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Old 03-16-2013, 09:42 PM   #1
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Discovery Learning and Lessons Learned for 1st Time Buyers

To caveat all of this -

I am fully responsibly for my stupidity. I know failing is how to learn the best. and I'm a man, and I can change...if I have to. (shout-out to all the Red Green fans out there)

This isn't mean to be a whining post - rather a caution for all the 1st time buyers who love the chase and excitement purchasing their first class A can bring.

And if you can please send me a dollar for ever time you go "duh!" - I'm in the market again for another rig and would greatly appreciate the hundreds of thousands of dollars that will come my way.

And may the Lord help the guy who sold me my first rig, 'cause I'm certainly hoping Karma is going to run right over him...

---

What I've learned from my experience in the past month of owning a monetary black whole and driving throughout North Carolina looking at used Class A's I found on Craigslist:

1 - never buy from someone who refers to anything on the rig as "that thingy" or encourages you to "Google it" to figure out how it works

2 - be cautious when buying from someone who bought their rig "cause I thought it would be fun to have one - never had one before"

3 - when you see a modification to the rig by an "ol' boy" - be very cautious. If if wasn't done by a pro - be extremely cautious.

4 - always have a limit to what you can over look when it comes to buying used. No amount of "knocking off a few dollars off the price" can compensate for the time it will spend in the repair shop.

5 - always shop and inspect in daylight -nighttime help hide rust and other nasty surprises

6 - patience, patience, patience

7 - never believe anyone who says " I was going to get around to fixing that"

8 - if you can't get up the ladder to look at the roof - that's a sign.

9 - if you're told not to crawl under the rig to look at the guts 'cause the sewage might be leaking down there - that's a sign.

10 - if you open up the black/gray drain valve and black/gray water spills out - much to the surprise of the person selling you the rig - that's a sign

11 - never stand / crouch in front of a black/gray drain valve when you open it for the first time when inspecting a rig you're interested in.

--

I just salvaged my rig the other day after spending well over $15,000 in purchase and repair fees. It was in three separate repair shops getting a new radiator, 6 new tires and a new head gasket over the course of 5 weeks.

My wife and I finally tapped out when the rig needed a new transmission to the tune of $4000+ more and a week or so to get one shipped in. We salvaged the ol' girl, a 1994 Itasca SunCruiser and are going to the Camping World in Hope Mills, NC tomorrow afternoon to shop and probably buy one from their lot after quite a lot of assurance the engine is good.

In retrospect, there's a lot I overlooked and didn't do when shopping and purchasing - totally my stupidity. I'm not even mad about the money spent, but rather the time I could have been camping already in the NC winter and spring here at Fort Bragg and in Wilmington (Kure Beach anyone?).

My biggest mistake was thinking I could read and self-teach myself to proficiency when purchasing. I ran out of patience and saw what I thought was a good buy at a good price. The thing even made the 3 hour, 190 mile drive from Myrtle Beach back to Fort Bragg quite well.

The previous owner lied through his teeth about the rig and his experiences, though I was caught up in "buck fever" to see this and ignored many, many signs I should have caught.

Hope this helps anyone who is out after their first rig. Craigslist and private-owners are great resources for purchasing RV's, but it's just not for me anymore.
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:59 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear your trouble. Glad to hear you still want to motor home. Take the rig to a mechanic that you choose to do an inspection. Buying from camping world is no guarantee. They may fix the problems under warranty but you are still missing camping if the rig isn't what they said it was. They don't know the stories on the used rigs they have a y better than you would here, but supposedly they did check them out.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:12 AM   #3
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Get it in writing, the warrenty that is. they should give you a reasonable amount of time to actually take it camping to really check it out. Maybe I was lucky but the dealer I bought mine from allowed me to bring it back with a list of things that did not work correctly and they addressed them all. I only missed one thing in the process and that was the leaking roof. I can't complain too much because the spent about $5K on repair work. I love my coach but like a new one even bettter.
As far as what's not right, you would be amazed at how many repairs the new ones require straight from the factory. I had a 5th wheel that spent 6 months back at the manufacture for repairs. I guess I should have taken it accross country as sone as I bought it
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:47 AM   #4
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Tomaso,

Don't feel bad, even us seasoned buyers get "buck-fever" (I LOVE that term).

Last August my wife just HAD to get another camper once she found out about some bonus money. Although I have to admit I was somewhat excited as at the idea. Long, long story later, we got a 94 Fleetwood Southwind. Now, while I did not have to sink as much into it as you did yours, it did cost a few $$ more to get this "good-deal" to a point where we could use it. Luckily I've been able to do most of the work myself but still....

Look at is this way: NOW you know what to watch out for...

Bill W
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:53 AM   #5
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All turns out well in the end. Found an '03 Fleetwood Southwind with 8K miles on it at a local Camping World. They just put a new set of tires on it and we go in for orientation this Friday!
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:01 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Tomaso View Post
All turns out well in the end. Found an '03 Fleetwood Southwind with 8K miles on it at a local Camping World. They just put a new set of tires on it and we go in for orientation this Friday!
Congrats. There's a link at the top of the Fleetwood forum to manuals if you need one.
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:40 AM   #7
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Lone Ranger

Don't feel like the lone ranger sir. I bought my first unit a few years back (at night) and later discovered it didn't even have windshield wipers. Not that they didn't work. They weren't even there.1k mistake which iv'e still not got around to fixing. Oh boy
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Old 03-24-2013, 06:33 PM   #8
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Don't feel like the lone ranger sir. I bought my first unit a few years back (at night) and later discovered it didn't even have windshield wipers. Not that they didn't work. They weren't even there.1k mistake which iv'e still not got around to fixing. Oh boy
It was a "pig and a poke" when I look back at it now!! Although we looked at 50 units over 4 months from dealers to FSBO's, they all started looking alike. Dealers new the least about their used inventory and more owners than not were still in a learning curve on their own MH's they were selling. Many had never showered in their units, used the washer/dryer, drove at night, new how many miles on their last oil change, or even cooked in their units. Let alone knew how to winterize or summerize or even knew if it should have been done? With the best of my knowledge from owning a truck camper, I wrote a list of things I wanted to know about before I purchased. Today I humbly can say I only touched on maybe 20% of what I should have checked out before the purchase. Fortunately, our first 2 month trip on the road was successful with only a few minor problems. But, I have never purchased anything this expensive with as little knowledge as I feel I should have had. Oh ya....that buck fever thing.....it's real!!! And, as far the windshield wipers, I never even thought about them until it started to rain on one trip....had them....but it took a while to find the switch!!!!
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