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Old 03-03-2014, 06:48 AM   #1
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Winnebago Destination 5th Wheel update

Well we were finally able to coordinate delivery of the new rig up to Colorado. This entire process has been a labor of love!!

First things first, the Destination is every bit as beautiful of a 5th wheel as we thought it would be...the finishes are very well done and we believe we are going to love traveling in it.

So far, the only real complaint I have on the 5th wheel is something I believe Winnebago really missed the mark on. They placed the bypass valves for the hot water tank and the low point drain valves INSIDE the pass through storage area!! To make matters worse, they placed it all behind the finished wall and thought they were being helpful by doing a cutout measuring roughly 12x16 inches and SCREWED another piece of felt covered wood over it. You can barely reach the low point drain pull tabs and thanks to the cutout section, you can not even look in the area once you put your arm inside.

Another very inconveniently placed key function is the drain for the fresh water tank. It is located right above the forward axle a full arms length underneath the 5th wheel...it is hard to reach and you pretty much have to go between the tires or crawl underneath in front of the tires to get to it.

So yes, to winterize the unit, I have to crawl inside my storage area, unscrew an access door, barely reach my low point drain tabs, and use the bypass valves for the water heater. I do not see how in the world Winnebago thought this was a reasonable design choice. I suspect this was a blueprint error that they did not catch somehow on the first few units and I will be contacting them to see if they can do any relocation mods. They could have at least had the decency to make the access door more "accessible"...ie...hinged, slider, etc...

All that said though, we still believe we are going to LOVE this RV...it truly does seem to be well built and the floor plan will be great for us. I will try to upload some pics of the location of everything I have described if anyone is interested in seeing what I am talking about. Like I said, I will not be surprised if Winnebago has already realized how big of an error this is and already changed it.

You folks tell me.....am I nuts for thinking that EVERY customer will think this is a really poor design choice for locating the winterization access points or are there people out there that won't mind crawling inside the storage area and doing this?
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:20 AM   #2
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Below are links to some vids I shot demonstrating what it requires to winterize this unit. I spoke with Winnebago yesterday...will keep the person unnamed at this point...and I was fairly disappointed in the conversation. To be honest with you, I do not know exactly what I can really expect from Winnebago concerning this design, but when the guy told me I never should have bought the unit sight unseen because I would have seen where these valves and drains were located if I would have walked through the unit, it really bothered me.

Believe me, I wish we could have walked through many other units before we purchased, but RV dealers are not like car dealerships is what I explained to this guy. Inventory is spread out so thinly across the country, that you could spend a couple years and thousands of $$ on travel just to go see different units in person. I believe a high number of RV's are bought just like we did...you ultimately pick a brand you believe you can trust, find a floor plan you like, and then you hunt it down and buy it "sight unseen".....heck when we were looking at DRV's we learned that the vast majority of those units are ordered without the customer ever setting foot in the unit till the day of delivery.

I mean, the W guy is correct that I bought it without checking these things out first and now it is my baby.....However, as I explained to him....I would have never thought of the need to physically locate these items prior to buying. I believe it is fairly safe to operate under the notion that key access points of your RV should not be basically hidden and barely accessible to the end user. This design is basically like a car manufacturer deciding it is a good idea to place the fluid reservoir for your windshield wipers and your radiator in a location underneath your backseat but the only way you can access it is to remove the floor of your trunk and crawl inside and barely be able to reach it for maintenance.

But alas.....I do not plan on letting this make me feel like I have a "bad unit" from Winnebago. I really do believe they have built a very fine coach and I think it will become a very good seller for them. I also believe it will be in their better interest to do a slight redesign in order to make these winterization access points more accessible. We will enjoy the heck out of this 5th wheel....and hopefully I will mutter less and less each time I have to crawl inside her belly to winterize the old gal!!! Links below to youtube

Destination 36RL - YouTube
Destination 36RL - YouTube
Winnebago Destination 36RL - YouTube
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:31 AM   #3
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Obviously, you haven't seen the mass produced units of modern days. What you're talking about is common, and normal.
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:38 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jesilvas View Post
Obviously, you haven't seen the mass produced units of modern days. What you're talking about is common, and normal.
WoW!!! You are absolutely correct....I have not seen lots of other units out there, and I would find that to be shocking for these access points to be located as mine are. For my own education, I think I will go out and physically see some of these "mass produced units" as you describe and see where their valves/drains are.

Thanks for your input jesilvas.....anyone out there care to confirm where their hot water heater bypass valves and low point drains are located in comparison to what I have shown on the videos I shot yesterday?
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:09 AM   #5
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I just realized the youtube links are not active on this forum. I posted this under the 5th wheel discussion forum and the links are working there if you want to see them. I will post them here again just to see if the first time not working was a fluke.....

Winnebago Destination 36RL - YouTube
Destination 36RL - YouTube
Destination 36RL - YouTube
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:43 AM   #6
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I would add this to the "punch list" of things that need to be corrected. That is asking a lot for you to have to empty out your pass-thru, knee inside and some how turn the by-pass valves.

Trust me your going to have more nickel and dime things put on your list for the dealer to fix, adjust, replace...

On our last tt (2013) I had 7 things which I would say was below average to fix or adjust. The two biggest were replacing the shower pan because of dis-coloring. The water pump is or was located under the frig about two and half feet back. But there was no access panel to get to it. Was impossible to unscrew the line to add my RV antifreeze the first fall during winterizing. The dealer relocated the water pump to just under the frig and made a access panel under the frig to get to the pump. (covered under warranty) This was a design boo boo...

We bought from a dealer 2.5 hours away, but a dealer 20 miles away did the warranty work. No problem....
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mcumbie View Post
WoW!!! You are absolutely correct....I have not seen lots of other units out there, and I would find that to be shocking for these access points to be located as mine are. For my own education, I think I will go out and physically see some of these "mass produced units" as you describe and see where their valves/drains are.

Thanks for your input jesilvas.....anyone out there care to confirm where their hot water heater bypass valves and low point drains are located in comparison to what I have shown on the videos I shot yesterday?
You bought a mass produced unit, you've seen where they are put. It's never easy.
Have 2014 Coachmen Chaparrals and the WH bypass are behind the access panel in the cargo bay as well.
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:11 AM   #8
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Superslif....thanks for your input. I agree with you that this is an unreasonable design choice to require the consumer to go through what I will have to in order to winterize this unit. My dealer is 12 hours away but they are super nice folks that I believe will be able to perform any modification we ultimately decide is the best way to relocate the bypass valves.

I believe I can pretty easily gain access to the low point drains by cutting through the utility convenience station area as I described in my video.

So far, Winnebago's official position is that this is not a design mistake and it is perfectly fine as built and has made it clear they will not perform any sort of "retro-fit" or pay for any sort of relocation work to be done on the unit. I do not agree with this position, but as I said earlier, I will resolve it one way or another, and in the meanwhile, I believe posting this type information out there will be helpful for folks that are looking at getting any sort of RV as it will serve as a reminder that floor plans and pretty colors are all find and dandy, but you need to also concern yourself with design elements of your potential purchase in regards to maintenance requirements.

I'm not going to get into trying to bash Winnebago over this....it is what it is....it does not negatively affect the performance of the 5th wheel....it is just an inconvenience for me when I need to winterize.....thanks again, Mike
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:15 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by jesilvas View Post
You bought a mass produced unit, you've seen where they are put. It's never easy.
Have 2014 Coachmen Chaparrals and the WH bypass are behind the access panel in the cargo bay as well.
My Carriage Cameo had an access panel in the pass through storage for the drain valves also, but I could reach it via sliding the access door open and reaching in while still standing outside the storage area.

Are you saying that you have to physically crawl inside the storage area of your 2014 Coachmen in order to reach your bypass valves or can you reach them while standing on the ground outside?

My problem is not that these access points are located in the pass through storage area, my issue is that they are placed so deep inside that it requires me to physically enter the storage bay in order to actually operate them...
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:14 AM   #10
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Not to make "light" of your issues, but IMOP these are minor inconveniences that we all experience to some degree with our RV's - regardless of the make, model, and/or purchase price. We've had our share with our motorhome and, at times, I've felt like taking a ball bat to it and relieving my frustrations! We are full-timers and have "finally" learned not to get upset over RV issues and to enjoy our time on the road.
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:39 AM   #11
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Not to make "light" of your issues, but IMOP these are minor inconveniences that we all experience to some degree with our RV's - regardless of the make, model, and/or purchase price. We've had our share with our motorhome and, at times, I've felt like taking a ball bat to it and relieving my frustrations! We are full-timers and have "finally" learned not to get upset over RV issues and to enjoy our time on the road.
Hey Chief....I definitely appreciate your point of view and I agree with you that all units present a certain level of challenges to our patience regardless of make, model, etc...

As I mentioned in some earlier posts in this forum and on the 5th wheel discussion page, I am, in no way, going to allow this design decision by W to make me not LOVE our new 5th wheel. I do believe this to be a tad more inconvenient than normal for accessing these valves/drains, but at the end of the day, it is NOT a defect or poor workmanship on Winnebago's part, just not what I would have drawn up as a design for locating these items.

I am merely posting this info for other folks to add it to their list of things to think about when making future purchases and to see if this is the standard configuration out there or not as it has not been my experience in the past.

Congrats on doing the full time deal....my wife and I are both retired AF as well and are flirting with the idea of going FT in the future also. She had a 2014 Journey 42E picked out that she wanted to buy but I talked her out of that purchase and into this 5th wheel since it is going to be 5-8 years before we are really ready to take off and travel the country full-time....Go USAF!!
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by mcumbie View Post
My Carriage Cameo had an access panel in the pass through storage for the drain valves also, but I could reach it via sliding the access door open and reaching in while still standing outside the storage area.

Are you saying that you have to physically crawl inside the storage area of your 2014 Coachmen in order to reach your bypass valves or can you reach them while standing on the ground outside?

My problem is not that these access points are located in the pass through storage area, my issue is that they are placed so deep inside that it requires me to physically enter the storage bay in order to actually operate them...
You gotta remember, Carri-Lite was not a standard unit.
But yes, do get to the back of the WH, you get into the storage bay.

I don't blame Winnebago for not paying for the change, but like you said, it can be modified easily.
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Old 03-04-2014, 04:32 PM   #13
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Interesting jesilvas......I sort of wish Carriage had not gone out of business!! We tried looking at the new LIfeStyle units that was born out of the Carriage meltdown, but we just had no luck finding something that my wife liked enough. She wanted something that felt different than what we had....well, we got that!! haha

But seriously, like I said many times over by now, I still really like this 5th wheel and will get many years of great enjoyment and travel out of it. I will make the modifications I need to in order to facilitate the winterization process and make it easier on myself.
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Old 07-23-2015, 06:23 AM   #14
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Mcumbie, I know this reply is 1 1/2 years later, but after purchasing my 2015 destination 38 fl, I read your low point drain post and decided to look for mine. I was told at walkthrough they were behind that panel, but when I looked in, they were so far in that I couldn't reach them. One was behind a 2x4 brace so I couldn't see it, much less turn it. What was Winnebego thinking? I had the same idea as you of cutting into the convenience center wall and maybe using a marine dock plate with screw in cover made from a pvc type hard plastic. Was going to call dealer about relocation first. Water pump is in same area and impossible to self service.
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