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Old 07-10-2016, 02:39 AM   #1
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Which parts get stale fr unuse?

I am looking at possibly buying a used Interstate and in the course of due diligencing a few I have discovered they haven't been used in a while (6 months to a year), or if they are used, they are just driven around and not used as campers. They may be started up to keep batteries from dying but it doesn't seem the generator, A/C, kitchen, furnace, plumbing, etc are "exercised", not to mention the vehicle parts. I am not that concerned if all I have to buy are new tires, but I am concerned if I have to pay thousands more to replace expensive RV parts due to chronic lack of use - not to mention if the Mercedes parts are damaged (e.g. bc lubrication is compromised).

Any thoughts on this issue and what specifically I should be looking for when I inspect such vehicles (e.g. which parts that are particularly prone to damage from lack of use)? Are these issues things that should be readily apparent to an experienced RV inspector? I don't have much experience on the RV side, and from what I am reading on the forum, AS Interstates already have enough issues when new, and if buying an unused used one, is this asking for trouble with the RV components or are they sturdier than I think? Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 07-10-2016, 04:48 AM   #2
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It's called "lot rot", from sitting in the parking lot, instead of being used.
Everything seems to deteriorate faster from simply sitting. Generator won't start or run, furnaces get sticky switches, a/c units get mud dauber nests built on the fan blades, gaskets and seals in the plumbing dry out and leak, batteries sulfate.
Both I and a friend have had vehicles that sat for an extended period, and parts of the transmissions that sat exposed internally had rust formed on them. When they started being used again, the rust caused major internal damage.
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Old 07-12-2016, 05:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
It's called "lot rot", from sitting in the parking lot, instead of being used.
Everything seems to deteriorate faster from simply sitting. Generator won't start or run, furnaces get sticky switches, a/c units get mud dauber nests built on the fan blades, gaskets and seals in the plumbing dry out and leak, batteries sulfate.
Both I and a friend have had vehicles that sat for an extended period, and parts of the transmissions that sat exposed internally had rust formed on them. When they started being used again, the rust caused major internal damage.
Does the fact that some of these appear to be stored indoors in climate controlled garages make any difference to the level of concern here?
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Old 07-12-2016, 06:12 AM   #4
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Quick and dirty answer, any and all parts that need lubrication can suffer from disuse. This includes basically any moving metal parts in the drivetrain and the generator.

This also includes rubber compounds. Natural and synthetic rubber contains volatile compounds that gradually evaporate from the surface of the rubber. As rubber flexes, these compounds are pumped from deeper inside the rubber to the surface, ensuring that those compounds remain more-or-less evenly distributed throughout. Tires, window seals, pump seals, all can suffer from not being moved.

Indoor storage only prevents UV exposure; it does nothing to prevent the effects of neglect.

On the plus side, older Interstates weren't constructed with as much unseemly haste (fewer came off the assembly line in a given year), had fewer high-tech gizmos, and therefore tend to be less prone to the litany of complaints that are reported by new owners. My 2012 has been mostly trouble-free except for troubles that are of my own creation from use and/or misuse. But it also has never sat more than three weeks in a row without being used for something in the four and a half years that I've owned it.
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:57 AM   #5
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my bet is 6-12 months is not going to be a factor especially if stored in climate controlled / indoor storage. The automotive sounds like it is all good however I would definitely pull it out and drive it. I'm no expert on the IS units but for a trailer the items I would check are batteries, pumps, and overall water and plumbing. The water heater is a particular item to check in case the tank has rusted. Bottom line - this is a great way to buy a unit at a depreciated value, with little use & mileage, and stored in optimal conditions (if it can all be verified to be true). Even if you have some repairs or battery replacement it could be worth it
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