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View Poll Results: I purchased a used motorhome and employed the following inspection method:
Coach inspected by professional RV inspector. 7 8.97%
Chassis inspected by a qualified mechanic. 2 2.56%
Coach and chassis inspected by professional RV inspector and mechanic. 9 11.54%
Inspection performed by dealer selling the motorhome. 7 8.97%
Thorough inspection by myself and/or friend. 42 53.85%
Only a cursory inspection or no inspection was performed. 11 14.10%
Voters: 78. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-16-2014, 10:34 AM   #15
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Your poll data and comments are very interesting.

I made a deal on a 2004 Monaco Dynasty 42ft last week, subject to inspection. As the coach and I are separated by over 3,000 miles of roadway and my time is still not my own (only 11 more workdays until I retire ) I had to come up with a plan to secure the unit until I could pick it up yet protect myself from undisclosed problems.

I’m going to let this poll run for a few days before I post on what I did and the final results.

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Old 05-16-2014, 10:57 AM   #16
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I've bought six different used coaches and I have done my own inspection on all of them. I'm not a mechanic but I have commonsense, two eyeballs, a strong flashlight/headlamp, a digital camera, a notebook and nowadays google and forums.

I have a friend that can pull the service records up on his computer so I check that to verify claimed service and mileage. I have also asked and paid for a oil analysis on one diesel coach because the oil looked suspect and I wanted assurance (it was fine).

After buying the coach I will almost always replace ALL fluids, even if coolant isn't due for another 50,000 miles or tranny fluid is good for 3 more years. I do this to start a baseline and KNOW when the fluids were changed and WHAT fluid is in there. I will replace all tires if they are over 5 years old. Batteries are done on a as needed basis but most times I will replace house batteries because most people do not know how to care for them and they don't hold charges as well as they should. Belts and other rubber components are inspected and unless I see wear on them I leave them alone.

It's really not hard to do a once over on a coach. I tell people that my inspection will last about 4 hours and it includes everything from underneath to the roof and then I will run all appliances and test everything. After I explain to the seller my in depth inspection I have had about 8 people tell me not to bother coming out, I think they know that I will find the flaws. The ones that say "have at it" usually have nothing to hide.

Bottom line: You will always do a better job protecting your butt than someone else will.

Steven and Stephanie
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:03 PM   #17
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Did not inspect it, budget at $150k, bought at $75k, now we have new- Tires,A/C,Transfer switch,Dish,Toilet,Atwood On Demand water heater,Vent fans,Alignment,Oil change,Belts,Slideout awning and some other stuff. Still under budget, I wonder whats next.......?
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:27 PM   #18
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After looking at an incredible number of coaches (I live just 20 minutes from PPL), we saw one at a price we did not want to let pass. My inspection told me it was a good coach, and the price was such that I was prepared to put $4-5,000 into necessary repairs.

As someone else mentioned, I think you should replace all fluids and filters just to have a starting point.

In my case my only real surprises were a new serpentine belt -- it was cracked so I changed it before it could become a problem -- and the dash a/c. The a/c was the real surprise because it worked every time I checked it. But the problem manifested itself after about a month.

Since the coach is a 2006, we did buy an extended warranty, which did cover the a/c. So, I have already recouped some of that investment.
Don Simmons
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Old 05-17-2014, 02:54 AM   #19
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Since, only one choice can be made in your pole, I selected "Coach inspected by professional RV inspector". Actually there were a couple choices I could have accurately chosen. My coach now 15 years old (we have had it for 13.5), was inspected by myself and then the dealer also performed a PDI. I chose for your pole, myself as the more important of the one choice available.
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Old 05-17-2014, 07:47 AM   #20
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I have the skills and experience, so did my own. However, I hesitate to call mine "thorough", so answered "cursory" instead. I did not do a through chassis inspection, nor did I test every system in each operating mode (gas, electric, etc). The reasons I was rather casual about it are: (1) the rig was only two years old, (2) the dealer assigned a tech to me for two days to "do whatever is needed" and (3) I was purchasing a 4 year service plan anyway (but not from the dealer). We spent 3 days in the coach at the dealer and got several little things repaired or adjusted.
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Old 05-17-2014, 07:53 AM   #21
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I bought mine from a "family-owned" dealership 1200 miles away. I was sold on the floor plan and upon delivery, I stayed at the dealership for a couple of days while I checked out the coach. Noted a couple very minor issues which were fixed right there. Have gone on two trips since driving back with really no issues. I may be just lucky but my coach is really amazing in quality for something that is 7 years old.
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Old 05-17-2014, 05:53 PM   #22
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I did my own inspection. Engine and running train are expensive. Coach stuff is pretty easy. They had some under sink plumbing problems so they glued the slip fittings. The drain valves were old. I solved everything with an 18v saws all put in new plumbing. Tore out the old 12 v stop fuses and put n a new marine 12v panel. Put in a new inverter and separate converter. Bought welder a cable from AZ Solar almond with terminals, 12v batteries and hooked it all up. Isolated the 120v appliances not to run off the inverter and put them in their own new sub panel ran new 120v wire from inverter to sub that had the appliances that were to run off inverter with a second in line automatic transfer switch. Works great, no problems and I know what everything does and where it is for both electrical and plumbing.

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Old 05-17-2014, 06:50 PM   #23
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Pretty qualified to check the RV systems, which I did do. Function checks only take a few minutes with a generator on board. However, this was a 13 year old DP when we bought it. I wanted the chassis looked at by somebody that really knew what they were doing and picked out a local shop that does nothing but truck work. They were actually happy to do it, and did a great job very reasonably. I did not feel qualified judging condition of the airbags or diesel specific systems. Glad I went this way. The first MH was supposed to have had the entire engine replaced recently - due to over heating. That proved to be complete hogwash. The only thing that had been replaced was the turbo, and the oil filter had been on it so long it was rusty! Second coach was the charm. It passed the inspection with flying colors!
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Old 05-17-2014, 07:08 PM   #24
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I have learned SO much on this great forum,,, wish I would have found it before buying our current and first mh. But really so far so good. Bought it from the second owner,,, luckly he only had it about a year. The PO took great care of it. Having been an aircraft mech and building many a hotrod over the years, I have been able to keep up with the Chevy drivetrain,,, so far. When it comes to buying our second rv someday, I'll be much better prepared, again thanks to the nice helpful people here, and experience...
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:19 AM   #25
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We have owned everything from tents to class a's, I'm a mechanic so I've always done my own. traveled several hundred miles to buy my last one. talked to the dealer and inquired several times about the unit being inspected before I left, he assured me everything had just been checked out and was in working order. Well when I got there the first thing I did was go to fire up the stove, took a minute or so for the gas to bleed the air so obviously it had not been used for quite some time. So I knew right away they had done nothing. Took the entire day to test every system and repair several problems to make everything right. Worked out good for me, did take a day of my time but everything was fixed by their guys on their dime before I left. Towards the end of the day you could tell they were getting a little tired of fixing things but told them how they stated they had inspected "everything" and that it was all in working order and if they wanted me to purchase it they would have to make it that way or I'd happily be on my way. I guess the sale meant more to them than the money and time they had to spend to put it in the condition it was supposed to be in before I arrived. Wouldn't trust any dealer or private seller any farther than I could throw them...
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:09 PM   #26
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Thank you everyone who participated in this poll.

Now might be a good time to say a little about why it posted the poll and what I learned from it.

I am looking for a DP, 40 to 42 ft, in the 8 to 10 year old range to align with my budget. I thought I had found the right unit but it was located a little over 3,000 miles away and I was unable to simply hop on a plane to go check it out myself. Being someone who is skeptical of most sellers, I hired both a professional RV inspector as well as a certified diesel mechanic to go check it out. These inspections cost me just under $730 but may have saved me tens of thousands by identifying hidden damage that would not have been apparent in anything less than a thorough inspection. I’ll post more on this separately so this does not get too long. (see General Discussion > Pre-purchase Inspection Reveals $30k in Hidden Defects)

This got me thinking, “How many people get a unit thoroughly checked before they make the purchase?”

Well, as can be seen by the results, not many make the investment. Only 14 out of 68 had their unit professionally checked out and only 9 or 13% had both the coach and chassis checked.

A large percentage of the written posts indicated buyers who felt they were qualified to do their own “professional quality” inspections, which may be skewed by this venue being largely populated, by motorhome professionals and enthusiasts.

It is interesting that many “perspective buyer” posts attract multiple suggestions to “have it inspected before you buy yet so few actually appear to do so. With close to 80% of buyers relying on their own skills or the word of the seller I expect many people may be setting themselves up for some unpleasant surprises as they motor down the road. This disparity in numbers makes me ponder, “Are the, get it inspected, suggestions coming from those who have learned a lesson or simply advise that is given but not practiced?”
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:23 PM   #27
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We have had ours over a year and have put on over 6,000 miles. No inspection at time of purchase. We had all the systems serviced within a month of ownership. I have replaced an oil sending unit, all 3 air valves and dryer and both rear airbags. Total including service has cost us around $2,500.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:30 PM   #28
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I bought my current motorhome from an individual. I looked at the inside, brought my daughter by for her opinion, and bought it. Now before you tell me I am crazy, I bought it from someone in my RV club that I trusted, and I was familiar with the motorhome.
In the past I have paid to have someone inspect a unit and then found out there was something (major) wrong that they missed. I knew the integrity of the owners of this unit and that they were "hanging up their keys" and were not buying another RV. I also bought their tow car and have had my mechanic tell me that he was impressed with the way it had been maintained.
I have had the motorhome for a year and been very pleased with it. Yes, there have been a few things go wrong, but nothing was wrong when I got it. By the way, this is my 9th RV.

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