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Old 04-24-2013, 07:09 PM   #1
sweet maxine
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Questions to ask when looking at a used pop up

Looking at a used Jayco, mid 1990's pop-up. Wondering what questions to ask of the owner before we call...
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:38 PM   #2
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I know I am horrible, but I just don't trust people's word on things like this. They are trying to sell their camper, they aren't gonna tell you the bad or they are gonna sugar coat it. You really need to just go see it in person. Push up on the ceiling. Feel for soft spots. Look for discoloration or bubbling. Same with the floor. Crank it up and down a few times. Listen and watch for how easily it goes up and down. All the corners shopuld go down level and at the same rate. You should hear clicking, but no squealing. Look at the canavas and the seams. Are there rips, holes, or tears? Turn on the furnace and make sure it blows hot air. Turn the fridge on and see if it actually feels cool. (Try it on the battery, propane, and shore power). Have them fill the water tank and look for leaks. Turn on the faucet and see if the water pump works. If there is a water heater turn that on, and see if hot water comes out. Since, you have now checked the furnance, now check the AC (if there is one) and see if it now cools down the camper. Ask when the last time the lift has been grease. Ask the last time the bearings have been packed. When was the last time the tires have been replaced?
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nixie View Post
I know I am horrible, but I just don't trust people's word on things like this. They are trying to sell their camper, they aren't gonna tell you the bad or they are gonna sugar coat it. You really need to just go see it in person. Push up on the ceiling. Feel for soft spots. Look for discoloration or bubbling. Same with the floor. Crank it up and down a few times. Listen and watch for how easily it goes up and down. All the corners shopuld go down level and at the same rate. You should hear clicking, but no squealing. Look at the canavas and the seams. Are there rips, holes, or tears? Turn on the furnace and make sure it blows hot air. Turn the fridge on and see if it actually feels cool. (Try it on the battery, propane, and shore power). Have them fill the water tank and look for leaks. Turn on the faucet and see if the water pump works. If there is a water heater turn that on, and see if hot water comes out. Since, you have now checked the furnance, now check the AC (if there is one) and see if it now cools down the camper. Ask when the last time the lift has been grease. Ask the last time the bearings have been packed. When was the last time the tires have been replaced?
Thank you so much for the wonderful advice.

My family camped throughout my childhood--- starting out with a canvas tent, to a pop-up, to a mid-sized travel trailer. I used to help my dad set up the pop-up, and it seemed so easy back then. Of course, I didn't have to worry about the upkeep then, either.

I'm not sure if we're ready to buy a camper yet, but if we do I have a much better idea of what to look for.

Thank you, Nixie.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:40 AM   #4
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Another question.....


Should we figure on replacing a canvas for any camper from the 90's? I don't think there is a RV service center in the near vicinity, so that might be an issue.
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:04 AM   #5
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There are a couple of places online that do full canvas replacements. You either send in your old canvas and they use that as a template to make a new one or if your camper happens to be a popular model, they might already have the template onhand. Canvas Replacements and Bear Creek Canvas are two places that do this.

You don't have to automatically replace the canvas on a older camper. It all just depends on how well it has held up through the years. Our 1996 Jayco still has the original canavs. It has a few patches, but still is completely weather tight. The welting on the seam edges are starting to dry rot, so sometime in the next few years we will have to replace it.
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:13 AM   #6
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Hmm, okay. I'm feeling a little better about dipping the toe in the water. Just haven't decided to jump in yet.

So, the asking prices I've seen for one about the age we're looking at seems to run ~$2500 or so. Is that about right? (We are looking at several on CL right now. There are a few here and there for ~$1000, but I wonder if they're a train wreck in hiding, ya know?)
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:58 AM   #7
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Good luck!

We just bought a 1999 Viking pop up camper a few weeks ago. I was very specific in that I wouldn't buy a pop up without a bathroom and air conditioner.
All of the canvas on ours is fine and does not need replaced except one spot that needs a simple patch. Be sure to check the water pump, we just discovered that ours needs replaced. The above poster gave a lot of really great advice, I wish we would have checked some of those things first.
Also be sure to check the condition of the tires.
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:17 PM   #8
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You can look up the unit (if you know the maker and model) in the Nada guides. There is an RV section. It can help you give a ballpark figure of what the unit should be worth.

With that said, around here, 2000ish for a 90s pop up camper is about the going rate. Exact pricing, of course, depends on the make,model,condition and amenities.
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:03 PM   #9
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Maxine,

Nixie is pretty much on the mark with her advice.

Make sure you see the trailer set up and down starting from a closed position so you are assured the lifter system works. For example, some sellers already have it popped up in the driveway when a potential buyer arrives.

Your nose will be helpful too. When inside the camper, you shouldn't smell any mold or wetness (depening on how/where it's been stored).

Good luck with the search. Maybe this unit will be "the one".

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Apr 1979 Off-site...................... Jan 2001 FW 2200 Loop (cabin)........Dec 2007 FW 900 loop (pop-up)...............................Mar 2014 FW 400 Loop (popup)
Apr 1981 FW Creekside Meadow... Jan 2002 FW 2200 Loop (cabin)........Nov 2009 FW 1500 Loop (pop-up)
Nov 1987 FW 100 Loop(tent) ...... Oct 2003 FW 2000 Loop (tent).........Mar 2011 FW 900/1500 loop (pop-up) to/from KW
Jan 1988 FW 700 Loop (tent).......Jan 2004 FW 2500 Loop (cabin)....... Apr 2011 FW 2000 Loop (pop-up)
May 1988 FW 1200 Loop (tent).... May 2006 FW 900 Loop (pop-up) .... Mar 2012 FW 1500 Loop (pop-up)
Dec 1995 Contemporary.............. Mar 2007 FW 1000 Loop (pop-up).... Apr 2013 FW 100 Loop (pop-up)

plus countless WDW day trips, DL 3X, DLP 2X - TV: 2005 Chevy Suburban - Camper: 2014 Aliner Expedition - Nights Camped: 182

Last edited by bama_ed; 04-25-2013 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:57 PM   #10
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You should also look up underneath it, and look at the lift cable, as well as see if you see any signs of rot on the floor of the unit, especially in the four corners where the posts are anchored. If the camper has been well maintained, I would not think you should need to replace canvas - my father still camps in a mid-90s popup with original canvas. Go see it, ask the owner to set it up and take it down for you, check all systems as a PP said - to make sure they work (including A/C water heater, furnace, water pump, lift system, bed slides, drains, tanks). Get service records if there are any. Check the lift system cables.

I would not buy any ABS roof. I think if it's Jayco you will be fine w/ that.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iheartpeterpan View Post
You should also look up underneath it, and look at the lift cable, as well as see if you see any signs of rot on the floor of the unit, especially in the four corners where the posts are anchored. If the camper has been well maintained, I would not think you should need to replace canvas - my father still camps in a mid-90s popup with original canvas. Go see it, ask the owner to set it up and take it down for you, check all systems as a PP said - to make sure they work (including A/C water heater, furnace, water pump, lift system, bed slides, drains, tanks). Get service records if there are any. Check the lift system cables.

I would not buy any ABS roof. I think if it's Jayco you will be fine w/ that.
I am printing this whole thread for reference. Y'all are great!


On a side note, I don't have any idea what an ABS roof is. I'm checking Google now to find out.

Taking notes.....

For our trip forthcoming, we'll stay in the tent unless something turns up.
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:30 AM   #12
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Jayco's lift system is alll self contained in the unit. You aren't gonna be able to see the lift cables from underneath. Coleman/Fleetwood were the only campers that were made with the ABS roofs and that was only a certain number of years and certain models. Jayco's have a metal roof with a center seam that needs to be recaulked and rebutyl taped after awhile.

My first suggetion is find out what your car,van,truck etc. can tow. Then I would start figuring out what kind of floor plan that you like. If you have a biggerish family, I would def. look into a 10 to 12ft box.
Ones with the front storage box are awesome. We can fit soo much junk in there LOL.
Ours didn't have an onboard toliet. We just took a porta potty along with us and a porta potty tent. It actually worked really well. Built in cassette toliets (unless you are looking at high walls) only have a shower curtain seperating you from everyone else. No real privacy. I also don't know of anyone who has actually used their onboard shower. In theory, it seems nice, but the practicallity of it definately falls short. Most describe it as taking a shower in a wet plastic bag.
I personally always opt for more storage when it comes to a camper. Also two seating areas are a must for my family.
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Old 04-26-2013, 06:19 AM   #13
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I'd ask to take it to a RV dealer to be inspected.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:53 PM   #14
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I doubt anyone would let you take it off site until paid for. We've sold 3 trailers and a fifth wheel over the years, and any potential buyer was welcome to look all they wanted, or have anyone come to our place to inspect, but we would never have allowed them to leave with it.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:31 PM   #15
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Be careful when checking the ac if you are plugged into a 110 house outlet. The ac will pull more amps than the outlet will give. You could end up causing damage to the ac, converter ect
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