Buying a bargain-priced “flooded” RV? Beware!

gary-736Dear Gary,
I’m thinking of buying a previously flooded travel trailer off a salvage site. The unit was in a freshwater flood with water sitting in there for about 15 days before it was cleaned up. Water was up over the fuse panel but the batteries were not hooked up and it wasn’t plugged in at the time of flooding. If the fuse panel was dried out, it would be okay to connect, correct? —Patrick L.

Dear Patrick,
Flood waters and AC or DC electrical devices don’t mix well. Even after everything dries out, corrosion has begun and all components in the system, especially the AC electrical system, should be thoroughly tested. All contactors, switches, receptacles, relays, converter/charger, ground connections and bonding conductors, etc., should be checked out by a professional, certified RV service technician before plugging the unit into 120-volt AC service. Many unseen possibilities should be completely investigated beforehand.

Also, water damage can be quite invasive to an RV in general. Insulation, paneling and other wood products need to be tested for mold, mildew and structural damage. A complete inspection and PDI (pre-delivery inspection) should be performed prior to using the RV in any capacity. Certainly do not plug it in!

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4 Thoughts to “Buying a bargain-priced “flooded” RV? Beware!”

  1. G13Man

    they GAVE u the trailer , right ?
    the shell and frame are good ?
    you are rebuilding from scratch
    please do not tell me u paid for it !

  2. J French

    Patrick, RUN don’t walk away unless you have plans for the steel frame like making a limited weight trailer.
    I live in Louisiana where flooding is not uncommon & previously flooded trailers often end up on a small local resale lot.
    15 days in flood water ?
    That unit was written off as a total loss & rightly so. Nothing about the electrical, walls, flooring, wood framing can now be trusted & beyond that mold spores are a definite health hazard. I would not for a second believe a sales person concerning how they got rid of the mold unless a complete new unit was built from the steel frame up.

  3. Alex

    Check out the RV section of Craigslist in your area. Use the search term “leak” and visit water damaged units folks are trying to sell. Even minor visual damage is like an iceberg; 90% won’t be visible. Electrical damage is minor compared to structural. New RV floors are basically sawdust, wood chips and resin. Expose them to moisture and they disintegrate into their component parts.

  4. Jeff

    First, I would have to ask, what are you planning on doing with this Water Logged RV?

    Even Dried out, as Gary says you are asking for problems and it is probably being sold as is, with NO warranty.

    Many FEMA Trailers hit the market a number of years ago from sitting around and not being used. Water Damage and all kinds of other problems. There are even some OLD FEMA trailers still out there.

    I would say, unless they are just gonna give it to you to get it off their lot, WALK AWAY! Offer them $1 dollar and see what they say.

    Good Luck!

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