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Top 10 things to look for when buying a used RV

1. Water damage. Any intrusion of water from outside OR inside sources. This is usually from seals that leak or roofs that leak. These problems can usually be spotted by stains on the ceiling, in the corners (be sure to inspect inside cabinets along the side and in the corners). Also check the floors along the sides and in the corners as well. Water could travel down an outside stud and stop at the floor and travel a few inches and caused dry rot under a cabinet. Also any cracked, broken or leaking pipes, left to spread water will eventually create problems. This is usually caused from improper or not winterizing the coach. So be sure to look under every cabinet, bed and inside drawers.
2. Moisture problems. Not only apparent water damage, but the subtle moisture that is caused from accumulations inside the coach. Look inside cabinets and behind drawers. Under beds and mattresses. In and around the bathroom. Often times the walls will have wrinkled due to excessive moisture. Proper venting usually keeps moisture at a minimum and causes no long term problems. When left unchecked the moisture causes molds to buildup and infiltrate very hard to reach places. Bathrooms, showers, sinks and cooking produce the most moisture and careful inspections around these areas is prudent. Once again, if the coach has been properly ventilated during use this shouldn’t be a problem.
3. Axles. When a travel trailer or 5th wheel is new the axles are lined up properly at a true 90 degree on the coach. However they are bolted to the springs or suspension and it only takes a degree or two of deviation to start causing major wear problems. If the axles are not true they will cause the coach to “dog walk”. The coach will still follow the tow vehicle, but the tires will want to go a different direction. This will cause premature wear down of the tires and could cause flats or blowouts.
4. Roof and roof seals. Most of today’s RV’s have a rubber roof and all seams, edges and protrusions are covered with a sealant. As long as these have been properly maintained there should be no problem. Periodically the sealant should be reapplied and the roof cleaned and inspected. Often time trailers are pulled in to camp sites where tree branches scratch the roof area or winds cause branches to blow down and penetrate the roof membrane. If the problem has been caught and repaired (sometimes you might see a patch) then there should not be a problem. But even a very small pinhole can create a leak that is unnoticeable. If a drip only occurs 10 times a minute, imagine how many drips in a 24 hr period of rain or snow. Careful inspection of the roof is critical.
5. Propane leaks. Propane sinks. It is heavier than air. That is why the LP gas detector is close to the floor inside your coach. Most of the time a leak will not be detected because it is outside your coach. The propane lines will be exposed under the coach for safety and this is where the majority of leaks come from. There are typically 5 to 8 joints from the propane tank to where it enters the coach. If one of these leak, only a little, it will bleed off propane and use it more rapidly as well as lose pressure in the lines causing appliances to not function properly. Have a qualified tech pressure test the lines to make sure the have no leaks.
6. RV Frame. Most coaches are built on an I-Beam frame. Some are extruded (one piece) others are welded (three piece) I-beams. If the coach you are considering has a welded I-beam, check to see if the beams are cracked and twisting or warping. If so this causes stress on the structure and can lead to expensive repairs.
7. A Frame. This is only on travel trailers. This is the front part of the trailer where the hitch is. It goes from the hitch through or under the main frame of the trailer. On the ones that go through the front cross beam, check the welds at the entrance points as well as the welds at the end where it attaches to the side of the frame. If the A-Frame is attached underneath, check the welds to make sure there is no cracks or splits in the weld seam. Nothing will cause more problems than an A-Frame that releases from the coach. It is dangerous and could cause serious injuries on the road.
8. All appliances function properly. Some of the appliances operate on propane some on 12 volt and some on 110 volt electrical. Some on one or the other like the refrigerator or the water heater. Plugged in to shore power the fridge might operate just fine, but while on propane it may not function at all. This takes time to determine if the fridge is working on both systems. It is worth your while to assure is function properly as new fridges cost upwards of $1,500 to $2,000 or more to replace. So turn on and operate all functions of the coach in all methods they operate on to make sure they are in proper working order. Just because you are told they worked last time it was used doesn’t mean they are fully operational now.
9. Proper hitch height. While this may not seem like a big deal. It is. There should not be more than a 1 or 2” height difference at the front and back of the trailer when hitched to the tow vehicle. Or better yet, when hitched up the tow vehicle and trailer should be level from the front of the tow vehicle to the back of the trailer. Improper hitch height causes too much load on a trailer axle and if the trailer is nose heavy or nose light it will also cause towing issues like undue sway. Make sure also that your equalizer bars are the right weight bars for the tongue load.
10. Overall condition. Everything from tire wear to upholstery. This is an indication of how hard to easy of a life the RV had with the previous owner(s). If the carpets are worn down or there are major stains on the walls, floor or ceiling, they may indicate other issues deeper inside. Be sure to carefully inspect all aspect of the coach before investing your hard earned dollars.

While this is far from completely comprehensive, this should be a good general guideline to what to look for when buying a used travel trailer, 5th wheel or Motor Home. The old saying goes; “You get what you pay for”. Often times if it is too good to be true then…..

Please fell free to contact me if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance.

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The truth about RV shows. Fact and Fiction

Well it is that time of year again and the RV shows will be coming up.  Often times I hear from customers that they want to go to the show so they can:

  • It’s an RV show
  • See all of what is out there
  • Get a great price
  • Talk to the manufacturer rep
  • I want to see all of the available products

Fiction:

It is an RV show.

Fact:

No it is a Sale. While in a few parts of the country the show may be a manufacturer show (ie.LouisvilleKY.) The shows around the Northwest are Dealer participation.  Not only are the dealers (not the manufacturers) putting on the show, they are paying for it as well.  Seems curious that you would have to pay an admittance fee as well doesn’t it.  It costs the dealer an average of $30,000 just to participate, not to mention the cost to get the units there and back from their respective stores.  While the 2011Seattleshow drew over 20,000 people none of the dealers sold much at the show.  And what they did sell was not even close to their expectations. Someone is going to have to cover the cost it took to do the show and guess what?  That cost will be covered by you in the price you pay for your purchase.

Fiction:

I get to talk to a knowledgeable Manufacturer Rep or knowledgeable sales person.

Fact:

Probably not.  You are among the masses that are expecting to get the attention of someone who might know what they are talking about.  They are going to be busy just trying to answer a few brief questions or they will spend all the time necessary to close a real buyer.  Their interest is not to spend copious amounts of time with someone who has no intentions of buying something right then and there.

Fiction:

I will see all of the available products.

Fact:

Not even close.  The dealers are only going to bring the “bling”.  In other words they are only going to bring down the units that are the most popular and have the greatest chance of selling.  It is possible, for example, for a dealer to have 9 different bunk house models, 6 rear kitchen model, 11 rear lounge models and so on.  If all they have space for is 18 total units do you think there is even a slight chance that you will see a fraction of what is truly available?

Fiction:

I’m going to get a great deal

Fact:

Really?  If they already had to spend in excess of $30,000 and if they had the good fortune of selling 30 units (none of them did last year) that would mean it cost them $1,000.00 per unit or more.  Why do you think they would give you a better deal if it cost more to sell you an RV?

This is only a partial list of what the show is in reality.  Does Camping World participate in RV show? Yes.  Although they pick and choose and usually attend the ones that are manufacturer sponsored, you can find Camping World at many of the shows around the country.  But, the reality remains that to get the best deal and to see the widest variety of product available is to visit the dealers at their particular place of business.  There you will find the greatest selection and the best prices and not have to deal with all of the crowds.

Once upon a time there were real shows.  Ones where they brought out all of the best and really put on a show.  These days it is nothing more than bringing a few units to a big building, have a few sales people hanging around and hope to find a few sales to make the effort at least pay for itself.

In most of the areas that have RV dealers, there are usually several of them within a relatively close radius.  In those clusters you have about 80% representation of all product and floor plans available.  You also have a lot more time to spend carefully looking at and comparing one RV to the next.

So as you can see, the RV show is not really a show, it is a sale and an expensive sale at that.  You can get better deals and a whole lot more attention by just going to the dealers in your area.


A Holiday Wish

As we settle in for the holidays and count our blessings, let us take a moment to reach out.

If you know someone who is not as fortunate this season, whether it is because of a change in financial status, loss of a loved one, loss of a job or anything that might not make their holiday as bright as it could be, reach out and let them know you care and believe in them.  More often than not the circumstances are out of their control, at least for now, and this is the time to offer your help.  it doesn’t have to be financial.  Most people really want to know that you care about them and that you believe that thier future is brighter and your world is better because of them.  We only have this one life and we only have each other.

If you touch one life and make it brighter and more hopeful, isn’t yours better as well?

Also I wish to thank those who serve this country.  I try to thank every member of the military, police and fireman that I meet, regardless of the time of year.  These people serve at will.  No one made them join, they volunteered.  I believe their motive is selfless and their desire is to help protect our freedom.  Imagine this country without their bravery and sacrifice.  Shake a hand, wave, smile and let them know you care.

I wish you a Happy Holiday season and all the best for a great 2012!

-Don


Winterize Your Travel Trailer, 5th Wheel or Motor Home!

It’s that time of year!

Winterizing your RV is a simple process that once mastered should be able to be done in a short time.  No specials tools needed, just potable RV anti-freeze.  This is a special anti-freeze that is non-toxic.  Never use automotive anti-freeze in your water systems!

Just click on this link to take you to a video to help walk you though the process.

Video Link To Winterizing Your RV

If you don’t want to tackle this yourself, we do offer a winterization special to do it for you!


Through Wind and Rain and Cold…….

Don Davis

Even as the late fall and winter decend upon the Great Northwest, There are still some great opportunities to enjoy your RV. Whether you have a trailer, 5th wheel or Motor Home, there are execellent places to enjoy. One of your greatest joys is that you will not be surrounded by crowds. A lot of people put thier RV up for the winter and don’t enjoy late or early season camping.

While the weather may not always be the best it does give you chances to explore some great areas. There are many times the weather will be scattered showers and in the 50’s. That is winter in the Pacific Northwest. We all have the gear to endure the weather and nothing is better than having a crisp December or January day that is crystal clear and sunny. What a great time to explore Puget Sound or the coast!

Storms can also be a fun time at the coast as the waves can be big and watching them crash to the shore can be stunning.

Or try a weekend at Deception Pass State Park. With the tide changes the pass is in turmoil and very interesting. The beach is fun to walk and comb for driftwood or other interesting things that have washed ashore.

Take to the mountains for a winter hike or snowshoeing. Rent a snowmobile or enjoy some of the small towns dotting the west and east sides of the Cascades, without the crowds.

This is also an excellent time to tour the wine country of Washington and Oregon. Most of the Wineries operate at reduced hours but most are open and giving tours and their tasting rooms are open.

These are just a few ideas.  Feel free to comment on this and add your own!

Even with the cooler weather and shorter days, there is still plenty to do with a couple of days and enjoying your RV is a great way to do it.

By the way, contrary to what most people think, we are still busy. While not at the pace that we might operate during the rest of the year, we are open and the great thing is we have the time to spend with you. We have an excellent inventory and growing everyday to gear up for next year. We have deals that you can only get this time of year because we have to make room for what is coming in.

Stop on in and let’s talk about what you want and how you want to use your new RV. You might be surpised at the great opportunites you have to enjoy some great times Before the crowds show up!

Don


It’s Year End Clearance Time!

The weather is changing, the leaves are falling. This is the BEST time of the year to buy a new RV.

We need to make room for our incoming units!

That’s right, The boss says “Sell ‘Em” and that means deep discounts.

Spring and Summer is not the best time to get the best deal. Right now is.  Why?  Because we need to make way for the inventory that will arrive after the first of the year.  We can’t find a place to park them if we don’t sell off what we have.

So Come on in and ask for me and let me help you get a brand new Travel Trailer or 5th Wheel for a fabulous price.

With over 175 units in stock now I’m sure I can help you find your dream RV.

Give me a call today!

Don


Welcome to Don’s RV resource!

Don Davis

Welcome to my RV resource.  Here you’ll find all kinds of specials, features, as well as helpful information about RV’s in general.