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CLASS B RV BUYER'S GUIDE

This part of our Class B RV Buying guide highlights the importance of a thorough pre-delivery inspection.

Our RV Buying Guide explains that you should have a thorough pre-delivery inspection of your new Class B RV before you sign the papers to ensure you don't buy a lemon.
Is that beautiful van sitting on the dealer lot an RV lemon? The dealer probably does not know as they generally will not thoroughly go through an RV before you drive off. Our RV Buyer’s guide warns you to insist on a thorough pre-delivery inspection and why you should not sign any papers until you are shown that everything on your new Class B RV works.

Oopsies happen; don’t trust the rv dealer to guide you the buyer through a thorough pre-delivery inspection and fix problems before delivering to you

Avoid the stress of a RV lemon. In this portion of our RV buying guide, we will stress the importance of a thorough pre-delivery inspection. No new Class B RV in either Ford Transit, Ram Promaster, or Mercedes Sprinter is immune from problems; all of the following arrive to the dealer less than perfect:

Roadtrek AdventurousThor SequenceRoadtrek Agile
Winnebago EraAmerican Coach PatriotCoachmen Crossfit
Thor TellaroWinnebago BoldtRoadtrek Zion
Coachmen BeyondFleetwood IrokCoachmen Nova
Airstream InterstateCoachmen GalleriaWinnebago Travato
Winnebago SolisRoadtrek ChaseWinnebago Revel
Roadtrek PlayWinnebago PaseoRoadtrek Slumber

Even our beloved Midwest Automotive Designs Passage! All RVs are manufactured by humans and none are delivered 100 percent perfect when you agree to purchase them. Customers walk through and break this or that and don’t tell anyone they broke something, things get bumped in shipping, workers forget to tighten a fitting, batteries are drawn down while sitting,.

Don’t sign the papers until you are 100% convinced everything works

Please learn from our experience: we have compiled this RV buying guide to try to help you through the process of buying an RV and convince you to do a thorough pre-delivery inspection and make sure everything works before you sign the papers. Here are two secret that put the ball in your court: The dealer owns your van as long as you don’t sign papers and completing a deal with another customer could take weeks. The dealer pays interest to their floor plan company for every day the van sits on their lot. Dealer will push heavily to transfer the thing into your name; absolutely, positively RESIST. Like magic, your dealer quickly fixes anything you find that does not work. But most dealers will only work magic while the van is theirs!

Once you have paid for your new RV, sales is typically done with you

In situations where we see dissatisfied Class B buyers, the RV dealer did everything right…except perform a thorough pre-delivery inspection. promptly answered questions, pushed financing through quickly, and made the customer feel important; in other words, the dealer attentively cared for their customer. But after signing papers, the new owner quickly discovered that the salesman moved on and they were now service department customers. And they also learned that the service department was swamped and could not get to their vans for weeks. Van.Life owners Brian and Colleen once owned a Roadtrek 210 Popular that spent literally 6 months of its first year of ownership at a dealership getting warranty repairs. We were naive and thought that the dealership would 100 percent be on our side. We were so wrong and that lesson separated us from our new RV for months.

Download our RV pre inspection pdf to see what we look for

Van.Life raises the bar in the RV industry. We execute a $4,000 value, 30-manhour pre-delivery inspection that ensures a thorough inspection of your new Class B RV to help you to avoid buying an RV lemon. Download the van.life RV pre-inspection pdf to see the tests we perform on all new RVs we sell here.

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In this section of our RV buying guide, Van.Life’s Class B New RV inspection list is the most comprehensive in the RV industry.

In this section of our RV buying guide, Van.Life's Class B New RV inspection list is the most comprehensive in the RV industry
Class B RV Buyers should not rely on their dealer to guide them through a thorough pre-delivery inspection

All RV dealer service departments are swamped and your brand new unit is not the service department’s priority

Buyers of a new Class B RV should extensively inspect their van before papers are signed–NOT AFTER! As a guide, all Class B RV New dealers perform a pre-delivery inspection or PDI for the buyer. Problem is that they only do a short predelivery inspection of 2-3 hours tops that would not get them past the first few day 1 steps on our inspection list. RV technicians report that dealerships press them to do PDIs even more quickly than 2-3 hours.

A dealer’s service department has more to do than free inspections for the sales department! In our estimation, most owner frustration could be eliminated if dealers would only thoroughly check the vans out before delivery. Things that should never see the light of day are revealed to the owner in the first hours of ownership. But by then, papers are signed, money has been transferred, the next service appointment is 6 weeks away, and the new owner is SOL. Despicable!

There will be problems; it’s how they’re dealt with that makes the difference between continued ownership excitement and disappointment and frustration.

The Van.Life New RV Pre-delivery Inspection list is a solution to the problem

The Van.Life RV Pre-delivery inspection list guides our service techs through a 5-day, 30-hour simulation of the buyer using their new Class B RV. We allow for an additional 2 days to correct any problems we find.

Our predelivery inspection is not a gimmick; it is not fluff. Van.Life GIVES you $4,000 worth of free shop time to prove to you that your new Class B RV works as it should. We install wireless voltage, amperage, and temperature sensors throughout the van and document everything we do and even give you an excel spreadsheet showing 10-minute interval readings of heater, air conditioner, fridge and freezer temperatures, battery voltages, and charge amperage taken over a 5-day period. 

You will not find a more thorough pre-inspection (PDI). We document things like pressure test of the propane system and simulate your use of the van for a week to ensure that anything prone to breaking will be discovered before you take possession of your van. 

Van.Life raises the bar for new RV buyer satisfaction

We believe that the RV industry has had a pass too long and crappy service has been a hallmark of the industry; there is no way people who pay the money they do for luxury Class B Vans should have to endure the poor service they do. Any new Class B RV purchased from Van.Life goes through this buying guide’s seven-day in-shop pre-delivery inspection list that takes a minimum of 30 man hours.

We publish our redelivery inspection here and challenge any new dealer to improve on our inspection regimen and offer the same “Carefree Pre-inspection” regimen to their customers. As a purchaser of a new Midwest Automotive Designs RV from Van.Life, we guarantee that all possible steps have been taken to ensure the most pleasurable ownership experience possible while still maintaining aggressive pricing.

Details of Van.Life’s New Class B RV pre-delivery inspection list

Van.Life’s Class B RV buying guide new RV inspection list is spelled out below for scrutinization by anyone. As a matter of fact, we invite any competitor to help us to improve on it and also challenge them to offer the same for the good of the industry and the experience of the customer. Estimated predelivery inspection time: 30 hours not including any repairs that are necessary.

DAY 1

  • Day 1 of of Van.Life’s Class B RV buying guide new RV inspection list
    • Fill fresh water tank.
    • Fill fuel and propane tanks.
    • Ensure all accessible interior electrical connections are properly torqued.
    • Cycle battery master switch on/off.
    • Plug into shore power.
    • Run hot water in sink and bath 5 minutes.
    • Install stopper and fill sink with water to ensure it does not leak.
    • Flush toilet.
    • Turn on refrigerator; install temperature probes in fridge and freezer and record temperature all day. Chart on excel spreadsheet for customer.
    • Boil hot water on stove.
    • Boil mug of water in microwave.
    • Run shower 15 minutes.
    • Make a pot of coffee using 120v receptacle.
    • Ensure all 120v receptacles work.
    • Test all USB receptacles.
    • Ensure all interior lights work.
    • Test awning.
    • Ensure outside lights work.
    • Test tv, stereo, and rear entertainment system works. Install missing optical cable.
    • Observe that firefly system has all expected functions active.
    • Ensure shades work as expected.
    • Test that bed or sofa work as expected.
    • Look for flaws in the upholstery.
    • Look for paint and body flaws.
    • Check all that all cabinets are aligned and latches work.
    • Ensure table is included in van and that table base is installed.
    • Ensure inverter and solar controller are programmed correctly for system.
    • Lift on rack.
    • Inspect all undercarriage parts and ensure nothing is out of place.
    • Use gas sniffer to inspect propane lines/connections on propane-equipped vehicles.
    • Pressure test on propane system (8” W.C. for 3 to 5 min.) using manometer at the grill quick connect.
    • Ensure all under van electrical terminations are tight.
    • Inspect all plumbing connections.
    • Ensure any generator, heater, or fuel-fired appliance exhaust systems vent adequately.
    • Perform carbon pile battery test on AGM batteries.
    • Run rooftop air conditioner all day. Install temperature probe in vent and continuously record temperature output.
    • Cycle battery master switch on/off.
    • Open windows at end of day. Check all screens for proper fit and operation. Run fantastic fan all night; run bathroom vent all night.

DAY 2

  • Day 2 of Van.Life’s Class B RV buying guide new RV inspection list.
    • Close screens.
    • Ensure battery is fully charged from shore power. Document voltage on inspection report. Disconnect.
    • Cycle battery master switch on/off.
    • Move van outside.
    • Start generator.
    • Run hot water in sink and bath 5 minutes.
    • Run shower for 15 minutes. Ensure water drains as it should.
    • Flush toilet.
    • Use outdoor shower hot and cold water.
    • Continue to record refrigerator temperature all day. Chart on excel spreadsheet for customer.
    • Boil hot water on stove.
    • Boil mug of water in microwave.
    • Make a pot of coffee using 120v receptacle.
    • Run rooftop air conditioner all day. Check internal temperature at 11am, 2 pm, and 5pm.
    • Check solar charging and document solar voltage and amperage throughout the day on excel spreadsheet. Look for unexpected charge behavior.
    • Check generator charging and document generator charge voltage and amperage throughout the day on excel spreadsheet. Look for unexpected charge behavior.
    • Check battery voltage at end of day and record on inspection report.
    • Take fridge and freezer temp readings at end of day and document on inspection report.
    • At end of day, move van back into shop and plug into shore power.
    • Cycle battery master switch on/off.

DAY 3

  • Day 3 of Van.Life’s Class B RV buying guide new RV inspection list
    • Ensure battery is fully charged from shore power. Document voltage on inspection report. Disconnect.
    • Cycle battery master switch on/off.
    • Move van outside.
    • Run hot water in sink and bath 5 minutes on battery.
    • Run shower for 15 minutes. Ensure water drains as it should.
    • Flush toilet.
    • Continue to record refrigerator temperature all day. Chart on excel spreadsheet for customer.
    • Boil hot water on stove using battery; use engine to assist if battery bank insufficient to carry load.
    • Boil mug of water in microwave; use engine to assist if battery bank insufficient to carry load.
    • Make a pot of coffee using 120v receptacle powered by inverter and battery.
    • Use hair dryer on 1500w setting to drain battery to 50%.
    • Check internal controls to ensure everything works as it should on battery.
    • Allow engine to idle. Document battery voltage and charge amperage in one minute intervals on an excel spreadsheet for 8 hours. Look for unexpected charge behavior.
    • If air conditioner can run off batteries, run rooftop air conditioner all day.
    • Check battery voltage at end of day and record on inspection report.
    • Take fridge and freezer temp readings at end of day and document on inspection report.
    • At end of day, move van back into shop and plug into shore power.
    • Cycle battery master switch on/off.

DAY 4

  • Day 4 of Van.Life’s Class B RV buying guide new RV inspection list
    • Ensure battery is fully charged from shore power. Document voltage on inspection report. Disconnect.
    • Cycle battery master switch on/off.
    • Run hot water in sink and bath 5 minutes on battery.
    • Run shower for 15 minutes. Ensure water drains as it should.
    • Flush toilet.
    • Boil hot water on stove using battery; use engine to assist if battery bank insufficient to carry load.
    • Boil mug of water in microwave; use engine to assist if battery bank insufficient to carry load.
    • Make a pot of coffee using 120v receptacle powered by inverter and battery.
    • Open doors. Test heat at 90 degrees. Ensure the heater will run at least 3 hours as expected. Check every 30 minutes and document that heater is working as expected.
    • Continue to record refrigerator temperature all day. Chart on excel spreadsheet for customer.
    • Plug in to shore power at end of day.
    • Cycle battery master switch on/off.

DAY 5

  • Day 5 of Van.Life’s Class B RV buying guide new RV inspection list
    • Ensure battery is fully charged from shore power. Document voltage on inspection report. Disconnect.
    • Cycle battery master switch on/off.
    • Run hot water in sink and bath 5 minutes on battery.
    • Flush toilet.
    • Run shower for 15 minutes. Ensure water drains as it should.
    • Boil hot water on stove using battery; use engine to assist if battery bank insufficient to carry load.
    • Boil mug of water in microwave; use engine to assist if battery bank insufficient to carry load.
    • Make a pot of coffee using 120v receptacle powered by inverter and battery.
    • Continue to record refrigerator temperature all day. Chart on excel spreadsheet for customer.
    • Drive to dump point and ensure dump mechanism works as it should.
    • Road test with two technicians: one driving and other in rear listening for rattles. Document and fix.
    • Plug in to shore power at end of day.
    • Cycle battery master switch on/off.

DAY 6

  • Day 6 of Van.Life’s Class B RV buying guide new RV inspection list
    • Ensure battery is fully charged from shore power. Document voltage on inspection report. Disconnect.
    • Cycle battery master switch on/off.
    • Wash and detail for customer delivery. Look for any leaks at windows.
    • Make warranty repairs as necessary.
    • Plug in to shore power at end of day.
    • Cycle battery master switch on/off.

DAY 7

  • Day 7 of Van.Life’s Class B RV buying guide new RV inspection list
    • Ensure battery is fully charged from shore power. Document voltage on inspection report.
    • Cycle battery master switch on/off.
    • Make repairs as necessary.

Download Van.Life’s New Class B RV pre-delivery inspection list pdf

You can download a pdf of the preinspection regimen we follow by clicking here.

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MIDWEST AUTOMOTIVE DESIGNS REPAIR QUESTIONS

We selected Midwest Automotive Designs because of their customer support and warranty service. Midwest Automotive Designs’ warranty is a 3-year bumper to bumper warranty on all their Daycruiser, Weekender, Ford and Mercedes Passage, and Promaster Legend vans.

Sparkles

Photo of Midwest Automotive Designs 4x4 Mercedes Sprinter Wheelchair accessible van.
Our experience with Midwest Automotive Designs during our ownership of a custom-built wheelchair-accessible van, Sparkles, is why we entered the RV business. Midwest Automotive Designs’ warranty and customer support were second to none.

My wife and I have driven B vans as our daily drivers for the past 10 years. We once owned Sparkles, a custom 2016 Midwest built for wheelchair access. We wanted to be among the first with a 4×4 van so we ordered the chassis in 2015 and it took over a year to be shipped from the factory. Midwest Automotive Designs built it and I flew up to drive it home. 


Upon arrival, she came out to inspect and literally started crying. Neither they nor I had the forethought to make aisles wide enough for her to pass. I called Tim, the owner of the company (they have since sold out and are part of Rev Group but Tim is still in charge), and told him that she cried and he told me to come back and they would redo it. I brought it to them, they totally redesigned some elements of the interior and she was happy. When I arrived to bring it home, I fully expected to pay for my mistake. They did not charge a thing.


Quick Attention to Warranty and Repair Issues

When I decided to sell the van last summer, I experienced problem attracting a sale because of the wheelchair lift. I called the factory and asked if they could convert it back to a regular van. They told me yes and I drove it up to Elkhart, Indiana. While there, they noted that the fridge cooled less than it should, frayed carpet, minor tears in the upholstery, and an electrical gremlin that prematurely drained the battery. They fixed all and even changed the fridge! None of this was warranty and when I pulled out my checkbook they went really easy on me! I could not believe the concern this company had for me, the owner!

New Midwest Automotive Designs RV Dealer

Tim showed up to ask me what I would be doing after I sold it. I told him that I had my eye on a Roadtrek that was deeply discounted because of the Roadtrek bankruptcy. He looked at me and I could see he was personally hurt that after all he had done to take care of me, I would consider another brand. I slept on it and realized he was right! He and I talked and I became not only a Midwest Automotive Designs dealer, but also an RV Dealer. I never worked a car lot in my life!

Midwest Automotive Designs’ Warranty commitment is the RV business

Customer service like Midwest’s does not exist in the RV world. I truly got a white glove experience and they continue to offer the same to other customers. When on the road, most manufacturers will expect you to have the unit serviced by an authorized dealer. Most authorized dealers will tell you there is a 4-6 week wait to even get an appointment in the busy season. Some authorized dealers won’t even work on your rig if you didn’t buy from them. Midwest will tell you to pull into any place that will fix it and they’ll give them a credit card so you can be on your way. 

NO Roadtrek, Winnebago, Airstream, Thor, Pleasureway or any other class B dealer can say the same about the product they represent. Buy a Midwest Automotive Designs class B van; because we have very little overhead, Van.Life will be your low cost dealer. Use our configurator to build the perfect van http://van.life/product or contact us using our webform at https://van.life/contact-us.

Midwest Automotive Designs warranty text

Midwest warrants to the original purchaser (the “Purchaser”) that, subject to the exclusions and other limitations set forth herein, all parts and components installed by Midwest as part of its conversion package to an automotive van or light truck chassis (the “Unit”), which are sold in and remain in the United States and Canada, will be free from defects in materials used and workmanship rendered: (a) for a period of thirty‑six (36) months from the date a Unit is first delivered to the original retail purchaser or thirty‑six thousand (36,000) miles, whichever occurs first, for Units used for non-commercial purposes or (b) for a period of twelve (12) months from the date a Unit is first delivered to the original purchaser if the Unit is used for commercial purposes. 

Midwest Automotive Designs warranty downloadable pdf

You can download Midwests’ 2020/2021 warranty here: https://van.life/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2020-2021-Midwest-Automotive-Designs-Warranty.pdf

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