Just looking for a little advise on a used 5th wheel that I have a deal worked out for. I am looking at getting into a fifth wheel for cheap. I put down a $100 deposit at a local well respected dealer to hold a 1995 Coachmen Catalina 285rk. FYI, the deposit is refundable and I can walk away at anytime.
So the story goes like this, I am browsing their lot, which has about 15-20 used 5ers. A sales lady asks me what I am looking for and if she can help. I explain I want a cheap 5'er (wife doesn't want us to spend a lot to get into a unit) that is on the small side since it is only myself, the wife, and the dog and will be towing with a 2011 Eco HD F150. She tells me they have an extremely clean trade coming in but not on the lot yet, original owner '95 Catalina 29' 5er. I ask her how much they are asking and she said $5,000. I tell her I'm not interested at that price. . .long story short we negotiate down to $3,000 with assurances that everything is in working order, new brakes and tires end of last season, stored indoors, no odors, no leaks, etc. I agree to leave a refundable deposit of $100 to hold the unit for me. They will receive the unit this coming Thursday when the former owner drops it off and picks up his new 5th. Again, if I don't like what I see I can walk away with my deposit fully refunded.
My general question is does anyone around here have experience with a Coachmen Catalina of this age? Any typical problem areas I should look for? Any general words of advice, pitfalls, etc.? All help is greatly appreciated.
My last two 5th wheel trailers have been Coachmen. And they both have been LEAKERS. And the majority of the problem has been poor workmen ship. I would get a powerful flash light and inspect every place on the trailer above and below. Check roof for soft spots, and condition especially if it is the original roof. Check ceiling at perimeter and at all items penetrating ceiling for water stains. Look where front and back cap join roof and check seam. Also check any storage area doors for leaks. Also if there is a slice look there for leaks too.
Thanks for the quick response. . . I'm not so excited to hear that your past two Coachmen's have been leakers. I will definitely go over the unit with a fine tooth comb prior to committing to buy. Thanks for a list of the problem areas to look for leaks. Just one question, what is a "slice"? Did you mean "slide"?
A couple of years ago I bought a 1990 Catalina 235RK 5th wheel. Pretty much in the same boat as you. Using it as a learners project. I have done a ton of work to it but not so much as it needed it but I wanted to update and learn about what makes these things tick. The only real problem I had with mine was that water leaked in the front and rear seams where they meet with the side seams.Every time it rained,for days afterward I would get a drip from each front corner and the bellypan would be saturated with water.Turns out that the front and rear seams where they meet the side walls did'nt butt up or overlap so there was a 1/2 inch gap that just allowed the water in and collected at the lowest point.That's why it dripped for days on end after a good rain,the water was slowly dripping out. I ended up having to rebuild some of the front frame work and put up beadboard where I pulled off the interior wall panels. I don't know if this is common with Coachmans or not,but other than that my camper looked like it was never even sat in. I love it and am having a blast working on it and learning. Maybe that's not what your idea of fun is but for 3 grand it's probably worth it even if you only use it a few years.After that you'll either decide that you love camping and upgrade or it's not for you and move on.PM me in the future with any questions about your rig if you get it.While am no RV expert by far, I do know this model inside and out.
I have a 1999 Catalina Lite 259 RK which I bought used in 2001. The first 9 years I spent a total of $300 on repairs. Caulking, refrig vent cover, brakes, etc. I the last 2 1/2 years I replaced the original tires, refrigerator, and water heater. The refrigerator ran non stop since I bought it, and the water heater froze and sprung a leak because of an unexpected cold snap while I was away before I got it winterized. I have also replaced the hard to get parts for 2800lb axles with more standard 3500lb axles that parts are much easier to locate and much cheaper.
The 285 RK possibly already has the 3500lb axles factory installed? The none standard axles can be faulted to Coachman the rest not.
The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up.
I have no problem at all working on the camper. I'm a bit of a DIY junkie (I've completed gutted down to the studs and renovated my last two homes) so that is why I am comfortable buying a 5er of this age. I am not expecting pristine and perfect from a 17 year old camper, I'm being realistic about it. From what yankee and DSteiner are saying this sounds like it could be a good deal.
DSteiner51, how do I tell what axles it has when I look at it? I assume that it would have the 3500lb axles because I think the wet and loaded weight is around 9,000 lbs.
Again, I'll have to see how it shakes out on Thursday when I actually get to see the 285. . . What the dealer thinks is excellent condition for it's age and what I think could be very different!
We've had our 25' 1998 coachman catilina for 7 yrs. Had a leak where front of roof met cap....recaulked & that took care of it. Not sure if the fiver u r looking at has the one piece roof.
Had to replace the furnace fan.
There is some sort of short in the refridgerator lighting system.....once the fridge lights, if I don't go pull the fuse for the lighter it will blow & have to be replaced before I light it for the next trip. The fridge works fine, just the light that says its working goes out when I remove the fuse.
It definitely meets my requirements of light, but I would also like a sliding hitch too because of my 6.5 box which the Andersen does not offer. Any suggestions on a hitch system or any comments on the Andersen system. I don't know, it seems cheap to me compared to a Reese 16k slide or the like.
Also, in my 5er hitch I would like to be able to remove all the rails in order to have my fully flat bed back. As I said earlier, I do a lot of remodeling and absolutely need my flat bed when I'm not camping. I was looking at the Resse 15k slider from etrailer with the custom rails, but it looks like I would need to leave the above bed rails in my bed. . . unacceptable.
We owned a 1993 Catalina RK 28.5 length fifthwheel and it was a pretty good unit. We towed it all over and we enjoyed it. Problems that we had with it was really leaks in front and back, problems with the slideout (batteries had to be fully charged plus getting it to slide out sometimes was a problem) and other than that just the usual upkeep. New tires, oxidation, wallpaper peeling off in the kitchen and bedroom. We had the unit for fifteen years and then when I was ready to retire DW and myself bought a new unit. Good mid/lower end unit.