To buy used, buy new, or not to buy at all...

Discussion in 'Camper Pre-Purchase Questions' started by MIlover, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. MIlover

    MIlover Member

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    That is the question.

    We've only had our NTU pup for a year (as first-time pup owners), and we like it...sort of. But we're thinking of replacing it.

    Our Jayco has a great floor plan and we have enjoyed it for 20+ days of camping. We had planned to keep the pup for several years, and wouldn't consider replacing it now, except for the rot/water damage (won't go into details, as I already posted about it in the past). Since a DIY job is beyond our time and abilities, DH and I have considered hiring someone (not from a dealership), to replace the floor. However, we know some water also got into the walls and corners (which ended up in the floor) of our pup, which makes us question whether paying someone to repair the floor is even worthwhile, considering the walls are compromised? And while we think we fixed many of the leak sources, we're not 100% sure.

    With that thought in mind, we've also been considering replacement options. We really don't want to shell out the $$ to buy new, but also don't want to waste it on another leaky/damaged pup. [V] Despite some of the recent rants on the Portal, we are interested in the new Somersets, because the walls and roof are free of wood. And, the floor is Performax 500, which is supposed to be more dimensionally stable and water resistant than plywood, and by the same token, better than OSB. I can't help but think that this could result in a longer-lasting pup than some others out there.

    While a 2013 Somerset Utah can be had for around $13,000 at our nearest CN dealership, I've seen two beautiful Coleman Utah's on Craig's List for $5,000 or less. But, they have the wonderful/hated front storage compartments that often leak. And possibly the ABS roof.

    We can't figure out whether to: 1) Pay someone to fix what we have and hope the walls stay structurally sound for a while; 2) Buy used and hope it lasts; or 3) Buy new (most likely a Somerset), in hopes that it will be the rot-proof pup of our dreams? FWIW - QuickSilvers are out. I want a "roof" on the pup.

    What would you all do? I know everyone's answers will vary, but I would love some opinions. I'm sick of worrying about the pup every time we use it! Thanks in advance, to all of you smart campers!
     
  2. qwed94

    qwed94 New Member

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    Well I have owned 2 brand new campers over the years. First time-we used that thing all the time. We kept it for 5 or 6 years AFTER it was paid off. Possibly the best big purchase I ever made. "Nothing like buying new"

    Second time-we used it every single weekend the first season. I ended up getting laid off over the winter, did everything I could do to try to keep it, but by summer it was gone. Spend 4 years with no camper. Finally we found a real nice used PUP that we could pay cash for. We had it 3 years now, and use it as often as we can get out.

    What should YOU do? Seriously, only YOU can answer that, because only YOU know your finances.
    --What advice would I give (Or what would I do)? If you know that you can afford it easily, (as long as everything remains normal), and if life goes sour, you can "emotionally" part ways with it!!!
    -then I would buy brand new and not bat an eye. But if you buy new, keep it till its paid for! Dont trade off every few years. They are like cars, you will lose your butt.
     
  3. BarbaraFaith

    BarbaraFaith New Member

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    DH & I had a 70's something Bethany PUP that got damaged by water due to the roof leaking. We went 10 years without a PUP, and tent camped. Last year, we bought new. We went with an 8 footer, because we could tow it with our current vehicle, it fit in the available space in our driveway, and there is only the 2 of us. Being frugal, and always living within our means, it fit our price range, in light of the fact that we got it on sale, and it was only a thousand or 2 more than a 5 year old PUP would be. What really sold me was the fact that the roof, lift system and I believe flooring was guarenteed for 10 years.
     
  4. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

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    If you can afford to, buy new.. many reasons why you should, the biggest being the warranties are offered to the original buyer ... As mentioned, if your buying new, make sure you can live with the floorplan and style of the trailer (style, as in a pup, TT, HTT etc) for the duration of your payment period plus a few years... I know a couple families who bought new trailers (One bought a new TT, one a new HTT and one a pup) and within 28 months they all had traded them on other trailers ...

    My vote because it is your money I'm spending [LOL] is to go new ...
     
  5. IGYPup

    IGYPup New Member

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    I would not pay some one to do the "DIY" repairs, I would sell it to some one who could do it for them selves, and use the money and your increased experience to buy another. You now know more of what to look for and at. Good luck with whatever you do [:D]
     
  6. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    With the concerns about new trailer quality, I'd go for a used Starcraft/Jayco/Coleman/Fleetwood over new any day of the week. Big shocker to those who know me, I bet! LOL
    Search Coleman history and you should find the thread with all of the ABS models and years.
     
  7. MIlover

    MIlover Member

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    Thanks so much for the perspective! It helps to hear from others who have been there, done that. It sounds like everyone is leaning toward selling our current pup as is, cutting our losses, and either buying used or new?

    DH and I are pretty frugal, which is why this situation is difficult for us. Our current pup is paid off, and she's pretty if you don't look too hard! [LOL] We aren't the type to routinely buy new and trade up - with cars or RVs. But, we made a costly mistake as new pup owners. We can afford a new pup, but are trying to figure out if we want to afford a new pup, and if it's a good investment for us.

    As for buying used - we bought our 2010 Jayco because we had heard how great they are (and maybe some are) and figured it was new enough to be ok. Ours however, is a lemon. We checked it thoroughly for water damage before purchase and there was absolutely no evidence. A couple days later it was popped up; we had a hard rain and it soaked the floor corners good! The damage just hadn't been bad enough, long enough, for it to be obvious when the pup was dry. So...I'm leery of our ability to identify a "good" used pup!

    Maybe I'm starting to answer my question already...
     
  8. supton

    supton New Member

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    I hear you. We stopped at dealer this weekend, and while they didn't have the popups that we wanted to look at, we did the ooh-aah at the travel trailers. Which is what we wanted at the begining of the summer. Never say never, but the wife is probably right: start a fund for camper replacement, and go shopping for what we want in a couple of years. No sense in shelling out the money (which we can sorta afford) right now.

    DIY is sorta out for us, for a number of reasons. That said, on our pup, I think we'll see about another season. I sealed up the roof (will tarp for the winter anyhow) so it stopped leaking; the roof rot isn't that bad. The floor is pretty bad but it's solid where we walk; and that's all that counts. Who knows what lurks in the walls, since the floor is damaged... But I wouldn't get rid of it, other than we really want a king sized bed and a bit more space wouldn't hurt either. Anyhow, I will have to go look in the other threads; but I have to wonder, if you can just use as-is? We're newbie pup owners ourselves, and when we went we kinda packed "just in case". Most everything went into the truck, and our backup plan was a hotel. Meaning, I'll take my pup, with its wood rot, anyplace. If it falls apart we'll call a wrecker and move on.
     
  9. vanjr

    vanjr New Member

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    First of all, 13k sounds pretty good for a new Utah!

    We have a used PUP we got for $4000. After using it a couple of years I took it in for a complete inspection and they found a leak and some damage and my 4k investment is now at 5k! But as stated earlier it is what you want and can afford. We just do not go often enough to get a new camper now, so we are holding. I also do not have the time or expertise that others on this forum do (they amaze me).

    I also like the new somersets and the Utah is probably what I would pick. I would have go through the inspection with it closed and go through a full set up, demo and take down before I signed just to make sure there are no obvious problems. Let us know what you do.
     
  10. CamL48

    CamL48 New Member

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    If you're camping 20+ days a year, you need to find a better solution. So, I'd probably take the advice of others here, find a place to offload your leaky Jayco, and figure out what your next PUP is going to be.

    You mention the Utah and I happen to think that that's the best floorplan out there. Note that every other brand has their own version; e.g., Flagstaff 625D. Though I was/am a believer that Fleetwood/Coleman was a premium product, I haven't read anything about the Somerset trailers to make me think they're any better than any other brand.

    As for used Coleman/Fleetwood, the ABS roof died in 2003.5. Also, Fleetwood detatched the front storage box from the trailer in 2004, I believe. That same year, they changed the door from behind the axle to in front of the axle. Either way, I think 2004 is as old as I would look. When I was looking, 2005 was my target year and I ended up with a 2007.

    2003 Fleetwood Utah (check the creative use of the bunk end bars):
    [​IMG]

    2004 Fleetwood Utah:
    [​IMG]
     
  11. MIlover

    MIlover Member

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    Supton, we've considered what you mention - let it go and keep on camping. And, that's what we did this summer. We chose to fix the leaks as much as possible and proceed to pretend the rot wasn't there. HOWEVER...we can't do that indefinitely, because much of the damaged wood is around the main winch. And I worry. And can't relax. And obsess... [:!] We use two pvc pipes as support while camping and the winch is welded to the frame with a couple of flimsy contact points. When I learned the latter, it gave me some piece of mind. Then, while visiting the local Jayco dealer to purchase a couple of minor replacement parts, I mentioned our headache with the rot, and said we were ignoring it for now. One of the service guys was nearby and chimed in "You know when you won't be able to ignore it? When that main winch rips out of the rotted floor and your roof comes crashing down!" [:O] And that's why I can't relax and ignore the rot in our pup.

    Vanjr - did you pay a dealer to fix your water damage repair? Yeah, the official quote was $13,300ish. It's a 2013 closeout. However, I learned today that the unit does not include a cassette potty. They would have to add it.

    CamL48 - Your pup looks really nice! I love almost everything about the Utah layout except the lack of counter space. Is that a problem for you? We currently use wonderful, metal storage racks on the counter of our pup for food and dishes. I see no room for them in the Utah and wonder where the heck our food and dishes would go?

    I dunno...if we wait until spring, prices will be higher. I hate the idea of not having a pup for next summer, but also worry that if we keep ours longer, it will become even harder to unload (we plan to be honest about the water damage in hopes that someone wants to fix it themselves).

    Decisions, decisions. Thanks everyone!
     
  12. ghri49

    ghri49 Member

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    There is a couple of ways to go and it really all depends on finances.

    I definetly think that it is time to part with it to someone that wants a project.

    And if you arnt confident in buying one used then new is the way to go.

    I Currently have a project pup but knew that when i bought it. Plan on fixing it as i can cause that is what was in my price range. If i Could i would go rigth out tomorrow and buy me a brand new one.

    Good luck on whatever you do.
     
  13. CamL48

    CamL48 New Member

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    Well, those aren't photos of my PUP. You mentioned Utah, ABS roof, and leaky storage boxes, so I just found some random photos online that showed the transition point for Coleman/Fleetwood on these features.

    There are four surfaces for "counter space." As you walk in the door, there is a very small space to your immediate left ... just to the side of the couch. To your right is the storage cabinet and a large counter ... this is the space that an optional CP goes. At the end of the trailer, on the driver's side, there is another good sized counter that sits above the furnace and power center. The fourth is when the lid is down on the stove ... which is always for us (we cook outside).

    These surfaces do pretty well for my family of six and generally support duffle bags, clocks, and such.

    The Utah gives you a ton of interior space and four large sleeping surfaces. If you don't need those things, there may be other floor plans that are better suited to you.

    As for timing on buying/selling, nothing but the obvious: the summer camping/outdoor season is Memorial Day to Labor Day. Oct - Feb is a good time to be a buyer. Mar - May is a good time to be a seller. Everything else is about even.

    Good luck.
     
  14. CamL48

    CamL48 New Member

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    Here's a photo of 3 of the "counter" spaces I mentioned. You are correct that the Utah trades sitting/sleeping surfaces for counters. That may not work for you (or others).

    [​IMG]

    Here's sort of a shot of the other surface (bottom right hand corner of this photo).

    [​IMG]
     
  15. supton

    supton New Member

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    Ah, gotcha. Does sound like it's time to move on, then. I'm not familar with that lift system, but it sounds possible. If it was me, I'd probably see if I could drill a hole and find a borescope and take a peak, see if there is rot in that area, but it might just confirm the worst. I don't know the camper but isn't the roof sorta locked in place by the door? If not, a couple of PVC pipes, cut lengthwise, and held into place around the supports (using some velcro straps) will ensure the roof will never crash down onto you in the middle of the night. Opening/closing would be the only times it could fall.

    Good luck shopping. But be warned: I've found that while shopping is stressful by itself (decisions decisions!) eventually I always wind up in the same boat. Something goes wrong, or the item wears out, etc.
     
  16. MIlover

    MIlover Member

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    Oops. I looked at the pictures and thought the newer model was your pup. Should have read the dates more closely. Thanks for the comparison. I didn't realize the later model Coleman/Fleetwoods also separated the storage compartment from the box of the pup. That's a good thing, and I know the new Somersets have that feature as well, in addition to not having any wood walls to worry about.

    I will keep an eye out for newer, used Utahs too - just in case. And, thanks for posting pics of your pup's interior. The counter space does concern me, though I'm sure we would make do or come up with something.

    No need for a borescope. I removed the covers around the winch floor in the storage box and already confirmed squishy floor. I also cut up some of the linoleum in the area - yup - water damaged OSB. The damage is actually on two corners of our camper. The first section we found is road-side front (those pics were posted in my previous threads). Later, we discovered it was the same situation in the rear corner under our dinette and the winch. [:(O]

    We are still feeling indecisive, so we'll just think for a while. I worry about dropping $$ on a new Somerset too; I know there have been quality control issues already, and am sure they are not perfect. It's the wood-free roof and walls, and better quality flooring that interests me. Seems like that would help with longevity in the long run, but who knows.

    Thanks again everyone. Your posts have been helpful!
     
  17. kmh1596

    kmh1596 Wilbraham, MA

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    Just sold our 2007 Williamsburg. the roof on the camper was as new as it was off the showroom floor, because it was cared for, recaulked as needed, and I stored it in the garage over the winter. Being inside over the winter was likely overkill, but the point is, you can find a nice used one that is not rotted, you just have to look for an owner who cared for their camper. My 07 also had the separate front storage box; leaky storage box problems go away, and mine never leaked, either.

    If the reason you'd be considering new is to get one in good shape, I'd reconsider and just look for one in good condition.
     
  18. lbcarr87

    lbcarr87 New Member

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    My vote is for new if you feel confident enough in your financial situation and job security.
    We bought our Viking Pup new in '99. We used it for 12 years without any major issues, loved it, but fell in love with the idea of an HTT and the thought of not having to crank a roof up and down. In 2011, I sold the Viking on craigslist.
    We found our '11 Surveyor SP 234T Hybrid. It too was new, but was a hold over model since we were buying in December of 2011 and the '12's were already out for the spring inventory. We got a really good deal on it so I couldn't pass it up. If you can find a hold over model on a dealers lot you have a lot of leverage in negotiations because the dealer will want to get rid of it.
    With new, you get the peace of mind of a warranty, knowing the maintenance schedules, and most importantly knowing who has slept in the beds [:D]
     
  19. Sumoman

    Sumoman New Member

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    Buy what you like.

    I would apply the military decision making process or MDMP. Basically you have MUST haves, and NICE to have. Numerical values are assigned and at the end based on input your output will tell you what to do.

    Let your sub-conscious and the Force be your guide Luke
     
  20. MIlover

    MIlover Member

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    For those who suggested a newer, used Coleman product, what do you think about this? http://kalamazoo.craigslist.org/rvd/3948398418.html

    I really didn't want to create a new post just for this listing, so figured I would leave it on this thread as part of the conversation. While the Bayside doesn't have a toilet, I love the extra counter space, interior storage and storage trunk.
     

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