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Old 08-13-2016, 03:27 PM   #1
pharmseller
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Default Tips on what to look for in a used camper!

So I'm thinking about buying a used camper. What should I be on the lookout for, both good and bad?

I don't need much, as it will most likely be just me or me plus one. A week, 10 days at most.

Electric jacks preferred.

8'6" is all I'd need. I'd like to stay under 5k, Craigslist has a lot of options.





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Old 08-13-2016, 04:02 PM   #2
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

The biggest thing you need to keep an eye out for is WOOD ROT. If when you first step into it and it smells like Rose Wood or it has a weird smell then it has rot. The first place to check is around windows and vent and also up in the front of the camper and under the bed. As you are doing your outside walk around, take a "casual look at all the seams and around the windows, if they don't show evidence of proper maintenance like resealing every couple of years that will be your very first clue. Next check your vents and your heater for bug stuff, also check your heater inside to see if the bugs have been busy there. There is a little bug that likes to plug up holes with mud. Make sure the refer works on "ALL" settings, fire it up and make sure it works and run it for several hours to make sure the refer works and the freezer. A new refer is $800 plus depending on what you are after. If you have a toilet with a tank, take a visual look to make sure it is empty. Sometimes people don't drain and flush them properly and the will have "residue" in them and that is a bear cat to clean out. Make sure any and all implements work properly. Usually when people sell them it is because they don't use them and when it was last put away it may not have been done properly. I used to sell RV's n Campers and I have seen some nasty ones. If you have any ??? drop a pm and I will give you my Phone or I can call you. I have no problem with helping you. When I went to college I bought an old used Layton cab-over trailer, gutted it and rebuilt it to suit me, It was only 15 ft but had the living space of a 19 ft. If you are good at that stuff a good hull can be redone by you to your style and it can be a good deal for you. When I did mine I did it from the inside, wasn't real pretty but it was dry and I heated it in Ashland in the winter with a Delongi oil filled heater usually on 2 or 3. Many of the new ones are aluminum frame, but they still have wood that can rot. Look at the weight of the camper vs what your truck will hold. Check out the camper Jacks and the brackets that hold them. If it has anything but very minor damage on the skin...don't walk away...RUN. When you find one you like take your time and really really really look at it good. Find out how it was stored, undercover, in a shop or with a tarp etc.
When you get ready to buy, unless there is another person looking at it at the same time with money in hand, go get a cup of coffee before deciding to plunk down your money. It will save you some problems. There are three prices on everything that is of a negotiable price. The price the seller wants, the price you want to pay and the price you finally settle on.

Have fun and good luck.

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Old 08-13-2016, 04:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

Excellent writeup DLC !
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

Also check where your fresh water supply tank sits, look for rot as sometimes the supply hose will crack letting water dribble for years and when filling. I drive campers to the ground, twice I have jacked them up at the dumps and drove away!. when I want to get into the back woods I GO!, patched a few holes from tree branches poked through.
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

I have one for sale but probably more than what your looking for.

2008 Eagle Cap 990 with slide, AC, generator, etc...
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Old 08-13-2016, 05:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

DO what everyone else said
But
Would it make sense to have a trailer / Camper place check it out - condition of sell?
Couple hundred bucks may be worth it.
Bet you they know what to look for and have the tools.
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Old 08-13-2016, 05:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

A lot should depend on the size of your truck and it's weight capacity. I looked for 6 months spent more than your budget. Looked at all the manufacturers websites and found the model that I wanted and then started from there. From that point see if the brand you like has an owners forum and read thru that to see what issues have come up. I wanted an Eagle Cap but found that they had a delimitation issue with the area over the truck cab. I then called Eagle Cap and found out that it is very expensive to fix. I looked at 5 different EC campers and 4 had a delimitation problem. So I went with another brand.
My point is do your research.
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Old 08-13-2016, 05:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

You need to first assess your truck, payload capacity, and wheels/ tires. A F150/ 1500 truck will have major limitations. Tell us about your truck.
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Old 08-13-2016, 06:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

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You need to first assess your truck, payload capacity, and wheels/ tires. A F150/ 1500 truck will have major limitations. Tell us about your truck.
My truck can pull your house off its foundation. My dad had a 10' Lance on it.



I'm not limited by the truck. With an 8'6" on it I won't even know it's there.

Craigslist has some nice campers right now.




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Old 08-13-2016, 07:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

If the exterior has bends or is not straight where the over hang meets up with the camper body..... walk away from it.
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

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I have one for sale but probably more than what your looking for.

2008 Eagle Cap 990 with slide, AC, generator, etc...
Yeah, out of my range.




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Old 08-13-2016, 07:43 PM   #12
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

This is a great post! I learned a lot and am not even shopping for a camper.


QUOTE=Diamondlake Charlie;12882873]The biggest thing you need to keep an eye out for is WOOD ROT. If when you first step into it and it smells like Rose Wood or it has a weird smell then it has rot. The first place to check is around windows and vent and also up in the front of the camper and under the bed. As you are doing your outside walk around, take a "casual look at all the seams and around the windows, if they don't show evidence of proper maintenance like resealing every couple of years that will be your very first clue. Next check your vents and your heater for bug stuff, also check your heater inside to see if the bugs have been busy there. There is a little bug that likes to plug up holes with mud. Make sure the refer works on "ALL" settings, fire it up and make sure it works and run it for several hours to make sure the refer works and the freezer. A new refer is $800 plus depending on what you are after. If you have a toilet with a tank, take a visual look to make sure it is empty. Sometimes people don't drain and flush them properly and the will have "residue" in them and that is a bear cat to clean out. Make sure any and all implements work properly. Usually when people sell them it is because they don't use them and when it was last put away it may not have been done properly. I used to sell RV's n Campers and I have seen some nasty ones. If you have any ??? drop a pm and I will give you my Phone or I can call you. I have no problem with helping you. When I went to college I bought an old used Layton cab-over trailer, gutted it and rebuilt it to suit me, It was only 15 ft but had the living space of a 19 ft. If you are good at that stuff a good hull can be redone by you to your style and it can be a good deal for you. When I did mine I did it from the inside, wasn't real pretty but it was dry and I heated it in Ashland in the winter with a Delongi oil filled heater usually on 2 or 3. Many of the new ones are aluminum frame, but they still have wood that can rot. Look at the weight of the camper vs what your truck will hold. Check out the camper Jacks and the brackets that hold them. If it has anything but very minor damage on the skin...don't walk away...RUN. When you find one you like take your time and really really really look at it good. Find out how it was stored, undercover, in a shop or with a tarp etc.
When you get ready to buy, unless there is another person looking at it at the same time with money in hand, go get a cup of coffee before deciding to plunk down your money. It will save you some problems. There are three prices on everything that is of a negotiable price. The price the seller wants, the price you want to pay and the price you finally settle on.

Have fun and good luck.

DLC[/QUOTE]
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Old 08-13-2016, 08:24 PM   #13
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

Good advice so far.

Two things.

I'm in Jefferson so we are not far. I used to build rv's. I've owned 7. I currently own a truck camper. I will help you eye one over if you ask.

Go to rv.net. Lots of knowledge there too.

Good luck.
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:11 PM   #14
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Good advice so far.

Two things.

I'm in Jefferson so we are not far. I used to build rv's. I've owned 7. I currently own a truck camper. I will help you eye one over if you ask.

Go to rv.net. Lots of knowledge there too.

Good luck.
Very generous, thank you.

These two caught my eye:

http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/rvs/5727863446.html


http://bend.craigslist.org/rvs/5696390419.html



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Old 08-13-2016, 09:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

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#1. Is the diamond plate front factory or a patch. Patches are a no go, at higher prices.
#2. .... But, you sure it won't be over gvw?

That's a nice truck you have, pull a house over. But, will it haul it?...
My 2500hd is only a gas truck. It isn't the pulling that's an issue with my toy hauler. Assume a boat in tow, and you won't have fun.

And to agree, water entry is #1 issue. Maybe grab a moisture meter and use it?
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Old 08-13-2016, 10:17 PM   #16
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Ok.

Lance builds a good TC. The places to watch on the older models is the front window/clearance lights, the will leak and rot the front wood. The front windows also suck as the are cold, let light in when you don't want it and LEAK. Not a hard remedy but how handy are you? The wings in the rear ( looking at the side, the rear part that "connects" the rear tail lights and rear of the camper. Most Lances rot here too.

Both are over priced but it's camping season.

You truck...will need help. The tires will be overloaded period. You will need suspension help as well. Super springs, stableloads, airbags, sway bar, new shocks...timbrens, take your pick or a combo of the mods.

Trust me, I have a 2500 Ram. Bought a '16 wolf Creek, short bed model. Manufacturer said 2280 lbs dry weight. Yeah right! Mine is full aluminum frame, not heavy on options, no genset, AC, oven....and I'm 3500-3800 ready to camp. I put lower stableloads, bags, 19.5s tires/wheels, shocks....now it drives solid with my camper and boat in tow. I carry 8200 lbs on my rear axle, hence the upgrades.

Your truck can do it. Just budget in the mods to carry the weight or look at 8' foot campers and go light!


A TC is WAY different than towing a travel trailer.

PM me if want my help.

FYI, my last truck was a '95 F350, CC, 4x4,powerstroke. Carried an older TC, know that gen ford well!
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:37 PM   #17
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

All of them will leak. It's not "if", but "when". Just pay attention and catch it right away. Could be as simple as water wicking in along a screw.
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Old 08-14-2016, 07:59 AM   #18
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

I had a '94 F250 with the 460 - longbed...used to put my Lance M9500 Squire in it...11'6" camper.

I upgraded tires to Toyo AT 10 plys - added Ride rite air bags - when I loaded the camper on I would boost the tires to 85 psi and load the bags up.

Handled the camper fantastically well...no sway at all.

I even put a Reese Class V hitch on it with an extender bar and towed my 24' North River Seahawk behind - again, handled it beautifully.

Until I blew the motor heading to buoy 10 - So, I bored out the motor, upgraded the cam, added headers and overbuilt the tranny.

After that it was amazing until I sold it...still regret that...but the fuel consumption killed me...I would need to fuel up in Svenson from Molalla.

Your truck will handle those campers great...just be prepared to spend another $2000 on tires and bags.
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Old 08-14-2016, 08:21 AM   #19
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

I'm presently on my 4th camper, and absolutely love the versatility and mobility that they offer. Again, as has been mentioned, the most likey leakage point is the front window and the front seam between the front siding and the roof. Check for leakage inside around the front window, in the front closets, and for ant sign of sagging under the bed. If the underside feels soft or has any movement, it's delaminated from moisture. This is the reason Arctic Fox quit putting front windows in their campers.

The two you've shown interest in are probably in the 2300-2800lb range. If you're towing a boat, that adds more weight. You'll definitely want E rated tires, I would recommend air bags, and frame mounted tie downs. The smaller camper you might use bed and bumper tie downs. With the 10'6" camper, you'll need a hitch extension to tow. Depending on length, that will cut your tongue weight and tow weight ability in half.

If you are serious about the one in Bend, let me know, and I could swing by for a look in the next few days if you like.
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Old 08-14-2016, 08:24 AM   #20
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

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So I'm thinking about buying a used camper. What should I be on the lookout for, both good and bad?

I don't need much, as it will most likely be just me or me plus one. A week, 10 days at most.

Electric jacks preferred.

8'6" is all I'd need. I'd like to stay under 5k, Craigslist has a lot of options.


P
#1 pitfall - buying a used one
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:21 AM   #21
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At first glance, I like the Bend camper.
Larger and a more deluxe unit
From a drier climate

The cabover is designed to be paired with a quadcab.
It does, however allow for a larger mattress.
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Old 08-14-2016, 11:47 AM   #22
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

A lot of really great advice here Pharm. I searched for 6 months trying to find one without issues. A lot of dishonest sellers and a lot of rot.
Finally found a 1966 that a guy tore all the rot out and lost interest in. I finished it and for 2weeks of use a year it's great. Good luck.
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Old 08-14-2016, 11:56 AM   #23
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

Your truck, make sure you have GOOD tires and they are aired up to max.

I would recommend some springs or air bags. I have a 2011 Lance 835 that weighs in around 2800lbs when loaded with gear and everything. My 2001 Dodge 2500 has air bags on it and handles it well. It still sways a bit, but not too bad. My 2016 3500 with nothing additional handles it very well and sits about right factory with no mods.

I started out looking for the exact same camper as you. I noticed a lot of campers with the front window had leaks or sign of leaks. A lot of Artic Fox's seem to have the delamination. I ended up spending more and getting a newer one, still had the factory plastic over the carpet and looked like it was never used and was always stored inside a shop. I store it inside my shop all the time. It has worked out great...

Cash is king in used campers. If you can wait until November through February you will probably save quite a bit of money. Good luck! Be patient and wait for the right one.
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Old 08-14-2016, 12:12 PM   #24
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

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All of them will leak. It's not "if", but "when". Just pay attention and catch it right away. Could be as simple as water wicking in along a screw.
Quote:
Originally Posted by El-Kabong View Post
#1 pitfall - buying a used one



There are good (great?) used campers out there. When I was shopping I was on a lot during a rain storm. Water was running down the inside wall of a BRAND NEW camper. They ALL can/will leak. It makes me wonder why "they" can build a boat that won't leak but not a camper, but that's a new thread.

I found a GREAT used 8 1/2 after looking for over a year, it was almost double your price range, but it was only a few years old and BARELY used. They are out there. Look for soft spots/delamination & as mentioned, smells/mold.

People have shared a LOT of great info.
As far as hauling, IMHO the tires are always the "weak link". Your truck will be fine.

My wife worked in the RV business for YEARS(ok not THAT many), so she's the one that should really be posting here.

GOOD LUCK!!!
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Old 08-14-2016, 01:07 PM   #25
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

I have had a couple of older campers used with several trucks. Be aware that the distance between the fenders at the back next to the lights can vary. Older campers tended to be wider. I had one combination that only had 1 1/4" to spare and it was a bear to get just right and took some time. When you have 2-3" it is a lot easier. Take a tape with you and notice the type of pick-up the owner is using.
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Old 08-14-2016, 01:24 PM   #26
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

When you do buy one, if you can store it plugged in with a fan or small heater running (on a thermostat) it will save you on the moisture issues. Bare minimum, place a couple of Dri-Z-Air inside and keep them changed and fresh. All campers and trailers sweat inside and that has more to do with orders and mold/mildew issues than a leak.
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Old 08-14-2016, 01:32 PM   #27
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

buy once, cry once...

http://earthroamer.com/consignment/xv-lts-119/
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:55 PM   #28
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if you can find an older Bigfoot camper, 1/2 you troubles are over with the clam shell design.................but $$$. only money.

I have had 3 Lance campers, everyone leaked like a waterfall, even had them pressure inside and soap outside, what a JOKE..almost came to lawsuit city NEVER was fixed, almost did the Rhino lined the outside entirely. ended up just cover in winter and use in summer.
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Old 08-14-2016, 03:08 PM   #29
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I have been thinking about doing that.
Probably in a few years
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Old 08-22-2016, 06:44 PM   #30
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if you can find an older Bigfoot camper, 1/2 you troubles are over with the clam shell design.................but $$$. only money.

I have had 3 Lance campers, everyone leaked like a waterfall, even had them pressure inside and soap outside, what a JOKE..almost came to lawsuit city NEVER was fixed, almost did the Rhino lined the outside entirely. ended up just cover in winter and use in summer.
This one showed up a couple of days ago. Not much for info but I sent a request for pics and more details.

http://oregoncoast.craigslist.org/rvs/5742359608.html



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Old 08-22-2016, 08:01 PM   #31
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This one showed up a couple of days ago. Not much for info but I sent a request for pics and more details.

http://oregoncoast.craigslist.org/rvs/5742359608.html



P
That is a big and heavy camper for your srw truck. It will be 4200+ lbs.

Bigfoot makes a good camper but are not immune to leaks. The leak around Windows, roof intrusions and underbelly access panels as well.

That model is the heavy insulated model (hence the weight) so will be great for cold weather.

The unique design baffles some for leak detection. Look for water or dark spots on the interior under the Windows, near roof accessories and in all cabinets/drawers....
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:52 AM   #32
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This one showed up a couple of days ago. Not much for info but I sent a request for pics and more details.

http://oregoncoast.craigslist.org/rvs/5742359608.html

P
Go look at it, if you don't, how do you compare?.

That bigfoot isn't heavy, this is heavy.................
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:00 PM   #33
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

Pharm.....check this one out. Just slightly higher than one you posted and may even get it for less. Nothing beats Bigfoot quality wise. I just sold my Bigfoot motor home to scale down and currently looking for a Bigfoot trailer. At least reaseach them a little.....keep their value and built right.

http://medford.craigslist.org/rvs/5744176619.html
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:09 PM   #34
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

Pharm....another Bigfoot....2000, priced right

http://spokane.craigslist.org/rvs/5705593657.html
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:50 PM   #35
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

Keep the suggestions coming but keep in mind I'm looking for 8 1/2', maybe 9 1/2', both of those are 11 1/2'.





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Old 08-23-2016, 04:09 PM   #36
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

http://www.rvtrader.com/listing/1997...-960-119037576
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Old 08-23-2016, 06:31 PM   #37
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Default Re: Looking to buy a used camper, need help avoiding pitfalls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish mojo View Post

That's a good looking camper right there. Thanks.




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Old 08-22-2017, 10:31 PM   #38
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Default Re: Tips on what to look for in a used camper!

Patience pays off, I found the right camper at the right price.






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