Buying an old caravan - signs of water damage

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 00:11
ThreadID: 76311 Views:7652 Replies:2 FollowUps:0
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Hi -

We have three kids, a 4yr old, a 2 yr old and a baby. I have been looking for a caravan for weekends or fortnights away. We are unsure if it will be a nightmare with three littlies, so I have been looking for something under $10K, that we can resell if it doesn't work.

I have caravanned with one baby, in Europe, and also as a kid. One thing I hate is complicated set up, and putting beds up and down. With the chaos of three littlies -we don't need that!

Anyway - we found a caravan. It's a 1984 Coromal, with triple bunks at rear (in an L shape) and kitchen on one side, dining on other and a lounge/double bed at the front (which can be left made up all day! Yay!)

It's poptop, 17ft, single axle, and in good condition... All in all the functionality of the van is perfect. It is $8.5K.

Problem - there are signs of water damage around some of the windows and one of the corner seams. Not enough damage to poke your finger through, but it is stained. It doesn't smell musty.

Should I get it? It's damn hard to get the right bunk layout for a family of five, and still have a relatively small van...

I don't want to let it go if it can be fixed.... Also - I am not looking at a ten yr investment, just a two year investment, with some resale at the end. The furthest we will tow it is 600k's, the longest stay is a fortnight.

The salesman said that the van has an aluminium frame on the sides, and was only wood frame at the front. The worst damage was under one of the side windows.

Any thoughts anyone? I was thinking that if it's an aluminium frame, then the damage is only cosmetic... is this right?

Thanks in advance for any advice.....

C
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Reply By: Member - mazcan - Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 00:33

Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 00:33
hi arias
if there is water stain around a window well thats where it came in but where you should be looking is directly - below -- that window or any other high water stain
take a good powerful torch with you so as you get a good look stain can be hidden by bad light
as the water always goes to the floor or lower wall areas and thats where you need to thoroughly check for wood rot under the storage areas and right down at the bottom of cupboards in behind lower draws /floor and walls
etc
ive had personel experience with two vans one had a hole rotted in the floor that the owner or sales people tryed to camourflage below the bottom draw by placing a new piece of vinyl over it
looked nice and neat until i lifted the vinyl and the other van had wood rot in the lower wall which had been painted over press on any suspect areas with firm fingers if there's stains and your fingers dont go through
well it should be ok and has dryed out quickly after getting wet and is just stained
hope this advice helps cheers
AnswerID: 405849

Reply By: PradOz - Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 13:46

Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 13:46
Hi - i think i know of the layout you are looking at and one thing i would say is to not panic and rush in thinking that if you miss this van nothing else wll come along. Have a look on ebay as a guide to see what is available. I see this layout on there all the time. By checking whats available there you can check if this one is in average condition for make and model and price and also maybe can physically check others to see if there is something else available with no issues on the market. When you rush in you are likely to regret it later on.

If it is stained it will effect your resale value and also buyers will be just as concerned as you are now. I never trust any salesman - if he is genuine ask him to give you a 12 month guarantee it wont leak. If he is so confident he wouldnt hesitate as in the long run it wont cost him anything when it doesnt leak, but i bet he wont though. Most of these salesman that i have met do not even know there product. A lot of these vans are wheeled in, some swept out and then put on the market. How would he know if it still leaks unless he uses it himself or unless they fixed the old leak.

Leaks around windows can be difficult to fix if it comes from up higher and some older pop top roofs can leak in corners and around hatches etc. Unless you are racing off somewhere in a hurry for a holiday in it, why not do some more homework on them first and when you are confident then go get one.

As you drive around keep an eye out for similar vans and approach their owners for their opinions and advice. Most van owners love to brag about their vans so dont worry about approaching them. They can only ask you to go away. And remember that whatever you think is important in a van now wont be after you finally own one, especially your first one. Good luck....

AnswerID: 405931

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