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Ron_H 05-21-2014 12:05 PM

Pre-purchase Inspection Reveals $30k in Hidden Defects
 
My wife and I thought we had found the right DP to purchase but It was located at a dealer more than 3,000 miles away. The dealer provided us with a 20-minute video tour along with over 130 photos of the unit and all the defects and blemishes, including the need for new tires all the way around.

After a great deal of difficulty I finally hired an RV inspector and diesel mechanic who I felt were qualified to do a proper inspection. Part of my pre-qualification of an RV inspector was to find one that used a moisture meter. This was both difficult and expensive, costing $400 for the 5-6 hour inspection and report time, plus $150 mileage charge as the inspector had to travel 130 miles to the MH location. The chassis inspection cost $180, the minimum charge for the mobile mechanical service contracted for the job.

It turned out that the moisture meter played a very important part as it uncovered water damage that the dealer was not aware of and even the RV inspector stated there were no visual signs of moisture penetration. The dealer and inspector videoed a re-inspection of the problematic area and no visual indicators were present. Other than that, the inspector confirmed that the coach was generally as advertised.

The chassis inspection turned up some additional surprises that were only evident from under the chassis and buried inside the engine bay. The underside of the engine battery tray was rusted to the point of requiring immediate repair to prevent the batteries from being dumped into the engine pulley system. Oddly, this was the only rust issue. There was also an exhaust leak that required attention, as it was a serious safety issue. The mechanic also listed a number of other problems that did not require immediately repair but would in the near future including, all new airbags, a water pump update common to the Cummins ISL, a number of brake and hydraulic lines either rubbing or nearing end of life.

More problems than I had expected but potentially still manageable on the mechanical end if the dealer and I could negotiate a new purchase price.

I then tackled the wall moisture issue by sending a copy of the inspection video to Monaco and asking for a repair estimate. The moisture was found in a 6 ft strip, about 12 at the top, running down the wall immediately behind the forward slide on the driver’s side. Monaco quickly got back to me, advising that the complete sidewall would have to be replaced and that also meant a repaint. The cost, about $25,000, but the cost could be discounts somewhat if the repair was done during the slower winter season.

In summary, I was cautious and did the work required to do a professional inspection of the coach and chassis. I spent $730, which seemed to me to be greatly overpriced but ended up potentially saving myself tens of thousands of dollars and many sleepless nights. It sometimes takes care and hard work to do things the right way, but its can have a huge payback.

I retire in just a few days (end of May) and I had hoped to find the right coach by then but the search goes on and whatever I end up choosing will certainly have undergone a professional coach and chassis inspection.

Kevin-B 05-21-2014 12:14 PM

Thanks for the advise. I'd recommend buying new.

NLOVNIT 05-21-2014 12:22 PM

Thank you for the report. We balk at spending $$ for inspections on used RV's, especially when purchasing from a dealer (figuring they've done the inspection & fixed any issues) but you've just proven the value of such an outlay. A small price to pay for peace of mind when forking over as much money as we do on these rolling palaces.

Lori-

SteveB2 05-21-2014 12:23 PM

So he can sit at a factory getting things fixed?

There are plenty of used units available. I'm sure you'll find one that fits. You did the right things and it saved you from a major problems. Just keep looking.

NO1ZX6R 05-21-2014 12:33 PM

For someone like myself, a first timer to RV'ing who plans to purchase a used DP in about 24 months, this is invaluable information. Thanks very much for posting and best of luck with your ongoing search.

HuntingHawk 05-21-2014 12:38 PM

If you don't buy that coach atleast you know who to contact to inspect the next one you are interested in.

MRUSA14 05-21-2014 12:54 PM

How did you go about finding an inspector with a moisture meter? How is the meter used to inspect closed spaces?

EVMIII 05-21-2014 04:06 PM

For an investment of this size I would never consider purchase without a thorough inspection by a qualified technician. I had a similar experience with a boat. Seller was out of town so I hired an inspector to take a look before I flew down to sea trial. Inspector fee ranged from $300 up depending on time required. He called me after being on the boat for 15 minutes and said run away from the vessel. He charged me $200 and saved me $100K in repairs. Don't buy used without a professional survey.

MSHappyCampers 05-21-2014 04:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ron_H (Post 2061649)
My wife and I thought we had found the right DP to purchase but It was located at a dealer more than 3,000 miles away. The dealer provided us with a 20-minute video tour along with over 130 photos of the unit and all the defects and blemishes, including the need for new tires all the way around.

After a great deal of difficulty I finally hired an RV inspector and diesel mechanic who I felt were qualified to do a proper inspection. Part of my pre-qualification of an RV inspector was to find one that used a moisture meter. This was both difficult and expensive, costing $400 for the 5-6 hour inspection and report time, plus $150 mileage charge as the inspector had to travel 130 miles to the MH location. The chassis inspection cost $180, the minimum charge for the mobile mechanical service contracted for the job.

It turned out that the moisture meter played a very important part as it uncovered water damage that the dealer was not aware of and even the RV inspector stated there were no visual signs of moisture penetration. The dealer and inspector videoed a re-inspection of the problematic area and no visual indicators were present. Other than that, the inspector confirmed that the coach was generally as advertised.

The chassis inspection turned up some additional surprises that were only evident from under the chassis and buried inside the engine bay. The underside of the engine battery tray was rusted to the point of requiring immediate repair to prevent the batteries from being dumped into the engine pulley system. Oddly, this was the only rust issue. There was also an exhaust leak that required attention, as it was a serious safety issue. The mechanic also listed a number of other problems that did not require immediately repair but would in the near future including, all new airbags, a water pump update common to the Cummins ISL, a number of brake and hydraulic lines either rubbing or nearing end of life.

More problems than I had expected but potentially still manageable on the mechanical end if the dealer and I could negotiate a new purchase price.

I then tackled the wall moisture issue by sending a copy of the inspection video to Monaco and asking for a repair estimate. The moisture was found in a 6 ft strip, about 12 at the top, running down the wall immediately behind the forward slide on the driver’s side. Monaco quickly got back to me, advising that the complete sidewall would have to be replaced and that also meant a repaint. The cost, about $25,000, but the cost could be discounts somewhat if the repair was done during the slower winter season.

In summary, I was cautious and did the work required to do a professional inspection of the coach and chassis. I spent $730, which seemed to me to be greatly overpriced but ended up potentially saving myself tens of thousands of dollars and many sleepless nights. It sometimes takes care and hard work to do things the right way, but its can have a huge payback.

I retire in just a few days (end of May) and I had hoped to find the right coach by then but the search goes on and whatever I end up choosing will certainly have undergone a professional coach and chassis inspection.


WOW! Did you ever dodge a bullet! :eek: That was the best $730 you will ever spend! Hope you find the right rig without all the problems!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless! :thumb::D

adonh 05-21-2014 04:15 PM

I wonder what the results would be if you did the same full inspection on a brand new unit. From some of the horror stories on the forum on new high dollar Class A's I think a pre purchase inspection would be well worth the cost.

mel s 05-21-2014 06:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin-B (Post 2061663)
Thanks for the advise. I'd recommend buying new.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveB2 (Post 2061686)
So he can sit at a factory getting things fixed?
There are plenty of used units available. I'm sure you'll find one that fits. You did the right things and it saved you from a major problems. Just keep looking.

Pre Purchase Inspections:
From what I've experienced, (and read), RV sellers DON'T tell you if/when there is something wrong with a RV they are hoping to sell.
IMO, an independent RV inspection and a professional chassis/engine inspection should be done on any RV one is considering... (new or used).
On a new RV:.... To discover everything the factory did wrong and/or forgot to do, AND what is not working!
On a used RV:... To discover what is broken, worn out, leaking, and/or missing....(which. BTW, are the same things that break, wear out, and leak on a new coach as it ages and is used and driven)! :facepalm:

If you intend to purchase a RV, I hope that you do what I recommend, (not what I didn't do). :banghead:

Ron_H
Thanks for the excellent post.

Mel
'96 Safari, 132k miles

Dutch Star Don 05-21-2014 06:24 PM

What year Monaco were you looking at. I would agree this was a good idea to check any coach out, but if you were looking at a 10+ year old coach, it's going to have some issues.

Ron_H 05-21-2014 06:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin-B (Post 2061663)
Thanks for the advise. I'd recommend buying new.

I would love to buy new unfortunately my retirement savings simply don't make that an options. As my wife said, "You can go buy a new motorhome if you want but remember that you won't have much money to buy diesel to burn in it."

She is pretty trusting with that statement considering she said something about buying "new" motorcycle a few years back when I was looking at a used one and suddenly a brand new Honda Goldwing appeared in our garage. :angel:

In spite of this occurring I'm not discouraged in terms of buying used. It simply points out that one has to take care and do the homework. It was truly disappointing at first but I'm back in the hunt and I'm going my legwork checking out a couple of more units now. If my research goes well, I'll be hiring another couple of inspectors before my check book comes out.

Ron_H 05-21-2014 06:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MRUSA14 (Post 2061741)
How did you go about finding an inspector with a moisture meter? How is the meter used to inspect closed spaces?

While researching motorhomes, I came across a mention of a moisture meter being used as part of the inspection process. It made a lot of sense to me so I did a little research and became convinced that if properly used, they could see beyond what a standard visual inspection might be able to uncover.

When I was looking for an RV inspector, I got them on the phone and asked them if they used any instrumentation, like a moisture meter, in their inspection. Most proudly said that their experienced eye was the best way to detect moisture incursion. I then found an inspector who said he does a careful visual inspection but also checks the walls thoroughly with a moisture meter. I asked him what his inspection rate was and hired him to do the job.

Ron_H 05-21-2014 06:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don (Post 2062184)
What year Monaco were you looking at. I would agree this was a good idea to check any coach out, but if you were looking at a 10+ year old coach, it's going to have some issues.

The coach was 10 years old but water can find its way in even with newer coaches. Yes, you have to consider that older coaches, especially those with a few miles, will have some issues and I had actually budgeted for doing some repairs, but not $30,000 worth.

smiller 05-21-2014 07:26 PM

Not to minimize your experience, but I wonder how many rigs could pass a test where a moisture meter is jammed everywhere you can think of (those things are very sensitive.) I don't know anything about the unit in question and perhaps it was indeed a dog, but if there was no visible discoloration or damage present then the panel might experience a problem in 2 months... or 2 years... or 20 years... just like every other RV on the road. I would expect that the current owner of the vehicle could skip that '$25,000 repair' and be just fine. Similarly, I wonder how many RVs on the road today have lines rubbing somewhere, or some rust, or could use new airbags, etc.

Point being, certainly be aware and informed before you buy... but it's also true that if you look hard enough for reasons it would probably be easy to disqualify most all used vehicles on the road past a few years old, much less 10 years old.

Fl_Richard 05-22-2014 06:20 AM

I have always expected used to mean used. Especially ten years used. You find out whats wrong and price accordingly. I wouldn't turn down a mechanically perfect coach for a leak or two. The leaks always come up, eventually with all coaches. Finding a mechanically good unit that's been well maintained is the hard part. Of course I dont have un-limited funds to purchase a perfect coach either. Good find but not sure I would have passed. Might have gotten it for a steal after the report came out. Of course the dealer is going to tell you the most profitable repair for them as well. A $10 tube of caulk may have fixed it!

topdownman 05-22-2014 06:35 AM

My coach had some previous water infiltration on a side wall. It was repaired when it was discovered and it hasn't suffered any ill effects from that event. Like another said, a tube of caulk or some Eternabond may have fixed that issue forever.

Ron_H 05-22-2014 07:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smiller (Post 2062261)
Not to minimize your experience, but I wonder how many rigs could pass a test where a moisture meter is jammed everywhere you can think of (those things are very sensitive.)

Yes a moisture meter is sensitive but its readout is not the primary issue when identifying moisture incursion. You take a random reading in a location most likely to be dry, such as in the middle of a large expanse away from any seams, and not the readout. Then, you work around the RV looking for any significant variance. If the unit is dry, the readings will be similar all around.

Quote:

Originally Posted by smiller (Post 2062261)
I would expect that the current owner of the vehicle could skip that '$25,000 repair' and be just fine. Similarly, I wonder how many RVs on the road today have lines rubbing somewhere, or some rust, or could use new airbags, etc.

The current owner is an RV dealership and they dropped the asking price on coach even before I sent them an email canceling our purchase. Yes, I'm sure many rigs have maintenance and repair issues that require attention and I was not expecting to find a unit in "showroom condition", in fact I had budgeted up to $10k for repairs to bring it up to snuff. It is true that I could have renegotiated a lower price but my goal was to find a reliable rig, within my budget, for retirement travel. I was not looking for a make work project or an opportunity to review roadside assistance packages.

Quote:

Originally Posted by smiller (Post 2062261)
Point being, certainly be aware and informed before you buy... but it's also true that if you look hard enough for reasons it would probably be easy to disqualify most all used vehicles on the road past a few years old, much less 10 years old.

I appreciate and respect your feedback smiler, your points are all valid. If I have to look "hard enough" to find defects, the units is likely satisfactory but the exorbitant cost required to make this a good quality 10-year old coach was too much. There are lots of good quality 10 year old coaches out there so why would someone want to pay a similar amount for one that needs a ton of work?

Ron_H 05-22-2014 07:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by topdownman (Post 2062690)
My coach had some previous water infiltration on a side wall. It was repaired when it was discovered and it hasn't suffered any ill effects from that event. Like another said, a tube of caulk or some Eternabond may have fixed that issue forever.

If I discover the problem after I had purchased it, I would likely have tried that as well but why would anyone buy a coach after finding it had a problem like this when there are many others for sale that are dry and whose exterior wall is not delaminated?

topdownman 05-22-2014 07:38 AM

Because I bought it $30,000 under book:cool: I have no outside delamination and only a bit of stained wallpaper on the inside. It was worth it to me.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ron_H (Post 2062765)
If I discover the problem after I had purchased it, I would likely have tried that as well but why would anyone buy a coach after finding it had a problem like this when there are many others for sale that are dry and whose exterior wall is not delaminated?


frankdamp 05-22-2014 08:59 AM

I'm curious why you'd consider going 3,000 miles from home to buy a used MH.

mel s 05-22-2014 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don (Post 2062184)
What year Monaco were you looking at. I would agree this was a good idea to check any coach out, but if you were looking at a 10+ year old coach, it's going to have some issues.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ron_H (Post 2062224)
The coach was 10 years old
Yes, you have to consider that older coaches, especially those with a few miles, will have some issues

Ron_H
You are definitely taking the right steps when coach shopping. :thumb:

Keep in mind that every coach ages!
A 10 year old coach, (even one with relatively few issues that have not already been corrected), will be 15 years old in 5 years.
During that 5 years the coach WILL have many issues, some only minor and irritating, (and inexpensive to correct)... some major. :facepalm:

I have driven/used my 18 year old coach for 14 years, (105 k miles).
Based on my experience, one thing is perfectly clear to me... coach ownership is an expensive proposition! :eek:

Good luck with your search.

Mel
'96 Safari, 132k miles, (mine since '01)

Ron_H 05-22-2014 11:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by frankdamp (Post 2062900)
I'm curious why you'd consider going 3,000 miles from home to buy a used MH.

I have looked at many units much closer to home but I have simply not found the right unit at the right price nearby. This coach satisfied our needs and wants and to me, distance is an adventure not a hindrance.

I have purchased a number of motorcycles from distant locations and always enjoyed the ride home and the opportunity it gave me to become familiar with each of the bikes. I didn't see any major reason for a motorhome purchase to be any different. I figured by the time I drove home alone I would be more familiar with the coach than I would have been after several weeks of traveling around with the DW.

bokobird 05-22-2014 11:49 AM

Remote Purchasing
 
I was quite intimidated at first of buying remotely, given the dollar values and all. After doing it the first time I'm quite pleased and you're right, driving it home afterwards you become much more familiar with it a lot quicker.

NYtravelers 07-22-2014 06:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ron_H (Post 2061649)
My wife and I thought we had found the right DP to purchase but It was located at a dealer more than 3,000 miles away. The dealer provided us with a 20-minute video tour along with over 130 photos of the unit and all the defects and blemishes, including the need for new tires all the way around.

After a great deal of difficulty I finally hired an RV inspector and diesel mechanic who I felt were qualified to do a proper inspection. Part of my pre-qualification of an RV inspector was to find one that used a moisture meter. This was both difficult and expensive, costing $400 for the 5-6 hour inspection and report time, plus $150 mileage charge as the inspector had to travel 130 miles to the MH location. The chassis inspection cost $180, the minimum charge for the mobile mechanical service contracted for the job.

It turned out that the moisture meter played a very important part as it uncovered water damage that the dealer was not aware of and even the RV inspector stated there were no visual signs of moisture penetration. The dealer and inspector videoed a re-inspection of the problematic area and no visual indicators were present. Other than that, the inspector confirmed that the coach was generally as advertised.

The chassis inspection turned up some additional surprises that were only evident from under the chassis and buried inside the engine bay. The underside of the engine battery tray was rusted to the point of requiring immediate repair to prevent the batteries from being dumped into the engine pulley system. Oddly, this was the only rust issue. There was also an exhaust leak that required attention, as it was a serious safety issue. The mechanic also listed a number of other problems that did not require immediately repair but would in the near future including, all new airbags, a water pump update common to the Cummins ISL, a number of brake and hydraulic lines either rubbing or nearing end of life.

More problems than I had expected but potentially still manageable on the mechanical end if the dealer and I could negotiate a new purchase price.

I then tackled the wall moisture issue by sending a copy of the inspection video to Monaco and asking for a repair estimate. The moisture was found in a 6 ft strip, about 12 at the top, running down the wall immediately behind the forward slide on the driver’s side. Monaco quickly got back to me, advising that the complete sidewall would have to be replaced and that also meant a repaint. The cost, about $25,000, but the cost could be discounts somewhat if the repair was done during the slower winter season.

In summary, I was cautious and did the work required to do a professional inspection of the coach and chassis. I spent $730, which seemed to me to be greatly overpriced but ended up potentially saving myself tens of thousands of dollars and many sleepless nights. It sometimes takes care and hard work to do things the right way, but its can have a huge payback.

I retire in just a few days (end of May) and I had hoped to find the right coach by then but the search goes on and whatever I end up choosing will certainly have undergone a professional coach and chassis inspection.

What exactly is the moisture test ?

bamaboy473 07-22-2014 08:29 PM

A moisture meter is a probe that's used alot by home restoration and water-damage companies (ServPro) in order to find moisture behind wall surfaces.

It works by electrical connectivity as measured between the two probes, much like a continuity test with electrical items.

Basically, if there's continuity between the probes, then there's water/moisture where there shouldn't be.

Who, What, Why, When and Where are questions that are raised, not answered.

Ron_H 07-22-2014 10:07 PM

There are also pinless moisture meters that do not have probes and can be used to check walls without leaving pinholes.
Pinless Moisture Meter

I now have my own meter and used it before buying our recent acquisition. I figure it is not only good for checking out a coach before making a purchase but also for validating any suspected leaks that might occur. The real trick is in learning how to use it and how to interpret its information. The meter can alert you to moisture in the wall but the old time wall rapping is still needed to identify any delamination.

JohnR1949 07-23-2014 07:25 PM

Ron_H I am doing exactly the same thing but am in California looking in what sounds like the same area you were looking. Florida between Orlando and Tampa. It might even be the same dealer!

Is there a way you can give me the contact info for the inspectors you used?

And I would like to compare notes on your experience with the dealer.

cptgregger 07-24-2014 10:07 AM

Interesting report. Thanks for sharing. I'm starting to question the wisdom of buying used as well... that said, go look at new prices (even after discounting 30-40% off MSRP), then factor in the interest you'll pay on a loan (even with excellent credit 4% financing and 20% down). If you plan to keep the RV for 7 years or longer, and play it off early, it might make sense. Each case is different, especially when comparing to the used unit you're looking at. But if you finance a new one (say, a $75,000 FW) for any long period, you're potentially looking at an additional $20-30,000 in added interest expense charges. Now add in the depreciation hit (maybe $20-$40,000) and the used argument starts to make sense. At the end of the day, all new products become used and therefore will have to be maintained.

In my case, I picked up a screaming deal, a used FW for $6500 that would retail out at maybe $20-$24,000. But I don't think I was honest with myself about what kind of work would be required. I didn't look at the minute details when agreeing to the deal. To be fair, the seller gave me such a deal because he didn't want to deal with it anymore. So I'm not complaining. But getting it just right, to CLEAN/ almost-new condition, has proven to be a tall-task... I'm almost there though. For example, I didn't look at the window sills because they are behind the shades and screens. When I pulled the shades and screens off it was obvious the sills had never been cleaned in the entire ownership of the vehicle. I had to steam clean each sill, all the seals, in-and-out, on 14 windows. Average time was 2 hrs per window (28 hrs total). That was tough work. The good news is I have no loan to speak of. And I could quite easily flip this for over double what I have invested in it already (paid $6,500, put in another $2,000 in upgraded/ new parts). But the bad news is that I'm drained in energy due to the effort it's taken to get it the way I want it (super clean). Many other tedious projects about which I won't bore the reader with the details.

I agree with pre-purchase inspections... especially if you're looking at a high-dollar DP MH. But if you're getting in light enough, one can over look that process. Buyer beware though, fixing a new RV or a used RV cost the same price.

I think the key is how the RV (MH/FW/ TT) was maintained. And that's almost impossible to know, especially from a dealer.

We're new to RVing so this is FW is going to work as our initial unit to see whether we like this sort of lifestyle. If we do keeping RVing, we'll eventually be getting a new one... but only once I have the cash saved. In that case we'll be able to control the maintenance aspect by keeping it covered and staying ahead of the process.

I think people in general aren't being honest with themselves about the cost to buy new in terms of interest and depreciation hits. Even with respect to real estate. Unless in California, New York, or Hawaii, where the prices appreciate regardless of property condition, maintaining the property adds to the overall expenses and the overall return is significantly diminished on a real basis. Plus insurance and taxes ALWAYS go up as well. But there is still a return. With RVs though, they are quite cheaply built (even the best ones) and will of course only lose value over time. If you've got plenty of money, or are retired and finally living the dream, have at it of course. But for those of us who are still saving for retirement, and still raising a family, our money can be put to better use. I was a stock broker in a past life. I use to tell my clients that $3,000 missed in contributions to an IRA one year amounted to $14,000 in realized retirement due to the power of compound interest. So extrapolating that out, a $40,000 hit in depreciation could potentially cost you $275,000 in growth over a 25 yr period (assuming 8% per annum). Again, if you're already retired, it doesn't matter. But some of us are still 20-25 years away from that illustrious goal.

BTW, part of the reason we went with the FW vs MH setup was the added Mx expense. I can quite easily find a mechanic to work on my F350 diesel were that to have any problems. But getting a DP's drive train worked on and maintained is going to be more than double the expense. Something to think about.

Ron_H 07-24-2014 11:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnR1949 (Post 2151387)
Ron_H I am doing exactly the same thing but am in California looking in what sounds like the same area you were looking. Florida between Orlando and Tampa. It might even be the same dealer!

Is there a way you can give me the contact info for the inspectors you used?

And I would like to compare notes on your experience with the dealer.

PM sent

Ron_H 07-24-2014 11:23 AM

Buying the type of rig we wanted new was out of the question for us as I was on the verge of retiring then and we were insistent on paying cash based upon what we had saved up for this. Yes, we could have altered the type and size and purchased new but I was confident in what we needed to accomplish our retirement goals.

I agree that some purchases do not warrant the cost of a professional inspection – its all a matter of balancing the cost and risk. With this unit being 3000 miles away and a cost of approximately $100K it seamed prudent for me to mitigate the risk somewhat through an inspection. In the end, we purchased a similar coach located only 250 miles from where we live and I was able to fully inspect it myself, view a good number of maintenance records and the seller was a well respected dealer known for standing behind their product. We did find a few small items post-purchase but the dealer looked after those items plus he provided a 3rd party warranty that covered the coach appliances anywhere in North America for 4 years. I followed up on the coach with an inspection at an authorized Spartan dealer and all they found was a very small air leak that was repaired with a new hose.

cb1000rider 07-24-2014 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin-B (Post 2061663)
Thanks for the advise. I'd recommend buying new.

Why? Even with $25k of "hidden" damage, he's way out in front of new.

Very through process... Interested in references to the moisture inspection.

smiller 07-24-2014 12:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cptgregger (Post 2152041)
I think people in general aren't being honest with themselves about the cost to buy new in terms of interest and depreciation hits.

Yes, due to the very high depreciation in the RV world there's very rarely a case where buying new really makes financial sense, there are just too many excellent condition used units on the market where someone else has paid the huge initial depreciation hit. That's not to say that there's never a reason to buy new, sometimes it's simply a matter of 'that's what I want and I can afford it', and that's fine because after all enjoyment is why most of us have RVs. But skip the rationalization part... there's a very high cost to buying new and that's just the size of it.

cb1000rider 07-24-2014 01:55 PM

Respectfully, I can't think of a reason to buy new... A large part of it IS the depreciation part, but that's true of any vehicle. The secondary part is that it doesn't seem to matter what RV make/model/brand you choose, there are going to be shake-down issues. This is unique to the RV space and buying new doesn't seem to guarantee fewer problems. It should guarantee that they'll be fixed in a reasonable manner with $0 out of pocket cost, but they're going to be there.

My advice:
Find the make/model you're looking for. Be patient. Find one that's been kept indoors, used at a reasonable rate, and has documented maintenance records. That's the one you're after....

smiller 07-24-2014 02:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cb1000rider (Post 2152306)
The secondary part is that it doesn't seem to matter what RV make/model/brand you choose, there are going to be shake-down issues. This is unique to the RV space and buying new doesn't seem to guarantee fewer problems. It should guarantee that they'll be fixed in a reasonable manner with $0 out of pocket cost, but they're going to be there.

That is frequently all too true, and in fact a well-checked out used unit may well provide less grief than many new units. And any warranty is a double-edged sword... by the time you drive the unit to the dealer, lose use of your purchase, then take it back 6 times until they finally fix the problem (if they do, and if they don't try to evade responsibility, and along with all the incidental damage they caused) it hardly ends up being 'free.' You're often better off just doing the work yourself, and in that case why pay for a warranty? It is a sad situation but all too often the way it works in the RV world.

cptgregger 07-25-2014 10:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smiller (Post 2152335)
That is frequently all too true, and in fact a well-checked out used unit may well provide less grief than many new units. And any warranty is a double-edged sword... by the time you drive the unit to the dealer, lose use of your purchase, then take it back 6 times until they finally fix the problem (if they do, and if they don't try to evade responsibility, and along with all the incidental damage they caused) it hardly ends up being 'free.' You're often better off just doing the work yourself, and in that case why pay for a warranty? It is a sad situation but all too often the way it works in the RV world.

+1,000,000!!!

I have to agree. If I may, I'd like to link that same finding to home warranty companies. I have a home wty that I've been paying into for the better part of 14 years. It's been a huge waste of my money for two reasons:

1) They always do the absolute minimum to get by... which means rarely, if ever, getting the job done right.

2) They subject you to their contractors, who are under-mined and questioned at to how or why they are going about a certain repair. Each contractor complains about the home wty company being "cheap" and it shows in how they treat your home.

Here's two examples that happened to me in the past two weeks alone:

1) Dishwasher goes out. It went out before, AHS replaced the motor when they should have just replaced the whole dishwasher. This time it goes out again so the tech orders every part he can... why not? It's not his money. Parts arrive to my house by he can't get back for two weeks. No matter how many calls I made or how many levels up the chain I pushed the call. So I took the DW out and installed the parts myself.

The whole thing could've been done for $250 of my own money had I just blazed down to Home Depot and picked up a new DW. Duh. I pay $58/ mo for that useless warranty.

2) Main sewer line clogged up with hair this past week. Having no toilets in your home with a dainty "clean-freak" wife and a pre-teen daughter is simply NOT an option for me. AHS tells me all I want to hear "we're working on it, sir!" We'll get someone ASAP. But they fail to deliver during an emergency in a timely manner? Why? The true 24/7 plumbers won't deal with them at their pre-contracted rates. What do I do? Fix it myself. I rented a 100' 3/4" line roto-rooter from Home Depot (300 lb machine) and cleared the line myself. It was dirty/ messy work. Took a day of my time but that's home-ownership. Maintenance is time-consuming and you simply have to deal with it.

I mentioned this story to a friend and he had a similar experience where he bought a top-of-the-line Kitchenaid and it developed problems from the outset. It took 15, yes FIFTEEN calls, including 6 service calls until he finally threw it out and swore to never buy a Kitchenaid product ever again. He now has a LG DW and loves it.

BTW, as I was on hold with AHS for 40 minutes for the stoppage issue at 23:30 in the evening, I started reading my contract. The whole document is written to protect them. Things like, "blockages in the sewer line beyond the foundation of the home will not be covered." What? That's pretty much the majority of the line? Also, I always kept the warranty because I figured it would cover an AC system were I to ever need replacement. Their terms: "AC replacement limited to $1,500." And that too only after the owner can show proof of quarterly servicing. My contract expires in two weeks, I'm firing them.

My career has lacked consistency in recent years so I had to be overseas a lot. I rented my house during that time so it made sense to have a home warranty company, someone my tenants can call in an emergency. But in the end it's bs.

A buddy of mine has WarrantyDirect on his car (I have them on one of my cars). He told me similar stories where they spend so much time dicking with a claim to hopefully wear the customer down. Eventually, once you exceed your pay-in, they limit all claims and it's basically your lawyers against theirs. Or so was the case for his Honda.

I've done maybe 50-60 mini projects in the past month that would've cost me a mint had I not done the work myself, including rebuilding the carburetor on my 2 hr old Honda EU2000i. Had I taken that gen in, the guy wanted $160 to rebuild it... "unless more parts needed." Sure, just throw parts at it when it's not your money. I put no new parts in and she purrs like a Honda should now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no mechanic. But you can fix a lot of your stuff these days if you just commit to the time and effort. WHen you factor in the time it takes to get an appt somewhere and the back-and-forth to the facility, it's often the same level of difficulty, save for something major like an engine/ transmission rebuild.

Gerryl 07-25-2014 01:50 PM

Great Thread. It reminds me of something I have been meaning to post for some time. Anytime we sell a house in the real estate business, the seller is required to fill out a "SELLERS DISCLOSURE".

This is a questionnaire asking everything about the home during the time of their ownership. This covers everything from basement to rooftop, pet ownership-present and past, leaks-past and present, water system, AC, heating, electrical, etc.

If the administrator (NLOVNIT ????) of this forum would like to post something like this as a “sticky” , I would be glad to start making one up. Being a newbie, I would need a lot of help and input from the senior members but I think something like this would be a big help to anyone who is looking to purchase.

I bought my first Motor Home last year and did very well. It had always been stored inside and cosmetically looked great. Once I owned it there were a lot of small things that I didn’t know to look for or to ask the seller about, (a new “mother board” in the generator was the biggest thing). It would have been nice to have a ‘MOTORHOME SELLERS DISCLOSURE’ to help me.

The nice thing about a real estate Sellers Disclosure is that the buyer can come back on the seller if they hid a material fact.

BFlinn181 07-25-2014 02:40 PM

Very educational thread. The recommendation to buy new doesn't mean you'll get a unit with no defects.
The nature of an RV; chassis from one source, house from another, all systems from various places, allows lots of places for mistakes to be made. On top of that, the TERRIBLE quality control of most RV manufacturers means units get delivered to dealers with major issues you HOPE the dealer will catch and repair. Then you buy it, and in the first trip off the lot it looses a huge amount of value because it's no longer new but used. The number of folks who make their RV first trip to the manufacturer instead of a campground is sad. If cars were made that way Detroit would be a boom town instead of a ghost town.
Buying a unit from a distance; many of us do it and do fine. I had to travel 1,400 miles one way, to view and purchase mine. I had lots of sky miles and time so I flew out, inspected and spent time with the unit, purchased it and drove it the 1,300 miles back to my home.
The same thing with RVs was true of yachts when I was growing up. Folks with money would buy new thinking that meant everything was perfect. They had no knowledge of the systems and maintenance needed to keep it up. I think everyone owning a recreational land or water craft need to learn some simple things about the mechanical, electrical, and safety systems of their 'new baby.' If you have deep pockets and can pay, fine, but I like doing it myself as much as I can.

Ron_H 07-25-2014 03:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by frankdamp (Post 2062900)
I'm curious why you'd consider going 3,000 miles from home to buy a used MH.

For me, finding the right motorhome was far more important than its location. After all, it does have wheels and was designed intended to travel.

I identified what we wanted in a motorhome and started looking throughout Canada and the US. As the selection is less in Canada and the prices generally higher, most of the more promising finds were located in the US and high RV population areas such as Texas and Florida had the greatest available inventory.

Surprisingly, after this deal fell apart I found another good unit at an acceptable price a mere 250 miles from my home.

cptgregger 07-25-2014 11:52 PM

I bought my FW from my neighbor. He owns a very successful RV repair shop. When his wife stopped by to drop off the title we started talking, just shooting the breeze, as it were. I mentioned to her that we were going to buy new until the offer they made us for their unit popped up.

She told me they take in BRAND NEW units all the time from dealers, wty companies, insurance companies, and owners. She lead me to believe that new units have plenty of issues as well. The difference being you're financially covered. But it's still a time and inconvenience issue.

NOTE: I am NOT saying new and used are the same. They aren't. Just saying even new ones have a few problems... though usually nothing when compared to used, or as the dealers like to call it: "pre-owned" :rolleyes:

NYtravelers 07-27-2014 07:16 AM

I have no problem buying used whatsoever in anything i purchase, houses, RV's, heavy equipment, cars and so on..

Like with anything in life i believe in being a smart consumer and an educated one. New does not mean safe from troubles, breakdowns and defects in anyway.
Case in point my brother was just test driving a 2015 dodge 3500 and the transmission during the test drive with the salesmen sitting right next to him blew up on the road, they had to be towed back to the dealership.

An engine is an engine and will last untold miles if taken care of properly this i can attest to from personal experience. The rest of the RV, well mechanical things can be taken care of, break and can be fixed... It is just limiting ones exposure by doing ones homework and being educated.
Unless i won 100 million i cant ever picture myself buying anything new, not even a car.
I would rather buy one two or 3 years old for half the price and still under warranty if anything.

That said there is some great info and advice i will take away from here in looking and have total confidence the RV we end up with is the one we are meant to have and will enjoy the hell out of it :D:D

Kiwi 09-29-2014 05:13 AM

Anybody research what it costs to buy a moisture meter? Here is one for $27. Sounds like a cheap alternative.

General Tools & Instruments MMD4E Digital Moisture Meter - - Amazon.com

sailwing2003 09-29-2014 09:17 AM

Be careful with what you believe you see with a moisture meter.

I own a roofing company. Had a single women client call me about a "leak" on the roof we had installed 14 months ago. She had a friend with a meter show her how the ceiling where a long ago removed and patched hanging light was now a "leak". No one had ever noticed in the 12 years she had lived in the home, the builder's repair after someone relocated the hanging light, and installed the ceiling fan in the better position. I check the roof and found nothing wrong, but was unable to get to the attic ceiling as the sheet rock was nailed to the bottom of the deck/roof rafters, with insulation between.

After trying to explain the long ago original repair to no effect, I suggested the moisture be checked anywhere else in the room or the house. Oh wow, every other place her friend checked had the same moisture readings. I said good bye and left.

But moisture meters can save us heart ache and lots of dollars in our RV's. Just understand how it should be used, to get the help and info that is correct.

Mike and Cha 10-02-2014 03:50 PM

We had a similar experience when considering a used MH, It looked and drove great but after it was checked out by a professional inspector there were too many issues that were not obvious to us. That is why we ended up buying new. Don't rule out new without looking, there are some good deals out there. And if you do buy a quality new MH it won't sit at the factory waiting to get fixed, we haven't experienced that, 8 months and 6,000 miles later we've only had a few minor issues that were fixed with less than a 4 hour wait.

davidki 10-04-2014 12:44 PM

I'm glad I ran across this thread, lots of good info here and you bring up an excellent point for an inspector.. even at 500 -1,000 that is cheap if a major disaster is averted...

We have been looking at what our next move is going to be.. I keep thinking of getting a 32 -34' DP and have stared read more about the Tiffin Red 33aa which seems to have quite a following ... I started looking at the Breeze but it seems like the difference between the Breeze and Red if one had the extra cash.. the Red would be the way to go... The info on the inspection by a 3rd party is a great idea... thanks for bringing that up...

I also are floored by the number of people we talk to in campground that their first few trips in a new high end motorhome is back to the manufacturer to get things fixed. OUCH! The sad part is it seems like the same story with about every one of the manufactures are out there... realy makes one think about spending all that money on a moving house!

Mr_D 10-04-2014 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EVMIII (Post 2061999)
For an investment of this size I would never consider purchase without a thorough inspection by a qualified technician. I had a similar experience with a boat. Seller was out of town so I hired an inspector to take a look before I flew down to sea trial. Inspector fee ranged from $300 up depending on time required. He called me after being on the boat for 15 minutes and said run away from the vessel. He charged me $200 and saved me $100K in repairs. Don't buy used without a professional survey.

Yep, we bought a boat without a survey, found out it had been run aground and the bottom was not finished right. Would hardly come up on plane. Kept it for several years and just lived with it.


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