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Old 10-30-2020, 11:10 AM   #1
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What do you do to inspect a diesel coach. 2002 alpha see ya! CAT 330

Hi. We are thinking about settling with a 2002 alpha see ya. I was always a gas rver. This will be my first time stepping on a diesel coach. Can someone advise me on how to check a decent coach when doing inspection? I know that with a gas coach I will crawl underneath the engine and check for any puddle of oil and turn the engine on to hear any knocking sound any funny noise. But I have never been in a diesel engine.

The one we are going to look at has only 10,000 miles. But the generator has almost 900 hours. Buying from second owner and he said that it was in storage most of its life. Maybe it was used to live in?
I really appreciate it!
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Old 10-30-2020, 11:18 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evugrandtour View Post
Hi. We are thinking about settling with a 2002 alpha see ya. I was always a gas rver. This will be my first time stepping on a diesel coach. Can someone advise me on how to check a decent coach floods action? I know that but I guess coach I will do the usual like calling the edge and a check for oil bottle or any nothing cell or any funny noise. But I have never seen a diesel engine.

The one we are going to look at has only 10,000 miles. But the generator has almost 900 hours. Buying from second owner and he said that it was in storage most of its life. Maybe it was used to live in?
I really appreciate it!
Sorry, but try as I may I cannot understand the bold part of your post. As far as the mileage and generator hours, it is hard to say. Over 18 years, it is quite possible the generator was used to maintain the batteries while in storage, on a regular basis, in addition to those times it was used while camping.
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Old 10-30-2020, 11:20 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Evugrandtour View Post
Can someone advise me on how to check a decent coach floods action? I know that but I guess coach I will do the usual like calling the edge and a check for oil bottle or any nothing cell or any funny noise. But I have never seen a diesel engine.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????
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Old 10-30-2020, 11:27 AM   #4
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Other than Alfa having a checkered reputation for reliability, if you're really interested in this coach I suggest hiring a 'certified' (by the NRVIA) inspector for the coach body and systems, and a chassis/drive train shop (your local CAT shop will probably do) to inspect brakes, engine/transmission, suspension and steering.
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Old 10-30-2020, 11:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by wolfe10 View Post
?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ljwt330 View Post
Sorry, but try as I may I cannot understand the bold part of your post. As far as the mileage and generator hours, it is hard to say. Over 18 years, it is quite possible the generator was used to maintain the batteries while in storage, on a regular basis, in addition to those times it was used while camping.
I’m very sorry for the typo. I was talking to the phone. They have been correctEdit
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Old 10-30-2020, 12:02 PM   #6
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I’m very sorry for the typo. I was talking to the phone. They have been correctEdit
Thanks for the correction, much clearer now!

The jump from gasoline to diesel... lots more weight so more robust chassis, brakes, steering and suspension. If you're not familiar with the differences I suggest using a truck/bus shop to inspect those items.

My earlier advice about hiring an NRVIA certified inspector for the coach body, appliances and HVAC/plumbing/electrical still stands unless you feel competent to do the inspection based on your experience with other RVs.

I suggest you do some searching for Alfa. While I'm sure there are a bunch of happy owners, I've also read enough from unhappy owners that I would probably not consider the brand unless there were no other options.
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Old 10-30-2020, 12:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo_RV_Guy View Post
Other than Alfa having a checkered reputation for reliability, if you're really interested in this coach I suggest hiring a 'certified' (by the NRVIA) inspector for the coach body and systems, and a chassis/drive train shop (your local CAT shop will probably do) to inspect brakes, engine/transmission, suspension and steering.
Totally agree! It will be money well-spent!
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Old 10-30-2020, 12:32 PM   #8
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As you are about to do, we did exactly one year ago; moved from a gasser (30+ years) to a pusher. We picked up our 05 Providence with 24000 miles and just under 1000 hours on the Onan 7.5 diesel gen.

I guess the level of assistance you'll need will be based on you knowledge, experience, and confidence.

As I was needing a loan for this purchased, I was required to have the RV inspected by an RV specialist....this turned out to be a joke in my opinion and I'll tell you why in a minute. However, you may find someone that is a bit more particular and thorough.

I was very familiar with the Fleetwood "house side" of the coach, my wife and I went through it with a fine tooth comb, noting battery and tire age, over the course of 2 visits....checking everything from door hinges, to drains, to water flows, slide functions, inverter functions (both 120/12v sides), AC's, heater, lights, roof, open every cabinet and look for signs of water damage, etc.
The bottom line is to check anything that can be turned on or off, opened and closed, or moved in any way.

I did my research on that specific model using several forums/websites to gain knowledge from those that went before me. This proved to be useful, come inspection time....I looked up your 2002 See ya (download the brochure and take it with you so you have a good idea of what to look for), it will most likely have a CAT 330 and be a rear radiator. Look up issues like slobber tube (blow-by) tube extensions, radiator blockages primarily due to overfilling the crank case causing a mist of oil to coat the radiator.
Brochure:http://www.alfaseeyas.com/pdf/2003brochure.pdf

Learn how to read date codes for tires, check all battery ages, ask for service records. Just because this coach has sat for most of it's life doesn't mean it shouldn't have been service. These components, if needing to be replaced, can add up to significant costs. Use this for negotiating the price.

So here is what I did do:
Paid the "RV specialist, $500 to inspect the coach. While the inspector was a likeable guy, I found way more issues than he noted. Of course, we all reviewed the issues I found as well on the day of inspection. Remember, this is what you will be stuck with.....not the inspector. These point can become negotiating points.

Run the generator the entire time you are inspecting the coach. Some issues may take some time to develop. Put loads on it while running like ACs, electric wh, refer, etc.

Thankfully, the PO did have service records, account for engine and genny service (however not for the Allison trans), and other repairs over the last 15 years. Funny, this motorhome had an issue with the dash AC from day 1 and he had multiple invoices from different shops attempting to repair, even as recently as 2018. Turns out, one of the connections to the condenser was not snugged down enough....that's it...still working almost a year later. Knowing that the belts and hoses had not ever been replaced, this was an additional negotiating point on the price.

We took it out on 2 separate test drives, our initial and then with the inspector.

What I would add to my to do list:

If you make it to this point and are still moving forward, here is what I would do (that I didn't) to ensure a greater piece of mind:
Arrange for a truck shop to inspect the the coach chassis, drivetrain, and engine. I would also insist on a sample of the engine oil, genny oil and coolants. While nothing has materialized for me after the purchase, this would have been the smart thing to do.

Good luck on your endeavor and use this forum....it's a fantastic source of information! 900 hours on the genny is nothing to worry about. As always, it's about how it was maintained.....

Lastly, for typical maintenance, if you are a DIYer, it will be slightly more that your gasser, as there are bigger capacities/filters/parts involved. If you pay for the annual maintenance, I feel it will be significantly more as you can expect to pay $135+ hr shop rate depending on where you are. My local CAT shop charge $147/hr for motorhomes....OUCH!!

TIP: If you do get a pusher, I'd look into the TSD logistics fuel card. You may be able to save a few cents while travelling around California, but if you travel outside of that state, you could realize a saving of +.30/gallon. This adds up quickly!!
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Old 10-30-2020, 02:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by wolfe10 View Post
?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ???????????
Hey Brett, I don't want to hijack the thread but I just noticed in your signature that you have an "Ex" next to your 2003 Alpine coach as well as your other previous coaches.

Did you sell your Alpine? Did you get something else? That Alpine seemed like it was a very nice and clean coach, as were your previous ones, and I was just curious when I saw this.

Thanks.

Mike
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Old 10-31-2020, 08:07 AM   #10
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This is what I have always posted when asked about buying a used MH

"Once you find a MH you are interested in, get professional inspections done. If you don't do this BEFORE you purchase, you run the risk of spending significantly more AFTER the purchase. If something is found, the inspector should be able to give you an estimate to repair. You can then decide if you want to proceed and can use it to negotiate a better price. You will be going into it with your eyes open. IF nothing is found, GREAT!!

I would suggest that you get an independent certified RV mechanic to inspect all the RV systems, including the roof. In addition I would have the engine, transmission, frame, etc. inspected by a diesel service shop. Having a coolant and oil analysis by a lab (like JG Lubricants ) would reveal any hidden problems.

Make sure everything is in writing!! Any purchase should be contingent upon successfully passing these inspections/tests.

I would do this to any used MH I was looking to buy.

https://www.jglubricantservices.com/
You get a 10% discount if you use "IRV2" as a promo code"
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Old 10-31-2020, 09:12 AM   #11
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If you are not familiar with diesel pushers I would get a "good" inspector to assist. Fluid analysis would be recommended on engine, transmission, and generator.



I did my own inspection, I had +20 years heavy equipment maintenance experience plus owned a Class C so I thought I could inspect the chassis and house components. Couldn't find anything wrong so we purchased. The rig came with zero maintenance records although you could tell it had been taken care of.

So to get a baseline I took the rig to a nearby Cummins shop where I knew the manager and had a complete service and inspection. They checked for engine and transmission codes, all was OK. They also gave me a copy of the engine ECM file which had all the spec's and settings. This could come in handy if I ever had a problem. Cost of the service and inspection was ~$650, a deal even 12 years ago and well worth it. Shop manager told me the rig was "cherry" and I got a heck of deal.
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Old 10-31-2020, 09:44 AM   #12
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Thank you!

Thank you everyone for your response. I will be checking the RV out in Denver, Colorado. I googled and craigslisted but couldn’t find anyone reputable. Can you recommend a diese repair shop that can handle the inspection on the chassis??
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Old 10-31-2020, 10:22 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Evugrandtour View Post
Thank you everyone for your response. I will be checking the RV out in Denver, Colorado. I googled and craigslisted but couldn’t find anyone reputable. Can you recommend a diese repair shop that can handle the inspection on the chassis??
You may have already done this, but if not you can get something of an inspection from a Mobile RV Tech. There's 3 mobile RV services shown by Google in Denver. All with 5 stars. If you don't find a shop you trust, (I'd recommend truck shops instead of RV dealers, and NEVER Camping World), a mobile tech could be hired for an inspection.
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Old 10-31-2020, 12:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by deblas View Post
As you are about to do, we did exactly one year ago; moved from a gasser (30+ years) to a pusher. We picked up our 05 Providence with 24000 miles and just under 1000 hours on the Onan 7.5 diesel gen.

I guess the level of assistance you'll need will be based on you knowledge, experience, and confidence.

As I was needing a loan for this purchased, I was required to have the RV inspected by an RV specialist....this turned out to be a joke in my opinion and I'll tell you why in a minute. However, you may find someone that is a bit more particular and thorough.

I was very familiar with the Fleetwood "house side" of the coach, my wife and I went through it with a fine tooth comb, noting battery and tire age, over the course of 2 visits....checking everything from door hinges, to drains, to water flows, slide functions, inverter functions (both 120/12v sides), AC's, heater, lights, roof, open every cabinet and look for signs of water damage, etc.
The bottom line is to check anything that can be turned on or off, opened and closed, or moved in any way.

I did my research on that specific model using several forums/websites to gain knowledge from those that went before me. This proved to be useful, come inspection time....I looked up your 2002 See ya (download the brochure and take it with you so you have a good idea of what to look for), it will most likely have a CAT 330 and be a rear radiator. Look up issues like slobber tube (blow-by) tube extensions, radiator blockages primarily due to overfilling the crank case causing a mist of oil to coat the radiator.
Brochure:http://www.alfaseeyas.com/pdf/2003brochure.pdf

Learn how to read date codes for tires, check all battery ages, ask for service records. Just because this coach has sat for most of it's life doesn't mean it shouldn't have been service. These components, if needing to be replaced, can add up to significant costs. Use this for negotiating the price.

So here is what I did do:
Paid the "RV specialist, $500 to inspect the coach. While the inspector was a likeable guy, I found way more issues than he noted. Of course, we all reviewed the issues I found as well on the day of inspection. Remember, this is what you will be stuck with.....not the inspector. These point can become negotiating points.

Run the generator the entire time you are inspecting the coach. Some issues may take some time to develop. Put loads on it while running like ACs, electric wh, refer, etc.

Thankfully, the PO did have service records, account for engine and genny service (however not for the Allison trans), and other repairs over the last 15 years. Funny, this motorhome had an issue with the dash AC from day 1 and he had multiple invoices from different shops attempting to repair, even as recently as 2018. Turns out, one of the connections to the condenser was not snugged down enough....that's it...still working almost a year later. Knowing that the belts and hoses had not ever been replaced, this was an additional negotiating point on the price.

We took it out on 2 separate test drives, our initial and then with the inspector.

What I would add to my to do list:

If you make it to this point and are still moving forward, here is what I would do (that I didn't) to ensure a greater piece of mind:
Arrange for a truck shop to inspect the the coach chassis, drivetrain, and engine. I would also insist on a sample of the engine oil, genny oil and coolants. While nothing has materialized for me after the purchase, this would have been the smart thing to do.

Good luck on your endeavor and use this forum....it's a fantastic source of information! 900 hours on the genny is nothing to worry about. As always, it's about how it was maintained.....

Lastly, for typical maintenance, if you are a DIYer, it will be slightly more that your gasser, as there are bigger capacities/filters/parts involved. If you pay for the annual maintenance, I feel it will be significantly more as you can expect to pay $135+ hr shop rate depending on where you are. My local CAT shop charge $147/hr for motorhomes....OUCH!!

TIP: If you do get a pusher, I'd look into the TSD logistics fuel card. You may be able to save a few cents while travelling around California, but if you travel outside of that state, you could realize a saving of +.30/gallon. This adds up quickly!!
Thank you very much for your detailed post!
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