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Old 09-26-2010, 09:40 PM   #1
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Should I trust dealer?

Today we saw a very well maintained (with one exception) 27 foot 2003 Class C Bigfoot that is EXACTLY what we have been looking for. Following the advice we have received here - thank you all - we were able to negotiate the price down $15,000 to the mid retail price listed at NADA. It has some extra features such as a back up camera, TV, DVD player, etc. that we did not plug inat the NAFA site.

The dealer says he will sell it to us at that price "as is." He claimes they believed the owner from whom they took it in trade when the owner said there were no leaks. There were some stains on the ceiling that the former owner said have been there for 7 years without worstening. I was worried about the roof leaking and the age of the tires. I will look up the age, but while we were at a competitors' dealership, the dealer of the Bigfoot ran water over the roof (ostensibly to prove to us the roof didn't leak) and when we returned WE noticed that the ceiling was wet. Although it had been stained, it was not wet and we could not find any soft spots before the water experiment. It apprently took 2 hours for the water to seep thru to the ceiling, as they claim they did not notice any wet spots before we came back.

The dealer said they will fix the leak - seems to be near the A/C unit, but other than that, we are on our own. The only other defect we noticed is that one of the two Fantastic Fans does not work.

We have til tomorrow morning, Pacific time to decide. What do you all think?

Thank you.

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Old 09-26-2010, 10:14 PM   #2
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Even if I had a perfect coach, I'd water test the thing before I took it out on the road. Fact is, leaks happen, and they are not the end of the world IMHO. The key is, that these leaks have not been happening over time and have begun destroying the innards of the roof and/or walls.

I had a pretty tight unit from the southwest, but I still set out immediately to locate the small intrusions that happen. Found a few, siliconed them, then did an elastomeric seal as backup insurance and for extra cooling and sound dampening. The point is, as long as you KNOW where the leaks are, and can reasonably seal them. If I loved the rest of the unit, I'd still get it.

All this assumes you don't have a rubber roof or something. That requires special materials, so I'd want the dealership to seal everything at their cost, and SOAK that roof for an hour to show me it's tight. I'd have that put into the contract as a contingency for final sale. Also, I would demand that any other warranty he was GOING to offer you would have to be included, with the exception of roof leakage thereafter.

And as for the title to this post...NO! Never trust anyone who has a financial interest in your signing anything! At the risk of getting torn apart by the salesmen on this board, it's not like car or RV salesmen have built a sterling reputation for honest dealings over the years.

It's a buyer's market out there, and these guys are HURTING. Never be afraid to walk away. I can't tell how many times I have, just to get a call a few miles down the road that starts out like this..."Good news, I just talked to my boss again, and..."

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Old 09-26-2010, 10:26 PM   #3
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Don't take that deadline too seriously- That rig will probably still be available after a few days or few weeks. (And at the same price). It's worth thinking about for a few days before committing yourself.
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:27 PM   #4
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You could always simply reseal the roof (which you should do anyway). If you are worried that there may be rot in the ceiling, there probably is. We were loking to buy an RV in 2005. EVERY used RV that we looked at had water damage of some sort. And I do mean EVERY ONE. The worst was a 2002 unit that was very nice looking... even smelled "new" (you know that you can buy that "new car smell" in a can). Whole back end was rotted away under the plastic cap (we figured it leaked at the rooftop ladder and the "seal" at the top of the cap... and at the water heater and the city water hook ups and about 1/2 of the side windows leaked). Whole thing had water damage. Owners claimed it was in "perfect" shape. Of course they wouldn't lie... and no one ever smokes in their RV's and they never have any pets in them either.

Would you like to buy some oceanfront property here in New Mexico???

We decided to buy a CHEAP RV... seemed we would have to do major repairs on all the RV's we looked at so we figured about $1K for repairs & upgrades and bought cheap. We spent far less but ended up rebuilding part of the front cabover and a good deal of the rear section (those crappy rooftop luggage racks and ladders... don't get anything with them). Basically, you need to decided just what you are willing to deal with. BTW, one of our roof leaks was there from the time it was new... cabinet screw was thru the roof. And I suspect the rooftop luggage rack and ladder were original to the RV not aftermarket additions. So almost all of our leaks would have been existing in a new RV. Buyer beware!
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Old 09-27-2010, 09:05 AM   #5
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I would spend the money to have the rig looked at by an independent service center. You might need two such inspections...one for the chassis and one for the "house." If the dealership is not willing to let you do this, walk away.

I agree with Tippytoe...don't take the deadline seriously. If the dealership wants to sell this rig, it will still be available after the inspection. They've given you a deadline so that you don't have time to think about your purchase...don't give in to them. There are other rigs out there that will be just as suitable, maybe even more so.
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:01 PM   #6
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A used Bigfoot is hard to find, so if that's the rig of your dreams you may be willing to take some risks and pay a premium price. I don't consider that a bargain price, though. Mid range on NADA is what the dealer hopes to get, so he isn't doing you any great favors.

My concern would be that the roof has been leaking for some time and there is an unknown degree of internal damage. The dealer is just going to seal until it doesn't leak anymore - he isn't going to tear it open and find/fix any rotted wood or moldy insulation. You are on your own in that regard.

It's a tough call - I'd want to eyeball it closely to try to assess how much, if any, water damage there may be under the ceiling material.
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:35 PM   #7
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RV dealers are bottom feeders-I don't think you can find 3 honest ones in the entire Country, run as fast as you can from this one-long term water damage is ugly and unhealthy.
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:36 PM   #8
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Short answer, do not trust the dealer, any dealer, Do not march by their time line. They put the deadline in place to put you in a reactive, pressured position. That's where they want you. Ignore them, show disinterest. I understand Bigfoots are hard to come by but don't rush in and end up with buyers remorse. If you have been watching prices and what's offered on the market and think it's a good deal then possibly with due deliberation go ahead. I agree that the price is not that great at 1/2 Nada value given today's market. In writing, on the sales contract insist on an independent mechanical and coach inspection as already stated by others, Part of the coach inspection should be a seal test which is testing the coach by sealing the vents and doors and then pressurizing the coach to see where the leaks are. This test is not 100% assurance that there are no leaks but can be beneficial, be there when it's done. Also a leak around the air conditioner doesn't mean the leak is nearby. It could be coming from somewhere 10 ft away, and as a previous owner of a 42ft wooden boat I'll attest to the fact that water does run uphill. If they won't agree to these subject to clauses it's time to be suspicious and say bye bye!
One other thing, the dealer telling you he'll sell it to you as is scares me ------badly. What's that all about.
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Old 09-27-2010, 04:25 PM   #9
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Hire an independent RV Technician to check the rig over and report to you any short comings. It should run about $200.00. As for the chassis, I'd have it inspeced by a mechanic.

Also talk to the previous owner. If the dealer is not hiding anything, he should not have any problem with contacting the previous owner.

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Old 09-28-2010, 05:17 AM   #10
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A case of beer says the water leak is the reason the unit is sitting on the dealers lot; I would love to quote some Scripture with the dealer present just to make certain that his/her ears do not begin to catch fire or perhaps they could just happen to have a Bible with them to make sure that the dealers eyes do not suddenly shut.....
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:11 PM   #11
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I had never heard of Bigfoot until we came across an owners rally in Oregon a few years ago. The factory, now closed, had samples of their products and we were very impressed with the designs and quality. My memory is that the products were not cheap, but that everything was well insulated for winter RVing.

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