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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
1,712 REPLIES 1,712

IAMICHABOD
Explorer II
Explorer II
Hi kthomas
First Welcome to the forum,and thank you for your input to this thread and any other posts that help others or gives helpful information.

Keep reading you can't believe what you might find.
2006 TIOGA 26Q CHEVY 6.0 WORKHORSE VORTEC
Former El Monte RV Rental
Retired Teamster Local 692
Buying A Rental Class C

kthomas693
Explorer
Explorer
HI again.. also wanted to add that ours came with a back up camera too. It doesnt feel "bare bones" to us, and prob has alot of features that someone would be interested in... I just dont know what they all are.. I am female so really want to post about how pretty the color scheme is and all the "fluff"!! ; )

I really wanted to post our information, as I did try to find info on "buying a rental" when we began considering it, and didnt find alot of actual people that had done it, mostly just some guesswork.

But I felt we got a good deal,despite the high miles..

Thanks again... I could spend days reading this forum :>)

kthomas693
Explorer
Explorer
Good morning everyone. New to this site and am enjoying it. I just wanted to share that we purchased a 2010 Winn Chalet 31C with 42k miles on it last Aug, from Dusty's Camping World in Bartow Florida and we love it. It is in great shape, everything works and its very clean. We looked around for quite awhile before deciding on this one.
It is all vinyl flooring which was a huge factor for us. Our unit came with brand new awning, flat screen over the front bunk area, and wiring for the bedroom. Also have a Wineguard (?) 2000-- its a big disk/antennea mounted on top- no cranking/cranks and works fine unless trees. Also, a sleep number bed, brand new shower head and 1 slide. A gennie with about 400ish hours on it (total guess here, they did say but can't recall at this moment). The ac works great. We have a tow hitch ( I am adding this info based on others info ) It does have a few cosmetic flaws inside, (some ones child perhaps did some drawing on the wall next to the couch,, and the cleaner they used made a lite spot, and some scratches here and there ) but really, it looks great, smells great and is easy to clean and maintain.
Our tech at CW, said he and his wife took it out themselves (job perk) and camped, and everything was in working order. We did purchase the ext warr plan. With 42k miles, that told me it was never out of working condition. We have taken it out many many times and have not had any issues at all. I would def recommend looking into buying a rental, and also would recommend checking with Dusty's CW. We will be looking to trade up for Class A for more space, and DCW will be our first stop. Thanks-

teetaw259
Explorer
Explorer
Let me share a rental unit success story. Back in 1999 the wife and I were thinking about getting a motorhome, but didn't know what or when.
One day we were riding our motorcycles through a nice rural area and saw a really nice looking, large class C sitting in front of a house with a for sale sign on it. It looked pretty new and since we were going to pay cash for whatever we bought, I thought it would be out of my price range, but we stopped and looked at it anyway. It looked nice up close, but all it had was a sign with a phone number (and make and year model), but no price. After returning home I got on the internet and looked at it's loan value, etc to figure out what it might be worth. The loan value was about $34,000. It was 4 years old at the time. Just out of curiousity I called to ask the price. "I'd take $12,750 for it" said the seller. He was a car dealer, and had bought it at a dealers auction to take a long family trip in. He had completed the trip and was ready to sell it. It was a former rental (from an independent dealer) and had 54,000 miles on a 460 engine. Everything worked just fine. I rushed back, and after talking to him and getting the story, checked it for flood damage, wreck damage, etc., and bought it on the spot. We have had many, many great trips in it with no major problems.
The real success story is that last year a bad hail storm damaged it cosmetically and the insurance company wrote me a check for a few hundred dollars more than I paid for it in 1999!! It is my project this year. I'm going to fix all the damage and repaint it to look like a new model, hopefully for 3 grand or less and enjoy it for many more years. It has 80k on it and still runs like new.

hilldude
Explorer
Explorer
I have a rental, bought 08 30ft Tiogia last Jan for $30,000, had 49000 on it. have driven about 6000 mi happy with the price and motor home.Replaced ball joints and tires.it did need some things fixed but happy.

Mocoondo
Explorer II
Explorer II
crasster wrote:
Many rental companies will mechanically take care of the coaches, and its not the issue I have with them. The issues I have are the "germaphobe" type. Has the bed been slept on by 60 people, peed on by dogs, sofas barfed on by some drunks that rented it. etc. You just never know.

But if germs don't bother you, or they have very well cleaned it, they can be a very good buy with good maint records.


Have you ever slept in a hotel?

path1
Explorer
Explorer
I want to tackle this from any other view. Why did we buy somethiing with a ton of miles on it and from a rental fleet. We like it for several reasons. It is 26 steps bumper to bumper. Fits almost anywhere but not a lot of room inside that's true. We use it when traveling we have a 33ft trailer and 37 5th wheel based in WA and AZ. So the "stand up B" as we call her is our traveling machine. We just leave the big Rv's in place. No reason to lug big RV's around when you don't have to. And be restricted to the "no camping off pavement" type places. Bought unit with tires new, mattress new, plastic drawer supports for drawers were trash replaced with metal and other minor stuff (muffler, drawer supports, etc.) price for little minor fixes $300.00 No major problems.
If your thinking about buying and this would be your first RV beware!
We looked the first time and saleman had to call us when he got something in. Because some are really beat up and I don't care how they are "refurbished" lot of times that means hiding stuff that is messed up. Class C's are known for leaking at the clearance lights. When we found one that wasn't beat to hell and they wouldn't budge on price, we would budge until we got a awning, new batteries and a/c. Sales guy couldn't blow his nose without calling corp in AZ. If savings $$ is what you want to do, think twice. Have $$ set aside for repairs, nothing last forever. I can repower for about 4-5k. And nothing messes up a vacation as being broke down. We're retired now so if I get there or break down don't matter to us. Everything breaks down sooner or later. We were at one place and this guy next to us couldn't stop talking about his new diesel sprinter and the 17 MPG he was getting after about 20 min I got out my caculator and I showed him the difference of the price he is really paying. He paid ($112,000) and ($18,500) is what we paid. The difference of driving 4,000-6,000 miles a year (so I'll use 5,000 miles as average)
5,000 miles divided by 17 mpg= 294 gallons of gas
5,000 miles divided by 8 mpg= 625 gallons of gas
difference of gallons 625 - 294 = 331 gallons of gas more per year I have to purchase to go same distance.
So 331 gallons times $4.25 a gallon = $1406.00 more per year.
But his depreciation will more than take care of my high fuel bill for about the next 10 years and then some. Of course he'll have more to trade in when that time comes. But in the mean time he'll get to make payments. And some of the stuff he has in his new RV, when they ever break he'll be waiting for parts for a long time, if his manufacture is still around too even get parts. Most rental units are very basic and just about any RV guy can fix them when they do break. If your familiar Escapees RV club we have a number in the mid 55K so you now we have been at this for awhile and realize that it is not the RV that makes the camping fun but the people. As a side note, we thought we would never buy a rental, one day in the Calif desert we saw a Cruise America rental with about 6 people on top of the roof with lawn chairs watching dirt bikes races and drinking. I told my wife "those things are either made tuff or they do a lot of repair work". We were totally happy with the purchase except here is what I or Cruise America would do different. I would furnish maint work done on unit to the new buyer. I would be more helpful to past buyers. And I wouldn't rent to foreigners until they had a better understanding of driving in the USA. This lady from Norway was renting when we were there. I have to tell you this. She loads up her stuff, gets in starts engine and floors it for about 30 seconds. 30 seconds is a long time to have the pedal to the metal type thing. Everybody there is looking at what is wrong. Sales guy runs over to her. They talk she leaves pulling out normally and he walks comes back laughing. The sales guy said the Norway lady told him in some form of english "it's an automatic transmission. So automatic means it knows what to do, right?. So she gave the gas and nothing happened so she gave it more gas. Makes since to me. No one told her to put trans in drive and she didn't know and had a drivers license. It's an automatic it should know; it's automatic.
I've been thinking about starting a blog about Majestic's and how to fix little stuff and posting our travels to inform people and to improve my writting. Ours is the 23 P model that they7 don't have any more. Like a camper built on a 3/4 ton frame.
Would we do it again the same way YES But that is us and having owned several RV's before this one. But not with the first RV we ever owned. Pay some money to have another RV guy look at it. Have the $$ to fix or replace what breaks. Then after replacing you've got that one component new. Came with generator that will be replaced with Honda's when genny craps out, but runs good for now. Brakes are about 60% left, I did have some front end work done-before I needed a lot of front end done. Better to fix litttle things now before they become big.
Yes we're happy and that is what counts with us. And I'm going to benchmark this thread for the next time somebody asks about buying a rental. We get asked a lot about buying a rental and if it is a good deal. My answer - Depends on what you're trying to get accomplished.
Ours is the perfect size to head up a logging road and camp beside a stream for about 3 days then I'm ready to move on anyways.
One thing we are both disapponited about is the gross weight; come in about 800 pounds from GVWR. No way did I think this this weighted that much.
Just adding on to my post: may 4 2012
put in new faucet kitchen and bath, new drains with strainers , cost approx $65.00 total and 2 hours labor and 1 pot of coffee It is worth the new look verses the "plastic chome finish".
2003 Majestic 23P... Northwest travel machine
2013 Arctic Fox 25W... Wife "doll house" for longer snowbird trips
2001 "The Mighty Dodge"... tow vehicle for "doll house"

BlairW
Explorer
Explorer
Another x-rental owner here. Mine is an Adventurer 25 foot ( canadian ) Have yet to use it, have only had it home for about a month. Its in great condition though, and I cant wait for the first trip of the year.

Grillmeister
Explorer
Explorer
Bump!
Show me the GRILL and STAND BACK!!!!

IAMICHABOD
Explorer II
Explorer II
Grillmeister wrote:
To the OP, it sounds great, what did you pay for your rig OTD?

Very Good question,I negotiated to a good deal, below the original asking price.

To answer the other comments about "germaphobe" the matress was new in a sealed plastic bag from mfg.The cushions in the dinett were new with new foam and fabric, I checked that out.As for the toilet,The first thing I did was to replace the old cheap unsanitary hand flush one with a new Bravera foot flush.

Some of the other things that were talked about,it did come with 2 house batteries,and a ladder,and a class III hitch.
There is a cable tv hook up in the shore power bay that feeds to the outlets in the rear bedroom and the front that work. They also work on the over the air anttena.It did not come with a tv but I take my own and it works fine at both locations on cable or over the air.
My other posts tell of most of my other add ons.
Thanks for shareing and if there is anymore questions just ask or send me a PM.
2006 TIOGA 26Q CHEVY 6.0 WORKHORSE VORTEC
Former El Monte RV Rental
Retired Teamster Local 692
Buying A Rental Class C

pjhootch
Explorer
Explorer
We are atypical also. We bought a rental unit but not from a large rental fleet, from our local dealer. We bought our pop up from this dealer and 5 years later went back to look at motorhomes, almost on a whim. The salesman remembered us and gave us a bottom line price since I made life difficult negotiating over the popup. 🙂

This dealer rents a couple of units a year. They remove a few items like the slide tie downs and the swing out counter top. Everything else was included and in excellent shape. We did have them add an awning for another $900, and the day we picked it up I asked for a new mattress and they gave us one.

This was the early model Winnebago Outlook. It included the overhead antenna, slide out, generator, 2 dual coach batteries, heated tanks, outside shower, outside stereo and tv hookup, automatic steps, carpet in couch dinette area, ladder to roof and everything else I could want in a motorhome. Since the dealer was renting it, we were the first owners and therefore it was fully warrantied.

We bought it with about 10K on it and never had any problems that weren't caused by our own stupidity. We also got a great price on it and haven't added anything besides a new control/splitter for the tv add ons and a vent on the stink pipe to stop the sewer odor from invading us as we drive.
P.J.

2006 Winnebago Outlook 31C

Grillmeister
Explorer
Explorer
crasster wrote:
Many rental companies will mechanically take care of the coaches, and its not the issue I have with them. The issues I have are the "germaphobe" type. Has the bed been slept on by 60 people, peed on by dogs, sofas barfed on by some drunks that rented it. etc. You just never know.

But if germs don't bother you, or they have very well cleaned it, they can be a very good buy with good maint records.

You are right, it kind of reminds me of staying in a hotel. The cool part is that aparently all the surfaces were renewed. I bet the OP put in a new toilet just to finish off the concept!
Show me the GRILL and STAND BACK!!!!

crasster
Explorer II
Explorer II
Many rental companies will mechanically take care of the coaches, and its not the issue I have with them. The issues I have are the "germaphobe" type. Has the bed been slept on by 60 people, peed on by dogs, sofas barfed on by some drunks that rented it. etc. You just never know.

But if germs don't bother you, or they have very well cleaned it, they can be a very good buy with good maint records.
4 whopping cylinders on Toyota RV's. Talk about great getting good MPG. Also I have a very light foot on the pedal. I followed some MPG advice on Livingpress.com and I now get 22 MPG! Not bad for a home on wheels.

Grillmeister
Explorer
Explorer
To the OP, it sounds great, what did you pay for your rig OTD?
Show me the GRILL and STAND BACK!!!!

Pokey2
Explorer
Explorer
I am the third owner of a former rental, a 2004 25’ Winnebago Chalet that had 70,000 miles on it. I believe the Chalet was made for the rental market. However, mine has features that, as I understand it, many rentals do not. E.g., awning, generator, roof ladder, electric steps, wheel simulators, 2 house batteries, class III hitch. Unfortunately, it did NOT come with any service records.

Other than some handling issues that I alleviated by installing Bilsteins, I have had no problems with the unit except for a small leak that developed around the front over-cab window.