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Old 12-31-2018, 09:49 PM   #1
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04/05 Vectra what to know and what to look (out) for?

The wife and I are looking for our first diesel pusher. Have taken a couple peeks at some Vectras and really like them. Today drove an 04 40KD (8.3L) in Yuma which I thought really drove nice. My only other experience with driving a DP is with an 02 HR Imperial (8.9L) on the RM RR8S chassis and that drove very nice as well. I would say the RM chassis handled sharp turns better as it did not lean like the Freightliner chassis but otherwise both excellent driving coaches. It really is impressive to me how much more stable and easy to drive these big pushers are than the Kodiak super c that I just sold, wow.

I'm curious what to look for and watch out for on these as we are looking at units in the 04-05 year range. I've seen some stuff about the vinyl ceiling stuff sagging and also to check the sealant that secures the fiberglass roof panel to the sides. What else are they known for that I should know to check? Was there any known water leak issues on them? Whatever we find we will be having a professional inspection performed on, I would just like to be able to look for initial things to be able to rule out a rig or if it is good to go further with. The motorhome we just sold was a stressful 1.5 year ownership experience that I hope to never go through again so I'm trying to everything I can to avoid that this go-around.

Thanks!
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElCaminoManT View Post
The wife and I are looking for our first diesel pusher. Have taken a couple peeks at some Vectras and really like them. Today drove an 04 40KD (8.3L) in Yuma which I thought really drove nice. My only other experience with driving a DP is with an 02 HR Imperial (8.9L) on the RM RR8S chassis and that drove very nice as well. I would say the RM chassis handled sharp turns better as it did not lean like the Freightliner chassis but otherwise both excellent driving coaches. It really is impressive to me how much more stable and easy to drive these big pushers are than the Kodiak super c that I just sold, wow.

I'm curious what to look for and watch out for on these as we are looking at units in the 04-05 year range. I've seen some stuff about the vinyl ceiling stuff sagging and also to check the sealant that secures the fiberglass roof panel to the sides. What else are they known for that I should know to check? Was there any known water leak issues on them? Whatever we find we will be having a professional inspection performed on, I would just like to be able to look for initial things to be able to rule out a rig or if it is good to go further with. The motorhome we just sold was a stressful 1.5 year ownership experience that I hope to never go through again so I'm trying to everything I can to avoid that this go-around.

Thanks!
Monaco coaches in that time frame are very well built, we had a 04 diplomat 330isc, decent power, one word of caution, s one years had an internal radiator trans cooler that was prone to fail, mine had a external trans cooler mounted on the last crossmember, if the internal one fails it takes out the trans due to coolant contamination. Also on the Rr8r chassis, as they get up in miles they become a hand fulll to drive, although there is a lot available from source engineering and another company that makes x bracing for the chassis. Best place to read is a yahoo group called monacoers tons of good people and info. Look for a 04 or and 05
Two of the best years, 05 has more headroom than the 04, check for power gear slides ,not hwc hydraulic. Reason we sold the 04, poor handling, wore me out after 400 miles.
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avfordguy View Post
Monaco coaches in that time frame are very well built, we had a 04 diplomat 330isc, decent power, one word of caution, s one years had an internal radiator trans cooler that was prone to fail, mine had a external trans cooler mounted on the last crossmember, if the internal one fails it takes out the trans due to coolant contamination. Also on the Rr8r chassis, as they get up in miles they become a hand fulll to drive, although there is a lot available from source engineering and another company that makes x bracing for the chassis. Best place to read is a yahoo group called monacoers tons of good people and info. Look for a 04 or and 05
Two of the best years, 05 has more headroom than the 04, check for power gear slides ,not hwc hydraulic. Reason we sold the 04, poor handling, wore me out after 400 miles.
I am also looking at Monaco and HR coaches. My best friend picked up the 02 HR Imperial about 6 months ago. It is on the 8 bag chassis, 295 tires, 8.9 Cummins, and has 146k miles on it. I took it for a 100 mile 'test drive' last weekend on some not-so-nice roads and found it to be an absolute breeze to drive. I actually wanted to just keep driving. Even with a bit of side wind, no issues at all. 1 hand easy driving, I was very impressed.

I'm preferring to stick to side radiator coach rigs since I'm going to be doing most of the maintenance work and access to the engine is a big deal for me.
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Old 01-05-2019, 11:40 PM   #4
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John,
Well, we have a sister ship to the ones you're considering only, ours is a tad shorter. It's an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the CAT C-7 330HP. The Horizon and the Vectra were equal coaches in that era. Now, if you're looking at one with a Cummins, can't help there. But, the "sagging" vinyl ceiling is not a "common" issue. Like any coach, of any year, by any manufacturer, SOME will have some issues here and there but, it's not model/year/manufacture wide, for sure. The roof-to-cove joint DOES need to be inspected on an every so often basis. The Winne and Itasca roofs are NOT GLUED on. Only those side joints are sealed/adhered and caps.

The slide systems are HWH and are hydraulic. So far, in the almost 8 years and 45,000 miles we've owned and put on this coach, I've had to rebuild my bedroom slide master ram but, that's it. The leveling system is the HWH 626 Computer Controlled Automatic Leveling System and, it also works flawlessly. It's needed adjustment on the sensor but, that's done in about 30 seconds.

To me, the fit and finish of these coaches are just great. We've got many, many friends with both Journeys and Meridians and all of them love their coaches. All of those are equipped with CAT engines though. Winne and Itasca can have, once in a while, an issue with the adhesive that holds on, many of the components of the front and rear end, to the fiberglass. That's not a big deal either. Many of us have found all kinds of aftermarket glues and adhesives that are superior to what the factory used. Good luck on your find. Keep us informed of your purchase. There's lots of nice, willing to help folks on here.
Scott
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:40 AM   #5
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Whelp, this should be fun!! Wife and I signed papers on an 05 40AD with the optional 400hp 8.9 Cummins today! It is in excellent condition for being 13 years old. Not perfect but honest which is just what I wanted. In discussion with the sales guy today he also mentioned about inspections and maintaining the joint and seal of the roof to the sides/caps since the roofs basically float on top. The dealer is a little place in the town of Hemet where I grew up in, go figure. Super excited, can't wait to pick it up in a week or 2 and get settled in!
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:28 PM   #6
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Congrats John,
When we picked our '04 up about 7.5 years ago, we too were as excited as kids at Christmas with new bikes. I could talk (type) here for pages and pages of help for you on things I've done, maintenance, mods, alterations, things to look for/at/over/under/in/out and more. Now, some of the bad first. Winne and Itasca both had a few instances of rusty windshield frames due to poor quality of workmanship in the installation. It's not each and every coach made, just a few. So, although you don't want to tear apart the molding around your windshield, do take a few minutes with a flashlight and do as close of an inspection of 360 degrees around both of those wind sheilds to make sure you're not getting any rust progression.

Second, as has been discussed, one of the first things needed is, get up on a tall ladder, if you're the type that can handle that and, start inspecting that roof-to-cove joint, for the full length, all the way along both sides. What most boys do is, simply push on the curve, just above the adhesive/sealant joint to see if any of that fiberglass pushes away from the adhesive. If it does, marke where it starts to separate and keep doing that test, 'till you find no more separation. Now, here's the tough part.

If you find a section, or the full length for that matter, that needs to be re-sealed/re glued, then all of that old sealant/adhesive needs to be removed, TOTALLY. Then, it's wiped down many times with whatever you chose that is a good prep, alcohol, maybe Lacquer thinner but, be careful, lacquer thinner is pretty strong. Cured paint, especially 13 year old cured paint, is fairly defensive against lacquer thinner. Be careful anyways.

Now, once it's prepped, what exactly to use has been discussed on here and other RV forums since before Christ was born. There's all kinds of sealants/adhesive that have been suggested/used/chastized. Many run for the hills if the word "Silicone" is used when this task is being taken on. Well, run away if they like. All I have to say on that is, go to THIS:

https://www.lichtsinn.com/webcast-ar...maintenance-rv

This company is only a couple of blocks from the Winne factory and get all their instructions on correct products to use for what application, RIGHT FROM WINNEBAGO.

Ok, enough on that. About your AIR system. Your air compressor on the engine, should be able to build pressure, from zero psi on the gauges, at high idle, around 1000 rpms, to full pressure cutout which, is normally around 125 psi, in close 1-2 minutes. A little more time if you let it idle normally. Your parking/emergency brake should activate automatically at or near 30-45 psi, plus or minus a tad, based on accuracy of gauges. Your "Low Air" Warning should activate at or near 60 psi, again, based on accuracy. You have three air tanks, located at or near the front end of the coach. Each of those has a bleed valve, for bleeding any moisture out of them.

Normally but not always, those bleed valves are connected with cables that, if done, are routed into the right front fenderwell. You have to look over the right front tire and into the fenderwell to see them, if the factory did it. Some times, they were lazy and didn't run those cables and left them coiled up, at or near the tanks. But, most of us that have yanked on those cables every now and then, have never seen any moisture.

And that's attributed to my next point, the Air Dryer. It's located at or near and above, the rear axle. That air dryer does need to be serviced, every couple of years. They have rebuild kits for them that hover anywhere from about $100 up. There's a couple of filters, a new high pressure safety valve and, a couple of other parts. It's really not hard to rebuild. It's more of a pain to get it off and put it back, then it is to rebuild it.

Now, since your coach is running on air bags, what regulates those air bags to keep you at the correct ride height are what's called "Ride Height Sensors or valves". Normally, there's two ride height valves in the rear and one in the front. If you ever find any oddities in ride or, leaning or, it doesn't air up correctly after you are done camping and preparing to leave, one of the first things to look at is the ride height sensors, depending on where the coach is effected.

Enough about the air system. In the back of your new coach, sitting on top of the radiator is the coolant recovery tank. It's PLASTIC, or, some form of it. And, it's subject to both engine heat and cooling, and, UV rays from the sun, all on a repetitive basis. What all that mistreatment does is, take its toll on the longevity of that tank. Many, many on here, including myself, have had to replace that tank, in some cases, more than once, due to severe cracking and degradation. Take a good, close look at that tank to make sure it's in good shape. If it's questionable, a new one hovers around $135 or so, at your local Freightliner parts counter.

And, speaking of that, since you're gonna be the proud owner of a Freightliner chassis, once your new coach is registered in your name, you can contact your local Freightliner parts department and, through them, get registered for "DTNA" or, Daimler Trucks North America. Once you get registered with them, you'll develop a user name and password, just like what you use on here, and, you'll be able to gain direct access to the building YOUR PARTICULAR CHASSIS! That is, you'll be able to see each and every nut and bolt, component, item, etc. that went into your chassis and, when the build date was. All that comes in very, very handy when it comes time to look up parts for your chassis. If you'd like more info on this, ask.

Even though your new-to-you coach is 13 years old, it quite possibly will still have the Dimensions 2000 watt Inverter/Charger. That unit should be wired to every single 120VAC outlet in the coach. It resides in the shore power compartment, behind the left set of rear duals. The inverter side is self explanatory. But, the charger side is a tad more complicated but, not bad. Basically, unless someone has modified the coaches charging system, your Inverter/Charger, when plugged into shore power or, running the generator, will ONLY CHARGE THE HOUSE BATTERIES, not the chassis batteries.

Since this coach is new to you, you'll have to investigate whether or not any mods have been done that changes that scenario. There was one that the Winnebago factory enabled, early in '06. And that was to start installing what's called the Trik-L-Start unit. In case you're not familiar, it's a small box, about the size of 1/2 a pack of cigarettes. It's basically connected between the two large solenoids, the Auxilliary Battery Boost one, and the house battery disconnect solenoid, both in that same compartment, located in a hidden compartment, above your Inverter/Charger.

That Trik-L-Starts job is NOT A BATTERY CHARGER. It simply monitors the voltage differences between the house battery bank and the chassis battery bank. If it sees .5VDC difference, it jumps into action and, SIPHONS off, no more than 5 amps that is being sent to the house batteries and, re-directs it to the chassis batteries. So, in that manor, it keeps the chassis batteries charged while on shore power, simple huh?

Now, speaking of that Auxiliary Battery Boost solenoid, it has dual duty. As the name implies, if and when you turn the key to start your Cummins up, and it's slow cranking or, maybe not cranking at all, you can then push on that Auxiliary Battery Boost switch on the dash and it will engage that solenoid in that compartment which, will intern, connect the house batteries to the cranking circuit to augment cranking of that Cummins, cool huh?

But, it's second duty is, via an ignition controlled wire, will close and, allow for the engine alternator to charge the house batteries. If, at sometime in the future use of your new coach, find that your house batteries are not being charged while you're engine is running or, you're driving down the road, that solenoid is most likely the culprit. It's not all that hard to replace, if and when needed.

Ok, enough for now, hope this info helps some. If you've got questions, surely ask. There's many, many on here that have your era coach and, can more than likely answer you quickly on any thing you might encounter. Good luck and have a great time.
Scott
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2004 ITASCA HORIZON 36GD, 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Toad '08 GL 1800 Gold Wing
Retired-29.5 yrs, SDFD, Ham - KI6OND
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
Congrats John,
When we picked our '04 up about 7.5 years ago, we too were as excited as kids at Christmas with new bikes. I could talk (type) here for pages and pages of help for you on things I've done, maintenance, mods, alterations, things to look for/at/over/under/in/out and more. Now, some of the bad first. Winne and Itasca both had a few instances of rusty windshield frames due to poor quality of workmanship in the installation. It's not each and every coach made, just a few. So, although you don't want to tear apart the molding around your windshield, do take a few minutes with a flashlight and do as close of an inspection of 360 degrees around both of those wind sheilds to make sure you're not getting any rust progression.

Second, as has been discussed, one of the first things needed is, get up on a tall ladder, if you're the type that can handle that and, start inspecting that roof-to-cove joint, for the full length, all the way along both sides. What most boys do is, simply push on the curve, just above the adhesive/sealant joint to see if any of that fiberglass pushes away from the adhesive. If it does, marke where it starts to separate and keep doing that test, 'till you find no more separation. Now, here's the tough part.

If you find a section, or the full length for that matter, that needs to be re-sealed/re glued, then all of that old sealant/adhesive needs to be removed, TOTALLY. Then, it's wiped down many times with whatever you chose that is a good prep, alcohol, maybe Lacquer thinner but, be careful, lacquer thinner is pretty strong. Cured paint, especially 13 year old cured paint, is fairly defensive against lacquer thinner. Be careful anyways.

Now, once it's prepped, what exactly to use has been discussed on here and other RV forums since before Christ was born. There's all kinds of sealants/adhesive that have been suggested/used/chastized. Many run for the hills if the word "Silicone" is used when this task is being taken on. Well, run away if they like. All I have to say on that is, go to THIS:

https://www.lichtsinn.com/webcast-ar...maintenance-rv

This company is only a couple of blocks from the Winne factory and get all their instructions on correct products to use for what application, RIGHT FROM WINNEBAGO.

Ok, enough on that. About your AIR system. Your air compressor on the engine, should be able to build pressure, from zero psi on the gauges, at high idle, around 1000 rpms, to full pressure cutout which, is normally around 125 psi, in close 1-2 minutes. A little more time if you let it idle normally. Your parking/emergency brake should activate automatically at or near 30-45 psi, plus or minus a tad, based on accuracy of gauges. Your "Low Air" Warning should activate at or near 60 psi, again, based on accuracy. You have three air tanks, located at or near the front end of the coach. Each of those has a bleed valve, for bleeding any moisture out of them.

Normally but not always, those bleed valves are connected with cables that, if done, are routed into the right front fenderwell. You have to look over the right front tire and into the fenderwell to see them, if the factory did it. Some times, they were lazy and didn't run those cables and left them coiled up, at or near the tanks. But, most of us that have yanked on those cables every now and then, have never seen any moisture.

And that's attributed to my next point, the Air Dryer. It's located at or near and above, the rear axle. That air dryer does need to be serviced, every couple of years. They have rebuild kits for them that hover anywhere from about $100 up. There's a couple of filters, a new high pressure safety valve and, a couple of other parts. It's really not hard to rebuild. It's more of a pain to get it off and put it back, then it is to rebuild it.

Now, since your coach is running on air bags, what regulates those air bags to keep you at the correct ride height are what's called "Ride Height Sensors or valves". Normally, there's two ride height valves in the rear and one in the front. If you ever find any oddities in ride or, leaning or, it doesn't air up correctly after you are done camping and preparing to leave, one of the first things to look at is the ride height sensors, depending on where the coach is effected.

Enough about the air system. In the back of your new coach, sitting on top of the radiator is the coolant recovery tank. It's PLASTIC, or, some form of it. And, it's subject to both engine heat and cooling, and, UV rays from the sun, all on a repetitive basis. What all that mistreatment does is, take its toll on the longevity of that tank. Many, many on here, including myself, have had to replace that tank, in some cases, more than once, due to severe cracking and degradation. Take a good, close look at that tank to make sure it's in good shape. If it's questionable, a new one hovers around $135 or so, at your local Freightliner parts counter.

And, speaking of that, since you're gonna be the proud owner of a Freightliner chassis, once your new coach is registered in your name, you can contact your local Freightliner parts department and, through them, get registered for "DTNA" or, Daimler Trucks North America. Once you get registered with them, you'll develop a user name and password, just like what you use on here, and, you'll be able to gain direct access to the building YOUR PARTICULAR CHASSIS! That is, you'll be able to see each and every nut and bolt, component, item, etc. that went into your chassis and, when the build date was. All that comes in very, very handy when it comes time to look up parts for your chassis. If you'd like more info on this, ask.

Even though your new-to-you coach is 13 years old, it quite possibly will still have the Dimensions 2000 watt Inverter/Charger. That unit should be wired to every single 120VAC outlet in the coach. It resides in the shore power compartment, behind the left set of rear duals. The inverter side is self explanatory. But, the charger side is a tad more complicated but, not bad. Basically, unless someone has modified the coaches charging system, your Inverter/Charger, when plugged into shore power or, running the generator, will ONLY CHARGE THE HOUSE BATTERIES, not the chassis batteries.

Since this coach is new to you, you'll have to investigate whether or not any mods have been done that changes that scenario. There was one that the Winnebago factory enabled, early in '06. And that was to start installing what's called the Trik-L-Start unit. In case you're not familiar, it's a small box, about the size of 1/2 a pack of cigarettes. It's basically connected between the two large solenoids, the Auxilliary Battery Boost one, and the house battery disconnect solenoid, both in that same compartment, located in a hidden compartment, above your Inverter/Charger.

That Trik-L-Starts job is NOT A BATTERY CHARGER. It simply monitors the voltage differences between the house battery bank and the chassis battery bank. If it sees .5VDC difference, it jumps into action and, SIPHONS off, no more than 5 amps that is being sent to the house batteries and, re-directs it to the chassis batteries. So, in that manor, it keeps the chassis batteries charged while on shore power, simple huh?

Now, speaking of that Auxiliary Battery Boost solenoid, it has dual duty. As the name implies, if and when you turn the key to start your Cummins up, and it's slow cranking or, maybe not cranking at all, you can then push on that Auxiliary Battery Boost switch on the dash and it will engage that solenoid in that compartment which, will intern, connect the house batteries to the cranking circuit to augment cranking of that Cummins, cool huh?

But, it's second duty is, via an ignition controlled wire, will close and, allow for the engine alternator to charge the house batteries. If, at sometime in the future use of your new coach, find that your house batteries are not being charged while you're engine is running or, you're driving down the road, that solenoid is most likely the culprit. It's not all that hard to replace, if and when needed.

Ok, enough for now, hope this info helps some. If you've got questions, surely ask. There's many, many on here that have your era coach and, can more than likely answer you quickly on any thing you might encounter. Good luck and have a great time.
Scott
We're scheduled to pick up the coach next week friday so once it's home, I'm going to be busy going over all of the things you posted here, thank you sir! I will respond with my findings!
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElCaminoManT View Post
The wife and I are looking for our first diesel pusher. Have taken a couple peeks at some Vectras and really like them. Today drove an 04 40KD (8.3L) in Yuma which I thought really drove nice. My only other experience with driving a DP is with an 02 HR Imperial (8.9L) on the RM RR8S chassis and that drove very nice as well. I would say the RM chassis handled sharp turns better as it did not lean like the Freightliner chassis but otherwise both excellent driving coaches. It really is impressive to me how much more stable and easy to drive these big pushers are than the Kodiak super c that I just sold, wow.

I'm curious what to look for and watch out for on these as we are looking at units in the 04-05 year range. I've seen some stuff about the vinyl ceiling stuff sagging and also to check the sealant that secures the fiberglass roof panel to the sides. What else are they known for that I should know to check? Was there any known water leak issues on them? Whatever we find we will be having a professional inspection performed on, I would just like to be able to look for initial things to be able to rule out a rig or if it is good to go further with. The motorhome we just sold was a stressful 1.5 year ownership experience that I hope to never go through again so I'm trying to everything I can to avoid that this go-around.

Thanks!
Look in the classified at my Newmar Kountry Star if your interested.
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:57 AM   #9
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Look in the classified at my Newmar Kountry Star if your interested.
Never mind. Good luck. Enjoy.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:00 AM   #10
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Never mind. Good luck. Enjoy.
No worries, appreciate the effort and thanks.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:07 PM   #11
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Question regarding batteries; do these only have 3 12v house batteries normally?
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Old 01-12-2019, 12:56 AM   #12
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Question regarding batteries; do these only have 3 12v house batteries normally?
Yes, original equipment would be 3 12V group 31 Deep Cycle for the house in the upper tray, 2 12V group 31 Starting batteries for the chassis in the lower tray.
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Old 01-12-2019, 02:07 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by cbeierl View Post
Yes, original equipment would be 3 12V group 31 Deep Cycle for the house in the upper tray, 2 12V group 31 Starting batteries for the chassis in the lower tray.
Yep, that's how this one is set up. Weird, I'm used to seeing 4x 6v batts for the house and 2x big 12v for the chassis. Thanks for answering that for me!
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Old 01-12-2019, 03:21 AM   #14
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I have the same coach from Itasca called "Horizon". I don't recommend 3-12V deep cycle batteries. They tend to burn cells faster vs. 4-6V Golf Cart "GC2" batteries.

And the good news is that your battery tray will hold 4-6V Golf Cart Batteries so go that route when you buy new ones. And buy new battery cables. I used "welding cables" since they are more flexible and carry more amps and are smaller gauge (diameter).

Note: AGMs are by far the way to go, but are a lot more expensive.

If you have a residential refrigerator, I recommend moving your roof top mini-solar panel for your engine batteries forward to make way for 4-100W solar panels over the passenger side-rear of the coach... and then feed the supply wire down the washing machine cabinet... Then mount an MNPT Solar Controller behind the AC intake screen (under the washing machine cabinet) and run the power wire under the carpet... under the chest of drawers... and into the battery bay... with a 20A Fuse of course.

Sorry I digress. My 12V house batteries only lasted 1 season. THEY WORKED, but the amp-hour storage was cut in half because the plates in the batteries warped. Now my 4-6V batteries (GC2) are more robust and can handle the Dimensions (not so smart) battery charger... which is inside your Dimensions 2000W Inverter-Charger.

You will most also need to install a Voltage Sensitive Relay (VSR) if your BIRD relay is not working right or was not installed by the factory at delivery. You can get one of these on Amazon for $129 range. (This VSR will let your engine alternator charge your house batteries when driving... Which is a must and the 12V OEM house batteries don't seem to take a "fast charge" like the golf cart batteries do.

*** Since I mentioned a residential refrigerator, if you like your Norcold double-door model that's fine, but I wouldn't but a dime into repairing it. Upgrade to a a stainless steel 17cu Frigidaire you can get at Home Depot for $700 for less; and you will love the look and the performance and never look back!!! Best upgrade that should be at the top of your list! (Working gas frig or not!)
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