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Old 08-26-2016, 09:47 PM   #1
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Help with potential purchase.

I look at a 2008 Flagstaff 831rlss. It was in very good shape. Freah caulk everywhere, and seamed very well taken care of for the age. However, I notice 3 issues...
1) gutter seam in the right front corner was out for about 4 feet. Looked like an easy fix.?
2) soft spot in roof (mild) behind rear vent. Looked to be caused by caulk issue around the vent. Seemed to be an easy fix. Roof was still plenty strong?
3) Soft spot in floor of bathroom. No viaable leak... looked like an old issue years ago?

The interior of the trailer was spotless. Checked wall seams inside of all cabinets, around slide, and all exterior wall joints. No signs or other issues could be found.

How serious are the issues I mentioned once fixed? Should I pass on the trailer because of them?

Are there any other issue with this year trailer that I should be aware of?
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:20 PM   #2
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It is always difficult to judge with certainty what is normal and what is fresh maintenance done too late. You will have to be prepared to repair spots, and damage to wood is usually one of those things that progresses into a bigger than expected project. Unless you have done it before I would suggest you have repairman inspect it prior to purchase to see if repairs are worthwhile project. Roof repair solutions can be elusive. Be prepared to walk away
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Old 08-27-2016, 06:34 AM   #3
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Soft wood is always a warning sign no matter how great everything else looks.

Fresh caulk and a soft spot is another sign that the camper has waited for routine roof maintenance way too long.

I would keep looking unless the unit is free; even then, free may be too expensive unless you are looking for a hunting cabin and not a camper.
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Old 08-27-2016, 06:47 AM   #4
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I agree---Run Forest RUN!!!!
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Old 08-27-2016, 07:34 AM   #5
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"Fresh caulk everywhere" and "soft spots" are not words I would want to be saying about a camper I was considering to purchase. Never. Ever. Like stated previously, if it's free, or close to free, I might take a stab at it, but I'd never pay what the seller is most likely telling you (just my guess) is fair-market-value (or NADA value). If it were me, any sign of water damage to a camper would be immediate cause to pass, and pay a little more to find something else.
What would cause me greater concern about this unit is that you apparently have spoken to the person who is selling it and they've not offered an explanation (that you have mentioned) on these issues.
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Old 08-27-2016, 09:37 AM   #6
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I really appreciate the responses, but I am hoing to play a bit of Devils advocate here.

To answer a few questions first. The unit is on a dealer lot, not purchasing from an individual. The listed price is well below NADA retail. Retail is 15000 selling for 9000.

Now for the Devil's Advocate:
When reading threads about new trailers the theme of the conversation is the following: You will never buy a perfect a unit, expect leaks, expect repairs, and it will take 3 or 4 years before you iron out all the kinks...

When buying used: You must find a perfect unit that has never had any leaks, must show signs of being well maintained (but not recently serviced), and be slightly more expensive.

I say all this in good fun. For the record I walked away from the other rv based on your advance. However, where does one find a perfect used rv? Are they even out there? If you can't buy a new rv without leaks and problem.... then why should expect a used rv to be perfect?

I felt that with the age... the issues with the flagstaff were reasonable and expected. I even felt minor based on what I hear new rv owners dealing with?

Where is my logic wrong?
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Old 08-27-2016, 09:48 AM   #7
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My thought is that your logic is flawed because on a new unit with leaks, a prudent owner will get the leak fixed before permanent damage takes place. On a used unit with soft spots, it would lead me to believe the problem was not found/fixed in a timely manner.
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Old 08-27-2016, 10:11 AM   #8
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I tried to sell my "perfect" RV for a year looking to upgrade to a motorhome.

Everyone who saw it loved it.
They just wanted to steal it for less than NADA and not pay the premium that it is worth.

In the end, we just decided to keep it a few more years, and when we are ready to sell it, strip it of all the upgrades (like the 600 dollar Denver mattress, Battery computer, inverter, Autotransformer, and the 800 dollar Smart TV with 2 Terabyte hard drive of movies) that made it worth the premium and either move them to the motorhome or eBay them.

That way we will still not get what it is worth, but it will be closer.
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Old 08-27-2016, 10:22 AM   #9
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I was under the impression when your dealing with luan laminate like the flagstaff any water would immediately create a soft spot?
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Old 08-27-2016, 01:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purduepete97 View Post
My thought is that your logic is flawed because on a new unit with leaks, a prudent owner will get the leak fixed before permanent damage takes place. On a used unit with soft spots, it would lead me to believe the problem was not found/fixed in a timely manner.
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Old 08-27-2016, 02:36 PM   #11
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Most folks buying a new unit will indeed have to work out the kinks, so to speak. The trick is to get to them before long-term damage is done.

I, for one, bought new - Rockwood 8280WS (ultralight fifth wheel.) Love the unit. Been full-timing in it since picking it up new two years ago. Warranty issues/repairs? I put an adhesive strip across the joint of the roof and the end cap, as the caulking had shrunk and was gonna leak. Total cost: $50. And I still have 40+ feet for anything else similar that might occur. Oh, did the same "repair" to the caulking around a vent. Just the nature of the materials used on RVs for sealing.

Two items replaced by the good warranty folks at Rockwood. One, the side window on our living room slide out broke into a million pieces one afternoon when closing up for the night. We didn't slam it, it just hit the bottom and kablooey! Rockwood FedExed me a new window to a dealer 90 minutes away that we were going to pass by on our way north. I booked the appointment, arrived 15 minutes early, and in 90 minutes we were back on the road with a new window.

Fix #2 is a pet peeve. We have day/night shades. You slide them up and down every day, on STRING. They are guaranteed to wear out and those strings give out. Then you can buy a repair kit and try to fix them yourselves (we couldn't as the end caps had been glued on!) or you can replace them. I called Rockwood and they told me those shades were still under warranty. So, I sent them photos of the failed strings and the damaged shades, and they shipped me three new replacements. Oh, I originally called the shade manufacturer who said if I sent them a shade and they could not fix it for me, they would send me a new one at no charge. And they did - I got a new one ten days later.

And that's it. Two years, over 10 miles on the fiver, and we live in it 24-7. In my book, you can't beat that with an ugly stick. I bought from a good dealer who prepped it well. Took it for a three day trial run, and told the dealer I would bring it back for repairs. They said fine.

I called them after the three days and reported "no problems, no repairs needed." They were not surprised in the least.
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Old 08-27-2016, 03:01 PM   #12
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Soft spots, IMO, means leaks. Unscrew a few screws of the plastic moldings that hold up the roof vents and a/c unit. If the screws are rusty, you have a major water leak problem. Water leaks also mean black mold that you may not see but can be a health hazard. DO NOT BUY any RV that has had leak issues. There are plenty of RVs out there that are in decent condition, without leaks, and at a reasonable price. If you are set on this RV, have the dealer put in writing that this RV never had any leaks and that he will refund or repair, at his cost, any issues that arise from these soft spots.
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Old 08-27-2016, 06:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BusyRetirees View Post
If you are set on this RV, have the dealer put in writing that this RV never had any leaks and that he will refund or repair, at his cost, any issues that arise from these soft spots.
Good luck with that ...
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Old 08-28-2016, 07:53 AM   #14
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Good luck with that ...
I know, I know, but it would be interesting to see what the dealer says or how he tries to worm out of it. This will at least give an indication of what kind of dealer he is.
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Old 08-28-2016, 07:39 PM   #15
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Don't buy it! New caulk and soft spots are huge red flags, as are rusted screw heads. Keep looking! While the "perfect" coach may not exist, a really, really good one does. Don't rush the buying process; keep looking, have faith and you will find the "perfect" coach for you, that has not had any leaks and does not have any soft spots or rusted screws. Water damage and/or black mold are the kiss of death for a camper.
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Old 08-29-2016, 12:46 AM   #16
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Perfect is always in the eye of the beholder. If major problems are visible and you ask the questions then I suspect also know the answers and made a good choice of walking away. Often 8-10 year old rv's or any other product with large visible problems symptomatic of neglect that any dealer does not correct prior to sale means it is past the point of no-return. There are many used rv's for sale in private and dealer sales, continue to look and find the one closest to perfect without major problems and if with a dealer have problems fixed before sale
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