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Old 07-30-2021, 11:20 AM   #1
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Purchasing first Diesel 2005 Tropical LX T398

I am purchasing a used 2005 National Tropical LX T398 with a Cat C7 Turbo Diesel, Allison 3000 6 spd, Onan 7.5 KW diesel generator with 4500 miles.

Any wisdom from people out there with one? I couldn't get the roof AC's to work but they look new? Is there a switch or fuse/breaker I need to search for and change? It seems like a great machine with so few miles and it seems in pretty good shape.

Ed
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:02 PM   #2
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Low miles doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. I’d personally walk away from a RV that was only driven a couple hundred miles per year, especially an orphan brand. These things rot when they’re not used.
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:07 PM   #3
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There are breakers in the cabinet next to the bathroom, and additional breakers in the area where the inverter is.

Do you happen to have an electrical diagram? I'm chasing a gremlin myself.

Steve
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:24 PM   #4
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I don't have anything yet, going to check it over more next week and trying to learn as much as possible before I go back and re-visit it.
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:25 PM   #5
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I completely understand, thank you for the advice.
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Old 07-30-2021, 05:25 PM   #6
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There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with a low mileage coach. I've known many, many folks who've purchased low mileage coaches and have had great luck with them. ALL coaches can have issues, low mileage or not. They MAN MADE for Christs sake. Expect problems! Some will have less issues, some more. I can't advise you on the particulars of your coach but, as for the CAT C-7, it's a darn good motor.

Our coach is an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the CAT C-7 330HP and at this minute, it's sporting 99,406 miles on it. I've done all the maintenance on it at the required intervals or earlier, mostly earlier. With that year of CAT, and especially the C-7, one of the very first things you want to check on is, if the dip stick for the engine oil, has been properly marked, for a maximum of 19 quarts, TOTAL!!!

Yep, filter and all, 19 quarts. Many, many CAT C-7's were improperly marked for a higher amount of oil. You see, that engine came in not only RV's but also, fire trucks, over the road trucks, local delivery trucks, school busses, cement trucks and more. And, there's a Marine version also. Some, quite a few of those, came with a different oil pan which, carried more oil.

So, it's worth a check on that. One more thing, with a coach that has that small amount of mileage, it's also possible that the *Blow-by* tube has not been extended. If it hasn't, it needs to be. If it's short, like what the factory supplied, it's highly possible that the blow by from it has caused a coating of oil mist on the front (fan side) of the radiator and the CAC. When that happens, dirt and road debris will congregate on it and cause heating problems due to clogged radiator fins. Something else to check on.

We've had great service from our C-7. They do like clean oil. One other point, in some coaches of that era, Freightliner and CAT had a bit of a spat back then about the need, or not, for TWO FUEL FILTERS. Some came with only one, which is seen at the back of the coach, next to the radiator. If, IF It has a second filter, it will be right next to the engine up top, on the passenger side, about 1/2 way down the length of the motor. Some of those are insanely tough to get to and change. Good luck on that.

That's a bit of info for ya. Any questions, just ask.
Scott
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Old 07-31-2021, 02:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with a low mileage coach. I've known many, many folks who've purchased low mileage coaches and have had great luck with them. ALL coaches can have issues, low mileage or not. They MAN MADE for Christs sake. Expect problems! Some will have less issues, some more. I can't advise you on the particulars of your coach but, as for the CAT C-7, it's a darn good motor.

Our coach is an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the CAT C-7 330HP and at this minute, it's sporting 99,406 miles on it. I've done all the maintenance on it at the required intervals or earlier, mostly earlier. With that year of CAT, and especially the C-7, one of the very first things you want to check on is, if the dip stick for the engine oil, has been properly marked, for a maximum of 19 quarts, TOTAL!!!

Yep, filter and all, 19 quarts. Many, many CAT C-7's were improperly marked for a higher amount of oil. You see, that engine came in not only RV's but also, fire trucks, over the road trucks, local delivery trucks, school busses, cement trucks and more. And, there's a Marine version also. Some, quite a few of those, came with a different oil pan which, carried more oil.

So, it's worth a check on that. One more thing, with a coach that has that small amount of mileage, it's also possible that the *Blow-by* tube has not been extended. If it hasn't, it needs to be. If it's short, like what the factory supplied, it's highly possible that the blow by from it has caused a coating of oil mist on the front (fan side) of the radiator and the CAC. When that happens, dirt and road debris will congregate on it and cause heating problems due to clogged radiator fins. Something else to check on.

We've had great service from our C-7. They do like clean oil. One other point, in some coaches of that era, Freightliner and CAT had a bit of a spat back then about the need, or not, for TWO FUEL FILTERS. Some came with only one, which is seen at the back of the coach, next to the radiator. If, IF It has a second filter, it will be right next to the engine up top, on the passenger side, about 1/2 way down the length of the motor. Some of those are insanely tough to get to and change. Good luck on that.

That's a bit of info for ya. Any questions, just ask.
Scott
Awesome info, thanks! We are going Tuesday to give it another walk through and go through everything. I am fairly confident we will own it soon!
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Old 07-31-2021, 03:52 PM   #8
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Regarding the a/c. Obvious question but no one asked. Were you plugged into shore power or have the generator running when you tried them?

Also, was the 12v dc power ON and did the thermostat show a display?
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Old 07-31-2021, 06:25 PM   #9
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To clarify on the previous post, the rooftop AC units will only run when you are connected to shore power, or if you run your on-board generator.
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Old 08-01-2021, 04:12 PM   #10
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To clarify on the previous post, the rooftop AC units will only run when you are connected to shore power, or if you run your on-board generator.
The generator was on and the thermostat was readable for a few seconds then faded away. I am thinking the thermostat has a battery like a regular home one that needs replacing?
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Old 08-01-2021, 04:52 PM   #11
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Ours is gas but we bought our 2007 National Sea Breeze 3 years ago with only 14K miles. It’s been great. A few issues sure, but nothing serious that wasn’t fixed right away, and nothing related to non-use. Even though they closed up in 2010 (As did many others), National has a very good reputation.
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Old 08-02-2021, 08:57 AM   #12
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The generator was on and the thermostat was readable for a few seconds then faded away. I am thinking the thermostat has a battery like a regular home one that needs replacing?
This is the key^^.

You need 12v and the thermostat display to operate the a/c. Troubleshoot both those issues and the a/c should work.

Do you know the condition of the batteries? Are they fully charged? Does any other 12v device work properly?
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Old 08-02-2021, 10:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
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The generator was on and the thermostat was readable for a few seconds then faded away. I am thinking the thermostat has a battery like a regular home one that needs replacing?
Nope, no small battery like some residential thermostats. At least there's none in my t-stat and I've had it off the wall several times.
Scott
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