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Old 09-22-2015, 04:29 PM   #1
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Buying used, RV checklist?

We're on our quest to find our first rig, and it sure is daunting! So much to learn! We're buying used, so we can pay cash and own it outright. What I'd like to know is what should we look out for as far as "less than perfect" as far as expensive repairs go? What are some of the red flags that we should walk away from?

We don't mind if the rig has a few "issues", but don't want to buy someone else's junk, either. Is there a checklist of things that we could use as a guide to buying used? What, in your opinion, are the "top 10" manufacturers as far as reliability and sturdiness? What are the "top 5" most expensive repairs?

We are total newbies, so any help is appreciated.

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Old 09-22-2015, 05:40 PM   #2
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I would look at simple things first like tires and make sure you check out all the options and make sure they work. It is worth the money to take it to a mechanic and have the drive train checked out. Every thing is expensive to fix as most rv shops get 125.00 for labor. It helps to be handy. Check out washer and dryer if there is one, furnace, aqua hot. When we bought our 2012 we decided to buy an extended warranty. They are not cheap but they can pay off even if it is just for peace of mind. Most electronics are not covered. Most dealers include a short waranty so get out and use it right away when you get it. You can tell a lot about the coach by how it shows. Is it clean, how is the paint ect. Open all the cupboards and check all the drawers. Hope this helps!

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Old 09-22-2015, 06:47 PM   #3
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Desertlass: More info on what class MH, and year range you're looking for would be helpfull.
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:40 PM   #4
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Are you looking at a 5th wheel, travel trailer, Class A, B or C? That makes a difference on what manufacturers are reliable and produce quality units. What size are you looking for?

If Class A, we'd highly recommend Newmar. They also made 5th wheels and I believe travel trailers a few years ago.

What to look for?

Check carefully for any water spots on the ceiling, walls, floors, around the slideouts. Walk away if you discover any. Leaks are difficult to correct and most likely damage has already be done.

Also check for any soft floors.

Having the kitchen in a slideout many times poses problems with the plumbing.

Run the slideouts in and out a few times to make sure they go out straight and don't bind.

Naturally, test all appliances.

A big plus is that the unit comes with all repair and maintenance receipts and the manuals for everything. If Class A, B or C also the engine and chassis manuals. When we sold ours through PPL Consignment in Houston, TX (a plug), the new owner specifically mentioned that this was a strong point in the purchase. We saved everything.

Cabinetry tells a lot about the quality. Are the cabinets solid wood or do they have a wood-look paper covering. How are the drawers made? Dovetailed? Do all the doors close good without gaps?

If it needs new tires that could be negotiated in the final price. Check the date of the tires that are imprinted on the sidewall. 5-7 years is getting to be replaceable even if it's not driven much.

Have a mechanic - diesel or gas look over the engine. High mileage with a diesel is definitely o.k.

The generator should have a good amount of hours on it. One that isn't run much or 'exercised' regularly, is not a good thing.

First impressions count. One that you can tell has really been taken care of - inside and out, and one that's very clean, means the owner cared for it.

Good luck!
Full-timed for 16 Years . . . Back in S&B Again
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Diesel
& 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th wheel
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:58 PM   #5
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Check list

Ok i found this on line and if you goto the link they have a drive one too.
this is the link
I think it should be shared for everyone a lot of good info
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Changin' Gears - RV Inspection Checklist.pdf (202.9 KB, 159 views)
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:08 PM   #6
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It's a Class A Pace Arrow, 1994. It was owned by an elderly couple, and looks immaculate inside and out. The cabinets look like new, and are all wood...same with carpeting, floors, etc. Outside is immaculate, I'd never guess it's a 1994. The mileage is 31K. It does have those split single beds, and I posted a question on whether it can me modified to fit a queen mattress. Not sure if this can be done or not. No water spots whatsoever, I took a flashlight to check the entire structure.

Is there a way to test all the systems while it's in his driveway? Without hooking up? It also has solar panels, but I don't know anything about "wattage", I can get that info later.

It does have a cracked windshield on the driver's side, which we'd fix immediately. It has all new tires. He has a good amount of extra hoses, water filters, etc. on board, so it gave me the impression he was a good Boy Scout.

One thing I'm wondering, though, is that it only has the one ceiling air unit, and we'll be spending several months of the year working in Arizona heat (winter months, so cooler than summertime), then "retreat" after May to cooler areas.

We haven't gone as far as taking it to a mechanic yet, we'll see what he says upon inspection. I will also ask him if he has service records, that will tell a lot. It's our "starter RV", so doesn't have to be new or perfect, just functional. If we find that we just LOVE the full timing aspect, we'll upgrade later. We just don't want to get too financially invested until we test the waters.
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:47 PM   #7
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Take your time & shop around.

Before you actually buy it see if they will let you rent it for a couple of weeks to see if everything works O.K. if they say no way then look some place else.
That would be a red flag for me.
check with Camping World they have a lot of R.V's. for sail.
Just a thought.
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Walter5555 View Post
Before you actually buy it see if they will let you rent it for a couple of weeks to see if everything works O.K. if they say no way then look some place else.
That would be a red flag for me.
check with Camping World they have a lot of R.V's. for sail.
Just a thought.
Sorry, but I disagree with this. As an RV owner, I'm not about to rent my RV to anyone so they can "see if everything works ok." Imagine the implications of that...insurance, liability, etc. Inspections can be done but it won't be leaving my possession until the check clears.
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Old 09-23-2015, 12:50 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by SarahW View Post
Sorry, but I disagree with this. As an RV owner, I'm not about to rent my RV to anyone so they can "see if everything works ok." Imagine the implications of that...insurance, liability, etc. Inspections can be done but it won't be leaving my possession until the check clears.

For sure.

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Old 09-23-2015, 05:02 AM   #10
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A full set of maint. records would be a must for me. At over 20yrs. of age there's a lot of things that would be questionable to me.
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:13 AM   #11
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We currently have a 1998 Class C Tioga. It was someone's "baby". I could tell just by the passion and time the seller spent while showing me the rig several times.
When I buy my "fulltime" Class A DP in 4 years I will try to do the same thing. If you found what I think you found then I would still have the chassis checked out if possible but I'd live with the rest. You can make it perfect in time while you are using it.
Good luck.

From what I've seen around here; You can spend big bucks on a new rig and spend the next several months trying to get warranty work done. Buy used if you can find somebody's baby. It won't be perfect but it will be close.
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Old 09-23-2015, 09:15 PM   #12
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I agree! All of our's have been used and loved! No major trouble and we kept each one 10 yrs. We are on year 3 with our 2007 DP and the old owner had all the records and spent an hour and a half the first time we saw it! We absolutely Love it!
Scott & Dawn 2007 National Tropical T330
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Old 09-23-2015, 10:47 PM   #13
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Being uncertain about loving the full timer life style is a bit concerning as it relates to purchasing a MH. Unless you have a unit that you can be stuck in for 3 or 4 days and be comfortable, this alone could sour your desire. But it would be because of the unit your in ... not the life style. IMO
Purchasing a MH just to test the waters may not be too financially beneficial. Its not the easiest thing to sell older used units .... and working with dealers .....well I'm not a fan ....
Buying used is perfectly okey ,,, that's what we did ... but we found the Bus that would take care of us long term ... we bought our last Bus first .... but again, if you're uncertain ... I have to agree about renting a unit for a long weekend or longer to help with the "water test".
Then ... take your time ... and find the unit that totally suits your needs & desires ... and as for me ... I prefer working with private sellers.
The check list provided above is pretty much rite on ....
Just something to think about ......... Good luck your decisions and enjoy the adventure
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Old 09-23-2015, 11:56 PM   #14
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What I meant by "testing the waters" is that we plan on living in it full time for at least a year. If we'd rather have a property after that time, we'll just buy one after that year is up, and keep the RV, as our work requires travel.

If we LOVE full timing, we can continue on, and upgrade the RV if we feel the need. We both love the idea of travelling all the time, and being wherever we want whenever we want. We just like "options". Thus, the "buying used", and socking away the rest if we want to buy some acreage later.

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