10 year old Class Cs: Which makes are known to be best built and lowest maintenance?

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gfmucci

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This question has probably been asked and answered ad nauseum - if so please point me to appropriate links.

Which Class C makes and models in the +/-10 year old range are considered "better quality." By "better quality" I mean if a rig is purchased in the 10 to 15 year old age range, which makes and models are known to provide the least trouble for the new owner? (Yes, I know they are all "money pits" so no need to remind me.)

For example, assuming a budget of $30,000, would lower maintenance cost be achieved with a 15-year old higher end model class C or a 10 year old middling class C, assuming size, drivetrain, and apparent condition when purchased were equal?

Does "higher end" substantially mean "fancier with more amenities" rather than better construction, longer lasting, and less required maintenance and repairs?

Which models tend to have better insulation, noise deadening from the engine, better assembly methods and materials (screwing and gluing versus stapling; hardwoods verses particle board, etc.)?

I've read a bit, for example that Lazy Daze and Born Free are exceptional, and many others are listed such as on these sites:

But such sites generally focus on current models and recent years. I'd like opinions from those who have experience with 10 or 15 year old models of Class C.
 

Kirk

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Lazy Daze & Born Free are at the very top when new, but even the best quality RV can become a financial disaster after 10 years of abuse or neglect. No matter what you but in a used RV, you are best advised to spend the money to have it professionally inspected before purchase.
 

gfmucci

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You can't judge an older RV by the manufacturer. Old RVs are judged by their current condition. How well it has been maintained is more important than who made it.
Interesting point. I also wonder if the person who kept his "less well built" rig in its "very well maintained condition" had to spend a LOT more annually to keep it that way compared to what the guy with the better built rig had to spend. That would be an indicator of how much I would have to spend to keep it in great shape.

Then there's the question of use. Not just mileage, but what kinds of roads was it driven on - and if I drove it on worse roads, would the rig begin to reveal its less than stellar construction methods and materials? Or the number of days/nights it was actually used by how many people. If used by a couple 15 days a year most any rig would look decent after 10 years. But how well could it withstand everyday use by a full timer?
 

SeilerBird

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Mileage doesn't matter unless it is exceptional. A ten year old Prevost that was beaten and not taken care of is a lousy choice compared to a 10 year old that was taken excellent care of. This is why every one here will tell you to get it inspected by a third party before even thinking about putting money down. I live in my fifth wheel full time and it is in much better shape than when I bought it. But it permanently parked and I have a life time of repairing moving things. it is now coming up on 25 years old. Not bad for a $4000 RV.
 

gfmucci

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Lazy Daze & Born Free are at the very top when new, but even the best quality RV can become a financial disaster after 10 years of abuse or neglect. No matter what you but in a used RV, you are best advised to spend the money to have it professionally inspected before purchase.
Agreed. Excellent advice.

Every house we purchased we got a professional inspector. We bought one in the mountains of NC that had a 40 page inspection report. We bought it anyway. It was one of the most fun houses we owned. We put $25,000 in it to fix it up and made a bit when we sold it in three years, but it was a great experience.
DSCF8197 small.JPG
I know you cannot expect the same from a MH. And I certainly won't have $25 grand left to fix it up.o_O But from what I learned from this site so far is I danged well better have a few grand (at least $5,000) per year set aside for maintenance and repairs even if I buy the 10-year old in near perfect condition.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I'd put Lazy Daze at the very top of the list for solid quality, but that doesn't make them immune to abuse or lack of maintenance. And they are hard to find. Winnebago made some pretty decent C's in the 10-20 years back, so if you can find a well-kept one it's probably a good bet.
 

Memtb

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Assuming they’re well taken of, and fairly reasonable mileage (low mileage is a plus). Bigfoot is a pretty solid unit.....very winter capable.

High end can mean several things!! Lots of bells & whistles, smoke and mirrors....which look good but do little for real comfort or practicality. Or.....you can get some quality features such as dual pane windows, high r value insulation, fiberglass roof, enclosed heated tanks, dump valves, and all plumbing heated by forced air, large fresh water tank, hydraulic leveling is pretty nice, thermostat controlled Fantastic Fans or MaxAir Fans, good storage capacity, rear roller or skid plates (for rear end drag on inclines), if a Ford chassis get the E 450. These are a few of the quality things we looked for when shopping for a class c.


Some of the above means little to nothing to many people. We winter camp at zero or below temperatures, and wanted a class c that was capable. Ours has been used down to a -15 F, with water in the system.....no issues! memtb
 

Isaac-1

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If we are to confine ourselves to circa 10 year old Class C's the vast majority of them are going to fall within a fairly narrow initial build quality range, the vast majority will also be built on a Ford E-350 or E-450 chassis and many will have very limited cargo carrying capacity (weight), unless the the original owner custom ordered a model that normally ships with an E-350 chassis as the optional heavier E-450 model. This excludes a handful of higher tier, better built Class C's like Born Free, Lazy Daze, and perhaps one or two more, though none come to mind at the moment that fit into this age range. There will also be a handful of models offered on a Chevy/GMC cutaway chassis possibly with a diesel engine, or with a pickup truck chassis from many major brand.

Some of these may have slightly better materials, nearly all will have a membrane roof of some type due to weight limitations, The lower end will tend to have EPDM roofs, above that will be TPO, and slightly never models may have any number of other improved membrane materials that have started showing up on the market in the last 7-8 years or so. All of which need routine maintenance, cleaning, etc. and all of which can be harmed by using the wrong chemicals. In addition to this roof penetration sealant needs to be checked routinely (annually?) and replaced every 5-10 years depending on its condition. Failure to do so results in water penetration and rot, which is probably the number one killer of RV's.
 

DonTom

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you are best advised to spend the money to have it professionally inspected before purchase.
Who professionally inspects RVs? And what type of problems do they look for?

But whoever it is, I hope they do a better job than the professionals who inspected my new RV, which had some rather obvious things wrong which I had to find myself.

If they cannot do a good job on the small stuff, should we trust them with bigger issues?

-Don- Reno, NV
 

gfmucci

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Assuming they’re well taken of, and fairly reasonable mileage (low mileage is a plus). Bigfoot is a pretty solid unit.....very winter capable.

High end can mean several things!! Lots of bells & whistles, smoke and mirrors....which look good but do little for real comfort or practicality. Or.....you can get some quality features such as dual pane windows, high r value insulation, fiberglass roof, enclosed heated tanks, dump valves, and all plumbing heated by forced air, large fresh water tank, hydraulic leveling is pretty nice, thermostat controlled Fantastic Fans or MaxAir Fans, good storage capacity, rear roller or skid plates (for rear end drag on inclines), if a Ford chassis get the E 450. These are a few of the quality things we looked for when shopping for a class c.


Some of the above means little to nothing to many people. We winter camp at zero or below temperatures, and wanted a class c that was capable. Ours has been used down to a -15 F, with water in the system.....no issues! memtb
Excellent. I'd rather sacrifice the high end glitz for the high end substance and hope I don't have to pay for both. Although in 10+ year old rigs it probably gets all mixed together in the remaining 20% of the MSRP.
 

Old_Crow

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Who professionally inspects RVs? And what type of problems do they look for?

But whoever it is, I hope they do a better job than the professionals who inspected my new RV, which had some rather obvious things wrong which I had to find myself.

If they cannot do a good job on the small stuff, should we trust them with bigger issues?

-Don- Reno, NV
You've been on the forum long enough to know that there are professional RV inspectors. Heck, there's even a school for them.
The guy at the dealership who did yours is probably a minimum wage flunky who's main job is working in the wash bay or moving rigs around the parking lot.
 

SeilerBird

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RVs are not like cars. There are thousands if not millions of people driving the exact same model car. There are hundred if not thousands of RV models being built, basically all are built to customers specifications. That means there is not enough information to come to any logical conclusion about any make or model.
And not everyone uses them for the same reason (full timers, part timers or weekenders) making it impossible to name the "best" of anything with such a small sample size.
 

Kirk

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Who professionally inspects RVs? And what type of problems do they look for?
National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association
If you do an internet search for "pre purchase RV inspectors" you will get bunches of them. Most of them will also supply a list of checks or a sample report. In addition, many mobile RV techs now do pre-purchase inspections as do most mechanic shops.

RV Inspector Pro!

RV Inspection Connection
Texas Best Inspections
Premier RV Inspections
Lemon Squad
National RV Inspections
 

DonTom

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You've been on the forum long enough to know that there are professional RV inspectors. Heck, there's even a school for them.
I don't read every message in the forum, but I don't recall anybody here ever using such a service.

I see there are none in the Reno area, but they do have "traveling inspectors."

I do wonder what type of non-obvious things they look for.

-Don- Reno, NV
 

gfmucci

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Interesting. I was at a General RV dealer today discussing 12 - 15 year old model Class A and Cs. I asked about independent RV inspections. He said they're not worthwhile for older units because its guaranteed they'll be a lot of things wrong with them. And he said they don't usually inspect for engine/drive train/chassis stuff anyway.

That was not the response I expected. I sense it was based on a conflict of interest. Even if some problems aren't negotiable, I would still want to know what I need to fix.

From my review of the above linked inspection report, it does appear that some inspectors (not all) DO cover it all.
 
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SeilerBird

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Interesting. I was at a General RV dealer today discussing 12 - 15 year old model Class A and Cs. I asked about independent RV inspections. He said they're not worthwhile for older units because its guaranteed they'll be a lot of things wrong with them. And he said they don't usually inspect for engine/drive train/chassis stuff anyway.

That was not the response I expected. I sense it was based on a conflict of interest. Even if some problems aren't negotiable, I would still want to know what I need to fix.

From my review of the above linked inspection report, it does appear that some inspectors (not all) DO cover it all.
Those salesmen have no conscience. They would lie to their own mother to make a sale. The older an RV is the more important an inspection is.
 
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