RVs: never owned one, about to buy one, need help!

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RVs: never owned one, about to buy one, need help!

Postby illy dilly » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:50 pm

So my family has decided to buy an RV for taking to BM. Its not the fanciest pants one around but its pretty nice for what it is.
It is a 1989 Fleetwood Bounder 34' with 61,000 miles. We're getting her for just under 7 grand. Getting it from some old folks in their 80's, really nice people they just don't use it any more and have decided that the money they can get for it would be better used on a couple pairs of hearing aids.

"Has new (not rebuilt) 454 engine with less than 5,000 miles, 6 new tires installed at the same time as engine! Auto trans,, chrome wheel simulators with valve extenders,,"
There is a ton more info on it but that just the important stuff. Our mechanic went and took a look at it and said that mechanically it looks great. One tire looks like it either might need some work or need to be replaced but other than that the whole thing is in good shape.
I have found a lot of threads regarding renting RV's (especially in Reno) but not a lot about just having a RV.
Whats some good general and technical knowledge regarding owning, operating, and maintaining a RV? I've been reading lots especially regarding winterizing. But whats some just 'good to know' that people seen, heard, or wish they hadn't learned the hard way?
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Postby Token » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:20 pm

First go the the NADA guide website and see what it is worth.

http://www.nadaguides.com/default.aspx? ... =1989&ml=B

I selected the 89 Fleetwod Bounder for you. Click on the model and then select all the options and see what the resale value is.

$7K sounds a bit much but without specifics I can't tell
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Postby ygmir » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:31 pm

IBDave is an expert.........
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Postby crstophr » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:44 pm

Things to think about:

454 engine in a 34' is going to get something like 6-8MPG. Factor in travel fuel costs first and see if you can live with the numbers. I couldn't when I was consider something similar and went with a diesel truck pulling a trailer. (14-15MPG)

I'm surprised it needed an engine at 61k miles. The tranny is just as important and being sure it's also in good shape could save you a fortune. It's difficult for a typical mechanic to make a good assessment of the transmission condition.

Does everything work? AC, appliances, fridge, furnace, water pump, etc? Don't find out for the first time on the playa. No internal water leaks at faucets, no gray, black, fresh water tank leaks. An "off grid" shakedown camp trip before burning man is highly recommended.

Does the roof or any of the windows leak in the rain? I hate having this problem.

Fresh and gray water are going to be big concerns. Your fresh tank won't hold enough for a family with showers and dishes. If you bring more fresh water you'll need somewhere for it to go, and the gray water tank won't hold enough.....

Does it have an on board generator? If not you need a way to charge up your batteries. If so you'll need to carry extra fuel if you intend to run the AC during the hot parts of the day.

Have fun!

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Postby oneeyeddick » Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:56 pm

My mom has this exact year and model also, she got hers for 1/2 that price, but you have a 'new' engine and tires....

Make sure the genny runs well, for many hours.
this model of Onan is not that quiet, so bringing a Honda genny and a window air conditioner might be a better option if you plan on using the AC.
Don't park on a hill with the nose downhill or the gas tank forms a "syphon' and gas will fill up the engines carb and drips onto the ground
until you figure out how to move it(it won't start again till you do).

you will get 5-6 MPG at best.

good luck.
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Postby Lassen Forge » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:01 pm

oneeyeddick wrote:... so bringing a Honda genny and a window air conditioner might be a better option if you plan on using the AC...


What does a window AC draw? I was gonna use the onan/coleman for the MMH but the onan blew the can, and the coleman AC is Whee-see... already looking at an EU2k, and wonder if it will run a small window unit?

(BTW - they may not call you one dick... but there could be a reason for that... heh heh heh...)

bb
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Postby oneeyeddick » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:13 pm

the one we have now is 550watts(GE model from Kmart-$90), it is about as small as they come, we had a 800watt jobbie, but it was "too much" and older, we just wanted something that wouldn't freeze us during nappy time.

The beast in the roof is 2200 watts, and will make the inside cold enough in minutes to stop a corpse from decomposing.

not needed, at least not yet...
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Postby illy dilly » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:13 pm

Token, thanks for the link! I've only ever used the Kelly Blue Book site, the NADA one seems more accurate and legit. I can't answer, but a couple, of those with out the manuals and seeing it. The other similar Bounders I've seen on line are going for between 10-15grand.

Ygmir, Thanks I'll get ahold of him.

crstophr, It does have an on board Onan(?) generator. It has two roof top AC units, from what the guy was telling us it draws to hard on the generator to run both at the same time though. Its has a propane refrigerator, and I'm not sure if it works or not.
Currently the water and sewage systems are winterized, so we couldn't tell if all that was working. I guess there pumped full of antifreeze or something? Is this typical?
I do plan on bringing extra fresh water for washing dishes and cleaning up a bit, but I plan to take that out the same way as if I was just tenting it (evap what I can, what doesn't goes in old cat litter jubs).
Why don't ya stick your head in that hole and find out? ~piehole
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Postby oneeyeddick » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:19 pm

something is wrong with your onan then, or with the AC units, my mom's run fine on the Onan powerplant,but she does what I do for AC, because of how noisy it is, how much gas it uses and they vibrate the RV a little bit.

and yeah, make sure the fridge works, it should be cold in about 8 hrs or less, the freezer starts icing in about 2-3.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:20 pm

Is anyone else reading thsi and thinking about spilling seed on the ground?
Simon's real sig line?

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Postby oneeyeddick » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:22 pm

is that a pickle joke ?
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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:33 pm

All jokes are pickle jokes.
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Postby oneeyeddick » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:34 pm

no wonder jokes are so funny
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Postby illy dilly » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:16 pm

OYD, you're just dicking around right? From the way you make it sound its a pretty terrible deal. Whats the point of having an RV if you have to get a separate generator to run a separate AC unit?
Why don't ya stick your head in that hole and find out? ~piehole
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Postby oneeyeddick » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:30 pm

nope, not "dicking" you on this one.
I have a Onan on mine too, but size matters and that 4300 watt monster will drain my tank quickly(plus my gas guage doesn't work).

Many people do the same thing, it is a lot cheaper gaswise to run a honda on the side than to run the onan, and (if you care), your neighbors will thank you for it too.
the onan in that model RV is not as "quiet" as you might think, regardless of the cute little muffler it has.
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Postby oneeyeddick » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:32 pm

And BTW, my mom got hers from a relative, thus the "1/2 price" comment.
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Postby illy dilly » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:14 am

oneeyeddick wrote:And BTW, my mom got hers from a relative, thus the "1/2 price" comment.

Ok, that makes me feel a little better about it.
So over all, the Bounder compared to other RV's, from the same age range, how does it compare? Has your family been happy with it over all?

Can you switch out the generators on an RV? Would that be something worth considering or just a bad idea?

You said that the 4300 watt Onan will drain the tank? Does it run off the same tank as the engine? Do we run a risk of using all our driving gas running the AC, and getting stuck on the Playa?
I'm sure some of these questions seem like they should be obvious knowledge, but I've never owned or operated an RV, so please forgive me.
Thank you everybody for all the help!
Why don't ya stick your head in that hole and find out? ~piehole
Plan for the worst, expect the best. Make the most out of it under any conditions. If you cannot do that you will never enjoy yourself. ~CrispyDave
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Postby Token » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:45 am

You have to look at the vehicle and inspect every single item. All these units have custom factory and dealer installed items. The manual is useless for this. Get a clipboard and get busy.

The twin A/C units can be anywhere from 7000 BTU to 15000BTU. Often one is larger.

The generator can be 2800W to 10000W. Usually in the 5K to 6.5K range. Check it out.

The fridge can be 2 way, 3 way , 5 Cuft to 12 Cuft.

Does it have leveling jacks, are they manual or remote, hydraulic or automatic.

Etc.

I plugged in the numbers at NADA for a fully loaded delucx cabinet model with 61000 miles and every option but the washer dryer dishwasher units.

Low $3500 high $6600.

I would offer $5000 and use the extra $2K to get two Honda EU2000i generators.

You are overpaying at $7K. There is literally no market for 7 mpg RVs out there anymore. It is a buyers market 110%. The NADA guide states that on their front page. No or insufficient data for 2007 - 2010 due to low resale market.

Please, don't take this as a personal criticism of any kind. I know this is hard and I'm trying to help you get the right deal where both sides are happy. $5K is the sweet spot since there us issues with the built in generator running the AC.
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Postby Dustdevil » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:52 am

Those who think they can and those who think they can't are both right.
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Postby oneeyeddick » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:18 am

With the "new" engine and tires, it might be OK to pay a little more, as long as everything works on the RV.

There is a lot of wisdom behind what Token just said about the honda eu2000 gennies, you will use 1/4 the amount of gas as the onan, and yes the onan steals gas directly from your main tank, and it prolly has a cutoff that won't allow it to run after it gets down to about the 1/3 mark on the gas tanks.

Once again, using a single Honda and a window AC might be the more effecient way to go, it's up to you.

good luck
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Postby gyre » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:08 pm

What they said.
Do a lot of research.
I've seen diesel pushers go for $3500 before the economic collapse.

I have my eye on an older interstate bus, $1000 or scrap value, negotiable.
All aluminum and diesel.

If options aren't exactly what you want, they add no value at all.

A rebuilt engine lowers market value, not raises it.
You may find it more desirable, but look carefully.

I have a car with a factory rebuilt engine and they did everything wrong you could do, without causing mechanical damage.
All kinds of fittings missing, which turn out to be essential for something.

Only hotrods go up in value with engine work, and the buyers get pickier.

Get the trailer life technical books first.
Hire an expert to negotiate for you and advise you.
Even an enthusiast.

Go for a steel or aluminum frame vehicle always, or pay giveaway prices only.

RVs range from free to millions of dollars.
The high end are based on upgraded interstate bus chassis from europe, with suspensions as sophisticated as any sports or luxury vehicle.

Also note that any vehicle can be improved dramatically with antisway bar upgrades and minor suspension tweaks.
IPD is one source.
Can reduce stress and make driving a pleasure or save your life, depending.

Worth noting that some generator enclosures are extremely sophisticated and add considerably to the noise reduction and access.

Also, met an ac tech.
He says new high end window units, and maybe rooftop units?, are using many tricks to improve efficiency a great deal.
Can go into more detail, but much lower power drain, shorter life.
I am going to run the numbers to see if it's worth getting a new unit over the ones I have, just for electric savings.
Much faster payoff with off grid use.
Likely not the case with $100 throwaways from walmart.
The reduction from a top end older unit may be almost half power use.
My theory is that used with low loads and high ventilation use, the older ones are better than the ratings, but we'll see.
For an rv, I think the newer ones will be better.

Also depends on the amount of use you plan, and type.

Consider upgrading lighting, and consider solar if use will be enough to justify it.


http://www.trailerlife.com/
http://www.trailerlifedirectory.com/tra ... tegoryid=1
http://www.motorhomemagazine.com/
http://www.busconversions.com/
http://www.trailerlifedirectory.com/RvR ... ?groupID=8
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Postby illy dilly » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:14 pm

Thanks everybody for all the input. After talking all this over with my sister (who is throwing down almost all the cash) we've decided we're gonna go test drive the Bounder one more time and *find* reasons that the seller needs to lower the price- then purchase it.
Considering there's two professional mechanics in the family we figure any mechanical problems could be fixed, besides the trany. We're gonna take the risk on the water/sewage system since we can't test it right now while its winterized (its July so I'm not sure why the guy didn't just have it un-winterized). The old folks we're buying it from are extremely genuine and honest so I'm not at all worried that they're trying to scam us. And I've seen these same Fleetwood Bounders selling for between $7-15 G's in different places around the country.
My sister is willing to deal with any other problems that may arise, and if they're too huge, we'll just sell it.
As for the generator/AC issue, seems like that would be a problem on any of the older RVs. We'll have to test the generator and AC efficiency if we're only using the AC a few times a day for 20-30min at a time.
Gonna test run it up to McConaughy for a weekend, were we can push it pretty hard, but not ever be far from civilization.
Why don't ya stick your head in that hole and find out? ~piehole
Plan for the worst, expect the best. Make the most out of it under any conditions. If you cannot do that you will never enjoy yourself. ~CrispyDave
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