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EeyoreFan19
10-23-2012, 10:13 AM
Hi everyone. I am in serious need of advice, and I couldn’t think of a better place to get it. We’ve stayed in the cabins at the Fort three times now, and we always take some time to just explore the resort and check out all of the beautiful motor homes and trailers and dream. Well, we have finally decided on purchasing an RV! :cool1: We need to buy used in order to stay within our budget. We have found a 1997 Coachman Catalina 30’ motor home with 11,900 miles that we are going to look at this weekend. The pictures we have seen look very nice. It has bunk beds and a dinette in the rear instead of a queen bed, which I kind of prefer, but we want something that will sleep 6 comfortably. My problem is, neither DH nor I know anything about rv’s. I would really appreciate any advice I can get as to what to look for, questions to ask, etc. This is a whole new world for us, and I could really use all of the help I can get. We’ve pretty much decided on a motor home, but now I’m starting to wonder if maybe a trailer would be better. We decided to go with a motor home because we figure it would be easier – all in one, kids can have some room to move around, easier to drive than towing a trailer, easier to back up, etc. However, now I am wondering if this is a good decision, or if maybe a trailer would be better. The more I think about it, the more confused and stressed I am getting. I don’t want to jump into this blindly, and then end up regretting it later. What do you think? Any comments and advice would be very much appreciated.

becky1960
10-23-2012, 11:09 AM
I would go with a Motorhome if possible, we have a 5th wheel, but have used a motorhome in the past, its just niceer to get up and walk around. The cost of a motorhome to keep might cost a little more..

retired and happy
10-23-2012, 01:25 PM
Do you have a truck capable of towing a trailer of similar size?

I would get any selected RV checked our for leaks, operation of everything inside and out, engine/transmission if applicable.

I would select a floor plan you like, or you will want to trade soon, costing you more money.

That's a good start. (We've always been a MH family.)

EeyoreFan19
10-23-2012, 02:37 PM
Do you have a truck capable of towing a trailer of similar size?

I would get any selected RV checked our for leaks, operation of everything inside and out, engine/transmission if applicable.

I would select a floor plan you like, or you will want to trade soon, costing you more money.

That's a good start. (We've always been a MH family.)


We do have a Ram 1500 Bighorn that is set up for towing, so I don't think that would be an issue. I do keep thinking that a motor home the way for us to go, though.

How do you get it checked for leaks? The owner said it has no leaks, but that some of the rubber around the windows is shrinking and will need replaced - but they don't leak. In the one picture, you can actually see the rubber around the front window on the upper bunk is smaller than the window.

2goofycampers
10-23-2012, 08:34 PM
Usually you can tell a leak by sagging/bubbling/staining. Also look for places that might have been patched/painted. Look from ceiling to floor, a leak can be anywhere even coming from below. If you think all looks good and rides good, I'd then have a mechanic and or RV person take a look.

EeyoreFan19
10-24-2012, 11:06 AM
Thank you for the info. We'll definately be checking it out very well, as the unit we are looking at is 15 years old. I never thought to look for leaks down low. I'm really nervous about it now. Now I'm thinking maybe we should wait until we can afford something newer.

mphelps
10-24-2012, 12:56 PM
You need to ask how the unit has been stored. You also should climb on a ladder and look at the condition of the roof, a/c and vents. Check to make sure the oven and stove light up and that the a/c, refrigerator and microwave work. Do a little bouncing on the floors to make sure they are solid (especially if you have little ones that are bouncy!) Slide all slides out and check for leaks around those. Look at ALL the storage!

Also, keep in mind that having a drivable RV is great for traveling long distances but horrible for going site-seeing and to the grocery store. You will probably end up towing a car to travel shorter distances and will need the proper hookups for that. You will need to figure all of this into the price. If you have a truck, a fifth wheel is easier to drive than a travel trailer but it does take up the bed of the truck, which you could normally use for storing things like bikes. We have had a pop-up camper, TT, and now have a 5th wheel and have also traveled in my parent's RV. While the RV works for my parents, it would not be feasible for my growing family so just keep the needs of your family in mind and have fun!!!

EeyoreFan19
10-24-2012, 03:14 PM
This is such great advice! Thank you so much. I would never have thought of any of these things. I'm so excited to go and look at it, but now I'm getting nervous about what we might find. Although, better to find any problems BEFORE we buy it. ::yes::

John VN
10-24-2012, 06:39 PM
1997 with 11,900 miles???????

Fewer miles driven can mean dried out seals. Generator, if the MH has one, should have 300+ hours if it was minimally exercised properly. Tires should have date code on sidewall and over 6 years they should be replaced for safety sake, especially since the mileage is soooo low. Often 12 years is getting to end of refrigerator life and this one has 15 if it has not been replaced.

mouseketeer_mom
10-24-2012, 06:43 PM
I can chime in on the less technical things to look at/ consider. We've had two class A's in the past and now have a travel trailer.

When the kids were little, there was no better way to travel than the motorhome. The ease of having a handy bathroom. Allowing them to play musical seat belts etc... made the trip so much easier than if they had been in the back of the truck. We had the motorhome until the oldest was 8 and the twins were 6. We drove a circumspect route to Disney when they were 6 and 4, the motorhome may the trip so much easier. However....

In the motorhome, their living, sleeping, playing and storage space is, ... well... right there. Every morning I would have to convert our beds back to couches and tables, stash their clothes in evey nook and cranny I could find. When hubby I would be awake longer than the kids, we were pretty much stuck with having to walk back and forth right between sleeping kiddos. And every evening before bed, I would tear all down again...

Now, we have "moved up" (because, for us with three kids... it's a step up to have the extra space) We bought a bunk house. Kids have their own room, with space for their own crap. Hubby and I still have a little privacy (and by little, I do mean little) The kids are old enough to sit still for a little longer... so, it works for us.

So, if we were looking for a "new to us" unit, DH would be looking at all the aformentioned warnings or concerns while I stood inside and tried to mentally map out how the logistics would work.

When the kiddos no longer think camping with mom and dad "rocks", we will defintely go back to a motohome...

Fort Bordeaux
10-24-2012, 07:22 PM
We have a motorhome and lovee it. We have a ds 4 and dd 5 and drivee from MA to disney at least twice a yr, makes traveling very nice. 15yr motorhome how far are yyou driving? I think of it this way I wouldn't drive a 15yr car from MA to Fl so it would be out for me. I would check everything in detail, check for leaking, mold (shower) (ceilings), check drawers (make sure not broken), did the owners have pets (if you have pets will they smell the past ones), tires, brakes, engine. awning. Good luck

my3princes
10-24-2012, 07:43 PM
In older campers there is most certainly leaks and once they start they are nearly impossible to track down. My parent's have a 2001 5th Wheel that they have meticulously maintained, changing the seals around the slide outs, replacing and repairing roof sealant yearly, etc and they have a leak that cannot be tracked down, they've brought it to the dealer and paid thousands to have this and that done. Now the cupboards in the rear are starting to separate from the wall.

Be sure to check all the cupboards and press on all interior and exterior walls.

We've had several campers and rvs and all have had issues in one way or another, even when on the newer end. If the power inverter fails nothing will work even while plugged in as they are wired for dc and inverted to ac.

Good luck with your decision. If thinking camping over a long term then buying makes sense, but if it's just for one or two trips then renting makes way more sense and no upkeep worries.

Goofy-dad
10-25-2012, 06:13 AM
We just upgraded from a small TT to a 30' TT with bunkhouse and LOVE it!

Like the previous poster mentioned it is nice for the kids to have their own area for their stuff, and no longer have to convert the table to eat!

Our main consideration in getting the TT was to not having to tow a car to go to the grocery store or do other site seeing. We like being able to park the TT and disconnect and have our truck to use as normal.

Good luck with your decision, Either way...you can't go wrong camping at the Fort!

:)

EeyoreFan19
10-25-2012, 08:49 AM
Thank you all so much for all of your help and advice. I made DH sit down and read all of this thread yesterday afternoon, and he was kind of stunned like I was. Neither one of us realized the issues that could be present in an older MH. After reading it, he went over to our neighbor’s, who have a 26’ 5th wheel. He told DH that it is a 2002, and he has a small leak in the upper front corner that he is trying to find. Now we’re really concerned about something so old. So, then we started discussing advantages and disadvantages of both a TT and a MH. Well, we have now decided that a TT would probably be the better way to go for us.

We currently have a small cabin in the Allegheny National Forest, about 90 miles NE of PIttsburgh. Well, apparently the roof has been leaking. When we first went up this past summer, we noticed water damage inside to the ceiling in a couple of spots, and it actually looks like there is a slight sag in the roof on the one side. They are now putting sewage in on the street that we are on, and forcing all residents to hook up (not water – just sewage). We currently have well and septic. Based on what it is going to cost us to hook up, monthly sewage charges, and along with what we are going to have to pay for a new roof and to fix the damage inside, we have decided to tear it down, and invest the money in an RV instead. This way, we are not tied to going to the same place all of the time, although we will still keep the property there and continue to go there. The TT definitely seems like the way to go, as we typically make several trips into town once there, so we would have to tow our car in a MH (something we had not originally even thought about).

I have to say, the more I think about it, the more excited I am getting about a TT. My only real concern is DH backing it up!

John VN
10-25-2012, 09:41 AM
Thank you all so much for all of your help and advice. I made DH sit down and read all of this thread yesterday afternoon, and he was kind of stunned like I was. Neither one of us realized the issues that could be present in an older MH. After reading it, he went over to our neighbor’s, who have a 26’ 5th wheel. He told DH that it is a 2002, and he has a small leak in the upper front corner that he is trying to find. Now we’re really concerned about something so old. So, then we started discussing advantages and disadvantages of both a TT and a MH. Well, we have now decided that a TT would probably be the better way to go for us.

We currently have a small cabin in the Allegheny National Forest, about 90 miles NE of PIttsburgh. Well, apparently the roof has been leaking. When we first went up this past summer, we noticed water damage inside to the ceiling in a couple of spots, and it actually looks like there is a slight sag in the roof on the one side. They are now putting sewage in on the street that we are on, and forcing all residents to hook up (not water – just sewage). We currently have well and septic. Based on what it is going to cost us to hook up, monthly sewage charges, and along with what we are going to have to pay for a new roof and to fix the damage inside, we have decided to tear it down, and invest the money in an RV instead. This way, we are not tied to going to the same place all of the time, although we will still keep the property there and continue to go there. The TT definitely seems like the way to go, as we typically make several trips into town once there, so we would have to tow our car in a MH (something we had not originally even thought about).

I have to say, the more I think about it, the more excited I am getting about a TT. My only real concern is DH backing it up!

Having never had a TT, I still agree with the decision you are making. Enjoy!!!! :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2

dalspot
10-25-2012, 09:59 AM
Head on over to RV.net and do some more research there. Be careful on your weights with only a 1500. Look into one of the lighter weight trailers. Make sure you take a look at the tow ratings for your year. Don't forget to take into consideration your fully-loaded weights. We, like you, jumped into RVing feet first, and have not regretted it a bit. We never even tent-camped prior. For us, having a vehicle once we got to a destination was very important.

WDWCP96
10-25-2012, 12:42 PM
I think the decision to go for a TT is a good one. We had a pop-up before we bought our TT this summer and with 3 kids it was not fun camping in the pop-up. We bought a TT with a bunk house and it is great that the kids have their own space. I would search for manufacturers with floor plans you like then go from there. We live in VA but actually drove to MI to buy our TT because it was $6000 cheaper than buying it locally.

dalspot
10-25-2012, 01:02 PM
And give your local dealer a chance to match the discount RV price, ours ended up beating it!

mphelps
10-27-2012, 03:43 PM
[QUOTE=EeyoreFan19;46543276
I have to say, the more I think about it, the more excited I am getting about a TT. My only real concern is DH backing it up![/QUOTE]

I know that you will be happy with your decision. I have owned all types and must say that the easiest for me to back up was our TT. I make my DH back up our 5th wheel because it is 40ft and our truck is a megacab Dodge so we are literally over 60ft long and as tall as the semi trucks on the road. Have a great time shopping and camping! Maybe we'll see you at FW...will be there Christmas 2013!!!:yay:

EeyoreFan19
10-27-2012, 05:07 PM
Thanks again everyone for all of the great advice. DH went onto Craigslist and we are going to look at a 2010 Coachman Catalina 27'bh tomorrow! :cool1: The floor plan and interior are exactly what we both were hoping for. Checked the trailer specs and the specs for his truck, and we are good to go! (again, something I never would have thought of). Hopefully, I'll soon be planning a trip to the Fort for next August!