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Author Topic: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?  (Read 1143 times)

Offline Rob

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Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« on: October 22, 2019, 07:42:04 AM »
So I am thinking that next year I want to pick up a used, low cost trailer for camping/hunting. 

Have never had one before so I am starting my research now.  Here are some parameters
-Thinking 16-20 feet in length (can't park anything bigger and 20 feet might be a stretch!)
-Do not want a 5th wheel type of set-up
-Really don't care what it looks like, but water tight with working sewage system  (really don't want to mess with that).
-Towing weight is not a concern
-Don't expect to bring it into super remote areas/super rough roads, but general FS road travel would be expected.
-Cheap is good, I don't mind remodeling the inside, but I am not looking for a money pit, nor making structural changes to the chassis.
-Don't really need/want a toy hauler


My questions for the esteemed hunt-wa collective:
-What kinds of pitfalls should be considered?
-Pop-outs, good or bad?  I like the idea of extra room but it seems like a common failure point to me. Also adds cost...
-Any specifications to look for regarding the chassis (weight rating, # of axels, type of tires)?
_______________________________________
Sit tall in the saddle, hold you head up high.
Keep your eyes fixed on where the trail meets the sky.
Live like you ainít afraid to die.
Just sit back and enjoy your ride
  - Chris Ledoux

Offline Sandberm

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Re: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2019, 08:31:11 AM »
I love my 1995 20 foot Nash. its about 3800lbs empty. Bought it in 2010 for $3000 from my inlaws. But...the fridge didnt work ...the wife insisted everything works...so we dropped $1500 and had a new fridge installed.

-Its the perfect size for her and I and the dog. I would not want any bigger as it would be (an even bigger) pain in the butt on tight roads.
-I would not want to pay much more then $5000 for something that I only use at most 4 times per year.
-Its nice having something that is not anywhere near new as i dont stress rubbing brush/tracking mud in, on the way into camping.
-No way in heck would I have a slide out. Neighbors BRAND NEW RV got stuck out while camping, screw that headache.


But...I am finding with owning an older travel trailer that if i want to use it i better start looking at it a couple weeks in advance to fix stuff that I find broken. Like on my last trip a couple weeks back I found a leak in a water line under the vanity sink that I had to get creative to fix (when are the other 50 water connections that look just like it going to start leaking? >:(). The furnace didnt work and had to be pulled out of the wall to get the plugged up nozzle unplugged and of course I damaged the wood framing around it while I was sliding it out.  Clogged water nozzles on faucets is getting to be a common  problem from hard water sediment. Once, the day before I went camping the cable that operates the toilet rusted off and i had to scramble to fix that. Anything plastic is getting brittle. I cant wait for the day I crash through the plastic tub while showering. The door sags something fierce and i had to get creative to remedy it so I can lock the deadbolt on it.

When shopping for a used tt, do the obvious. Grab the wheels and shake to check for loose wheel bearings. Open everything up and look for places where water has leaked in( soft, rotten or moldy wood.) Check the roof for damage. Id walk away from any tt that had loose wheel bearings or soft floors due to water leaks. I've read what a pain in the rear it is to fix rotten floors the right way.

- Does the awning unfurl easily? Is it rotten?
-Check the area where the hot water tank is. Does it look like it is leaking?

I could go on and on but thats a start.  :tup:

Offline 300rum

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Re: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2019, 09:03:07 AM »
Couple of things come to mind....

Ask if it has been lived in, if it has, walk away.

If the roof is soft, walk away. 

If the fridge doesn't work, just plan on replacing it. 

Try to buy something on the dry side of the state, i would never buy one on the west side.

Always go for a tandem axle.

Buy it this time of year and latter, you should be able to get your money out of it when you sell it if you buy it right. 
 




Offline Woodchuck

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Offline Widgeondeke

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Re: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2019, 09:12:50 AM »
look at ones with a solid roof, such as Scamp or older teardrop style.

many other good suggestions above.
Make sure the fridge runs on propane because most times thats how its used.

Offline Sandberm

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Re: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2019, 09:19:54 AM »
look at ones with a solid roof, such as Scamp or older teardrop style.

many other good suggestions above.
Make sure the fridge runs on propane because most times thats how its used.


My neighbor who had the stuck slide out on his rv found out after he bought it that the fridge only runs off shore power or the generator. He is not happy with his purchase. He spent almost $100,000 on this rv. Baffles my mind.  :o Hes in his 80's and inherited a large sum of money and figured he would splurge on brand new vs used.

Offline Mark Brenckle

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Re: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2019, 09:26:14 AM »
Make sure that the bed is large enough and that you don't have to crawl over the other person to get in or out (unless you're an acrobat).

Offline baker5150

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Re: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2019, 10:09:58 AM »
I love my 1995 20 foot Nash. its about 3800lbs empty. Bought it in 2010 for $3000 from my inlaws. But...the fridge didnt work ...the wife insisted everything works...so we dropped $1500 and had a new fridge installed.

-Its the perfect size for her and I and the dog. I would not want any bigger as it would be (an even bigger) pain in the butt on tight roads.
-I would not want to pay much more then $5000 for something that I only use at most 4 times per year.
-Its nice having something that is not anywhere near new as i dont stress rubbing brush/tracking mud in, on the way into camping.
-No way in heck would I have a slide out. Neighbors BRAND NEW RV got stuck out while camping, screw that headache.


But...I am finding with owning an older travel trailer that if i want to use it i better start looking at it a couple weeks in advance to fix stuff that I find broken. Like on my last trip a couple weeks back I found a leak in a water line under the vanity sink that I had to get creative to fix (when are the other 50 water connections that look just like it going to start leaking? >:(). The furnace didnt work and had to be pulled out of the wall to get the plugged up nozzle unplugged and of course I damaged the wood framing around it while I was sliding it out.  Clogged water nozzles on faucets is getting to be a common  problem from hard water sediment. Once, the day before I went camping the cable that operates the toilet rusted off and i had to scramble to fix that. Anything plastic is getting brittle. I cant wait for the day I crash through the plastic tub while showering. The door sags something fierce and i had to get creative to remedy it so I can lock the deadbolt on it.

When shopping for a used tt, do the obvious. Grab the wheels and shake to check for loose wheel bearings. Open everything up and look for places where water has leaked in( soft, rotten or moldy wood.) Check the roof for damage. Id walk away from any tt that had loose wheel bearings or soft floors due to water leaks. I've read what a pain in the rear it is to fix rotten floors the right way.

- Does the awning unfurl easily? Is it rotten?
-Check the area where the hot water tank is. Does it look like it is leaking?

I could go on and on but thats a start.  :tup:

Supporting the under side of those older tubs and showers is a must.
They are thin and get brittle very easily.

My buddy and I had an older trailer we used exclusively for hunting years ago, we filled the under side of the tub with spray foam for support.  Worked great, and was easier than trying to cut wood into angles and small pieces that would fit in that small space.  We made a little cardboard wrap for the plumbing so it wasn't buried in foam and accessible if it ever needed to be replaced.  Solid as a rock once that stuff hardened up.

Offline Sandberm

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Re: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2019, 11:52:47 AM »
Solid idea Baker, thanks for the tip!  :tup:

Offline Rob

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Re: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2019, 12:11:30 PM »
Really good tips everyone, thanks and keep them coming!

How does one test the roof?  Crawl out on it to see if it feels spongy?

Pianoman's popup looks nice, but I am looking for a hardwalled trailer. (GLWS, looks great!)


_______________________________________
Sit tall in the saddle, hold you head up high.
Keep your eyes fixed on where the trail meets the sky.
Live like you ainít afraid to die.
Just sit back and enjoy your ride
  - Chris Ledoux

Offline kellama2001

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Re: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2019, 04:58:38 PM »
I'd try to find a "4 seasons" model. Insulated undercarriage and the heat ducts run along the plumbing.  Have had our trailer on hunting trips with highs during the day only hitting single digit temperatures. 
Of what avail are 40 freedoms without a blank spot on the map?
-Aldo Leopold

Offline Happy Gilmore

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Re: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2019, 10:07:03 PM »
If you want a used trailer be prepared because stuff always goes wrong with RVs. They all use the same junk appliances and few brands are any better than others unless you start dropping some coins for all aluminum construction, heated water lines and tanks etc.

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt 1899

Offline jeffro

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Re: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2019, 11:43:48 PM »
My 1969 Cadillac 18í keeps us warm and dry.
No internal appliances so to speak, ice box and sink with a hand pump, no tank.
Home Depot 120v mini fridge, heater, and Coleman stove, lanterns.
Porta-potty and solar/ exterior shower are SOBs
Does the job, sleeps 5, as long as everyone is cordial
Pair it with a decent tent .......
All for $1k with new tires and bearings
But Iím a cheapskate
One shot. One kill!

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2019, 05:25:39 AM »
Just drive up the logging roads or under the powerlines there are free ones out there.

Offline lee

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Re: Tips and tricks for buying a RV trailer?
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2019, 06:39:53 AM »
Just drive up the logging roads or under the powerlines there are free ones out there.

..... or drive to downtown Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia..... you find hundreds of them ;-)

 


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