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Post Info TOPIC: Buying cheap


RV-Dreams Community Member

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Buying cheap


I'm considering buying a cheap used RV. So far I've only looked at on-line pictures in the 7 to 15 grand range.  There seems to be a lot of good choices in the Phoenix area.  I know nothing about buying an RV, and most of these ads all say their unit is clean, no leaks, runs great, everything works, etc.  Should I choose to do this, this will be my full time home.  Is it possible to find something in that price range that is as good as they make their ads sound?  I need something dependable, as I'm self-employed and sometimes can go for a while with no income.  Then I'll get busy and make a lot, but if I'm going through an income drought and find myself stranded in a piece of crap RV with major expenses to get it going, I'll be in a world of pain.

Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.  I have 60 days before my current apartment lease is up and I have to move, and I'm sick of landlords.  Plus, with an RV, I'll be in a position to migrate with the seasons, spending my summers in the Midwest and winters in the southwest.



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Jim,

You don't say whether you're looking for a towable RV or a class C or A motorhome (though, if you say "runs great," I might think you're thinking motorhome). If you know nothing about RVs, are looking to buy in the next two months and want something good enough to live in - on a really tight budget - you might be in a bit of a pickle. In your case, I would advise against buying from a private party (i.e. Craigslist, etc.). This is a very short time frame in which to educate yourself about RVs AND try to search at the same time. Under the circumstances, you might be best off to find someone you really trust who knows a lot about RVs to help you get started. The good folks on this forum will be happy to help you in any way they can, but unless you can be more specific with your questions, they/we won't know how to answer you.

Rob

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2012 F350 DRW Lariat 6.7

PullRite OEM 18K, Demco Glide Ride pinbox

2016 Grand Design Reflection 337RLS

MOR/ryde IS, disc brakes, LR G tires

Full-time as of 8/2015

 

 



RV-Dreams Community Member

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Hi Rob,

Thanks for responding.  I'm definitely looking at a class A motorhome.  I just did a quick search on craigslist to show an example of what I'm thinking about (https://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/rvs/6046518280.html).  I am in a bit of a pickle - that might work as the title for a book on my life these days :)

I have a zillion questions, but didn't want to list them all in my first post on this.

 

 



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Jimtoo wrote:

I'm considering buying a cheap used RV. So far I've only looked at on-line pictures in the 7 to 15 grand range.  There seems to be a lot of good choices in the Phoenix area.  I know nothing about buying an RV, and most of these ads all say their unit is clean, no leaks, runs great, everything works, etc.  Should I choose to do this, this will be my full time home.  Is it possible to find something in that price range that is as good as they make their ads sound?  I need something dependable, as I'm self-employed and sometimes can go for a while with no income.  Then I'll get busy and make a lot, but if I'm going through an income drought and find myself stranded in a piece of crap RV with major expenses to get it going, I'll be in a world of pain.

Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.  I have 60 days before my current apartment lease is up and I have to move, and I'm sick of landlords.  Plus, with an RV, I'll be in a position to migrate with the seasons, spending my summers in the Midwest and winters in the southwest.


 Jim,

I was a contractor for many years and bought my Class C while still working.  My budget was about like yours. A's have a lot more capacity but are more expensive to repair.  If you need to carry equiptment for your business you need to consider it.  Most C's don't have a lot of towing capacity.

Tires are an bigger issue with A's .  They're much more expensive and don't last as long.  Generally the 100 psi plus tires on an A are replaced every  5 years.  The 80 or so psi tires on a C last for about 7  years.  So check the date code.  I know you're looking at a Class A but if you check out a C make sure it has 16 inch tires.

The board  software is really annoying this morning so this is all I have the patience to type on my little tablet.  Heck I can't even make this the last paragraph!  I just moved my domicile to FL and when I turned in the old title I found I've been in my C for 8 years.  Full time is pretty easy.  The very long distances you'll have drive "commuting" to the southwest do add some extra difficulties

Those big windshields on A's can cost as much as I paid for my C so price the replacement of any cracked glass.  Also look for repairs to the windshield.  A few people have mentioned the diy kits not lasting very long.

 



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RV-Dreams Community Member

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Hi solo,

So sounds as if you think I should be looking at Cs.  No equipment needed to take along, but I do need to be able to tow a mini cooper.

I'm also wondering if I'd be asking for trouble sticking around in Michigan through December to visit family for the holidays before heading out.  December can get a lot of snow and obviously pipe-freezing cold.  I imagine I'd be spending a ton on fuel to keep it warm.  I'd end up hoping for a global warming wave. 

The overall goal here is to be free but also spend less.  If I ended up being nickeled and dimed to death, the plan blows up.



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Jimtoo wrote:

Hi solo,

So sounds as if you think I should be looking at Cs.  No equipment needed to take along, but I do need to be able to tow a mini cooper.

I'm also wondering if I'd be asking for trouble sticking around in Michigan through December to visit family for the holidays before heading out.  December can get a lot of snow and obviously pipe-freezing cold.  I imagine I'd be spending a ton on fuel to keep it warm.  I'd end up hoping for a global warming wave. 

The overall goal here is to be free but also spend less.  If I ended up being nickeled and dimed to death, the plan blows up.


Jim,

On a class C, if the chassis and drive-train are in good condition, roof and slide leaks and the RV appliances are the main concern and can get expensive to repair. You can help CYA by 1) having a non-involved certified mechanic check the engine, chassis and running gear before purchase, and 2) having a certified RV technician do the same for the rest of the RV - including appliances. Consider the fees insurance and money well spent. There are many class Cs out there towing small cars - many of them built on the Ford E450/E550 chassis with the V-10 motor (and those aren't the only capable combos, either).

As for staying in Michigan through December... that's another story. Most RVs (until you get into the really expensive/heavy range) are not built for winter. We stayed too long in the Baltimore area over this past holiday season and ended up with almost a week of single-digit lows, highs in the low 20s, and 40 MPH winds with frozen water lines to the kitchen island. We also went through 30 lbs. of propane every three to four days. If there is family you could stay with, you could winterize the RV until you escaped south.

Rob



__________________

2012 F350 DRW Lariat 6.7

PullRite OEM 18K, Demco Glide Ride pinbox

2016 Grand Design Reflection 337RLS

MOR/ryde IS, disc brakes, LR G tires

Full-time as of 8/2015

 

 



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Another issue with old RV's as I found out early in our RV'ing adventure...

I bought a 1994 Jamboree class C to learn the ropes about RV's. 6 months after I purchased this RV we were planning a trip to Idaho from California. A few days before we planned to leave I discovered the air conditioner on the engine was not working. This RV had a Ford engine so I took it to the local dealership. We discovered that finding parts for old engines is very difficult. We were lucky that the dealer I went to had the part in stock. They also had 1 old time mechanic who knew how to work on our engine. The point I'm trying to make here is that older RV's can be difficult to repair. The house stuff is generally not an issue, but RV's with engines is another story. Just something to consider while you're shopping.

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RV-Dreams Community Member

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Thanks for the replies all, lots to think about. Unfortunately the more you tell me the more questions I get. I need to buy a book. I'm wondering what's involved in winterizing an RV and then un-winterizing it. I could easily stay with family and/or friends for a month while the RV sat for December.

Also, can you tell me if insurance is expensive or if I added it to my Mini Cooper coverage, is it just a nominal fee?

Anything in particular you can think of to what I should make sure to ask about and avoid, I'd appreciate it. I saw, for example, an add touting an EPDM roof, and then read another ad where someone advertised no EPDM roof which helped to avoid some of the problems with those. I've no idea who to believe, what's good or bad.

Any specific structural things I should be looking for since I'll be towing my Mini?

I've seen a couple of ads for a Rexhall RV, and they talked about it having an actual steel frame instead of wood. I would have thought they were all steel.

Thanks for any thoughts you're willing to share. I appreciate it.

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Jimtoo wrote:

Thanks for the replies all, lots to think about. Unfortunately the more you tell me the more questions I get. I need to buy a book. I'm wondering what's involved in winterizing an RV and then un-winterizing it. I could easily stay with family and/or friends for a month while the RV sat for December. - Google it or search this and other RV forums. It's easy to do and there's a lot out there on it. The process usually involves emptying, cleaning out, and propping the frig doors open. Then you either drain the plumbing system and blow it out with compressed air (my preferred method) or fill it with RV antifreeze per instructions for that particular RV. Either way, the final step is to pour some RV antifreeze into the drains (sinks, shower, etc.) so the P traps don't freeze. 

Also, can you tell me if insurance is expensive or if I added it to my Mini Cooper coverage, is it just a nominal fee? - It will be more than just a nominal fee for a motorhome (class C or A). Also, not all companies will insure a motorhome, so you need to shop around.

Anything in particular you can think of to what I should make sure to ask about and avoid, I'd appreciate it. I saw, for example, an add touting an EPDM roof, and then read another ad where someone advertised no EPDM roof which helped to avoid some of the problems with those. I've no idea who to believe, what's good or bad. - Most RVs have rubber roofs (one of two types). Just needs to be inspected and cared for.

Any specific structural things I should be looking for since I'll be towing my Mini? - YES! First, you need to find out whether or not your MINI can be towed flat. Then there are things to look into like a tow bar, brake controller, lights, etc. There are sites and guides geared specifically to this topic. Then you need to know the weight of the Mini and the towing capacity of the RV you're considering.

I've seen a couple of ads for a Rexhall RV, and they talked about it having an actual steel frame instead of wood. I would have thought they were all steel. Vehicle chassis are steel. RV frames (the superstructures) themselves are usually wood or aluminum. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. For wood frames, the main concern is that there have been no leaks to start wood rot or molding. 

Thanks for any thoughts you're willing to share. I appreciate it. - My final advice would be to head over to the educational portion of this web site:

http://www.rv-dreams.com/

and read all the excellent educational material that Howard and Linda have put so much time and effort into. The same can be done on the Escapees RV Club web site (you might have to join Escapees to get access to everything, but it's well worth it.


 



__________________

2012 F350 DRW Lariat 6.7

PullRite OEM 18K, Demco Glide Ride pinbox

2016 Grand Design Reflection 337RLS

MOR/ryde IS, disc brakes, LR G tires

Full-time as of 8/2015

 

 



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Posts: 25
Date:

Jimtoo wrote:

 

Hi solo,

So sounds as if you think I should be looking at Cs.  No equipment needed to take along, but I do need to be able to tow a mini cooper.

I'm also wondering if I'd be :asking for trouble stick around in Michigan through December to visit family for the holidays before heading out.  December can get a lot of snow and obviously pipe-freezing cold.  I imagine I'd be spending a ton on fuel to keep it warm.  I'd end up hoping for a global warming wave. 

The overall goal here is to be free but also spend less.  If I ended up being nickeled and dimed to death, the plan blows up

 Jim,

I'm not trying to push you toward a C.  But if you're buying used and have a time limit it helps to be flexible.  Either an A or a C wwill flat tow your car easily.  I looked at both  when  I started shopping.  The A's were all too long and most had cracked windshields and broken power steps.  Smaller A's and C's were in poor shape.

Somewhere here I posted my "buyers guide" in response to another solo but I can't link to it.  The software ate a longer post this morning.  Send me a PM if I can help.  You seem to be solo it is different.

solo boondocker

 

 



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RV-Dreams Community Member

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Thanks for the helpful comments. I have a lot of research to do. How I'm going to figure all of this out, sell all of my things, and search for and buy an RV in 60s is beyond me (actually 58 days now), especially since I'm currently swamped with work with no end in sight, thus have no time at the present to even think about this. Somehow, someway, it'll happen. Either that or I'll be living in my Mini for a while. Luckily I'm in the southwest :)

And yeah, I'll be doing this solo. As a backup, I do have places to stay for free in MI for a while, if absolutely necessary.

Thanks again.

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Jimtoo, hope you are still around. Check your Mini at www.remcoindustries.com/Towing/Store.php to see if it is towable.

As for buying cheap, well, you usually get what you pay for. One possibility is to buy something with the intention of trading it it in a couple of months. That way, assuming that what you buy isn't a complete piece of junk, you will have a bit more idea of what you actually need. Another is to buy something that is in better condition to start with, even though it costs a bit more initially.

Please remember that a MH needs to be driven. Parking one for three months and just firing up the engine once a month doesn't do it. ALL of the moving parts in the drivetrain need to move, and the everything needs to get up to operating temperature and stay there for a while. If you are going to stay parked for more than a month you will need to actually pack everything up and take it on the road for an hour or so once a month.

BTW, a few years ago some friends of ours bought a brand new Class A for full-time use. After less than a year they could see that it didn't have the quality for full-time use and traded it even-up for a 10-year-old Foretravel to get the quality they wanted.

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I am sure you have already made the plunge if not I would consider buying a early 2000's Ford with a V10 power plant with under 50,000 miles. If you look around I am sure you can find a cherry of a unit for Under $15,000. A V10 is a very popular platform of engine. Most mechanics can rebuild them blind folded. Check the roof over well making sure there are no leaks. Water is no friend of RVs. Check the hours on the Generator under 500 hour will indicate that the RV saw normal to less than normal use. Make sure the appliances work, especially the roof top AC and refrigerator. The Generator should fire up within 15 sec of push and holding the start button. Asked to see all service records and making sure the motor oil has been changed approximately every 5000 miles and the Transmission was serviced approximately every 20000 miles. Lastly check inside cardboards and enclosed out of site areas. Does the RV show signs of pride of ownership. If it does you may well be looking at a creampuff that will give you years of RVing joy!

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