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Old 01-28-2016, 06:17 PM   #1
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First Post...Buying a Diesel Pusher...OK Here Goes!

Hey all. My wife and I are on our second MH, a 2001 HR Vacationer. We've had it since new and have taken very good care of it. It's been a flawless ride for us, but there's always what's over the next bump in the road.

We've long said someday we're gonna get a DP. We fell in love with the Horizon years ago, and long yearned for that coach. Well, I'm turning 60, she's turning 39 (yet again!), and we think the time is near. We plan on doing this summer in the HR. I have a few collectible cars I've had a long time, and seldom drive anymore, so I will sell them. By Sept we hope to get the Vacationer up for sale. If all goes as planned, we should have 75-80K for our DP. We're willing to take out a loan of 20k or so.

I'm thinking a 2005-2008 34' to 36' Revolution or Meridian or Journey, or...... We looked at a 2002 Horizon, very clean, but I want as new as possible systems and electronics. I want the Freightliner Chassis, and I THINK I want the CAT 330 or 350. Yup, we do a lot of climbing up and down I-5 pulling our SXS toy in a 16' cargo trailer.

Don't want to start a Ford Chevy battle, but I can't see why I would want a Cummins 300 HP with an Allison 5 speed, when I can get a CAT 330 with an Allison 6 speed. For this reason we've kind of dismissed the Journey, but not certain that's necessarily the right move....and this is my quandary. We think the Itasca would be the best MH we can afford, based on the research I've done. Any thoughts and additional information would be highly appreciated. Thanx in advance.

Brian and his 39 year old!!!
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:57 PM   #2
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Well I don't think you will be happy with that small an engine. The hills and mountains are the big deal. Might want to take a look at a motorhome that has a lot of h.p. for the task, especially if you are pulling a Toad.


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Old 01-28-2016, 06:59 PM   #3
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Brian, my suggestion is to join a couple of owners' forums for some high-end brands. Ask questions there. Most of us didn't know what we didn't know. For example, it was only after we bought our Foretravel that I found out that one of the other brands we were considering didn't use the air bags for leveling. It uses hydraulic jacks instead, yet it rides on air bags. From what I've read, there are quite a few major differences between gassers and DP coaches.
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Old 01-28-2016, 07:28 PM   #4
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I have the Cummins 340 with an Allison 6 speed and have not had any issues. Our GCWR is 33,000 lbs and we tow a Saturn view which isn't very heavy.
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Old 01-28-2016, 07:53 PM   #5
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Thanx Guys. Going back to Mike W's comment....I'm hoping ur talking about the 300HP. Are you saying a 330 CAT would also be limited HP? It has almost 900 ft lbs of torque. Ya see, this is why I don't understand stuff. And KB, I don't consider what I'm looking at to be high end. High dollar for us, but high end? My Vacationer goes up the 6% grades all day at about 44mph at about 1800 RPM B4 the danger zone. But it's only 44mph, and I'm tired of trucks pulling a double passing me!!
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Old 01-28-2016, 08:06 PM   #6
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How about these? They are in your suggested price range.

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Old 01-28-2016, 08:15 PM   #7
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Thanx pasdad, hehehehe, but I got some stuff to sell first with the semi-ignant questions. This is why I'm starting early. 34 footer is ideal. I'd rather have a 36 but there might be issues. I have a tight left turn, right turn, sweeping left, turn around and back in. I live on a couple acres up in the foothills and I have it down to a science with the 33.5 Vacationer. A 38, 39, 40+ is out of the equation. That's why I'm continuing to do research. Everything I've read suggests the Freightliner chassis is the one I want (80% of current DPs). The airbags deflated allows me to back in under the roof of the barn-attached covered parking area. 12' height is absolutely the max height I can do. And according to the Misses, we aren't moving anytime soon!!!
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Old 01-28-2016, 09:18 PM   #8
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"Don't want to start a Ford Chevy battle, but I can't see why I would want a Cummins 300 HP with an Allison 5 speed, when I can get a CAT 330 with an Allison 6 speed. For this reason we've kind of dismissed the Journey, but not certain that's necessarily the right move....and this is my quandary. We think the Itasca would be the best MH we can afford, based on the research I've done. Any thoughts and additional information would be highly appreciated. Thanx in advance".
I am wondering where you got the Allison 5 speed info. I haven't seen a Cummins 300HP with anything but a 6 speed.
I would start with finding a floor plan the Misses likes then worry about flying up the mountains.
Diesel Motorhomes for Sale - PPL Motor Homes
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Old 01-28-2016, 09:29 PM   #9
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Bill.....I saw a couple of Mid 2000s Jouney's that advertised a Cummins 300 HP with an Allison 5 speed. I thought (didn't assume!!!) that this was basically the same coach as the Itasca since it's the same company. Thought maybe the owner was more ignant than me. So I pulled up a PDF brochure, and sure enuff. That's what it said. Soooo, that's why I crossed off the Journey. Still finding it hard to believe a 330HP CAT in a 36 would be under horsepowered. Keep in mind, I still don't know squat!
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Old 01-28-2016, 09:35 PM   #10
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And I need to slightly correct myself. The Cummins/5000 tranny was Standard...the CAT 350/6000 was an option. I read this again... http://media.gowinnebago.com/models/...ourney-bro.pdf
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Old 01-28-2016, 09:53 PM   #11
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The Cat will do fine.
I think any diesel coach will do fine. You just have to learn how to drive one. I have driven the I-5 and didn't have a problem with my pore little 300hp Cummins and Alison 3000MH transmission. Towing my CR-V. The grapevine is no big deal I have ben into Yosemite a couple of times.
One thing I definitely recommend is installing Boost and Exhaust Gas Temperature gages. When you get into a grade your best practice is to manually down shift and keep your rpm in the 2000 rpm range depending on engine) so it will not overheat and it keeps your EGTs out of the danger zone. You don't want to leave it in a gear that you can't accelerate in.
Like I said before find a floor plan that the wife likes and go have fun.
Look at the PPL website it shows lots of floor plans.
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Old 01-28-2016, 10:02 PM   #12
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Thanx Bill. I've been to PPL a couple times already. Actually, with a few exceptions, she likes the layout we have right now. The bedroom slider is a BIG need as is more storage, and of course larger TVs and an outdoor entertainment center. We love MHing, but would rather be outside (weather permitting and sometimes not!). We'll miss our little Vacationer, but all little ones leave the nest eventually. As I mentioned, we're hoping this is our last coach. I just want as much info as possible so I can go in well informed.
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Old 01-28-2016, 10:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B Dubya View Post
And I need to slightly correct myself. The Cummins/5000 tranny was Standard...the CAT 350/6000 was an option. I read this again... http://media.gowinnebago.com/models/...ourney-bro.pdf
Well I stand corrected. You would want either "B" or "C" I would walk away from a 5 speed. I didn't see anything about the 5000 or 6000 transmission.
B - Freightliner Chassis Caterpillar
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– 7.2L turbo-charged diesel, 350-hp, rear radiator,

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C - Freightliner Chassis Caterpillar
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Old 01-28-2016, 10:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B Dubya View Post
Bill.....I saw a couple of Mid 2000s Jouney's that advertised a Cummins 300 HP with an Allison 5 speed. I thought (didn't assume!!!) that this was basically the same coach as the Itasca since it's the same company. Thought maybe the owner was more ignant than me. So I pulled up a PDF brochure, and sure enuff. That's what it said. Soooo, that's why I crossed off the Journey. Still finding it hard to believe a 330HP CAT in a 36 would be under horsepowered. Keep in mind, I still don't know squat!
B Dubya,
Well, the first thing you've got to do is, don't take all this so called "info" to heart. There's a zillion Winnes and Itascas out there with both the 3126 and, the C-7 versions of the 330 and 350 CAT. CAT made three HP ratings in the C-7 version. A 300HP, a 330HP and a 350HP. All of them have the 860 ft.lbs. of torque. The 330 and 350 was put into coaches all the way up to 40'. I know many, many Journey, Meridian, Vectra and Horizon drivers with those motors and all of them, INCLUDING MYSELF speak very highly of them.

You're not going to burn the rear tires off with them but, you're not going to do it with a larger one either. Of course it's always nicer to have MORE POWER and more torque. But, about 99.99999% of the time, to get more than the 350 CAT, you skip way up into higher end coaches. That's not always the case, as there are some C-9s in some same sized coaches. Which of course, means quite a bit more money.

Anyway, our coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT and Allison MH3000 6spd, has been an outstanding coach. It's very well put together, great craftsmanship, the Freightliner chassis has performed flawlessly with little to no issues. That size CAT engine is supplied with an EXHAUST brake, not a Jake or Compression brake. It functions great and, has no issues slowing down 37,000 lbs. of coach and GMC truck (as a toad).

The engine has always started and ran perfectly. As stated, the toad we haul it an '11 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Extended cab which, hauls an '08 Honda GL 1800 Goldwing, on a Rampage lift. That's about 6,700 lbs. worth of toad. We cruise nicely at about 62 most of the time and hover around 7.0-7.5 plus or minus, depending grades, wind direction and more.

We're presently sitting with 63K on the clock and have right at 80% brake shoes left. I figure they'll go to around 160K or maybe even 200K, if we keep it that long. Iv'e kept up the maintenance on everything myself. The HWH 625 Computer controlled Automatic leveling system has worked outstandly great for almost the total time we've owned it. I say almost 'cause it got just a hair out of adjustment a short while ago and, I fixed that with some easy leveling adjustments, all is well now. Our cabinetry is washed maple and is lighter in color with nickel hardware.

One more point, the Vectra and Horizon, both had the propane tanks mounted inboard, alongside the frame which, provides for more compartment space. The Journey and Meridian both had the tanks mounted in a compartment, just forward of the right duals. That eliminated a compartment for storage. Still, the Journey and Meridian are great choices. I know two who have the 34H model Meridians with the CAT C-7 350s in them and, those are outstanding coaches.

In my opinion, you couldn't go wrong with the '04 or later Journey, Meridian, Vectra or Horizon. The Vectra and Horizon were close to the top of the line for '04. A poster early on in this thread showed the higher models to the Vectra and Horizon. Both the Vectra and Horizon had generator slide out trays which, is a HUGE ADVANTAGE when it comes to any form of maintenance and or repairs, over the Meridian and Journey. And, depending the original order for those two, you'd almost always see a turbo boost gage and a Trip-Tek monitoring system in the Vectra and Horizon.

A suggestion to you would be, before you "rule out" any CAT engine, and or particular year, go find a few and test drive them and check out the floor plans etc. Most of the '04 units (with some exceptions in the '03 versions) are full body paint. That's a major plus in terms of up keep, appearance and value. Good luck in your search.
Scott
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