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Old 05-25-2013, 06:43 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,253 posts, read 3,949,899 times
Reputation: 9432

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I posted some questions here once before and the members of this forum gave me some pretty good feed back, so now I'm back, seeking your expertise once again.

Short Version: I want to buy an RV or travel trailer plus Dodge truck with the heavy duty motor, so that I can get a job as a camp ground host. I'm in my early 60's and I'm going to need to do something to supplement my retirement. I've camped all my life and I love it, but I've always been a tent camper and it only recently that I've been looking into RV's. My budget is very small, so I'm trying to find bargains. Yesterday I saw a motor home for sale on Craigslist:

Quote:
I am selling a motorhome that runs strong and has no issues. All the appliances work (Microwave, Stove, Refrigerator). I put in a new water heater , faucet in bathroom and kitchen and installed hardwood floor in kitchen and bedroom.. The hydraulic pump is new. The pillow top queen mattress is almost new with storage under the platform. The upholstery is in excellent condition . Tires have 95% tread life. CD/DVD, tons of storage, 4000 watt generator and roof and dash air condition. As well as the main awning , there are awnings above every window. Non Smoker. Moving out of state and need to sell as soon as possible. This motorhome has been great fun and is ready to go. Please call Tommy at (970) 570-9001. More photos upon request. I couldn't get all of them posted. 6500. OBO
I went over and checked it out and it looks like what I expected for a 1993 Fleetwood 32' Bounder motorhome. Despite what the owner says, I think the tires should be replaced (picture below). Somebody had a minor accident and put a couple of dents on the passanger side near the rear. The repair job is definitely a do-it-your-selfer.

The interior is very nice, appears well cared for. The owner claims everything is in working order and theowner turned on the air conditioning, heater, etc for me, so I could see that he's telling the truth there. He says he will accept $5,500 for it.

Is $5,500 a reasonable price?

When I bought my truck, I took it to my mechanic first. Do people do that when buying RV's?

Shouldn't I ask to test drive it? I've never driven a motorhome before and don't know what to look for in the way of performance, ease of turning etc.?

What are the main things I should check that could cause trouble down the road?

I'm sorry to be so clueless, but really, I'm trying to become just like you guys - one of the few, the proud, the RVers!

Thanks for any replies you can give!

Here's the poor repairs to the body I mentioned.

This is the Bounder in side-view.

Sample tire - they all have same wear. Sorry the pic is sort of blurry.

Interior - Captain Kirk's seat!
Attached Thumbnails
New to RV-ing and in need of advice!-sideview-rv.jpg   New to RV-ing and in need of advice!-patched-damage-rv.jpg   New to RV-ing and in need of advice!-tire-example-rv.jpg   New to RV-ing and in need of advice!-rv-interior-i.jpg  
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:22 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,837 posts, read 57,830,396 times
Reputation: 29225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Rambler View Post
Short Version: I want to buy an RV or travel trailer plus Dodge truck with the heavy duty motor,
so that I can get a job as a camp ground host. I'm in my early 60's and I'm going to need to do something
to supplement my retirement. ... My budget is very small, so I'm trying to find bargains.
Even Shorter Version: Find some OTHER way to get by on your small budget.
Almost ANYTHING you might choose will prove to be a less expensive way to go.
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,164 posts, read 16,510,896 times
Reputation: 13349
My wife and I have/had plans to do the same thing -- campground hosts. We've decided that for now, we just can't afford it but hope to in a few more years. I assume you've looked into the pay. It's not much. You can earn enough to pay for your camp spot and a little more but not a lot more -- maybe minimum wage or so. You've got to consider it as supplemental income to your social security and/or other retirement income.

$5,500 sounds pretty reasonable to me if it's in good shape. I'd certainly have a mechanic look it over, as well as an RV tech. The worst thing to find in RVs is water leaks. Water can totally destroy an RV in a few years, from the roof where it leaks in, down the sides and into the sub floor. Obviously with motor homes you also have to be concerned with all things mechanical, particularly the engine and transmission. These things often don't get a lot of miles on them, but sitting around unused isn't the best way to make drive trains last either. Regarding tires, look for the manufacturing date code stamped on the inside wall of them. Few RV tires wear out, but many get too old to be safe on the highway. I have a rule of 7 years for tires on any vehicle I drive on the highway; some replace them at 5 years.

Most rvers I've talked with prefer 5th wheel campers if the plan is to park for weeks or months on end. Then you don't have to maintain two vehicles, and these big MHs can be expensive to maintain. (With a MH you'd likely also "need" a towed vehicle [toad] for daily errands, etc.) I think 5th wheels normally have a little nicer living layout than MHs, but that's strictly a personal opinion/decision.

Another thing to consider when looking at older RVs is that most campgrounds, at least commercial ones that pay a wage, prefer to hire workers with nice looking rigs. Some even have a "10-year rule" in which they'll only accept campers less than 10 years old to keep their campground looking nice. I'd say the majority of ads I've seen for camp hosts request a photo of the applicant(s) with their camper.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Near Nashville TN
7,201 posts, read 11,323,049 times
Reputation: 5357
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Rambler View Post
I posted some questions here once before and the members of this forum gave me some pretty good feed back, so now I'm back, seeking your expertise once again.

Short Version: I want to buy an RV or travel trailer plus Dodge truck with the heavy duty motor, so that I can get a job as a camp ground host. I'm in my early 60's and I'm going to need to do something to supplement my retirement. I've camped all my life and I love it, but I've always been a tent camper and it only recently that I've been looking into RV's. My budget is very small, so I'm trying to find bargains. Yesterday I saw a motor home for sale on Craigslist:

Snips!
You would be better off spending the money on a 5th wheel or travel-trailer (TT). If you get an older rig you can host at some, but not all campgrounds. If you buy a Class-A like this Bounder, you will have to maintain 2 vehicles. You may want to ask this on RV where there is a lot more traffic and people into RVing, and for many years. There is even a section there for Hosts I believe.

At COEs, I was told, you get the space free with electric, sewer and water plus a small income. The free rent/utilities alone makes it worth it in my book.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:07 PM
 
Location: Near Nashville TN
7,201 posts, read 11,323,049 times
Reputation: 5357
Quote:
Originally Posted by WyoNewk View Post
My wife and I have/had plans to do the same thing -- campground hosts. We've decided that for now, we just can't afford it but hope to in a few more years. I assume you've looked into the pay. It's not much. You can earn enough to pay for your camp spot and a little more but not a lot more -- maybe minimum wage or so. .
Look for places that provide a free site with all hookups. Avoid high-class places with greedy owners.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:02 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,253 posts, read 3,949,899 times
Reputation: 9432
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
Even Shorter Version: Find some OTHER way to get by on your small budget.
Almost ANYTHING you might choose will prove to be a less expensive way to go.
WOW! Well, there's food for thought! I've been very tempted to take the most expedient, cheapest solution. Like great! I've got that much money in my savings account, so just hand over the cash and off I go. No worries about learning how to tow a 26 foot trailer through the mountains.

*sigh* Nothing is ever that easy or simple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WyoNewk
My wife and I have/had plans to do the same thing -- campground hosts. We've decided that for now, we just can't afford it but hope to in a few more years. I assume you've looked into the pay. It's not much. You can earn enough to pay for your camp spot and a little more but not a lot more -- maybe minimum wage or so. You've got to consider it as supplemental income to your social security and/or other retirement income.
Yeah, the pay is not exactly vast wealth. I live pretty simply and don't need a whole bunch of stuff, so $400 to $800/month extra plus my social security and free hook-ups is all I'd require. There's a long, sad story, but I'll just cut to the chase. I'll never really be able to retire completely, so I have to find work that I can do now as well as ten years from now. I'm unemployed at the moment and employers just don't want to hire someone my age. Bottom line. However, CGH's are traditionally old geezers, so there's a job where my age won't be held against me.

Quote:
$5,500 sounds pretty reasonable to me if it's in good shape. I'd certainly have a mechanic look it over, as well as an RV tech. The worst thing to find in RVs is water leaks. Water can totally destroy an RV in a few years, from the roof where it leaks in, down the sides and into the sub floor. Obviously with motor homes you also have to be concerned with all things mechanical, particularly the engine and transmission. These things often don't get a lot of miles on them, but sitting around unused isn't the best way to make drive trains last either. Regarding tires, look for the manufacturing date code stamped on the inside wall of them. Few RV tires wear out, but many get too old to be safe on the highway. I have a rule of 7 years for tires on any vehicle I drive on the highway; some replace them at 5 years.
This part of your reply fills me with terror. I am not in the least mechanically inclined. I've been just fine on my own since my divorce some years ago, but stuff like this makes me want to run out and collar the first guy I can find. LOL!

Quote:
Most rvers I've talked with prefer 5th wheel campers if the plan is to park for weeks or months on end. Then you don't have to maintain two vehicles, and these big MHs can be expensive to maintain. (With a MH you'd likely also "need" a towed vehicle [toad] for daily errands, etc.) I think 5th wheels normally have a little nicer living layout than MHs, but that's strictly a personal opinion/decision.
You are far from the first person to advise me to get a 5th wheel. I am going to have to break down and least check them out, I guess.

Quote:
Another thing to consider when looking at older RVs is that most campgrounds, at least commercial ones that pay a wage, prefer to hire workers with nice looking rigs. Some even have a "10-year rule" in which they'll only accept campers less than 10 years old to keep their campground looking nice. I'd say the majority of ads I've seen for camp hosts request a photo of the applicant(s) with their camper.
Yup, I've noticed that myself. It's a varient of the old saw, "You got to have money to make money." It concerned me when I looked at the motorhome in question. The thing looks its age even if I don't.

"Clever Cat Face" wrote: You would be better off spending the money on a 5th wheel or travel-trailer (TT). If you get an older rig you can host at some, but not all campgrounds. If you buy a Class-A like this Bounder, you will have to maintain 2 vehicles. You may want to ask this on RV where there is a lot more traffic and people into RVing, and for many years. There is even a section there for Hosts I believe.

At COEs, I was told, you get the space free with electric, sewer and water plus a small income. The free rent/utilities alone makes it worth it in my book. [/quote]

Thanks for the link! I'll most definately check it out!
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:08 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,837 posts, read 57,830,396 times
Reputation: 29225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Rambler View Post
WOW! Well, there's food for thought!
I've been very tempted to take the most expedient, cheapest solution.
How Do I Qualify As Low Income for HUD Senior Housing? | Home Guides | SF Gate
Information for Senior Citizens/U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Senior Housing | Senior Living | Senior Apartments

http://www.city-data.com/forum/retirement/
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:25 AM
 
Location: GOVERNMENT of TRAITORS & NAZIS
20,551 posts, read 22,709,293 times
Reputation: 7625
The biggest problem with the Bus or Coach concept is that it is B I G. If you have access to the funds and travel just for leisure, then the bus might be for you.
I have met way too many people who wished thay had gone with a 5th wheel and truck instead of the coach.
When the coach breaks down the entire unit has to go into the shop. Then if you do not have a tow (toad) vehicle you are stuck in what ever podunk city you happen to wake up in.

My wife and I are also on the extreme budget. We searched for over 18 months for the right priced Dodge Cummins--a 1998 12 valve 2500. During that time and some after we were also searching for a trailer then 5th wheel. We found a great 33 foot 5th wheel with two slide-outs in Florida that was taken care of by two meticulous people.

For $10K we have the perfect travel unit and still get 12-14 mpg depending on how the wind blows.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Oregon
1,379 posts, read 2,558,621 times
Reputation: 1019
.....and if I were living in my RV, I would want at least one nice slide out. It really does increase the livability of the space.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:18 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,774 posts, read 37,441,293 times
Reputation: 20767
Since you will be parked and set up LONG times, in USFS type campgrounds...

Get a nice used 12v Dodge cummins with canopy camper top, and a nice used 26-30 ft bumper pull trailer, get a very light Honda Trail 90 motorbike to mount on the frt bumper of truck, or rear of trailer. This would be a great set-up for a gal (or guy).

(can be done for under $10k) you can burn fryer oil if you HAVE to... (troublesome, but FREE fuel). Since you are Colorado and Mtn specific, hold out for a good 4x4 truck. (I get most of mine RUST FREE and CHEAP in TX or AZ).

Motorhome is putting all your eggs (transportation and facilities ) in one basket. Very troublesome WHEN they break, and when you just need to update the living space OR drive train. (which you WILL do if living in them.)

There are websites with checklist for buying RV and trucks + places that will inspect for you.
I would start with Ecscapees and Workamper web sites.
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