Recreational Vehicle Buyers GuideWritten by Jason Odom
Recreational Vehicle Buyers Guide
Service Records - If you're buying from an RV dealer and they can't produce something - you've got problems - possibly serious ones. If not, he'd be proudly displaying records. There should at least be receipts for repairs, service work, and possibly old owners manuals.
See http://busforsaleguide.com/rv_types.htm for advantages and disadvantages of each major class of recreational vehicle on market.
Body Leaks -Other than structural rust, I know of no other exterior related problem that will cost you as much money and cause you as many headaches as exterior body leaks. Body leaks are among most difficult to fix if body design is less than first rate. Front facing windows on many Class C's are nearly impossible to stop leaking due to flexing and stress.
I have been incredibly pleased with purchase of my 1993 Class A. However, wood over skeleton frame roofs like type Georgie Boy used in this coach has begun to sag between support tubes or "skeleton". The weight of air-conditioners, vents, my roof mounted kayaks, and walking up there to fix seams, has permanently created "ponding" issues. Price quote from my very trusted and competent local RV service center was $4,200 to rebuild my entire roof.
Ponding is water sitting on roof when coach is level. When this happens you have increased chances of leaks, bugs, slime and algae growth, and dirty water run off when you drive somewhere. Rounded formed fiberglass roofs are very best but only appear on newer coaches that were out of my price range.
I have seen $30,000 to $60,000 coaches nearly ruined by leaks that went unchecked. Be especially cautious if you see ANY delamination of side wall. I have never seen permanent damage fixed for less than $4,000 and that is WITHOUT a guarantee that it won't happen again. This is usually caused by poor roof and seam design.
Nearly everyone underestimates how serious this is. I know I almost bought one. Couldn't figure out why a great looking Santara diesel pusher would only cost $24,000. Then I walked around to drivers side and saw fiberglass body delaminating. I didn't think it looked too expensive to repair. I figured caulk seam and just screw panel back tighter to frame. Of course salesman agreed.
WRONG! People do not realize especially in older coaches that WOOD (yes I said WOOD) that is under fiberglass skin does offer quite a bit of stability, and rigidity of exterior. Once it gets wet for a prolonged period of time it rots, breaks down, and becomes heavy enough to cause entire skeleton to sag. Windows no longer fit right, seams pop open worse, storage doors underneath stick, and on and on. Do NOT buy an RV with this problem. It can cost as much as $13,000 to fix (highest horror story I have read about on RV chat logs thus far).
Body integrity is one of more important advantages that big solidly constructed bus conversions have over 95% of factory built RV's in use. Do NOT purchase an RV that has signs of leaking without a thorough plan for paying for and fixing problem. Otherwise, I can assure you, it will destroy your experience and investment in a short time.
Hybrid Vehicles Makes a Turn for the More Powerful Vehicles in the Auto Industry:Written by Jenny McLane
It is common knowledge among car enthusiasts and car owners that bigger vehicle, bigger amount of fuel it consumes. With this in mind, several automobile producers have begun diverting a big chunk of their efforts to producing more hybrid 4x4s in year 2005.
Taking on Fleet First. The big three - Ford, Dodge and General Motors have seemed to agree that 2005 is perfect opportunity to introduce hybrid versions of some very popular vehicles.
Ford Introduces Ford Escape Hybrid, first vehicle to combine SUV capability with outstanding fuel economy and low environmental impact of a full hybrid. "Full" hybrid means it automatically switches between pure electric power, pure gasoline or diesel engine power or a combined operation to optimize efficiency and performance. The no frills Escape Hybrid drives normally, performs superbly and offers all features you'd expect from SUV leader. The Hybrid Ford Escape features lots of room, comfortable seating for five, an adaptable cargo area, 1000-pound towing capacity, and an optional Intelligent 4WD System which produces same all-weather grip and off-road competence available in conventional Escape models. Full hybrids can achieve 50% or more improvement in fuel economy during traffic induced stop-and-go type of driving, wherein electric motor is most efficient. The Escape Hybrid delivers more than 75% fuel economy improvement in city driving when weighed against a conventional V-6 powered Escape XLT. The Escape Hybrid can travel more than 400 miles in city driving on a single tank of gasoline. Ford has already manufactured and sold 4,000 units Ford Escape Hybrid in 2004 and its resounding success has prompted it to build a “modest” 20,000 more for 2005. Ford wants to make sure it is not just a fad and people would see practical, economical and environmental impact a Hybrid vehicle can induce. The Escape Hybrid costs $3,300 more than V-6 powered Escape.
Dodge and General Motors follow suit. Ford has been first to produce and set bar in large vehicle Hybrid market segment and Dodge and GM cannot afford to lag behind. General Motors and Dodge are not that far behind though. In last quarter of 2004, General Motors introduced electric hybrid versions of its 2005 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. The trucks were only available to those who are in Florida, California, Nevada, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington. GM expects to produce about 2,500 units in 2005 - 1,875 Silverados and 625 Sierras - with hopes of launching vehicles on a national scale by 2006. Dodge manufactured only 100 diesel-electric 2005 RAM pickups, targeted for utility company fleets. The diesel will produce better fuel economy, with an additional 15% mpg boost over conventional diesel Ram coming from electric side. Diesels are generally considered more “environmentally disastrous” on ecological front. The Dodge Ram Diesel Hybrid is expected to sell for around $40,000 a somewhat larger cost than non-hybrid models.
Heftier Price Tags. Although price tags may vary from state to state, average increase for cost for a Hybrid option may run well up to $3,000. The GM versions of Hybrid engine are soft-hybrids, which mean that an electric motor provides a boost up on accelerations. The GM version of a hybrid large vehicle has a stop-start system that turns off gasoline engine at traffic lights. It possesses a 120-volt, 2,400-watt generator system that can provide power for electrical equipments. The Silverado and Sierra hybrids also serves as power generators, with two conventional, three-prong plug-ins that can be found under rear seat, two extra plug-ins can also be found in rear bed of trucks. The four 120-volt, 20 amp electrical supplementary power outlets can supply power for electric coolers, electric ranges, sound systems video consoles and other electrical equipments that can be lugged around. The power supply can be utilized while engine is running or even after engine is cut and keys are taken out of ignition. Ground fault detection systems are installed in power supply circuits so that overloads and short circuits can be prevented. According to General Motors, new hybrid pickups could sustain enough power to last for up to 32 hours non-stop before needing to fill tank again. This function new feature proved to be very useful when GM loaned some of their new Hybrids’ to hurricane stricken Florida when they were used for some relief operations, they were vital in some areas were electricity was incapacitated. The hybrid models of Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks are foreseen to develop fuel savings of up to 10% over analogous trucks without hybrid benefit.