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Old 08-03-2010, 06:18 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
11,892 posts, read 12,507,951 times
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We were looking at Class C's but now have actually found some Class 'A's that I like with a lot more storage inside and out, not to mentions the floor space. We are still mostly weekend warriors but want to take a longer trip once or twice a year . Probably not more than a few hundred miles each way. I'm not talking anything newer than 10 - 12 years with as low mileage as we can get. I am afraid of something that has been lived in becasue of the wear and tear of the a/c and fridge.

What are some other major factors to look at?? of course we would have it look at by an RV tech first.
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
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I'd look to the class As too. The older ones in good shape are bargains. My neighbor bought one a couple months ago -- a '98 with 45K on it for under $10,000. It's gas, but there's nothing wrong with that if you don't plan to drive it a lot.

The main thing to look for would be any water leaks in the ceiling or walls. From there just *everything*. I think I've seen checklists on the net for things to look for. I'd just hire a good RV/truck technician.

Beware of the 15-year-old yard queens that have 15K miles on them. Probably good, but also probably have dried seals, cracked tires and belts and mouse nests.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:16 AM
 
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As Wyonewk stated you have to check everything, even before you bring in an RV tech. Rv'ing follows a very simple rule....you can pay now or pay later but the bottom line is you are going to pay at some point...........

It all depends what your price point is on a coach that old, you can still spend 200K for a 15 year old coach or you can spend 10K

Something that old running gas you have to start with the engine and running gear first.....it would most likely be something like a big block 454....a few things about older gas engines you need to think about.....1) they run very loud and run very hot....so dont expect to try and have a conversation with your co-pilot at 55 mph while traveling down the road unless you like screaming at each other and also expect your feet to get hot as the floor board can get super hot on longer trips 2) gas mileage is going to suck, don’t expect anything better then 5-7 miles per gallon on the older gas engines and that is on flat ground, forget it if you get into the hill country, there you start getting into gallons per mile not miles per gallon

Simple thing to look at are the tires, the date is on the side wall, anything older then 5-6 years then expect to buy all new tires, if the tires are that old you can figure the past owner has also not replaced items like hoses, seals and belts....little things but they can add up to big bucks....

Leaks are going to be the hardest to spot because people will pay big bucks to hide a past or present leak, so look for any type of repairs, if you feel safe doing so get up on the roof...... if not look at seams and around windows. Inside look in out of way places for water stains and rotted wood, loose and or new carpet should be a clue something is/was wrong. Also tap on the walls, in the corners of the floor etc, rotted wood can be found pretty easy doing the tap method

From there its just checking out to see if everything works, micro, refer, stove, water heater, A/C, genny, jacks, awning, engine and house batteries, the slide outs, LP system, inverter, TV's and other electronics etc...I am sure many of those you will want to update with newer better products, so think about how much that will cost when comparing rigs. Don’t forget things like replacing the mattress, sofa etc also if needed..( do you really want to sleep on someone else’s mattress?)...check out your fresh, gray and black water systems including the water pump etc.....Bottom line is check everything to make sure it works from something as simple as every light switch and radio dial all of the way up to the main systems

On the outside of the coach, look at the rubber around the doors/windows, check the glass has it frosted or separated etc...check all of the running lights...is one out? could be a simple burned out bulb or could be something much more costly...check the frame and its supports for rust etc if it is a rust belt coach .... check for body for spiderweb cracks or seperation.....

Check your main systems before, then during and then again after a long test drive, also spend a few bucks at a car wash while on your test drive and spray every inch of the coach down from roof to undercarriage, this will help you check for any water leaks but will also help you find any drive train or engine fluid leaks

Check for past maintance and repair records including all recall notices, if the owner did not keep them and have them all available, walk away from that coach and keep looking....

If everything checks out good and you like the coach, wait a few days to a week and go back and do it all over again a second time just like the first visit...dont skip a step on the inspection including another long test drive...write everything down if you need to..........Then if you still like the coach on your third trip bring in the RV Tech and let him do his magic and see what he can find wrong...Once you get his report then you have a better idea which way to go.....



good luck

Last edited by rtandc; 08-04-2010 at 08:06 AM..
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Wandering in the West
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I've been looking at them too. Just researched the heck out of Class A's and had it narrowed down to Tiffin, Winnebago or Newmar, when we decided it really doesn't fit our needs. The rigs we liked, even at 10 years old, cost $25k and up, if they're in decent shape. Can't get into many national forest spots with a rig that heavy and that's really the only place we like to camp. Plus, we just decided we don't want to spend that kind of money right now on a toy. They're really tempting, but we might just get a 28' travel trailer instead, which would be much cheaper, can go where we want it to and won't cost near as much to maintain. Those Newmars are awful pretty though.

You should look at escapees.com and search for information there. Some of those guys are major brainiacs and they've been on the road full time for years and years. They know everything there is to know about RVs and it's all been discussed before. A man named Kirk gave a lot of information about the various engines and chassis from that time period, as he's owned several gas Class A's. Be sure to search for the thread about the Workhorse brake recall too. It affects rigs back to 2001 (I think) and they haven't been able to keep up with it.

Take your time. I thought I was ready to buy one after a couple weeks of reading and changed my mind at least 3 times on which rig to get, after reading more about their track records and the way they handled.
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:18 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
11,892 posts, read 12,507,951 times
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We been seeing water marks around the a/c vents, satellite control and the regular vents that you crank open in most of the used Class A's we've seen. At first we thought it was just the one that maybe had leaks but then noticed it was in almost everyone we saw. Is the spot around the a/c vent condensation from the a/c? I'm really disappointed that some of these units look like someone peed on the ceiling.

Any suggestions? Do the vents just need re-caulking the roof more often??
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:39 AM
 
1,477 posts, read 4,740,978 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camper1 View Post
We been seeing water marks around the a/c vents, satellite control and the regular vents that you crank open in most of the used Class A's we've seen. At first we thought it was just the one that maybe had leaks but then noticed it was in almost everyone we saw. Is the spot around the a/c vent condensation from the a/c? I'm really disappointed that some of these units look like someone peed on the ceiling.

Any suggestions? Do the vents just need re-caulking the roof more often??

Common problem because many past owners dont worry about leaks until they happen and by then its to late....of course any sealant is going to crack and dry over time, its just the nature of the beast......But most all vents, ac units etc will have a gasket between the fixture and the roof, that is normally the starting point to most leaks......This gasket over time will dry rot causing leaks, also it is common for people to use the wrong type sealant for the job, I cant tell you how many people I have seen try and fix a roof leak with silicone sealant which is a big no no.....

So I am guessing most of these units you have looked at had a prior leak and it was most likely not repaired properly. (a little clue, if you see evidence on the ceiling of a roof leak...you are only seeing about 5% of the total leak damage)

I would bet that most people dont get on their rv roof more then once every 2-3 years if ever.....Your roof should be inspected at least every 6 months or so depending on how harsh of a climate it has been in...


You are now finding out why it is so hard to find a good older unit and why it is so important to hire a rv tech to inspect any rv you have interest in.....
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:32 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
11,892 posts, read 12,507,951 times
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We got one!! Picked a 1999 Bounder !! She's got some wear but good bones!!!!! i just love the floor plan and storage in and out. Glad we made the jump, it's going to be a blast!!!
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,169 posts, read 16,524,951 times
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Congratulations Camper1! Now go put it to work!
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Old 09-08-2010, 10:41 AM
 
1,477 posts, read 4,740,978 times
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Congrats, have fun with it
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