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Old 09-12-2014, 07:34 AM   #1
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My Advice When Purchasing an RV

There is a lot of satisfied and dissatisfied owners on this forum. You really have to read into some of the post what is really going on and you will always hear the negative stories and seldom the positive.

IMO there is enough negative feedback to say that FR does have a QA issue that really need to be addressed. I would like to see their key indicators but that is for another thread.

First off check out the dealer and customer satisfaction for handling warranty and service work. How fast do they respond and what is workmanship like. Dealers are always nice when you are buying but it can be a very different story when needing service. Forums can help with this also.

Do some online research for models and layouts the suit you. Join an RV forum or several RV forums to get advice and concerns on the RVs you are considering. You may not only find out that it is a good or bad choice, someone will be able to tell you of any little annoyances that may be due to poor engineering. I have found several in my RV. You can take a better look at these and decide if you can live with it or not. A lot of new used RVs out there b/c after purchase the owner didnít like some little things that just bugged them so they traded. I swear the engineers do not camp.

Once you settle on a model do a thorough inspection. Donít rush the purchase. Make sure everything works down to the TV working on all hook ups. Ask for a use before purchase deal. Rent it for a month with rent going to purchase. Look for the little petty things that will bug the heck out of you later on. If it enters your mind that it may be a problem for you, it will. Once you buy you are stuck with it.

Get the dealer to show you how to use everything (take notes). Donít let them tell you how something works or is used make them show you. How to move the slide in and out if the system fails. How to manually use hydraulic or electric jacks. You need to know how to override any auto system if it fails.

Water is the number one enemy of an RV. Keep an eye out for any leaks for a couple of months. If parked, keep the slides open and inspect during rains. Look for bubbles in the siding, any signs of water damage and get it addressed immediately.

Last but not least. Purchase a good roadside assistance program such as, but not necessarily; Good Sams.

Others feel free to add to anything I may have left off.

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Old 09-13-2014, 08:53 PM   #2
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I agree the dealer can make or break your purchasing experience, we made several trips to ours prior to the purchase. Not once did they make us feel like we were a bother to them. We spoke to sales, service and parts employees. When we finally made the purchase they spent several hours going over our unit and even encouraged video taping for future review. So far A+ for customer service.

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Old 09-13-2014, 09:58 PM   #3
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X3 on making sure you get a dealer that excels in customer service after the sale. It will make or break your experience with the trailer/MH when (not if) something needs work.

When looking, sit inside the trailer/MH and imagine your usage. Think about where you will put things ie moms clothes in this cabinet, pots & pans in that cabinet, kids toys in that drawer, outside chairs in this compartment. Act out daily activities, i.e. mom cooking, kids playing, dad watching tv or walking to the bathroom, sit on the toilet, stand in the shower. Make sure you fit. Think about what type of camping you will be doing. Rv resort with full hook ups most of the time, tank size won't matter, state parks with w/e hook ups, then pay attention to black and grey tank sizes. Dry camping or boondocking, then pay attention to all tank sizes and consider needs for a generator. If you are camping mostly in the national parks out west pay attention to size as the longer rvs tend to have issues with not fitting. Remember the longer the rv, the more limited the sites are for you to choose. Slides are great for creating room but remember opposing slides do eat up campsite space.

Once you decide to buy, do not give them anything more than the required down payment to hold the trailer/MH until after the pdi and any repairs have been completed to your satisfaction. Video tape your pdi.

If buying a trailer of any kind come here and ask questions before buying about whether said trailer is truly within specs for your tv. Do NOT believe the dealership on this, they don't really know and don't care, they just want to sell the unit. Take the time to truly understand towing specs and how they relate to you.
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Old 09-13-2014, 10:24 PM   #4
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Lots of good feedback has been provided and I'm sure lots more will be added.

The PDI should be done prior to the customer arriving to take delivery. A detailed walk-through is very important. During the PDI/Walk through if problems or issues are noticed think twice about accepting delivery. Generally speaking leaving the RV at the dealership will likely get those issues taken care of sooner than later. You can take care of payment when the unit is ready. Scheduling trips can be a game of chance until you have your RV at home and there are no major issues. I can't say how many times I read a post about a new owner accepting an unit with problems because of camping plans.

x2 on figuring out where everything you need will go. My unit seemed to have plenty of storage when I first brought it only to find out otherwise while loading it up. I do have a space for everything but then I camp solo.

x2 on the fact that designers don't seem to be campers. If they were campers they would had figured out that the handle placement on my "closet" isn't their brightest idea. I can't open door all the way because it makes contact with the window treatment. This closet door is very slim to start with.
Great choice for "Living within my means" and camping for one...

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Old 09-14-2014, 06:05 AM   #5
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All good points and video and pictures is a great idea.
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Old 09-14-2014, 07:08 AM   #6
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All great points.

The comments brings up the issue of cost vs. benefits.

Internet wholesalers require full payment up front before you are allowed to see it. You basically own it once you show up for the pdi. Any problems with the unit? You can still leave it there as was stated and yes, one should not have camping plans. But the problem is you basically own it.

So the choice is - do you save a bit of money or pay a bit more and do as was said in previous posts. Whatever choice you make, it should be something you accept.


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Old 09-14-2014, 07:47 AM   #7
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Very good points. I say don't take delivery if there is even one issue with the unit. They will fix it really quick if you won't sign til all issues are resolved. Test everything yourself don't take there word for it. Test it from front to back everything! Climb on the roof and inspect it. If it isn't clean and look new, ask why if the unit is new. Make them clean it or your going to have to and UV protect. Make them put vent covers over the roof vent or you won't beable to use them in the rain. Test everything you then you will be confident it all is satisfactory at the time you take it home. If your like me and can fix most anything electrical or mechanical then it isn't as big of an issue, but for other it understandibly is. Some dealer techs aren't as good at what they make out to be either. They will make half azz repairs and say that's good enough so you better inspect what they touch. Make them put any promise in writing. Good luck and pay close attention to detail before your stuck with it.
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Old 09-14-2014, 07:59 AM   #8
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Good advice.......

On dealers, my personal opinion is, learn as much as one that the dealer is merely a facilitator, that way he is getting a person what they want(not pushing what hasnt sold).....our dealer was good, but if I hadn't known some of the answers or basis of what I was doing on this rig, he probably would have gotten one or two over...and they may still in the end, he worked for me and not the other way around...

one thing I can add to the sit down and imagine....think about 5, 10 years down the well as type of camping....things, people change, kids grow and the money these things, cost these days, a person can save alot looking at where there family will be down the road......we as humans always like to upgrade, truthfully if maintained and cared for these new RVs on the market will last......and finding the right camper is easier these days because there are so many combos that are available...

We camp anywhere and we took alot into our thought process and the fact that we would be giving up the ability to tow with our past, either the 1 ton or the 1/2 could pull the toy hauler....but we were looking at extended living quality and longevity.....

one example....... we have a grand child on the way, so looking down the road at bunk house....we have adults that come with us every now and again.....going to have another little one every now and again.......So our purchase, I was looking at that along with room storage and everything 5-10 years down road....

Plus I based the maint. repairs on what I can do myself and based it on my future age.....So between longevity of quality parts and our future...I am hoping that this will be the last one I need to buy, unless I just plain want to....

*****this is important to me and I see it happen too much.....remember you are paying for the item, they are not paying is your should work and be what you want....don't let a dealer make smart comments or try to bully...he should be nothing but respectful and helpful.....your money dont be afraid or ashamed to put a foot down....

once again good advice on everyones part and it applies to other purchases also.......
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Old 09-14-2014, 08:14 AM   #9
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Excellent input.
I believe another common mistake is the buyer's expectations, paticularily first timers. This is not allowing for poor quality of workmanship or manufacturing defects at all. But--you do get what you pay for. An RV is not your home. Plastic, fiberfoard, laminates abound. So when you're looking at the $17,000 vs the $25,000 unit, the quality of the components may not be comparable, ie hinges on the cabinets, drawer glides, structural components, etc. Travelling down roads and bumping along do allow for vibrations and things come loose, water fittings and the like.
We had a 4 hour walk through for our unit and I took pics and videos as we went along.
1. the Tech operated everything
2. my wife then operated everything
3. I then operated everything

We told the dealer we wanted the unit closed and ready to be set up on our arrival which they accommodated. Every function was tested on all power sources, battery (but not the Tow Vehicle), shore power, and LP where applicable.
DON'T sign anything until you're satisfied. Sure you get a better deal from internet dealers, but again, you get what you pay for.

Developing a personnal face-to-face relationship with the dealership is vital to your satisfaction, you catch a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar.

and for goodness sake, don't buy the new unit starting you dream 3000 mile vacation that starts the minute you pull out of the lot!
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:22 AM   #10
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Wish mine would have been $25k maybe I'm shopping at the wrong dealers.

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