Someone asked me what the difference would have been if we had bought a new RV instead of an old used one. We paid $14200 OTD (out the door), whereas a new one of the same size and quality would have cost $75-85000 OTD. The answer is easy. I would never have bought a new one, so the difference is 1 RV. Besides, new RVs come with their own problems.
In a way moving into an old RV is much like moving into an old house that has not been occupied for a few years. We actually did this some time ago and you would not believe the problems with that house. First there was a spider infestation. Then we found carpenter ants eating the cabinets. The fridge stopped working. The ceiling in the kitchen cracked. The water pump seized. The washing machine died. Compared to that our RV has been fairly benign. The difference was two-fold. I have always rented before and thus all we had to do was to call the landlord, who then would (or would not) show up and fix the them. The landlord of the “cute” house above was very good at getting things fixed immediately. Hence I have little experience with handyman work.
This lack of experience (“I know what a pilot light does in theory, but what does it look like and where is it?!”) combined with the more intricate workings of RV appliances contributed to the uncertainty during the first few days. It did not help that the “walk through” that the salespeople, who were so very nice when they were selling the RV but turned out to be assholes (well one of them anyway) afterwards, did not happen. I presume they were hoping to take us to the cleaners and they were employing every trick in the book to negotiate a selling price as high as possible presenting prices way above the blue book value as if they were a bargain. Too bad for them that I knew the blue book value (much to the regretful surprise of the sales guy), wasn’t desperate, paid in cash (thus putting the sales manager/owner on my side, I think), and that I think in limit orders only. Not making a killing on us must have pissed them off so we did not get a walk through. Also they changed the conditions to “as is” rather than having their maintenance guys go over it. We won’t be back to that place.
Now what kind of new things have happened to the RV since the last update (we have yet to find a name for it, it should have a name, right?). First the good news. The furnace started right up. Also we switched the refer to gas. It seems to work the same way, that is, the fridge part arts more like a pantry and the freezer goes between 25F and 45F depending on the outside temperature and thus acts as a schizophrenic freezer-fridge. Once I find out how to cap the gas line to the fridge, I’m removing this $1000 two-way (gas/110V) contraption and replacing it with a standard $150 110V stick house fridge. The bad news is that it rained. It turns out that both skylights are cracked (17 years of sun damage) a bit, so water drips in when it rains. I will have to replace those, about $110 each. In fact there are lots of little expenses. We go to CampingWorld every weekend getting things like sewer connections, tyre guards, electric monitors and what have you.
The battle for space has not been as intense as I had imagined. Maybe DW is just indulging me. On the other hand, there are still moving boxes around (front seats) the purging of which has slowed substantially. More interestingly, we will run out of LPG in a few weeks and thus the RV has to be travel ready by then. There’s your deadline.
Now one thing that sets an RV (maybe just ours) aside from a stick house is its low thermal mass and its poor insulation value (R3-R6 or thereabouts). This means that it gets hot during the day and cold during the night. As the heating and cooling systems are separate and the cooling fan has a manually operated hatch this means a lot of switching around. Specifically, before bed time (RV still warm), the hatch is closed and the thermostat for the furnace is set at 65ish. In the morning, the hatch is opened at the thermostat is set at 75ish. The actual coach temperature will differ from these. Another thing is the on-demand water heater. On-demand is just a fancy word for a small tank capacity. I don’t want to run the gas constantly, so it’s only switched on 30 minutes before we actually need hot water (it keeps it warm for 6-8 hours).
We have yet to get a ladder so I can get on the roof. I need to replace the sky lights and I have some solar panels I need to get installed as well.