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

IAMICHABOD
Explorer
Explorer
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
1,709 REPLIES 1,709

jwcolby54
Explorer
Explorer
jedavisss8 wrote:
A correction. I have found that there are convection microwaves that will fit in the space of the existing microwave. So, that may not be as much of a deal breaker as I thought it would be. Now the question is, can I make my chocolate chip brown sugar brownies in a convection oven? That would be a deal breaker! LOL!!


OK, two things. What convection microwave did you find?. And where is the recipe for the brownies?:D
JWColby54

jwcolby54
Explorer
Explorer
jedavisss8 wrote:
Hi All,
New here on the forum. We are considering a former rental rv to replace our 26ft trailer. What I have found so far is that the units from El Monte RV are newer, with presumably fewer miles, and a little more upgraded than those from Cruise America. The other thing I have noticed about the Cruise America rigs is that none of them have ovens installed. I doubt that a convection microwave will fit in the small space RVs have. For me, no oven is almost a deal breaker.
So, here's my question: Have any of you installed an oven in the space below the cooktop? Did you have to replace the cooktop as well if was a single unit?
Thanks for your responses.
Jim

There is a Cruise America 2018 in Mesa AZ with only 75k miles on it.
JWColby54

jedavisss8
Explorer
Explorer
A correction. I have found that there are convection microwaves that will fit in the space of the existing microwave. So, that may not be as much of a deal breaker as I thought it would be. Now the question is, can I make my chocolate chip brown sugar brownies in a convection oven? That would be a deal breaker! LOL!!

jedavisss8
Explorer
Explorer
Hi All,
New here on the forum. We are considering a former rental rv to replace our 26ft trailer. What I have found so far is that the units from El Monte RV are newer, with presumably fewer miles, and a little more upgraded than those from Cruise America. The other thing I have noticed about the Cruise America rigs is that none of them have ovens installed. I doubt that a convection microwave will fit in the small space RVs have. For me, no oven is almost a deal breaker.
So, here's my question: Have any of you installed an oven in the space below the cooktop? Did you have to replace the cooktop as well if was a single unit?
Thanks for your responses.
Jim

SJ-Chris
Explorer
Explorer
Have any of you noticed on your Majestics from Cruise America that the external running lights and the tail lights don't have any rubber gaskets/seals?

I have two 2015 Majestic 28a Class C RVs. I have had to replace a couple of the running lights and just recently I had to replace the tail lights. In each instance I noticed (and was a bit surprised) that there is no rubber gasket/seal between the plastic item (running light, or tail light) and the side of the RV. The plastic running light housing is screwed into the RV siding and that's it. Seems like water will certainly get in over time.

Just yesterday I replaced the tail lights because some of the moulding around one of the tail lights deteriorated. Here are some photos of the existing tail light without any gasket, and the new ones I installed. You can also see the wood has some rot, obviously because there is/was no gasket/seal.





It has been on my to-do list to add gaskets behind all my running lights (and now tail lights), but I've been a bit lazy because I'm not looking forward to the task...You might want to look at yours as over time the wood underneath will rot.

For my running lights, I bought this to make gaskets/seals...was inexpensive. Now, just need to get motivated 🙂

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08B3ZS1CS

Anyone else observe this on Majestics and/or other RVs?

-Chris
San Jose, CA
Own two 2015 Thor Majestic 28a Class C RVs

SJ-Chris
Explorer
Explorer
Thanks for the pictures Marty! I have considered painting the cabinets white. I'd like to see some in person to help me decide first. Perhaps someday...

-Chris
San Jose, CA
Own two 2015 Thor Majestic 28a Class C RVs

MtnBikeMarty
Explorer
Explorer
Here's the before and after of our (former Majestic 27G), remodel done by the lady who bought it.
Dinning before:

Dining after:


bedroom before:

after:


kitchen before (notice the window I installed in the door):

after:


Hope this gives some of you all some ideas on updating and brightening you Majestics.
Marty

MtnBikeMarty
Explorer
Explorer
jwcolby54 wrote:
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.


Hey former rental owners! It's MtnBikeMarty.

I haven't been on here for some time, since we downsized to a 22' travel trailer. But those of you inquiring about steering stabilizers and/sway bars, look up my posts around pages 110-117 of this. I loved those upgrades I did on my Majestic 27G and wish I 'd done them sooner, cause I didn't feel so "beat up" after driving 4 or more hours. The other $100 I'm glad I did, was installing that window on the coach door, you can search in here for it, somewhere before page 110.

I will be posting some pictures from the person that bought our rig, she did the interior remodeling ideas we were going to do before we decided to sell it. I'll post them when I get them uploaded from my phone to my pc.

We still visit with Majestic owners when we camp and see them.
Marty

jwcolby54
Explorer
Explorer
IAMICHABOD wrote:
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.


6 months to position myself to buy mine. I intend to live in it full time. Semi-retired, will pay it off in about two years and be debt free... and rent free...
JWColby54

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
Explorer
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
Explorer
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