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Old 10-17-2019, 09:05 AM   #1
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Question Shopping for used Class A (questions)

I have been a full timer in a travel trailer since Sept 2014. I have learned a lot of what to look for and how to repair physical/water damage in here but I'm now in search of a used Class A diesel. I belong to a few FB pages for the specific brands I'm interested in and it appears that people who have the Tiffin brand (my first choice - Newmar is also a good one but more out of my financial range) really do take fantastic care of them.

That said, I found one (Tiffin) I really like (haven't seen it in person yet however) from a private seller that states:
Quote:
Onan 7500 generator with 1139 hours; Michelin tires (2016); new hardwired Progressive EMS; 4 slides with new gaskets; washer/dryer combo; new stainless residential refrigerator; new stainless convection/microwave oven; new LED headlights; new LED ceiling lights throughout; new LED door/awning lights; new curtains in cockpit; new carpet; new day/night shades throughout; reupholstered valances throughout; new kitchen and shower faucets; new wet bay floor; new toilet; new dining chairs; new house batteries (3/19). Serviced at Bay Diesel in Red Bay. Upgrades done in Red Bay.
It's a 2005 with 76,000 miles on it.

Questions:

Are those things NORMAL wear on a vehicle despite meticulous care? Is that something I should expect on ALL Class A vehicles (including newer models - 2014 which is another one I found to my liking although more than double my price range with zero of the issues listed above so far, for comparison sake only) with lower mileage if I find them?

OR, do those repairs/replacements indicate a well maintained coach?

That wet bay floor... is that also a normal occurrence as they get older? My question for that is based on the fact that nobody knew the amount of water damage that was in this trailer until I got it and then started pulling up the linoleum.

The water damage here was due to a leaking toilet that wasn't found out about because it was always "in storage" which is, apparently, not a good thing exactly for that reason, so the toilet thing is a question too. I had to GUT the enter back 1/3 of it due to rot and mold. I don't want to go through that again with such an expensive vehicle because I'm no spring chicken (and female) and medical issues now prevent me from doing my own work regardless how much pride I take in my abilities and enjoy the learning process. I also can't afford to rebuild a coach right off the bat.....

Generator: Why do people post how many hours are on the generator? Do they have a specific lifespan? What is the top end of that? I'm asking because I would LIKE to do a bunch of boondocking here and there alternating with campground hookups.

What is a "progressive EMS" and what does it do?

Back to the toilet.... why would you have to replace one of those in an RV if they are porcelain? What could possibly go wrong? The toilet in my parents house has been there over 65 YEARS with no problem so..... why wouldn't that be the same in an RV? Could that have caused the leak to the floor in the wet bay? Is this a serious issue to be of concern?

With the wet bay floor having been replaced, how do I know that whatever water damage there was on it spread further that wasn't repaired? Where do you look and what do you look for?

I guess what I'm asking is.... if someone has had to replace so much stuff in a vehicle seemingly barely used based on mileage and appearance inside and out (most I've seen have far fewer miles), is that a red flag? I'm only going to get to do this once in my lifetime and it's going to be my permanent and final home. I want to do it right and not pick up something that will turn into a money pit within weeks or months after purchase.

What SHOULD I be looking for? What SHOULD I avoid?

Thank you in advance.
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:14 AM   #2
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I would suggest going looking at it and seeing how it looks and how it has been maintained. If the rig was lived in full time some of the things replaced I would consider normal wear and tear. RV toilets are not as robust as residential, it is not uncommon for the seals to wear out, flushing mechanisms to wear out, and if electronic they stop working all together.

Water damage could be a problem if not repaired properly, the only way to tell is to see where the damage was and how it was repaired.

Generators do have a defined life and hours is an indication of how it was used. I believe there is a major maintenance item at 1000 hours that can be costly. Was it done. Also, if the generator is not on a slide it can be even more costly to maintain and repair.

All the items you listed have to do with the house portion. I would be more concerned with the chassis and how well it has been maintained. Oil changes, filters etc on both engine and transmission are critical as a failure of either of those will cost you far more then the rest combined.
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:28 AM   #3
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Hmm... I don't believe it was lived in full time. The interior looks pretty pristine from the photos. I've already submitted questions to the owner based on your suggestions. All good information and exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for. The vehicle is several states south of where I am at the moment but I'll be heading down that way at the end of the month.... maybe I'll make the 1 hour or so detour to go check it out. The price range is great if it's a solid vehicle.....
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Old 10-17-2019, 12:56 PM   #4
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Generator engine life span is 8-10k hours. They are 3cyl Kubota engines.

Other than the stuff you all ready know to look at as its the same be it a TT, 5th wheel or motor home. I would want to see some service records on the engine and chassis.

Lools like it was maintained with an open check book...but might just be fixed upon broke repairs?

Progressive EMS is a in line hardmounted voltage monitor. Watches for low volt, high volt, neutral reversal and a few other safety measures...definitely a nice add on.
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Looks like it was maintained with an open check book...but might just be fixed upon broke repairs?
Ah, yes.... good question! Appears (at this point) the open check book thing because "the house" has been significantly redecorated (at the manufacturer) beautifully. I do have questions posted for the owner to answer regarding service records, etc.... hasn't answered yet.

Thanks for the insight on the generator and the Progressive EMS. Good information to have.
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:12 PM   #6
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Other than a residential refrigerator, my 04 Dynasty hasn’t had any of those items repaired/replaced. The replaced floor would concern me.
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:16 PM   #7
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Clearly there was some sort of water leak that rotted out some flooring. With new carpet and the rest, it sounds like there was a substantial amount of rot that got fixed. Who knows what was considered OK and left in place.


I found the unit on RVT. The only place close to the toilet with carpet is the bedroom, so it must have been a big leak. If it was stored why was there so much water?? The bowl only holds about 2 cups.

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Old 10-17-2019, 01:27 PM   #8
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I would consider using this source to find a qualified inspector to give you a solid report on the coach.

https://nrvia.org/inspector-locator-step-one/
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Old 10-21-2019, 05:54 PM   #9
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Ok.. I found out more info on the coach. It IS lived in full time (year and a half now or so).

The toilet was replaced simply because they didn't want to sit on someone else's toilet which I completely understand.

The damage to the wet bay floor turns out to be a regular issue with the tiffins. It was replaced with plastic composite within the last year or so.

The new carpeting was to match all the new valances, etc that they had recovered to update the decor to their liking. The area that was carpeted also only includes areas that were carpeted when the coach rolled off the assembly line for that model year. No water damage. All work and redecorating was done by Tiffin at Red Bay so they surely would have repaired any damage before laying new carpeting if there was a problem. I don't think Tiffin would allow one of their rigs to be remodeled/redecorated without repairing any damage unseen by the naked eye that they might come across. I'll be going to take a look at it next week on my way back to Florida from NY. Thanks everyone for your help!
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Old 10-21-2019, 06:05 PM   #10
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1CoolZ71... oh, let me tell you about water damage. When I purchased the travel trailer I'm currently still living in (since Sept 2014) nobody knew the extent of the damage. It wasn't until after I bought it and started to pull up the linoleum that I noticed nothing but black mold covering the entire back 1/3rd of my trailer. I had to gut it and rebuilt the whole back end floor from the frame up.

Cause? Toilet leak. Thetford toilet for some reason leaks at the back. I thought it was because the water hose to the toilet was too short and would "wiggle" off with vibration from the road or people walking inside. I put in a new toilet and a longer water hose with some brass shark bite fittings and that worked great.... for a while. Damned thing is leaking again so it's the actual plastic toilet mechanism that is the problem. Thankfully I caught it and now keep an empty spaghetti sauce jar under it to catch the water. I have to dump it DAILY because it gets about half full quickly and there have been times I forgot and ended up sticking my thumb in a full jar of water then having to wipe the floor up quickly before it soaks in. I DID put down a vapor barrier to protect the subfloor when I laid the laminate but now I know for certain what caused the damage the first time around.

The original owners kept it stored for the most part so they weren't in it enough to find and catch the leak before the damage was done. That damned luan is nothing but a sponge. Just a little bit of water spreads like wildfire. It's truly amazing how fast a small amount of water can devastate a large area so quickly.

Eventually (apparently) that water from the original owners damage wicked its way up into the bathroom wall and the entire outside is delaminated there. That's why I'm looking for a new rig now.. I can't rip down a whole entire wall and rebuild it in this little travel trailer. It's just not worth the money, time or effort anymore.
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Old 10-21-2019, 06:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Animalangel View Post
I have been a full timer in a travel trailer since Sept 2014. I have learned a lot of what to look for and how to repair physical/water damage in here but I'm now in search of a used Class A diesel. I belong to a few FB pages for the specific brands I'm interested in and it appears that people who have the Tiffin brand (my first choice - Newmar is also a good one but more out of my financial range) really do take fantastic care of them.

That said, I found one (Tiffin) I really like (haven't seen it in person yet however) from a private seller that states: It's a 2005 with 76,000 miles on it.

Questions:

Are those things NORMAL wear on a vehicle despite meticulous care? Is that something I should expect on ALL Class A vehicles (including newer models - 2014 which is another one I found to my liking although more than double my price range with zero of the issues listed above so far, for comparison sake only) with lower mileage if I find them?

OR, do those repairs/replacements indicate a well maintained coach?

That wet bay floor... is that also a normal occurrence as they get older? My question for that is based on the fact that nobody knew the amount of water damage that was in this trailer until I got it and then started pulling up the linoleum.

The water damage here was due to a leaking toilet that wasn't found out about because it was always "in storage" which is, apparently, not a good thing exactly for that reason, so the toilet thing is a question too. I had to GUT the enter back 1/3 of it due to rot and mold. I don't want to go through that again with such an expensive vehicle because I'm no spring chicken (and female) and medical issues now prevent me from doing my own work regardless how much pride I take in my abilities and enjoy the learning process. I also can't afford to rebuild a coach right off the bat.....

Generator: Why do people post how many hours are on the generator? Do they have a specific lifespan? What is the top end of that? I'm asking because I would LIKE to do a bunch of boondocking here and there alternating with campground hookups.

What is a "progressive EMS" and what does it do?

Back to the toilet.... why would you have to replace one of those in an RV if they are porcelain? What could possibly go wrong? The toilet in my parents house has been there over 65 YEARS with no problem so..... why wouldn't that be the same in an RV? Could that have caused the leak to the floor in the wet bay? Is this a serious issue to be of concern?

With the wet bay floor having been replaced, how do I know that whatever water damage there was on it spread further that wasn't repaired? Where do you look and what do you look for?

I guess what I'm asking is.... if someone has had to replace so much stuff in a vehicle seemingly barely used based on mileage and appearance inside and out (most I've seen have far fewer miles), is that a red flag? I'm only going to get to do this once in my lifetime and it's going to be my permanent and final home. I want to do it right and not pick up something that will turn into a money pit within weeks or months after purchase.

What SHOULD I be looking for? What SHOULD I avoid?

Thank you in advance.
Is this the one?
https://www.rvt.com/Tiffin-Phaeton-4...34849-UX264700

If so, that's a great looking rig!
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Old 10-21-2019, 06:57 PM   #12
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YES! That's the one! I can't wait to see it!
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Old 10-22-2019, 12:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Animalangel View Post
YES! That's the one! I can't wait to see it!
Hmm, strange..not seeing it. Did they take it off the lot?
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Old 10-22-2019, 12:56 PM   #14
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They actually messaged me last night that they've decided not to sell it because they'd be losing too much money. Perhaps that is true, perhaps they just didn't want to take a chance on me or perhaps they've actually already sold it but I don't know for sure. I only know that's the reason I was given.
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