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Old 09-15-2019, 04:42 PM   #1
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Looking at Winnebago DP any advice

I am going to view a 2002 Winnebago ultimate freedom 40í DP. Does anyone have an opinion on this vehicle? Good, bad, or otherwise? Looks good in photos. But I know that donít really mean anything. Only 20k on the miles. And price is at NADA Guidelines. Any opinions or advice would be appreciated
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Old 09-15-2019, 05:19 PM   #2
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Remember, low miles on an older rig is not necessarily a good thing. Probably best to have inspections done before committing.

The Ultimate -series of that vintage are good coaches, in my opinion ...well made with tons of features. There are several participants here on this forum that still have them, I believe, that hopefully will chime in with their opinions.

Keep in mind it has basement a/c. That used to be a good thing --the majority of Winnebago Class A coaches had basement air during that time frame. I'm not so sure that it's an advantage any longer and most likely could be a detriment.
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Old 09-15-2019, 07:34 PM   #3
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From what I understand the basement air is similar to residential system. I assumed the parts would be obtainable. Am I mistaken? Winnebago is still in business and I have a 30 yr old gas unit that I have actually got parts directly from them just a few yrs ago. I wouldn’t want to not be able to repair that system. It would be quite the job to mount roof units.
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Old 09-15-2019, 07:42 PM   #4
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I intend to have unit inspected and fluids tested before purchase. I’ve had my current coach for 20 yrs now and think I know them well but would be mad at myself if I missed something on my own look around. .I also am a truck driver and have had as many as 6 trucks on the road at once so I have a pretty good knowledge of diesel trucks. Hopefully that pays off for me. As for the low miles the story I hear is the coach was used by snowbirds so hopefully they kept up the maintenance.
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Old 09-15-2019, 08:04 PM   #5
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I intend to have unit inspected and fluids tested before purchase. Iíve had my current coach for 20 yrs now and think I know them well but would be mad at myself if I missed something on my own look around. .I also am a truck driver and have had as many as 6 trucks on the road at once so I have a pretty good knowledge of diesel trucks. Hopefully that pays off for me. As for the low miles the story I hear is the coach was used by snowbirds so hopefully they kept up the maintenance.
RG,
I've always like low mileage rigs. It's never been any big deal to me. If you don't think you're capable enough to make at least a somewhat thorough inspection of most of the vital components/engine-trans-wheel-and more seals, brakes, (for the most part, you can lay under it and look right at the brake shoes if, it has shoes, it might be discs) and any other inspection, then simply try and find a competent RV inspector and let them give it a go. Some friends just recently purchase a 2006 Winnebago Journey 39' with the CAT C-7 350 HP and, it only had 25K on the clock. It's a three slide unit.

Not a single thing wrong with that coach up front other than, it needed the usual plastic radiator overflow tank that, just about all the rear radiator coaches eventually need. Oh, they did need a ride height sensor too. But that was it. No big deal. They're very happy with it.

I can't tell you very much about your Ultimate Freedom 'cause, I've just not learned that much about them. Ours is an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the CAT C-7 330HP. It's equal to the Vectra of the same year. As I understand it, those two were the high ranking units for the norm in '04. But, there were two above them that were in another class. The Ultimate Freedom and Ultimate Advantage.
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Old 09-15-2019, 08:55 PM   #6
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Thanks for chiming in. I appreciate the advice. I am fairly confident on the mechanical inspection and after having a MH for 20 yrs now think I would be able to spot problems. It still figure an inspection and particularly the fluid analysis can point out a lot of things that not just anyone may see. Going to view it tomorrow. Fortunately I know better then to get awestruck and impulse purchase. We have a coach that does work. It is just too small now that the grandkids are big enough to take with us. So if it takes days or months to find the right coach for us so be it.
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Old 09-15-2019, 09:20 PM   #7
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From what I understand the basement air is similar to residential system. I assumed the parts would be obtainable. Am I mistaken? Winnebago is still in business and I have a 30 yr old gas unit that I have actually got parts directly from them just a few yrs ago. I wouldnít want to not be able to repair that system. It would be quite the job to mount roof units.
RG0403, the reason I think basement a/c could be more of a burden nowadays is primarily because of the cost of repairing them. Yes, that's what you'll always hear that they are similar to a residential system. However, remember, they are not an exclusive Winnebago unit. They are Coleman Mach or now Aircel and I've heard good and bad about parts availability and those willing to service them.

Repairs do seem to be much more expensive than with rooftop units. Basement air is great when they're newer and reliable but once they get old and start to wear out, it seems that parts and service costs go up substantially. We didn't have many problems with out basement a/c but kept worrying about things going wrong once several years had gone by. I have talked to others who have spent thousands of dollars for repairs on older units.

I heard to replace the OEM unit with another updated unit (using R-22?) will be in the $3,000 range. Motor replacement I've hear is around $800. The squirrel fans are a continuing problem when the units get older. Sometimes repairs on some things necessitate dropping the unit and labor is much more costly for that compared a simple replacement of a rooftop unit if you had another similar coach with rooftop a/c.

But you're right, it probably shouldn't be considered a deal-breaker if you like the coach. Parts for the a/c should be available but just more expensive than a comparable rooftop unit.

I'll let others comment further on the costs and typical repairs needed, etc. as I've been away from it for awhile.
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Old 09-15-2019, 09:39 PM   #8
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Love our 36í 07 Journey. Have had zero problems with it. Looks as good as new, has 40k on clock. Love the basement air, have had roof AC in previous units, enjoy this more. Have a friend whom owns a HVAC company and camps with us, tell me that his techs can easily work on any problems I may have. Good luck!
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Old 09-15-2019, 09:56 PM   #9
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Make sure you get an independent inspector that you pay for, and it won't be cheap to go over EVERYTHING.

Low mileage on a DP is not always a good thing as is also the case with a generator.

Get full records from the previous owner

Good luck!
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Old 09-16-2019, 06:13 AM   #10
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Love our 36í 07 Journey. Have had zero problems with it. Looks as good as new, has 40k on clock. Love the basement air, have had roof AC in previous units, enjoy this more. Have a friend whom owns a HVAC company and camps with us, tell me that his techs can easily work on any problems I may have. Good luck!
I had a 2006 Journey that I traded in on a new Newmar. Big mistake. The Journey was way ahead in the design and engineering dept. I miss it and should have kept it. Hind sight is amazing.
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Old 09-16-2019, 10:15 PM   #11
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If the Ultimate Freedom passes the independent inspection and looks good to you I'd say go ahead and buy it. This is based on our experience buying a higher mileage 2004 Ultimate Advantage 3 years ago. As for the basement a/c, don't pass on the coach out of fear. Our 16 year old bsmt a/c struggles a bit in the Arizona heat right now but the temps will soon cool. I have already sourced a new-technology replacement unit for that day down the road that ours fails. When our HWH jacks & slides acted up we went to the HWH factory in Moscow IA. They replaced the shuttle valve and adjusted everything for less than $250. Winnebago does a good job of making parts available for the older coaches like ours. We stopped in at Lichtsinn Motors near the Winnebago factory this summer and walked out with many parts including bsmt door latches and so on.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:20 AM   #12
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Well folks I appreciate the advise however turns out the photographer was some kind of magician. The coach didn’t live up to the add by any means. Which is fine by us. We were able to get away and got to do a lot of looking and believe we found a more suitable coach floor plan in the same price point we were looking at. We have looked at probably 100 or more coach’s thought we had it figured all out. Only to walk into one yesterday and know it was laid out best to accommodate our grandkids when they go with us and if we are alone. Now we start the inspection process and see where it goes from here. If it works out great. If not at least we know the exact lay out we want now.
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:02 AM   #13
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Well folks I appreciate the advise however turns out the photographer was some kind of magician. The coach didnít live up to the add by any means. Which is fine by us. We were able to get away and got to do a lot of looking and believe we found a more suitable coach floor plan in the same price point we were looking at. We have looked at probably 100 or more coachís thought we had it figured all out. Only to walk into one yesterday and know it was laid out best to accommodate our grandkids when they go with us and if we are alone. Now we start the inspection process and see where it goes from here. If it works out great. If not at least we know the exact lay out we want now.
Well Sir, glad you were able to shy away from it without any form of commitment. We did the same thing about 8 years ago. We were shown a zillion pictures of a coach in Texas and we were in San Diego at the time. Everything looked GREAT. We basically committed to it and, flew to Texas to make the deal and drive it home. When we got there, the owners picked up up at the A/P and drove us to the coach.

We approached it from the rear which, looked ok but, not perfect. Then, we got to the front. When I saw what I saw, I came DANGEROUSLY close to taking that owner OUT! I was so p.....off I couldn't see straight. The entire front end, and that 3M coating, was SERIOUSLY CRACKED! It looked like chicken scratches, a zillion of them. From top to bottom, side to side, it looked horrible. When I literally yelled at him for not showing this in his pics, his answer: "It's only cosmetic", it's no big deal to us".

Well, the wife and I were so frustrated we couldn't even think. They drove us to a hotel where, I made some phone calls about the cost of replacing that 3M and, potential paint underneath it. It was gonna be way too cost prohibitive based on what he wanted for it. I tried to reason with him but, he would not budge. So, we flew back to San Diego.

So, yes, I know what it is, to get hopes up then, like a blow out on the freeway, they're gone! But, there's lots more where that one came from. Good luck.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:50 PM   #14
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You are right there are many more out there. We were lucky today to find something that we actually liked better. And have scheduled the inspection and fluid analysis to be done. Hoping all checks out well. We were looking at a 40 ft Winnebago originally because we couldn’t find anything 35ft or under which is what we really wanted. We want to visit national parks and state parks with grandkids and were told 35 ft was limit at a lot of them. Turns out we found a 35’ Neptune while we were here in Arizona. We looked at as many lots as we could find since we drove 350 mile to see the Winnebago. So maybe a bad thing turns out good for us. Appreciate all the feed back.
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