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rdhutch

Mobile home tongue

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I have never done a home inspection on a mobile home and have no plans to do one in the future. However, I have performed many termite inspections on them. Recently a local HI wrote up one for having the tongue removed but remaining under the house (in the crawl space). He stated this was not allowed. He did not answer my question, but why is this wrong? I see them under most of the trailers (correction, mobile homes) that I have been under and have never seen a problem.

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HUD codes that are purchased with FHA loan packages must have hitch removed and stored in the crawl.

When I was a teenager, back in the Dark Ages, some insurance companies required the MFH to have the tongue, axles and tires in place for a quick getaway for when the hurricanes came but that practice has been obsolete for most of my life.

Marc

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Sounds like someone is overtanked on fake authority. No real reason to store it any place else that I can think of. Most of them here are in the crawl. They take it off and shove it under there before installing the skirting.

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As far as I know, it belongs in the crawlspace.

On the other hand, maybe there's a local rule that addresses it.

By the way, since 1976, they're "manufactured homes." Not because it sounds nicer or is politically correct, but because pre-1976 "mobile homes" are a very different animal.

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As far as I know, it belongs in the crawlspace.

On the other hand, maybe there's a local rule that addresses it.

By the way, since 1976, they're "manufactured homes." Not because it sounds nicer or is politically correct, but because pre-1976 "mobile homes" are a very different animal.

Jim

You're partially right but technically they didn't become "manufactured homes" until 1980 when they amended the MHCSS and changed the wording throughout.

http://uscode.regstoday.com/42USC_CHAPT ... #42USC5401

TITLE 42-THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE,

CHAPTER 70-MANUFACTURED HOME CONSTRUCTION AND SAFETY STANDARDS,

Sec. 5402. Definitions

AMENDMENTS

1980 - Pars. (1), (2), (3). Pub. L. 96-399, Sec. 308©(4), substituted "manufactured home" for "mobile home" wherever appearing.

Par. (6). Pub. L. 96-399, Sec. 308©(4), (d), substituted "manufactured home" for "mobile home", substituted "in the traveling mode, is eight body feet or more in width or forty body feet or more in length, or, when erected on site, is three hundred twenty or more square feet" for "is eight body feet or more in width and is thirty-two body feet or more in length", and inserted exception relating to inclusion of any structure meeting all requirements of this paragraph except size and with respect to which a certification is voluntarily filed and standards complied with.

Pars. (7), (8), (10). Pub. L. 96-399, Sec. 308©(4), substituted "manufactured home" for "mobile home" wherever appearing.

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As far as I know, it belongs in the crawlspace.

On the other hand, maybe there's a local rule that addresses it.

By the way, since 1976, they're "manufactured homes." Not because it sounds nicer or is politically correct, but because pre-1976 "mobile homes" are a very different animal.

Take a few of them apart. They're different, but they ain't that different.

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I've only seen them wrapped around bridge abutments or smashed up in drainage ditches along the highway. That seems like the best place for them, but maybe I don't know much.

Are they OK? Do they hold up for a couple decades, or do they fall apart?

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I was raised in two of them. Very poor investment. Most are falling apart before the mortgage is paid off. First one, in 69', had the hot water connected to the hallway toilet. Imagine my bewilderment when I flush it for the first time and a cloud of steam rises from the bowl.

The second one, my father strategically placed a dozen or so tires on the tin roof to hold it down when the wind came up.

So far this year, two owners of new HUD Codes have called me up with plans to pursue litigation against the manufacturer. I visited and spoke with them briefly but didn't offer my services or charge them. I skedaddled my arse out of there.

Marc

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I was raised in two of them. Very poor investment. Most are falling apart before the mortgage is paid off. First one, in 69', had the hot water connected to the hallway toilet. Imagine my bewilderment when I flush it for the first time and a cloud of steam rises from the bowl.

The second one, my father strategically placed a dozen or so tires on the tin roof to hold it down when the wind came up.

So far this year, two owners of new HUD Codes have called me up with plans to pursue litigation against the manufacturer. I visited and spoke with them briefly but didn't offer my services or charge them. I skedaddled my arse out of there.

Marc

........sorry Marc, but like anything, longevity has much to do with care and maintenance. I know of many 40-50 year old units still serving there intended purpose. I won't get into a pi$$ing contest with you about manufactured housing, 'cause I know of your pre-disposed dislike of the product. That said, manufactured homes have earned a respectful place in the residential market and have put home ownership within reach for many folks.

As far as hitch placement goes, under the home is the correct place, as unlike axles, most are fitted to the specific frame and will not easily interchange........Greg

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As far as I know, it belongs in the crawlspace.

On the other hand, maybe there's a local rule that addresses it.

By the way, since 1976, they're "manufactured homes." Not because it sounds nicer or is politically correct, but because pre-1976 "mobile homes" are a very different animal.

Jim

You're partially right but technically they didn't become "manufactured homes" until 1980 when they amended the MHCSS and changed the wording throughout.

http://uscode.regstoday.com/42USC_CHAPT ... #42USC5401

TITLE 42-THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE,

CHAPTER 70-MANUFACTURED HOME CONSTRUCTION AND SAFETY STANDARDS,

Sec. 5402. Definitions

AMENDMENTS

1980 - Pars. (1), (2), (3). Pub. L. 96-399, Sec. 308©(4), substituted "manufactured home" for "mobile home" wherever appearing.

Par. (6). Pub. L. 96-399, Sec. 308©(4), (d), substituted "manufactured home" for "mobile home", substituted "in the traveling mode, is eight body feet or more in width or forty body feet or more in length, or, when erected on site, is three hundred twenty or more square feet" for "is eight body feet or more in width and is thirty-two body feet or more in length", and inserted exception relating to inclusion of any structure meeting all requirements of this paragraph except size and with respect to which a certification is voluntarily filed and standards complied with.

Pars. (7), (8), (10). Pub. L. 96-399, Sec. 308©(4), substituted "manufactured home" for "mobile home" wherever appearing.

.........the universal HUD standard/code and its attendant language was established/adopted in 1976 and the industry recognizes that date as the "official" conversion to the term manufactured home.The Title 42 amendments you quote are housekeeping efforts to "clean-up" code language....Greg

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I've only seen them wrapped around bridge abutments or smashed up in drainage ditches along the highway. That seems like the best place for them, but maybe I don't know much.

Are they OK? Do they hold up for a couple decades, or do they fall apart?

In my area, they're as well made as you can possibly make them with the very cheapest materials possible. That is, the workmanship is actually pretty good and very, very uniform - as you'd expect from a product made in a factory under controlled conditions. The materials on the other hand - oh brother!

In the '80s and early '90s the manufacturers used to boast about how they used 2x6 exterior walls, and they did. But the 2x6s were made from balsa wood or something cheaper. The roof trusses are made from 2x2s held together with mending plates. Roof decking is 3/8" ply or OSB. Floors are particleboard.

The interior doors have the doorknobs mounted halfway up the door and hinges are not mortised in place, so that any door can be mounted any side up and swinging in either direction. Trim is kind of like MDF but cheaper - almost like Masonite. You can order cabinets with hardwood fronts but the cases are all low-grade particleboard (not regular grade, mind you).

Bottom line: If you don't live in a place where there are hurricanes, if you treat the home gently, and if you avoid spilling water on floors and inside cabinets, manufactured homes can do just fine for a solid 20 years. After that, most of them need some substantial rehabbing to keep them from looking generally run down. As Greg pointed out, they fill a much needed niche for people with limited incomes or people who don't want to spend much money on housing.

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It seems to me the real problem with them is folks non-acceptance of modern design concepts. If they were true to their intent, and layouts/materials/design concepts were modernized, they could probably be made to hold up for several decades.

As it is, folks still want conventional floor plans, ogee'd baseboards, 6 panel interior doors, and all that crap that folks associate with good "design".

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It seems to me the real problem with them is folks non-acceptance of modern design concepts. If they were true to their intent, and layouts/materials/design concepts were modernized, they could probably be made to hold up for several decades.

As it is, folks still want conventional floor plans, ogee'd baseboards, 6 panel interior doors, and all that crap that folks associate with good "design".

The design is driven by initial cost. Long term value doesn't exist because it, generally, requires a higher up-front investment. There's also little concern for, "what folks want," aside from giving them the most basic choices in finish materials. (Do you want the cheezy tan countertop or the cheezy taupe countertop?)

Some manufacturers make higher end models with nicer finishes that are, frankly, difficult to tell from a stick-built home, but the price on these things is remarkably high - too high, really, for the market niche.

In terms of basic design concepts, these things were, actually, well ahead of the curve 30 years ago. They incorporated good ideas about energy efficiency, vapor movement, and IAQ long before those things became concerns in the wider home market. It's just that they stopped evolving so, now, they're behind the curve.

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I meant design as in floor plan, shape, square footage, and whether or not it adheres to Euro-historical appearance, i.e., ogees, frame and panel doors, kitchens with a mountain of cabinets, fake carriage light fixtures, cheesey balustraded porches, etc., etc. Up front initial cost can be cut substantially if all that crap is cut out. Think of how quickly and efficiently housing could be constructed if the SIPS thing could be cranked up to scale.

IOW, simplicity, honesty, and propriety in design and material use. If someone's gotta have traditional, that's fine. But, we've found that pretty nice stuff can be constructed if the client is willing to open their minds to different design ideas. Unfortunately, most Americans associate modern with cheap crap, largely because that's what most of it was back in the 50's and 60's.

The single biggest problem is just that; folks want it big. Square footage still tops the chart of demands for new home buyers.

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No doubt that such a strategy would make for cheaper, durable housing.

Even with the most plain design and material choices, though, I doubt that a site built home could compare with the low initial cost of a manufactured home. The MH can use *much* cheaper materials and be assembled by brainless factory workers who are paid $10 to $12 per hour, with no concern for the vagaries of weather and site conditions.

I don't have data for new homes, but in my area, the median sales price is about $300,000 for a site-built home and $45,000 for a manufactured home.

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Oh, I think you misunderstood. I mean manufactured. No way is a site built home ever going to even come close to manufactured cost. I think manufactured should be better than site built in a lot of ways. Site building is going to go the way of the dinosaur. Well, maybe not dinosaur. Choose a metaphor where there's still some around, but darn few.

I was thinking manufactured but with a different design ethic than the one's I see piled up by the side of the road.

I'd think one could have pretty darn nice affordable and efficient habitations that would last a long time for the same cost as a tarted up model.

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In my experience they are constructed of materials that have 15 to 20 year life spans. Less when they are neglected. I made a decent living for years replacing the fenestration on units as little as 10 years old.

There is an 18 year old unit a few miles from me that is going through foreclosure. The siding is falling off, the windows are 98% seal failed (the others are broken, so their seals have failed also), the doors are shot, and the roof cover is as crispy as potato chips. Most doublewides on private lots of that vintage are on frost proof slabs (Google em), this one is on 3 courses of CMU over trench footings. There is about half the ventilation needed for the crawl and they omitted the VB so the soil underneath it is literally erupting with moisture. It's dozer bait, the rehab costs are 125-150% of replacement, yet the town assessor has the market value placed at about a quarter mil. To be fair, it comes with 2.2 acres, and a 3 car garage on a floating slab and a pole building (both in almost as bad shape as the trailer).

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I had a nice one single-wide a couple of weeks ago. It is on a poured slab crawlspace. Tie-downs, lots of piers, drywall everywhere, and a real peaked roof with shingles. Heat pump, well insulated, built in 1990. Good for a lifetime or more.

Oh yeah, it also has a plywood belly pan.

BTW, if the tongue in the crawlspace is not allowed, how would they deal with the old ones that have the tongue integral to the frame? That's a holder for the planter full of tulips. [:)]

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Like all things, MH units that are well sited and well kept can last a long time. In our state many counties (of a national record number of 159 little territorial fiefdoms) used to put a blanket restriction on age (usually ten-twelve yrs) on units that are allowed to be moved into AHJ. State law in 2010 struck that down. Now units moved across boundaries have to be inspected by third party to assess viability. Ergo I have picked up a few jobs each year doing that for people. Only have seen one I could not approve, except one that was scheduled for virtual rebuilding, so I did my best just to OK the structural aspects.

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