Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Pre-buy Checklist

  1. #1
    Member tccak71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,174

    Default Pre-buy Checklist

    I’m stoked to see that we have a camper/camping forum! I do A LOT of summer time camping. My whole summer (and budget) is dedicated to family camping/boating/fishing and exploring. About 1/3 of the time we camp it is just me and my two youngest; age 6 & 9-my wife has a “real job” and doesn’t have the same schedule that I have; however this year she is taking some time off to do a big camping trip in July/August.

    I’am in no way a mechanic, but I do have “some” rv and rv repair experience. Went to rent a motorhome for one week and couldn’t get a reservation for nearly two months, so I threw down $850 on a ’74 Viking Pop-up. It was large, heavy, and ugly. I did a lot of work on that thing, even replaced the pulleys and cables on all four corners once; I was at the Talkeetna Blue Grass Festival ( ) and forgot to pop one of the latches before cranking her up! Had that for six years. The last five years I have been running a ’76 10’ truck camper. When I bought it “everything worked.” This, of course, really meant that only some stuff worked! My dad went through the wiring and got the interior lights to work, I replaced the water pump and some water lines and we had plumbing. The gas appliances worked, just had air the lines; even the propane fridge worked!

    Having bought a “new-to-us” motorhome (WOW! A ’97; finally made the leap from the 70s to the 90’s) on my own, didn’t have my dad or step dad to help me check it out, as I am NOT nearly as mechanically inclined as either of them, I thought I’d pass along a checklist that I got off the net that I used prior to buying our motorhome. The checklist ISN’T MINE! If I remember correctly, I got it off of the Class C Forum on the Open Roads Forum. I’m working on compiling a list of camping related resources (parts, service, campgrounds, etc…) and I'll post it when I get time. This year we plan on doing a big trip cruising the Richardson Highway for about 11 days. Next year I'm hoping to drive the motorhome to Seattle and back for the heck of it!

    Uploaded the pre-buy and tried to upload a pict of the RV.
    Tim
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Wasilla, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    3,185

    Default

    Great list Tim (I wish I would have had it 2 yrs ago.....)!

    One thing to add...spend the money and get a compression check on the engine, especially a class C. I bought a pretty clean 1987 Honey 27' class C two years ago and have only made two trips in it. I did, however, use it as a primary residence for 4 months last year while we were building our house.....

    Long story short, the engine seemed to run fine during the test drive, but in retrospect, I never ran it up any decent hills and wasn't pulling any kind of a load. Our first trip to the Little Su was uneventful (no big hills), but our second outing was to Eureka and we were pulling a trailer with wheelers. We hit the big hills and were down to 10mph in no time, the engine started backfiring, etc.... We eventually made it and had a good weekend, but then ran out of gas on the way back between Sutton and Palmer. I had filled it up prior to heading out but was hoping to get more than 150 miles to the tank!

    My bro-in-law and I did a compression check on the rear cylinders and they were both down to 60psi so at best I am running a 6 cylinder, probably less instead of the 460 V8.

    SO......spend the $$ and have the engine thoroughly checked out. The previous owner of this motor home suppposedly was a "mechanic" who (according to his wife...) had been through the whole thing and it checked out good.

    Anyone know of a good deal on a 460??
    AKmud
    http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j96/AKmud/213700RMK1-1.jpg


    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  3. #3
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Talkeetna
    Posts
    5,714

    Default

    Anyone know of a good deal on a 460??
    It might just be able to be fixed. If it's a lower mileage engine the rings just might be stuck. A set of pistons and rings in those holes might be all that's needed. Sitting for a long time, like an RV does, can lead to this.

    I couldn't bring myself to buy a used C class for a couple weekends a year. So, I went completely nuts and bought a retired Denali Park bus for $500. Only 60,000 miles on it. Totally heavy duty chassis with tires that match my big rigs, diesel engine, runs like a top. We just removed all the seats and now we have an 8' x 38' room to live in. Eventually I will build bunkbeds, etc...but for now it will work
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  4. #4
    Member tccak71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,174

    Default

    Yea, you have to use it for it to pay for itself. We figured we need to get 16 days a year out of it to pay for itself. (Right now there are smokin' deals on rentals; $100-125/day, don't remember where though.)

    When I was researching used class c's I called Different Strokes (formerly Powerstrokes of Alaska) and a couple of tranny shops and got advice on which engine/tranny combo to look into. My '97 has the V-10 (first year of the V10) and an EO4D tranny (perfected in '97 and installed in '98s) so we'll see how that does. He said the '99s (Ford Chassis seem to prevail in Class C's) had the first year of the 4R100 which had problems initially. Basically I found that the best combos (in my range) was either a mid-late '80s with a 460 and C6 tranny or a '98 with a V-10 and the perfected (heavy duty, with kevlar components and kinks worked out) EO4D.

    Regarding the 460, I found out its a strong, powerful engine, but tends to have issues with running hot and overheating. Try Craigslist for a 460, one might pop-up there.

    It was tough making a decision without someone whose really in the know. We drove the motorhome in stop/go traffic and 25 miles of highway, but no hills. We bought in Fairbanks and drove it to Anchorage problem-free. Pretty steady headwind from Nenana to Hurricane Gulch. Got 7.68 mpg overall.

    Tim

  5. #5
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Wasilla, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    3,185

    Default

    My bro-in-law is the parts manager for a major dealership in Anchorage and can get me a reman 460 for around $2k and we will do the remove/replace ourselves so it isn't too bad. We are hoping it is just heads, but I'm a bit skeptical since we don't have any coolant problems.

    The class C's collect a LOT of heat in the rear of the engine compartment which is probably why those cylinders are shot. It would be nice to upgrade to an EFI engine, but I don't think I want to mess with the retro fit.
    AKmud
    http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j96/AKmud/213700RMK1-1.jpg


    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  6. #6
    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Searching for more cowbell!
    Posts
    1,945

    Default

    That's a pretty handy checklist. I appreciate it.
    ><((((Ί>Έ.·΄―`·.ΈΈ.·΄―`·..ΈΈ ><((((Ί>`·.ΈΈΈ.·΄―`·.ΈΈ><((((Ί>

    "People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they
    just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery

  7. #7
    Member tccak71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,174

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Phish Finder View Post
    That's a pretty handy checklist. I appreciate it.
    The guy who wrote it definitely isn't a grammatical genius; I cleaned it up a lot before posting it here, but it is handy. Gotta admit, I didn't look over the engine very well as I couldn't see it! Yup, there's an engine in there; runs too!

    There were a lot of things I wouldn't have thought of to check.

    Tim

  8. #8

    Default just for grins

    hey can one of you guys who can get this list to open copy and past it just as a post in the thread rather then a doc
    thanks
    Larry

  9. #9
    Member tccak71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,174

    Default Ok, here it is posted below:

    PRE BUY LIST:
    Engine/Drivetrain; Start under hood.
    • Check air and oil filter to see if its new looking. If theres a date and mileage wrote on it the user usually took care of his stuff. Obviously pull dipsticks and check that it has antifreeze in it.
    • Check that battery is up to date with no coroded posts.
    • Check that plug wires are not brittle or looking very old.
    • Check carberator to see if all vacuum lines are hooked up and not just capped off (This may require you to remove interior engine cover).
    • Check the drive belts are new and not cracked and all are in place.
    Look for leaks everywhere (ie; Heads/valvepan, covers, brake Master Cylinder, Power Steering Pump, Water Pump).

    Under the vehicle;
    • Physically get under vehicle and check the bottom of the engine/transmission for fresh oil leaking.
    • You can usually see the inside, or at least part of the Brake rotors at this point. Check that there smooth and not scored in any way. Surface rust on them don’t mean much as they'll develop that overnight in a real humid environment.
    • Look at all grease zerks. If there’s grease on them this is a good sign that the vehicle was taken good care of.
    • Check Tie Rod Ends and Steering Linkage for tightness (A good stout shake will do, there should be no wiggle to them}Also check that rubber grommets on the ends are not cracked or tore.
    • Check the insides of the tires at this point also for dry rot cracks or rubbing marks.
    • Check the floor of coach for rust; loose wires, rubber lines for dry rot.
    Drive Shaft
    • Check that there’s grease on the zerks to the universals. Also wiggle the driveshaft pretty stout, there should be no play.
    • Check that Carrier bearing has grease and the grommets are not cracked or tore. Again wiggle Drive Shaft at both sides of Carrier Bearing.
    Moving to the rear end
    • Check that there no oils at all leaking.
    • Check the Brake Drums/Rotors for scoring or grooves.
    • Check rear tires for dry rot and rubbing/wearing marks. Check around inner fender wells for damage do to blowouts.
    • Check the Black and Grey water tanks for wear or obvious patches/fixes. Check the valves to those tanks at this time.

    Walk around check
    • Check that all lights work. Turn, Brake, Running, Parking, Clearance, Headlights.
    • Check outside of tires and rims for dry rot cracks or leaking wheel seals.
    • Check Spare tire and jacks.
    • While walking around outside always be checking the siding of the vehicle for obvious things like dents or holes and investigate those things.
    • The not so obvious are water damage, look down the side of the camper for bubbles or waves in the siding.
    • Check that window seals are in good shape.
    • Look for rust of any kind. Knock on the Rocker panels and bottoms of doors and around fenders with your knuckles. If its a dull thud, bondo has been used.

    Interior Coach area
    • Smell it! A musty smell is a dead give away of leaking.
    • Push on the walls around the windows, doors, skylights/ceiling vents, and air conditioner. Pay special attention at the bottom corners. Any softness indicates water leaking.
    • Any painted over spots or discolored wall paneling are usually another giveaway of leakage.
    • Check carpet around toilet and shower for discoloring/musty smell. Pull on carpet checking for dry rot. Remember around toilet.
    • Check that toilet is holding a small amount of water.
    Open upper cabinets. Check upper corners of walls for discoloring and soft spots. Remember, there’s rarely a reason for anyone to paint the inside of a cabinet. They’re covering something up.
    • Open cabinets under sinks. Check for delamination of any kind or water damage.
    • Check overhead bunk thoroughly for leaks. Push on walls and look under mattress.
    • Check that all lights are working on battery.
    • Check that range hood works on battery.
    • Usually at this point check the Meters for LP, Battery, Fresh water, Black/Grey tank, levels. Make sure they work.
    • Check the Carbon Monoxide Detector, LP Gas Detector to see that its working.
    • Check for smoke alarm.
    • Check that refrigerator works on battery.
    • Check the inverter, if equipped, that it works.
    • Check that water pump works on battery. You can usually here it in back closet or under bed.
    • Check that stove and refrigerator works on gas now.
    • Turn house heater on to see if it works.
    • Turn hot water heater on to see that it works. DO NOT LEAVE IT ON LONG!!! It may not have water in it.
    • Turn on Generator. After short warm up, recheck all the above to see that they work on AC current.
    • Check that Air Conditioner Works and cools. May take a few minutes.

    The Cab
    • Start the vehicle and check that brakes work and are not spongy.
    • Leave the vehicle run awhile to check that gauges come up to working order. Pay close attention to oil pressure and water temp.
    • Check that all switches work.
    • Pay special attention where cab roof hooks to overhead bunk for water damage.
    • Shut off vehicle and go to generator compartment. Basically check like you checked motor for coach. Leaks, Oil/Air Filter. Start engine externally and check that hour meter is working.
    • Now check house batteries. Are they up to date? Connections not corroded. Pull the tops off and check that all cells are full.

    The Roof
    • Be sure there’s no patches or repairs. If there are make sure they look professionally done.
    • Look for bubbles in roofing material.
    • Pay special attention to seams at overhead bunk.
    • Check the air conditioner shroud is not cracked.

    Driving
    • Check for pulling to one side. This could mean alignment is bad.
    • Be sure there’s no shaking in steering wheel.
    • Recheck braking power.
    • Always keep paying attention to engine gauges.

    If any of these are wrong be sure to ask questions. By questioning you can weed out the truth and save some money by not buying junk or getting the price lowered.

    • If the unit is sided with fiberglass, look down the side of it and look for bulges. Delamination would be a sign of rot behind the bulge.

    • The floor should feel solid and not "spongy".

    • Any sign of a moldy or musty smell?


    Ok, hopefully this is what you were talking about!

    Tim

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •