Tip 14: Always Check the Front Nose Clearance Lights
Used campers are always suspect in the nose area, especially those with front windows if the owner hasn’t kept up with seal maintenance. One thing I’ve found, and fixed on both my campers, is the clearance light bases were installed upside down. That lets water in the weep hole. Flip them over.” – Daryl Davis, 1997 Ford F350, 2015 Palomino SS-1500
Tip 15: Use Photography As An Inspection Checklist
“Unless you are buying local it should be a confirmation process. When I put my camper up for sale I took 48 pictures of everything I would inspect as a buyer. The guy downloaded all of my photos and he used them to confirm what I had told him. I followed up to answer any questions. This was his checklist and also how I bought my used camper.
When I bought my camper, the owner in Idaho sent me 52 pictures that I used as my checklist. We agreed that if it was not what the pictures depicted he would reimburse my fuel costs. It took me less than one hour to inspect it because it was as he stated.
There was never a gotcha or regret that I did not inspect this or that. I had pictures of everything, compared them, inspected for operation and confirmed. I paid my balance due and in less than three hours I was on the way home. Photos = Checklist!” – Don Pryor, 2017 Ford F350, 2008 Arctic Fox 1150
Tip 16: Look For Modifications and their Quality
“Since 1969 I’ve had six recreational vehicles; three truck campers, a school bus that I converted to a motorhome and a 30 and 37-foot sailboats that I restored.
After viewing the photos depicting sealant application, I would like to add that when inspecting a used RV, the prospective buyer should pay close attention to any modifications or repairs done to the unit and in particular the quality of workmanship.
As an example, regarding the sealant photos, my impression is that while the applied sealant may be sufficient to prevent water ingress, the workmanship and application technique(s) are amateurish and sloppy and do not inspire confidence. I also do not recommend silicone for any sealant application. There are far better products that provide far better service.” – Jon Shavey
Editor’s Note: Our seal work isn’t pretty, but it keeps the water out. As a side note, we have seen many professionally applied seals that leak. In our eyes, any seal that doesn’t leak is beautiful.
Bonus: Supporting Tips
The following tips are similar to tips and suggestions made in our two used camper articles, but added some new perspectives. Thank you!
Always Hire A RV Tech
“I would pay a few dollars and take along an experienced RV technician. As a working technician, I have watched buyers and their friends pass judgement on any number of campers. They failed to find even the most obvious defects. Or they blow out of proportion the defects they do find.
While I think there is value in knowing which things work and don’t work, the reality is a great many things can be repaired for very little cost. On the other hand, some defects are much more expensive and it is important to know the difference.” – Steve Savage, 2012 Ford F350, 2004 Hallmark Ute XL
Take Your Time With The Inspection
“No matter the age of a used camper, there is going to be some repairs. As the article, Tips for Buying a Used Truck Camper stated, spend the day looking at the camper. The seller may not like it, but it is going to be your investment. You don’t buy a used vehicle without a test drive and inspection.” – Charlie Young, 2013 Chevy 2500, 2002 Lance 815
Check Roof Solar Panels, Seals, and Hatches
“Get on top of the roof and inspect all seals inspect solar panels for damage and see if the roof has been maintained properly. Check to see if the hatch over the bed works .” – Greg Gaser, 2014 Ford F350, 2017 Lance 1172