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Old 02-27-2010, 09:49 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2010
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SUN #1014
Looking to buy - need advice


I looking to buy a small older Sunline camper.
I'm looking at a 1980 13' model.

I looked up a 1980 13' unit on NADA guides and with some options,
the average retail come in around $1200.
The current owner is asking more than 250% that amount.
I know these older little trailer can get good prices... but??

Any advice on what a fail used price would be for a unit of this vintage should
go for appreciated. Also any specific questions to ask.
I have never owned a trailer before.



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Old 02-27-2010, 11:27 AM   #2
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SUN #258
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From what I've seen lately, older, smaller units are commanding a premuim price because of their size and mostly because of their weight. Look at a new T@B today. $15,000 for a 12 footer. Yikes. As long as there's people paying the premium, that's the price. It seems that the NADA price only means that's all a bank will loan.

Make an offer and wait, who knows.

You can easily test the appliances and lights and look at the tires but you might ask when the bearings and brakes were last serviced.

Good luck.

Paul & Sheri - Upstate New York - SUN-0258
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:00 PM   #3
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We have a 1982 and paid a lot less however I agree the market has changed, partially because these small units can be towed by practically any vehicle and partly because towing with a small vehicle means better miles per gallon - we get 20 mpg.

I would begin by spending some time in the trailer, just sitting and looking around, checking every compartment and draw.

I would check every part of the trailer. The most likely things to have problems are the fridge and hot water heater. The former is the most expensive unit in the trailer. Ask the owner to turn the fridge on before you come and the hot water heater too before you come.

I would check for obvious signs of water leakage looking for stains in the ceiling or on the walls. As well I would check for soft spots in the floor indicating water damage, particularly around the door and near the water heater.

I would get a ladder and look at the roof, checking for cracks around the pipes and vents coming thru the roof. You can not get on the roof but can probably see everything you need to see.

I would also check to see the squareness of the door compared to it's opening. Take off the refrigerator vent on the side of the trailer, look inside the compartment for water damage. The side refridge vent slides up and out.

Does it have air conditioning? If so this may have weakened the roof over the years. Does it work?

Check the year of the tires. When we bought ours the spare said it was made in 1986 or something. Tires should be less than 5 years old and without sidewall cracks. If not you'll need to replace them no matter the tread.

I'm also believed in looking underneath for rust, to see if the previous owner maintained the trailer.

At the price your suggesting, it should almost be perfect. The price they are asking is more than the original purchase price.

Our trailer came with many warts but was worth it. It's just always good to know what your getting and what it's worth.
Norm and Ginny Milliard
1982 Sunline 15.5 SB
2004 Honda CRV 4 cyl, manual
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Old 02-27-2010, 12:41 PM   #4
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My best friend has a 1982 15 1/2 SB and it is in fantastic shape. Original Fridge & heater, replaced the AC unit 2 summers ago with a Carrier AC unit. All upholstery is original, about the only thing this wonderful Sunline might need (depending on your taste) is new curtains. This unit has not leaked and has been well taken care of. But, it's not cheap, I believe he has it priced at $2,400.00

He also has a 1994 Sunline T-1950 that he wants $4000.00, the only issue with this unit is the paint has been cleaned TOO much and there are some spots where the bare aluminum shows thru.

Sorry, I don't have any good pics of either unit, but mechanically they are both VERY well taken care of.

Sunny #18 2003 F-344SR #8157
Sunny #19 1997 T-2653 #5485
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Old 02-27-2010, 01:53 PM   #5
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I have to agree that past a certain age RV, the NADA listing means little other than the maximum possible value on a bank loan.

IMHO, when dealing with older RV's (given the size/type you want), condition is everything. Repair costs on hidden flaws can readily equal the value of the RV.....and eat up the free time you'd have for camping. So buy the best quality you can afford....and it'll ultimately save you money and multiply your pleasure(caveat....bear in mind...nothing's perfect).

Frank Yake - Sunlines 1982-2008
TT= 2016 Casita Liberty 17 SD (NASA42-B)
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Old 02-27-2010, 02:14 PM   #6
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I agree that ideally you want to minimize repairs, particularly the unexpected ones. However getting an older trailer with a few problems is an excellent way to learn about trailers, extending one's ability and confidence.

There is almost nothing in a trailer that one can't figure out and fix.

I hope the one you're targeting meets your needs and that you get to buy it for a fair price. If you are near Kitty and the 15.5 trailer that she describes as is in very good condition, you should give it a peep. We have one like that and love it.

Norm and Ginny Milliard
1982 Sunline 15.5 SB
2004 Honda CRV 4 cyl, manual
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