By Cheri Sicard
The video below from Pierre and Laurel, the team at Blue Ox on the Run, is a cautionary tale about avoiding RV money pits. If you are shopping for an RV it’s a good one to watch. In it, they show a terrific example of a 2018 Thor Ace 30.3 motorhome that looked amazing at first glance, but that held some dark secrets that will plunge any potential buyer into an expensive nightmare of repairs.
By all initial outward appearances, this motorhome was a terrific find. But when RV shopping you would be well-advised to keep in mind that things are often not what they seem, and this is a graphic case in point.
More than anything, the video shows the need for utilizing a certified RV inspector before making a major purchase like this. True, our hosts are such inspectors, but they nonetheless make an excellent point.
The video will also teach you how to look for certain problem areas in any RV you are considering buying in order to avoid major expenses and headaches down the road.
The video starts with Laurel doing a first-glimpse interior walk-through, just like any customer would. The 2018 Thor Ace appears pristinely clean and beautiful. Practically perfect aside from a few minor scuffs.
The seller also did some nice upgrades like Goodyear tires and a memory foam mattress. You might be tempted to see this rig and think, I don’t need an inspection.
We then get Pierre’s first glance walk-through perspective starting with the exterior. At first glance, the motorhome also appears pristine from the outside, but Pierre’s trained eye immediately picks up on a problem. There is delamination on the back wall. When he presses the wall the window moves. Pierre suspects that the window was never properly sealed, which over time caused the delamination. Hmmmmm.
Next, he saw a tiny hole near an outdoor hatch door and other signs the coach, despite its polish job, had not been well maintained. Then he checked under the slides and found serious water damage to the floors.
Water damage below often means water damage from above, so next Pierre inspected the roof. He instantly saw all kinds of places where water could come in. Even worse, the roof material was cracking and popping when any weight was put on it.
Water had been getting inside for who-knows-how-long. In Pierre’s book, this would disqualify this RV from purchase. Had he not inspected the roof, the new buyer would not have known about all the damage and lack of maintenance.
Then they went back inside for a closer look at what seemed pristine on the first quick walk-through. Instantly, Laurel noticed a gouge and lifting of the floor near the front door steps.
Checking in the slides, in the cabinets and under the furniture revealed high moisture readings. Not surprising, considering what Pierre found outside. The high moisture level continued on the walls in the front cab.
I liked that they showed the difference in moisture meter readings in the coach for those of us who have never used this tool. Interior walls had readings of 4-6, while the exterior walls where Pierre had seen water getting in read in the 40-60 percent range.
When they looked under the bed there was a mess of wiring and indications that work had been done. What work and how well it was done is anyone’s guess, but the coach had some sort of electrical problem at some point.
An RV inspection might seem pricey and time-consuming, but if you happen upon a rig like this one, getting the inspection is well worth it. In the case of this 2018 Thor Ace, it saved the potential buyer about $80,000 and a whole lot of headaches.