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Old 01-14-2016, 02:08 PM   #1
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Soon to be the owner of a 2005 Winnebago Adventurer 38J

Howdy. My wife and I are new at RV life and will have many questions as we proceed. So, thank you in advance for any help and your understanding when I pose a really stupid question. First, some background. We are getting a late start in this lifestyle. I am a healthy (at present) 70 years young, she is a beautiful 56. We decided that we have many relatives and friends that we need to annoy, so we decided to travel in this Winnebago 38 J. We are just getting started, made an offer and it looks like it will be accepted. We intend to outfit it to suit my bride. I am not very mechanically inclined as Uncle Sam saw fit to give me skills that don't have much to do with motors, electricity, plumbing, etc. My first question would be your opinion of this coach, are there any recalls that I should be aware of. Also, who provides a good quality insurance at reasonable prices. Thank you in advance for your help. I will be writing the check in a week, so if this a fool's mission and I should strategically withdraw, now would be the time for a heads up.
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Old 01-14-2016, 02:43 PM   #2
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The Winnebago's on the workhorse chassis had recalls for brakes and the e-brake system. I know our 2007 had the changes in place already.
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Old 01-14-2016, 02:46 PM   #3
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Most will say to check belts, hoses and tires to make sure they are not out dated. You don't mention if this is a Ford or GM chassis but either one is going to do well for you. You may want to find a qualified mechanic to look it over and give it a clean bill of health. I use Progressive Insurance, they are well known in the RV industry and have been pretty good. Have fun with your new adventure in your Adventurer. I had a 1997 Adventurer running a GM chassis and I had it for 12 years and it was always a fine coach.
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Old 01-14-2016, 02:48 PM   #4
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The first RV of any kind that we owned was a 2006 Adventurer 38J and found it a good coach but it just didn't work out for our future full time plans. We really liked the floor plan with the dining table on the passenger side along with the TV location being great for that floor plan. We also thought the galley area was well done.

The swinging door from the bedroom looks great but if someone is at the sink you will not be able to open it all the way. I would rather have seen a pocket door there. You might even consider removing it. Speaking of bedroom...the bed is a SHORT queen which is 5" shorter than a standard queen. We didn't really see that one coming and at 5'10" it was a little too short for me and my big feet. Make sure you consider that.

This is on a Workhorse W24 (24,000 GVWR) chassis and it performed well for us. Here is the downside. That heavy of a chassis can present an opportunity to max out the rear axle if you carry full water, fuel and lots of stuff. We had it loaded for part time use and with full water, fuel, 1/4 black and grey tanks we maxed it at exactly 15,500#. I was very good about loading heavier basement items to the FRONT of the basement too.

We were not a fan of the basement air conditioner. It just didn't work well for us no mater what we did but others have not had the problems we had. Make sure you have someone look over that system carefully.

IMHO This is not a good coach for serious boon docking as standard built. OTOH, it can make for a great coach for shorter trips and I bet some folks can make it work for them all the way up to full time use. However, it will not be a great or even a good coach if you want to do older/smaller parks. It has a very long overhang and is not that graceful to handle in tight places. Our 43' DSDP seems better at tight spaces than it was.

Engine compartment noise can be extremely loud when both cooling fans fire up. It was quite a surprise to me the first time it was hot enough outside to cause that. However, with a little of effort you can improve that with soundproofing suggestions you will find on IRV2. Speaking of heat, take a look to see if there are a couple ram air ducts and hoses attached to the front grill. If not, consider getting them. Their purpose is to help push cooler air to the rear spark plugs. At least in the 2006 models the front grill design reduced air flow to the back of the engine. There are a fair number of stories about folks with burnt spark plug wires in this and similar models.

Because of the long overhang there can be a very strong tail waging the dog tendency. We dumped a fair amount of money into new tires, shocks, and such but to be honest, I never really enjoyed driving it. Cross winds and trucks passing us was always a little tense. I wish I could say something better about that but I really can't.

In the end, after a year of owning it we didn't find it to be a good match for us. Shortly after getting it we decided to go full time but it was a great learning platform both from what it offered and then helping us understand what we wanted in our future coach.

No coach is perfect so I hope no one thinks I'm trashing this one pointing out what we didn't appreciate.
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Old 01-14-2016, 03:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger Smith View Post
The Winnebago's on the workhorse chassis had recalls for brakes and the e-brake system. I know our 2007 had the changes in place already.
I have a 2005 Voyage 38J. The chassis they use for the 38J model is different than the chassis they use on the shorter models, and was not included in the brake recall, as the brakes are different.
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Old 01-14-2016, 03:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa44 View Post
Howdy. My wife and I are new at RV life and will have many questions as we proceed. So, thank you in advance for any help and your understanding when I pose a really stupid question. First, some background. We are getting a late start in this lifestyle. I am a healthy (at present) 70 years young, she is a beautiful 56. We decided that we have many relatives and friends that we need to annoy, so we decided to travel in this Winnebago 38 J. We are just getting started, made an offer and it looks like it will be accepted. We intend to outfit it to suit my bride. I am not very mechanically inclined as Uncle Sam saw fit to give me skills that don't have much to do with motors, electricity, plumbing, etc. My first question would be your opinion of this coach, are there any recalls that I should be aware of. Also, who provides a good quality insurance at reasonable prices. Thank you in advance for your help. I will be writing the check in a week, so if this a fool's mission and I should strategically withdraw, now would be the time for a heads up.
IF this particular coach is on a Workhorse W-24, it was NOT subject to the infamous Bosch Brake Recall, so no worries there. It MAY have been subject to the unused fuel tank inlet cap recall, but without the chassis vin number I can't tell you if it was included in that recall, or not. You didn't say how many miles it has, but tires, hoses, belts etc. MAY need replacing due to age and tires are expensive, probably close to $3K for all six. I hope you are getting a good deal, since it is now 11 model years old.

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Old 01-14-2016, 03:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Sky_Boss View Post
The first RV of any kind that we owned was a 2006 Adventurer 38J and found it a good coach but it just didn't work out for our future full time plans. We really liked the floor plan with the dining table on the passenger side along with the TV location being great for that floor plan. We also thought the galley area was well done.

The swinging door from the bedroom looks great but if someone is at the sink you will not be able to open it all the way. I would rather have seen a pocket door there. You might even consider removing it. Speaking of bedroom...the bed is a SHORT queen which is 5" shorter than a standard queen. We didn't really see that one coming and at 5'10" it was a little too short for me and my big feet. Make sure you consider that.

This is on a Workhorse W24 (24,000 GVWR) chassis and it performed well for us. Here is the downside. That heavy of a chassis can present an opportunity to max out the rear axle if you carry full water, fuel and lots of stuff. We had it loaded for part time use and with full water, fuel, 1/4 black and grey tanks we maxed it at exactly 15,500#. I was very good about loading heavier basement items to the FRONT of the basement too.

We were not a fan of the basement air conditioner. It just didn't work well for us no mater what we did but others have not had the problems we had. Make sure you have someone look over that system carefully.

IMHO This is not a good coach for serious boon docking as standard built. OTOH, it can make for a great coach for shorter trips and I bet some folks can make it work for them all the way up to full time use. However, it will not be a great or even a good coach if you want to do older/smaller parks. It has a very long overhang and is not that graceful to handle in tight places. Our 43' DSDP seems better at tight spaces than it was.

Engine compartment noise can be extremely loud when both cooling fans fire up. It was quite a surprise to me the first time it was hot enough outside to cause that. However, with a little of effort you can improve that with soundproofing suggestions you will find on IRV2. Speaking of heat, take a look to see if there are a couple ram air ducts and hoses attached to the front grill. If not, consider getting them. Their purpose is to help push cooler air to the rear spark plugs. At least in the 2006 models the front grill design reduced air flow to the back of the engine. There are a fair number of stories about folks with burnt spark plug wires in this and similar models.

Because of the long overhang there can be a very strong tail waging the dog tendency. We dumped a fair amount of money into new tires, shocks, and such but to be honest, I never really enjoyed driving it. Cross winds and trucks passing us was always a little tense. I wish I could say something better about that but I really can't.

In the end, after a year of owning it we didn't find it to be a good match for us. Shortly after getting it we decided to go full time but it was a great learning platform both from what it offered and then helping us understand what we wanted in our future coach.

No coach is perfect so I hope no one thinks I'm trashing this one pointing out what we didn't appreciate.
Our view of the 38J is quite different than the above poster. We have had it for over six years, and love most everything about it. We have spent several weeks each winter boondocking in the Arizona desert with it, and I dont see why there would be a problem boondocking with it.

We dont notice the engine noise, and have never thought adding more soundproofing and I dont have any trouble driving, and dont notice tail wagging, or any other characteristics of ill handling, but then again I have never driven a diesel pusher, so maybe my view of our 38J would change if I were to drive a diesel pusher.

Overall, we really like, especially the floor plan. If your coach is in pretty decent shape, it should give you several years of good service.

Good Luck
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Old 01-14-2016, 03:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PJStough View Post
I have a 2005 Voyage 38J. The chassis they use for the 38J model is different than the chassis they use on the shorter models, and was not included in the brake recall, as the brakes are different.
You are correct. In fact, only the W-20 / W-22 chassis were recalled. There are many, many Workhorse chassis out there that were not part of the brake recall, but unfortunately, many people see/think "workhorse" and immediately talk about the BOSCH brake recall as if it applied to all Workhorse chassis. It does not, and just as an aside, FCCC used the same calipers on some of their FRED chassis but you don't see people warning about FCCC.......
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Old 01-14-2016, 03:30 PM   #9
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Can't give much advice on the RV your considering, but just want to welcome you to the forum. And good luck with your purchase. Enjoy.....
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Old 01-14-2016, 04:41 PM   #10
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We are looking at the sister unit a 2005 Suncruiser 38J. My wife really likes the floor plan. We plan on snow birding in it and taking some shorter trips as well. As stated that will be on the workhorse W24 chassis that was not affected by the recall on brakes. That year will have the improved auto park system (J72) that seems to work well. 2005 chassis were a transition year on the transmission you may or may not have a grade brake switch on the dash. If not you just have to manually downshift for hills. If you have the switch with it on a tap of the brakes in a downhill situation will automatically downshift to help hold speed down. As stated tire age will be important to check out as will the overall condition of the coach and its maintenance records if you can obtain them.

Another item that I have found on my research is the Winnebago windshield leak issue that can affect many different models of Winnebago. If there is no evidence of leaks up front it is good now but needs to be watched. The following link on the Winnebago forum here at IRV2 has some good information. Winnebago Rusted Windshield

We are still in the negotiating stage based on needing new tires (all are original date code 1004 so thats the 10th week of 2004) and a few minor things. I believe we will probably end up with this coach.

On insurance my last MH was insured with Progressive through USAA and I plan on trying them again. Since you mentioned Uncle Sam training you, you are probably a veteran and should check USAA out.

Mike
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Old 01-14-2016, 08:18 PM   #11
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Wow! Thank you everybody for your quick response and expert advice! Having had a bad experience with a recent attempted purchase of a Newmar Mountaineer, my wife and I are being extra careful with this purchase. I have learned throughout my life to ask for help when I am in over my head. And this is certainly one of those times. I copied all the responses that answered my questions, and intend to research the coach before completing the transaction. Also I have contacted Progressive to get a quote. I do have one friend left who also happens to be the service manager of a large auto/truck dealership near here. The man knows engines and will be with me when we take the coach for another test drive. He will tell me the truth. The motorhome is on the Workhorse chassis, the tires were replaced 3 months ago, and the current owner has receipts for service/repairs that he has done. I really appreciate the information regarding the short queen sized bed. I am 6' 2", so this may be problem. The mattress on the bed is a Sleep Number type and I did not lie on it to determine if we would be able to be comfortable. Is it possible to put a larger mattress on this bed? Thank you all again for your help and I will probably bother you with additional questions as soon as I know what to ask.
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Old 01-15-2016, 07:28 AM   #12
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...I really appreciate the information regarding the short queen sized bed. I am 6' 2", so this may be problem. ... Is it possible to put a larger mattress on this bed?...
If I was 5' 11" instead of 5' 10" I think I would have gone crazy. LOL Frankly, that issue alone would have caused us to start looking for another coach. It never occurred to us that there was such a thing as a short queen bed and while we found it comfortable it wasn't until we slipped between the sheets we started scratching our heads on why it was uncomfortable for me.

The problem with trying to put in the 80" long queen bed is that it won't fit when you bring the bed slide in. The 75" long bed fits tight against the opposite side wardrobe when you bring the slide in.

I think that Winnebago has some beds in newer models where the head would raise up. That could be used both for comfort while in bed or to pull in the foot of the bed to fit it in when the slide(s) were also pulled in but I don't know if you can retro fit anything like that. Perhaps someone has figured out a way to do it?
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Old 01-15-2016, 08:41 AM   #13
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Our view of the 38J is quite different than the above poster. ...
Hello Paul and Ann!

I apologize for perhaps mis-stating the boon docking capabilities. I have to admit that was perhaps an unfair statement at face value. I was referring to it as a standard set up without adding any solar panels and such. OTOH, its holding tank capacities are pretty darn good. However, I would still caution anyone about paying attention to rear axle weight if carrying full water.

As to the engine noise it wasn't so bad most of the time until the cooling fans kicked in. At that point we almost dug out my portable intercom and David Clarke headphones we used when flying so we could talk. OK...it wasn't that bad but it was difficult to have a conversation when they fired up. On a hot summer day as soon as the coolant temp hit 206* they came on for about 30 seconds until the temp got below 200*. Had we found the coach meeting our wants I would have certainly installed more sound proofing in the dog house.

One MAJOR difference in your coach vs the Adventurer is that you have 2 roof top AC/HP systems that I wish I had. Looking at your very nice blog I see your coach is light colored. Ours was a very dark grey/black scheme and we had the basement AC system. Even after we worked hard on all the Coleman AC system including sealing up duct works in the rear cap we ran into some nearly 100* days where the coach temps got up to nearly 85* for multiple hours during the worst part of the day. If we kept the coach I was investigating adding a roof top AC. It was that bad.

Still...and I might not sound like it...the 38J floor plan has a lot of nice things about it. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of the "bus" door entry and miss the mid-entry but it is what it is. I also think the galley was well laid out with lots of storage space. The short queen bed...well that can be a problem to taller folks.

It would be disingenuous for me to say that I don't have some opinions based on having had both a big gasser vs a big DP but I have tried to put those aside when ever I talk about our Adventurer. It had a lot of good things going for it and some/many folks never had a problem with the AC and/or the handling.

In the end, I think it is important that folks hear the good, bad and ugly about any coach and each owner will have a different list for the same coach. We all have different goals and experience levels.
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Old 01-15-2016, 09:41 AM   #14
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Good morning all. Thank you Sky Boss for the info re: the short queen bed. We are enroute to the coach today. My wife is unhappy about this problem, because she loves this Winnebago. She is a gourmet cook, so she was happy with the galley. After reading the info about the short bed, she asked me to inquire of you guys if there is a bed or couch where I could sleep. I will save you the problem of answering, I ain't gonna do that. Been sleeping next to this woman for many years, intend to continue. So, if this motorhome doesn't pass the sleep test, we will look elsewhere. It might be difficult to find one of this size at the this price.
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