Considering buying our first 5th wheel! - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 12-29-2015, 12:53 AM   #1
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Cool Considering buying our first 5th wheel!

Hello everybody,My wife and I are considering a purchase but I'm just doing some research.


We are currently looking at a:
1996 DUTCHMEN Classic Ameristar



We haven't looked at it in person yet but it looks solid. No slide out, the door is towards the back.


I was going to ask if anyone has had any experience with this model.


Thanks and Happy Camping!!
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Old 12-29-2015, 04:32 PM   #2
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I have no experience with that particular rig but beware of any 16 year-old camper. Make sure you check carefully for leaks. You should negotiate down to a very low price because of it's age and lack of a slide. And yes, there are lots of 16 year-old rigs out there that are in very good condition. Just be cautious.
Good luck and welcome to the forum. Make sure you post pictures of your rig when it is purchased.
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:58 PM   #3
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Like Handyman said "I have no experience with that particular rig". I do have experience with buying rv's that are that old. I helped my son buy a 5th wheel Wilderness that had a slide that was that age. It needed all the tires & had roof & water damage. We got it at a good price & with some work he has a very nice 30' 5th wheel.

Is this your first RV?
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:25 PM   #4
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Welcome, I have been working on repairing older RV's and I can say, like the guys above, I have found water damage behind walls, that didn't ever show, check the roof area, and around windows and vents, then check all the equipment, The main thing is, was it kept inside, outside, when was the last time it was used, even if its in good shape, replacement parts will be hard to find, and changing some items to new, wiring etc. is another story....Good luck, do your homework
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:40 PM   #5
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I'll just say this... you've got more guts than I'd have. Knowing what I know now about RV's, I'd be leery of even buying a 3 year old unit.

These things aren't like used cars... where, if you need a part, you can tell someone the year/make/model and get a new one. They're more like jigsaw puzzles, in that... yeah, you can get all of the pieces to fit together as they should, but it'll be a challenge doing it.

Good luck in your decision...
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Old 12-29-2015, 11:04 PM   #6
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Welcome.

When you look at it, have a very critical eye. Don't talk yourself into something that could take a hockey sock full of cash to get into useable condition.

Invest in a moisture meter and check along the top of the outside walls, also check around everything that penetrates the walls or roof (windows, vents, etc.) Don't forget to check under the sinks and around the shower.

RVs use lots of material that make for great mould and mildew incubators. Mould and mildew are not something that you want to risk your health with. If you find evidence of water penetration, run as fast as you can away from the deal.
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Old 12-30-2015, 01:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATCguy View Post
I'll just say this... you've got more guts than I'd have. Knowing what I know now about RV's, I'd be leery of even buying a 3 year old unit.

Good luck in your decision...
😳 😳
From this point I am leery of anything that has a Thor brand on it even if it brand new!
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Old 01-03-2016, 06:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thom View Post
😳 😳
From this point I am leery of anything that has a Thor brand on it even if it brand new!
What is the Thor brand?
I should specify the my wife and I are just beginning our 5th wheel life and can't a afford much at this time.


But at the same time, I am not going to purchase anything that guarantees headaches and regret. I truly appreciate this honest feedback


-Matt
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:05 PM   #9
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The best way to think of Thor is... they're the General Motors of the RV universe.

Keystone, Dutchmen, Forest River, etc... they all used to be their own companies, with their own facilities, corporate knowledge & operating procedures. One by one, Thor has been buying them up... so that they now own over 90% of the market. There are only a few RV builders now who don't fall under their umbrella, and most of them are in the high-market category.

The downside of all of this is that quality control gives way to production volume. The phrase "Friday afternoon build" has been used by many of us to explain the haphazardly way some parts of our units appear to have been built.

Not trying to scare you off, but one think to know about RV quality control is this. The only parts of your RV that have regulated standards are the portions required by the federal Dept of Transportation. In other words... Tailights, clearance lights, brakes, and tires.

The interior electrical is not regulated like household electrical code. Neither is the plumbing... flooring... insulation... etc. The manufacturer is free to build it as well (or not) as they want. Sometimes they do good... other times, not so much.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ATCguy View Post
The best way to think of Thor is... they're the General Motors of the RV universe.

Keystone, Dutchmen, Forest River, etc... they all used to be their own companies, with their own facilities, corporate knowledge & operating procedures. One by one, Thor has been buying them up... so that they now own over 90% of the market. There are only a few RV builders now who don't fall under their umbrella, and most of them are in the high-market category.

The downside of all of this is that quality control gives way to production volume. The phrase "Friday afternoon build" has been used by many of us to explain the haphazardly way some parts of our units appear to have been built.

Not trying to scare you off, but one think to know about RV quality control is this. The only parts of your RV that have regulated standards are the portions required by the federal Dept of Transportation. In other words... Tailights, clearance lights, brakes, and tires.

The interior electrical is not regulated like household electrical code. Neither is the plumbing... flooring... insulation... etc. The manufacturer is free to build it as well (or not) as they want. Sometimes they do good... other times, not so much.


Ok that makes sense.. I had no idea some were under one flag..
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