RV buying help

Discussion in 'Beginning RVing' started by Ambrosia, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. Ambrosia

    Ambrosia New Member

    I am completely new to RVing and have recently begun searching for a used RV to buy.
    I am planning on traveling with one other person and my cat for at least several months. It seems the best fit for our needs would either be a camper van or a class C vehicle. I like the idea of the class C because it would be more likely to offer a shower and toilet and would also be more spacious but I like campervans (specifically the older VW campers) because they seem easier to maneuver with less blindspots and more clearance to go more in the mountains instead of being confined to pavement.
    Seeing as how I've never even slept in an RV I don't know what sort of things I need to watch out for while looking at older used vehicles.
    How does one keep a class C's shower and toilet functioning and what do campsites need to have?
    When looking at older used vehicles, aside from all the general mechanics of the driving part, what sort of things do I need to watch out for on the inside?
    Is a generator necessary or just very beneficial?
    Are there certain brands to stay away from, or brands that are more reliable?
    Should one generally avoid vehicles that are 30+ years old?
    What are some of the more expensive repairs/replacements? (ex. was looking at a '69 winnebago that might need work on a furnace and hot water heater)
    With 0 experience, any advice I can get would be so appreciated, I feel like I'm going into a fistfight blindfolded.
  2. akjimny

    akjimny Senior Member

    Re: RV buying help

    Hi Ambrosia and welcome to the forum. You have posed a number of questions here, so I will try to break them down and handle them one at a time.

    A couple of months in a VW camper with one other person and a cat would drive me nuts. Not enough space, not enough amenities, and folding this and that up and down over and over would get tiring. A smaller Class C should, depending on your driving ability, should be able to get in and out of anywhere a VW camper could go and will give you much more needed space. I have 31" Class C with a slideout and it can get crowded with just me and the Boss Lady, at times.
    I have a shower in my MH and it makes a dandy spot to store my hip boots, fishing rod and gear, ice chest, etc. We even have a clothes rod because we use it as an extra closet. I imagine if I went dry camping (out in the boonies with no hookups) I might consider using the shower after a week or so but 90% of our camping is in campgrounds with full hookups; water, electricity, sewer, and sometimes wi-fi and cable TV. These type campgrounds will also have restrooms with showers, so using the MH shower is not an issue. To keep the toilet and shower in the MH functioning all you need is a potable water hose and a sewer drain hose with the proper connections. Plus some toilet deodorizer.
    When checking out an older RV you need to consider two things - the chassis (cab, engine, transmission, running gear) and the coach (the part you live in). The chassis checks are all automotive stuff and relatively routine. RV tires are only good for 5-7 years due to dry rot, even if they still have good tread left. When checking the coach, sight down the outside walls looking for any bulges that might indicate delamination. Check all the exterior joints for caulk and leaks. Check the inside walls, ceiling and floor for any delamination, wet or spongy feeling spots. Check the appliances to make sure they all work. Check the batteries to make sure they will hold a charge. I won't try to include everything here, but it's just like buying a house. Check everything.
    A generator is pretty much necessary if you plan on dry camping with no hook-ups for any length of time. If you are going to use campgrounds with hook-ups, maybe not so much.
    Some of the older, wiser folks in the forum can better answer your questions about brands to avoid. As with most anything, the older it is, the more things are likely to be wrong/go wrong. Repairs and replacement parts are going to be expensive, because RV's are thought of as toys rather than necessities. But if you shop around you can find some discounted parts.
    Again, welcome to the forum. Let us know how things work out and remember, keep your eyes open and don't lead with your chin. :laugh: :laugh: ;)
  3. Ambrosia

    Ambrosia New Member

    Re: RV buying help

    Thanks so much for the advice. With what you've said plus what I read in some of the other posts, I think I have a better idea of what I'm looking at. I think I can start looking with more confidence now. :)
  4. LEN

    LEN Senior Member

    Re: RV buying help

    Without knowing what your budget is it's hard to give a recommendation. But here go with an example. Saw a lazydaz 30 ft about 12-14 years old been garaged all it's life low miles in great shape. Guy bought it for $12000 then had it gone through, motor, new wires, pugs, hoses and belts. New batteries and had the brakes done(even with the low miles. Then had the furnace and hotwater tank serviced and put a new set of tires on. Did all this shopping around for $3000. So for $15000 he had a great two person rig with most of the big rig features. Plus enough power to tow a small toad.


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