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Old 02-11-2019, 10:54 AM   #1
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Need Advice for the purchase of a 34FDDS

Hello Alpine owners,
After 3 month of research my mind has setteled on an Alpine coach. We like to purchase a unit in the 36ft range max- so I found a 2006 34FDDS.
I put a deposit down and like to check out the unit this week. It is a very long drive for me from Ky to MN, but I am willing to do that for the right unit and I can tow my car back.
So I am starting to get cold feet as I am getting more information for this unit.
Here a couple of facts:
+ 2006 with 65k miles
+ 1250h on the gen set
+ it is located at a dealer
+ Tires are new ... well installed recently, good enough I can look at the code once there.
+ No upgraded TPM system - not a deal breaker
+ Aquahot system - I like that option a lot
+ A very big concern is A) The son of the dealership has used it for 2 years to me that is like driving a rental car and B) I am now told there are no service records available other than the once from the dealership.
+ New 6V Interstate and new engine batteries however in the pic provided I can see there is only 4x6V installed.
+ All belts are replaced recently

So my question to you seasoned Alpine owners :”What are items that I really need to look for when I inspect the unit?”
Thank you for your help.
Joerg
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpine06 View Post
Hello Alpine owners,
After 3 month of research my mind has setteled on an Alpine coach. We like to purchase a unit in the 36ft range max- so I found a 2006 34FDDS.
I put a deposit down and like to check out the unit this week. It is a very long drive for me from Ky to MN, but I am willing to do that for the right unit and I can tow my car back.
So I am starting to get cold feet as I am getting more information for this unit.
Here a couple of facts:
+ 2006 with 65k miles
+ 1250h on the gen set
+ it is located at a dealer
+ Tires are new ... well installed recently, good enough I can look at the code once there.
+ No upgraded TPM system - not a deal breaker
+ Aquahot system - I like that option a lot
+ A very big concern is A) The son of the dealership has used it for 2 years to me that is like driving a rental car and B) I am now told there are no service records available other than the once from the dealership.
+ New 6V Interstate and new engine batteries however in the pic provided I can see there is only 4x6V installed.
+ All belts are replaced recently

So my question to you seasoned Alpine owners :”What are items that I really need to look for when I inspect the unit?”
Thank you for your help.
Joerg
I don’t know that I’d call myself incredibly seasoned, but I have done a lot of things on ours in the almost year we have had it, including regular maintenance. From reading your post, please see me comments below:
1. Pay for a RV inspection from a certified RV inspector, if possible. If that isn’t possible, there are some good checklists out there to do the inspection yourself.
2. Check the VIN against the registry and see if there are previous owners listed. Chances are, someone from this forum may have known them. Maintenance records aren’t a deal breaker.
3. What’s the difference if the owner’s son used it or if it was previous owners using it? If he used it responsibly and took care of it, that wouldn’t make much of a difference to me. It should be pretty apparent when the inspector or you does the walk through if the guy took care of it.
4. Definitely check the date code on the tires. The running recommendation is 7 years on tires. I’m putting new ones on in May. We’re going to run Sumitomos, which from research shows to be a good tire and more reasonably priced than Michelins. That being said, that’s still $3,000.
5. Tireminder can be added by you and is a good investment.
6. I would have the dealership throw in a full service (oil, oil filter, fuel filters, transmission filters and Transynd change, gen oil, gen oil filter, gen fuel filter). Send off a coolant sample from the engine and generator for analysis to see if you’re going to need to flush those systems. Generator is easy and can be done in the driveway. Motor is a little more involved and holds about 14 gallons.
7. 4 6V is correct for the coach and 2 12V for chassis.

I’m sure some others will pipe in too. Happy to answer any other questions you have.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:36 PM   #3
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Those hours on the genny are not unreasonable....
Full info on this model of Alpine..
https://www.theautochannel.com/db/RV..._rv.php?id=585
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:24 PM   #4
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Ditto what Tommy said.

8) Also have them replace hydraulic fluid and filters for brakes, power steering and cooling fan.
9) This model is a candidate for the steering bracket upgrade. Check to see if it has been installed, and/or for cracks.
10) Also a candidate for master cylinder upgrade.

Our 2005 has 6, 6v batteries for the house and 2 for the chassis.
I haven’t checked the Ad yet, but nothing you’ve listed is a deal breaker, just points for negotiating.

Locating the previous owner would be ideal. I do put maintenance records pretty high on my list. A thourogh inspection can help alleviate some of the doubts if records are not available.

11) Wait until April or May to drive up there.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:44 PM   #5
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...all good advice here....an inspection from a qualified RV tech would be good....there are also a couple of good inspection checklists out on our Alpine Coach website, in the technical library, at ALPINECOACHASSOCIATION.com. Also, 2006 was about the time that a number of west coast coach manufacturers were having leak problems with engine radiators from Radiator Specialist in Sacramento CA. Worth a look-see to see if radiator has been replaced. Regardless of your decision on this coach, you will have a great support group in the Alpine Nation to help you work out any bugs...Good luck....
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:34 PM   #6
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A Big thank you so far.
I have not given my background but it is all technical stuff and I had the “pleasure” to work on everything with wheels as we called it in the German military incl. Diesel engines. At the time I was happy that I did not have to service the stuff that was riding on chains ... you should have seen the size of their wrenches...
Hambone THW:
I have checked the registry and the VIN is not listed
I had a Tire Minder on my last rig and would much preferre a sensor that mounts inside the tire instead of the valve stem.
Best I can tell originally the coach was delivered with about 900Ah house capacity so that is 6 batteries min. I have seen some pics here under the topic of installing a bus bar showing some owners have 8 batteries.

RV Pioneer:
Yes break fluid is very important to change as it is hygroscopic. The authorities (called TUV) in Germany will test the fluid every 2 years on your car besides about everything else so you get your stamp for the next 2 years and the honor to pay 120$.
I read about the crack issue on the steering bracket and that a fellow member of this forum developed a new bracket. I will definitely check it, albeit I am not 100% sure of the location of it ...

Good point to drive up later but I am angshious. The sales person from the dealership mentioned that they had negative 20F a couple days ago brrr
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:19 PM   #7
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Steering knuckle upgrade will be obvious....you will see additional stiffening angle iron bolted between the coach frame and the steering knuckle gear mounting frame.....
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:26 PM   #8
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I saw the ad online and the coach looks to be in very good condition. Everything appears to be original with the exception of the TV modification in the bedroom and the 2 missing batteries. If they are new, as in less than 6 months, you could take a slight chance and buy 2 more. It is generally preferred to replace the entire set at the same time. Or just live with 4 for now. If the rest of the coach is as good as the photos show, you’ll be getting a very good coach at an excellent price.

One other item to check are the shocks. The original Bilstien shocks failed early and have probably been replaced. Many owners went with Koni as a replacement. The older 88 series also had a tendency to fail, particularly on the front. They carry a lifetime warranty, but it is not transferable to a new owner. The new 99 series, available for the front only, are reported to last longer. Other owners have switched to Road King. There are several threads on the topic.

The radiator issue pertained mostly to 2005 models. WRV did use old stock on new models so it is possible that a 2006 could have a radiator from the previous year. Typically they failed before 30-40K miles.

The steering bracket can be found by sliding under the front of the coach and locating the steering column. It will be secured to a relatively thin metal bracket. If there is a thicker piece of angle iron bolted to that bracket, to reinforce it, the upgrade has been installed. There are photos on the thread that discusses it. Sometimes it is difficult to determine what you’re looking at unless you’ve had your head in there before.

Some owners of 2004 and newer coaches also carry a spare Vansco module. There are 2 onboard. If one fails it could leave you stranded and ordering one can sometimes take several months. Complete failure is rare and the members here are very helpful in assisting an owner in need.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:33 PM   #9
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A lot of good advice.



Additional considerations:
a. Verify all systems work and have the refrigerator running on propane, unless residential and then on 115v
b. Verify slide and jack operation
c. The rear slides in this vintage (not sure of exact years, maybe someone else can chime in) had hydraulic hose line issues. I know a friend on here, Rick Fisher, had posted how he solved many years ago.
d. When you look at it, check the ceilings and cabinets for signs of leaks.


I have about 130,000 miles on mine and over 1800 hours on the generator with no major issues with either, so the miles and hours on this should not be of concern.


I would go up when the weather is not bad (you need to decide) and look it over. Buy it if what you see is what you expect.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:42 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by RVPioneer View Post
I saw the ad online and the coach looks to be in very good condition. Everything appears to be original with the exception of the TV modification in the bedroom and the 2 missing batteries. If they are new, as in less than 6 months, you could take a slight chance and buy 2 more. It is generally preferred to replace the entire set at the same time. Or just live with 4 for now. If the rest of the coach is as good as the photos show, you’ll be getting a very good coach at an excellent price.

One other item to check are the shocks. The original Bilstien shocks failed early and have probably been replaced. Many owners went with Koni as a replacement. The older 88 series also had a tendency to fail, particularly on the front. They carry a lifetime warranty, but it is not transferable to a new owner. The new 99 series, available for the front only, are reported to last longer. Other owners have switched to Road King. There are several threads on the topic.

The radiator issue pertained mostly to 2005 models. WRV did use old stock on new models so it is possible that a 2006 could have a radiator from the previous year. Typically they failed before 30-40K miles.

The steering bracket can be found by sliding under the front of the coach and locating the steering column. It will be secured to a relatively thin metal bracket. If there is a thicker piece of angle iron bolted to that bracket, to reinforce it, the upgrade has been installed. There are photos on the thread that discusses it. Sometimes it is difficult to determine what you’re looking at unless you’ve had your head in there before.

Some owners of 2004 and newer coaches also carry a spare Vansco module. There are 2 onboard. If one fails it could leave you stranded and ordering one can sometimes take several months. Complete failure is rare and the members here are very helpful in assisting an owner in need.

Thank you very much RVPioneer this is exactly the type of information that I was looking for. Good description for the steering bracket I know exactly where to look now.
I am still undecided for the batteries but I have a power lab battery analyzer that can tell me more once I get the unit home. If I remember right a charge and discharge cycle takes about 24h on a 125Ah batterie. Once I test them I can make a decision ... I hope.
The Vansco module is a bummer I will need to see how I get my hands on a spare with the right program.
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:04 PM   #11
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Locating the previous owner would be ideal. I do put maintenance records pretty high on my list. A thourogh inspection can help alleviate some of the doubts if records are

I believe the previous owner is the owner of the RV business. I called on this one, not sure why I didn’t follow through. It looked good in pictures.
I’m up there next week and might have time to look at it. But you really need to lay eyes on it.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:16 PM   #12
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Thank you very much RVPioneer this is exactly the type of information that I was looking for. Good description for the steering bracket I know exactly where to look now.

I am still undecided for the batteries but I have a power lab battery analyzer that can tell me more once I get the unit home. If I remember right a charge and discharge cycle takes about 24h on a 125Ah batterie. Once I test them I can make a decision ... I hope.

The Vansco module is a bummer I will need to see how I get my hands on a spare with the right program.


I would not buy a pre-programmed Vansco.
The Vansco is programmed from the one in your coach so it matches perfectly.
It’s not hard, even I could do it.
I would also be glad someone was using the coach the last 2 years.
I’d be far more concerned if it had just been sitting.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:21 PM   #13
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A couple of other points to keep in mind. The closet slide will leave the drawers inaccessible when retracted. I like the look of the doors and drawers, ours just has 2 sliding doors but the closet is completely accessible at all times. The 2 doors opposite the refrigerator are inaccessible as well with the kitchen slide in. The washer/dryer occupies some cabinet space. If that is something you won’t not use it may be worth considering removing to add more storage.

The Vansco is not a “must have” item. We have one because I’ve found that if you have a replacement part, the original will never fail. There have been a couple of “bulk” purchases made by our members recently, so there are quite a few spares available. You do not want a programmed unit. The good unit will program new unit.

Be safe in your travels. We look forward to officially welcoming you to our family.

Bob
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:36 PM   #14
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Need Advice for the purchase of a 34FDDS

The number of batteries was determined by the type of refrigerator, a residential refer has six 6v batteries, if you have an RV refer you would only need four batteries. Which refer is in the coach?
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