Help Me Decide For Used Trailer

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richrv

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Aug 14, 2005
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Hi, My names Richard. Nice to see a? big rv forum. Hope everyone is doing fine. I'm interested in buying my first Rv. A fellow down the road has a 1997 wilderness 23ls for $6000. Looks good.? Inside looks new.Outside is dirty and a little weathered. Looks like part of the top vent edge is broken and a few of the slots are broken out in the ac cover. However everything works. Awning was wind damage and he could not roll it back in , so he cut the awning off.I would get it now except the rear bedroom has three bunk beds. The back wall has one and one above that folds down. In between these is another that borders the left back wall and is three ft above the floor. It has cabinet doors underneath it. If I could remove this cabinet and the table top bunk it has built to it that extends to the rear corner, I could easily create a foldable extension to bottom rear bunk to make it in to a full. I noticed the cabinet is screwed in with phillips head screws. Can't see how the table/bunk is fastened to the walls, if they are at all. I noticed the forward part of this bunk isn't fastened at all, so maybe all you have to do is remove all the phiilips screws inside the cabinets (8-16 of them). I noticed there is no plumbing going through this cabinet, however there is a cover over the wiring harness at the bottom edge that won't be a problem.

Has anyone done this, or do you know if there is any other forseeable problems I might endure? Appreciate any thoughts at all. Good to meet you all. Thanks Richard
 

Steve CDN

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Hello Richard and welcome to the RV Forum! 

When buying a used RV, it's a good idea to look behind what's in plain view to get clues about how the unit was maintained.  Check for water stains or mold inside cabinets.

The fact that someone would have cut off an awning might send some warning signals.  Another consideration in making modifications to the bed is the amount of weight you would be adding to the structure.  Do you plan to tow the trailer or park it permanently?  Do you think there is any wiggle room for the price of $6000?

Ask all your questions here before putting down any money.  Looking forward to hearing more about your plans.
 

richrv

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Aug 14, 2005
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Steve, I offered him $5000, I think he will take $5500. I will take it on the road. No mold, No leakage. If I pull out the one bunk/cabinet 50lbs add 30 back to the lower bunk to make a nice full/queen. Seems like the bunk/cabinet is held by screws down by the floor. I'm just wondering if they fastened it(the flat bunk wood assembly 3" thick) from the outside also, then paneled the outside. Basically does the travel trailer builders, after they construct a structure, do they merely screw the cabinets to the floor and walls internally? Thanks Richard
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Richard,

I would be very surprised if the cabinets were attached other than from inside. Most RV walls are vacuum bonded so the inside and outside walls with the framing are one unit.

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Richard,
I think you should run (not walk) away from that deal.  It's overpriced, in less than great condition and not even the kind of bed you want!    Don't let the excitement of your first RV purchase blind you - there are many, many fine older Rvs around and one will be just right for you.  Hunt around til you find one that has what you want, at an attractive price.

Check the NADA Used Rv Guide (www.nadaguides.com) for average retail prices before making any offer.  Don't offer more than the low retail book value and you should start your bargaining from well below that.

My guess is that a 1997 trailer probably has original tires on it. If so, they are ready to fail at any instant, depite how "good" they may look.  RV tires are good for about 5-6 years max; after that a catastrophic failure is just about guaranteed at any moment. Plan on replacing all four tires immediately, before going any where with it.

You did not mention what you will tow this trailer with.  Many people buy a towable RV and then find their tow vehicle is woefully inadequate for the weight - perhaps even unsafe.  Watch the discussions here on towing and ask plenty of questions on your own.

 

richrv

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Aug 14, 2005
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3
Hey Everyone thanks for the advice. There was a wilderness 1998 26 ft great condition, it went for $8600.  It did have a rear queen.It had panelling upgrades.  A little more than I wanted to put out. Most of these models come with ac, refrigerator,range, and mv in the base models. I checked the nada guides and it had a blue book range of$6000-$6800. I have to face California pricing ie. higher priced housing. I see that nomads, wilderness,shastas here early 90's go for $4000-$5000.

So here's a 1997 wilderness 23 ft, needs mopping and wiping down inside, but new like, the refrigerator is left open and everything smells new. He said he used it ten times. One time in mammouth the wind came up tore the awning, too much to wind back in, so he cut it off. I see awnings for $300. Few of the air ventalation slots broken out in the ac covering, right near it a vent with plastic edging of the dome torn. That looks about it. The body just needs a wash. Paint looks good no scratches, the decals are breaking downlifting blistering?. Been sitting in the calif sun for 2 yrs and hadn't been used in the last 2 years. oH yes the bunk beds. I think I can swing $5500 for this 1997 that he got in 1998. grrr and bunk beds. I have a 2001 F150 5.4L crew cab to pull it with the hitch package. Thanks for all the Help Richard
 

Steve CDN

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Richard,

If you decide to go ahead with this and want to replace the A/C shroud, you can buy a generic replacement which is less expensive than the original equipment at a place like Camping World.  Check out their sales, and various coupons and sometimes you can save additional money....and be sure to compare the prices with other RV supply stores.

However if you get a new awning and some other replacements you might decide to get their President's Club deal where you pay a few bucks to get an additional 10% off..sometimes if you combine enough of their discounts, it can pay.

Do keep us posted on your progress.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
I have to face California pricing ie. higher priced housing. I see that nomads, wilderness,shastas here early 90's go for $4000-$5000.

A $2000 premium for CA sounds pretty steep to me. How about buying a trailer in Nevada, Oregon, or Arizona? 

Have other Californians encountered this price premium on RVs?  When we were shopping for a new motorhome a couple years ago, one of the best quotes we got was from a California dealer.  RV taxes are high, but retail prices seemed to be competitive, at least at large dealers.
 

Beginner

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Dec 19, 2005
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Norfolk Virginia
richrv
My wife sedided that she wanted to get back into rving.  Left it up to me what to show her for approval.  Read between those lines.  Anyway after seeing the depreciation rate of the various rvs and general durability of what was out there, I started askinging questions of the various brand's salesmen.  I was told, on a one to one situation that what is avaliable has a life time of about 12 years.  The rubber roofs last about 10 if covered when not in use.  My previous trailers were Playmore, 22 ft, then a Terry, 26 foot and felt like I was dragging stumps when going down the road.  After seeing a 1953 Airstream that has sat unused for 10 years and has never been kept inside, I went looking for used ones.  There are reasonable one available.  They tow like no other trailer I have ever towed (good thing) except maybe an unloaded flatbed carhauler.  The 1984 31 foot Excella I bought was acceptable to my wife(almost had a heart attack) and we both enjoy it.  The two previous trailers gave 7 to 9 MPG.  The Airstream gives me 12MPG.  I tow it with a 1990 GMC Rally STX one ton, 350 CI engine with the overdrive locked out when towing.  No regrets.
 
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