When shopping for that new Toyota Motorhome there are some essential trouble areas to look for.
- The Rear Axle - You will find two types of axles on Toyota Motorhomes. Please read the "Axle Facts Link" on the left.
- Water Damage - Unknown water damage can cost you thousands in repairs. The tell tale signs are water stains on the interior walls and ceilings. Do not be afraid to move cushions or look inside storage areas. Look on the outside for excess sealant around windows or on the roof as it might be a sign that leak was repaired but also realize that it may also just be preventative sealing. Even if you do find evidence there may not be any real serious damage but do not hesitate to ask about it if needed.
- Interior Electrical - Test everything. Do all the lights work? Ask if the converter operates correctly, does the converter charge the battery (s) ok. If there is a Display panel ask to test it, try to verify that if it says the water tank is full that it actually is.
- Coach Systems - Test everything if you are serious about buying. Does the water heater operate? Ask to test the heating system. Test the water pump. With the water system pressurized make sure all the faucets do not drip. If you can, open areas to inspect water lines for leaks. The refrigerator is a big item to check. First inspect the interior for cracks and missing components. Look at the door seal for damage. Refrigerators can operate on three different power sources, 120 volt AC, Propane and 12 volt DC. Ask what ways it can be powered. Most importantly ask about its operational status. RV refrigerators need to be almost level when operated or they will be damaged. If you can, ask to test it but first level the coach. Do a search on the internet for RV Refrigerators before you buy an RV and you will find tons of info. If its non-op it can be expensive to replace. Coach Batteries, ask how many there are, what kind (deep cycle, lead acid, agm), what condition, how old. Have they been kept fully charged during their life, lead acid batteries will be damaged if stored in a discharged state for too long.
- Tires - Tires have a life span of approximately 8 to 10 years. They have a code on the side that can tell you the manufacturer date. Because RV tires usually have fewer miles than?daily use?vehicles the tire usually have a lot of tread life left even though they are at their age limit. I have head many stories of folks who have traveled across country, bought a RV and on the way home have a blowout because of old tires. Most sellers are not going to throw on a new set of tires before selling. Consider tire a possible expense right away if the are too old. When a tire blows and comes apart on these rigs it can cause a lot of serious damage to the coach. Any tire shop should be able to check the condition and age of the tires.
- Mechanical - Brakes, ask if the brakes have ever been serviced or replaced. Ask about scheduled service, when was the oil changed, how about the air cleaner? If the engine is cool open the radiator cap and look at the water. Does the water have the color of anti-freeze? Has the cooling system ever been flushed? Are there any overheating problems? Automatic Transmissions, pull the dip stick and look at the oil, does it look ok, it should have a red color to it and smell like new ATM oil. If it has a burnt smell that could be a sign of future transmission problems. Does it shift ok? Look under the rig for signs of oil leaks. Is there a transmission cooler? Engine, look them over for oil leaks. How long ago was it serviced or tuned up? How does it sound when running or under acceleration? If its a V6 ask about the head gasket recall. The early V6&undefined;s were recalled due to head gasket problems. Stick Shifts, ask if the clutch has ever been replaced.
- Do not be afraid to ask the seller questions. Do some research before you start looking. Visit the Forums and ask other owner questions before and after you buy. Another good resource id the Yahoo Group Toyota-Campers. You can find a link to there in the forums.