RV Inspections

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Jun 7, 2005
I'm looking to purchase a used 27' 1985 Southwind (first time purchase). I want to get a full inspection of the entire RV including drive-train. Camping World can perform a 45 point inspection of the house part of the rig for $100. Unfortunately they don't have an opening until the end of the month. I've called all over the place and can't find anyone who will do the whole thing. How does one go about finding someone who does this? Why are RV inspectors so hard to find?

I live in Hayward, CA which is in the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm on a limited budget and want to make sure this thing will last me through a two week road trip I have planned with my 8 year old daughter.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. I've been reading up as fast as I can. Are Southwind's good rigs? What should I be most careful of? What is the average MPG for a rig like this? Any good links to tips and tech to improve MPG?

Thanks for any help,

The Southwind was made by Fleetwood, the same company who made our prior 1985 Pace Arrow. You can expect around 6 mpg, maybe a little more.

Are you able to do any part of the inspection yourself? Click on the Library button in the toolbar above, then click Checklists and select Buying a used motorhome. One quick check I'd make before doing anything else is to climb on the roof and look for signs of bubbles, softness or delamination. That vintage of Fleetwood motorhomes had a poorly designed roof with seams that allowed water to accumulate on the roof and allowed catastrophic leaks which may or may not be visible from the inside. If you see or feel bubbles, softness or delamination of the roof, pass on the motorhome.

Have you tried any of the small RV repair shops in the Bay area to see if they're willing and able to do the inspections for you? I ran a Google search on "rv repair hayward ca" and turned up a number of places. You might need to make some phone calls before finding one who will do the inspection for you.
I once heard a cruise ship described as a bow and a stern with a hotel sandwiched in between.  A Motor Home is kind of like that, i'ts a Truck with a House on top (Well, mostly on top, there is the "Basement" after all)

If you can get camping world to do the "house" part, get a Truck Specialist to do the truck part, Most major cities will have Frightliner dealers and all of them (even towns) will have a truck mechenic that can do the drive train.

I have a few friends who can do the truck part too,,,, though they are better at school busses (Their job being inspecting those)

Here in Micigan they work for the State Police... I don't know who does bus inspecitons in other states.
I would be more concerned about breakdowns than the possibility of a cold shower some morning.

Probably the tires are the biggest concern on an older rig. RV tires die of old age long before they use all the tread. A perfectly sound looking tire may fail without warning. Do not drive with any tire over 6 years old. The age can be determined form the DOT date code on the tire sidewall. Our forum library has a Glossary and you should find information on the DOT tire date codes there. Click on the Library button in the toolbar above, then click Newcomers need to know and look for the Glossary of terms.

Have all the engine belts and hoses replaced unless there is a receipt showing that new ones were installed within the last 3-4 years. You don't want to get stranded on the side of the road somewhere with your daughter.

Look for maintenance records (e.g. oil change receipts) with the coach. Good maintenace goes along way towards guarunteeing a reliable rig, no matter how old it is.

I also suggest purchasing a Roadside Assistance policy for about $80-90/year. We like CoachNet, but Good Sam's package is also good.  Then if you have a breakdown, just call the roadside Assist 800 number and they will send help.

I am curious - what does Cw "inspect" in their 45 point program? 
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