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Old 01-18-2017, 03:06 PM   #1
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Looking for your opinion

Hello to everybody and I'd like to say thanks to everyone that helps us poor newbies.
I've been researching and looking for the right RV for my wife and I for about 4 years and now we're ready. I think I've found a good deal on a nice used coach, it's a 1999 Winnebago chieftain 34Y. I've only seen pictures but the salesperson called me when this came in(I'd worked with recently and she was honest about the flaws in the coach I was look at then) she says it's been really well cared for(thanks to some OCD) and is in great shape. the pictures support her claims but she is a salesperson plus I've not been looking at units this old because I didn't know they could be financed, forgive me I ramble. Before I pull the trigger on spend the money on a flight to go see it I's really appreciate any input you have about what to look for, the hard to see/ find if you're not looking for it stuff, and you opinion about the line, good bad ugly whatever you have to share. You know, you don't know what you don't know! Are there problem areas to look out? Are they reliable?
I've googled every variation of words I can think of and I'm not found the answers I'm looking for.
Thanks for your input.
Tom N
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:14 PM   #2
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Might be true about the financing, I don't know, I haven't bought a used rig (up till the Magna) since 1988.
Best to hire someone and have the whole rig inspected before signing on the dotted line and even then you could be "surprised" like we were.
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Old 01-18-2017, 03:32 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum. You need to add a little more info so others can help you. How much do they want for the MH, what did they tell you it needed, what is your budget, how mechanically inclined you are, and what exactly are you looking for and how you intend on using it. Sometimes a good deal is not always what it seems and you can spend thousands in upgrades or repairs, when you could have saved money spending a little more on the front end and getting a newer year model that doesn't need any immediate work. Some things that may need addressed right away are tires and batteries, that can be a few thousand dollars right off the bat. Either way if you decide to buy this MH, have it inspected by an independent RV Inspector prior to making any commitments or signing any documents. Sales people are there to sell, that is their job. Occasionally you find one who is honest and will not take advantage of you or mislead you, ie I think the financing may be an issues on a MH that old.

Your job is to spend your money wisely and don't get caught up in the excitement of buying a MH. Get exactly what you want, it is out there. We spent two years looking for the MH we have now. Had we of bought the one that a salesman convinced us was a great deal for about $50,000 less, it would have been a disaster and we wouldn't have been happy. Then we would have had to sell that MH, lose money, and end up buying what we really wanted to begin with. We did our research and ended up with the best MH for us and saved money in the process.
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:23 PM   #4
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Mr D thanks for the input and I can verify that financing an older R is possible, at least thru USAA as long as it's in the NADA.
Mike & Charlotte They are asking 18K, my budget, I'm comfortable up to 50-55K. I'm mechanically inclined but terribly slow these days. I would really like a diesel pusher and I've got my eye on one just two hours from home and 45K for a 2005. The really nice thing about the Winnebago is it's Flawless, the tires are 8 months old, batteries forgot to ask. Working on locating an RV inspector. I've been told that the unit is tip top and nothing wrong. Thanks again for your help
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:32 PM   #5
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Mr D thanks for the input and I can verify that financing an older R is possible, at least thru USAA as long as it's in the NADA.
Mike & Charlotte They are asking 18K, my budget, I'm comfortable up to 50-55K. I'm mechanically inclined but terribly slow these days. I would really like a diesel pusher and I've got my eye on one just two hours from home and 45K for a 2005. The really nice thing about the Winnebago is it's Flawless, the tires are 8 months old, batteries forgot to ask. Working on locating an RV inspector. I've been told that the unit is tip top and nothing wrong. Thanks again for your help
Just remember that an RV 6 years newer will have newer and most likely better technology, both on the chassis and Coach itself. If the Winnebago is really flawless, then that may be the way to go to see if you really like it and will use it as planned. Just make sure you have it inspected, and have any repairs needed negotiated into the sale. Don't feel that you wasted money for airfare if you fly out and don't love it, or it is not what you expected. Look at it as you saved yourself some problems.
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:45 PM   #6
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I was concerned that the 275hp V10 may not have the power to tow my trailer with 2 ATV's or a medium size car but I was told the previous owner had a GMC Arcadia without a problem so that's great if it's true
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Old 01-18-2017, 04:46 PM   #7
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Mr D thanks for the input and I can verify that financing an older R is possible, at least thru USAA as long as it's in the NADA.
Mike & Charlotte They are asking 18K, my budget, I'm comfortable up to 50-55K. I'm mechanically inclined but terribly slow these days. I would really like a diesel pusher and I've got my eye on one just two hours from home and 45K for a 2005. The really nice thing about the Winnebago is it's Flawless, the tires are 8 months old, batteries forgot to ask. Working on locating an RV inspector. I've been told that the unit is tip top and nothing wrong. Thanks again for your help
I was told the same thing. Found a few things wrong. Bad lift pump - 1200.00, leaking low water drain valve, TCM faulty leading to a no start condition (still wondering if I will end up paying for that at 2700.00) and havent gone 50 miles in the rig - it has never officially left the dealership since my test drive. Get it in writing if they are so sure. On my closing I had a stipulation they had to provide an ECM diagnostic report to ensure no known issues. They haven't provided it yet! I believe the TCM issue is why hey haven't done so. In essence, they are in breach if I want to go that route.

Also had a leaking steering gear box, hoses and belts were shot.
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:02 PM   #8
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Jim Thank you for your service and your advise, and that's exactly what I'm worried about because when I leave the dealership I have 700 miles ahead of me. I'm hoping the inspection fill root out any catastrophic issues, kinda banking on it actually
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:10 PM   #9
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Jim Thank you for your service and your advise, and that's exactly what I'm worried about because when I leave the dealership I have 700 miles ahead of me. I'm hoping the inspection fill root out any catastrophic issues, kinda banking on it actually
Thank you. I was wondering about your user name since it has some connotations for me

Inspectors worth their salt are hard to find. What city is the rig located in? Maybe someone here knows a good inspector.

FYI - everyone told me to get fluids analysis done - but the dealer had changed them all out before I could get samples. I had a DOT safety inspector come out and look things over for a fee. He found the belts, hoses, and leak. I did the house inspection myself and no real issues found.
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Old 01-18-2017, 05:25 PM   #10
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I was concerned that the 275hp V10 may not have the power to tow my trailer with 2 ATV's or a medium size car but I was told the previous owner had a GMC Arcadia without a problem so that's great if it's true
That isn't much HP. The rule of thumb is 100lbs/1HP minimum if you're going to be towing. So ask the seller how much the rig weights. If you're down in the 85lbs/hp, you're good to tow in comfort. And will hardly know the toad is back there.
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Old 01-18-2017, 06:17 PM   #11
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Jim I am retired Navy(14 years now) but I have to give credit to my DW for the nifty moniker, she came up with it when I was an E-4 and we were newly weds.
The rig is in Springfield, OH and if you know someone that can help that would be great.
Jim Hitech, Thanks for the formula it really puts my mind at ease because it's coming out to 75lbs per horse. I'm told that this coach is like new so I've got a deposit on it and I will go over it a fine tooth comb, just hope my comb isn't missing some teeth.....
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Old 01-18-2017, 10:01 PM   #12
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Jim I am retired Navy(14 years now) but I have to give credit to my DW for the nifty moniker, she came up with it when I was an E-4 and we were newly weds.
The rig is in Springfield, OH and if you know someone that can help that would be great.
Jim Hitech, Thanks for the formula it really puts my mind at ease because it's coming out to 75lbs per horse. I'm told that this coach is like new so I've got a deposit on it and I will go over it a fine tooth comb, just hope my comb isn't missing some teeth.....
Cool. Thought maybe you were an ex CO on a tin can or something. My old co had his ship hull # as his license plate lol

I am in Denver so don't know Ohio at all. Hopefully someone will come along with an inspector recommendation in the area.

Welcome to the forum though!
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Old 01-19-2017, 07:39 AM   #13
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Check with one of these RV repair centers, and find out if you can just bring the rig in for an inspection, full PDI style. By a certified RV tech (that's important). A good shop does not care where you buy. Your seller should not mind you having a 'Survey' done by a qualified shop. You'll have to pay for the fuel and mileage you put on the rig, plus the $200 - $300 you'll pay for the survey. Here's the shops in Columbus nearest Springfield: RVServiceReviews

It's best to read those reviews before selecting a shop.

You can also type into Google, Mobile RV Repair in Columbus and you'll get a few links. Best to call and feel them out as far as competency. A mobile service should have lots of expirience doing surveys, from a quick once over type to an in depth inspection, and the tech needs to be RV certified. Expect it to take 3-5 hours for a thorough inspection including road test. You'll have to pay a premium for having them drive all the way over to Springfield but they've probably done it before.

A thorough PDI takes hours, including the planning and selecting a survey crew, so you should plan your trip over there to include a night or two in a motel. It would be cool if the seller is willing to let you camp out in the RV a night or two, so don't hesitate to ask. It would help if it has AC power. They might even let you drive it to a nearby RV park for an overnight stay. Gives you a chance to test things in person.

Good luck.
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Old 01-19-2017, 09:10 AM   #14
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Thanks for input but I got a call this morning that someone else got their deposit in before me so unless he's financing falls through That one is gone. The story of my life day late and a dollar short....maybe it a sign I should get the diesel...I really appreciate all the advice from everyone and look forward to contributing to the effort in the future
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