RV Research

Many potential buyers ask me what I think about a specific brand or model RV. I can only provide my biased opinion of a particular brand or model but I usually recommend the buyer do a little research for their selected model/brand. Do a Google search for RV Forums. Many are listed so just start by picking one. If the forum has a search option, enter the year, make and model you are interested in. You will get many opinions from owner’s or friends of owners. Search for more than one topic. You will get much more information than any one individual or “expert” can provide.

Good luck in your search. A little due diligence will always make you feel more comfortable about your final selection.

If find a unit in our area, let RVSurvey provide a detailed inspection of the unit before you purchase.

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Propane Tanks

I know a lot of people rely on the “tank selection” valve as the “shut off” valve on the RV to keep propane from leaking from the tank. In theory this should work. A loose connection or defective hose to the “tank selection” valve may let propane escape. This situation is not only expensive due to the loss of propane but it is dangerous.

I recommend shutting off the propane valve at the tank when not in use. It may take a little more time during setup, but it is safer and may prevent loss of propane while the RV is stored. This goes for trailers and coaches.

I know of situations where RVers have inadvertently left the refrigerator on AUTO when they shut-down the RV for storage only to find out the propane tank was drained while the refrigerator switched to propane use “automatically”. The best way to prevent a loss of propane under this circumstance is to close the propane valve at the tank. Even if the refrigerator is left ON in the AUTO position, the propane will not be released to the refrigerator.

It does not take much time to secure the RV and one key act is to make sure you close that propane valve at the tank.

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Awnings and Wind

RV awnings are great features on the RV to shelter you from the sun and rain. The awning should be properly secured while extended. Sudden wind gusts can cause a lot of damage to the awning and to the RV. I have seen many cases where the base and top mounts for the awning have been pulled from the side of the RV due to wind damage.

Many owners extend the awning and leave the lower base attached to the side of the RV. The awning, under normal use, puts a downward pressure on the side of the RV base and does not exert a lot of side pressure to the RV. A sudden gust of wind will pull at the base of the awning. A strong gust will pull both the base and the upper mount out from the RV. The wind force jerking at the mounts can cause them to pull away from the side of the RV.

The lower part of the awning can be easily removed from the side of the RV and set on the ground for normal usage. This provides a vertical pole that is easier to navigate while using the awning. While in this position, the awning should be securely attached to a nearby object to hold the awning pole on the ground. A coil type anchor can be used, but the ground is often too hard to screw the anchor into the ground. A good weight can also be used, but most people do not carry extra weight in the RV. However it is secured, the awning must be secured to keep it from pulling on the side of the RV or having the wind throw the awning and poles over the top of the RV.

The best practice is to be around the RV while the awning is extended. If you leave the RV, either make sure it is properly secured or roll it up while you are away.Even if the awning is well secured, the awning fabric can be damaged by strong winds.

A little prevention may save you a lot of expense making a repair that could be avoided.

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About RVSurvey RV Inspection Service

RVSurvey was created to assist RV buyers to be better informed about their RV purchase decision. Using a detailed inspection checklist and the equipment required to thoroughly test the RV at the sellers location, the experienced RVSurvey inspector checks every component of the RV you are considering to purchase. The completed survey provides detailed information about the condition of the RV so that an informed purchase decision can be made. The RVSurvey inspection report can identify costly repairs that will have to be made to the RV and may effectively be used to negotiate a better purchase price with the seller.

RVSurvey also has a Do It Yourself RV Inspection Checklist that you can use to perform your own RV inspection. The Checklist contains detailed instructions on what to do and what to look for during the inspection. It is easy to use and guides you through the inspection process to make sure you perform a detailed and structured inspection.

Visit the RVSurvey web site at www.rvsurvey.com for more information.

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Joey Beds (Storage compartment trays)

On a trip from the storage facility to the house, in preparation for a trip, I turned a right-hand corner and heard a terrible crashing noise. I looked in my rearview mirror to see my Joey bed and all it’s contents sitting in the street. I stopped the coach and got out to investigate the damage. The Joey bed had jumped the rail that it rides on, crashed through the driver side bay door, broke the latch and ended up in the street. Luckily, two good samaritans stopped to help me remove the contents and pick up the bed and return it to the storage bay. After replacing the contents into the Joey bed, I carefully drove home, a short distance away.

Upon investigation, I noticed that the bed rails and the latch assembly were not in alignment. The latch barely caught the slots in the rail that are supposed to hold the bed in place. I was able to move the bed out on the rails and bend the latch slot in at each corner of the slot to get the latch to make better contact. Since I didn’t feel real comfortable about the ability of the latch to hold the Joey bed in place, I decided to add a dead bolt latch to each side of the Joey bed to provide a more secure safety latch. Now, if the Joey bed latch does not hold, the dead bolt latch will keep the bed from going through the door.

Luckily, there was no damage to the door, except for the broken handles on the bay doors. I was able to find replacement latch bolts from the handle manufacturer (TriMark Service & Replacement Parts). I replaced the latches (plastic) and the door is like new.

It turns out that Trimark seems to make handles and latches for most motorhomes. The replacement parts were under $5 versus handle replacement cost of around $35 each.

I recommend taking a look at your storage bays to make sure that your latches are securely holding your Joey beds in place. Mine is now secure.

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Dual Pane Window Seals

I have been seeing more dual pane windows with the seals pulled up into the window body. The heat generated due to outside storage seems to cause the seals to release from the window frame and get pulled up into the window area by the vacuum between the windows. I have seen this on all size windows. If I see one window seal pulled into the cavity, away from the frame, I usually see another.

When inspecting an RV, be sure to look closely at the edge of the window frame on the dual pane windows. There is no easy and inexpensive fix for the problem. The windows will have to be repaired or replaced as a unit. Repair cost can be $200 per window and up.

If a window begins or has a foggy appearance, the seal is the likely cause of the problem. Once the fog appears, it will get worse and is not likely that it will remain the same or improve.

The RV will have to be taken to a repair facility so the entire window frame can be removed and the glass seal replaced.

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Buying an RV

Buying an RV requires a lot of research. Buying an RV is a lot like buying a home and a car at the same time. When buying a home, we are led through the process based on industry accepted practices. Usually we have a realtor intermediate the purchase process between us and the seller. Once we have found the home we want and have negotiated the deal, we have inspections performed on the home to validate that the expected condition is what we think it is. When all reports are in and it looks like the purchase is going forward we have to decide about home
insurance, warranty policies and other services to make the home ready for our move.

Buying a car we do based on past experience, help from friends and relatives and lots of research (or not). We usually have a reason to purchase the new (or used) car. The old one is dying or is out of fashion or we are just tired of driving it.

Today there is loads of information about making a good choice in dealing with the seller. We have information about current values, dealer cost, warranties, insurance, maintenance and about anything you need to know about buying the car, you can find on the web.

In many ways, buying the dream RV merges the best and worst of the home and car buying experience. In most cases, RV buyers are purchasing an RV for the first time in their life. The dream of cruising the highways, changing a lifestyle or visiting familiar and favorite places drives the RV purchase decision and process. An RV is not a necessity like a home or car. It is a luxury (unless you plan to make it your home and transportation). The key to a successful RV purchase is working through the purchase process with all the knowledge you can obtain
and without the emotion of having what you want at all costs. Too many RV purchases are made without taking time to evaluate all the information associated with the transaction. Buying what we want makes us feel good. We deserve to have what we want because we have worked hard to obtain it. We have waited a long time for the moment we own that
dream RV. Unfortunately, all too often, the most unhappy RV owners are those that rushed into the decision without taking time to evaluate all the information and impact of the purchase decision. Take time to get all the information that you can about that dream RV. Stop and think about how it will really impact your life today, tomorrow, next year and after that. Maintenance, repair and storage costs don’t stop when you do not
use the RV. The RV will depreciate in value, not appreciate. The ecstasy of the purchase fades as time goes by. How you feel about the purchase in the future depends a great deal on how thorough you are through the purchase process.

RVSurvey helps with this process by providing an unbiased, independent RV inspection before you sign the purchase contract. Know what you are buying before your sign. For more information about our service, go to the www.rvsurvey.com website. If you have questions about the process, call us.