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oldbutspry

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So yesterday we went to Camping World to spend some time looking at Fivers. We went once before but that time we only looked at the ones on the showroom floor which means we only saw one Pinnacle in the 35-40 foot range. Anyway, we had fun browsing and found some floorplans that are close to what we would want. The one thing that is really shocking to me is how much bigger they are in person. The pics on websites looked cramped but when we actually go in one they seem like a stadium! :) The ceilings are so high which makes them feel spacious. Of course, that must make them harder to heat but you can't get something for nothing. And BTW, we aren't really thinking we will buy at CW - it's just the biggest place nearby to view a bunch of models.

 

So then I wanted to find the used Fivers for sale. Told the wife we should look at them so we can see what ours would look like after it isn't new anymore. And yes, that was a very different experience. I didn't pay any attention to years but there seemed to be a range of them around 5-10 years old. For the most part they looked ok but OMG were they stinky!! I suppose it's because there's no ventilation and they are closed up and stewing in their stench. One smelled like they saved money on grandma's funeral by tossing her under the bed and selling the trailer. We opened the door to that one and were like 'Nope! Not going in there!' Seriously, maybe a mouse died in the roof/walls or something? Does that happen much in RV's? And I'm not sensitive at all to odors - in fact, I would say I have very little sense of smell.

 

Anyway, the upshot of our trip is that I realized we probably want a fairly new trailer and would probably prefer one that hasn't been lived in. Surely I'm not the only one that has experienced this?

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We have almost always bought used with two exceptions. The used ones we bought have always been in like new condition but you do have to hunt for them. I can't really give you any advice on where to find them. Ours have been at dealers, private sales and consignment sales. One thing we have found is that you really have to get a good idea of the floor plan, approximate year, approximate brand. Once we know what we are looking for then we will start searching the internet, RVTrader and where ever for that floorplan or brand. We have been willing to go 400 miles to find it. We have never found it just walking into a dealers lot and looking at their used stock. If we see something, then talking to the salesperson or owner we know immediately if it is smelly, smoky, beat or whatever by asking a lot of questions and getting pictures. This is vague but hopefully helps and we have never been disappointed in our purchase.

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Unless his policy has changed since we traded with him our dealer will not accept a trade-in unit that has had pets or smokers in it. When we expressed an interest in trading that was his first question.

 

It's amazing to me how many people you can see traveling with 2+ LARGE dogs. I know people love their pets and rightfully so, but they do leave an odor that is offensive to others.

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For the most part they looked ok but OMG were they stinky!! I suppose it's because there's no ventilation and they are closed up and stewing in their stench. One smelled like they saved money on grandma's funeral by tossing her under the bed and selling the trailer. We opened the door to that one and were like 'Nope! Not going in there!' Seriously, maybe a mouse died in the roof/walls or something? Does that happen much in RV's?

There are many different factors at play when you consider a used RV and age is one of the major ones. Since we bought our first RV in 1972 we have been in many of them and have looked at them on many used RV lots as well over the years. Once you get past about 5 years in age the typical condition tends to decline rapidly and the effort in preparation by a used RV seller is a major factor. At a place like CW the units you see are mostly those that were traded in by someone and so tend to have had very little cleaning or detailing when the previous owner moved out. Most inventory does not get opened up much unless shopper is there to look at them so they sit and get a buildup of odors inside from whatever history they may have and do not get ventilated much, which contributes to the problem. Private owners tend to spend time in cleaning and detailing to improve the price that they can get so those units are usually cleaned up better than is typical on a dealer lot. I suspect from your description that you were looking at older units and the RV's the history of use, care, maintenance and abuse or neglect is everything. In an RV of 5+ years so you can find some that look near new and others of the same age that are filthy and worn. It all depends upon the use history. Because they sit closed up most of the time the smell is worse and even in a new RV the odor will be strong, but we just associate what it has to be a "new" smell.

 

 

Anyway, the upshot of our trip is that I realized we probably want a fairly new trailer and would probably prefer one that hasn't been lived in. Surely I'm not the only one that has experienced this?

Over the years we have owned 3 new and 4 used RVs and have shopped both many times. While it is popular here to tell stories about how much better off one is to buy used, it is really not that simple. Remember that every used RV out there was bought new by someone first or there would be no used ones. If everyone or even a majority of buyers were to take the advice and buy used, where would the used RV's come from?

 

Whether you buy a used or a new RV the quality of RV versus the price that you pay is mostly determined by your shopping skills. New RV's come with a warranty included while used ones almost never do. With every year older an RV gets the greater the risk is that you will be buying someone's cast off junk. With a new RV you can usually be reasonably sure of the quality you will get based upon the reputation of the manufacturer and the model while with used there is a rising possibility that you will buy an RV which some previous owner gave up on ever getting repaired or one that they learned to hate. With a used RV there are many things inside that may be good or bad which you must find some way to check out, while new at least allows you to go back on the seller for repairs. In addition, we found that buying a used RV was very much like moving into a different house and then outfitting it completely with items from the used furniture store. We like having a bed that has not been slept in by strangers and furniture that we know who has lived on it and what they did while there. It does cost somewhat more to be able to do this, but it also has benefits.

 

 

For the most part, at least used units have had their bugs worker out. New unit, not so much.

If you buy near new, then this could very likely be true but, we have also known at least 5 RV owners who kept an RV bought new for less than 3 years and each one of them for 3 years or less and every one of them traded because they were very unhappy with the RV being traded and gave up on ever getting it right. Remember, if someone looses the kind of money that always happens when you trade one off in less than 5 years, most of us only do so with a very good reason. Our first new RV did have a series of issues and so experienced 3 or 4 warranty visits, our second new had only one warranty repair and our current RV has had one. With the four used RVs, no warranty calls because none of them had a warranty but all of them have had repairs that we took care of at our own expense. Repair and maintenance is a part of RV travel with new or used since an RV is a very complicated machine, and travel over roads is hard on such equipment.

 

I believe that the issue of new versus used should be a budget issue as well as personal preference. If you are not sure how long you will keep the RV, then used is likely to be a better choice since the initial cost is less. But if you are expecting to keep the RV for many years then the added cost is negligible when considered on a cost per year basis. We kept our first RV only 2 seasons but it was used. Our next was new and we kept it for 9 years. Our "fulltime" RV was bought new and kept 14 years and our present RV was bought new and is still in use after 4 years.

 

In my opinion there is a reason that the forums tend to have mostly good reports for the buying of used RVs. That is because people who buy and RV that soon become a financial disaster rarely continue to RV and they also stop coming to the forums. Over the years I have seen more than one first time RV buyer return here with posts that indicate they are desperate for help because they got a rolling wreck, but none of them have lasted for long. I suspect that happy buyers are around longer to make these reports and may color the overall trends.

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A mouse could have gotten in on the dealers lot and died in there. hard to tell. It would be fairly fresh if it was still stinking. We purchased used and looked at many and I know what you mean. One had water damage and smelled of mildew/mold and another was so grungy and dirty looking we stepped in the door and right back out again. I noticed this same thing with used autos. The people who kept the outside clean, tended to have clean odor free interiors and good maintenance. If it's dirty, not so much. If the owner cares for their unit, it shows.

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We have almost always bought used with two exceptions. The used ones we bought have always been in like new condition but you do have to hunt for them. I can't really give you any advice on where to find them. Ours have been at dealers, private sales and consignment sales. One thing we have found is that you really have to get a good idea of the floor plan, approximate year, approximate brand. Once we know what we are looking for then we will start searching the internet, RVTrader and where ever for that floorplan or brand. We have been willing to go 400 miles to find it. We have never found it just walking into a dealers lot and looking at their used stock. If we see something, then talking to the salesperson or owner we know immediately if it is smelly, smoky, beat or whatever by asking a lot of questions and getting pictures. This is vague but hopefully helps and we have never been disappointed in our purchase.

 

I suspect we'll still buy used but not more than 2 or 3 years. That PPL place seems to make buying a used one easier. We still have almost 2 years before we intend to buy so there's plenty of time to find a good deal on something we like.

 

For the most part, at least used units have had their bugs worker out. New unit, not so much. But I have always purchased new units (4). DW has to have new.

 

My DW certainly wouldn't mind a new one but I'm tempted by the savings you can get by buying a lightly used one.

 

Unless his policy has changed since we traded with him our dealer will not accept a trade-in unit that has had pets or smokers in it. When we expressed an interest in trading that was his first question.

 

It's amazing to me how many people you can see traveling with 2+ LARGE dogs. I know people love their pets and rightfully so, but they do leave an odor that is offensive to others.

 

I actually hadn't thought about the possibility of them having pets. We like dogs and cats but they just aren't appropriate for our lifestyle. But yeah, I wouldn't want a trailer that has had animals living in it. And smoking would probably be even worse.

 

At a place like CW the units you see are mostly those that were traded in by someone and so tend to have had very little cleaning or detailing when the previous owner moved out.

 

But if you are expecting to keep the RV for many years then the added cost is negligible when considered on a cost per year basis.

 

I get the impression that CW wasn't really very interested in selling the used units on their lot. Really, they would probably prefer people get turned off by them and go back to looking at the new ones. We expect we will want to keep our trailer for a long time but who really knows. It will be a drastic change in living. When we were looking at new fivers, my wife said she was trying to imagine that one of these could be our home but she just doesn't feel it yet. And we are renters for many years now so it's not like we have an attachment to a house or spot of land.

 

A mouse could have gotten in on the dealers lot and died in there. hard to tell. It would be fairly fresh if it was still stinking. We purchased used and looked at many and I know what you mean. One had water damage and smelled of mildew/mold and another was so grungy and dirty looking we stepped in the door and right back out again. I noticed this same thing with used autos. The people who kept the outside clean, tended to have clean odor free interiors and good maintenance. If it's dirty, not so much. If the owner cares for their unit, it shows.

 

Now that you mention it, I think the stinkiest trailer was also the one that had the outside extremely faded. It looked like no one had ever tried to wax it or anything.

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. . When we were looking at new fivers, my wife said she was trying to imagine that one of these could be our home but she just doesn't feel it yet.

In most cases it is important that both parties of a couple are in favor of the lifestyle for things to go well. You might be wise to buy a bit early and do some traveling in your RV to allow your wife to adjust to the style of living just to be sure that she can be happy that way.

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If you open a unit or a cabinet and it stinks, I would skip unit that unit unless you had a very through independent inspection. Usually a smell means one oef two things....one pet urine or a leak and mold.

 

Leaks are a common thing with RVs and some owners do not properly maintain the roof and slide seals, on a 10 year old unit, expect leaks and or repair, especially on the weekend and vacation trailers.

 

Ken

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In most cases it is important that both parties of a couple are in favor of the lifestyle for things to go well. You might be wise to buy a bit early and do some traveling in your RV to allow your wife to adjust to the style of living just to be sure that she can be happy that way.

 

We're both onboard with doing this. I have 3 years to retirement so we are thinking we will buy in a couple years and live in it for a year beforehand. That should give us plenty of time to adjust and make the trailer our very own. Right now I'm just trying to read up on everything I can find. All the old threads here have been helping a lot.

 

If you open a unit or a cabinet and it stinks, I would skip unit that unit unless you had a very through independent inspection. Usually a smell means one oef two things....one pet urine or a leak and mold.

 

Leaks are a common thing with RVs and some owners do not properly maintain the roof and slide seals, on a 10 year old unit, expect leaks and or repair, especially on the weekend and vacation trailers.

 

Ken

 

Yeah, we'll avoid anything stinky. Don't want something that's going to turn into a project.

 

You can check out Kansas RV Center's new and used fifth wheels(formally NuWa manufacturer of

HitchHikers), they have a pretty good reputation for clean used units. Greg

 

http://www.kansasrvcenter.com/nuwa-inventory.aspx

 

Thanks! I'll keep them bookmarked. We really like the DRV 44 Houston on that site but it's expensive enough that we would have to get a used one.

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We really like the DRV 44 Houston on that site but it's expensive enough that we would have to get a used one.

 

So, one that's new now should be just about the right age when you are ready to buy? That's good knowledge to have.

 

Linda Sand

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RE: DRV 44 Houston........at 23K pounds gross you'll need a substantial truck to tow it. We have been full timing in our 37' 17K pound HitchHiker for 10 years and believe it's the right size for us. Greg

 

We were already thinking an HDT is the way to go. We like an technique that someone here had written about. Park the fiver in a good spot for a month and use the HDT as a motorhome (maybe with a scooter/motorcycle) to visit places that require an overnight.

 

 

So, one that's new now should be just about the right age when you are ready to buy? That's good knowledge to have.

 

Linda Sand

 

That's exactly what I was telling my wife! I wonder what DRV's production figures look like. I'd be curious to know how many Houston's (and other models) they make each year.

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We are so new to this site, we are still "under warranty"! Anyhoo...we chose new after looking at a few used. Frankly, because we just like our own dirt, and we wanted the warranty as we have never done this. We may decide down the road that this logic was faulty, but we know all the dirt and smell is ours and we have a warranty. This is great peace of mind for us.

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I see no one has warned you yet, so I guess it's up to me. STAY AWAY FROM CAMPING WORLD! Worst prices, worst service ever in the history of RVs, uneducated salesman, etc. etc. They may be okay for accessories in their store, but nothing else. And don't ever order parts online or in their store. Once they make the sale, you're pretty much on your own. There are lots and lots of good dealers out there; take your time, and look around til you find the right floorplan. It's fun to look around on the internet, but like you say, it's different in person.

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One of my friends said that, at least when using Camping World service, there's another one down the road to try to fix what the last one broke.

Our experience with Camping World has been very checkered, with nearly all of their service from the same location (Denton, TX). When we first bought the RV (not from them) we did have them install a Banks performance kit which was done well. We also had them do several smaller maintenance jobs over a series of years with no complaints at all. We even had them replace our refrigerator in year 10 and it was done satisfactorily. But in year 11 we had them replace a "motor aid" water heater and even after three return trips there was a small engine coolant leak at the water heater entry which had not been any problem until they "fixed" it. We finally did some self repairs and managed to make things work for the last 18 months we owned the RV but we also stopped taking any service needs to a CW shop.

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I see no one has warned you yet, so I guess it's up to me. STAY AWAY FROM CAMPING WORLD! Worst prices, worst service ever in the history of RVs, uneducated salesman, etc. etc. They may be okay for accessories in their store, but nothing else. And don't ever order parts online or in their store. Once they make the sale, you're pretty much on your own. There are lots and lots of good dealers out there; take your time, and look around til you find the right floorplan. It's fun to look around on the internet, but like you say, it's different in person.

 

I've read a crazy amount of old threads on this website so I knew CW was viewed negatively but didn't know exactly why. So thanks for the clarification. Some of the prices we saw seemed ok (over 30% off MSRP) but that was because they were trying to get rid of 2016 models. Still, I won't buy from there.

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One of my friends said that, at least when using Camping World service, there's another one down the road to try to fix what the last one broke. Like tdst51 said, we learned to only shop in their store.

 

Linda Sand

 

That's pretty funny! In a sad way, of course. :)

 

 

Our experience with Camping World has been very checkered, with nearly all of their service from the same location (Denton, TX). When we first bought the RV (not from them) we did have them install a Banks performance kit which was done well. We also had them do several smaller maintenance jobs over a series of years with no complaints at all. We even had them replace our refrigerator in year 10 and it was done satisfactorily. But in year 11 we had them replace a "motor aid" water heater and even after three return trips there was a small engine coolant leak at the water heater entry which had not been any problem until they "fixed" it. We finally did some self repairs and managed to make things work for the last 18 months we owned the RV but we also stopped taking any service needs to a CW shop.

 

Thanks! That helps a lot to know what kind of 'service' jobs we are talking about. It's always difficult to understand when details are vague because you don't know if people are getting doors rekeyed or frames welded. And there are so many different systems on a fiver.

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I find it very instructive to go to large RV lots such as PPL and walk through the older units. When you do this you will find five years old units that are starting to fall apart. You will find 10 year old units that are ready for the junk yard and you will also find 15 year old units that are a bit faded, but are still solid. Make note of those solid brands and then work your way back to find a younger one, of that brand, that fits your needs. But always keep in mind that even in the highest quality units, items such as a rubber roof have a limited life span. Replacing a roof is a large repair cost and that roof will wear out just as fast on a high quality RV as it will on a cheap RV.

 

When you purchase an RV you are purchasing a depreciating asset. Unlike residential real estate, no matter how well you maintain the RV, it will go down in value, to eventually zero value. I am looking to purchase a replacement for my 98 Carriage and what I consider, is what am I willing to spend per year in depreciation value for the replacement RV. My replacement RV will not be an investment. It will be a cost that I will be willing to pay to enjoy my RV lifestyle.

 

As a side note. . . if you are looking at used RV's and you walk in and are overpowered by the smell of roses and lilacs. . . turn around and walk away. They are hiding something.

 

Jim

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