After considerable shopping around and becoming much more familiar with Craigslist than I ever wanted to be, we ended up deciding on this 2003 Lexington. We bought it from the proverbial little old lady whose husband had passed away and she no longer used it. I had a mobile mechanic come out and look it over and he gave it the okay. Not sure how much his okay was really worth as he seemed to be tweaking just a little and his service van was disheveled and filthy. But the machine ran strong and felt much more ‘van like’ than some of the unwieldy Winnebago style ones we had been test driving so far. The interior is really clean and all of the appliances are in good shape, so we pulled the trigger and pulled out the cash. On the downside, there is very little outside storage on this unit. The rig is constructed on a Chevy workhouse chassis with a 6.0 liter V8 engine. It is 23 feet with a maximum capacity 0f 12,500 lbs.
Forest River is kind of like the Hyundai of the motorhome world. Decent mechanically but they cheap out a little on some of the finishing touches. But for the money we had to spend, this one was newer and in considerably better condition than many of the other RVs we had checked our in the same price range. It’s a basic little unit, but we are quite pleased so far with the performance (unless, of course, you include gas mileage in your judging rubric).
Once we got it home, we set about modifying things to make it fit our personal needs and quirky personalities. After taking it to Big Red’s Automotive for an oil change and overall check up, we started on our list of custom finishes. First we had Mark over at Airbrush Artism do a mini-mural on the front cap to let people know that it is us coming down the road. He worked into the night and after some modifications from PJ, it came out looking pretty stylish. Kind of like a tattoo on your vehicle.
Next, I took out to a suspension shop in Escondido to have them raise the RV up a few inches to help avoid excessive scraping of the undercarriage on pot holed or dirt roads we will certainly be visiting on our travels. They also fabricated some skid plates and a brush guard for the front with a mounting place for a winch.
The next project was replacing the deteriorating headliner and sewing a small area on the fold out couch where the stitching had come loose. After that, I removed the satellite antennae and patched the hole and then purchased a couple of gallons of “Cool Coat” and serviced the roof.
After realizing that the cheesy winch mount that the suspension guy had fabricated wasn’t going to hold if ever a load was placed upon it, I took the motorhome over to the welders at E & C and had them create a solid base for the winch that will hold up under any circumstances.
At the same time I installed a tire pressure monitoring system, combination door lock, and some eyelets to attach dog leashes to.
With the addition of the tire pressure monitoring system, I switched the soft valve extenders out for solid tire valves. The advantage – no leaks. The disadvantage – not all tires are interchangeable. I definitely feel more comfortable rolling for long stretches on empty roads with the solid valves.
Next up was my adventure to Slab City and the installation of 200 watts of solar power and an inverter.
The final major addition was the surfboard rack that I had fabricated for the rear hitch mount that will hold four boards and provides storage space for all my surf related gear.