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Old 07-24-2011, 08:43 AM   #1
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Newbie Questions On Possible Used C Purchase

Hello everyone...

We are currently in a pop-up & looking to move into a C for an easier experience. We've been looking for a couple weeks (4 dealers in person, 2 more via phone but nothing in our price range at them, & 1 private sale). I think we found it yesterday. It's a '05 Minnie 31C with about 20,000 miles & about 100 hrs on the generator at a dealer.

I drove the unit. I know zippo about engines. It fired right up & drove very smooth though. There was no wander in the front end. I was looking for that as another unit I drove had quite a bit of wander.

I looked extensively at the roof, cabover, in closets, etc & found no signs of any water stains. The dealer said it was stored indoors which I know helps. It was also the cleanest unit I've ever looked at having seen probably 25 - 50 pop up's & C's over time.

I am just a real cautious person though figuring that someone turned it in because there's problems. We bought two pop up's new because we couldn't find one that fit the bill. I'd like to do that here too but can't justify such a massive depreciation hit on a toy. My being so cautious popped a lot of questions into my head overnight. I'd appreciate any help from the group:

- Chasis: I've read a lot about Ford making a big improvement right around '05 (something about spark plugs especially). I'm thinking it's on an '04 chasis though because the shifter says "overdrive" instead of "tow haul" (learned from the web that's a visual clue). Would getting an '04 chasis be a deal breaker to anyone?

- Flooring: There was vinyl in the main area. The only carpeted areas were the cab, under the dinette, & the bedroom. The vinyl is appealing to us since we have kids with dirty feet! I found the '05 Minnie brochure on the web & know that much vinyl is not stock. I'm pretty sure it was never a rental with that low mileage. Anything to look for there?

- Slide: The slide took maybe around 30 - 40 seconds to open & then the same time to close. I did another slide on a Fleetwood that was very quick (5 - 10 seconds) at a different dealer & recall the dealer saying it was so fast because it was a hydraulic system. So, is 30
- 40 seconds normal for a Minnie slide or a problem?

- Generator: Right away, the dealer said it may not fire up as the gas gauge was below 1/4. It turned over but never "caught". Is that 1/4 of gas tank thing true or was the dealer just trying to mask a known problem?

- Other stuff: The unit was plugged in so I tested as much other stuff such as light switches, microwave, etc as I could. Everything worked. The only thing I noticed the LP detector by the floor didn't have a green power light indicating it was working. The dealer said that would be repaired as part of their pre-purchase inspection.

- Speaking of inspection: I called several dealers & RV repair places & they're scheduling inspections for mid to late August. So, I'm obviously going this alone. The dealer gave me a sheet with what they look at. I know full well they won't get into extensive repairs. The thing that caught me though is it's $995. I was surprised by that. Realize the entire pricing thing is negotiable but is charging for that typical?

I spent a couple hours with the unit. Unfortunately the wife is out of town so she won't be able to see until mid week. And I'll be out of town when she looks. With low mileage, Winnebago being above average, what looks to be a well cared for unit, & the dealer checking the house stuff, I'm thinking it's OK. But I found out it's sat at the dealer for a couple months so somebody must have passed it by. Needless to say, any help would be appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:31 AM   #2
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Hi Paulmlac,
We bought a new 2011 Itasca Cambria 30C ( previously had a pop-up) not used but it is a class c Winnebago. We ordered thru a dealer directly from Winnebago. They make and always have made a quality unit. We ordered ours with no carpet because we have dogs and even the nicest camgrounds are dirty so vinyl is an option on the winnies. Ours drives very easily and we notice only very minor wander in high winds or when a semi speeds by (not during normal passing). Our 3 slides take about 5-10 second each (maybe an upgrade fron an 05). The unit could have been a trade in so the original owner could have upgraded to a bigger winny. You could ask the dealer for the previous owners info (it will be on the title) and ask why they traded it. On most gas fired generators, they will not start if you are under 1/4 tank, this is so you can still start the motorhome and go fill up. The generator should be exercised under load (run the ac) for about a half hour every month. If it has been sitting for a few months I would request a full genny service pre-purchase (dealers pays not you). As part of the dealer PDI (pre delivery inspection) the dealer should check and fix or replace (some just check-you should ask them) anything on the list they gave you. The price seems about right for an inspection by a dealer, but if it has been sitting for 4 months you may be able to get the dealer wave it (he has carrying costs for the unit so it might be worth it for him to get it off the books). You should also print out one of the many PDI lists and do you own. We did this on our new Itasca and did find things the dealer missed. Also where it is an 05 and has sat at the dealer for a few months you should check the tire date codes and for sidewall cracks. If there is cracking or the tire are 05 date codes have the dealer replace or reduce the unit price. Hope this helps you out.
Todd
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulmlac View Post
Hello everyone...

We are currently in a pop-up & looking to move into a C for an easier experience. We've been looking for a couple weeks (4 dealers in person, 2 more via phone but nothing in our price range at them, & 1 private sale). I think we found it yesterday. It's a '05 Minnie 31C with about 20,000 miles & about 100 hrs on the generator at a dealer.

I drove the unit. I know zippo about engines. It fired right up & drove very smooth though. There was no wander in the front end. I was looking for that as another unit I drove had quite a bit of wander.

I looked extensively at the roof, cabover, in closets, etc & found no signs of any water stains. The dealer said it was stored indoors which I know helps. It was also the cleanest unit I've ever looked at having seen probably 25 - 50 pop up's & C's over time.

I am just a real cautious person though figuring that someone turned it in because there's problems. We bought two pop up's new because we couldn't find one that fit the bill. I'd like to do that here too but can't justify such a massive depreciation hit on a toy. My being so cautious popped a lot of questions into my head overnight. I'd appreciate any help from the group:

- Chasis: I've read a lot about Ford making a big improvement right around '05 (something about spark plugs especially). I'm thinking it's on an '04 chasis though because the shifter says "overdrive" instead of "tow haul" (learned from the web that's a visual clue). Would getting an '04 chasis be a deal breaker to anyone?

- Flooring: There was vinyl in the main area. The only carpeted areas were the cab, under the dinette, & the bedroom. The vinyl is appealing to us since we have kids with dirty feet! I found the '05 Minnie brochure on the web & know that much vinyl is not stock. I'm pretty sure it was never a rental with that low mileage. Anything to look for there?

- Slide: The slide took maybe around 30 - 40 seconds to open & then the same time to close. I did another slide on a Fleetwood that was very quick (5 - 10 seconds) at a different dealer & recall the dealer saying it was so fast because it was a hydraulic system. So, is 30
- 40 seconds normal for a Minnie slide or a problem?

- Generator: Right away, the dealer said it may not fire up as the gas gauge was below 1/4. It turned over but never "caught". Is that 1/4 of gas tank thing true or was the dealer just trying to mask a known problem?

- Other stuff: The unit was plugged in so I tested as much other stuff such as light switches, microwave, etc as I could. Everything worked. The only thing I noticed the LP detector by the floor didn't have a green power light indicating it was working. The dealer said that would be repaired as part of their pre-purchase inspection.

- Speaking of inspection: I called several dealers & RV repair places & they're scheduling inspections for mid to late August. So, I'm obviously going this alone. The dealer gave me a sheet with what they look at. I know full well they won't get into extensive repairs. The thing that caught me though is it's $995. I was surprised by that. Realize the entire pricing thing is negotiable but is charging for that typical?

I spent a couple hours with the unit. Unfortunately the wife is out of town so she won't be able to see until mid week. And I'll be out of town when she looks. With low mileage, Winnebago being above average, what looks to be a well cared for unit, & the dealer checking the house stuff, I'm thinking it's OK. But I found out it's sat at the dealer for a couple months so somebody must have passed it by. Needless to say, any help would be appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:36 AM   #3
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HAve you tried a mobile RV tech to see if they would be willing to check the RV out? They would come right to the dealer and you could watch and take part? Maybe they are more available. If you can find one who has been in business for quite a while chances are he/she is a good one.

The generator will not run when the gas goes down below a certain level. This is so you do not run yourself out of gas with generator while you are out somewhere.

The LP detector sounds as though it is unpluggged. That could mean it had been going off a lot; which could be a sign of a bad detector (they go out, and they also go off for more reasons than a leak) when they do they become less reliable. It can also mean a leak which is fairly easy to detect by a qualified tech, They will just measure any pressure drop in your system---takes about five ten minutes.

Vynyl---well the previous owners could have had kids as well----but check it out. Does the floor feel solid? Can you see underneath? Any evidence close top the wall and floor of any water? Carpet wears out quickly so having it replaced is not unusual---but a definate thing to ask about and check.

The slide should not take that long----but I have no experience with hydraulic---but still?
If they are electric it could just be battery, certainly something to persure and get an answer.

Dealers charge for anything they can-----negotiate---if I understand correctly they wanted $995. to inspect------I would not pay that-----speaking for myself.

I'm not a Winnie guy or a Ford person so I cannot respond to the other things.

It sounds like you do not have to hurry (it is not a good idea when buying anyway) since the rig has been there a while---not all together a mystery given the economy---take your time----and keep asking those good questions------soon you will know what is the best decision for you. Remember you are in a buyers market---lots to buy not as many buyers right now----the drivers seat!!!!!!!

Someone will come along here that knows a lot more than I and give you more information on the chasis etc;

Good luck---let us know what happens..............
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:41 PM   #4
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Welcome to the best RV Message Board !!!

Looks like you have a good idea on what you are looking at.. I would ask the dealer to put some gas in it to give that generator a good one hour run while you are checking it out.. While the generator is running turn everything on.. Look at it while its raining outside to check for leaks. Ask to have water in the fresh water tank, turn on the water heater and the pump, run all the faucets. Also with it being a 05 I would plan on replacing the tires if they are original regardless or their condition.

See if they will give you a a warrantee on the engine / transmission / chassis for at least 3 months or 5,000 miles. If the previous owner was trying to hide anything it should show up within that time. Or at least a 30 day / 1,000 mile.

That is what I can think of for now.... Best of luck..
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Old 07-24-2011, 03:10 PM   #5
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Most motorhomes have a dip tube that feeds the generator and it is located at about the 1/4 level mark to keep you from draining the tank while on generator.

As for rad wander, most larger class C's on the Ford E-450 chassis have a tendency toward what is termed as bump steer. We went through this with our 1999 31' Minnie Winnie.

The C chassis is loaded pretty heavily so be sure and have the dealer weigh the rig and see how much room you really have left for cargo. Loaded for a trip we were within 100# of the chassis limit of 14,050#. If we filled the water tank, the rear axle was over weight and the front axle went light.

The bump steer is caused by the anti-roll bars being too weak on the stock chassis. We added the heavy RoadMaster anti-roll bars with urethane bushings and heavy duty Bilstein shock absorbers on both the front and rear. once this was done, it drove like a dream.

The bump steer may not become evident until you get the coach loaded. It is the coach rolling from side to side and the steering geometry changes enough to require steering corrections to counter the roll. You wind up going down the road see-sawing back and forth on the steering wheel.

Rather than a large class C, I'd look at small class A's. The chassis and suspension are designed to carry a load better and you ususlly have more cargo carrying capacity.

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Old 07-24-2011, 04:21 PM   #6
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^^ Great point on the carrying capacity with all fluids full. That is one of the larger class C's..
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Old 07-29-2011, 03:34 PM   #7
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UPDATE:

Just got back from the dealer from a 2nd look & decided to not buy the unit.

Two issues...

The first was the more minor one. The dealer had put gas in the unit. The generator fired up fine. It ran AC fine. However, when I turned on the microwave at the same time, no go. The generator stayed running but the AC & microwave stopped running.

The second was the biggie. As we were walking around outside, feeling the sides for delam, we noticed some. It was on the side at the back right. It was right outside the shower area. It ran up & down. It was about 2/3 the height of the unit. It was about 3 fingers width wide. It wasn't sticking out a lot but was noticable once you knew it was there. I checked inside the shower & felt it was properly caulked there. My guess is the issue was the skylight at the top. In any event, we walked.

Thanks, again, for everyone's help. I've learned a lot so far. I may be back with more questions later. Still looking...
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:15 PM   #8
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Sorry to hear about your findings. Keep looking I'm sure you will find a keeper.
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:42 AM   #9
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Watch the rear axle weight on any C over about 28 feet, unless it's on the longest wheelbase chassis. When we were shopping last spring we saw several 31-footers with very long rear overhang. I've come across a few stories on here and on RV.net where the rig can't be driven if the potable water or holding tanks are full.

We decided on a Class A in the end, because we didn't trust thos very long Class Cs and couldn't afford the "Super C" types (too new).
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Old 07-30-2011, 03:20 PM   #10
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We started with a fifth wheel, moved on to a Class C 31'. We didn't like sleeping in the cab over and we had to put our handicapped son in the other bed. Bought a 35' Class A with a handicap conversion. It worked well but our son was spending less time with us and we wanted more room for extended time in the motor home and now have a 38' with washer and dryer. Most RVs are not traded because some thing is wrong with them, but because people want some thing that they don't have in their present motor home, so they trade. For the most part a two or three year old unit is a much better buy than brand new. First they are about 50% less cost, next they have the problems worked out under warranty and last they probably have a lot of additional accessories that you would be adding. All of the RVs we have left behind were good buys for who ever bought them and had a lot of additional value added to them, such as solar power, inverters and additional battery capacity.
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Old 07-30-2011, 05:30 PM   #11
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I agree with the above post. Ours was six years old (35,000 miles) and sure I had some things that needed to be taken care of but from what I read purchasing new is not like buying a new car.

Make sure you have a couple of $$ set aside to make repairs when purchasing new.
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Old 07-30-2011, 05:38 PM   #12
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Make sure you have a few $$$$$$ set aside whether you buy new or used. Something always seems to creep into the picture when your not expecting it to happen. Sorry that rig didn't work out but you did your homework in inspecting it. Don't ever put down your guard and if you have some questions always ask. Someone down the road has usually fallen into something a lot of us have not as far thinking we know all there is to know about the working systems. It's an education in progress.
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