There are two schools of thought:
1: Buy the cheapies (I've bought a number for $1 per, free shipping, although it takes a few weeks for them to arrive.) The lumens are not great, but they save very much on battery power. They may interfere with radio as well.
2: Buy the good type that have their own voltage regulation, put out a warmer light, and more lumens. Those can be ten to a hundred times more expensive.
Since I only use my rig on weekends, I went with #1. If I were using it more often, I'd go with the good quality bulbs.
For me the nost important thing is the entire power train. If you would need an engine or transmission soon, that is a huge expense. Secondly all the appliances in an RV are quite expensive, so they must be checked out thoroughly. The tertiary thing would be any water damage, all the way from the fresh water tank to the grey and black water tanks. That means all the plumbing in between, too.
I wish you the best of luck, and happy camping.
Gonzo42 has the points in a nutshell. However, I would reorder them:
1: Evidence of leaks or water damage, run. It costs far more to tear out and repair cabover leaks and damage from that than to drop a new V-10 into the "C".
2: Mechanical shape. After ten years, budget for replacing all hoses and fluids.
3: Appliances. If the generator isn't fogged or run every so often, it will need a new carb. There is a good chance that the windings are corroded as well. A/C, refrigerators, and other units can get expensive to fix as well.
If worried about the cab doors, Sussex Installations in the UK has deadbolt locks that will keep those closed even if the windows are broken. I wouldn't want them on my "C" because they don't open from the inside. I personally wouldn't do anything other than a Jimmi-Jammer on the cab doors for safety reasons.
On the entry/exit door, I'd also look at a Fiamma Safe Door. It is a way to have security, but a tad more elegant than the mentioned hockey puck locks.
The issue is the call center. Local service is probably fine... it appears to be the call center, and that is where a lot of companies tend to offshore... and usually regret it.
Another item one can use is stating that one is hard of hearing and needs an ADA rep. This almost always will get someone on the line who at least can communicate effectively.
If push comes to shove, I also have two towing programs. One from my insurance company, and Good Sam.
The ironic thing is that when I run the numbers, if I factor in selling my RV, I actually am doing better than staying at hotels/motels, and that factors in the rig, gas for the generator, and other items, like the anode rod for the water heater, and so on.
I know this definitely won't be the case when I move to a motorhome or a truck camper, but it is sort of nice to know.
As for campgrounds, I actually don't know how they make it. $35-$50 is about par for the course in the off season around these parts, and it isn't just the overhead, it is the code compliance, regulations, licensing, security (it costs cash to have someone patrolling the CG to toss out the bad apples), and Wi-Fi.
If you don't mind the marring of the door surface, you can put a bar in place on the entry door, then enter and exit out the doors in the cab. Another option is a jimmy proof deadbolt. The double-cylinder will keep the door closed even if a bad guy reaches the latch.
Of course, the tweaker will then go to one of the cab doors and smash a window to get in...
I have been thinking of this myself, so I'd probably go with a single cylinder lock as linked above, which will be a visual deterrent, but that's as far as I'd bother going.
Another idea are the large "hockey puck" locks and hasps, but they are ugly, and may rust after a while.
I don't understand this. A RV is both a vehicle and a house. The cheapest vehicle I can find new has a "laser cut" key (in actuality, it is a variant of the Bell center-cut keys that have been used in coin lockers since the 1970s, but it sounds impressive by the BMW sales guy with the German-accent.)
Why are RV locks so craptastic? Yes, someone can break a window or pry a door loose, but the locks should be on par with cars, which means at least getting STRATTEC (the same lock makers that make the auto locks for the Big Three) to make the locks. It might at most add $50 to the price of an RV, but what it would allow would be one key that works on all door, compartment, and (if a MH) ignition locks, and a mechanism that is sturdy, weather-resistant, and proven to work in all kinds of environments.
If not them, there are many other high security lock makers that offer millions to billions of different keys. Sussex Installations in the UK use a key (Mul-T-Lock) which guarantees that nobody's key will fit someone else's lock unless explicitly keyed that way.
I've see very good work done using the EternaClean->EternaPrime->EB->EternaCaulk method. EternaClean is good at getting the gunk off. EternaPrime will get the tape to bond even if the surface is dusty or still not 100% clean. EternaCaulk is good as a first barrier to keep the edges of the tape from getting soiled.
I also learned that pushing down by hand is fruitless. You need to roll it down and roll it down hard for it to bond.
One idea I have, but I've not tried it, might be using double-thickness EB tape, which might make things easier.
Playing with HELOCs can be playing with fire. I don't mean to be pessimistic, but when the economy tanks, one can lose both their RV and their stick and brick home if a HELOC is used for this purpose.
I'm sure the loan on a house has a lower interest rate. If one is secure knowing their income will be coming in, it is a better deal. However, if we get another 2008, it might cause someone to lose everything.
This is assuming the HELOC is on the S&B home, of course.
Around these parts, worst I've seen for CGs is about a C-note a night on some popular weekends. A hotel can cost $850 a night.
State parks are also an option here in Texas.
After I bought my TT, I've not stayed in a single hotel. No real need for me to, and they can keep the bedbugs.
One thing I'm looking at doing in a few years is making a solar trailer. This way, I can put a large amount of AGM batteries between two heavy duty axles. Since this system will be connected to the motorhome via an inverter, I can go up in voltage with the batteries without worry inside the trailer. 48 volts is nice because I can safely use skinny wires, and I can get a DC-DC converter for 12 volt appliances (although I've yet to read about anyone on rv.net having any success with one, which gives me pause.)
The ironic thing is that reliable, energy-dense (per volume) batteries would fundamentally change things for the better... but yet, there has yet to be a single significant improvement with battery tech since the '90s and the lithium variants that helps density. Supercaps are nice for speed of charging/discharging, but energy density is the big thing.
I've not gotten the point of a heat pump in a RV at all because of the single motor fan design. Why not just a regular A/C and a heat strip, although the best bang for the buck is a Cheap Heat system to supplement the RV furnace, and not bother with semi-working heat solutions from a device designed to cool the environment.
I wonder if there are any battery technologies that look promising. Supercaps charge fast, but don't have that much energy capacity. I've seen others, but they require the battery to be at a very high temperature.
Of course, there are flywheels, but those are not exactly vehicle friendly. Maybe Velkess's design, but they have been quiet after their kickstarter was funded.
I'm sure there is a usable battery technology that is RV friendly out there. Oh well... I'm not looking forward to buying AGMs, but it seems that for this application, it seems to be the best way of doing things.
When I was a teenager, I once learned to drive with someone who refused to downshift and rode brakes downhill saying, "it is cheaper to get new brakes than a transmission". The result was every downhill in steep areas meant sitting on the side of the road every few miles waiting for the rotors to stop glowing.
After learning what not to do, as a kid, on any decent incline, I'm downshifting. I also make sure to have a good trans cooler in place and some type of temperature gauge on it, so there isn't a chance I'm BBQ-ing the transmission. I use brakes sparingly, only applying when needed and jabbing them to maximize the amount of time the rotors spend without anything on them. So far, so good.
I bought a clear plastic tub from Wally World. I poked a hole in each side to secure the tub via zip-tie "chains" to the sides of the truck bed. It is big enough to keep two 20# propane cylinders upright. A bit redneck-ish, but it does the job.
Acronis TrueImage is good about this. It stores an image, and assuming the hard disk is as big as the image or bigger... it will boot and work. If a drive has a bad sector, Acronis will find it and notify you during the backup.
You can also back up by files as well.
What TrueImage will give you is an option to burn a boot CD. This, you can use to boot the computer, then plug in an external drive that is used for backups to restore.