PUP build quality by brand and model. Post your experience.

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by davekro, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Don't trouble your mind. They are all built like crap.
     
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  2. Camper054

    Camper054 Active Member

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    When buying a used pop up, I would put more importance on how well it was kept and handled by the PO - how many previous owners (I wouldn't go more than 2 in 10 to 12 yrs, maybe), whether it was kept indoor or not.

    Agree many others who said these are build to keep the weight lighter and 'CHEAP'. And as @tombiasi said - CRAP :). So, no way these are build to last if not well maintained and cared for.

    My one cent :).
     
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  3. FARfetched

    FARfetched Well-Known Member

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    Despite the PO (judging from various issues and actions) not knowing or caring how to properly maintain a PUP, the Starflyer seems to be in decent overall shape despite that. Possibly because he kept it under a cover. The roof is solid, the lift system responded well to a little silicone lube, the frame underneath looks OK, and I'm almost past the repair phase and into the improvement phase. At this point, I want to get out on weekends, and one or two longer trips, to get a feel for what (if anything) needs to be tweaked to suit us.
     
  4. crackerJack

    crackerJack Well-Known Member

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    If it is not on this forum, then it does not exist.........

    I am not aware of any brand/model specific recurring major problems. If you are not finding anything through research on this forum, then rest easy.

    IMO, like others said, they are built like crap and the maintenance and care of PO’s is what is important.
    Also, an ABS roof is not that big a deal, sometimes.......
     
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  5. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Well-Known Member

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  6. roybraddy

    roybraddy Well-Known Member

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    I have the 2008 StarCraft 14RT POPUP trailer with from deck.

    This has the heavy Duty 6-inch frame under it...

    [​IMG]
    Roy's image

    Roy Ken
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    My 1966 Apache Raven was built amazingly well. I was amazed at the engineering that went into such a seemingly simple trailer to raise and lower the bunks to fit on top of each other inside the box. It had a replacement canvas and no mattresses when I got it in 2014, but most everything else was original (excluding wear items, obviously).

    The only complaint I have with my current Dutchmen is more of a design flaw that quality issue. The bunk supports pull out on the top of the box walls, so they were starting to pull away. I reinforced the walls and just built bunk support poles to keep it from happening again.
     
  8. Ironmonger

    Ironmonger Member

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    I've got a '95 Fleetwood/Coleman Sequoyah that I bought about six months ago. It had to have a toilet (lack of same a dealbreaker for the DW). No furnace or fridge. Working water heater, inside & outside gas ranges. No oven. I wanted a used trailer that was ready to go, not a project.
    Pros: not much to go wrong, very few gadgets. Good battery operated system, electric water pump, water heater works well. Cons: Spare tire beneath camper instead of mounted to rear, large ABS plastic panels at front & back. Door is a tad janky to install and take down. not much storage space.
    I went trough the mechanical systems cleaning/ lubricating/ adjusting. Replaced one set bearings, opposite side okay. Replaced mattresses. I was willing to use coolers and block ice instead of a 25 year old fridge. I'm much more of a boondocker than my DW. Long story short: I love it.
     
  9. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    2007 Fleetwood Sun Valley (12' box, no slide out, but has a bump out 'bay window at the sink/stove). Looks to only have standard equipment. No Air Cond., which we do not need anywaay. Assuming 'only if in very good condition', what 'price range' ($x to $x)would anyone say for prices that would be:
    1) a VERY good price, do not pass this up!
    2) a fair market value price.
    3) You'd pay this if you 'had to have this (immaculate, single owner, stored inside) Sun Valley'!
    4) The owner is dreamining and looking for an unwitting buyer. ;)

    Nada says: Sugg. Retail $9,743; Average Retail $3,950; Low Retail $3,300.
    Are the above Nada numbers all for a used 13 year old pup, or is Sugg. Retail what it sold for new in 2007 (seems like that might be in the ball park). So do only the Avg & Low Retail Nada amounts apply to the pup at it's current age?

    I see a 2007 Sun Valley for sale (+/- 8hour drive away).It appears to be in good shape as best I can tell. Before I call the owner, I was hoping to get a sense of it's value. This is the second time DW has seen it listed again. They are now asking $4,900 (IIRC, ≈ $500 less than last time). We have the 2007+ Sun Valley in our sites as te best floor plan worth investing more into a pup to go from our 10' box '99 Starcraft, to a 12' box. I like CamperFamily1's assesment of the Sun Valley's perks. We really do NOT wnat the wasted space of a porta-potty & especially NOT a shower, which can be common in 12' box pups.

    So just curious of some opinions of what you may have seen in recent years for prices for Sun Valley's or similar Fleetwood models to get an idea of the actual market. I know asking prices 'can' vary widely. I am more interested in only making the jump if I can get a 'very good deal'. DW may be willing to vote for... more. ;) We have a pup we like. I need to be motivated to jump by a good deal. I just want to be realistic in my expectations, that is why I put the question out to this experinced community.
    Thaks in advance.
     
  10. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Well-Known Member

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    I think you need to shop around until you get tired of shopping and you will see a lot of options.
    Then when you settle in on the target popup you want, scrutinize it completely.
    See how well did they take care of it.
    Did they fix things that broke or had to be replaced from age.
    Did they grease the axles, lift system, maintain the brakes
    Who did the work, a dealer, themself, were they competent.
    Did they wash the canvas with mold resistant soap every couple of years
    Did they store it in a garage, where there are no mice
    Look over every square inch, fire up all the appliances, furnace, hot water heater, stove, lights, directional signals, everything with a switch.
    Open up the awning, set up the whole popup, don't just drive off with it and set it up the first time at home.
    Assess how much will you have to fix
    3 Tires need replacing every 5 years from dry rot and cracking.

    If you buy from a dealer, they often don't fix everything. They just want to sell it fast.
    So compared to dealer prices, a private party prices is less, but requires work for your to drive and compare.

    I'd pay that much for a 2007 Sun Valley in immaculate condition.
    Compared to a new popup prices from a dealer, that price would be worth it to me.
    In the end you have to compare to what you see available in the market, considering layout, build quality, roof issues (2007 was a very good year for Fleetwood, but not other years).
     
  11. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    5000 $ for a 13 year old camper. Thats what your buying. If you have extra money and dont care , go for it. But add the cost of the ride on also. I think it will have the same maintance issues as all pups reguardless of age. Lol. I paid 9500 for a nice TT, that was well maintained, came with the wdh and a few extras. It was 6 years old and huge. But still semi lightweight. While i get the upgrading to a better pop up it might be better to weight and see whats around. I did look it up and they are asking anywhere from 4k to 7k. But that dosent mean people are paying that. And it depends on the area. What are you towing with? Can you go bigger?
     
  12. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    "Buy it" [from DW, Mrs. davekro]

    davekro edit [ LOL. Earlier, I had logged onto this site with DW's iPad so she could read my inquiry about this Sun Valley (that she is gaga over) and the replies. While I was at my computer composing the my reply (below), I heard a loud "Uh Oh, you're not gonna like this!" from the other room from DW. She said she inadvertently posted "buy it." She is not familiar with forums and posting... but she is good at voicing her enthusiasm!! :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
  13. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    I know from your info that 2007 was the first year after the Alumitight roof with the seam and that it and the prior years' ABS roof were prone to be problematic. But are you saying that 2007 was better than '08 through '11? Did Fleetwood stop making them in 2011? If so, what were the 'less good things about a Sun Valley in '08 or other future years? Edit(-2) Below on post #35, I list the downgrades I noticed from a YouTube of a 2009 Sun Valley.

    Great questions! I knew I wanted to engage the seller in a conversation to get a sense for how he maintained it (and PO to if applicable). Your questions are a good gateway to do that. If I were the seller telling a prospective buyer about my pup for sale, I would go into lots of detail on what I had done to repair it, maintain it, etc. If the seller is not interested, or simply seems like a hands off owner, just use and leave broken things broken and does not have descriptions of maintenance he did over the years, That would not make me feel good about investing a 16 hour round trip drive to 'check it out'! And as Sjm9911 reminds me there's the time, gas and actually an overnight hotel stay invested in the process. In the mid 90's when I was selling a BMW Z3, a guy flew from Arizona to buy it, I asked if he was concerned of the condition making such a commitment to travel. He said: "I figured anyone who went to the trouble to place a towel cover pool noodle where the plastic rear window folded 'every time he lowered the top... He felt pretty safe I was telling him all it's pros and cons."
    So, 'IF' the '07 Sun Valley guy was as detail oriented as me (long shot on that ;) ), It might be worth the drive. ;)

    Edit(-1) after DW 's post #32 above. It would need to be convinced it was VERY likely to be a great deal, say not too far off show room condition (like excellent answers to all the questions CampingFamily1 listed above), before committing that 16 hour trip -and- what I'd consider full price even for immaculate. Sooo many variables in such a purchase, that a much closer trip to check out would be preferred. But 'IF' show room condition supposedly and the guy sounds trustworthy, maybe.
    (Although, DW may be gassing up the TV tomorrow morning... ;) )
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
  14. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    TV is listed in my signature. 2017 Kia Sorento CUV AWD, 3.3L V6m 5,000lb tow capacity. We are currently easily towing our 10' box pup loaded at about 2000 lbs. The Sun Valley is 2185 dry (about 600 lb more dry than our 1565 dry pup). Loaded the Sun Valley would maybe be 2600 lbs. The U.S. max tongue weight for this Sorento is 350 lb, while the Canadian version is spec'ed at 500 max tongue weight. We believe they all come out of the same 'Final Assembly' plant in West Point GA, USA. I like to tow well under the capacity of the TV.

    The Brochure for the 2007 Fleetwood pop up line is below (PDF). Specs are on page 9. Dry tongue weight says 175 lb. CF1, what do you estimate your '07 Sun Valley's loaded weight to be? Your ≈ tongue weight when loaded? My 10' box loaded for camping I estimate is about 2000 lb (not actually weighed yet). Tongue weight about 280 (weighed). No sway bar used and no sway, so I figure my ratio must be good.
     

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  15. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    OK, so I answered many of my questions from seeing this YouTube of a 2009 Sun Valley. Starting in 2009, there seems to be some obvious cost savings downgrades.
    1) Counters & table are particle board with t-molding edges instead of one piece molded mat'l.
    2) White steel wheels instead of the '07 nice alum rims that I really like!
    3) 2 way, not 3 way frig. (12v and propane only per guy talking).
    4) 2 burner vs. 3 burner stove (non issue to use as we may remove it anyway.
    5) No quilted mattress covers (I assume just covers, not heated)

    Due to these downgrades, I agree that would make the 2007 & 2008 Sun Valley notable as a 'best years', IMO too.

    ** EDIT: more self answered questions ;) From the 2008 Fleetwood brochure, the '08 has the same features as the '07. So the down grades did not start until 2009. Good that we have two 'year options' on our desired 'Sun Valley' to keep an eye out for. I just spoke to the owner of the '07 on Craig's List from Murrieta, (southern) CA. 3' of staining on ceiling of a bunk end, no awning, no outside stove, he has only owned it 1.5 years. All this plus 16 hour round trip drive, we are passing on this one.

    I prefer a torsion semi independent suspension, as opposed to Fleetwood's leaf springs, but that's not a deal breaker at all. The tubular frame (over our 'C' channel) is way more important!

    CampingFamily1, what model converter does your '07 Sun Valley have? Any idea if the converter has a more AGM friendly charging profile, at least somewhat more 'Smart' than the old school converters??

    Would you trust mounting cross rails into the OEM roof rail slots for two bikes? With roofs to be protected as best possible, I'd lean away from mounting stuff to any roof, but maybe 'this '07+' roof system truly is designed for this.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
  16. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Well-Known Member

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    Answers to your questions:

    I'm not sure what converter I have. People who want longer boondocking / off grid experiences tend to buy solar panels to charge batteries now, rather than investing in AGM batteries.

    I have a ton of info about the tongue weight at this link
    My dual batteries add a lot of tongue weight. Few people would add a second battery anymore like I did. They would buy a portable solar panel for about the same cost, and charge up during the day. Back when I bought it, solar panels were too expensive, but they have come down in price.

    We have mounted bikes for years with no problem on the 2007 Sun Valley bike rails. We invested in a Yakima system, which was really expensive, like $500-700, but so easy to take bikes on and off. The Yakima system costed more than our cheap bikes. Because we had 1 cheap and very heavy bike from Target, we eventually wore out the Yakima bike rail, so for that heavy tank of a bike, I went to the hardware store and bought some stock aluminum angle iron and fabricated a reinforced addition to the Yakima bike rail. The weakest system was the Yakima system. The Fleetwood Sun Valley had no problems with the heavy bike. We always had a few lighter bikes from younger kids. Now we take an expensive fast lightweight bike, and still a cheap heavy bike that we take with.

    Sounds like you're asking good questions before investing in a lot of travel. I would also avoid something with stains on the ceiling. Thankful they told you about this after your probing questions, before you drove all that way for nothing.

    Sounds like you still have a 2008 Sun Valley you are looking at.
    Can they do a Facetime, or Skype with a laptop camera, and show you around before you travel out to see them?
    If they have LOVED their baby (camper), they will love to do this with you and show it off.

    Glad to meet another person who cares about the detailed engineering.
     
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  17. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Well-Known Member

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    My dealer tells me they get people bringing their campers in for service and they look like they are in new condition. Mine is one of those he said.

    I have seen other Sun Valley campers that have been abused terribly and are best used for a rough hunting shack.
    It pained me once at a parking lot to see a greatly engineered Sun Valley treated so badly.

    This is why the average price on NADA Guides has so little meaning.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  18. FARfetched

    FARfetched Well-Known Member

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    If you have a pickup, you don't need a bike rack. Get a wood pallet and stand the bikes in it. Works great!

    Check out the beach camping thread—you can put the same pallet in front of your door to reduce the amount of sand coming into the camper.

    Anyway. You don't need to mount a bike rack on your camper… under certain conditions.

    Getting back around to the subject. If the roof doesn't leak, the floor is solid, and the canvas is serviceable, you have a solid pup and the rest is cleanup. Maybe you want to "make it your own," and that's perfectly valid. It's also valid to make it better than it was when you got it. That's one thing I've learned from looking at the restoration threads… it takes some effort, but you can always make things better if you really want to.
     
  19. davekro

    davekro Active Member

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    CF1, I appreciate your info (and love of) your 2007 Sun Valley. The one we saw on CL in So. Cal. was a 2007. After talking to the guy a while (thanks for the great lines of questioning!), I knew he did not take care of it, just used it. -AND- he only owned it for 1 1/2 years, so besides the negatives he described (no awning or outside stove and the 3' of discoloration... thank god that soured my wife who was gung ho.), the 11 1/2 years of unknown care made it easy to pass on the 16 hour round trip to see it. If it had been 1 hour away, I would have looked at it mainly because we'd love to see/ experience the feel of a Sun Valley to make sure it's our next pup choice. Then we would feel better considering an extended trip to 'visit one' at a distance that did seem to be a good one. DW's sister and BIL have a 2000 Coleman Bayside Elite (12' box w, slide out and front storage box. That REALLY feels big inside. From that we got clear we did not need all that open floor space just for the two of us (and extra weight and less interior floor storage).

    OK, I'll ask.. Anyone in the in or near the SF Bay Area of Calif. (or outlying areas) have a Fleetwood Sun Valley (preferably '07 or '08 :grin: ) that would let me and DW check one out in person? Hey, better of this chance than the lottery, right?

    --Checking your towing link, did you consider the airbags inserted into the springs, but decide on air shocks?
    --Do you happen to recall which scale on Amazon had a 460 lb cap.? I searched 'bathroom scale 460' and saw none, but several w/ 400 lb cap.
    --Do aftermarket bike roof racks fit the Fleetwood's slotted rails properly? Our bikes are 35lbs and 31 lbs respectively, which I guess are considered heavy.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
  20. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Well-Known Member

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    More Q&A

    Q. Checking your towing link, did you consider the airbags inserted into the springs, but decide on air shocks?
    A. Airbags are recommended for Hondas and Toyatas, but not needed for Chevy Uplander. Chevy Uplanders can have air shocks.

    Q. Do you happen to recall which scale on Amazon had a 460 lb cap.? I searched 'bathroom scale 460' and saw none, but several w/ 400 lb cap.
    A. No, it was on a post once. 400 lbs is just fine.

    Q. Do aftermarket bike roof racks fit the Fleetwood's slotted rails properly? Our bikes are 35lbs and 31 lbs respectively, which I guess are considered heavy.
    A. Fleetwood rails are designed for Yakima, which is the best quality. You have to buy Yakima "mounts", that attach to Yakima pipes, that accept Yakima parts.
    Yes 35 lbs is heavy, so after ~ 5 years of bumpy roads, you'll need to get some Aluminum angle iron and reinforce as the bolt creates fatigue in the front of the rail. I should post photos. We had to cut away areas of the aluminum angle iron to fit under the Yakima rails. I think I also bought new bolts that would never rust. Then painted it black like the Yakima Rail. You would never know its there. It was a labor of love, and a bonding hobby project with my up and coming engineer son. Now Yakima sells a new design. They keep innovating. So new creativity would be needed to build a reinforcement.

    Q. Anyone have a Sun Valley we can check one out in person?
    A. You might search online RV trader sites, local dealers, etc. By now I imagine you've looked at all my photos linked in my signature. There are a ton of photos of our Sun Valley there. It's a great layout with the wrap around couch. Many good times have been had sitting around that couch, and hiking on the trails, taking thousands of photos, sitting outside on picnic tables, and sitting inside at the kitchen table when the mosquitos were biting, or it was too cold to be outside. Very cozy camper, that has been like a cabin on wheels for us.
     
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