I am looking to buy an old / vintage RV. As per my recent post - looking for a Winnebago Brave in the 1967 - 1977 range. I have been looking for awhile, though not having owned an RV in the past, nor being able to see the RV first hand before buying (live in Canada and most RVs of this type are located in the USA).
That being said, I figured it best to have a 3rd party "inspect" the RV for me before I finalize the purchase. When I say inspect, I mean having the unit checked out top to bottom - everything works, brakes and tires are good, engine and tranny are solid and a road check.
I have looked within other forums and it seems $180 gets mentioned often as to the cost for a good nspection. After looking at who does RV inspections, I found the following two popped up the most. But the cost is very very high....NRVIA or https://rvinspection.com/class-a-motorhome-rv-inspection/
Why so expensive ?
I would think AAA, CAA might have recommended paths but could not find anything there. What about the big stores - Walmart / Costco might do this for a nominal cost but have so far not found a good option,
Looking for feedback and direction as to the best place to have a used RV pre-inspected.
A serious RV inspection can be tedius and time consuming. The inspection tech has to check all appliances,plumbing,waste lines and valves. Checking the D/C and A/C electrical,a/c units if the rv has one. Check interior flooring and under body support structures.Checking walls and ceiling for potential problems and estimate the severity of damage if found. Removing the tires and wheels to check brakes and bearings. Checking springs and suspension components.. Its not a quick walk through,,, it does get to be tedius, and when completed, the tech has to stand behind his inspection findings...
Thanks for the response. Yes - that is exactly what I would expect. I am just trying to gauge cost to work ratio. One NRVIA inspector wanted $800 but that did not include the engine or chassis review. Another had tiers, $300 / $600 / $1200. Seems very high. Ultimately I am looking for a recommendation of where to go and maybe not at such a high cost. Its not a $100,000 RV, so do I stick with the designated RV inspectors, or try to find a local RV mechanic / shop that can do it all but more at an hourly shop rate ?
You'd better get it inspected since you plan on buying "sight unseen". You run a high risk of getting a Winnie with thousands of dollars of repairs, either structural... mostly from roof/window water leaks to complete mechanical replacement. Suggest sending message to member Jimco. He is all knowing about Winnies and owns Winnebago #1. use search box top right to find him. Perhaps you can enlist him to find you a good one and/or recommend an inspector. I've usually paid about $200US for non-mechanical inspection and about $150 for mechanical. If it were me I'd buy the most expensive "restored" Winnie in the price range, unless you want to spend all your time restoring vs rving in it. let us know how it turns out.
In the grand scheme of things, even $1200 is not unreasonable. You are buying sight unseen and need to make sure everything is up to snuff. RV techs and mechanics get anywhere from $90 to $150 an hour for repairing stuff. An engine rebuild can be $5000, Tranny about $3500, furnace is $500 plus labor, and AC unit is $1000 (I just replaced our front one this year). So you can see that $1200 is well spent in light of what you could get into. As for who to have check, I would use RV Inspection. The NRVIA is only an accrediting society. I did some searches on it to try and locate a supposedly accredited inspector and came up with zero results, even in their home town in Arkansas. You are in Canada and buying in the U.S. this is not a time to go on the cheap. Too much is way better in this case than to little. Good Luck.
I'm of the same opinion as the others but may I suggest that you ask the seller to split the cost of the inspection or even have them verify the worthiness. I don't think you necessarily need to pay an exorbitant amount of money for a good quality inspection. I had the Palace gone through at a local RV dealer for far less including replacing the LP regulator. One word of caution, if you are looking for perfect in an RV that is 30-40 years old it's not going to happen. Remember, even if it is in as good a shape as it could possibly be it is 30-40 years old and it will have it's issues; if you aren't prepared for that then ownership will be unnecessarily disappointing. I hope you do find what you seek and good luck on your purchase.
After re-reading the initial question, and the following replies,, I pondered the discussion a bit more, (I have this quirk about pondering thoughts). The big picture issue here is,, Your in Canada,, The RV is State side.
Your contemplating a purchase of a sight unseen RV, with the assumption it be in extremely good to excellent condition. The rig you are looking at is past the 30 yr old mark. (I know they built them better back in the day ) But, even new RV's will have issues, (I know of several *New rigs that have had serious issues).
I don't want to be a buzz killroy, but in all honesty,, If I myself was to contimplate a purchase out of state or in your case out of your home country, I would take the financial jump and visually look over the Rig myself.
Now one thing about all America,, is just about every service garage has a tech in their shops that moonlight for extra income on the side. These good ole grease monkeys work on drive trains, day in and day out and for a few extra bucks in his pocket, would probably take a look at your rig,, mechanically speaking,, and would probably help a little with the visual walk through and structure. A cold beer and good chat does help. If he can check over the drive train, engine/trans, and help with the walk through, and you being there to make the final decision,, because your going to want to see it and *FEEL it to make sure its what you WANT. In the side panel to the right,, I have a blog on what to look for when buying a used RV. If I was in your position, I would make a visit,, stay a night in local motel, and Do the walk through and have the local Joe mechanic after his work shift check it out with you.
Moral of the story,,, Its best to spend $1,000 to save $20,000 and a headache,,,,, Plus with you actually seeing and walking through it and driving it, You will then know if you WANT, that particular rig.
I always like a good ponder as well. Thanks to all that have responded so far.
My plan was to find a good RV, negotiate a good price with the caveat of paying a deposit after a clean inspection (understanding that it won't be perfect), if the results are positive then fly down, give her my own once over and then paying the remainder. Then having the adventure of driving the RV back home.
Lakota - I did read your post about buying a used RV, actually a short time ago when I first found this site. I learn more each day that I am on this site and across the www. Hopefully your traveling is good,