will be a Transfer Flow display around the dash. Make sure this really works and transfers fuel from the rear tank to the front. If it does not you are looking at $1 to 2k to fix this at TF in Chico CA, or you are going to have to find a shop that will adapt a fuel transfer pump and bypass the TF system. IF it does not have a replacement longer range tank you will be limited to about 260 to 300 mile range with the V10 since the tank would be cut down to about 28 to 30 gals. Thus the reason many rigs opted for the TF 46 gal tanks (which really only hold 41 usable).
A: Seller said it's a 40 gallon tank but could not find any info on a transfer system. There is a big square box under with lettering that I assume is the gas tank but there is no transfer system to worry about? See pictures