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what to look for when buying a camper

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  #1  
Old 08-04-2011, 05:32 PM
Enthusiastic Camper
Camper Type: Travel Trailer
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Niagara Falls, NY
Posts: 54
Default what to look for when buying a camper

I thought I posted this before but cannot find it so here goes.

My wife and I have camped all our lives but always tent or cabin camped and we are now looking to buy a used 5th wheel camper and would like advice on how to spot problems when buying used.

we do have "limited" experience with campers and me being a truck driver I am set on a 5th wheel but will settle for a travel trailer if the price is right.
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  #2  
Old 08-05-2011, 02:14 AM
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Camper Type: 5th Wheel
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 971
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I come from both the TT and 5er worlds and I would NOT go back to a TT for nothing. Other than getting used to the load at the back window of the truck, everything else about towing a fifth wheel is better than a TT. Since you are a truck driver, I don't think you'd have any problem with it. Most TT owners I know that have gone back to TTs wish they hadn't unless they downsized A LOT. The biggest concern you can get burned on is weight ratings. Check out ALL of them not just the gross ratings. Being a trucker, I think you are more aware of this than I am.

When buying used make sure everything works. A current owner not willing to show you how everything works is the one you want to walk away from unless they tell you which is just as good. You'll have to find someway to find out how everything works especially tanks. Tanks are notorious for problems like leaks especially when full, valves not working right and such. And they are hard to get at.

To me checking out a trailer is worse than a house because it's like checking out a vehicle (without the motor or trans) and a house. You have all the components of a house, with framing and suspension of a trailer. Check the DOT code of the tires. The tires should be replaced about every 5-6 years, so if they are older expect to have to replace them (not the seller's problem, unless you can swing this cost into the deal).

I have a file that is called PDI. It is a pre-delivery Inspection typically used for new trailers but much of it can be applied to a trailer. If you'd like a copy I can email it to you and please read through it to understand what to do and what you'll need.

The hardest thing to inspect in a trailer is the A/C. If you get lucky and the current owner/dealer has access to at least 30 amp, then you can at least check each A/C one at a time. With a 50 amp connection you can check both at the same time if so equipped.

Best of luck with your search.



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Art
Murrieta, CA

2006 Ford F-250/350
2006 Montana 3500RL
Tent & Backpack with all the gear
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  #3  
Old 08-05-2011, 03:22 PM
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Camper Type: Travel Trailer
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Niagara Falls, NY
Posts: 54
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Thanks Artmart, I was mostly looking for known problems with certain makes or models. we are in no hurry to buy so I will make sure everything works before buying.
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  #4  
Old 08-05-2011, 03:22 PM
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Camper Type: Travel Trailer
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Niagara Falls, NY
Posts: 54
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ok I need to get used to this site and how things work. lol
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  #5  
Old 08-06-2011, 01:46 AM
Camping Guru
Camper Type: 5th Wheel
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 971
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Oh, that. You'll find all brands have their problems. I have a Montana and have had good luck with it but I've heard some horror stories with them. I don't think there is a brand that is truly clean. Besides most Forum members on any forum would endorse anything like this since it's so easy to get a bad one and we sure would feel bad if we mention a brand and it didn't work out.

From some of these horror stories there has been some new RV companies that are claiming to try and address them. A couple of names come to mind but I don't know their actual long term quality since pretty much all trailers use the same stuff in them. They'll change floor plans and some features, but I don't think you'll find a perfect 5th wheel. Heartland and Open Range come to mind as a couple of companies trying hard to provide a better trailer. I am sure there are others, but I think it's best to find a trailer where everything works, fits your floorplan needs and your weight ratings. Remember it's not an endorsement but something that gets you close to finding your dream RV.

Have fun looking.



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Art
Murrieta, CA

2006 Ford F-250/350
2006 Montana 3500RL
Tent & Backpack with all the gear
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  #6  
Old 08-06-2011, 06:22 PM
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Camper Type: Travel Trailer
 
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Location: Niagara Falls, NY
Posts: 54
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Thanks again for the reply
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