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Old 06-07-2012, 09:37 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 33
Questions about RV Inspection

I've done a quick look over of a 97 Safari Continental, 40 foot, and we are going back to do a inspection using the checklist I've printed from a thread on this site. However, it states to inspect the roof and this RV does not have a ladder attached to climb up on the roof, does anyone know if the 97 Safaris had a ladder for roof access or is this something added later?

We've run the generator and engines, haven't driven it yet. So we'll do that during the next visit.

The unit has roof top AC/heat units, do they do a good job of keeping you warm and cool. We plan to live in it and travel. Going north in summer and south in winter but I am wondering how effective rooftop units are.

The engine and generator oil has just been changed so can you still get a good analysis using that oil since it is so fresh?

They put new house batteries in it after our last visit since the ones in the unit were bad.

The tires look good, the thread is excellent haven't been able to check the DOT dates yet so will look at that next. What is the age I should start worrying about?

Any other advice would be appreciated it, they are definitely willing to discuss price so that is a plus.

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Old 06-07-2012, 04:16 PM   #2
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Country Coach Owners Club
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Location: Redding
Posts: 3,516
If the tires are 5 years old, you may want them replaced because you do not know how carefully or frequently they have been run.

Oil analysis probably will not do much good on real fresh oil.

Our roof top AC and heat pumps and propane furnaces do a fine job. They are noisy, but $10,000 cheaper than the more desirable Aqua Hot or Hydro Hot type diesel fired furnace and hot water system.

After buying the upgraded heating system you will still need the roof top air or opt for a basement air system.

In addition to running the generator engine, try to run the AC or microwave and refrigerator with the generator current. Even though the generator engine runs, the separate power generation system may not work.

Run all the water systems, electrical systems, engines, pumps, video equipment, cooking and cooling equipment. Don't forget to test the running lights on the vehicle exterior.

1995 CC Magna #5280
C8.3L 300hp Cummins, 31,000lbs
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:15 PM   #3
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Look very carefully inside all the upper cabinets for signs of leakage from the roof. Look for stains or signs of mildew. I am guessing that you are looking to buy from an individual and not a dealer. Ask for a ladder to get you on the roof to inspect. Roof leaks can cause some very expensive damage if not attended to quickly. Check the caulking around ALL items that stick out of the roof. Look for dried up or cracked caulk. It should be plyable and still stuck well to the roof and whatever object sticks up. I believe the Safari had fiberglas sides. Sight up and down the length of the sides looking for and buldging or waves in the sides. Especially under the windows. That can be a sign of water penetration and delamination of the sides. The windows can easily be removed and recaulked if needed.

Depending on the age of the tires, check between the treads for any signs of cracking. I had some 9 year old Michelins on our previous motorhome that looked perfect at first glance. Upon closer examination I discovered some cracks between the treads. Remember the sidewalls looked perfect. I decided to buy new tires because of the age. When we unmounted the old Michelins ALL were full of cracks in the inside casing. We were definately riding on borrowed time. I replaced them with tires rated one grade higher than the original tires.

Ask the previous owner if he has any service records. That will give you a good idea of how well the unit was taken care of. Good luck, hope it turns out to be a good one for you.
Tom and Barb
'07 Winnebago Voyage 35L
Workhorse W22 chassis FMCA 219315
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:42 PM   #4
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Test every item inside and outside. Do look at the roof and take a long test drive. If you have friend with a motor home you might ask for another set of eyes and ears.
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:30 PM   #5
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With a multimeter, check that both sets of batteries charge when the engine is running and when the gen is running.
Most RV batteries live a long and useful life, some are murdered.
2000 National Sea Breeze F53
1998 CRV Toad
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:42 AM   #6
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Location: Port Angeles, Wa
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Safari sides are Stainless Steel (painted) basement door hatches, and Aluminum sides. The roof is fiberglass as well as the end caps. Go to either Safari Yahoo Website, and download from the files section the used motorhome checklist. It is an exceptionally extensive list to use as a checklist, and also has some very good tests for systems like the brakes, allison tranny, and generator.

One of the biggest problems that we had to overcome is that most sellers (private especially but also dealers) is the misuse of the NADA & Kelly Blue Book guides for motorhomes. Those guides are NOT based upon actual sales of motorhomes but a guess-t-mate/Depreciate value. Their other guides for cars, trucks, boats, etc., are based upon actual sales and are pretty accurate, the Motorhomes are NOT and they are not accurate. As an example, in both guides they start out with the Sticker Price of the Coach. Since mine is also a 1997 Safari Serengeti and the one you are looking at was priced right around $240,000 in 1997. That is where both guides start the depreciation methodology of pricing. But, here's the BIG catcher, the Safari's came from the factory extremely well decked out with just about everything as a STANDARD EQUIPMENT. Very few optional add on's like the Aqua-Hot heating system, or Satellite antennas. All the other stuff like A/C's TV's, Leveling Jacks, Electric Steps, etc., etc. were standard and a part of the Sticker price. Now, spin forward to today and look at the guides. You start by selecting the Make and Model and year and hit enter. The guides then display a listing of typical Motorhome/RV options you tick off and then have the guide compute their estimated and depreciate value. Well the problem comes in that Optional List options, the Safari Base price/value already has them in it. And by selecting any of the options you are double counting those values. The bottom line in using the guides is to know in advance what coachs had items as standard (included) equipment in the pricing and what items were truely optional and added pricing/value.

You can confirm the above at the PPL RV website. They are probably the largest seller of motorhomes and RV in the country. But what makes them very unique and valuable to RV Shoppers is that they post not only the original asking prices, but the history of lowering prices, and finally the actual sale price of a unit. I watched their website for almost a year when we were shopping and their sold prices were always lower than any pricing guide and within 1% of what we paid for our 1997 Serengeti M-4040.

1997 Safari Serengeti M-4040
& 2007 Ford Sports Trac
& 2004 Ford Exploder TOAD's
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