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Old 04-20-2018, 08:54 PM   #1
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Ditched the trailer for a motorhome - Gulp

Hi all,

It has been a while since I posted. I had considered bbq'ing my travel trailer but at the last minute gave it a reprieve and instead put a deposit down on a used motorhome.

Going to pick it up next week. So....I thought I would ask anybody out there what they might know of a 2000 Itasca Horizon 34 foot. I tried to do as much research as possible prior to locating this one. Seems to be in decent shape. It has 77,000 miles on it. This is a diesel pusher with a 300 cummins (although I thought the specs said it was a 275) engine with an Allison transmission. Looked it over pretty good, no rust on the underbelly and the hoses and everything looked in good shape. Tires were good. No rock marks on the windshield. There might have been some leaking under one of the front seals so they are going to reseal the roof and address any seals.

It is bigger than I am used to, but it seems manageable. Anyone know of anything in particular these coaches have problems with? I thought I had read that they can overheat?

Additionally, I was trying to figure out how I can park the doggone thing at my home. Anyone know how to figure out the turn radius on this coach?

Any and all help/advice would be appreciated.

Thanks, Terry
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:13 PM   #2
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Congrats on your new Itasca. Best of luck with it. Best way to determine it's turn radius is to take it to parking lot and measure the turn radius.
Be sure that the tires have not aged out. You can't just look at tires and say they're okay.
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Old 04-21-2018, 12:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by OnTheMove2 View Post
Hi all,

It has been a while since I posted. I had considered bbq'ing my travel trailer but at the last minute gave it a reprieve and instead put a deposit down on a used motorhome.

Going to pick it up next week. So....I thought I would ask anybody out there what they might know of a 2000 Itasca Horizon 34 foot. I tried to do as much research as possible prior to locating this one. Seems to be in decent shape. It has 77,000 miles on it. This is a diesel pusher with a 300 cummins (although I thought the specs said it was a 275) engine with an Allison transmission. Looked it over pretty good, no rust on the underbelly and the hoses and everything looked in good shape. Tires were good. No rock marks on the windshield. There might have been some leaking under one of the front seals so they are going to reseal the roof and address any seals.

It is bigger than I am used to, but it seems manageable. Anyone know of anything in particular these coaches have problems with? I thought I had read that they can overheat?

Additionally, I was trying to figure out how I can park the doggone thing at my home. Anyone know how to figure out the turn radius on this coach?

Any and all help/advice would be appreciated.

Thanks, Terry
Terry,
The Itasca Horizon, Winnebago Vectra, Itasca Meridian and Winne Journey, are all very closely related and are all good, well built coaches. I have many friends with all of those. Ours, is an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT. We bought it with 40K on the clock and it now has 83K on it and, we've owned it for 7 years.
I really can't speak for the Cummins side 'cause ours is running the CAT. I do have a friend who had a '99 Fleetwood Discovery 36' and his had the 275HP Cummins. He installed the Banks system for that particular motor and I tell ya what, he was damn hard to keep up with on trips. He put a ton of miles on that rig before he recently sold it and, it was one well performing engine and coach.

Anyway, while there's 4 years difference between yours and ours, ours has been a great coach in the time we've owned and used it. As for the "overheating" thing, well, lots of myth and rumors here and there. The answer to a nice and efficient running diesel pusher coach is good maintenance in and of, the cooling system.

And one important point of that is, due to the way things are designed, the rear radiator can and, often does, get it's fins all clogged up with lot of nice road debris, grass, dust, straw, paper and plastic bags, and more. Now, a contributor to that situation is, at least with the earlier CAT engines is/was, the blow by tube tip was too far forward and, the oil mist from it coated the fins of both the CAC and the radiator.

When that happens, the aforementioned material above, get's to be an oily mess on all the fins of both components. The remedy, extend the blow by tube all the way to the rear of the coach , so that if and when, it expels any oily mist, it won't affect the fins of either component.

As for those fins, if they're clogged, then yes, you can see SOME over heating, primarily on grades when the coach slows down and the engine turns less RPM and the air flow is somewhat restricted. So, again, when you get that new to you coach, do whatever's necessary to do an in depth inspection (mirrors, flashlights, inspection cameras) remove whatever you have to in the bed room to gain access to that engine and inspect things from the top, sides, and underneath.

Next, you said you said you checked the tires, correct? Did you check the DOT production dates of them? That's kind of important. Also, there's lots of threads and posts about Winne and Itasca roofs on here and other RV forums about how the roof-to-gutter seam needs a thorough inspection for it's caulking/adhesive seal joint. Winne and Itasca retains the full length, one piece fiberglass roof panel to the sides, with only that adhesive/caulk.

Just take some time and inspect that seam, for full length on both sides of the coach. There's more but, that will keep you busy for a while. Good luck and do let us all know how you like it.
Scott
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Old 04-21-2018, 05:41 PM   #4
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Congrats on what is a very nice choice; easy to drive, comfortable and AFAIC, reliable. Mine is 2' longer and 2 years newer, but I've owned it since 2003, and it has been a joy to own and drive.

Now, regarding your questions; if you are a mechanically inclined DIY'er, I would recommend all new fluids and filters, and I am a believer in full synthetic fluids for engine and trans. If you are not inclined to DIY, then you could would be well-served to take your rig to Gaffney, S.C Freightliner facility, and have them do that, and some other maintenance items, like brake-roller lube; exhaust-brake lube, and front wheel bearing oil replacement (presume you have wet bearings as do I). They can also do the tire inspection, and make sure your transmission has their Syntec trans fluid in it. They can do the rear radiator/trans cooler cleaning as well.

One more item, which I don't know if they do, but you can certainly do it at little to no cost, is to do you roof-sidewall sealant inspection. Winnebago states that this should be done every 6 months, to be assured that the sealant/adhesive, which holds the roof fibeglass panel into the slot in the aluminum rail at top of you sidewall, has not failed.
That is done by pressing the roof panel away from the rail, while looking to see if the sealant opens up; e.g. not adhered to the fiberglass. If you see a gap when you press on it, it is no longer doing it's job. You will need to clean out the old adhesive, wipe with acetone, and reseal with Manis Bond Adhesive/sealant. That is the product that Winnebago themselves specifically require to be used. You can order it through Lichtsinn Motors, a Winnebago Dealer right down the road from the factory.

I know lots of folks have said they use silicone, or roof caulk, etc, but none of those are actually elastomeric adhesives, which is what Manis Bond is. Once you use silicone, nothing else will ever adhere, and silicone is known more for its sealing than for bonding. Manis Bond does both.

In any case, good luck, and have fun.
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Old 04-22-2018, 02:22 AM   #5
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Thanks and a bit of information

Thanks everyone for the great advice. I wish I was more mechanically minded otherwise this purchase would probably not worry me so.

After some pushing and prodding I finally received some of the recent vehicle history. I asked for the prior owner history but that does not appear available at the moment.

In any case, the coach has had some work on it...quite a bit in fact and I have had to try and decipher some of the notes. I'm hoping I can get an assist here.

Anyway, here goes.

On March 15, two filters we're purchased.
On March 16, a day transfer pump was purchased.
Then on March 16 the coach was in repair:
Coach in limp mode, Freightliner replaced alternator and repaired charging system, will have a sublet bill, American trans replaced tcm and spped mod, rwc checked the motor side for injector issues.

Also, Batteries, needs new batteries due to sales shorted them out by jumping with 24 volts on a 12 volt system

This bill came to over $2000.

On March 27, 98-02 mid range ISB.

This bill came to $1300

On April 10, customer reports the engine will not rev over 1500 rpm, low power, connected to insite and printed featers and parameters, verified fuel pump and inspected pins no defects found.

Connected to Cummins insite and test drive while monitoring and found fueling state was stuck in air/fuel derate, limited the vehicle to 20 mph contacted rapid serve due to no codes on engine or transmission side. Attached logged file from test drive, Cummins called and advised they noticed had a stuck in range intake manifold pressure sensor and advised to replace, start there, plugged in and monitored pressure with key on engine off, psi reading was stuck at 51 psi, sensor had shorted out and stuck in range due to an excessive voltage spike. Removed and replaced the intake pressure sensor, took for test drive is now working properly during test drive the intake hose popped off of intake connection reinstalled hose and tightened clamp, repairs complete.

This cost almost $1400.

It seems to me that there could be some kind of real problem. The coach is supposed to have only 77,000 miles on it and it should not be having these problems.

Another concern are the odometer reading. One work order has it at 0. Middle of March the odometer, noted as delivery miles, was 53,885 and in April it was 77,114. That seems really troubling to me.

Lastly, I put the deposit down on Monday. I was told they wanted to complete a pre delivery inspection and then I could come in for a run through of it all. I still have not yesterday driven it and it has been almost a week and nobody seems to know when the coach will be ready

I am concerned that something else has been discovered to be wrong with it.

Any ideas or thoughts about this?

Thanks
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Old 04-22-2018, 06:01 AM   #6
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If in fact it was jumped with 24vdc, I would probably pass on this one. If the batterys were ruined, the overvoltage did what else?
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Old 04-22-2018, 07:29 AM   #7
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I'm not getting a good feeling about your prospective coach. As jlb said, if it was jumped with 24vdc, did the damage end at destroying the batteries, or was the keyswitch on at that moment? 24 volts on the power buss to the engine ECM, valves, sensors, dash instruments, and other systems, may have caused many problems that have not even presented yet.

Sorry, I would pass on this one. There are many good pre-owned DP's available. I would keep looking.

BTW, where are you located? Maybe someone here knows of one with a good history.
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Old 04-22-2018, 11:07 PM   #8
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Pretty troubled

Hi all and thanks for confirming some of my own fears. I talked to the sales agent who said that much of the work had to be done by the owner as it was on consignment. I then mentioned that the sales department had incorrectly jumped it causing problems. He expressed surprise that was written on the order. But then went on to say that they had done repairs because if that.

Well as you mentioned in your replies, this is of concern as how do I know what other damage may have been caused by this. And I was a bit dismayed of their surprise...as I got the sense that they did not want me to know about that.

They are assuring me that everything is just fine, but I know that once I drive it away, it all then falls upon me.

I really liked this coach. Have been waiting for a few months for one like it in my price range and length range.

But these motorhomes, even used, are not cheap.

I think you are right...time to walk away.

By the way...I live in Washington state. Sure would like to find another one like it. There is a 36 footer for sale for Abit more but I was stretched pretty thin on this one for $40,000.

Such a drag.
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Old 04-23-2018, 07:59 AM   #9
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How disappointing that the dealer would try to hide the fact that they jump-started that coach with 24 volts. I wouldn't trust another thing they say, after that. There are so many possible problems that could develop, you could spend many thousands of diagnostic dollars and more on repairs, after you take ownership.

Now if they give you a zero-deductible 12 month 12,000 mile warranty, maybe I'd say consider it, but even then, what if the coach sets in their shop for months, and you lose the use of it. I know that can happen with any coach, new or used, but with this information, I really doubt how they even could know the extent of what's been affected.

More money, but something like http://www.irv2.com/rvclassifieds/sh...r-36-pbd&cat=4 would probably be a much better buy. One owner; service records, newer and higher quality.

Good luck. Hope you can start enjoying the RV life soon.
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Old 04-23-2018, 03:47 PM   #10
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Why is so hard to trust people

Thanks everyone for your comments. Talk about the highs and lows of this deal. I finally spoke with the sales person who turned out to be reasonable. He understood that I might have concerns about the coach and said that if I wanted to just walk away from it, then that was my choice and they would be happy to return my deposit.

I told them that I liked the coach, but the uncertainty of the actual condition of the coach was very troublesome, given its history. I spoke at length this morning with a diesel mechanic that I trust. He explained how a spike in the voltage like that could have caused some serious issues and that these issues could be immediate, or could happen in the future. They did have some work done with Freightliner and Peterbuilt, both reputable.

The salesperson suggested they find a warranty for me which would protect the electrical system. I told him that I did not really trust warranties as it seemed they inevitably covered the things that never broke and did not cover the things that did. Plus I told him I was not going to buy a warranty because of something they were at fault for.

However, as I liked the coach, if they would warranty everything within the electrical system/starter system and make repairs at no cost to me, then I might consider moving forward with the coach. They could also consider allowing me to "rent" the motorhome for a month and if it developed no problems, then I would buy it. These were suggestions put forth by the mechanic.

I am still nervous, but that might be sufficient for me.

I very much like the 02 Monaco that was posted in the link. But at $55,000 it is just too far outside my price range. I really like Monacos and have been looking for one or perhaps a Holiday Rambler. But their price points, even for a used one, is a bit high.

I have been looking at this coach:

https://www.rvt.com/Winnebago-Advent...15568-UX113817

and this one: https://www.rvt.com/National-RV-Cari...063239-UX84389

or this one: https://www.rvtrader.com/listing/200...6LD-5002016316

I had read somewhere that having a motorhome at 35 feet or shorter was best for parking at the national parks. Don't know if that is true or not, but I have tried to focus my search on the shorter coaches.

Anyway, thanks for everything. My head is spinning. I have been burned on my truck and on my travel trailer. So, I am trying to be as super cautious as possible.

Terry
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Old 04-23-2018, 04:29 PM   #11
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Terry,

I understand why your head is spinning; lots to think about, and some important decisions to be made. That is an interesting option if they actually offer you a warranty on the original coach, for the electrical systems (and make sure that includes ECU, sensors for the engine and all the dash instruments; leveling jacks (they use a soft power-off, so there is still 12v connected to the system even when off).

Of the others you may consider, I would comment to you that I am partial to Winnebago products over National. Winnebago offers to all owners, whether they purchase their motorhome new or used, a complete set of electrical wiring diagrams, plumbing diagrams, detailed info on every aspect of construction, all free, and offers toll-free tech support. They also bed their windshields in a butyl-rubber mounting, just like the automotive industry, and numbers every wire in the motorhome, and those correcponding numbers are shown on the wiring diagrams. This makes troubleshooting or add-ons easier to do.

All appliances and cabinets are anchored in the metal wall-studs,, not screwed to wall panels, as some manufacturers do. The cockpit (driver/passenger) compartment is constructed with a steel roll-cage, to help protect occupants during a rollover accident.

National, and most other manufacturers, do not do any of that.

I like the 99 Adventurer you listed. It's a solid coach, single slide, and probably has the smaller Cummins diesel. Very reliable, and easy to work on. I had a 2001 Adventurer, which was a great RV, but with a gas engine. The diesels drive better, and are quieter.

One other comment is that the link on RVTrader, for the Horizon, is my exact motorhome; same make, model, year and floor plan. I've owned my 2002 Horizon 36LD since 2003. I had it painted about 4 years ago, otherwise it looked like yours.
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:38 PM   #12
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Giving you all an update

Hi everyone...Well Capt Bill, as luck would have it, that 2002 just sold. You snooze you loose, especially on the good ones.

I like what you had to say about the Winnebago. That is good information to have and has helped me to narrow my search further. Unfortunately, the greater I narrow it down, the fewer the options. But that is life.

Just an update - I went back to the dealership to ask them if they would "warranty" the electrical system in the engine. After all, if they were confident in the coach, they should have no problem with that. Even if all they offered was 6 months, that would be something. As an alternative, I asked them if I could drive if for a few weeks, and if it had no problems then I would be good with that as well.

The manager I spoke too said that they felt good about the engine and had they just sent the coach off to Peterbuilt, chances are the fuel injectors and fuel pump would not have needed to be replaced, but they were trying to fix it in-house. However, that being said, he did not want to set precedent by agreeing to warranty something on a pre-owned coach.

The manager said that since I had begun the paperwork for purchasing the coach, according to Washington law, I now owned it. However, he did not want to force something down my throat so would instead refund me my deposit and the deal would be closed.

I told him that was unfortunate as I really liked the coach. He said that I had gotten a great deal on it as the coach was worth about $50,000 and I was purchasing it for around $36,000 ($40,000 with taxes and licenses). But they had lowered the price because of the overcharging. Which is interesting as I did not know about the overcharging until days later.

I don't know how much it would cost should I have a problem with the electrical system. According to the mechanic I spoke to, he thought it would mostly affect the starter system, but you have mentioned the possibility of more problems than that.

So unless I change my mind because this is such an awesome deal...I will be going in to pick up my refund tomorrow.

Thanks everyone for your guidance on this.

Now the search begins again...which is a bit of a bummer to say the least. I really needed to travel to the eastern part of Washington to help my daughter out. She is trying to study for her final exams at school while raising her 5 year old daughter...my granddaughter, who is also autistic. It has been very difficult for her. I could not go there and leave my dogs, so wanted the coach for this purpose (as well as to go touring the country). But I have had to tell her I can't make it. Painful...

Such is life....thanks again Terry
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:39 PM   #13
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Thanks...good info to have.

Terry
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Old 04-26-2018, 05:08 PM   #14
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Rvs are money pits at the best of times, let alone starting off with one that some greenhorn has fried all the wiring. The wiring in these things is a nightmare to access half of it. If some of the wiring is burned up behind some panel, no mechanic is going to have an easy time finding it. Dont let your emotions get in the middle of an important decision. Find one that an elderly couple owned, cared for it like a baby, always stored indoors etc, full service records, and show pride of ownership. They are getting out of rving because of health reasons, old age etc. Even if you have to pay an extra 10 grand for it, or it is a few years older. Most likely this deal falling through is a blessing in disguise. Good luck on finding the right coach for you. My personal thought is that coach the way you describe it has 10 foot pole marks all over it. The dealer is trying to cut his losses. He has to come good for the damage his staff did to the consignment owners coach.
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