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Old 08-05-2014, 01:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ardbark View Post
We've looked at a couple now and have an appointment to see one Wednesday (along with a Discovery and few others). This 2004 Alfa has been in northern Utah for the last 3 years and shows no symptoms. I asked the owner if it had lived in a heated garage through the winters and he said no, it sits outside. Which brings me back to my original postulation (with an update); if a ten year old coach was going to fail it would have failed by now (as long as it has been subjected to multiple freeze/thaw cycles).
If it were me, I would feel pretty good about it, but there are absolutely no guarantees (and sellers have been known to be less than 100% truthful--I don't know about this one, obviously, but I've read some pretty scary stories).

Also, when blisters do show up, they don't immediately cover the coach. People generally freak out, but in the scheme of things, it's usually not that bad at the beginning, or maybe ever. So it might still be a long time before they become unsightly.

I would suggest that you look in particular at the water/sewer compartment door (although that could have been replaced). Also look at the area right by the door, near the grab bar and awning support. That's a common place for them, and it would be difficult to repair that without leaving evidence. Or along the beltline piece--people have reported them there (although I don't have any of those--so far).


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So here's the $64k question; what's the end game with a coach that comes down with "gel pop" syndrome? Do little circular pieces of skin just keep coming off until one day you are driving down the road in a naked skeleton?
The little circular pieces don't necessarily come off; lots of mine are little flaps. On the ones that do come all the way off, you can see what's underneath (luan?), but they don't dig into that. Although I've wondered whether having those underneath areas now exposed to the elements exacerbates things.


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Originally Posted by ardbark View Post
OK seriously, is this entirely cosmetic or does it progress to the point of structural failure? I mean is this just Alfa's version of faded graphics? To be honest I'm not quite as shiny as I once was either, but with luck DW won't be kicking me out over a few pox marks
The blisters themselves are entirely cosmetic, as far as I can tell. HOWEVER, since they are often associated with water intrusion, it's likely that the sidewall behind has suffered some type of water damage. But I think it's safe to say that a lot of RV owners have sidewalls with water damage and they don't know about it.


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Originally Posted by Jerald Golde View Post
Bought mine a year ago repaired every one of the pox. They were fine until I return from florida in February to below 0 temp. Most all of the repaired blew back out and a few more. Have worked with Fiberglas for 20 years ,ASE master tech. Filling them again but with softer material we'll see what happens next. Love the R V and if it craters out ill just fix it.
Unless you get the sidewall behind the blisters completely dry and prevent any further water intrusion, the blisters are going to reappear. That's why painting a coach isn't a solution.

So far, the only true fix has been to have sidewalls replaced. And even that's not a guarantee, because people have been doing that for only a few years, and to me that's not long enough to say it's a true, permanent fix. But it looks promising--none of them have reported new blisters and it certainly sounds like replacing sidewalls would fix the problem.

It costs about $20,000 to have sidewalls replaced and full-body paint. To me, that's a whole lot of money, but considering that I've seen some pretty attractive prices on Alfas (possibly because everybody hates them), it might work out, money-wise, if someone is really unhappy with the blisters. Then again, some people look at the $20,000 as a percentage of the value of the coach and balk. There are millions of opinions out there.

And speaking of opinions, to ardbark: don't let any of what I say be interpreted as my talking you into, or even encouraging you to, buy an Alfa. Along with the Alfa bashers we have the Alfa cheerleaders; both groups seem to have a vested interest in whether someone they don't know buys an Alfa. I'm firmly in neither group.
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Old 08-05-2014, 08:34 PM   #16
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May want to Google gel coat blisters on boats, they have that issue
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:36 AM   #17
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Thanks to all who have weighed in, we'll be looking at the 2004 Alfa this afternoon.

And a special thanks to Oatmeal who has posted tons of well thought out and informative, non-biased information, and 2x for the inspection tips on where problems have historically manifested. This coach happens to have an aftermarket full body paint job so those comments were especially pertinent.

I asked the seller about the paint, he said PO did it because he was anal-retentive, painted the toad to match just so everything was perfect. We'll see if was to cover something up or not.

cheers...
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Old 08-06-2014, 06:54 PM   #18
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Thanks to all who have weighed in, we'll be looking at the 2004 Alfa this afternoon.

And a special thanks to Oatmeal who has posted tons of well thought out and informative, non-biased information, and 2x for the inspection tips on where problems have historically manifested. This coach happens to have an aftermarket full body paint job so those comments were especially pertinent.

I asked the seller about the paint, he said PO did it because he was anal-retentive, painted the toad to match just so everything was perfect. We'll see if was to cover something up or not.

cheers...
CRAP. Utter crap. First off it was 36' not 40' which the seller conveniently failed to note in the ad. The "custom" paint looked like it was either rolled on or sprayed with a Wagner Power sprayer and it didn't take 3 seconds to see why they painted the coach (and I use the term paint loosely). The paint was bubbled under the waist belt all the way around the coach. Plus there was evidence of popping everywhere else. For some reason they even peeled all the original Alfa graphics off (sun burst, etc) and didn't even bother to try and hide the shadows left behind.

I didn't bother to look inside.

Thanks again Oatmeal for the tips on where to look, although on this one a 6 year old could have picked out the damage
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Old 08-07-2014, 01:09 PM   #19
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What a bummer! I've noticed a lot of Alfa's with decals off them... I am guessing they ended up looking bad after a while.

Take a look at the MHC Summit -- I think if you like the Alfa you might like it as well. And the build quality is much higher...

Steve
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:26 PM   #20
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Alfa

I have a 2007 Alfa See Ya 40'
I did have the blisters, had them fixed and painted. Other than the blisters, I have had no other problems. I think you'll find that 95 % of the people that own Alfa's, love them and have no different problems than other brand coaches. If you want answers about Alfa's I suggest you go to the Alfa site.

Thanks
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:03 AM   #21
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What a bummer! I've noticed a lot of Alfa's with decals off them... I am guessing they ended up looking bad after a while.

Take a look at the MHC Summit -- I think if you like the Alfa you might like it as well. And the build quality is much higher...

Steve
You mentioned the MHC in a previous post and I did do a search. Problem is I live in Podunk Utah and inventory is sketchy at best. Targeting a particular make/model/year and finding one for sale are two entirely different animals (especially the slightly more obscure coaches), and then finding one that is actually worth driving home, well... that's akin to hitting the lotto.

There are a few on the market but are all at least two states away. Hardly something we can just pop over and have a peak at.

We're going through southern Texas this winter, maybe we'll detour up to Houston and camp at PPL until the right coach comes in
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:21 AM   #22
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I have a 2007 Alfa See Ya 40'
I did have the blisters, had them fixed and painted. Other than the blisters, I have had no other problems. I think you'll find that 95 % of the people that own Alfa's, love them and have no different problems than other brand coaches. If you want answers about Alfa's I suggest you go to the Alfa site.

Thanks
I think you're probably right, outside of the blisters Alfa's are likely no better or worse than any other mid-entry coach of their time. Which was kind of the original thought on this thread - does Alfa really deserve the general (negative) reputation they have or has it just become fashionable to pooh-pooh them.

Personally, I (we, DW loves them too) can't get past how incredibly livable the interiors are. When they're in good shape the exterior color scheme/graphics are perfectly fine and although I haven't driven one I'm confident they drive just like any other Freightliner. That said, sometimes, when a vast majority comes down on one side of an issue, no matter how unintuitive that opinion seems, it might make sense to listen.
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:49 PM   #23
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Hi ardbark

If you find an Alfa that you like and it checks out mechanically, you should be fine.

Alfa was started by the the son of John Crean, the founder of Fleetwood and a real pioneer in the RV world. So they were knowledgeable in the construction of RV's, had good people available to them, and IMHO were merely trying to offer a product that was unique when compared to the other offerings at the time.

Good luck finding your new coach!!
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:14 PM   #24
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What is wrong with people? What good does it do to misrepresent something when you KNOW someone is going to come look at it before buying it? This isn't the first time I've heard of something like this, but every time, it boggles my mind.

The thing is, even a coach completely covered with blisters might still make sense, money-wise, if you factor in getting the sidewalls replaced. But even if it did, no way would I buy it from THIS person. Sheeeeeesh.

Since you're in northern Utah, you might consider calling Charlie's Service, in Sunset (near Ogden). This is one of the main places people take Alfas to have work done on them, and the owners used to (and may still) have an Alfa. They had one that had a refrigerator fire, and I can't remember if they replaced it or not. Charlie died a few years ago, but the shop is still going.

Anyway, they might have a line on coaches people are trying to sell. Charlie's Service Napa AutoCare and RV Service Center- Sunset, Utah
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Old 08-13-2014, 02:56 PM   #25
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What is wrong with people? What good does it do to misrepresent something when you KNOW someone is going to come look at it before buying it? This isn't the first time I've heard of something like this, but every time, it boggles my mind.

The thing is, even a coach completely covered with blisters might still make sense, money-wise, if you factor in getting the sidewalls replaced. But even if it did, no way would I buy it from THIS person. Sheeeeeesh.

Since you're in northern Utah, you might consider calling Charlie's Service, in Sunset (near Ogden). This is one of the main places people take Alfas to have work done on them, and the owners used to (and may still) have an Alfa. They had one that had a refrigerator fire, and I can't remember if they replaced it or not. Charlie died a few years ago, but the shop is still going.

Anyway, they might have a line on coaches people are trying to sell. Charlie's Service Napa AutoCare and RV Service Center- Sunset, Utah
Many, if not most of coaches we have looked at have been misrepresented in the ad. "Excellent" condition evidently means some of the cabinetry still has doors and "pristine" means the tires are only 9 years old and there are still areas of the outside that have not been scratched, punctured or cracked

As for Charlie's, I'm quite familiar with them. In fact, this Alfa we just looked at wasn't more than 3 or 4 blocks away from his shop. They were the KING of Alfa service back in the day, people would come in from 3 states away for him to work on their rig. And they do have an Alfa for sale. I thought I'd heard it was Charlie's old coach, but don't quote me on that rumor. Regardless. they want something like $139,000 which is too rich for my blood.

The quest continues
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Old 08-14-2014, 01:04 PM   #26
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$139,000? Ouch! Although it's not that uncommon to see them in that price range. I guess they figure, if you don't ask you don't get.

It's actually kind of crazy that I can be so naive when it comes to condition of used coaches. How many say "no smoking, no pets"? Is it just that all the RV owners who do travel with pets never sell their RVs? Doubtful.

I've seen all the dog owners in RV parks (fulltiming for over 10 years), and the people smoking, and I still believe the "no smoking/no pets" when I see it.

If you're still open to doing some shopping later this year, Texas might be a good place. PPL, of course, but maybe there will be some private sellers in the snowbird areas. But I see more of them in California and Florida.

PPL has a 2006 right now for $70,000.

2006 See Ya 40FD 1004 for Sale - D742 - PPL Motor Homes

One thing about PPL--if the coach sits out in that hot sun for months on end and still doesn't smell bad inside, that's a good sign.

You could also join the Yahoo group for Alfa owners. People post coaches for sale there periodically, and you could also get an idea about the issues people have.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/alfaseeya/info

Something else about that group--people put their build number in their posts (because of the running changes Alfa made--year and model isn't sufficiently specific). If you're looking at one, you could get the build number and see if by some chance a previous owner has posted to the group about it.

Regardless, good luck in your search. I'm glad I'm not shopping.
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:18 PM   #27
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$139,000? Ouch! Although it's not that uncommon to see them in that price range. I guess they figure, if you don't ask you don't get.

It's actually kind of crazy that I can be so naive when it comes to condition of used coaches. How many say "no smoking, no pets"? Is it just that all the RV owners who do travel with pets never sell their RVs? Doubtful.

I've seen all the dog owners in RV parks (fulltiming for over 10 years), and the people smoking, and I still believe the "no smoking/no pets" when I see it.

If you're still open to doing some shopping later this year, Texas might be a good place. PPL, of course, but maybe there will be some private sellers in the snowbird areas. But I see more of them in California and Florida.

PPL has a 2006 right now for $70,000.

2006 See Ya 40FD 1004 for Sale - D742 - PPL Motor Homes

One thing about PPL--if the coach sits out in that hot sun for months on end and still doesn't smell bad inside, that's a good sign.

You could also join the Yahoo group for Alfa owners. People post coaches for sale there periodically, and you could also get an idea about the issues people have.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/alfaseeya/info

Something else about that group--people put their build number in their posts (because of the running changes Alfa made--year and model isn't sufficiently specific). If you're looking at one, you could get the build number and see if by some chance a previous owner has posted to the group about it.

Regardless, good luck in your search. I'm glad I'm not shopping.
I've seen a number listed in the $120k-$130k range, usually at dealers and usually later year Gold's for that price. Overpriced in my estimation.

Speaking of overpriced, and maybe this should be another thread, here's a phenomenon I've been running into far too often during this search. Somebody goes to list their used coach and first thing they do is check NADA to get a ballpark price. They plug in Make, Model and year and then are presented with this long list of items that can be checked; Diesel genny, XYZ BTU heater, such-and-such AC, full body paint, sat dish, hydraulic levelers, awnings, etc etc, the list goes on and on. So they check everything they can think of and get this really cool, really big number and put that price in the paper.

Well, as it turns out almost always all of that stuff came stock on their unit and is already baked into the base NADA price, so they end up double counting nearly everything. Now when I see something that looks good, I'll pull up the original brochure from the manufacturer's archives, compare it to the ad to see if there really are options that should be added and *then* book the coach. Naturally my number is way smaller than theirs and when I try to explain to them that the coach they thought was worth $70k really only books for $57k because they weren't suppose to check all those boxes, well... you can imagine how well that goes over

I went through this with one guy yesterday and to his credit he went back and re-booked his coach. When he called me back he admitted I was right but since NADA only had low and average retail, and his coach was in above average shape, the NADA numbers weren't valid anyhow

It ain't easy, this shopping. Thankfully we don't *have* to buy anything, the Endeavor goes down the road just fine
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Old 08-19-2014, 12:45 PM   #28
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We have an '04 Gold on consignment in Kalispell, MT. If it doesn't sell by Oct when we head to Tucson we will be putting it on consignment there. Drive right through SLC. PM me and we will keep you posted. Screaming deal after it comes off of consignment.
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