Sunday, January 10, 2010

RV Hell-Wrinkle

Today I am feeling deeply discouraged about our RV search. The Dolphin A class did not turn out to be a good idea for us. We got it inspected on Wednesday and found out that there were many big and small things wrong with the RV, including the slide that needed a new engine ($640 for the part, plus installation), and also maybe needing a new seal since water kept leaking into the RV. Next, the rear sway bars were gone ($200-500 for parts plus install), the leaf springs were gone ($200-500 for parts plus install), the rear main seal had an oil leak, transmission pan leaking, leaks around the exhaust system (which means it would likely not pass emission testing here in WA state), front struts were worn as well. Although the engine was mostly reported as solid, the extra work, plus the taxes, placed the RV several thousand dollars over the NADA price and it would have taken every penny we had to buy and repair it for the road. We had to say no.

This is where it got weird. The owner did not want to take no for an answer and overwhelmed us with emails, phone calls and a facebook friend request. I felt horrible for the family because they were hoping we would buy it. At first I figured one of the several other people who, I had been told several times, wanted to buy the rig outright would step up. But this turned out to be not entirely true. The emails and calls made me feel very uncomfortable (I will not get into the craziness here out of respect for the other party), and I finally had to have my husband call them – hoping a male voice would end the conversation. Regardless, it made my ending week horrible.

Some good did come out of all of this: the realization that should a 35’ RV break down in the middle of nowhere –we would be screwed. It took a lot of phone calls to find a place in Olympia to look at the whole RV and do a complete inspection. Finding a place with the correct kind of lift to elevate such a huge machine is a massive task. As such, and after talking at length about all of this after the last fiasco, we are going to look at a truck and 5th wheel or travel trailer combo. This might solve other problems as well: 1 vehicle insurance to pay for instead of two. If something goes wrong with the truck, it will be easier to get it fixed; we could do some boondocking and so on. It also adds some problems – we would have to buy 2 rather than 1 unit (a truck and a trailer or 5th wheel). Have a better understanding of towing capacities, needs and towing weight – all of which seems a bit complicated.

In the end, I hope this bad experience will turn out to be a good experience. I also hope the family of the RV we were looking at finds a nice buyer soon. I really wish them the best but to purchase their machine would have been a bad idea for us financially – what good would an RV be if we had no more money left to use it?!



  1. My girlfriend and i are looking for a truck and trailer combo as well. In the early autumn we are leaving the northwest and heading south and east, and the costs of rental vehicles and storage far outweigh the costs of a solid truck and trailer of our own. Things we've realized are that you need a helluva truck to haul a big trailer, and another thing to consider is that you may want a truck with a high ceilinged, locking and not leaking canopy for storage, and a fifth wheel makes this impossible.

  2. Chase, so are you two looking at full timing or a long vacation?

    We are presently looking for a F-350 Ford or Dodge 2500-3500 for the truck. We can only afford one that would be 10-15 years old sadly but what can you do? We should compare notes on trip prep. Where are you renting? Rebecca

  3. Okay, that guy just sounds creepy! SOrry you had to go through that and glad it's over. Eventually you might be able to laugh at it.

  4. Hi Trudy,

    it was all weird although I have to admit that I felt badly for the family - it got creepy because they are feeling a bit out of control of their own lives. and I wish them the best.

    But boy, are we having trouble getting a truck! Going to see one this weekend but still - hard to find what one wants! LOL Hope all is well with you. R


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