please help thinking of buying RV

Discussion in 'American RV's' started by fabweb, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. fabweb


    May 18, 2008
    finally got myself , wife and dogs home after losing our hymer 694 (stolen with everything in it)in rome 2 weeks ago.. we were on a year trip so we have no home at moment ...been offered a 1995 winnebago 454 it looks good and i would convert it to lpg to bring it on a par with hymer fuel consumption
    my questions are how good are they
    what should we be looking for in weak spots (if any).
    is the size a problem in german, austria, hungary, spain,portgual
    any information or advice wold be apprecitaed

    thank you
  2. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

    Jul 19, 2007
    Sutton on Sea
    How long is the Winnie?

    You can get most anywhere with an RV, but you cannot be too spontaneous and routes do require a bit of planning. Touring Europe in winter is OK but the size of an RV can be a pain in the summer when sites are full and manoeuvring is tight. Many sites might have the pitches but its justto tight to get to them. You get a lot for your money with an RV.

    My 3 tips for buying an RV..

    1. Damp
    Do not buy a damp RV, it will literally rot away. Use your nose, does it smell of damp. Study the roof lining and look for visible stains and water marks. Pay particular attention around the roof vent openings and where walls meet ceiling and where walls meet walls. Look for rust showing on any nails or screws or staples Look inside the overhead cabinets and check the ceiling. Mildew stains may show up as black spots on ceilings and walls. Check the exterior and see if there is opportunity for water ingress, look at all vents and roof fittings carefully see that all the seals are secure. Water ingress can also cause delamination.

    2. Delamination
    Most RV construction involves the outer layer being glued on, if this glue fails, the strength of the RV is seriously degraded. The clue is "bubbles" in the bodywork, they will be easily pushed in with the palm of your hand. Look along it and see if you can see any delamination. If so this can mean expensive repairs. In some RVs the floors are constructed the same way as the walls so bubbles in the floor are also delamination.

    3. Check the seller owns the vehicle.

    Don't buy unless you are 100% sure that the seller owns the vehicle, check all the documents, check finance details etc.
  3. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

    Jul 25, 2007
    Suffolk Coastal

    What figures are you using to come this conclusion and have you costed and calculated pay back on an LPG conversion ?

    Petrol RV 8 -10 mpg
    Diesel RV 14 - 15 mpg

    LPG converted will cost about the same to run as a diesel RV .. (at today's costs)

    My personal opinion is that unless you absolutely need the extra payload and the luxury of an RV I would buy another Hymer ..

  4. madbluemad

    madbluemad Banned

    Jan 26, 2008
    Hi fabweb

    I dont have the experience to answer your questions but very sorry to hear about your rv being stolen. I hope you had it well insured. What did the fuzz do to try and recover it ?

  5. kijana


    Sep 30, 2007
    Mostly in a car park.
    What a bummer - bad enough to have a vehicle stolen, but when it's your home, and all your stuff, that must be awful.

    If you're on an extended trip, or fulltiming, you may well appreciate the space & comfort of an RV over even a large European van. Also far more room to carry stuff (but watch your payload - it is surprising how quickly it mounts up, even with a bigger payload rating).

    In terms of what to look out for when buying, I would suggest the following aditional points:

    * Get all the service items demonstrated, & satisfy yourself you know how to work everything & they all function properly. These include slideout (if you have one); awning; generator; operation of aircon & furnace (both for hot water & cabin heating); cooker/microwave; fridge/freezer; water pump; function of black & grey water valves; battery charging & household electrics (12v & 240v circuits).

    * Try & check the date code on the tyres. The tread lasts for ages, and may not appear too worn, but the tyres may have been sitting in the sun for 7 or 8 years. and you could be looking at a £grand to replace them!

    * As well as test driving it yourself, sit in the back on a drive, and listen for any horrendous rattles or other untoward noises (though there will be some inevitably).

    Unless you are going to do enormous miles, I would agree with Scotjimland as regards conversion to LPG. Do the sums: expect to pay around £3000 for a good conversion, & then see how many miles you'll have to do to recover the conversion costs. Also, you may lose out on storage space if the gas tanks are installed in a locker. And LPG is virtually unobtainable in Spain.

    One very important point if you're fulltiming and touring in an RV. The downside of having all that lovely space is that they are large vehicles. This means you can't realistically pop down the shops for a baguette or a bottle of wine; you can't follow meandering cliffside roads down to lovely little beaches, and you can't drive into town centres with any chance of finding a parking space while you go sightseeing.

    So you need another smaller vehicle. We've towed a Smart on an A frame all over Europe for a couple of years with no problems. But if you don't want to A frame you could look into a little 50cc scooter on a rack at the back. We've used one of these too, and not yet found a hill it wouldn't go up even in the Austrian Tyrol.

    But if you don't have a smaller vehicle for daily use you will miss out to some degree, compared to a smaller European van.

    As to your proposed travels, we've fulltimed in an RV towing a Smart in France, Germany, Spain and Portugal with no problems. We also routinely wildcamp in France and Portugal again with no probs. FWIW, I reckon an RV is less likely to be nicked than a European van. They're much harder to get rid of on the secondhand market, and they're much harder to break into in the first place.

    To be fair, we have now moved downmarket from our RV to a small European van. We are still fulltiming in the baby van, but now going further afield. Having spent 2 years touring mainly France, Spain, & Portugal we felt we were getting in a bit of a rut. So we got a small van to permit us easier access to other bits of Europe (Austria, Slovenia & Italy so far, Greece & Turkey on the list) where the infrastructure isn't so easy for bigger vans. But we both really enjoyed the luxury & space of our beloved RV, and it certainly softened the blow of moving out of a house & into a van!

    Good luck in your future travels, whatever vehicle you buy.

  6. Griffs


    Aug 15, 2007

    We used to have a gulfstream ultra 24 ft deisel a good runner then just over a year ago we bought a fifth wheel :Doh::Doh: big mistake we then sold it and bought a 26ft winnebago b class petrol that will get an lpg conversion in a few months, it is only four years old so we are looking of at least ten years of using it. There are a lot of rv's out there for sale already converted and diesels but is it worth converting a vehicle of that year.
    My wife and I like this size of rv and would not swap it for any european; with a slide it beats them hands down, the only advice we can give is that has already been stated, is damp, plus we would not buy anything over thirty foot, freedom motorhomes sold a winni a class diesel around 25 ft a month ago about 1997 and it was immaculate that shows good vehicles are out there but just be carefull where you buy all the best.:thumb:

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