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 > Buying a Rental Class C. How many of us out there? (Long)

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IAMICHABOD

Sunny So Cal

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Posted: 05/07/12 05:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

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 7 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, I’m too old to climb up and down 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. 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.

First up was Cruise America: Their units that I looked at seemed to be Spartan 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.

Next up was El Monte RV 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).

We went for 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, 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. 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 with all the info on all appliances, heater, AC, water heater, etc. and manual for the Chassis. I have had no problems with it so far.

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.


* This post was last edited 10/04/14 11:12am by IAMICHABOD *   View edit history


2006 TIOGA 26Q CHEVY 6.0 WORKHORSE VORTEC
Recycled El Monte RV Rental

Buying A Rental Class C

Chevrolet Based Class C


Johnworth914

USA!

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Posted: 05/07/12 05:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't exactly fit your criteria, but I used to manage a fleet of rental class C's and A's for a dealership, which we sold off when they hit about 35k miles. (sometimes up to 45K)

A few things about rentals...
Be careful who you buy it from... An independent dealer would likely be better. BEware of units sold from big national operations (I won;t name them) they often will take the coach from an older unit and graft it to a new chassis and viola, the 2007 with 75k miles, is now a 2010 with 10k... but the "house" is beat.

Typically, rental fleets are the lowest trim line. In fact many are special trim lines and nameplates made specificaly for Rental... ie the "Pathfinder" Class A Cochmen motorhomes from the early 2000s.

On the other hand, if it is a reputable dealer, the motorhome will have gotten regular service, and will not suffer from the problems that come from sitting idle too long.

If you are careful you can find some great deals in ex rentals.


Alaska is next! Still trying to fit the pontoons to the RV so We can get to Hawaii!


jamesa403

Cambridge, ON, Canada

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Posted: 05/07/12 06:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

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.

gotsmart

Aberdeen, WA

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Posted: 05/07/12 10:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Someone PM'd me about my thoughts on buying a former Cruise America rental RV. See my signature below. Here is a copy of it.

I bought my 2005 Cruise America 28R in March 2011. I live in it fulltime. I bought it with 109,000 miles on it for $22,900. I've put about 1,800 miles on it to date. I drive between 5 parks between WA and OR. It has zero problems pulling the smart car and the RV drives very easily on the highway.

Cruise America's pricing varies by model year and odometer - the older the rig is and the higher the odometer is, the lower the price.

My Cruise America RV was built by Four Winds - to Cruise America specs. This means that there are a few non-standard design features not found in retail RVs, like the hard wired shore power cable.

The 12-month/12,000 mile warranty is a joke. It covers about 20 parts and explicitly lists each part that is covered. Good luck with trying to get the maintenance history of the RV from Cruise America. I have no records. My MH only has 1 coach battery - it lasts about a day when boondocking.

The RV will be freshly painted and will have new tires on it. Cruise America does not install awnings, roof ladders, slides, rear cameras, external steps for the coach door (the steps are inside), over-the-air TV antennas, or leveling jacks. These are the things that renters break. They will offer to install an awning upon delivery for about $1,400 or so.

The grey water/black water waste connection may be lower than you would have liked. There's no easy way to support a sewer hose without the hose running uphill. I use 5 foot sections of vinyl rain gutter that I lay on the ground and strap the hose with bunjees. I believe the service is low to the ground because Cruise America may be using larger capacity holding tanks (35 gal/grey, 40 gal/black) than what Thor puts in its Four Winds coachs.

GoodSam Extended Service Plan is only available to motorhomes with less than 80,000 on the odometer. If you by a Cruise America motorhome with more than 80,000 miles on it then consider the extended warranty that the Cruise America sales person will offer you at the time of purchase. I did not buy it because I thought I could get it from GoodSam.

I replaced the OE front sway bar and added a rear trac bar. I replaced the leaking OE steering stabilizer with a Safe-T-Plus. I'm having a Jack TV antenna installed. My MH only has a cable TV outlet in the TV cabinet in the rear bedroom. It does not have a 2nd TV outlet near the front loft. In about a month I'll replace the OE shocks with Bilsteins.

THIS IS IMPORTANT: Hire an independent RV repairman to perform a "home inspection" on the coach. Cruise America does take short cuts here and there - like using roof tape to dress up the 4 sides of the roof (as seen from the ground), to make it look new. The actual roof, which doesn't have a ladder for easy access, could be junk and you would not know it. Construction-wise, they are pretty good on the interior - as they are overbuilt to take the abuse from renters. Have your RV guy call out everything that needs to be repaired before you buy it and have Cruise America fix it or lower their price. The motorhomes are basically sold "AS IS". Cruise America won't help you after you drive it off the lot.

If the Cruise America location you go to services the RVs, try and get to know the head mechanic. Some RVs may have a better microwave than others or the dashboard has a better stereo. If you know which RV you want to buy, he may be able to swap the simple stuff - before the sale, and behind the sales person's back. I had the Ford AM/FM/Cassette in the RV I wanted replaced with a Ford AM/FM/single CD player from another 28R.

-------

EDIT: I should add that the 28R has surprised several RV technicians for being a rental with a slide-out generator. I open the generator cover door and can pull the Onan Microquiet 4000 right out.

* This post was edited 05/08/12 12:08pm by gotsmart *


2005 Cruise America 28R (Four Winds 28R) on a 2004 Ford E450 SD 6.8L V10 4R100
2009 smart fortwo Passion with Roadmaster "Falcon 2" towbar & tail light kit - pictures

Pokey2

Bel Marin Keys, CA

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Posted: 05/08/12 08:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

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.

Grillmeister

BBQ TOUR USA

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Posted: 05/08/12 06:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

To the OP, it sounds great, what did you pay for your rig OTD?


Show me the GRILL and STAND BACK!!!!


crasster

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Posted: 05/08/12 06:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

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

BBQ TOUR USA

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Posted: 05/08/12 08:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

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!

pjhootch

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Posted: 05/08/12 09:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

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

IAMICHABOD

Sunny So Cal

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Posted: 05/09/12 09:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grillmeister wrote:

To the OP, it sounds great, what did you pay for your rig OTD?

Very Good question,I negotiated down to $23,500 but with tax, licence,registration,smog and transfer fees OTDit was $25,900 well 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.

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