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Old 08-23-2015, 04:04 PM   #1
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Used Motorcoach Purchase

We are about to sign the papers and take delivery on a 2001 American Coach Dream DP by Fleetwood. It is on a Spartan chassis. I would like to hear about any problems or issues on a Spartan that I need to check before signing. Also, The dealer is doing a full systems check, putting new tires all around and replacing any battery that is more than 5yrs old. I will do my own inspection and would like to know what to look for. I did test drive the unit and it seems fine. Just don't want any hidden surprises.
Thank you in advance..
Gary
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Old 08-23-2015, 04:14 PM   #2
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Get everything in writing they say they will fix. DO NOT take the dealers word on it.
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Old 08-23-2015, 04:37 PM   #3
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Get everything in writing they say they will fix. DO NOT take the dealers word on it.

He is correct. EVERYTHING.
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Old 08-23-2015, 04:48 PM   #4
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Nice looking coach! All RVs give us surprises, much out of our control. Find a good repairman, and put away x amount of money to cover any rehab costs. You've saved a lot by buying used, but upkeep will be costly on occasion, such as tires, refrigerator, leaking seals, brakes, etc.

Can you get a one year warranty? Might make you less worried to relax and enjoy.
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Old 08-23-2015, 05:19 PM   #5
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He is correct. EVERYTHING.
This, pretty much, goes without typing (saying)
I was hoping for better than this. Like.. check the hootie boots.. they tend to dry up. Or maybe replace the toilet tie downs,, it will shift when making a left turn... etc You know.. stuff out of the ordinary.
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Old 08-23-2015, 05:35 PM   #6
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2000ish Spartan Chassis

If your Spartan has IFS, have the ball joint boots checked.

The plastic boots on early Spartans crack, dirt gets in, and slowly but surely you have problems turning.

New set of ball joints (upper & lower) about $2K.
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Old 08-23-2015, 05:47 PM   #7
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These are well built units. Fit/finish and general design is very well thought out and it is easy to own, maintain and operate.

Re: IFS and the ball-joints. The Dream rides on a Spartan Mountain Master Chassis, has independent front suspension and therefore ball-joints. The ball-joints were "lubed for life" (no zerks) but the boots usually fail and can lead to ball joint issues if the owner does not find an alternate method of lubrication.

My Eagle rides on the same chassis, is older and while the boots are gone the ball joints are fine as they are lubricated by me regularly.

The other issue to look for is frame rust around the rear compartments of the coach. Make sure the frame around the compartments behind the rear wheels are rust free.

Also check the bottom frame beneath the cargo doors to make sure they are rust free.

If you pull the trigger, get some Boeshield T-9 aerospace anti-corrosion and lubricant spray. You can use it liberally on these portions of the chassis and prevent future corrosion but you must start from a rust free baseline.

These American Coaches drive like a dream (no pun intended), have more than adequate power and great factory support from American Coach and Spartan.
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Old 08-23-2015, 06:28 PM   #8
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Thanks FormerBoater and techWriter for the input. Looks like I'll be scooting around on my back checking the IFS steering boots on tie-rod ends and looking for rust. I'll take a "poker" under there with me to do a "rust check".
Good stuff... anyone else?? I'm making a check list.
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Old 08-23-2015, 06:57 PM   #9
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Take it to a Spartan dealer/repair station and ask them to do an "IN DEPTH DOT" safety inspection. It will probably cost you about $150 to $200 for the inspection. Have the pull the codes on both the engine and the transmission. (they may not be able to pull the codes on the transmission unless they are an Allison dealer.

Have them pay particular attention to the brakes, whether the desiccant air filter has been replaced (a $400.00 cost to replace if a dealer does it). Also evidence that the chassis has been lubed.

if the Coolant surge tank is the plastic kind, look it over CAREFULLY for any evidence of cracks or leakage. $200.00 part plus installation if deteriorated/leaking. Also check the belts and hoses.

Note: If the dealer balks about taking it to a Spartan repair shop to get it inspected, I would walk away, but that's just me. You will have to pay for the inspection, money well spent. If the shop will let you, get under the coach with the tech, ask him to point out what he is looking for/at. Have him explain anything he finds.

Look at the battery CABLES, both chassis and house, paying particular attention to the ends. Look for any evidence of corrosion (green discoloration), If present, the battery cables need replacing.

Don't rely on the dealer going through all the systems. Run the slides in and out at least a dozen times, looking for binding.

If the slide awnings (and the main awning) don't have the metal covers visible when the awnings are retracted, then get on the roof and check very carefully where the fabric attaches to the coach. Any perforations, the awnings need to be replaced.

Fill the coach with water, turn on the electric hot water heater. Go about your business looking at other things, after about 25 minutes, run the hot water for awhile. Then turn on the propane hot water heater, make sure it starts and STAYS running. Check the faucets while hooked up to shore water. Disconnect, turn on the water pump and run the faucets again. Make sure the electric water pumps shuts off when the faucets are closed.

With the slides extended, check out the underside of the slides for soft spots, check ALL 4 corners in particular. If soft wood is present, the slide needs some major work. Still with the slides extended, check the inside of the coach at the ends of the slides for soft flooring. It may not be apparent if there is carpet, tile etc, Do the best you can.

Turn on the generator, wait until picks up the load. Turn on both AC units as well as the electric hot water heater. Make sure it keeps running. Check ALL the electrical, lights, wall outlets, test the GFI's. DO NOT RELY ON THE DEALERS TEST OF SYSTEMS!

Run the leveling jacks out to level. Make sure ALL 4 go down. Retract them, see if one drags or takes longer to retract.

On the roof, check ALL seals/caulking. Especially where the front and back cap attach to the roof. Walk around with your shoes off, socks on. Feel for soft spots. Raise/retract the TV antenna. Check for binding. Check seal where TV wire goes through roof.

Check the windshield for chips, cracks. Check all 4 corners to ensure the glass is not popping out of the seal. Check condition of the seal.

If equipped with dual pane windows, check for "fogging". Expensive to repair.

Inside, flush the toilet. Look for leaks. Turn on fans, check for operation. Check TV's if equipped. Bring a Dvd, check dvd players. Check oven, microwave, Fridge/freezer for proper operation.

Find out what tires the dealer is going to put on. Check the date codes, and make sure the tires he is putting on are recommended for your coach, load rating etc. Find out what kind of weights he will be using to BALANCE the tires, Personal opinion comes into play here, some like beads, some like hard weights, but find out.

Don't let any money change hands beyond a deposit until you inspect the coach and get the DOT inspection. Make any sales agreement contingent upon successful passing of inspections. Serious problems found can be used to adjust the purchase or to allow you to get you deposit back and back away.

This is a good start for what to look for, other people will add more. I've probably omitted some stuff that should be here. Print it out, and take it with you to check off items!

Good luck with your purchase, it looks like a nice coach. If you go through with it, people will want/expect to see more pictures! I know I do! Take care,
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Old 08-23-2015, 07:30 PM   #10
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Run generator and check under heavy load, 2 AC's, water heater etc.

Check the inverter and make sure it provides power to most of the outlets.

If it is plugged into a 50 amp ask to have it plugged into a 30 amp shore power plug and check to make sure the EMS system is working (assuming there will be one on this size/model coach). The EMS system should limit total load to less then 30 amps by shedding some of the load, usually you can only run 1 AC unit at a time on 30 amp shore power.
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Old 08-24-2015, 05:39 AM   #11
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As already mentioned that years ball joint boots are probably toast. Unfortunately you can't replace just the boots, the whole assembly needs replacing. If the boots are bad I would just put that as a part of the negotiation. My replacement cost $2800. Maybe you can talk the dealer into all new ball joints.
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Old 08-24-2015, 10:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hit_the_Rhod View Post
Take it to a Spartan dealer/repair station and ask them to do an "IN DEPTH DOT" safety inspection. It will probably cost you about $150 to $200 for the inspection. Have the pull the codes on both the engine and the transmission. (they may not be able to pull the codes on the transmission unless they are an Allison dealer.

Have them pay particular attention to the brakes, whether the desiccant air filter has been replaced (a $400.00 cost to replace if a dealer does it). Also evidence that the chassis has been lubed.

if the Coolant surge tank is the plastic kind, look it over CAREFULLY for any evidence of cracks or leakage. $200.00 part plus installation if deteriorated/leaking. Also check the belts and hoses.

Note: If the dealer balks about taking it to a Spartan repair shop to get it inspected, I would walk away, but that's just me. You will have to pay for the inspection, money well spent. If the shop will let you, get under the coach with the tech, ask him to point out what he is looking for/at. Have him explain anything he finds.

Look at the battery CABLES, both chassis and house, paying particular attention to the ends. Look for any evidence of corrosion (green discoloration), If present, the battery cables need replacing.

Don't rely on the dealer going through all the systems. Run the slides in and out at least a dozen times, looking for binding.

If the slide awnings (and the main awning) don't have the metal covers visible when the awnings are retracted, then get on the roof and check very carefully where the fabric attaches to the coach. Any perforations, the awnings need to be replaced.

Fill the coach with water, turn on the electric hot water heater. Go about your business looking at other things, after about 25 minutes, run the hot water for awhile. Then turn on the propane hot water heater, make sure it starts and STAYS running. Check the faucets while hooked up to shore water. Disconnect, turn on the water pump and run the faucets again. Make sure the electric water pumps shuts off when the faucets are closed.

With the slides extended, check out the underside of the slides for soft spots, check ALL 4 corners in particular. If soft wood is present, the slide needs some major work. Still with the slides extended, check the inside of the coach at the ends of the slides for soft flooring. It may not be apparent if there is carpet, tile etc, Do the best you can.

Turn on the generator, wait until picks up the load. Turn on both AC units as well as the electric hot water heater. Make sure it keeps running. Check ALL the electrical, lights, wall outlets, test the GFI's. DO NOT RELY ON THE DEALERS TEST OF SYSTEMS!

Run the leveling jacks out to level. Make sure ALL 4 go down. Retract them, see if one drags or takes longer to retract.

On the roof, check ALL seals/caulking. Especially where the front and back cap attach to the roof. Walk around with your shoes off, socks on. Feel for soft spots. Raise/retract the TV antenna. Check for binding. Check seal where TV wire goes through roof.

Check the windshield for chips, cracks. Check all 4 corners to ensure the glass is not popping out of the seal. Check condition of the seal.

If equipped with dual pane windows, check for "fogging". Expensive to repair.

Inside, flush the toilet. Look for leaks. Turn on fans, check for operation. Check TV's if equipped. Bring a Dvd, check dvd players. Check oven, microwave, Fridge/freezer for proper operation.

Find out what tires the dealer is going to put on. Check the date codes, and make sure the tires he is putting on are recommended for your coach, load rating etc. Find out what kind of weights he will be using to BALANCE the tires, Personal opinion comes into play here, some like beads, some like hard weights, but find out.

Don't let any money change hands beyond a deposit until you inspect the coach and get the DOT inspection. Make any sales agreement contingent upon successful passing of inspections. Serious problems found can be used to adjust the purchase or to allow you to get you deposit back and back away.

This is a good start for what to look for, other people will add more. I've probably omitted some stuff that should be here. Print it out, and take it with you to check off items!

Good luck with your purchase, it looks like a nice coach. If you go through with it, people will want/expect to see more pictures! I know I do! Take care,
Well stated. Pretty thorough list.!
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Old 08-25-2015, 12:58 PM   #13
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Great list TVforMyRV . My only add to that is a through inspection of the air brake and suspension system what are the age of the shocks (original or replaced and if so when). Also have oil samples sent out on the engine, transmission and genet. A very close inspection of all the hydraulic hoses and fittings. You will love the Spartan Mountain Master. Great drive and ride. I love my Spartan chassis.
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