No RV rides and steers nearly as well as any car. Your RV is a heavily loaded slab-sided box truck with stiff suspension. You can improve handling and ride with proper air pressure, proper alignment, and even spend big money on suspension and shocks with some real and imagined improvements. Seperators and cupping of concrete interstate highways give you and your RV a beating. Vacuum from passing big rigs pulls on your rig, sidewinds may buffet and alarm you. It's best to stop at rest stops etc every 100 or so miles to relax, stretch, and get blood moving.You will gradually relax, steer and drive
reflexively, and enjoy the ride more. Quieting pots and pans etc. helps enjoyment.
You can spend $10K or more extra to get the best quality motorhome and get better materials, fastening methods and better quality control. Chances are you'll be happy with any of the popular less expensive brands, including Fleetwood, once you are over with getting the dealer's service departement to fix minor factory defects. A Dealer's reputation for quick and satisfactory warranty fixes is very important based on personal experience. Get all promised fixes, etc on the purchase order in writing before signing and paying.
After the first year, any brand of motorhome requires proactive maintenance for reliable performance of all the bells and whistles.
On our 2004 Fleetwood Tioga 26Q there is a control panel with rocker switches and LED's showing what's on or off (etc). One switch is marked "Aux Battery" or something like that. When you rock this switch to "on" you should hear a click coming from where the house battery compartment is, probably under the entry step.If you don't hear a click, the relay device may not be working/stuck, or the house battery may be discharged/dead.Sometimes rocking the switch will get the relay to work, then the house battery may provide power to your 12 volt stuff. There may be a separate switch for the slide(s). Call Fleetwood or Fleetwood dealer for assistance.
Get as smart as you can be about 12 volt DC and 110 AC power and charging systems including how to proactively keep house and engine starting batteries charged when rig is not in use.
When your generator is not running and you are not hooked up to 110vac external power, all your 12 volt dc stuff is powered by your 12 volt DC house batteries. When your generator is providing 110vac power or you are hooked up to 110vac camp power, your "converter" is providing 12 volts dc to your 12 vdc stuff (lights, controls, etc) (through your house battery) and it is also slowly charging the house battery. When you run the engine, it's alternator charges the starting battery and house battery. Your "auxiliary battery switch" must be in the "on" setting for the house battery to power lights, etc., and be charged by the converter. Test the whether the house battery is charging with a cheap digital multi-meter/voltmeter on the DC volts setting, usually in the 20 volt range.
Dead battery reads 12 volts, charging battery reads over 13 volts, with engine running , charging battery reads up to 14 volts.
PS: With most RV's the engine starting battery is charging only when the engine is running, not being charged when RV is connected to camp power.
Hope I understood the questions and that this helps.
When you are parked with no 110volt AC electric power hookup, your interior lights, fresh water pump, furnace blower and certain appliance controls get their power only from your house battery(s). When you have the generator running and providing 110volt power to your converter device, the converter provides 12 volt DC power to charge the house battery(s)as well as powering the lights, etc. Your generator seperately powers your air conditioner, microwave and fridge if set to AC power. If you have you RV connected to 110volt AC power, the converter works the same as with the generator running and it powers the lights, etc and charges the house battery(s). An "inverter" is not the same as a "converter". It converts 12 volt DC battery power to 110volt AC power for small low-wattage items like DVD players.RV'ers really need to understand the terminology and functions of the 12volt DC and 110volt AC systems as well as how to monitor and maintain house batteries properly.
If the manufacturer of your pump is still in business, look 'em up on Google, contact them and ask how to check whether pump is pumping. Most RV pumps are self-priming so that if water is available at inlet, they should pump unless there is a problem inside the pump itself. If you find out that pump needs replacement, check whether your existing wiring, etc., will support a larger capacity pump. There should be a small Intellitec controller device located near the pump which will support a larger, higher amp draw pump.
Most rigs with rear queen beds, with a few exceptions, are at leasst 26-27 feet long. Our 2004 Tioga "26Q" is actually 27 feet long bumper to bumper. (No longer made by Fleetwood but still made by other brands). It has an RV "queen" bed, crosswise with access on right side and foot end, left side against back wall. There are some slightly shorter rigs with queen beds and bedroom slide outs that give access on both sides. Making the bed and getting in and out, is easier with access on both sides even with our Trav-Sac sleeping bag. Your needs/preferences can change with knee injuries and/or onset of arthritis
Those prices for diagnostics and service are probably the going rate in your area. Automotive rates are also high but RV work is a specialty like sports/luxury car or boat repair. Shop around for better price for replacement fridge if needed. It sounds as if you may not need a new cooling unit or new fridge, may only need to spend a couple of hundred bucks. We have had good service and reasonable labor charges from a local mobile RV repair guy. He works in our driveway, doesn't need brick and mortar repair shop. Meanwhile, invest in a cheap digital voltmeter/multimeter to check 12 volt DC circuits. There should be diagnostic info/advice available in the "tech issues" forum.
If I were you, I'd pay a competant RV service guy to properly diagnose and fix what's wrong, it might be a small cost fix as described above. Yellow green stains and ammonia smell means dead cooling unit. If the cooling unit is shot, it can cost around $800 and you may be successful in installing it yourself, not "a piece of cake". We had a new Norcold fridge installed for $1400. The mobile service guy had problems. The new fridge didn't cool, he installed another one, it didn't work either. He had to take fridge out, turn it upside down to get coolant into the right place and then it worked. Sometimes this turning upside down treatment will get an old cooling unit working.
Didn't mean to stir up controversy. Of course, if you have all the skills, etc., needed to repair or replace whatever is needed, chassis and house box, and you know what it'll need, you can make an informed decision on whether or not to buy an old rig. If you intend to camp within a 100 mile radius of home or do extensive cross-country touring that may be a factor to consider.
My guess, most buyers will not want to pay big bucks for an old rig even though extensively remodeled/renovated. Can't get bank loans on oldies. Old rigs in fair to excellent condition tend to sell for $5000 to maybe $8000. Modern rigs have more powerful engines and better cooling systems, better at climbing grades without overheating, etc. I could be wrong and often am.
Sort of off topic, but driving in strong headwinds can cause your awning to inflate and unfurl,acting like a sail, shredding and tearing loose from your rig and even destroying the support arms, etc. It happened to us last summer. Luckily only the fabric needed replacement and cost us $730 installed. We had an awning lock device installed to prevent possiblity of unfurling in the future.
Mpg varies a lot with terrain,(mountain grades vs flatlands), headwinds, and altitude as well as speed vs aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance. We get 7-9mpg with our 27 foot rig. I think that claims of 11 mpg may be based on inaccurate calculation. A class C motorhome is an un-streamlined box truck full of appliances, supplies, water, gasoline and occupants. If you can't afford fuel and all of the other costs of ownership and maintenance, motorhoming is not for you.
Sounds as if your house batteries are nearly dead.The short drive revived them a little. Battery level indicators are not accurate.Open up the house battery compartment and check level of electrolyte in each cell. If you can see battery plates, you need to add distilled water to cover the plates. If you have a 12 volt car battery charger of at least 4 amp capacity, hook it up to house battery and let it charge for 24 hours. Check battery voltage after charging, with digital volt meter, it should read around 13.3 volts. If battery recharges properly, it may start the generator.If battery(s) are damaged from being left in a discharged state, or lack of maintenance, they may need replacement. When connected to shore power, your converter should charge the house battery(s) but many of older stock converters can overcharge the battery and boil out the electrolyte. You must keep track of electrolyte levels and add distilled water as needed.
They may still make a front bike rack that clamps onto the RV front bumper and has straps that latch onto the top of the hood. The one we had was adjustable to fit different bumpers. You had to unhook the straps to open the hood and check oil, etc. Also need to protect bumper etc from the bicycles from moving and scratch things.
If you have trouble checking and adding air with beauty discs in place, consider spending some more money and having long custom formed solid brass or steel valve stems installed on rear duals and front tires if needed. This will cost between $100 and $200 at a Truck Tire shop, but it makes the process much easier.There are two main products. These are available from Tire Man and Borg to fit your rig. Do not install cheap screw-on extenders to the rubber valve stems. They are unreliable and the vibration will cause the rubber stem parts to fracture and leak. Keeping tires inflated properly requires periodic checking of pressure. Leakage and deflation can cause tires to blow out or come apart and steel belts can damage underside tanks, wiring and propane lines or cause loss of control.
Why RV chassis makers don't install these on all new RV's is a mystery to us all.
Our 2004 460 doesn't use oil but doesn't have many miles on it. The RV service manager at Ken Grody Ford here, recommended changing oil every 6 months when rig is not driven enough for mileage-oriented oil change schedule.
We always carefully plan our way bypassing SF and going through Oakland then reconnecting with 101. The interstate highway signs are confusing and sometimes you won't see a sign for a long time and think you are off track. A GPS will help reassure you. Best to avoid rush hour traffic if possible.
We have enjoyed stays at the Petaluma KOA north of SF. It's a converted farm/ranch with animals to pet and a pool and stuff for kids.