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Old 02-16-2013, 08:08 PM   #1
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Smile Used Purchase Question Sunline Permanent Site

I looked at a 1998 Sunline (don’t know model) on a permanent site and am in love, but I did not tell the seller that! It is 32 ft and has a 12x24 add a room for extra space. It sits on a gorgeous lakefront lot on Lake Erie in Westfield, NY near Chautauqua. I am about 70 miles away in Buffalo and would commute on weekends.

My problem is this: I want to have an RV tech inspect it but to do that I have to wait for water, shore power, etc. when the campground opens on May 6. I am afraid someone else will put it an offer as it is very reasonably priced (she is asking $12,000; my max offer is $10,000) and it is right on the lake. Lakeview and lakefront units for permanent sites are hard to find indeed. I have been looking on and off for a while and I have seen far less offered for far more price.

So do I offer her a deposit, say $1,000 and write up a contract making the final sale contingent to a favorable inspection in May? Of course, I have to count on her not getting an offer and taking it in the meantime or else count on her giving me my money back. This would all have to be written into the contract.

My boyfriend and I had a very good feel about the place. It was spotless and obviously gently used. The fabrics looked good, the rugs looked good, there was no smell or obvious signs of leaks. She had the furnace on and it seemed to be working fine. Still something could be wrong and I would feel more secure getting it checked out before I buy it. But how do I do that and keep her from selling it to someone else?

Thanks for any and all comments.
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:58 PM   #2
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Here is something that may help the inspection now and lower the risk.

An RV tech who knows campers can check out most everything short of the water system without too much problem. All LP appliances, the power converter, all 120 VAC appliances. The one the is the most critical is the roof and any water damage. They will need access to the roof, if it is under snow, that is a problem. If there is no snow then an inspection from the sides all the way around is doable. They can check the roof sealant for large cracks were water may get in. If they do RV roof maintenance for a living, they know what to look for both outside and inside.

In case they do not know, most Sunlines TT's do not have a walk on roof. Need to use a tarp or carpet on the rubber roof and small pieces of plywood to span the rafters which are on 16" centers. I use a 2' x 4' pieces.

Odds are high they do not have to go up on it to inspect but if they do, then they will need the added plywood & tarp. They will damage the heavy corrugate board under the rubber if they try and walk on it without the plywood. Some special orders were done by Sunline for walk on roofs with 3/8" OSB board but it would be a special order.

Now to the water system. They can check out the water system by using RV antifreeze if it is not already in the system. Odds are high the prior owner winterized it with food grade RV antifreeze. The RV tech can bring a portable compressed air tank or small compressor and pressure the system to 40 psi and check for leaks. This will rule out a cracked hot water heater or broken water lines. Or use a suction hose on the water pump and pressurize the system with RV antifreeze out of the jug.

Visual inspection under the camper can help tell if the holding tanks at least look OK. Some RV antifreeze poured in the drains will tell if the pipes are OK and the black and gray tanks. For less than $10 they can bring 2 gallons of antifreeze. The fresh tank can be visually looked at. It will be a judgment call if they want to put RV antifreeze in to check that tank. The pink liquid will not hurt it, it will just take a lot of rinsing in the spring to get it out. While not ideal, it is doable.

Tell the RV tech the situation and if what was suggested would work. If he says no, he can't do that or does not have the time, try another tech. If I was buying it and had to do it now, it is doable even if not ideal. It is a little more work, but doable.

A check like this will get 90 to 99% of the issues. Buying a used anything comes with risk, however the inspection greatly lowers the risk.

On price, it may be the spot and location driving the price along with decks etc. You will have to make that decision as some of these special spots are not easy to find. If the camper was for sale as a stand along towing camper, that would be high for a 98 camper.

Hope this helps and good luck. We are here to help as we can and glad to.

John
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:43 AM   #3
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As a side note....are you sure that you will be able to stay on the site???? I crtainly would have that written into any contract being made!
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
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As a side note....are you sure that you will be able to stay on the site???? I crtainly would have that written into any contract being made!
Good point ! I was thinking the same thing! Also, the present owner may possibly have a deal that doesn't transfer to a new owner. I'd make sure your cost for the site is understood. I think I'd want to have a chat with the property owners anyway, just to get to know them.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:04 PM   #5
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Good point everyone. The resort we are at, albeit 2000 miles away, would not allow you to just move in. If a seasonal leaves the resort the site would go to someone on the waiting list. Chatting with the resort owner / manager and getting hold of the rules is a must. It's actually a 2 way interview process.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maria0425 View Post

My problem is this: I want to have an RV tech inspect it but to do that I have to wait for water, shore power, etc. when the campground opens on May 6.
I forgot about the power, the RV tech can bring a generator and power up the camper. A 2,000 watt will run everything but the roof AC unit. A 2400 0r 3,000 watt one will power up the AC unit. If they do not have one, a local rental store may. Were this is a will, there is a way.

Good luck
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:06 PM   #7
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Good news. I talked to the owner. She actually had shore power on when I looked at the trailer Saturday. I thought she was running the furnace and she was. She also showed me the tv now that I think of it. So getting shore power is an option if I arrange it with the unit owner and the campground owner. So the only thing I have to check on is inspecting the water (per what JohnB said) since we can't turn on water until the spring. So I will call the RV dealer and make an appointment for an inspection. The owner has no problem with this. She is the maintenance director of a nursing home and it is obvious from the upkeep of the unit that she is more than very handy.

The unit is a Sunline T-320SR 1998 year. It has one large slide in the living room area. It includes a 12X24 add a room, a golf cart and the lot fees for 2013, which are $1,550 have been paid. She is asking $12,000. I am wiling to spend up to $10,000. It is on a lakefront lot on Lake Erie in Westfield, NY.

Someone told me to also check for leaks where the add a room meets the trailer, in addition to the roof and other routine places.

Any and all comments greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:49 PM   #8
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I should of asked you what year/model. We know the T320SR. Nice camper. Some club members have/had them. That is a good sized camper. Now that we know you are looking at a slide camper, here is one more area to look. The slide floor.

Was the slide in or out when you saw it this weekend? If they left it out all the time and there was no slide topper awning over it, it "might" have a slide floor leak/rot problem. It is truly a luck thing. Good luck you missed having it or bad....

See this post of mine which shows were and how to look for this. Print this out for the RV tech to check
http://www.sunlineclub.com/forums/f7...eck-11086.html

The owner may not even know if they have the problem as most do not know unless they go looking for it. I never knew it until I went looking after learning about it. If you find a soft spot, it is not a deal breaker but is a point of negation on price. I did the repair myself so cost was not that much other than materials. Hiring it done could be $800 to $1,200. It is not the materials so much but the labor cost. 2 guys hired for a day adds up at $80 to $100/hr.

If yours is rock solid, Great!. However if you get, let us know and we can show you how to tape up the holes with the proper tape now, before the problem starts later on.

Good luck

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Old 02-17-2013, 10:31 PM   #9
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The slide was indeed out and there was no cover. I will have the RV tech check it out in the inspection. If I do buy the trailer, should I close the slide in the winter or is that not recommended? Thanks for your advice. I sure do appreciate it.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:14 PM   #10
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Lake Erie View, From the Add a Room

This is the view of Lake Erie from the add a room. I hope this works. Be patient with me!
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:18 PM   #11
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Exterior Photo, 1998 T320SR

This is an exterior shot of the trailer, a 1998 T320SR.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:25 PM   #12
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Exterior Photo, Add a Room

This is an exterior shot of the add a room, which the owner calls an enclosed porch.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:36 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by maria0425 View Post
The slide was indeed out and there was no cover. I will have the RV tech check it out in the inspection. If I do buy the trailer, should I close the slide in the winter or is that not recommended? Thanks for your advice. I sure do appreciate it.
We have a slide on our Sunline and close it all winter. We only open it when camping or when we have company using it in the summer. The previous owner apparently left it open a lot and our slider's awning is falling apart and we need a new one. I doubt you will find anyone here who leaves theirs open in the winter !
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:45 AM   #14
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The slide was indeed out and there was no cover. I will have the RV tech check it out in the inspection. If I do buy the trailer, should I close the slide in the winter or is that not recommended? Thanks for your advice. I sure do appreciate it.
There is a slide topper in the picture you posted. It doesn't extend past the slideout, but it rolls in and out with the slide.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:52 AM   #15
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Since I was a bit leary of having an RV tech inspect this trailer in the dead of winter, the seller has made a suggestion which I think is a good one. It goes like this:

1. We agree on price.
2. I pay seller the price minus $1,500.
3. The $1,500 gets put in an escrow account with the campground owner.
4. In early May when the campground opens, I get the inspection performed.
5. If everything is a go, the seller gets the remaining $1,500.
6. If repairs are needed, it gets deducted from the escrow $1,500.
7. We would naturally have a contract. I would include language that if there is evidence of leaks and/or water damage, the contract is null and void and I am owned all my money back.
8. Then I have to hope I get my money back from the seller, in the unlikely event of a serious deficiency, which I do not think will be the case.

This seems to be win-win for us all, except the seller has the bulk of funds in the event of a serious problem. But I did not smell anything in the camper, it is impeccably maintained with some handiwork upgrades, and the furnace at least was working fine on my visit. We can both pretty much consider the trailer a done deal and I will not lose out of a very good lakefront location.

Comments/thoughts/concerns greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:39 PM   #16
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and who's name is the title in while the seller has all but $1500.00 of the purchase price????


To be honest...it does not sound like a win-win to me! You hand over (lets say) $10,000.00 and get nothing in return, other than a contract stating you gave them $ but you may have to hold your breath for it if there is something wrong!!!!!!!!!! And the trailer is still in the sellers name!!!!! NO WAY would I do it!
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:12 PM   #17
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Kathy & Leo make a good point about the title. Another thing that would concern me is that the owner(s) will have 90% of the money and, if you find something in the Spring that is a deal-breaker, will that 90% be there if you want it back, i.e., what happens if that money has been spent by May? Also, what happens if you and/or the inspector think that something is a deal-breaker and the owner does not? Generally, the person with the money is the one who has the leverage. Ultimately, you are going to have to make a judgement about the owner's character and be comfortable with it.

If it was me, I'd go to the hassle of getting a competent RV inspector and get an inspection now before I'd put any substantial amount of money down.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:15 PM   #18
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The slide was indeed out and there was no cover. I will have the RV tech check it out in the inspection. If I do buy the trailer, should I close the slide in the winter or is that not recommended? Thanks for your advice. I sure do appreciate it.
Hi Maria,

Your picture shows a slide topper. That is at least a start. In this case it may have saved the slide. Although the topper may be sun baked and now brittle. They only last so long.

Speaking out of experience of dealing with slide floor rot from my prior owner or sitting on the dealers lot, I'll say this.

A slide camper is a great feature and since owning one I have no fear of them and the benifits they offer outweigh the extra maintenance they need. The slide should be brought in when you are done camping or done using the camper as a spare room. If you have a "weekend" camp and are not out Monday to Friday morning, push the button and bring it in. It only takes 20 to 30 seconds, heck you don't wanna leave camp anyway....

Think if it like this. For a 30 day month, if you are in the camper every weekend for 2 nights, that is 8 nights out of 30 days or 22 days per month the slide could of been in verses out. Across 4 months that is 88 days for only 32 days of camping.

When the slide is out, the heavy rubber seals are exposed to the sun which over time breaks down the rubber. Once they break down, water intrusion can occur. Why wear them out 2.75 times faster when you are not even camping in the trailer? BTW, use 303 UV protectent on them every few months to keep them pliable and extend their life.

The slide rack system under the camper, stays working if it is worked aka "exercised" frequently. If it is left for months in the out position, rust can form on the slide system and in extreme cases, rust fixed in place. In the case of a parked camper, I see no issue lubing the system to help prevent rust in the working parts and make it work easier. I lube mine and I tow it.

Water in the floor system. This one is an industry issue not only Sunline. Many brands still make the slide floor yet today like is in your potential one and mine was. The screw holes in the slide floor up from the bottom left exposed are a path for water to get in under the water proof membrane and never get out. This is however totally preventable very easily if you can catch it before the problem starts. Leaving those exposed holes out in the weather 2.75 times more than needs to just does not make sense.

BTW Sunline was one of the first in the industry in late 2004 and 2005 model years to change the slide system to get away from this wet floor issue.

I really have not found a very good reason to why to leave it out. There have been 5 active SOC members I can think of who have had slide floor rot. I'm sure they would agree, bring the slide in. Yes, they are built to handle the weather (except the holes in the membrane, that is a miss) but being in verse out leads to less problems.

I'm not trying to scare you, just help explain why I'm saying to bring it in when your not out camping with it.

Good luck

John
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:22 PM   #19
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So:

- $5000 trailer
- $2000 golf cart
- $1550 lot rent for 2013
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$8550

I wouldn't spend more than that. Forget about the thing built onto it. Without knowing how it's really built, it may require repairs. Plus, next year if you decide not to go back, you either have to pay the rent or remove the trailer from the site. That means the wrecking ball meets the attachment there. So I wouldn't put much value in the room at all.

It looks like it's been sitting there for a while, so it would probably need tires and bearing work before hauling it out. Plus, as is the case with most trailers set up like this, the awning is removed and not around anywhere, so you'd need to fill the holes in the side of the trailer (so water doesn't get it) or put a new awning on it.

And yes, all this assumes you have the title to put in your name. Don't buy it any other way.

Personally, I wouldn't mess around with the escrow account. Much too involved, imo. Get someone to inspect it now and really go through it except for water components. Yes, you could have water lines and faucets that need replacing, and of course possibly a water pump and water heater, but if you did all of that, it's going to be $500 or less in parts. Shop rates are typically around $90-100/hour in the industry, plus add in any transportation fees for them to get out there. Depending on the extent of the work required, that $1500 number is a good figure to bank on as a max cost to do 'wet' repairs.

Of course if you get a warmer day (close to freezing), you could bring a few 5 gallon jugs of water with you and fill the water tank in the trailer. Pump it through the trailer with the pump and let the guy check everything he'd need to. Then you'd just have to pay him to winterize the water system again when he's done. Then you'd know for sure about everything and could be done with it.

Good luck in your decision.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:38 AM   #20
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Totally agree with SunlineFan. Water isn't going to freeze instantly in a heated trailer. Turn on the heat, add water, test water system, re winterize. My guess is that the seller has offered you the $1500 deal because he knows the trailer is sound and dry.
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