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Old 11-04-2012, 05:41 PM   #1
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Smile Info on a used 1996 Country Coach Magna

Hello
We are new to motor homes, although we have done some camping back in the late 70's. At that time we had a Holiday Rambler travel trailer. We have spent the last eight years sailing and living aboard for seven months at a time. We are looking to purchase a used 1996 Country Coach. We are trying to find out any info someone might want to share with us. The unit is 38' on a Gillig chassis with a 330hp Detroit Diesel, seris 40, and an allison transmission model 3060.
Thanks in advance
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:55 PM   #2
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Fred, I can't help you with information, but if you contact these folks with the VIN they can provide you with the build sheet. I believe it's $20. Good Luck
Country Coach Corporation
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:08 AM   #3
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We have a 1995 with a Cummins C8.3L engine but otherwise might be a twin that we have used for 11 years and 65,000 miles. We think we like it....

Our mechanical issues have been a failed fuel injection pump, a exhaust manifold leaks which are both Cummins related, and a failed AC compressor clutch coil.

The biggest cost item is the potential failure of the clear coat over gelcoat if your target rig has a lot of white or beige color. This is a cosmetic problem only, and can be solved cheaply or expensively.

The Gillig ride is very quiet and soft with some lean in the corners. At 18 years old the only rattles we have are in the Zip Dee awning arms due to owner failure to close it correctly. We are still running the original adjustable Koni shock absorbers and original brake shoes at 90,000 miles on the odometer.

Fuel mileage is 7+ mpg here on the west coast towing and 60 mph on the flats.

A common failure is the "school bus" coolant circulation pumps which assist the hot coolant movement to the front dash heater. Many owners have removed the rear pump as I have with no major consequence. Mine failed three times leaving the bulk of my engine coolant on the ground.

We find the rig to have excellent assembly quality with nice thoughtful features and quality materials. There is not a bunch of technology gizmos to fail on this vintage rig.

We would purchase our rig again.

Be sure to get the CC owners manual and the Gillig chassis manual for the target rig if you can.

As with any used rig purchase, Condition and Prior Maintenance is the key to a good result.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:02 PM   #4
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Dean
Thanks for the info. The unit we are looking at does have an issue with peeling clearcoat. I have read on this forum that it can be a DIY project from a rattle can, or just leave it alone and wax the fibreglass.
Not sure that I totally understand the "school bus" coolant issue but will look into it. Thanks for the heads up. We do not want coolant all over the ground.
All of the manuals are on the unit and go with it.
The detroit diesel is the difference and an area of concern for us as we cannot seem to be able to get user info on the motor.
We drive the unit this Wed if weather supports.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:35 AM   #5
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In my opinion the DD is an excellent engine. It was usually spec'ed by the fire trucks and is not seen a lot in the motorcoachs. It would come down to the service history for me. Joe
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:18 AM   #6
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The rear coolant pump is located near driver side end of the engine facing the front of the coach.

It costs about $250 to replace and may have a rebuild kit available. Labor to replace it is additional.

Ours failed once while traveling (Eastern Montana, on a Sunday, 100 miles from a major city). That is when I decided to bypass the pump and remove it for $15.

A second coolant pump resides behind our front bumper that has been fine.
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:15 PM   #7
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Thanks to everyone who responded to this thread. The information was very useful.
We bought a new to us 1996 Country Coach Magna 38' with a 330hp Detroit Diesel and Allision Transmission. This unit has 89,000 miles but is in good condition. There are no slides and the layout is just what we wanted for traveling cross country. All of the manuals for both the coach and cahssis appear to be with the coach but the maintance records were not available. We had it checked out by our truck mechanic and an RV shop and everthing was OK with the exception of the front tires and the front brakes.
I did call Country Coach and got the build sheet for this unit as well as a 1996 brochure.
As soon as I figure out how I will post some pictures ot the rig.
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:08 PM   #8
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Congrats on the new ride!!! Without a proven maintenance history, if you have not already done so, you might want to pull oil and trans fluids and send them in for analysis to get a good baseline. Then work into your schedule and budget a full LOF and Trans Flush (could hold off to see the analysis on this). Also might want to replace the air cartridge for the brake.

They made a solid coach in that era, so you have a great foundation to add to as you like.

Enjoy,
Smitty
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