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Anyone with RV experience, please step inside...

bullsi1911bullsi1911 ModeratorPosts: 11,242 Senior Member
Been looking for a cabin option for the ranch for... two years. A buddy just let me know that he has a line on a 3 axle 5th wheel RV travel trailer that a guy is giving away. 

Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, anyone that has experience with rehabbing RVs, or how to treat one that has been sitting a while, or what do do with an RV that might sit for months on a ranch with no one stopping in... well, I would appreciate any input. 

I do not have a 5th wheel capable truck, but I have friends that do. It will make one trip, get set in place and stay there. 
To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
-Mikhail Kalashnikov
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Replies

  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,825 Senior Member
    Check for leaks, check for leaks, and check for leaks. They *ALL* leak, sooner or later, the cheaper ones sooner. If its an old Pioneer or Ardon, it may be worthwhile if it hasn't leaked too much.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • GilaGila Posts: 1,828 Senior Member
    Be sure to put it up on blocks.
    No good deed goes unpunished...
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,998 Senior Member
    Be sure to tarp the thing when it's not in use...Park it on something solid (we put ours on pavers) rather than dirt...and remember that rodents love empty RVs...make sure potential access points are sealed up
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 5,486 Senior Member
    Rodents are the enemy. Not just inside but chewing on lines and wires underneath. Use commercial prevention products. Fresh Cab seems to work pretty well. Make sure there is no food inside. As mentioned, block any possible entry points. 

    Drain all the water. Make sure you include the hot water tank. 
    When our governing officials dismiss due process as mere semantics, when they exercise powers they don’t have and ignore duties they actually bear, and when we let them get away with it, we have ceased to be our own rulers.

    Adam J. McCleod


  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,188 Senior Member
    Best thing for longevity is shade.... Watch Craigslist for a used cover....
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 12,813 Senior Member
    You should park that RV by your front door and then *ahem*, load it the night before you go up to deer hunt
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 12,813 Senior Member
    Dont forget to shut off the trail camera:)
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • JKPJKP Senior Member Posts: 2,258 Senior Member
    edited January 2020 #9
    If possible build pole barn on slab where it will be placed. Very likely already leaks, so take that out of the equation. 
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,131 Senior Member
    It probably leaks. I bought one for a song. It leaked. We have gutted it (kitchen, bath and all) and are going to put a steel roof on it then make it a bunk house since we already have an outhouse and other facilities to cook with.

    Then there is the cover that Jbpohio has shown above, or you can build one-- typically what the Yoopers do... build a pole barn slightly bigger than the trailer without the walls and park the trailer under it.

    With those old RV's, it isn't a question of if it is going to leak, it is when.

    If you are getting it for cheap or free and got someone to haul it... do it! I am sure you will do a cabin later, but this gets you some solid shelter for pretty cheap in the very near future.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,587 Senior Member
    The guys are spot on....put a roof over it.  Campers are built cheap.  Frustratingly so.  Personally, I'd probably sheet the underside with plywood, help keep critters out. While I was at it, I'd throw some R19 under there, too.
    Year, make, model?
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,825 Senior Member
    The "other half" of the story is that leaks are FAR less likely if it hasn't been moved. Once you get it onsite and give it a good once over and roof coating, it has a fair chance of not leaking for a number of years. Depends on how it was built though - the old Pioneer 5th and 7th wheels had a one piece fiberglass front/end caps and roof which helped a lot. Ardon was similar, but the 3 pieces instead of one.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,998 Senior Member
    Be sure to check out the water heater, water pump and furnace thoroughly...

    If the thing is going to end up costing you a bunch of money, having one of those pre-built barns/buildings dropped on your place is always an option...finishing the interior of those can be done pretty inexpensively...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,242 Senior Member
    Jayhawker said:
    Be sure to check out the water heater, water pump and furnace thoroughly...

    If the thing is going to end up costing you a bunch of money, having one of those pre-built barns/buildings dropped on your place is always an option...finishing the interior of those can be done pretty inexpensively...
    That was the direction I was heading when the RV popped up.  

    I have found that the trailer was in daily use until about 6 weeks ago.  I will find out if I can get it on Monday when the park’s lien takes possession of the trailer.  

    A friend checked it out, said there are no current signs of leaks, and the slides, etc... seem to be functional.  Tires seem good as well.

    It’s SOUNDING too good to be true right now, but fingers are crossed.
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 3,901 Senior Member
    I agree with JH there. An RV can cost a bunch of money pretty quick. My dad lives in one full time, I lived in one full time for a while and a close buddy is a tech at Camping World. Plumbing, leaks and air conditioning has been the main issues we’ve dealt with. We just put a new roof and air conditioner on my motor home. Not a hard job at all. Just time consuming. My buddy and I did it in 1 full day. After taking everything off the roof, we covered the entire roof with thin plywood. Cut vent and AC holes out from the inside after it’s down. Then we rolled rubber sheet roofing front to back, held down with strong cement and rolled flat. It folds down on the sides, gets stapled all the way down and molding goes over the seam. Put everything back on and seal around everything and all the screw heads. Cut through the rubber roofing from the inside with a box cutter. No more leaks. 

    Another big thing to check if you plan to use it is the fridge. Since they run on propane or electricity, they are EXPENSIVE to replace. If you smell ammonia in or around it, it’s probably gone. A lot of the older ones use ammonia in the refrigerant system. Sure sign of a leak. 

    Dont use the stabilizer jacks, if equipped, as supports. They aren’t designed to hold the weight of the trailer. I’d jack it up and put it on blocks. I also agree with covering the under side and possibly insulating it as well as putting it under a roof if possible. They get cold in the winter and hot in the summer. When not in use, I’d leave rodent bait stations or glue boards all over in it to get any that get inside. 
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 6,068 Senior Member
    I was a member of a Hunting Club for a while and my buddy had 3 RVs that were gifted to him parked on the property to be used as cabins by the members and it worked really well.  He drained and disconnected all plumbing to avoid any hassles or folks doing something silly like drinking out of a faucet.  The toilet was the great outdoors. no bedding we all used our sleeping bags.  The roof was tarred with driveway sealer to assure waterproofing and it was CHEAP and worked well.

    In your neck of the woods a couple of solar panels and a couple of marine deep cycle batteries would give you a great source of power for LED bulbs for evening inside lighting, to power/charge cell phones/iPads and other cheap forms of after hunt entertainment.  A grill or camping stove and fire pit to provide ways to cook, 2 five gallon plastic jugs of water with built-in spigots to drink and wash, your Yeti and you are good to go.  If the floors start getting soft and saggy (as they will with age) rip out the carpet and throw some plywood on top of the sub flooring and glue/screw down.  Easy to sweep clean.

    I actually like Jerms idea of ultimately gutting it to make a bunkhouse.
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,825 Senior Member
    bullsi1911 said:
    A friend checked it out, said there are no current signs of leaks, and the slides, etc... seem to be functional.  Tires seem good as well.

    It’s SOUNDING too good to be true right now, but fingers are crossed.
    If its new enough to have slides - check for leaks all around those as well.

    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • GilaGila Posts: 1,828 Senior Member
    GunNut said:
    I was a member of a Hunting Club for a while and my buddy had 3 RVs that were gifted to him parked on the property to be used as cabins by the members and it worked really well.  He drained and disconnected all plumbing to avoid any hassles or folks doing something silly like drinking out of a faucet.  The toilet was the great outdoors. no bedding we all used our sleeping bags.  The roof was tarred with driveway sealer to assure waterproofing and it was CHEAP and worked well.

    In your neck of the woods a couple of solar panels and a couple of marine deep cycle batteries would give you a great source of power for LED bulbs for evening inside lighting, to power/charge cell phones/iPads and other cheap forms of after hunt entertainment.  A grill or camping stove and fire pit to provide ways to cook, 2 five gallon plastic jugs of water with built-in spigots to drink and wash, your Yeti and you are good to go.  If the floors start getting soft and saggy (as they will with age) rip out the carpet and throw some plywood on top of the sub flooring and glue/screw down.  Easy to sweep clean.

    I actually like Jerms idea of ultimately gutting it to make a bunkhouse.
    What's wrong with drinking from a faucet?  I've been doing it my entire life, and bottled water is nothing more than an advertising scam.

    Concrete blocks are available to put it on, and the best rat/mice traps I've found are the TopCat poison bait boxes which function by allowing the rodents to take it back to their nests to feed the young ones, killing the entire nest.
    No good deed goes unpunished...
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 6,068 Senior Member
    Gila said:
    GunNut said:
    I was a member of a Hunting Club for a while and my buddy had 3 RVs that were gifted to him parked on the property to be used as cabins by the members and it worked really well.  He drained and disconnected all plumbing to avoid any hassles or folks doing something silly like drinking out of a faucet.  The toilet was the great outdoors. no bedding we all used our sleeping bags.  The roof was tarred with driveway sealer to assure waterproofing and it was CHEAP and worked well.

    In your neck of the woods a couple of solar panels and a couple of marine deep cycle batteries would give you a great source of power for LED bulbs for evening inside lighting, to power/charge cell phones/iPads and other cheap forms of after hunt entertainment.  A grill or camping stove and fire pit to provide ways to cook, 2 five gallon plastic jugs of water with built-in spigots to drink and wash, your Yeti and you are good to go.  If the floors start getting soft and saggy (as they will with age) rip out the carpet and throw some plywood on top of the sub flooring and glue/screw down.  Easy to sweep clean.

    I actually like Jerms idea of ultimately gutting it to make a bunkhouse.
    What's wrong with drinking from a faucet?  I've been doing it my entire life, and bottled water is nothing more than an advertising scam.

    Concrete blocks are available to put it on, and the best rat/mice traps I've found are the TopCat poison bait boxes which function by allowing the rodents to take it back to their nests to feed the young ones, killing the entire nest.
    Drinking from the faucet at home?  Not a problem.  Drinking from the faucet in an RV?  I can’t see that happening even in a new unit, and absolutely NOT in an old giveaway when who knows what and for how long that “water” has been in a tank.
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,998 Senior Member
    GunNut said:
    Gila said:
    GunNut said:
    I was a member of a Hunting Club for a while and my buddy had 3 RVs that were gifted to him parked on the property to be used as cabins by the members and it worked really well.  He drained and disconnected all plumbing to avoid any hassles or folks doing something silly like drinking out of a faucet.  The toilet was the great outdoors. no bedding we all used our sleeping bags.  The roof was tarred with driveway sealer to assure waterproofing and it was CHEAP and worked well.

    In your neck of the woods a couple of solar panels and a couple of marine deep cycle batteries would give you a great source of power for LED bulbs for evening inside lighting, to power/charge cell phones/iPads and other cheap forms of after hunt entertainment.  A grill or camping stove and fire pit to provide ways to cook, 2 five gallon plastic jugs of water with built-in spigots to drink and wash, your Yeti and you are good to go.  If the floors start getting soft and saggy (as they will with age) rip out the carpet and throw some plywood on top of the sub flooring and glue/screw down.  Easy to sweep clean.

    I actually like Jerms idea of ultimately gutting it to make a bunkhouse.
    What's wrong with drinking from a faucet?  I've been doing it my entire life, and bottled water is nothing more than an advertising scam.

    Concrete blocks are available to put it on, and the best rat/mice traps I've found are the TopCat poison bait boxes which function by allowing the rodents to take it back to their nests to feed the young ones, killing the entire nest.
    Drinking from the faucet at home?  Not a problem.  Drinking from the faucet in an RV?  I can’t see that happening even in a new unit, and absolutely NOT in an old giveaway when who knows what and for how long that “water” has been in a tank.
    Meh...we always used the onboard water...drain it when you're done...fill it with a Clorox solution, let it sit for a bit...drain it, rinse it well.

    And Bob's your uncle.....
    .
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 3,901 Senior Member
    Agreed. Drain it after every use and keep it clean and it’s fine. They also make a dry powder that you can add to the tank water to keep it fresh. And it’s safe to drink. Can’t remember what it is off the top of my head. I assume it’s the same as water purifiers they sell for hikers and such.

    I second checking the slide out seals if you get it. Depending on how old the trailer is, they might not be leaking yet, but they will. When the slides are left open all the time, the seals are exposed all the time. When the slides are kept closed, the seals are protected. They aren’t designed to be left open all the time, unprotected. 

    RVs really aren’t made to be lived in. Many people do it. Especially around the oil fields. Of course for those guys, the trailer is usually considered pretty much disposable. But if they’re taken care of, fixed and worn items replaced, they can last a long time. My motor home is a 1989 that my grandfather bought brand new. It runs great and I keep it maintained. Of course, it also helps that it’s only got 76,000 original miles on it. Everything is original except wear items and it’s on its third air conditioner. On board generator and all. Mobile hunting shack... 👍
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,825 Senior Member
    I'd love to own an old Spartan....
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • GilaGila Posts: 1,828 Senior Member
    I prefer a tent...  :D
    No good deed goes unpunished...
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 6,068 Senior Member
    edited January 2020 #24
    Glad you guys have had good experiences drinking RV tank water.  Every time I’ve been on one or a boat (same systems) the water has smelled.  I’ll shower and clean up with it but I’ll quench my thirst with beer thanks 😁

    Anyway my buddy yanked out the plumbing so he would have to do zero maintenance on it.  He was not about to winterize or come out for toilet emergencies.  They were set up as shelter from the elements, basically a warm place to sleep in, and for that they were superb AND pretty much maintenance free.
    Old West Saying: God created men, but Col. Sam Colt made them equal.

    General George Patton:  “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,587 Senior Member
    zorba said:
    The "other half" of the story is that leaks are FAR less likely if it hasn't been moved. Once you get it onsite and give it a good once over and roof coating, it has a fair chance of not leaking for a number of years. Depends on how it was built though - the old Pioneer 5th and 7th wheels had a one piece fiberglass front/end caps and roof which helped a lot. Ardon was similar, but the 3 pieces instead of one.
    7th wheel?  
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,257 Senior Member
    edited January 2020 #26
    jbohio said:

    7th wheel?  
    My GUESS, is a large enough "5th wheel" RV that it requires a dually to pull it. Just a guess though
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,131 Senior Member
    I guess a tri-axle 5th wheel.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,825 Senior Member
    edited January 2020 #28
    I guess a tri-axle 5th wheel.
    That would be correct. That's what Pioneer called them back in the day, maybe the term isn't being used anymore?
    OTOH, my wife and I once owned a 17-1/2 foot "Me Too" (brand) single axle "3rd wheel".
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 12,813 Senior Member
    If you are going to build a shed. a steel building, to park the camper in, why would you need the camper?, sayin'. Might be cheaper upfront to go with the camper, but the investment over the long haul on the steel building would be the way to go IMHO
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,188 Senior Member
    edited January 2020 #30
    CHIRO1989 said:
    If you are going to build a shed. a steel building, to park the camper in, why would you need the camper?, sayin'. Might be cheaper upfront to go with the camper, but the investment over the long haul on the steel building would be the way to go IMHO
    A used cover like I posted would be <$1000..... Camper already has everything including insulation, kitchen, fridge, furnace, a/c, water, grey, and black tanks that can be easily emptied..... Much cheaper than a septic or composting toilet.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 12,813 Senior Member
    I can't remember if Bullsi owns the property or leases, if owned, build to last, use the 5th wheel until you can upgrade.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
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