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Old 03-09-2012, 09:47 PM   #1
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Good Deal? or Money Pit?

Buying our first RV on a budget is becoming very "challenging"... and we've been doing our homework for over a year. We've invested in two different RV Consumer resource materials/guides/CDs/Downloads, spent thousands of hours surfing the web, subscribed to 3 differents RV magazines, been to a couple of RV shows (going to another one of those tomorrow), looked at a few RVs on dealers' lots, and met with "for sale by owner" sellers to look at what they were selling. At first, we thought Motorhome, but we're now almost sold on getting a fifth wheel. Our goal is to find one for less than $30K which has been given high ratings from the various consumer resources, and forum/owner feedback we've read. We were really hoping to find a used New Horizons, Travel Supreme, DRV Mobile Suites, Hitchhiker, Carriage Cameo, or the like. There are very few of those to be found, however, in the southeast (we're in NC). I had my eyes on a 2007 Travel Supreme River Canyon which is being offered at an attractive price not too far away.

Oh... We just discovered Open Range ? Any advice?

This week, MDH discovered neighbors within a mile away have a 1999 Avion (we think Westport) 38 ft -w/3 slides which "appears" to be in pretty good condition. BUT it has not been used in 3 years, and has been "sitting out in the weather" with the slides "out" (issue?). During the past 3 years we've had a couple of hurricanes pass over & several high-wind days. We took a quick run-thru (without the owner) and noticed the carpet was discolored (faded/with some light maybe rust damage?) at the areas where the slides "slide in & out". We didn't have time to inspect underneath the rig, but no evidence of leakage were present anywhere else. Interior: The bathroom/shower/sink areas look water-tight as well. The furniture (leather)/solid wood cabinetry/window treatments etc. are almost impeccable but the carpet would have to be replaced, plus an oven installed (there is none). I'm concerned about having to replace hoses, seals, gaskets, maybe the appliances might have issues soon? No washer/dryer. Exterior... no visible damage, faded/needs buffing/waxing... and some decals are drying out. Tires? Sitting in the open some summers 100+ days... possible dry rot issues? The wheels are showing rust/wear.

Hubby thinks it could be a great deal for $18-20,000? Really??
(Avion doesn't have as good of a rating... and it's 13 yrs. old)
I'm wondering if all the Avion "fixes" (or any unit, for that matter) might add up to the point where it's no longer a good buy.

If we will be financing (part of it anyway), maybe we should invest a newer model fifth wheel (say 2005-10) and have less worries about something breaking down or wearing out... plus have a better resale value, if snowbirding and possibly full-timing turn out not to be a lifestyle we can enjoy.

Any/all comments/advice welcome!
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:01 PM   #2
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Through 1995, Avion built abetter than average 5er. Around 1997 the plant was moved to CAand the QC went to heck. They were having cracking frames forward of the bedroom slide. After that the production was moved to Longview, TX and QC took another hit. Then they dropped th Avion name around 2004.

Look closely for cracks at the corners of the bedroom slide.

Ken
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:04 PM   #3
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Avion made a nice product. Any 13 year old rv is going to need some upgrading unless it ha been well maintained, sounds like that is not the case here. Have a good look at the slide seals, they may need to be replaced. New tires are a given, regardless of age they are likely in poor condition after sitting for that long. Make sure everything works, mice love wiring and there may be nests. Wheel bearings will need to be repacked, while in there inspect the brakes.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:06 PM   #4
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You might also start looking at Alpenlite. They were one of the finest quality built fifth wheels until their demise about 5 years ago. You can find some real deals on 95-2000 vintage units for 5-10K dollars.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:11 PM   #5
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That would be a good buy at $10,000, but $ 18-20k? There are a lot of choices out there, and it sounds like you guys have done a lot of homework, and are tired of looking. Be cautious, this is when mistakes happen. This unit is close to home, so that will make it more attractive than it is. Find one you can pay cash for if possible.
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Old 03-10-2012, 01:02 PM   #6
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You are definitely doing the right thing, looking at used ones. You just don't know what you will really like until you spend some time in it. Try not to drive yourself so crazy, keep your eyes open and you will find something that works for you. Don't be desperate. We had a 2000 Avion and it was very well built, however, I would look for something newer than a 1999. Find an rv technician to inspect the one you want to buy, just like a car there can be hidden damage. Good luck
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Old 03-10-2012, 01:18 PM   #7
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Right now 5th wheels are going for 30% - 50% less than NADA low retail so there are some great deals out there. When I bought mine the NADA was $24k and the guy wanted $20k. Got him down to $18k and told him i'd think about it and left my card. 2 weeks later he called back and said $16k, 2 weeks after that he called back and said $15k, talked him down to $14.5k and took the deal. Sellers are "asking" what they want not what they expect to get. $18 - $20k for a 13 yr old unit that needs work is no deal. Good luck!
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Old 03-10-2012, 01:41 PM   #8
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To give you something of a reference point as to product and price: I sold a 36ft. Travel Supreme with 3 slides. It was a 1998, and been well taken care of and in excellent condition. I had towed it about 50,000 miles with no adverse effect on the coach except for tires - don't ask me!! It was a triple axle with all the upgrades, etc. I sold it for $12,000 dollars and I think that this was a fair price, since I feel we got a great deal when we bought it new in '98. Now, Travel Supreme is out of business, as you probably know, but parts and service on these 5th wheels can be done quite proficiently by many dealers, since much of the mechanisms and materials are "gneneric" in nature. Just make certain that whatever 5th wheel you get, that you have a tow vehicle heavy enough to handle the job. Some of the older makes and models are quite heavy since their framing was made of wood, and the upscale models had real wood interiors along with heavier frames. Please feel free to send me an e-mail if you have questions - I am not an expert, but know just enough to be dangerous!!

Bronk
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:45 AM   #9
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Search, search and search and when you are done search some more

Quote:
Originally Posted by campbellsusa View Post
Buying our first RV on a budget is becoming very "challenging"... and we've been doing our homework for over a year. We've invested in two different RV Consumer resource materials/guides/CDs/Downloads, spent thousands of hours surfing the web, subscribed to 3 differents RV magazines, been to a couple of RV shows (going to another one of those tomorrow), looked at a few RVs on dealers' lots, and met with "for sale by owner" sellers to look at what they were selling. At first, we thought Motorhome, but we're now almost sold on getting a fifth wheel. Our goal is to find one for less than $30K which has been given high ratings from the various consumer resources, and forum/owner feedback we've read. We were really hoping to find a used New Horizons, Travel Supreme, DRV Mobile Suites, Hitchhiker, Carriage Cameo, or the like. There are very few of those to be found, however, in the southeast (we're in NC). I had my eyes on a 2007 Travel Supreme River Canyon which is being offered at an attractive price not too far away.

Oh... We just discovered Open Range ? Any advice?

This week, MDH discovered neighbors within a mile away have a 1999 Avion (we think Westport) 38 ft -w/3 slides which "appears" to be in pretty good condition. BUT it has not been used in 3 years, and has been "sitting out in the weather" with the slides "out" (issue?). During the past 3 years we've had a couple of hurricanes pass over & several high-wind days. We took a quick run-thru (without the owner) and noticed the carpet was discolored (faded/with some light maybe rust damage?) at the areas where the slides "slide in & out". We didn't have time to inspect underneath the rig, but no evidence of leakage were present anywhere else. Interior: The bathroom/shower/sink areas look water-tight as well. The furniture (leather)/solid wood cabinetry/window treatments etc. are almost impeccable but the carpet would have to be replaced, plus an oven installed (there is none). I'm concerned about having to replace hoses, seals, gaskets, maybe the appliances might have issues soon? No washer/dryer. Exterior... no visible damage, faded/needs buffing/waxing... and some decals are drying out. Tires? Sitting in the open some summers 100+ days... possible dry rot issues? The wheels are showing rust/wear.

Hubby thinks it could be a great deal for $18-20,000? Really??
(Avion doesn't have as good of a rating... and it's 13 yrs. old)
I'm wondering if all the Avion "fixes" (or any unit, for that matter) might add up to the point where it's no longer a good buy.

If we will be financing (part of it anyway), maybe we should invest a newer model fifth wheel (say 2005-10) and have less worries about something breaking down or wearing out... plus have a better resale value, if snowbirding and possibly full-timing turn out not to be a lifestyle we can enjoy.

Any/all comments/advice welcome!
I will just share my experience with the same issue I was faced with a year ago. I too was on a very tight budget but wanted a 5th Wheel. The economy is in a bad way and if you look hard and long enough you will find an owner that needs to sell their 5ver very badly. At least that is what situation I fell into. Now your choices are going to be greatly diminished I know because you are not buying a unit that you picked out personally, but it just so happens I found a 2000 Fleetwood Wilderness 5th Wheel model 30 5 G that a person was desperate to sell. There is not ONE THING wrong with this 5th wheel. Granted Fleetwood no longer makes 5th wheels only coaches now, but I can still get any part I need as most 5th wheel parts are interchangeable. Everything works beautifully, slides, water heater furnace, AC unit frig ect. I stole it at $6000. The party was asking originally $7500 WAY below the book price. (They were desperate to sell, not because there was anything wrong with the unit) I really believe there are deals out there you just have to search for them. The only thing I did to my 5th wheel after I purchased it was upgrade the flooring and window treatments. That was it. However before I pull it I am replacing the tires. The rest of the 5th Wheel is in extremely good condition for the year. I really lucked out, but see if you can find any "for sale by owners" out there that are desperate to sell for financial reasons. There are allot of abused and in poor conditions 5th wheels out there for sale my owners, but do your homework and physically inspect the unit and make sure the condition when you go to look at it meet with your satisfaction. Good luck with your future purchase and share with me what you end up getting/finding. I will send good energy your way that you can fall into a deal like I did.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:57 AM   #10
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find a RV inspection guy and have them do a full inspection. I did that on a 2008 sunnybrook 5th wheel I bought last fall. The inspection was $150 but I was able to save an additional $1000 on the purchase price because of his recommendations. Discoloring on linoleum/carpet to me sounds like water is/has been there and once water gets in-between the skin and the framing, you could get delamination. I did on our first travel trailer. Insurance bailed me out but it was a lesson learned.

for reference, I paid $17k for a well maintained sunnybrook brookside 30' with 2 slides fifth wheel. $18 for a '99 with 3 slides, that's been neglected for at least 3 years doesn't sound like a bargain to me. I have no maintenance issues on mine but i'll be getting the roof resealed this spring as an inexpensive insurance solution.

good luck.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:42 AM   #11
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Any RV, of any age, of any make, of any model, is a money pit...get used to it and be prepared.
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Old 03-17-2012, 11:56 PM   #12
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A good site for shopping is PPL Motor Homes out of Texas. They do a nice job of showing floor plans of all the RV's they sell. They are a consignment RV lot. They sells all lines of RV's. They also have a good listing for parts to find specs and prices.
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