Thursday, May 24, 2018

BMW Powered Motorhome? 1986 Vixen 21 TD

Sometime back in the middle of the 1980s there was a small company out of Michigan that produced 587 examples of a custom aero-styled recreational vehicle with a turbo-diesel BMW inline-6 engine hanging out back and powering the rear wheels.  Styling was done by Bill Collins (known for his work on the Delorean) and the beast was intended to be the "sports car" of RVs, with a low center of gravity, a 100 mph top speed, and a manual gearbox.  Read more about the Vixen here.    Find this 1986 Vixen TD 21 Motorhome here on eBay bidding for $3,050 reserve-not-met with $11,000 buy-it-now located in Warren, ME with 1 day to go.



 From the seller:

Item specifics
Condition: Used Year: 1986
VIN (Vehicle Identification Number): 16XADM312G1010100 Mileage: 400,000
Number of Cylinders: 6 Make: Other Makes
Transmission: Manual Drive Type: RWD
Vehicle Title: Clear Fuel Type: Diesel
Exterior Color: White For Sale By: Private Seller

OUR FAMILY HAS OUT GROWN OUR VIXEN (#100 - WE'RE THE SECOND OWNERS) AND IT'S TIME TO MOVE ON. THESE VEHICLES ARE FAIRLY RARE AND THIS ONE, WHICH HAS 400,000 MILES ON THE CHASSIS AND APPROXIMATELY 52,000 MILES ON A TOTAL ENGINE REBUILD, IS IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE. IT'S BEEN USED (WE DROVE IT FROM MAINE TO COLORADO A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO AND ALL OVER NEW ENGLAND SINCE THEN) AND THE PRICE IS SET TO REFLECT THE WEAR AND TEAR ON THE VEHICLE. THAT BEING SAID, I WOULDN'T HESITATE TO DRIVE IT ANYWHERE TOMORROW. 



WE HAVE ALL RECORDS, TO INCLUDE ANY/ALL TECH MANUALS AND DIAGRAMS YOU COULD WANT. THE LAST OWNER PURCHASED IT NEW AND KEPT A METICULOUS LOG OF ALL WORK AND UPGRADES. WE'VE TRIED TO DO THE SAME AND HAVE BEEN DILIGENT WITH REGARDS TO MAINTENANCE. WE ALSO HAD THE PROBLEMATIC AIR LEVELING SYSTEM REPLACED WITH BILSTEIN SHOCKS AND THE SHORT SHIFTER KIT INSTALLED (BOTH FROM GREG ERICSSON'S AFAB VIXEN SHOP IN MONTANA) NEW CLUTCH PROFESSIONALLY INSTALLED ON 8/20/17. OIL AND GLOW PLUGS JUST REPLACED. THE RADIATOR WAS RECENTLY COMPLETELY RECORDED AND ALL BELTS REPLACED (PROBABLY THE VIXEN'S BIGGEST WEAK SPOT, IN ADDITION TO ENGINE COOLING-RELATED ISSUES). THE WEBASTO SYSTEM'S PUMP WAS REPLACED AND IT WORKS FLAWLESSLY. WE ALWAYS ADDED DIESEL ADDITIVE TO EVERY FILL-UP. THE TIRES ARE IN GOOD SHAPE. ORIGINAL RADIO WAS GONE WHEN WE BOUGHT IT SO WE INSTALLED AN ALPINE HEAD UNIT AND FOUR NEW SPEAKERS. SHOWER DRAIN PUMP WORKS FINE, AS DOES THE GALLEY SINK PUMP. NO RUST ANYWHERE EXCEPT FOR THE BATTERY CAGE, AND THAT'S AN EASY WELD JOB. NEW HOUSE BATTERIES (GEL) IN 2014. POWER INVERTER IS ORIGINAL BUT RECORDS INDICATE IT WAS REBUILT IN THE 90S; WE'VE NEVER HAD A PROBLEM WITH IT. ALL WATER/SEWAGE FITTINGS WORK FINE.




THE "ISSUES" WITH THIS VIXEN ARE AS FOLLOWS:

THE ALTERNATOR BRACKET HAS A CRACK IN IT. IT'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE BUT SHOULD BE REPLACED/WELDED AT SOME POINT
NO HORN AND NO CRUISE CONTROL.
THE WINDSHIELD HAS TWO SMALL STARBURST CRACKS THAT WERE DRILLED AND FILLED SO THEY WOULDN'T EXPAND BUT THEY ARE NOTICEABLE.
DASH AIR CONDITIONING WAS RECHARGED LAST YEAR BUT IT'S NEVER BLOWN VERY COLD.
THE REFRIGERATOR AND MICROWAVE ARE GONE. WE'VE NEVER REPLACED THEM BECAUSE WE LIKE HAVING THE EXTRA STORAGE SO WE JUST PUT A COOLER IN THE EMPTY SPACE.
HEADLIGHTS ARE DIM. 
WINDSHIELD WIPERS WORK BUT ARE VERY SLOW. 
THE ONBOARD AIR COMPRESSOR IS STILL INTACT BUT STOPPED WORKING. TO LIFT THE ROOF, WE INSTALLED A VALVE AND PURCHASED A 12V MINI-COMPRESSOR THAT WE PLUG IN WHEN WE'RE READY. 


AND FINALLY, THE BIGGEST ISSUE IS THE WEAR AND TEAR IN THE VEHICLE. THE CARPET IS WORN, THE SEATS AREN'T TORN BUT THEY'RE 30 YEARS OLD, AND THE HEADLINERS ARE MISSING/WORN. NOT SURE WHAT A CONVERSION VAN SHOP WOULD CHARGE TO REDO THESE THINGS BUT, AGAIN, WE THINK THE PRICE REFLECTS THAT. 



See a better motorhome for cheap? tips@dailyturismo.com

9 comments:

  1. I want one of these pretty badly. Take it to any old-BMW show and you'll be the most popular guy there.

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  2. I've know two people who have owned these. One in CA and another in MA. Both loved them.

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  3. These are awesome machines. But....as an orphan with very limited parts supply, it's hard to use them as a real travel machine. To many parts made out of unobtainium. I feel similarly about the Clark Cortez. Sweet, but parts availability in the middle of a vacation on an old worn exotic?

    My motorhome is on a Chevy Astro chassis. FLAPs is all you need.

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    Replies
    1. novek -- yeah, that is a concern, but with BMW power you are only the nearest pep boys away from engine parts and for everything else, get a 3D printer. And if plastic isn't gonna cut it, you can always use your printer to make a mold and cast metal in your DIY furnace.

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    2. LOL, Pep Boys is gonna disappoint you if you think they've got BMW diesel parts. I couldn't get a hold of an oil filter for an e28 with the same engine. Not locally anyway. RockAuto has them. I think many of the non-maintenance parts may have you relying on the dealer, or at least the internet. On the bright side, you can live in this thing wherever you're forced to park it for a week.

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  4. What does the shift linkage look like on this thing? Stick in the cabin and the tranny a mile behind you? Knowing it is German I assume there is a wildly complicated system there.

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    Replies
    1. Nope. It's a Renault transaxle. You can find that tranny in a DeLorean, a Lotus Esprit, and... uh... I think that's it for cars that were sold in the states.

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  5. "Top speed of 100 mph" - how are you going to hold up a line of cars at speeds like that?

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