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Old 07-19-2012, 10:32 AM   #1
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To Repair Or Not To Repair

We just concluded a long trip out west in our 1998 National Dolphin Class A Motorhome. Along the way we hit a deer that caused major damage to the front end of our RV. There was no frame damage but the entire front piece needs to be replaced. Our insurance company says it's too damaged to repair and wants to total the RV. However we found a replacement front end from an RV Salvage place in MO. We're trying to decide whether to accept the $20K+ that the insurance company is offering or pay the $4000 salvage costs and get the new front end plus do other repairs necessary (possibly as much as $10K for all parts and labor). Does anyone have any experience in having an entire fiberglass front end replaced? What did it cost for labor? Is it difficult to find places to do this? Our other option is to just accept the salvage cost and buy a newer model RV.

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Old 07-19-2012, 10:57 AM   #2
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I would base my decision on how many miles of expected useful life remain from the chassis, and how much I really like the coach.

Taking the cash may allow you to upgrade to a newer model, with lots of "improvements", and there are plenty of quality used RV out there.

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Old 07-19-2012, 01:45 PM   #3
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I think you are saying that you could receive the $20k, pay $4k to buy the salvage value, and still own the motorhome.

You will probably then have a vehicle title that will say "Salvaged" and have difficulty selling at the time you want to sell the rig.

Obviously, you may spend more than the $16k proceeds and end up with a rig that is only worth $20k or less.

I have no idea what it would cost to replace the front cap, but would be tempted just to start with another rig rather than take on the uncertainty of the repair.
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:16 PM   #4
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Before going with a salvage part, contact Ortega Manufacturing Inc. | Del Craft Plastics | National RV, they have the National RV fiberglass molds.

When National RV was operating, I had the entire lower portion of the front end replaced for under $2K.

Fred and Bonnie
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:21 PM   #5
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Looks like its time to move on. You can get a couple of differnt repair quotes from shops. What actually needs to be replaced still needs to be seen. Most of the time, little things will be added as they are found damaged. Could add up to more than what the insurance adjuster is seeing. Which is why they are saying salvage time.
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:25 PM   #6
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I would put the $20k towards another RV.

Also, you may be able to get your sales tax added to the $20k.
Vince and Susan
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Old 07-19-2012, 03:30 PM   #7
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I would take the $20,000.00 and upgrade to a newer unit. There are plenty of RV's out there! It's a buyers market right now!
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Old 07-21-2012, 08:22 AM   #8
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Find out from Ortega what a new front cap will cost (don't die of shock!), then get a quote on installing, repainting and the rest from a body shop that does RVS. You didn't give a location, but most regions have shops that specialize in RVs. We had $50,000 in repairs done to ours two years ago, including a new front cap. Prices vary tremendously depending on size and style, but none are chap. And you are having it molded one at a time, so no production line economy here.

If you are in the eastern US, Mike's RV Collison in Wilmington, NC, is an excellent choice and they will get the parts price for you as well as labor costs.
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Old 07-21-2012, 08:52 AM   #9
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I know this isn't part of your question, but it might help make your decision? You're OK with the 20K settlement OFFER? You feel you could duplicate that coach for that kind of money? To the point it's sitting in your driveway ready to be loaded? I think that number might be negotiable. The policies I'm familiar with state "like kind and quality" when estimating the settlement. That, to me, is subject to some interpretation? Like who pays to scour the country looking for a replacement, or pays for the pre-purchase inspections? There's more but I'm sure you get the point....
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:32 AM   #10
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If you can live with the insurance offer, my thought would be to take it. No matter how good the repair, little things will be popping up.

My thought is that its a buyers market now. I have been thinking about selling mine and called my dealer about pricing, he told me it was worth (book) thousands less than I had wanted to offer at.

I told him what was listed on the internet and he said just walk into a dealer with cash and be ready to drive out.
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Old 07-21-2012, 11:48 AM   #11
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Another consideration with a salvaged title is insuring the vehicle after the repairs. Some insurance companies do not want to carry insurance on a salvage title and if you find one that does, rember your salvaged vehicle is now worth much less than when it had a clean title. So with that thought in mind another like collision may only pay out $10k.
I have done a lot of auto body work and rebuilds, but some vehicle types just are not worth carrying a salvaged title on. Proceed with caution and know the facts before you go for the repairs. Another consideration is whether you plan on keeping this for many many more years, if so the value becomes what you get out of the RV, not the actual cash value.
Dan Sees, Full Timing in the MH & Part timing in a S&B In Hampstead, NC
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:40 PM   #12
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I bought mine back and then sold it, or sell it before you buy it back is what I did, and made a few more $$$$ I let mine go, and upgraded to a DP for $15,000.00 more. Good Luck

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