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Old 11-20-2014, 04:29 PM   #1
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Help - Getting Cold Feet over MH purchase

This weekend we are planning to purchase a 2003 Winnebago Journey DL or a 2003 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom but we are getting cold feet. We've done our research and narrowed our search to Winnebago. Both rigs have the floor plan and options we want. Since we plan to live in it 3/4 time we are concerned with quality, durability, and comfort. So I'll just ask the burning question.

Are the 2003 Journey and Ultimate good coaches?

Thanks
Jerry & Susie
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Old 11-20-2014, 04:57 PM   #2
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10 year old coach

I hope you are a handyman buying an older motorhome or it will cost you $$$$
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Old 11-20-2014, 05:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KD4XR View Post
This weekend we are planning to purchase a 2003 Winnebago Journey DL or a 2003 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom but we are getting cold feet. We've done our research and narrowed our search to Winnebago. Both rigs have the floor plan and options we want. Since we plan to live in it 3/4 time we are concerned with quality, durability, and comfort. So I'll just ask the burning question.

Are the 2003 Journey and Ultimate good coaches?

Thanks
Jerry & Susie
Short answer is "yes". The Ultimate Freedom was top of the line then and the Journey was an entry level diesel pusher. Look at em, drive em and go with your gut. But as dezolen says, there will be problems. Be sure to check out all systems. I just purchased a 2004 Itasca Horizon and have found very few things that need attention but the coach was not lived in either. Good luck
Rich
On edit, you might want to find someone that has experience or has owned a DP to take a look at it.
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Old 11-20-2014, 05:11 PM   #4
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They are good coaches.......BUT 12yrs old? How many new items have already been replaced on these because it is about here to be the life span on many $$$$$$ items. Remember the movie "Money Pit"? If you can upgrade just a little bit more; 05-07 are some of the best years of rv building.
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Old 11-20-2014, 05:29 PM   #5
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There is a chance of a lemon even with expensive Tiffin MHs. Winnebago makes a good MH and it has all the same appliances and chassis components as all the others, just without the glitz.

All the problems we have had with our 87 Southwind has been because of the Chevy Chassis and incompetent mechanics. Because of physical limitations I now have I have to rely on other people to do a lot of the work I once could do myself and the old adage of "If you want it done right do it yourself" holds true. With that being said, I would buy it again because it is what we wanted and dealing with problems goes along any MH or RV you can think of. I would have no qualms of buying either MH you are looking at.

Just remember, naysayers and snobs are with us all the time, just like bad weather, get what you want and do not let second thoughts deter you from what you want and can afford. Making payments just to have a new outfit is not a smart move, keep within your budget and have a good time with the money.
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Old 11-20-2014, 05:42 PM   #6
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I would say trust your gut.

Really look over the unit or units...top to bottom. Run all the systems. If not 100% sure about your own inspection knowledge, take a buddy with you who knows diesel systems especially. Your going to have to crawl under the unit to see things like any oil leaks, seal leaks from the levelers, air bag condition, condition of radiator, have fuel filters been changed at the appropriate times..
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Old 11-20-2014, 05:47 PM   #7
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We just purchased a 97 Bounder and yes I did find some minor issues with the engine. I did some research before and found that the cost to repair was minimal. No problems with the MH itself and all systems work. So like they said trust your gut.
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Old 11-20-2014, 05:57 PM   #8
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All things being the same I would go with the one that has the most complete service records or study the records for any hint of reoccurring issues. I still wouldn't be afraid of either coach. Put away a nest egg to help cover any breakdowns and enjoy your coach.
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Old 11-20-2014, 06:12 PM   #9
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As noted the Ultimate was made during a time when Winnebago briefly made more of a luxury coach. The Ultimate will probably be on a side radiator Spartan chassis vs. a rear radiator Freightliner chassis. If all other factors are equal, I would certainly take the side radiator Spartan over the rear radiator Freightliner. If the coach as good bones (well maintained, no delaminations, no evidence of leaks, everything basically works), the Ultimate is definitely a more well appointed coach. I recently visited with some folks at Myrtle Beach with a well maintained 2001 Ultimate. They had done some interior upgrades (new flooring, new captains chairs, TV upgrades, etc.) and the coach looked as nice as any new coach I've seen.

I had a 2002 Journey DL for 8 years and it was 11 years old when we traded it. It was a really nice, solid coach. I had maintained it well and done a number of upgrades. The couple who bought it love it. So, don't let the age scare you away as long as you can confirm the coach/s are maintained properly.
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Old 11-20-2014, 07:24 PM   #10
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Thanks for all your comments. I wish I could afford a newer MH but $60k is my budget. The Journey is priced at $50k and the Ultimate is $88k. The Ultimate is a bit over my budget but the wife really likes the Cherry cabinets in the Ultimate. I don't want to have that monthly payment so we will have to compromise. I am a good mechanic and probably won't have any trouble repairing appliances and coach systems but the chassis and drive train are out out my comfort zone. Both rigs are on Freightliner chassis with the 330Hp turbo diesel and Allison 6 speed automatic. Fortunately we have a Freightliner service center where I live. I guess we will check them out tomorrow.

Jerry & Susie
Birmingham, AL
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Old 11-20-2014, 07:35 PM   #11
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Help - Getting Cold Feet over MH purchase

Quote:
Originally Posted by KD4XR View Post
This weekend we are planning to purchase a 2003 Winnebago Journey DL or a 2003 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom but we are getting cold feet. We've done our research and narrowed our search to Winnebago. Both rigs have the floor plan and options we want. Since we plan to live in it 3/4 time we are concerned with quality, durability, and comfort. So I'll just ask the burning question.

Are the 2003 Journey and Ultimate good coaches?

Thanks
Jerry & Susie

These were both well built coaches but very different. The Journey is an entry level DP and the DL is a slightly more costly version. The Ultimate coaches were Winnie's top of the line. They were built in a separate production facility not in Forest City. The chassis was built in house using Spartan front and rear sub assemblies which they built up into a semi monocoque chassis. If this coach has been well maintained, it could be a real find.

In the interest of full disclosure, I don't own a Winnebago. I did look seriously at the Ultimate coaches when looking for a full time home.

Steve Ownby
Full time since '07
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Old 11-20-2014, 07:45 PM   #12
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Hi end money pit yes

Go to a 5th wheel even a mid size one will not eat You up as a motor home will I been there done that ....think where the motor is and the cost to fix that under the bed ...lol I went back to a 5er and a nice 2500 Ram Diesel I can fix most things and have a truck for a trip to the mall try that with a motor home just not the same as a nice pick up ...most people will not be happy with the fuel hog M.home the pick up will get more miles for the buck also Good luck
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Old 11-20-2014, 08:05 PM   #13
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While NADA is not always the final source for info, the only 2003 Ultimate Freedom's they list are 40' coaches with 400 hp engines. If you are really looking at an Ultimate Freedom (not the Ultimate Advantage), the price of $88K is certainly reasonable. All the Ultimate Advantages for 2003 show 350 hp engines and $88K would be a high retail price for those, based on NADA data. Regardless, if you are not trading you should be able to get most any DP in that era for near wholesale or certainly at the low end of 'low retail.'
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Old 11-20-2014, 08:06 PM   #14
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There are many good, reliable older coach's out there.
We bought a great 01 Monaco and have zero regrets.
It's just up to you to determine if either one of these 2 coaches is a good reliable coach.
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