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Old 07-13-2011, 11:45 AM   #1
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Lessons Learned from 2 RVs purchased

I turned to this forum for advice and expertise and it occurred to me that a consolidated "lessons learned" thread might help all of us in our current rigs and in our next purchase. My experience is limited and I am sure there are many others who could provide us more insight. My lessons are based on my approach to negotiating and experience and may not be of any help to others but, free advice is sometime worth what you paid for it

With enough posts maybe we will see a trend we can use...

On buying...
If you have a trade the numbers presented to a potential buy is called a " trade difference". This number is important but my lesson was to make the dealer break down the numbers for trade in and discount on new RV so I could more effectively negotiate. What I found was they would hold the new RV price a bit higher and give me less on trade in. Once I had those numbers I was able to shop the two prices out and I found other dealers could beat the original price and trade in. On the exact same floor plan a d options. I saved an additional 15k doing this.

If you REALLY have decided which RV you want, tell the dealer you want to review ALL of the manuals prior to signing the purchase agreement. It is a 3 - 4 hour effort at minimum! Here is why, there are many systems that require maintenance on a regular interval. For example, the Onan generator requires it's first oil and filter change at 50 hours. If you didn't read the manual you probably wouldn't have know to ask for the first oil change as part of the " we owe" list of thing the dealer agrees to provide on condition of the sale. ( my rig at purchase had 43 hrs on the gen) Going forward, I will always ask for an alignment ( alignments are not covered under any warrantee ) as a condition of sale on the we owe as well as full gas tank, DEF tank, and at least one DEF bottle to keep in the belly. I would also ask the dealer to commit to any software updates that may have become available since the build of the coach. You may have seen my thread on the antiquated GPS maps on the Clarion system that both Fleetwood and Clarion said was state of the art when the coach was built. (2009 maps That didn't have my 2007 home in them on a 2011 40G)

The PDI overview you get from the dealer about your new RV is rapid, high level and too much info to retain the day you spend $200+K. This is another good reason to read the manuals prior to purchase. The pre-work will make the PDI overview a review for you, and you will know when they are BSing you, and when to ask questions.

On service...
EVERY TIME you bring your unit in for service, walk the exterior and interior with the service advisor and have them note any scratches, blemishes, damages, etc... I have failed to that with my old RV and I seemed to find new damage after leaving the service center. Without the documentation, I was powerless to make them fix it. If you don't want them using your toilet, TELL THEM and secure the lid with plastic wrap. ( my aversion to them using my toilet was a result of them peeing on the seat and floor ).

I also insist they keep the batteries charged so the refrigerator stays cold. If they plug it in great if not, they must run the generator for 30 min a day while it is in the shop. They have failed on this twice and all of my ice was melted onto the floor of the RV. The Auto Gen feature only works if every time they start the RV they remember to press "Auto Gen" when they exit....I try to set expectations with the service advisor anyway.

I am sure there are many other of you who have lessons, what are they? Maybe we can find a standard we all can use....


TEXAS - Fleetwood 40G 2011
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Old 07-13-2011, 01:29 PM   #2
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Tires, tires, tires for used rigs. Even untitled RVs might have tires that are 2-3 years old, so check the date codes. I'm in the process of finding 'the one', and one of the first questions I ask is 'how old are the tires'. Some have given date codes, some have said 'they suck and need replaced' and a couple have said 'they are in good shape', which is not the answer to the question I ASKED.

Request an oil change in the 'we owe'. Other fluids might need to be flushed (ie, coolant) if the RV is old or has a lot of miles (or both).

Request driving lessons if you are a new owner.

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Old 07-13-2011, 03:23 PM   #3
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Very good advice. Thanks.

2004 Winnebago Brave 34D with the usual add-ons
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:11 PM   #4
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Outstanding timing of this thought provoking post. We had planned to do a preliminary walk around/ through and to request access to the manufacturer’s manuals prior to closing and agreeing to the promise list on our 2011 coach. I’ll have to also, check on whether we need DEF or not. As you can tell a newbie is in the making here. Thanks again for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience.
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:00 PM   #5
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Good threat. As a soon to be (I think) first time buyer of used motorhome, I certainly appreciate and need advice as to do and don't in a trade, mine to be tow vehicle and FW on a 2006 motorcouch. This thread has already given me a couple of notes.
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:27 PM   #6
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Very good stuff. Thanks for taking the time to share.

The reading of the manuals ahead of time is a good one. As a newbie buying a brand new DP, I asked for that and was brushed off with a response that they keep them all in a package that they tear into during the PDI. I should have insisted.

I would add one on tires... even on a new coach. I drove mine the 6 miles from the dealer to my house... loaded it up for a shake down trip... checked the tire pressure and found an inside dual was flat with a large bolt sticking through the tire. I suppose it could have happened on that 6 mile trip but it's not likely. The dealer said it was out of their hands so check pressures too! Not doing so cost me $400.

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

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Old 07-14-2011, 03:51 PM   #7
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Do complete inspection in the day light of the outside of the coach. I mean in good day light and not in a building or on a deeply over cast day. We found lots of stone chips on a new unit as I walked around it be leaving with our new coach. We back in and got 1750 knock off the price. Also look underneath for rust, even on a new unit. Run everything that runs. Get new batteries as a part of the deal if the unit has been sitting on the lot for over 3 months. They are real bad about keeping batteries charged if they are not showing the coach regularly.
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:56 PM   #8
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And when you check the manuals on 5th wheels, be sure to look up the recommended usage temps...ie.: This unit not intended for use in temperatures below 32 degrees. Monaco presented our 80K dollar unit as a "4 season". AFTER the fresh water froze off at 28 degrees, we looked in the manual....
Dinah, Keith & 2 furballs
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Old 07-15-2011, 07:11 AM   #9
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Is surface rust something to be concerned about? I've noticed that RV undercarriages aren't sealed up like automobile undercarriages are, and some rust is inevitable around the cargo doors.
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Old 07-15-2011, 07:14 AM   #10
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Get chassis and house wiring diagrams for everything. Very helpful for lots of things such as troubleshooting problems and adding aftermarket accessories.

Also, plumbing diagrams would be nice to have, however not nearly as complex.
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:55 PM   #11
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I found out after buying my used coach that the second gray water tank the seller bragged about was for the washing machine only. Not a big issue, but had me scratching my head after the first trip as to why the rear tank was empty.

The plumbing comment above reminded me about that.
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by rdentist99 View Post
Get chassis and house wiring diagrams for everything. Very helpful for lots of things such as troubleshooting problems and adding aftermarket accessories.

Also, plumbing diagrams would be nice to have, however not nearly as complex.
Where would one go about obtaining these for a 2005 RV they already owned?

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Old 07-16-2011, 12:23 AM   #13
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Test drive....if the performance & handling is not sufficient and you need to consider aftermarket additions... Keep shopping!
Jack & Maggie
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:24 AM   #14
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If at all possible - get it weighed. Buying a coach at or near GVWR when empty can make an otherwise good deal sour in a hurry! You're going to need the axle (or better, individual wheel weights) to inflate tire properly at some point anyway. Might as well do it right away....

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