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Old 09-14-2016, 03:51 PM   #1
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Evaluating a used RV

We are interested in purchasing a used RV. It will be our first and I am hoping the pro's can give me some clues on things to look for or beware of. I would imagine things like mileage are obviously important, just like buying a used car, but what things would be important that would be specific to an RV. We are looking for a used Class A. Is there an model year you wouldn't pass? Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-14-2016, 03:53 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Smmast View Post
We are interested in purchasing a used RV. It will be our first and I am hoping the pro's can give me some clues on things to look for or beware of. I would imagine things like mileage are obviously important, just like buying a used car, but what things would be important that would be specific to an RV. We are looking for a used Class A. Is there an model year you wouldn't pass? Thanks in advance.
Look for a good mechanic that specializes in motor homes to check it out for you and be there when he does.
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:04 PM   #3
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First thing I would do--figure out what floorplan(s) most interest you; then start looking for used models with those floorplans. If you can narrow it down to a make/model, or at least a couple of similar models, then you should start researching the rvtrader.com
craigslist.com and pplmotorhomes websites. These 3 (there are others) sites list a lot of RVs, and you can begin to get a feel for what the going price range should be--if you know what the price range should be, then you can easily spot an over/under priced unit. Then it comes down to what your gut reaction is when you look one over, and how solid the maintenance records are.
Good luck in the search.
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:38 PM   #4
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The smartest thing I ever did when looking for an RV was to hire an independent outside RV expert to check out both the chassis and the house systems. Their eyes weren't clouded with visions of sitting in the RV alongside a river somewhere with the AC blowing enjoying an adult beverage. It was the best $250 I ever spent. I got a detailed written report on all the systems I asked to have checked. The inspection took about 4 hours overall. I am very competent when t comes to things mechanical and RV which enabled me to eliminate several RVs before I spent my bucks to have the one I wanted inspected. They found a few minor issues that I had overlooked which helped in the negotiations. We had agreed upon a price before the inspection but the new information reopened the negotiations and we arrived at a good compromise for both parties.
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:48 PM   #5
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Inquire about maintenance records, make sure the recommended services have been done. Recommend getting oil analysis.

Hiring an independent inspector is a good option if you don't have the knowledge to inspect yourself.

Check the DOT dates on the tires, large coaches could cost +$5K to replace tires if they need replacing. Tires age out at 7 years by some brands.
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:58 PM   #6
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First thing I would do--figure out what floorplan(s) most interest you; then start looking for used models with those floorplans.
Our opinion is to look for a quality manufacturer first then choose a floorplan made by them. A excellent floorplan isn't going to help if the RV falls apart around it.

At first glance, if the outside and inside isn't kept up well then you can be sure that the 'guts' of it isn't either. When folks really take care and pride in their RV they'll keep up with maintenance of engine, tires, etc.

Look closely for water stains. Leaks are very difficult to find and fix. That would be a definite pass for us.

Check the tire dates. If older than 6 years that would be a bargaining tool.

Get up on the roof and check its condition and care. Is the caulking old and cracked? A dirty roof that's never been washed deteriorates.

If you're not going to have an outside inspector go over it (recommended) then test every system on it. Operate the slides. Do they run smoothly? Does the generator start easily? If the owner won't allow it, then pass.

Spend a lot of time inside and pretend you're doing everyday things. Think of what you would carry. Would there be room for all of it? Is there sufficient basement storage? If there are two of you, do you have ample space for moving around? Sit on the toilet and stand in the shower. Is there sufficient space?
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Old 09-14-2016, 11:57 PM   #7
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Check outside skin,for quality,no bubbles, and skin condition overall, inside check walls and overhead for leak stains , check flooring for soft spots around kitchen sink, under sink, around toilet. If any soft spots beware..any brown spots on ceilings and walls is beware also. Windows close properly,snug, no evidence for leaks.
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Old 09-15-2016, 12:02 AM   #8
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Good source for Mechanics/Shops:

http://rvservicereviews.com/
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Old 09-23-2016, 07:41 AM   #9
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Have it inspected by a certified RV Inspector. A good place to look is listed below. Nationwide.

www.RVinspection.com
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Old 09-23-2016, 08:05 AM   #10
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If you wish some positives from owners or post owners look at the floor plan you would like and how many people will be using coach, then your budget and gas or diesel. With this info we can give things or particular coach's to look for or stay away from.

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Old 09-23-2016, 08:21 AM   #11
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The first thing for me to look for in condition would be rust. To me, anything more than very slight surface rust would be a deal breaker for me. I once drove 3 hours to look at an Airstream, found the bracket holding the bumper had rusted through as well as the towing tongue. I was there less than 5 minutes...
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Old 09-23-2016, 09:28 AM   #12
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Pay for two professional inspections--one for the house and another for the chassis.
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Old 09-23-2016, 09:43 AM   #13
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Budget - How much you plan on spending will narrow down your options immediately.

I'm approaching this from a 10-15 year old MH that may need some work. But these are perfect for me as I don't have a lot of money tied up in them, but yet I have a MH that fits my needs perfectly.

Depending on your budget and age of MH, consider that you are buying an old truck and an old house. How well the truck and house have been maintained or ignored will drive the price.

A major factor could also be - Are you a DIYer or will you need to open the check book when something needs repair? I'm a DIYer so a lot of stuff that others may walk away from, I may see as an opportunity.

What will you use it for?? Realistically, RVing can be a major life style change that you may not think about. An experiment into lifestyle is certainly a valid reason.

Truck - inspect like any vehicle, Depending on year, low mileage isn't necessarily a good thing. many components will need to be replaced simply because of age, not mileage (i.e. brake hoses, serpentine belts)

House - Inspect appliances, Frig, stove, AC, furnace, generator, inverters, etc. make sure you understand how they work,

A couple high dollar items that are #1 on my list to check:

Tires - Verify condition and date codes. Tires over 6 years old are nearing the end of their life cycle.

Water damage -Stains/discoloration on walls or ceiling, funny ripples on the skin of the outside walls

Welcome, and good luck in your search. I wrote a short article about our search and you can see what the outcome wass.

http://www.2001mirada.com/the-search/

..
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Old 09-23-2016, 10:27 AM   #14
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We are interested in purchasing a used RV. It will be our first and I am hoping the pro's can give me some clues on things to look for or beware of. Thanks in advance.
There is no easy answer to your question. You need to define your parameters for how you intend on using the RV. I plan on full time which can be different than the weekend warrior.

I have been looking since Apr. and reading all the time on many forums here just to get an education. We almost bought one in 2004, looked at many to understand our mutual desires (DW & I), so as many have indicated floor plan, size and diesel were the first known... I then looked at diesel reliability, model yrs to avoid, and when pollution regs impacted the engines. It seems like it took a few yrs to get to a stable engine (or leave the market as CAT did). My limit was nothing after 2007, with the yrs 2005-2007 as suspect. I did not want the newer pollution gear, more to go wrong...

Then comes the 10 yr rule, will that bother me- I don't think so, but time will tell when I'm on the road. Size limit is likewise, is it real or just hype?

I will avoid any salvage or rebuild titles, insurance is problematic with these units.

PPL list all sales they had for the past 2 yrs, a good way to validate value.

RV's are highly customized with a lot of add on's. Some add value and others are just 'nice'. You need to decide what is required for your minimal, then max. Hopefully you will find a unit within those bounds.
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