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Old 01-04-2014, 04:45 PM   #1
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2003 40md

I'm negotiating the purchase of a 2003 Alpine Coach 40MD. Anything in particular I should look for (other than the usual stuff)? Are there any known problem areas for this year/model?
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:07 PM   #2
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Welcome, Koop! We owned a 2003 40 footer, and our main problem seemed to be the error in installing the hose between the engine and the turbo charger. The receivers at both ends were turned in such a way that the hose was too short and kept coming off. Now, understand that we are not DIYers, so were dependent on what shops were telling us. It took at least a half dozen instances and the involvement of as many different shops for someone to finally say...oh, look...if you turn this to the left and that one to the right, the hose now fits. We could not believe it took so long for someone to notice that. I think this was also the year they started putting in the residential frig and some other upgrades that created issues with the Inverter, so you may need an upgraded Inverter.

Hopefully, others will chime in here to give you more info...

Good luck with our purchase, and come here often to ask your questions. We have some Alpine owners that are fabulous DIYers and know these rigs inside and out. You might also check out our Alpine owner clubs, both the national club (ACA) at www.alpinecoachassociation.com and the regional clubs. You will find links and contact info for the regions on the ACA webpage.

Let us know if you finalize your sale so we can give you a proper welcome!!
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Old 01-04-2014, 07:19 PM   #3
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My own personal bias notwithstanding, I think the 2003 was one of the best coaches that WRV made. Mine is an early 03 and has many of the options offered in 02. Upgrades to later 03s included a tighter turn radius, and 2-stage jake brake [vs single stage]. Things the 03 doesnt have Vs newer coaches are: no Vansco comm modules, no steering bracket issues, no adjust brake peddle/MC issues, hydraulic vs electic genset slide, no radiator issues. WRV did have some issues with HWH hydraulic hoses during that time but this coach has probably been fixed. If you have a resid. fridg, I agree with Gail that you may want to change our the mod-sine wave inverter at some point. Otherwise, its just the normal "older" coach things that need to be checked, eg, tires, batteries, engine maint records, etc.
PS--do a look up on this forum ref dash AC cooling and "wax" valve vs electronic engine fan controllers...
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Old 01-04-2014, 07:21 PM   #4
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Mike,

Other than typical maintenance problems with things failing (water, pump, charger/inverter, etc.), there are only 2 - fairly common issues: 1) the front A/C cover is notorious for coming loose, breaking &/or flying off, and 2) the fender panel directly below the driver can work loose (fiberglass strapping), break above the front wheel, pull the front rivets out and fly up in the air.

We have the residential refrigerator but there has been recalls on some of the camping models like Dometic & Norcold. Hopefully someone with those refrigerators can identify possible problems.

The 2003 model is the last of the "basic" systems produced by WRV. You should have a basic water heater, a basic furnace, and basic direct wiring which were changed in later years. I'm really glad to have a "basic" configuration but I'm sure other would argue that I'm missing out on some advanced features. I'm good with "basic"!

My only recommendation to you is try out EVRYTHING that is suppose to work in the coach you're buying. The laundry list of features & functions is WAY too big to publish here. The auto generator start feature is almost impossible to check without spending the time to let the house batteries drain. Everything else can be tested.

Best of luck!!!
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Old 01-04-2014, 07:29 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses guys. I've already negotiated new tires and batteries. The refrigerator is a Dometic side by side and the recall has been performed. The front A/C cover looks good, the rear one has a small crack.

This one has the Cummins ISL 400 with a two stage jake brake. Driving it was awe inspiring, the power, ride and handling were unbelievable. I'm 99% sure we'll close the deal.
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcbowers View Post
Mike,

Other than typical maintenance problems with things failing (water, pump, charger/inverter, etc.), there are only 2 - fairly common issues: 1) the front A/C cover is notorious for coming loose, breaking &/or flying off, and 2) the fender panel directly below the driver can work loose (fiberglass strapping), break above the front wheel, pull the front rivets out and fly up in the air.
Interesting that I had both of those problems on my '98. You can get new design a/c covers for about $100 each. I also fixed the fender problem with an aluminum brace I installed along the front edge. Don't let these minor issues put you off.
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:16 AM   #7
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Only thing I would add to the mix is to run the genset for at least an hour under half load to check for any issues with the unit.
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:18 AM   #8
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This is not limited to the '03s but many of us have had to replace the fuel filler vent hose(s) due to cracking and leaking. The biggest issue with these hoses is that when you fill your fuel tank to full, quite a bit of diesel fuel will leak out of the vent hose(s) into the generator compartment before you use enough fuel to get below the level where it will leak. Changing the hose(s) can be done by most any enterprising person who is a contortionist, with enough patience, and a large enough vocabulary of vulgarities to last for several hours! I use the word "hose(s)" as possibly plural because those of us who have the mid (side) entrance door (instead of the front entrance door) have fuel fillers on both sides of the coach so have double the agony when it comes to replacing the vent hoses!

We had issues with the dash a/c but that seems to only affect a few of us. If you do end up having issues with blowing seals, etc. that keep the a/c from keeping a charge, check this forum for solutions or you can check my post on the Alpine Owner's Association (Alpine Coach Association) in the Technical Library section for how I resolved the issue.

I also had to replace the Dometic refer cooling unit because the original unit failed. This is not uncommon with older Dometic refers. In addition to replacing the cooling unit, I installed a fan in the refer exhaust compartment to assist with air circulation and cooling. This is lacking in the original configuration.

The only real mechanical issue I have had is that the steering drag link angle and length can cause the dust cover on the front drag link end to break. There are references to this in this forum also. The fix (after replacing the front drag link end) is to put a rubber bungee cord from the frame to the drag link to help hold it up. This eliminates the issue for future problems.

Otherwise, I agree with Old Scout with regard to believing that the '03 is the best engineered and most trouble free year for all Alpine Coaches. Warning - this opinion is somewhat biased!

Be assured that you will be purchasing one of the best quality coaches available on the market when you finalize the purchase of your '03 Alpine. And, all the help you could ever want relating to any possible issues you come across is readily available from those of us with experience and some who are experts who reside on this forum. So, buy with confidence and "enjoy the ride!!!"
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Old 01-05-2014, 03:37 PM   #9
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Thanks again for the responses. Great info Roger. I've looked at the ACA site and the technical articles. Lots of enthusiasm and technical support for Alpine owners. I hope everything falls into place this week and I join the Alpine owner ranks.
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Old 01-05-2014, 09:50 PM   #10
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Thanks again for the responses.
We are always happy to help others spend their money!! (And we love our coaches.)
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