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Author Topic: Coleman Mesa...Good first popup?  (Read 27970 times)
Damn_Yankee
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« on: May 26, 2009, 01:47:03 PM »

Hello all. I am new to popups, well, new to family camping actually. I am cruising CL and have seen a couple interesting pups. There is a 2000 Coleman Mesa listed in great condition for $3750.00. Is this a good price and is there anything I should know about this model to look out for.
I am also open to suggestions on a good first pup model.
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mountainrev
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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2009, 02:22:59 PM »

Welcome to PUX!  The thing to watch for with Fleetwood/Colemans of that vintage is the ABS roof.  This one-piece plastic roof failed in a small but significant percentage of cases.  It's possible that it's already been replaced under warranty, or that it's one of many that's just fine.  However, it's also possible that it is showing signs of failing (buckling, delaminating, etc.).  If that's the case, stay away.  They are very expensive to replace.

Ask specifically about the roof condition and ask for photos.  Inspect it carefully. 

As far as the price, assuming that the roof is o.k., and the rest of the camper is in good condition, that's probably not a bad price, but also not necessarily a bargain.  Location has a lot to do with camper prices.  What are other campers going for in your neck of the woods?  Shop carefully.

Finally, before you consider buying anything, find out exactly what your vehicle can safely tow.  That fact may well dictate exactly what you can or can't purchase. 
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« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2009, 02:53:53 PM »

I have a Coleman Mesa and it is a wonderful camper!!!  It is our first and only pop-up and we have had it since 2001.  The tip out galley really adds space to the interior and I highly recommend it if you aren't getting a slide out.  The refrigerator is also in a good location so you can load it while it is closed.  My BIL has a Cheyenne and the galley folds in front of the frig so you cannot access it without raising the camper. 

The only issue I had was once when we went to pop it up, there was no up in the pop.  Fortunately we weren't too far from home and the state park was nice enough to refund our site fees.  I got it fixed under the warranty (after getting Fleetwood involved with the dealer) and haven't had an issue since.  I have had no roof issues but store it inside which probably helps me quite a bit plus it is a 2001.  I'd ask if they store it inside or outside and see if they have replaced the tires.  I'm in the process of doing that since I read where 5 years is really the life of a tire and I have one that is constantly leaking.  Maybe if I wasn't doing a Florida trip this year I could wait a little longer.
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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2009, 03:15:36 PM »

You didn't mention what options comes included with it.
They can come with A/C, furnace, water heater with outside shower, awning, etc.
 I own a 2001 Mesa with all the above options, and I would not consider anything less than $ 5,250.00 for it.

  Go NADA.com type in  the options included (none of the above items come standard with the year Mesa) and see what the unit you are looking at goes for in your area.
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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2009, 03:34:47 PM »

I had a 98 Mesa and it is a very nice rig.  Big beds and plenty of room in it.

However, be sure that you can tow it.  If I remember right it is on the heavy side.  Be sure that it has electric brakes.

One way to check for roof sag is to raise the roof about 6 or 8 inches.  Then have someone hold a string at one end of the roof and someone else hold the string at the other end.  Pull tight and if there is space under the string, chances are you have some roof sag.  Also check how the roof seals when it is in the lowered position.  The roof shouldn't be way from the seals.  Check the sides also.
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Damn_Yankee
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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2009, 04:09:43 PM »


Finally, before you consider buying anything, find out exactly what your vehicle can safely tow.  That fact may well dictate exactly what you can or can't purchase. 

This may be a problem I had not foreseen. We have a 2001 Chrysler Voyager with a 3.3L V6. The towing cap is 1800lbs. Is there a popup in this weight range I should look into or will I need to think about a tow vehicle.
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2009, 07:11:01 AM »

I own a 2003 Mesa and my wife and I have been very happy with it.  I always get compliments on the kitchen tip out and the storage trunk in the front.
I tow with a 2001 Pontiac Aztek which I purchased with the tow package.  Max towing is 3,500. 
Lucky for us, we prurchased our second camper first.  You'll hear that a lot from experienced PUXers.
Coleman made a small pop up that was under 1,000 lbs, the Taos. I think Starcraft had one too, maybee the Meteor, with only one bunk end bed and a picture window at the other end.
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Jean
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2009, 07:15:42 AM »

This may be a problem I had not foreseen. We have a 2001 Chrysler Voyager with a 3.3L V6. The towing cap is 1800lbs. Is there a popup in this weight range I should look into or will I need to think about a tow vehicle.

I noticed that pop up times had a quick article online about lightweight trailers that might give you some help.

As to whether you should buy an ultralightweight trailer or a new tv depends on your budget and your needs.

Jean
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mountainrev
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2009, 07:22:30 AM »


Finally, before you consider buying anything, find out exactly what your vehicle can safely tow.  That fact may well dictate exactly what you can or can't purchase. 

This may be a problem I had not foreseen. We have a 2001 Chrysler Voyager with a 3.3L V6. The towing cap is 1800lbs. Is there a popup in this weight range I should look into or will I need to think about a tow vehicle.

Your towing capacity will definitely limit you.  It sounds like your Voyager doesn't have the tow package.  We had a '98 Grand Voyager with the 3.8 liter but no towing package.  With that year, no towing package meant no auxiliary transmission cooler, which is very important.  I understand that newer Voyager/Caravans came with a trans. cooler whether or not they had the towing package.  Find out if you have one.  If not, add one.  

As to your question about popups in the 1,800 lbs. weight range, the answer is yes, there are quite a few out there.  Keep in mind, though, that in most cases, the towing capacity does not include passengers or gear.  I would to keep the wight of your popup well under 1,800 lbs.  

How many people are in your family?  If it's just two of you, you shouldn't have any problem finding an adequate pup your van can tow.  If you have a couple of kids, it might be a bit more challenging, but it can be done.  An example of a lighter pup would be the Fleetwood/Coleman Yuma, which weigh in around 1,500 lbs. (w/o accessories), and the Taos, which weighs in around 1,200 lbs.  Our previous pup was a '92 Coleman Pioneer Sedona, which had a dry weight of around 1,000 lbs. IIRC.  That was a very small pup, which we quickly outgrew when our kids got a little older, but would work for two adults and one kid.
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Beacher
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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2009, 10:01:56 AM »

When first looking for a PopUp, buy the absolute biggest, (that your Tow Vehicle can safely handle) - and most equipped one that you can afford FIRST!  Actually, this is good RV purchasing advice for any class of RV you are interested in.

What invariably happens with new PopUp owners is that by the first three trips they realize that they really needed or truly want a bunch of things that they didn't originally get.  You always see a whole bunch of brand new PopUp trade-ins due to this.  Many of those that initially try a "too-small", or "too-under equipped" PopUp get very frustrated, and immediately move on to a Hybrid or TT within those first two to three camping trips!  A HUGE waste of money and time!  While RV dealerships and salesmen LOVE this type of customer, it's not in your best interest.

The Coleman Mesa is a great PopUp!  But, it's ONLY a good first PopUp if it meets all of your, (and your family's), needs.  And, it's only a good deal if you don't need to trade it in within a few camping seasons.
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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2009, 10:49:22 AM »

We owned a 2006 Sun Valley, a very popular floor plan for Fleetwood.  The Mesa is essentially a Sun Valley with the floor plan reversed and a storage trunk.  An excellent layout, if you ask me.  Smile

Do heed the information on the ABS roof.  Also, some pop ups with external storage trunks had leakage issues, so be sure to check inside the trunk for mold, mildew and rot.

We pulled our Sun Valley with a 2006 3.3L Dodge Caravan.  Ours did not come with the tow package but according to the dealer the only thing it needed was an auxiliary trans cooler.  It already had an auxiliary... but it needed a second one.  I suggest you talk to your dealer to see what can be done.

We kept overdrive off while towing; otherwise the torque converter was always locking and unlocking.  That heats up the transmission fluid.  When transmission fluid gets too hot it breaks down, and it is that fluid breakdown that is responsible for the vast majority of automatic transmission failures.

Good luck in your search - we're always here when you have questions!
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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2009, 11:40:48 AM »

When first looking for a PopUp, buy the absolute biggest, (that your Tow Vehicle can safely handle) - and most equipped one that you can afford FIRST!  Actually, this is good RV purchasing advice for any class of RV you are interested in.

So, I'm not going to say Beacher is wrong, he makes a very good point, and there are plenty of folks who do just what he says...

Another way to look at this, however, is - buying well within your tow limits and buying maybe just what you need and no more provides you with the satisfaction of having something a long time as well.  I just "downsized" in terms of weight and amenities - my first camper had a slide out dinette, shower/potty and front storage trunk, my new camper has none of those and I'm much happier.  So much of it is personal choice.  I will say that by buying a camper that is not pushing but well under your tow limits (well, in my case anyway), I have a camper that allows me more choices in terms of a new TV when I need to replace that...

anyway, lots to consider, but you've gotten lots of good advice so far.

As far as a 2000 Mesa, I'd never buy a used camper with an ABS roof, so I'd ask if the roof has been replaced.  I've seen a few of those on CL in my area, all over-priced as well, and all getting reposted week after week. 
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« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2009, 05:29:03 AM »

Our 2002 is our first pup and we're loving it. We've had it for 3 months now and have taken it on 7 trips and it's done very well for us. The price (depending on your location) is average. We got our 2002 with every possible option, to include the A/C cover, wrap around storage skirt, rear bike rack, outside shower, furnace, wh, hard shell spare, hard shell propane cover for $4500.
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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2009, 01:05:47 PM »

Proud owner of a 2003.5 Mesa here!  First model post ABS roof.  I'd highly recommend this model.  Don't think there is anything else we'd need, without moving up to a hybrid.  If this is your first PUP, you gotta know that owning one requires work to maintain and repair little things as time goes on (in addition to the mod addiction you'll get if you hang out with these folks on PUX) Grin

If you can get your eyes on it and look for the things described above, and all looks well, you'll love the Mesa.  If you see anthing that concerns you, stay away and keep looking.
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2009, 07:15:33 PM »

We had a 2001 Mesa until last spring. The only abs roof sag issue was after a large tree fell on the roof while camping. The roof cracked on one side and was pushed in a couple of feet, but amazingly the roof cranked down and up again after the tree was lifted off by an endloader. We used it one more time right afterwards with some additional 2x4 supports, duct tape and silicone to seal the limb that pierced through the top as well. Our insurance company totalled it. Bottom line it was well built!
The only concern that I would look for is possible floor rot which I had starting in 2 opposite corners. I was going to repair it, but the insurance company would not let me rebuy the camper. good luck and happy camping
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