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Old 04-30-2011, 08:24 AM   #1
Forest River Owners Club
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Tehachapi CA
Posts: 63
The dream vs the reality


The Dream: Idyllic lifestyle of adventure and comfort.

The Reality: Purchasing a motorhome older than you would like and a fixer upper, looks good, but some problems expected.

Arrived at dealer to pick up the used motorhome at 9 a.m., went over it all with rep. Water pump didn't work, 1.5 hrs to get the part and have it replaced.

Noticed we didn't have keys for the doors, storage bays, gas fill door, hood locks. They couldn't find them, called a mobile key maker. Took him 2 hours to get their and discovered that each area had a separate key. He worked for 1.5 hours gave me the keys and left. It's now 3:30 p.m. and we start home.

My wife was following me and a little ways down the road called via cell phone to let me know that the brake lights were working. We stopped and I couldn't find the fuse for them, (nothing labled for it), but all of the other exterior and interior lights worked, so she followed my home and I stayed on the phone letting her know what I was doing all the way home.

Stopped about an ˝ hour later to gas up and the motorhome would start, wouldn't even turn over. So, I cleaned the cables and it took off. (Sure glad I brought a basic took kit with me), Another project for tomorrow.

Got home and started to lock things up and the keys the guy made won't work in half of the locks... Lubricated them, but still have three that will not lock and one he locked that won't unlock....

As I said, we knew it was a great basic unit that needs a bit of fixing up and doesn't seem to have any problems with the major components.

Welcome to the idyllic lifestyle…. The adventure continues... not discouraged, just another BUMP in the road.


Russ & Melody
Tehachapi, CA
2005 Forest River Georgetown 37'5", Ford, 3 slides
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:44 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,351
First used motorhome I bought took me six months of fixen before I made my first trip in it.
When you buy a used motorhome %99 of the time you will spend a lot of time fixing before you make your first campout.
Most folks don't sale a good troublefree motorhome.
A lot of motorhome owners just like to tinker; join the club.

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Old 04-30-2011, 10:06 AM   #3
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Location: Litchfield Park, Arizona
Posts: 10,528
Sorry you've had such a rocky start but hang in there. Even NEW coaches come complete with a long list of things which need tending to. Let's hope your rig was just sitting for a long time and once you work through all of the little issues it'll fit you both like a comfortable old shoe!

Best of luck....

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

2007 Itasca Ellipse 40FD
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:07 AM   #4
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Newmar Owners Club
Spartan Chassis
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: On the road again
Posts: 6,158
Originally Posted by melvonnar View Post
When you buy a used motorhome %99 of the time you will spend a lot of time fixing before you make your first campout.
Truth be told, new ones are no better. Mine is currently back at the factory service center getting a long laundry list of repairs done.

Virtually any new to you RV will take time to get ship shape. Once that's done the irritations will get fewer and farther between, but will never go away completely. Just ask yourself, how would my stick & brick fare, if it had to endure potholes, steep driveway entrances and expansion joints day in and out?

Take the time to correct things as they pop up, learn to keep up on maintenance, and the good times will greatly overshadow the challenging ones.

Happy trails...
Jay & Peggy Monroe with Dolly
Can't take it with you - don't plan on leaving any behind
2016 Newmar London Aire 4553, Spartan chassis
Wrangler Unlimited toad
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:30 AM   #5
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Location: SW Florida
Posts: 933
Took mine in this morning to have the brake fluid flushed. 1 hr later a call saying "do you know you need new front pads?" ok, 1 hr later a call saying "your coach won't start, you need a new battery." ok, 1 hr later another call "your alt isn't charging you need a new one." Can't wait for the next call.... Also can't wait to take it on my next trip on Thursday! Hang in there it's worth it.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:34 AM   #6
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Posts: 417
Everything, regardless if it is a house, car, boat, MH, etc., needs to be tweeked now and then. I'd be grateful that they are minor things even though a number of issues on the way home is discouraging. Keep thinking of how much fun you will have motorhoming around and it is all worth it. Even though my MH is "road ready" right now it seems there will always be something that needs to tightened, adjusted, looked at, etc. It's a great way to go and I plan on going some more.
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:03 AM   #7
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As my old RVing friend used to say, "If it ain't broke yet...it's getting ready to."
2008 AC Allegiance 42G, Spartan, ISL
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:27 AM   #8
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Newmar Owners Club
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Posts: 4,589
I think you sum it up well at the end of your post. If you resign yourself to the fact that problems will occur and not make more of them than what they really are you are well on your way to enjoying your idyllic lifestyle. I look at this way when I run into bad luck I look at it as a necessary ingredient to appreciating the good times even more. So the bottom line is the idyllic lifestyle is all in you head.
2007 Newmar DSDP 4023
Discovery is seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.
If you want to see what man made go East; if you want to see what God made go West.
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:46 PM   #9
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Elbert, CO
Posts: 75
My mom and dad owned a number of different MHs while I was a kid and afterward. I am pretty sure that my dad thought owning them was a sport with a couple of different events: how quickly can I fix xyz? How creatively can I fix xyz? How many times can I fix xyz? How much can I annoy the DW fixing xyz and avoid taking it to someone that can fix xyz? What is the best/worst place for xyz to break? My wife and I would borrow the rig occasionally and before we left dad always told me about each xyz that I might encounter and the best answers to all the events above. I never thought it was that much fun. Neither did the DW...
2012 Keystone Cougar 318SAB
2008 Ford F250 6.4 Diesel
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:00 PM   #10
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Posts: 1,666
We're now in Tennessee and in about 9 days, we'll be heading to Alaska. Nashville is the first stop to fix things we found or broke in Melbourne while preparing for the trip.

Item one: Right windshield sun shade motor and mount bracket cracked and fell...new mount(comes with motor) ordered and sent to Nashville for me to hang - have part, will repair today.
Item two: While on a skinny two lane road in Alabama two days ago, we hit a tree limb (storm damaged) on a power line and bent the TV antenna and broke the rear A/C shroud. McCulley has shroud.
Item three: While taping the shroud, I noticed that the bedroom slide cover was out of it's track and with an old 'L' shaped rip in it (PO), it's not worth sewing to fix. On order to fix here in Nashville.
Item four: We had to move to a new site today and after the move, our main awning will not move up or down with the motor. Verified motor and gears are working, so I think I'll fix the windshield shade first before going any further. Too many things in a state of disassembly and I don't need to get covered up...DW said she is starting to wonder about this trip.

RVs are kinda like sailboats...ya work on 'em in some of the most interesting places...sometimes a long, long way from home. It's STILL and ADVENTURE! Bob

BTW, does anyone know of a Carefree of Colorado awning maintenance website to maybe help in troubleshooting our 12V Eclipse? The gears and awning input shaft are moving but there's no movement of the awning drum. Another project for the professionals?
Jan and Bob

RIP 'Squeaky'
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:07 PM   #11
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Workhorse Chassis Owner
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Location: Spring Hill, Florida
Posts: 343
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Couldnt believe the "Great Deal" on 2005 Itasca... less than 7500 miles, interior like new, many many upgrades and amenities, super high offer for my 2004 LANCE !!!

1. Windshield literally flowed rain water down onto dash, bad seal, rust...:(
2. First trip on return home started missing badly, Plug Wire #6 ($75)
3. Third trip ran like it should, 8.7 mpg avg YEAAAAAAAA
4. First long trip, 1000 miles... 75 miles from home Rear Outside Michelin Explodes
sidewall ($700) had 8000 miles total on it, BUT 7 yrs old
5. First leg completed without further incident, I-95 mostly flatland running (9.3 mpg)
6. Ran Maryland, WV, Pa Mountains like a big diesel, flawless 7.6 mpg !!!
7. On way home, engine breaking downhill going towards Bluefield, WV tunnel the
motor died... :( awaiting results suspect rolled main bearing or lost valve)
This one could be $12,500, RT-66 Warranty already balking on payout ! Anyone
had experience dealing with them ???

Definately RVing can be a Dream/Nightmare... but that open road and this great country make it all worthwhile and a trip not to be missed !!!

Be safe, enjoy the trip...
05 Itasca Suncruiser, Stock w/ScanGuage II,
2012 Honda Accord TOAD,Home Based in Spring Hill, Florida...Retired Navy Officer
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:20 PM   #12
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Alpine Owners Club
Texas Boomers Club
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 1,282
On the way home with our "new/used" 2003
  • Refrigerator dies-new compressor
  • Battery exploded-new batteries
  • AM/FM radio inoperative-new surround sound
  • AGS inoperative- new AGS
  • lift pump leaks-new lift pump
  • Tires 5 yrs old-new tires
(All except tires paid for by service agreement or dealer)

On various trips
  • AC cover blows off-new cover
  • slide hose blown-new hose
  • Windshield leak-haven't got to that yet

THis is par for the course I believe
Michael (Home base Northern CO)
USED TO HAVE; 03 Alpine 40MDTS Now RVless
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:31 PM   #13
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Location: Central Florida
Posts: 337
Tough luck on the engine blow-out... Hope that RT66 warranty comes through for you... let us know how it goes.
Jim and Fran in Central Florida
1989 Country Coach Sedona Mark V
Turbocharged Detroit Diesel 8.2L "Fuel Pincher"
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Old 04-30-2011, 03:30 PM   #14
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Posts: 4,168
Originally Posted by scenic route View Post
BTW, does anyone know of a Carefree of Colorado awning maintenance website to maybe help in troubleshooting our 12V Eclipse? The gears and awning input shaft are moving but there's no movement of the awning drum. Another project for the professionals?

Here's their web site: www.carefreeofcolorado.com Good luck with them, our Carefree's are in horrible shape, I would not get them again.

2014 American Eagle 45T
DD 500
Pulling a Honda CRV
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