Where RV’s Go to Die. RV Salvage Yard Lessons from RV Fires, Accidents & Blowouts | RV Life

Where RV’s Go to Die. RV Salvage Yard Lessons from RV Fires, Accidents & Blowouts | RV Life


(saddening music) – [Julie] We needed a
replacement basement door for our motorhome, CC. So we took a drive to an RV
salvage yard in Kentucky. There we found and learned
a lot more than we expected. This place is basically
where RV’s go to die. (dynamic music) – [GPS] Turn right. (saddening music) – It’s appropriate that
Visone RV’s entrance is right next to an actual cemetery. ‘Cause this is where RV’s come to die. Right next door to where
people go after they die. Go. Visone RV, it’s a, they do rentals. But it’s primarily a salvage yard for RV’s and they cater to higher-end RV’s as well. It’s mostly motorhomes, look at ’em. It’s a humongous facility, but like, here’s a great example right here. It’s a little Newmar Dutch Star, seems to have had an engine fire. And ah. – [Julie] It’s a bit sad isn’t it? – It is a bit sad. – [Julie] There’s a towbar, couple of ’em. – Looks like they’re customers. – [Julie] Yeah I think
they’re just customers come in because he’s got it towed on the back. – Yep those might be customers. – [Julie] Oh man, look at that. – Another engine fire. – [Julie] Oh! – Look at this one! That’s big time. (feet crunching through wreckage) – [Julie] Oh my God! Now the purpose of sharing
this video is not to scare you. It’s not to make you afraid
of buying, traveling, or living in an RV. But, it is to show you a reality of life that you may not usually get to see. (vibrant music) Like anything in life, things happen. Storms, hurricanes, tornadoes,
floods, fires, accidents. It can happen to cars,
trucks, homes, boats, and it happens to RV’s too. So this was a pretty rare
and unusual experience so we wanted to share
it with you and give you a look behind the scenes
of an RV graveyard. Bit different to a house fire, like, they just go up so fast. – What’s this? – [Julie] It’s the year, 19, 39th coach they’ve bought this year. (engine roaring) – [Marc] Old Roach. – [Man] Right. – Just collects them anytime they– – [Man] A week about, or something. (Julie laughing) – [Julie] So this is a, what is it? A 2000 Country Coach Intrigue. Wow, they just like left
all their stuff behind. – [Marc] It’s an engine fire. – [Julie] You can still smell it. I wonder how long it’s been here. God look. It’s got like left their candles, toaster, look at this. Mashed potatoes on the counter. You can’t really see it. (feet crunching through junk) Like you live a life in a
motorhome that goes up in flames and just leave literally leave everything. All their kids, it was a family. – [Marc] Yeah it does seem very– – [Julie] They had games. – [Marc] Leave all the stuff. – [Julie] As it turns out, the
Country Coach basement door wasn’t a fit for our RV
but we didn’t exactly walk away empty-handed. We learnt a lot driving
around the property with Kenneth and walking a lot with Mike where we got to learn a lot more about why some of these RV’s end up here. This place is huge with
almost 1,500 motorhomes spread across around
100 acres in pretty much three main sections. Every brand, every size,
every kind of motorhome you can think of. Visone isn’t really open to the public, we managed to get a special
permission to do a tour and get escorted around the property but basically they deal with
almost all their customers by phone. And literally, if you’re
looking for a part on your motorhome and
if they don’t have it in the warehouse they
can go out to the yard and they know what they have
and they know where it is and they just go out
there and take it off. If it’s a basement door or something that isn’t already in the warehouse and they’ll just ship the parts to you. (whimsical music) Holy cow. Visone RV Part’s claims to
have the world’s largest selection of used RV parts
and motorhome parts for sale. How it works is they buy salvage RV’s and transport them to
their facility in Kentucky where they strip them of undamaged engine, battery, generators, furniture
and other valuable parts which goes into their warehouse. They then leave the rest on
the RV on their enormous lot. Basement doors, panels, et cetera, and when a customer calls
looking for a particular part on an RV, they just simply go out in the yard and find it. – [Man] Around that
mountain and goes around, back around there. – [Julie] You even get it all there. There’s a Tiffin. Jesus. (spooky music) – Got to make the best out of
it no matter where you’re at. – That’s right. – [Julie] Now, keep in
mind, this place has been collecting old salvage
RV’s for over 10 years. There are literally
millions of RV’s out there and this place has close to 1500 of them. Mostly motorhomes as
you’ll see as typically towables like fifth
wheels and travel trailers either don’t stand up
as well to severe damage or they just don’t have enough value left in them that’s worth
salvaging after an incident. So this likely also explains a lot of why motorhomes are much more
expensive than most towables with all the construction and components that go into them. So what they do when
they bring them out here to this yard is they strip
them of the batteries and the engines and everything like that so they’re pretty much just the bodies, the shells sitting out here
now with the related parts and doors and things
like that what’s still remaining and salvageable. Presumably other valuable stuff
they’d put in the warehouse which we’re going to take
a look at in a minute. We just wanted to get this drone up in the air before the rain. Something like close
to 1500 motorhomes here on over 100 acres of property
here in East Bernstadt in Kentucky. (dynamic music) Apparently on these motorhomes
they’ve still got parts. That’s still worth something
to someone especially if you’ve got an older one and
they don’t make ’em anymore. So, yeah. Definitely a very sobering
experience being here. The vast majority seems
to be things like a, this looks pretty obvious
it’s a fridge fire to me. Engine fires. Air conditioning fires
and a lot that come in from an accident is from blow
outs from the front tires. So even if your tires look to be okay, they could just be old and compromised and if you have a blow out, man. That could end badly. I don’t know what happened
to this Airstream. It’s like it was in an accident and rolled or something. This one’s all the way along the back. This stays together more than
most travel trailers would, they’d just completely disintegrate but the Airstream’s, yeah,
a little bit more intact. This one’s been here a while. 2011. Flexeril seats have seen better days. Of course I’m not sharing
all of this to scare anyone off RVing, I meant this is a fact of life. There are wreckers yards for
cars all over the country. I guess this just feels a little different because we live in these things. Or those of us that full-time or part-time do extended travel. It’s more than just a vehicle
to get you from A to B. It’s often just, is your
home, your office, your life as it is for us. But definitely, definitely
a sobering reminder of just how fragile they are. You know, just how easily
they can disintegrate or go up in flames or become destroyed if they’re in an accident. How easily they can be totaled. Revolution. Man, fire is so destructive. For travel. Apparently a whole bunch of RV’s here just got picked up and flipped
all on top of each other so a lot of the damage that we see in here may not even be what happened when it was out on the road! And this one looks like it was either in a really bad accident or
is one of these motorhomes that was tossed about
through that tornado. It is bent up. The glass has stayed
together from the windshield. This frame. Oh this is a Newmar. Couldn’t even identify
it until I saw this. This has been here since 2014. See, basement doors have already gone so. This is the fiberglass. Here’s a Tiffin Allegro Red. Oh. Yeah I’m not going inside there. Oh man.
Fire. – Some of these are pretty sad stories. – [Julie] As you’ll see, many RV’s end up in a salvage yard
like this because of fires. The most common causes
are RV fridge fires, engine fires, electrical fires. But before you panic, keep
in mind that most RV’s are not lived in full-time. So a lot of these fires happen when no one is in them anyway,
say, if they’re in storage. And it’s suspected that
some RV fires are, well, not so innocent. It’s pretty rare that people
are inside of these RV’s or at least unable to escape when a fire like this happens. Living the dream! More like a nightmare now. (Marc laughing) Wow. – Depending on their insurance they might be living the dream. – [Man] That’s Morgan Shepherd’s motorhome he traded in on the end there. – [Julie] Some some RV’s end
up here after an accident but 95% of them are
caused by tire blow outs and usually from tires that have aged out. And a powerful reminder
of why it’s so important to take care of your RV
tires and change them when they’ve aged out,
usually in the five to seven year mark. The more you take care of your tires and prioritize their safety,
the less likely you are to have a tire blow out. – [Marc] Have you driven vans? – I’ve been all over the country
picking up these homes too. – [Marc] Oh really? – Yeah, used to haul cars
before we started doing these. – Oh and it’s nice to get
paid to all the driving. – It costs us money to drive around. (Marc laughing) (somber music) – So we’re inside one of ’em right now. This is a Monaco Diplomat. It had a fridge fire
and it really took hold of the whole roof here
and things have melted off the ceiling, under the cabinets. It’s, ah. It feels eerie when you
step inside one of these, it’s a very different
experience to coming inside to smell it and feel it and just know this was somebody’s home or at least their vacation vehicle. You can still see a lot of
their stuff inside here. It’s interesting to come inside it. It’s a very different feel to come inside then to see a picture. – [Julie] Careful. – It’s a little dangerous in here with all the melted plastic coming down from the ceiling but
who knows when or where this thing caught on fire but, you know, these things can have a fire at anytime. I remember in the news
there was a Country Coach storage facility where
a whole bunch of RV’s got destroyed. So it doesn’t necessarily mean someone was in it at the time. (cupboard doors closing) – The fire seems to have
happened at the back of this fridge here. I don’t want this to be instilling people with fear or terror or anything. That is not the purpose of this video but just to show you
something that you may not otherwise normally get a chance to see. We’ve certainly never seen
anything like this before today. There’s still a lot intact. Trashed but intact if that makes sense. Yeah. Mike told us they’ve
definitely seen a reduction in the number of RV fridge
fires over the years and that’s mostly likely as
a result of a few things. One, we’re seeing more
and more residential refrigerators in RV’s these days. Two, you can actually
make modifications to your RV fridge to increase its safety and three, there’s just generally
more awareness of that risk so I think people have
been more diligent now about taking care of
their RV, their fridge, keeping an eye on
things, keeping it level. Things like that. – 95% of the wrecks are from blow outs. That makes total sense. Tires, people think they look fine. They go really old. When we bought our motorhome
it had twelve-year-old tires on it. I took it straight to a tire shop. Before we even put fuel in
it I’m like, “New tires”. – [Julie] Oh that one. You you wanna know what
these things are made of. There you go. – Yeah, that’s over two inches thick. – [Mike] Yeah. – [Julie] Whoah. – [Mike] These are all here now. Monaco Signature. – [Julie] Oh yeah. An older Signature. – These old Signature’s, I’ve seen a few pristine examples on the road. And they are amazing. We’ve seen coaches from that 2006 era selling for over 200,000 still. – Yeah. – I don’t know if this one
would be worth that much. – [Mike] No. – [Julie] Hey, you could rehab it hun. You could do an old RV
makeover on that one. Not. Mike? I think the battery needs to be changed in the smoke alarm in this one, I can hear it chirping. (laughing) (vibrant music) – So we got some front caps
and front bumper pieces down here just laying out in the field. But they all look brand new. All right so we’re inside the warehouse, the stuff they’ve already
stripped off of motorhomes that they know are gonna be
likely things to be resold. Like up behind you here
there’s some fenders from tag axle motorhomes. They even have all the old cabinet doors and you can have them
traditional raised panel or you can make them like
our coach and flip ’em. I know a lot of those RV fires were from refrigerator fires but
there’s plenty of examples of RV fridges that have not caused a fire. That is some unique styling, there’s some lavender
and pink captain chairs. It takes a little bit of something out of the captain feel
I think, I don’t know. But we’ve got a matching pink couch for whoever wants that captains chair. So this is totally cool. They’ve got all these
diesels and they’ve stripped the motors out of ’em
before they took them out in the field. Look at all these engines. You’ve got the big red
one, the big Cummins. Yellows, all the Caterpillar engines. Pretty cool.

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  1. When Hurricane Irma came through our Florida Keys in Sept 2017 the RV park on Sunshine Key was full of RV’s. It was so sad to drive by there 3 days after the storm and see how they had been tossed & rolled like toys by the storm. I wondered where they all went when the cleanup began. I thought they’d just go to a crushing yard. Even though this video has a sad aspect to it, at the same time it shows how a lot can be recycled. Once everything valuable is taken out do they crush them up ?

  2. Sad that such expensive rvs are so susceptible to fire. Time for the transportation safety industry to start making rv companies build their rvs to follow standard home building codes and inspect them like cars are inspected. Also time for lemon laws to be put into place so when rvs have problems they can push back on the ma manufacturers. But the RVIA will do everything in its power to make sure the manufacturers can continue building cheap crap. I’ve been going to rv shows for decades. I cannot believe the garbage being sold. Got so fed up I finally just built my own and built it right.

  3. Looks like most were sloppy wiring or gas fittings. So, so, too bad. You have to wonder who builds these rolling hazards. I say this because as they are shaking and vibrating and flexing as they go down the road. The build quality is way below that of the average car.

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