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Old 03-12-2016, 08:54 PM   #1
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New to TT. How to inspect roof?

Looking to purchase a 2003 T-2553 Solaris in next few days. This will be our first TT. Inside and out this unit "appears" spotless. No signs of water damage. Floors, walls, ceiling, inside cabinets all look good. I got up ladder to inspect roof...seals can all use a good cleaning and refresh. Membrane seems solid, a little gritty though. My question has to do with "wavyness" of rubber roof material. I pushed down on some of the rafters> appear solid, but between them the roof is soft. Is this "normal?" I'm paying good money for the camper and do not want to buy something requiring a new roof. How can I tell? Thank you all in advance for your responses. Bill
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Old 03-12-2016, 09:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapnslack View Post
I got up ladder to inspect roof...seals can all use a good cleaning and refresh. Membrane seems solid, a little gritty though. My question has to do with "wavyness" of rubber roof material. I pushed down on some of the rafters> appear solid, but between them the roof is soft. Is this "normal?" I'm paying good money for the camper and do not want to buy something requiring a new roof. How can I tell? Thank you all in advance for your responses. Bill
Hi Bill,

What do you mean by they need a refresh? If there is splits in the sealant, that is a heads up. It does not mean there is an issue, it depends on how wide and deep the split is and where it is.

The waviness of the roof can be normal the way this 2003 was made. It will be solid at the rafters, on 16" centers, then go wavy until the next rafter.

If you feel a stretching rubber effect, like a blown up tire tube when pressed down, that is not good. This is a totally different feel then the wavy effect that while soft and not rigid, it is not like the tire tube stretch. I use the tire tube example as that it the only thing I can think of to explain it.

These threads may help.

This is how the rubber roof structure is made
Sunline Rubber Roof Structure

Here is inspection and resealing
Rubber Roof Caulk - Inspect and repair 101

Here is one my son and I are doing now. This shows the entire whats under the roof. There is also a link to a water meter in that post and pics using it that can help.
A Winter Project - Roof Repair (Picture heavy)

Here is a video, while a sales pitch they have some good points as he is inspecting a very neglected camper.
Sad video, early death of a Sunline

There are a lot on our site about water damage and leaks. This is not because they are Sunlines, it was from the prior owners of the club member did not understand how to care for a RV roof, regardless of brand. This Google custom search will help greatly, it is better then the forum search. our Admin made this for us.
https://cse.google.com/cse/home?cx=0...95:95x3m3w6lto

Hope this helps and good luck. That is a nice model camper.

John
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Old 03-13-2016, 03:54 AM   #3
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Wow! JohnB, that was such a thorough response. I feel like family already. Thanks! After viewing all the info in your response, I will plan to go see the TT again hopefully today and will take some pics to post. The seller has been extremely patient and willing to answer all my questions. Thanks again.
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Old 03-13-2016, 03:05 PM   #4
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Just got back from inspecting roof...rt rear corner gone and around a/c, shower dome all soft. JohnB, the "tire tube" analogy is perfect. Once I saw it first hand that description was spot on. You saved me from a $4000 nightmare and I am grateful! Although "projects" can be fun, without a barn/garage at this time it would be more than I would be able to take on. Thank you so very much.
Bill
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Old 03-15-2016, 06:17 AM   #5
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So glad to see that the voice of experience was able to save another potential owner from having "buyer's remorse".
Good work John and I'm glad you asked first Bill!
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Old 03-15-2016, 05:20 PM   #6
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Rich,
Yes, the voice of experience. I would like to say I always rely on the available resources, but I have had to learn from my own experience as well. I really do appreciate what you guys offer here. Although now without a Sunline, or TT for that matter, I plan to keep looking. I'm in New England area and there appear to be several that pop up now and then. Thanks again, guys!

Bill
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Old 03-16-2016, 09:25 PM   #7
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Hi Bill,

Wow.... It is so hard sometimes to create a set of words that describes something like this and you actually found it!!! Tire tube.... I'll have to remember that as I can tell ya, I will never forget it.

Now you are armed with some know how to look at your next Sunny. They are great campers for sure, but they can die a death from water intrusion if the prior owner does not know how to maintain the roof. And it is not only a Sunline, any camper can die this way. But the Sunnies are built such they can be repaired and they have a better build verses a lot of campers out there. Often, by the time your see water signs inside the camper, the water has been in there for a year or more in many cases. And by then, the damage is done.

Keep looking for your perfect Sunline. We drove over 1,000 miles to go pick it up and bring it home. And would do it again if needed. Yes, to us they are that good and worth it

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Old 03-18-2016, 09:22 PM   #8
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John,
We went and looked at another sunny today...more soft than I can handle at this time.
Willing to keep looking but find myself looking way beyond new england. You said you went over 1000 miles for yours, how does that work? Do you get a temp plate from out of state to bring it home on?
I think I'm willing to travel, but am not sure how it all works out. May be a stupid question, but willing to ask it.

Thanks for your time,
Bill
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Old 03-20-2016, 06:56 PM   #9
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Hi Bill,

Getting a camper to your home state varies by the state and by the dealer if you are getting one at a dealer.

When we bought our current camper used in 2007 in PA, the dealer gave us 30 day tag. That allowed up to tow it to OH but that was about all Ohio trusts of any state. In Ohio you take the camper in for a VIN number inspection even if you have an out of state title in your name. They are checking it is not stolen.

The dealer gave us title when we left the dealership. We took that title down to our local county title office. Got the camper title transferred to Ohio and then we could go to the BMV with OH title and OH inspection and get a plate for it.

We bought a new camper in MI in 2003. Had the same process except this time it was a new camper and with new, we did not have to go for a VIN inspection. Got MI title switched to OH and then got a plate for it.

Things have changed in PA since then. Now the dealer will send you home with 30 day tag and there is a 3rd party place in PA that handles all the title wok. If I understood it all right, all the new owner does is send the state they live in VIN inspection proof, proof of insurance and the new title and plate shows up being mailed to you. My son just had this done from a camper sale in PA.

About 15 years ago, we bought a new enclosed cargo trailer within the state of OH. We left the dealer with no temporary plate. But we had the bill of sale with us. Dealer said if you are stopped by a trooper, show them the bill of sale. OH at the time granted you a one time event to get the trailer home. After that one trip, you had to go temp or full time plates.

Check with your local motor vehicle office on what is needed in your state. You may have to bring your own 30 day tag if it is a private sale.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 03-21-2016, 05:52 AM   #10
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We wondered about that last fall when we bought our current camper from a private owner in PA and wanted to get it to our home in MD. I spoke with our insurance agent and she suggested that the seller might not mind if we used his tags to make the trip. I asked him and he said that was OK with him. We used his tags to get it home and mailed them back to him even though he didn't express any interest in getting them back. After the insurance agent made that suggestion, I thought, OK, why not, if I was to use my tv to transport another person's trailer because he either didn't have a tv or his was in the shop for repairs, it would be the same thing, the tag would make it legal and my insurance which covers my tv would extend to the trailer being towed in the case of an accident.
Now, in the case of a theft, I'm not sure whose insurance co. would cover it. I guess the seller has to has have some level of trust that you aren't going to abuse the privilege.
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:07 PM   #11
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John and Rich,
Thank you both for sharing your own experiences on how to get the camper home. There seems to be those hurdles I have on my mind, but have not had to deal with them yet. It is good to hear from others on how they handled it. Thank you!

Well, after looking at several Sunlines, I have finally found one with a solid roof. Actually, the whole camper appears to be solid. No soft spots, very little wear and tear...it looks great. It's a 1998 T-2370 and my wife and I believe it will work for our family.

Seller seems pretty set and may not wiggle much on the price. He is asking $4500. This seems a little on the high side for a 1998, but like I said, it's in good shape.

Only real issues I have been able to find are...
1. needs new tires, all four.
2. right side wheel well plastic is split inside of back wheel. Found it looking behind bottom drawer under fridge. Does not seem to have let much if any water in, but will need to be sealed up.
3. We have not, as of yet, fired up all the systems. This of course can and will have an effect on offer price if something doesn't work.

Any thoughts on a fair price to offer? Or, is price a personal thing that has to be determined between the parties. This is a HUGE purchase for our family and do not want to over pay, but to be good stewards of what the Lord has given us responsibility over.

Thank you for your time,
Bill
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Old 03-24-2016, 03:31 PM   #12
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Bill, it varies. I've seen Sunlines in that age bracket going for less, but so much depends on the condition and how well it was maintained. You kind of get a feel for whether or not the previous owner took care of it or it just existed. If it is not in very good condition, a low price may not be justified when you want a nice camper you will enjoy for years, but have work to do before hand. Either your time or money (or both) gets invested in something that you could have passed up for one in better shape.

You probably have been scouring the ads like CL for some time and may have a feel for what they are going for. One thing that figures in is the time of year. I would think this would be the best time to sell a camper since more prospective buyers are trying to get the most of the camping season now.

I wonder why he didn't replace the tires since they are needed. Selling or not, that would be something to keep current with.

Is the outside fairly clean or streaked? Has any part of the floor been replaced? Some don't mind the floor deal, but I prefer to have one that had no need for repairs, I see it as conscientiousness on the part of the previous owner (if he's owned it for awhile).

Once you have had a chance to check out all the functioning parts and have gone back over it again to check for water damage, I think you'll have a better idea. Use your nose too as mildew odor tells a story.

Good hunting,
Rich
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Old 03-24-2016, 05:53 PM   #13
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Rich,
The owner has not used the camper for 5 years and has owned it for eleven. He talked about washing and cleaning it, but has not resealed it. Hearing that, I was amazed to find the roof in such good condition. Needs to be resealed for sure, but appears intact. I used John B's approach to checking roof. No smells whatsoever. Tires are due to sitting and not being covered. Frame and axle have surface rust but otherwise are solid. Walls seem firm, especially around windows. Exterior was clean with not much streaking.
I'd like to make an offer of $3500, but don't want to insult him.
Thanks again,
Bill
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:44 PM   #14
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Hi Bill,

Looks like you found a camper! Great. Now the next steps.... the price.

This is always a point of great concern, both for the buyer and the seller.

Rich made some really good points. Paying a fair price for a good shape camper can be better then lower cost but you have a lot of work to do.

As to the price, here is a guide. It is called NADA RV price guides. I selected a 1998 Sunline T-2370

1998 Sunline Solaris Series M-2370 Standard Equipment, Prices & Specs - NADAguides

When using these guides you will get a host of "extra's". The way Sunlines were packaged, those extras were part of the total package. So in this case you do not check the added boxed unless something is "extra" beyond what Sunline packaged the camper as. We, many club members, know that stabilizer jacks was an "option" for Sunline, so I check stabilizers for you. As far as an awning and other things, they came with the package deal.

Per Nada, they declare $3,945 as low and $4,735 as high retail. If the owner is using $4,500, well according to Nada, they are in the middle.

The question is, how accurate is Nada? It is a "guide" so only consider it "in the ball park" You can search dealers lots and the prices are all over the place. Craigs list, well it is even more all over the lot.

Tires, you are going to need 5 new tires. Yes the spare is shot too. for a camper, the spare needs to be a good spare, not some cheap thing. You may have to tow many miles on that tire and if it is past 5 years old, (they have date codes on them) it is time to change it out anyway.

Battery, unless they changed it recently, that maybe another $85 to $100 cost. Not a lot, but again something.

We did not talk about your truck yet, it will need a trailer brake controller and hoping the receiver in the back has enough capacity and allows the use of a weight distributing hitch. You will need a weight distributing hitch and a form of anti sway control. Is the owner by chance throwing in a WD hitch?

A new WD hitch can be in the $570 range pending what the brand/type is and that is with you installing it. Some are less but it depends on what you are getting. here craigs list can help as there are many time good deals, 1/2 price on a good used WD hitch.

The price being asked is not extreme high nor low. The end results is are you satisfied with it? The guy next door may by good fortune find one $500 cheaper, he was lucky. Again as long as his does not have issues to contend with.

The best you can do is make sure you know what your getting into and the camper shape it is in or you know if you can fix it pending what it not right. The initial cost if you pay a little more for great shape will melt away after many good times. This will come down to you feeling good about it.

Hope this helps and good luck. If you need truck and hitch help, ask that too.

John
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:55 PM   #15
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John,
Once again, thank you for all your help. I agree that NADARV values are to be used as a guide.

My tv is a 2001 GMC Yukon XL with 5.3 L with factory tow package. Older, yes, but from Texas and very clean underneath. It has little to no rust, a big deal here in New England.

The camper does come with WD and sway bar. I have never had to setup or use one, so that will all be new too. Is there tuition for all this education?

Great points on the fifth tire. I did not think about the spare. It's rather important if needed! I stopped at tire shop today and was quoted $95 and $115 per tire mounted and balanced. They were 6 ply tires 205 75R 14.

For me a new battery is a given. I'm sure it's older than five years too.

The plastic ac cover has crack in it and the seller purchased a replacement but has never installed it. That's included also.

Taking a second look this weekend when it's sunny and little warmer and all the systems are fired up in the camper will help clarify a fair price. This has been quite the process and I'm grateful to not be going through it alone.

Thanks again,
Bill
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:52 PM   #16
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Hi Bill,

Good luck this weekend. No worries on tuition for the help... All that is needed is to be a Sunline Owners Club happy camper!! Our virtual campfire burns bright. Maybe one of these days you can make it a meet and greet and meet some of us. As far as questions, just ask, no problem.

On the YukonXL, I know the truck well. The Chevy version. The age you have is a good truck. If yours has the factory tow package, then it has the extra transmission cooler and should be prepped for a brake controller tie in under the dash. I wore a Bowtie for many years before the Blue Oval I have now...

On the WD hitch, Good, you have something to start with. There will be a setup and learning process with the hitch and we can help with that too. Once you get the camper loaded, the hitch setup becomes even more important as the tongue weight goes up. When the time comes, take a few pics of the hitch so we know what one you have and ask away.

Have a good one

John
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Old 03-26-2016, 08:56 PM   #17
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Hi Guys,
We got her home are so thrilled. As I write this reply, two of my four children and I are preparing to spend our first night in our very own Sunline. Yes, it is only March 26th and the current temp is 33 degrees but I can not think of a better way of celebrating! The kids have already vacuumed all stationary fabric, washed removable linens and curtains, washed the floor and cleaned windows...inside and out. I will try to get some pics organized and share them.
Thank you again for all your help and I know you are excited for us as well. I look forward to continuing the discussion.
Happy Easter,
Bill
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Old 03-26-2016, 09:02 PM   #18
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Congrats Bill and family!!! Great for you and the family.

New campers are always good times
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Old 03-26-2016, 10:16 PM   #19
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First night in the "new" camper, we'd do the same!
Happy Easter and happy camping!
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Old 03-28-2016, 12:27 PM   #20
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Is wiring up the brake controller as easy as making the harness connection under dash on left side to panel with 6-way trailer brakes connector and the other end to brake controller? I checked fuse box under hood and a 30 amp fuse seems to already be installed. Also, the "GM" factory installed 7-way at hitch looks to have all needed wires there. Thanks.
Bill
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