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Buying a Former Rental Class C. How many of us out there?

IAMICHABOD
Explorer II
Explorer II
While researching these pages for my next Motor Home I saw a few threads discussing Rentals, most were Pros and Cons but very few posts from people who had purchased one.

I thought it may be a good resource and helpful to hear from these people. The good, the bad, what they liked and what they didn’t. Also if they had any problems, things they changed, if they would recommend this to others or do it again.

Here is my story: I am not a novice, having owned a Class A for more than 15 years and doing the camping thing with my wife and two daughters, I can say “been there done that” But life changes, and I sold everything so I have been away from this for several years. Starting over I lurked here for a while and got a lot of good insight then went looking.

My criteria was: A Class C within by budget, less than 30 feet so I can keep it at home, saving storage $, a rear bed, and a lot of storage space.

What fit that was Winnebago, Fleetwood and a few others, what I found mostly was Jamboree / Tioga 26Q. In the year models 2002 thru 2006. I did my home work looking at NADA and other sites to find the fair prices for the models that I was looking for.

After several months of searching the internet, Craigslist, private ads and Dealerships for a Class C that suited my budget and needs, this is what I found. Of the dozen or so I inquired about.Most were upsidedown in their payments, owing more than they were worth. All were on Ford Chassis, 7 needed tires, all had the original 7 to 10 year old tires, and they all needed repair of the awning and most needed some work inside or out and the maintenance records were sketchy, but most had low mileage. The Dealerships offerings were better but they had a profit margin to maintain so I got older models within my budget or huge up sales that didn’t work for me.

My next step was looking at the rental market for sales. In my area there are 2 large companies that have rental sales, Cruise America and El Monte RV,who also sell Class A RVs.

First up was El Monte RV Their units are production RVs that are made by major manufactures, with TV antennas and hookups inside and out, Ducted A/C and heat, 2 house batteries, a rear ladder and parts are readily available from those manufacture’s. I looked at their web site and it detailed their warranty and what was checked and serviced by their factory trained technicians. The unit I looked at was like new inside, the upholstery on all the seats was new as was the floor mat in the driver’s area, it had a new mattress, still in plastic and a new bedspread. All of the curtains were new also. Newer (2010 mfg date) tires with 98% rubber and the mileage was ninety thousand (90,000).

Then there was Cruise America: Their units that I looked at seemed to be Spartan,no TV antenna or hookups for one,non-ducted A/C,small counter space and only one battery, no rear ladder for inspection and maintenance of roof and built just for them, they were all “refreshed” their words not mine. They offered extended warranties at a huge cost. All had high mileage, one hundred and thirty thousand (130,000) or more and the price range seemed a little high. The sales staff had a take it or leave it attitude and were not very forthcoming when asked about maintenance records and service,they claim to have proprietary info in those records,It doesn't seem to be a problem for El Monte RV.

At El Monte RV I took a test ride; This Unit was a 2006 Tioga 26Q on a Chevrolet Chassis it rode
Drove and handled much better than the Fords that I had driven. It also had more leg room and was quieter. We got back and I asked about the service and maintenance on it, the salesman, Joey, handed me a 28 page single spaced document asked if I wanted some coffee or something to drink and said “read this and if you have any questions I will answer them”.

It detailed everything that was done before and after each rental, the mileage, generator hours and hours billed. Each time it was washed and detailed inside and outside, all fluids were checked and replenished if needed, the holding tanks were washed, LP system was checked for leaks, all torque on wheel lugs were checked, brakes front and rear checked for wear and cracks, pressure in tires, all appliances, generator oil, lights inside and outside, the list goes on and on.

It also listed all oil changes,coolant change,trans service,fuel injector service and cleaning,fuel filters,air filter, new brakes, all repairs and replacements all with date, mileage and time spent in complete detail from day one to when it was pulled from the rental fleet and was refurbished. I have a complete service record on this vehicle.Also the service records on the Onan Generator,all oil changes,air filter and spark plug replacement with hours and date. I negotiated a good deal with them and am very happy with my purchase.

It came with a 1 yr. 12000 mile power train warranty and 30 day on all appliances. It also came with a 28 page maintenance record that detailed everything. Also the original sales packet from Fleetwood with the manual and serial numbers on all appliances,refrigerator, microwave,furnace, AC, water heater, etc. and the manual for the Chassis. I have had no problems with it so far.

(ON EDIT) 5 Years and close to 14000 miles.Just Scheduled Maintenance and new tires,old ones were at the 5 year mark and I wanted new Michelin LTX M/S2s.

There were a few things that it didn’t have as it was a rental and the ones from private parties did have.
• Power steps, outside Stereo/CD don’t need or want them.
An Awning, this I wanted and had installed. A Swivel Seat and a new Window in The Door that I installed.
Wheel Simulators, I like the looks so I had them installed and at the same time had Tire Man valve stem kit put on.
• Replaced the Chinese WFCO with a US Made converter/charger
• It came with mini blinds and not the day/night that most have, these are more practical and have a lot less failure.
  • It also came with Stainless Steel sinks,easier to maintain than the cheap plastic ones that come in the noncommercial units.

I am very happy with my Rig, it suites my needs and it was in my Budget range, I think I got a good deal.

So if you bought a rental please share your experience here for others to use as a resource.
Or if there are any other questions that have not been covered in these pages, just ask, there are many helpful people on this thread.
2006 TIOGA 26Q CHEVY 6.0 WORKHORSE VORTEC
Former El Monte RV Rental
Retired Teamster Local 692
Buying A Rental Class C
1,714 REPLIES 1,714

jwcolby54
Explorer
Explorer


Did a bit more poking around and found several posts that mounting inside the cabin is not a good idea due to outgassing. Several mentioned that it has been done successfully when vented properly, but unless one is an expert it's not recommended.


FYI in 2023 a 100ah lithium battery (LiFePO4) is da bomb and doesn't off-gas.
JWColby54

jwcolby54
Explorer
Explorer
510dogmom wrote:
...
I use a CPAP machine and wondere if there is a way to use it when boondocking. Do I have to have a inverter? If the cigarette socket is live, I think I can use a 12 volt adapter for it.


I know this is an old post but now full sine wave comverters are avail that plug into a 12v socket. I use one to run my very old AC powered CPAP.
JWColby54

jwcolby54
Explorer
Explorer
w3ozwizard wrote:


After all a motorhome is like a house going down the road, having a 7.5 earthquake each day. Something bad is going to happen sometime so be ready.


You've obviously never been on I95 south in SC/GA.:B
JWColby54

SJ-Chris
Explorer II
Explorer II
cencerrita wrote:
jwcolby54 wrote:
Booner wrote:
After having my 23A for over a year I thought I would check in.
I haven't had really any negative issues with the RV until recently, and it concerns the house battery. It seems I haven't been giving the battery the love it deserves. CA said they put a new battery in the unit before I bought it, and the battery is a rather expensive battery (Lifeline 100 AH AGM), but since I can't find anything on the battery telling me when it was made, and I suspect that if the battery was "new" a year before I purchased the rv, it probably wasn't charged or maintained as it should have been.
When I first got the rv, I put a number of long trips on it, which should have fully charged the AGM battery. It's only been lately that I think it doesn't hold a charge as it should. But then, how I'm using the rv now has changed, With the cost of gas, I don't make the long trips anymore.

So I think either the battery has seen better days due to the way it's been used prior to my ownership, and/or the way I've been charging the battery hasn't done it any good. For example, I thought that simply driving the rv a long distance would fully charge the battery. No, the alternator will only give it a bulk charge; to fully charge the battery up to 100%, I need to trickle charge it for a couple of days. Who would have thought that?

For a while I've been researching adding solar power to help fully charge the battery. I've learned a ton of information on batteries and solar on the Sportsmobile website. I realize there's information available on various RV sites, but I found that after reading them, they didn't answer all of my questions. On the Sportsmobile site, all of the information I was looking for was in one spot.

the link-->https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/forums/f20/faq-s-battery-problems-and-common-power-calculators-1940.html

Hopefully, this link will help someone discover everything they need to know about how to take care of their house batteries.


Lead acid batteries of any type self discharge somewhat rapidly. When it sits, leave it plugged in if possible. If not have a solar panel charge it if possible. If not put a trickle charger on it. If not... just cruise in it every month.


I just brought the cheapest Walmart battery (now about $129) which has not been a problem over several years using solar and an invertor whilst travelling. leaving in storage with a 10w small solar charger for 5 months whilst in Europe I had the battery go flat. Ever since I used to disconnect it from the vehicle terminals and the small solar charger worked.


There is always some parasitic draw unless you disconnect your battery terminals. I'm not aware of Cruise America (for example) RVs having any battery disconnect switch. Your propane/Carbon monoxide detector is always on at a minimum, but there are usually some other phantom draws. I haven't looked recently, but my battery monitor seems to show between -.1amp and -.3amp at night when I think I have everything off. (I have solar that charges during the day). A 10w trickle charge likely will not even keep up with this small parasitic draw. A minimum of 50w (100w would be better) would be a great start to keep your batteries fully charged during months of storage. But if you are going to put 50-100w of solar on your roof, you might as well put 200-300w for not much more and then you'll actually have some boondocking capacity (assuming you aren't power hungry when you camp).

Good luck!
Chris
San Jose, CA
Own two 2015 Thor Majestic 28a Class C RVs

cencerrita
Explorer II
Explorer II
jwcolby54 wrote:
Booner wrote:
After having my 23A for over a year I thought I would check in.
I haven't had really any negative issues with the RV until recently, and it concerns the house battery. It seems I haven't been giving the battery the love it deserves. CA said they put a new battery in the unit before I bought it, and the battery is a rather expensive battery (Lifeline 100 AH AGM), but since I can't find anything on the battery telling me when it was made, and I suspect that if the battery was "new" a year before I purchased the rv, it probably wasn't charged or maintained as it should have been.
When I first got the rv, I put a number of long trips on it, which should have fully charged the AGM battery. It's only been lately that I think it doesn't hold a charge as it should. But then, how I'm using the rv now has changed, With the cost of gas, I don't make the long trips anymore.

So I think either the battery has seen better days due to the way it's been used prior to my ownership, and/or the way I've been charging the battery hasn't done it any good. For example, I thought that simply driving the rv a long distance would fully charge the battery. No, the alternator will only give it a bulk charge; to fully charge the battery up to 100%, I need to trickle charge it for a couple of days. Who would have thought that?

For a while I've been researching adding solar power to help fully charge the battery. I've learned a ton of information on batteries and solar on the Sportsmobile website. I realize there's information available on various RV sites, but I found that after reading them, they didn't answer all of my questions. On the Sportsmobile site, all of the information I was looking for was in one spot.

the link-->https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/forums/f20/faq-s-battery-problems-and-common-power-calculators-1940.html

Hopefully, this link will help someone discover everything they need to know about how to take care of their house batteries.


Lead acid batteries of any type self discharge somewhat rapidly. When it sits, leave it plugged in if possible. If not have a solar panel charge it if possible. If not put a trickle charger on it. If not... just cruise in it every month.


I just brought the cheapest Walmart battery (now about $129) which has not been a problem over several years using solar and an invertor whilst travelling. leaving in storage with a 10w small solar charger for 5 months whilst in Europe I had the battery go flat. Ever since I used to disconnect it from the vehicle terminals and the small solar charger worked.
www.cencerrita.comNow living in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK. See our web site for US travels and books www.cencerrita.com

jwcolby54
Explorer
Explorer
Any thoughts on buying a cruise america out of florida? Lots of flooding down there in the last few years...
JWColby54

BlindBadger
Explorer II
Explorer II
IAMICHABOD wrote:
BlindBadger
Wow what a great write up on your experiences on your CA purchase!
It sounds like it went mostly smooth, except being in Phoenix in July,been there done that...

I am sure others will get a lot of help from your post,I will archive it along with others I have.

It is great you had a good trip home and found out all the things you want to upgrade and make some mods to.

I would like to know if CA will honor that good will fund, please come on back and let us all know how that turned out,hopefully you will get it all fixed on their dime.In the past they have been good about fixing things and getting parts for repairs.

Have a Great Camping Season #145 let us know how it is going and of any Mods that you make.

You and your Family have fun!


Following up on my earlier post, CA took care of everything except the broken drawer slides (totaling about $580 in repairs they paid for). The drawer slide replacemenets for 5 drawers was a bit over $400 which I had to pay for myself.

That said, the RV has performed awesome in several trips now and my family loves it. With no fans in the vents over the two beds, airflow was kindof an annoyance, so I also had the shop install a pair of MaxxFan Deluxes so I can set one to pull air in and one to push air out and I can already tell it's going to be an improvement over the 12v box fan I was running off the dash ports (since there's no 12v ports anywhere else in the RV).

Going out again this weekend and dry camping so I'll be able to tell how well they work overnight. 🙂

IAMICHABOD
Explorer II
Explorer II
jwcolby54 wrote:
Where do I find my 'preference settings' for this forum? I can't see any pictures due to 'your preference settings'


Click on the "My Forums" link located in the upper-right portion of most forum pages.



Click on the "My Preferences" link located in the list of links that run horizontally across the window.



At the bottom of the General Preferences section, you will find 4 check boxes. The third one governs whether or not you will see pictures in the body of posts.



While you are on you preferences page, check to see if you want to make any other changes.

After completing changes, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Submit Changes button.
2006 TIOGA 26Q CHEVY 6.0 WORKHORSE VORTEC
Former El Monte RV Rental
Retired Teamster Local 692
Buying A Rental Class C

dedmiston
Moderator
Moderator
jwcolby54 wrote:
Where do I find my 'preference settings' for this forum? I can't see any pictures due to 'your preference settings'


Right here: https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/myforums/subAction/preferences.cfm

2014 RAM 3500 Diesel 4x4 Dually long bed. B&W RVK3600 hitch • 2015 Crossroads Elevation Homestead Toy Hauler ("The Taj Mahauler") • <\br >Toys:

  • 18 Can Am Maverick x3
  • 05 Yamaha WR450
  • 07 Honda CRF250X
  • 05 Honda CRF230
  • 06 Honda CRF230

jwcolby54
Explorer
Explorer
Where do I find my 'preference settings' for this forum? I can't see any pictures due to 'your preference settings'
JWColby54

jwcolby54
Explorer
Explorer
azrving wrote:
.

The 28a is an e450. the 25 is an e350. Same engine and I believe same transmission, but the suspension is different between the two.
JWColby54

jwcolby54
Explorer
Explorer
Booner wrote:
After having my 23A for over a year I thought I would check in.
I haven't had really any negative issues with the RV until recently, and it concerns the house battery. It seems I haven't been giving the battery the love it deserves. CA said they put a new battery in the unit before I bought it, and the battery is a rather expensive battery (Lifeline 100 AH AGM), but since I can't find anything on the battery telling me when it was made, and I suspect that if the battery was "new" a year before I purchased the rv, it probably wasn't charged or maintained as it should have been.
When I first got the rv, I put a number of long trips on it, which should have fully charged the AGM battery. It's only been lately that I think it doesn't hold a charge as it should. But then, how I'm using the rv now has changed, With the cost of gas, I don't make the long trips anymore.

So I think either the battery has seen better days due to the way it's been used prior to my ownership, and/or the way I've been charging the battery hasn't done it any good. For example, I thought that simply driving the rv a long distance would fully charge the battery. No, the alternator will only give it a bulk charge; to fully charge the battery up to 100%, I need to trickle charge it for a couple of days. Who would have thought that?

For a while I've been researching adding solar power to help fully charge the battery. I've learned a ton of information on batteries and solar on the Sportsmobile website. I realize there's information available on various RV sites, but I found that after reading them, they didn't answer all of my questions. On the Sportsmobile site, all of the information I was looking for was in one spot.

the link-->https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/forums/f20/faq-s-battery-problems-and-common-power-calculators-1940.html

Hopefully, this link will help someone discover everything they need to know about how to take care of their house batteries.


Lead acid batteries of any type self discharge somewhat rapidly. When it sits, leave it plugged in if possible. If not have a solar panel charge it if possible. If not put a trickle charger on it. If not... just cruise in it every month.
JWColby54

jwcolby54
Explorer
Explorer
SJ-Chris wrote:
(On Majestic RVs from Cruise America....,but I suppose could apply to any former rental Class C or any Class C in general...)

...

When I look underneath my RV, I see that there is a steering stabilizer already on the RV. I assume this is "from the factory". Here is a picture...



Does anyone know how good, or how NOT good, this steering stabilizer is (especially in the event of a front tire blowout)?

I have heard that the factory installed is pretty much worn out and needs to be replaced


Do ALL Class C RVs come with this type of steering stabilizer? Does this factory stabilizer significantly protect against vehicle pulling during a front tire blowout??

This is less a 'RV specific' thing. It is something that folks do on the E/F 450 whether RV, VAN etc.


...

Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

Thanks!
Chris


I don't have mine yet. I am going to buy one around June of 24 according to my planning spreadsheet. I'm semi-retiring and going to live in mine. I drive tractor trailer now and will continue to do so for several more years.
JWColby54

jwcolby54
Explorer
Explorer
I am not seeing photos, instead seeing 'due to personal preferences; or some such. Anyone know how to set that so I can see photos?
JWColby54

sch44792
Explorer
Explorer
jamesa403 wrote:
This goes back in time, but in 1989 I bought a 1984 Coachman with 96,000 miles on it. I sold it in 2003 for a Bigfoot. It was a rental unit, but I was the second owner after the rental company. It was a plain jane 26 foot. We put another 45,000 miles on it - the only major mechanical problem was the timing belt. It had a 460 Ford engine and I didn't realize it needed the timing belt changed at 100,000 miles. Luckily there was no engine damage. The major thing that I didn't pay attention to was the roof, and the leaking problem. The roof leak didn't seem to be a problem at first (visible water marks), but when it was pulled apart, I'm surprised the roof hadn't caved in. If there was anything that you need to watch is leaking. Mileage doesn't bother me, but leaking will kill it quicker than anything. The repair job was over $10,000, but insurance paid a good chunk of that.

This was our first RV experience, and we travelled all over North America from LA to Alaska to Newfoundland. Now we are on our 3rd RV, and looking to buy our next one.

Good luck with your new to you RV - just keep fixing all the little cracks on the roof and at the seams. It will pay off in the end.


Man, that's quite the RV journey you've had! The timing belt story gave me a little scare, but it's the roof issue that's the real eye-opener. Good on you for sharing that tip about leaks; it's something I'll definitely keep an eye on for my own RV. Here's to more safe and epic road trips!