Another Used RV Inspection Story!

Howard and Pam got a chance to help another client with a used RV purchase.  They wanted to share their story as it is another example of an RV, and given that it’s a higher end unit and it should be treated as such, it was lacking in a little bit of care.

So here is the RV, a Country Coach Magna 630 Rembrandt Series.

rv inspection

From what they could find out from the owner, he was the second owner and he bought it from the first.  Howard and Pam’s client was the potential buyer who found it on RVTrader.  It was located about two hundred miles from his location and he went to go look at it and drive it.

Once he got back home he decided to seek the assistance of a professional RV inspection company to really give the RV a good going over.  He also wanted all the fluids in the RV analyzed to be sure the motorized components of the RV had been taken care of.  This is something that Howard and Pam offer their clients so they can better evaluate the really expensive components in the RV.

Once the inspection is started, many things are verified, but first some important documents are searched for.  Here is one of them.  It is the build sheet that documents all the pieces of equipment the manufacturer placed in the RV.   That information is verified against the installed equipment to be sure changes have not been made.  The vehicle data plate is also evaluated to be sure the vehicle year is correct and the correct tires are installed.

rv inspection

Once the initial verifications have been done, including an RV hot skin test (looking for a dangerous voltage that is evident at touch points on the RV) Howard heads off to the roof while Pam starts to evaluate the inside.  Here are the pictures of the roof looking from the front and the back.

In typical fashion for an RV of this caliber, there are lots of roof penetrations.  It is Howard’s job to be sure that all the sealant joints around them are keeping the water out of the RV.  It just takes small cracks and holes to start to degrade the roof structure.  At the time of the RV inspection, the roof was in need of some cleaning.

rv inspection
rv inspection

While up on the roof Howard noticed many things that were in need of attention.  On the curbside front, it was observed that there were small cracks starting to appear in the fiberglass cap.

rv inspection

On the streetside rail trim about midway along the coach, there was a crack in the trim.  This area could allow water to penetrate the RV.

rv inspection

Also, on the streetside front, it was observed that there were small cracks starting to appear in the fiberglass cap.

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Howard observed that all of the sealants had been painted over with a light coat of some kind of white sealant paint.  It was now faded and starting to show signs of cracking, as well as the sealant underneath.  The kitchen vent is shown here as an example of this situation.

rv inspection

Howard also noticed that the cooling fins for the rear air conditioner unit were bent.  This can impede the efficiency of the unit if the condition is too severe.  Howard also performed a Delta-T test on all units to verify their current cooling capability.

rv inspection

The RV has an electric TV antenna that allows the operator to raise and lower as well as turn the antenna from inside the RV.  This was not functional.  As you can see from the picture, one of the mechanical arms was broken.

rv inspection

The inspector also observed a crack in the dome of the satellite dish.  This will allow water into the unit.  Also, from the scratches on the unit it can be concluded that it has come in contact with a few tree branches, however, the inspector does not draw that conclusion in the actual report.  He only presents the facts of what is observed.

rv inspection

The inspector also observed that the coax cable that joins the satellite dish was not covered by the rubber boot that was supposed to be over the connecting point.  This could allow corrosion to develop and degrade the signal to the TV.

rv inspection

The inspector also observed that a piece of sealant tape had been applied to the roof at the base of the ladder and it was painted over.  Was there a crack there that was being covered?

rv inspection

The inspector found a few starburst cracks in the windshield that the owner stated had been repaired by Safelite.  The inspector, having done windshield repair thought the repair job was not done adequetly as they were not optically clear as they should be for damage of that type.  Again, this is the opinion of the inspector.  His job is to point out defects and raise questions that in the mind of the buyer that could cost him money after he purchases it.  It is better to know about these things before buying it!  The RV inspection report becomes the negotiation tool.

rv inspection

The front molded cap of the RV had numerous issues that are pointed out in the photo.

rv inspection

The cargo doors on the curbside of the RV all had issues with their pistons that raise and hold the door fully open.  Each one of these can be fifty to one hundred dollars.  If one has to buy ten of them, that should be considered when it comes time to negotiate the RV selling price.

rv inspection

The inspector found damage on the front streetside corner of the RV.

rv inspection

He also found bubbling paint on the streetside rear slideout on the lower portion of the T-molding.

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The cargo doors between the two streetside slideouts came in contact with each other when opening them.

rv inspection

The streetside lower rear corner of the RV had significant damage to the molded fiberglass cap.

rv inspection

There was also damage to the lower curbside rear corner as well.

rv inspection

While up on the ladder the inspector observed that the rubber flap that prevents water from getting behind the door awning was coming loose.  It was visible to the inspector while examining the front cap of the RV.

rv inspection

One of the slideouts had issues with the rubber blade seals and how they are protecting the corner so water does not penetrate the interior from this area.  Any place where water can enter the RV will become a future issue!

rv inspection

The blade seals on some of the slideouts were dry and in need of lubricant.

rv inspection

Some of the other blade seals were not sweeping out as they were supposed to when the slideout was extended.  This can also allow water to penetrate the interior of the RV.

rv inspection

The front streetside slideout had an interesting issue.  While looking in the storage bays a piece of metal trim was found.  At first, the inspector did not know where this came from.  But, once he got to this area the light bulb came on.  It belonged here.  It had come off and all that was there was the adhesive tape that was holding it.  The trim piece looks like it got hung up in the slideout mechanism and fell off.

rv inspection

rv inspection

The client mentioned to the inspector that he was concerned about the front wheel bearings.  Well, what an NRVIA inspector does is a ninety percent visual inspection only.  Things cannot be taken apart.  But, with proper training, things can be noticed strictly by just looking in the right places.  While looking at both the front tires, just behind the center hubcap, oil streaks could be seen that were perpendicular to it.  This would occur while the assembly was in motion as leaking oil from the oil bath bearings was trying to escape, possibly from a leaking seal.

rv inspection

The inspector also crawls around the perimeter of the RV to get a good look a the undercarriage.  The inspector is looking for bent and damaged components, leaking oil, excessive rust, and things that just don’t look right.

rv inspection

rv inspection

Here the inspector found a damaged mud flap on the rear curbside tag axle.  When discussing things with the owner, he disclosed that the tire had a blowout and was replaced.  He also stated it took out the ABS sensor as it was not working on the dash controls.

He also stated the tires had been replaced less than a year ago.  But, the inspector found out that by the date of birth codes on the tires that they were manufactured over two years ago.  A fact the tire dealership did not disclose to him.

rv inspection

The inspector pulled seven fluid samples out of the RV: the engine oil, the transmission oil, the engine coolant, the generator oil, the generator coolant, the hydraulic oil, and the Hydro-Hot coolant.  Four of the seven samples were okay, but the other three came back with abnormal to critical results.

The engine oil came back in the normal range with about 7,000 miles on the oil and a total of 94,221 miles on the engine, at the time of the inspection.  So, that was comforting to the potential buyer of the RV!

Howard usually sees a sixty-seven percent rate of abnormal to critical results in his testing samples.  So this RV inspection was below those averages, but still quite concerning.  These type of results can become another negotiation tool with the owner of the vehicle!  Or, if they are severe enough, that may be a signal for the buyer to walk away from the purchase of the RV!

rv inspection

rv inspection

rv inspection

The engine area was a bit dirty possibly indicating a lack of maintenance.

rv inspection

While crawling around underneath of the rear of the RV the inspector found leaking of hydraulic fluid where the hoses attach to the hydraulic cooling fan motor.

rv inspection

While doing the electrical investigation of the RV inspection the inspector found a fuse that was not working.   Also, the electrical panel was also opened up and the internal wiring was evaluated for any overheating issues.

rv inspection

The twelve and a half thousand watt generator was tested under fifty percent load to see how it performed and the results documented.  The picture below shows the voltage and frequency of the generator operating under load and performing as it should.

rv inspection

When it came to the water systems investigation of the RV inspection process, the inspector hooked up both water and sewer to test all those systems.  In this case, after a few minutes, the hose real in the streetside plumbing bay started to leak.  There was staining in that area from previous times the unit was hooked up to water.

rv inspection

The safety systems check of an RV is one of the most important parts of the inspection process.  All detectors, fire extinguishers, the propane system, and emergency exit windows are evaluated.  In this case, all the detectors were original equipment and out of date.

rv inspection

rv inspection

While Howard was outside evaluating and testing systems, Pam was inside checking all interior appliances, walls, ceilings, doors, drawers, floors, looking for soft spots and water damage.  She also notices things like this, ice build-up on the door seal.

rv inspection

Pam also observed that the cooktop burners were not burning evenly.

rv inspection

While doing the Delta-T test on the three air conditioner units of the RV, Howard observed that all the filters had not been cleaned.  When the owner was asked when he last cleaned them he responded that he did not know that there were filters!

rv inspection

Given that fact, we had to assume that the first owner of the RV had applied tape to keep this filter assembly closed.  All these units were hidden behind roof panels that had to be pulled down.  As mentioned earlier, the owner of the vehicle indicated that he had no idea of where the filters were located.  So, they had not been cleaned in two years.

rv inspection

Here are some other issues that were observed:

The vanity light in the bathroom was missing.

rv inspection

There was lose vinyl wall material over the entry door.  Water damage?

rv inspection

There was also separated vinyl around the entry door, by the co-pilot seat.  Another possible indication of water damage?

rv inspection

Some water stained wood was seen inside one of the cabinets.

rv inspection

Some of the doors did not line up properly when closed.

rv inspection

There was significant staining around the interior portion of the upper curbside area of the windshield.

rv inspection

And there were many other minor issues that were found but not discussed with pictures, only verbally.  The entire report was almost one hundred pages and included one hundred pictures and six videos.

That information, plus the fluid reports, was enough information for the potential new owner to make a buying decision.  He decided to move forward and purchase the RV but he offered much less than the asking price in order to cover the costs of the maintenance issues and bring it up to road-ready and safe standards.

Howard and Pam’s client was spared having to bear the costs of these repairs.  Because he was a wise RV buyer and sought out a certified NRVIA RV inspector, he was given the tools he needed to buy the RV with confidence!