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Old 08-31-2013, 06:54 AM   #1
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Questions for the Winnebago/Itasca forum - DP in the 35-40 foot range

Questions for the Winnebago/Itasca forum - DP in the 35-40 foot range

The Bride and I are in the process of selling our home and plan to become full-time RVers crisscrossing the US and Canada for the next 5-10 years. We are currently doing our due diligence and are trying to be as prepared as possible for the Hershey show in a couple of weeks. There are lots of manufacturers/rigs to choose from and we are hoping that some of the owner’s forums will share their thoughts on what they have and why. Some of our 1,000s of questions include, why did you choose a Winnebago/Itasca? What do you like most about your rig and what do you like least? Would you buy a Winnebago/Itasca again, and, if not, what would you buy? How do you think a Winnebago/Itasca compares with the competition? Anything you would be willing to share would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

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Old 08-31-2013, 08:36 AM   #2
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There are two reasons why I own a Winnebago. The first is that I believe Winnie will be the last RV manufacturer standing in the event the industry were to collapse. I don't believe that will happen but Winnie is well run and has survived so many industry shakeups. The second reason is familiarity. There is a family resemblance between products. You can trade from one coach to another and come up to speed on everything quickly.

There have been good and bad Winnebago models just like every other coach manufacturer.

I also buy the coach from the chassis up. I assume you are looking at a DP. Winnie does a good job of picking the right chassis to put under each coach model. I'm partial to Freightliner since the factory is about a mile away from where I live.
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:26 AM   #3
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Winnebago has been around and probably will stay around for a long time. In fact "Winnebago" is often time the generic term for motor home.

We bought our first in 1989 because she liked the color, we are now on our third, although it looks like the end of the line is coming because of her poor health,sigh.

Most owners are brand specific and will try to convince you to buy like them, but only you know what fits your life styile,needs and pocketbook. Winnebago is a solid product and as other brands likewise do fill them with vendors products. Winnebago does make many of their parts as thir factory in Iowa is huge.

When we first bought we joined the Winnebago Itasca Travelers,now WIT Club, and became active in the CA State Club and local chapters and made life long friendshps. Have also participated in numerous Grand National Rallies conducted at the factory campground located at the factory and gone on several caravans and rallies sponsored by the club.

Just a few of the reasons I would buy again.

Don G. WIT 70041
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:05 AM   #4
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We went to the Winnebago, NewMar, Tiffin and Monaco factories. We liked the way they build Winnies the best. We are on our 3rd Winnie.
I would also consider a NewMar if we buy another.
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:20 AM   #5
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We are not FT's and don't plan on it but this is our third MH. We had a Tioga by Fleetwood and a Dutch Star by Newmar. We had 3 TT's before we got back into a MH, (boy that was a mistake, trying a travel trailer TT) and we are happy with the Vista 30T. It's not perfect but a far cry from a TT.

We decided on Winnebago for several reasons. 1. They are not located in IN. The work force available in IN is also closely associated with the TT industry and quality is not something that is top on their list. The work force in Forest City Iowa is from a farming community. Hard work in general have always been associated with farmers.

We toured the factory on the weekend we ordered our coach. We bought from the dealer in FC because they gave us the best deal.

We got the biggest bang for our buck. There are a lot of upgrades on the 2014 that we liked and I would have done anyway. The coaches come with LED lighting. We also were able to change some of our color choices within the brand because we wanted a darker color leatherette than was standard. The standard was to light so we opted for a darker brown. We paid extra for the change but it was worth it. If we are going to look at it for 20 years we wanted it to be what we wanted.

During the factory tour everybody we saw was happy, and they were not stressed or seemed to be working up much of a sweat. No factory job is great but management can make the jobs better. We believe that the workers are concerned about building a good coach.

They have employed a lot of innovative and up to date technology in the manufacturing process. They use water jet cutters to cut panels and material. That makes for a better quality product when the individuals sew upholstery seats together as well as when the walls are put together. Precision panels and cutting of a lot of the prats are assured to fit.

Each coach is water tested with the slides in and out. They have a very large repair facility available to any Winnebago or Itasca owner to drop in or call ahead and have something fixed. If we have a major issue in the future I believe we would head to the factory instead of asking the local CW technicians work on something that they may not be completely familiar with. There is also a campground at the factory so you can stay for free and have work done on your coach.

No caoch made by man/women is perfect but they have facility to fix what is not done properly. That was another reason we bought from the dealer in FC. We stayed at their lot for a few days and had a few things fixed before we headed for home.

TeJay
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:47 AM   #6
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All of the above plus. Send me a private message.
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Old 08-31-2013, 02:18 PM   #7
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We have purchased (4) MH over the past 25 years: (1) Tioga class C, (1) Sprinter class C, (1) Winnebago Brave class A, (1) Itasca Mederian class A diesel. All have been used and have had no major problems. My decision making process for the last purchase was as follows:
1. A Freightliner chassis because it has repair facilities across the US and Canada.
2. A medium size diesel to tow and climb mountains.
3. A Winnebago manufacture based on my experience with the previous Winnebago quality.
4. An open floor plan for two adults to travel 4 to 5 months at a time.

I have gone to the Freightliner service/school in Gaffney, SC. and Winnebago in Forest City, Iowa. Both provided excellent quality service and support. Winnebago provides a parts list and wiring diagrams "on line" for all there products which is invaluable when trouble shooting problems. Good Luck.

Safe travels and THE JOY IS IN THE RIDE
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:09 PM   #8
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We have been motorhoming in class A motorhomes since 1985. We have had many different brands, some gas, some diesel, some tag axle, some no tag axle.
The Itasca Meridian (= Winnebago Journey) we have now fits our needs perfectly. Plenty of room for two, drives exceptionally well, good fuel mileage (we average 8.6, towing a car, driving 70 or over most of the time). Plenty of storage in and out. Although, like any new coach, we have had a few "teething" pains, I would say that the Winnebago quality control is the best.
While this is our last coach (OK, all of past 5 have been last!) I wouldn't hesitate to look at Winnies again.
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:17 PM   #9
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When we bought our new Winnie 40DP in 2007, it was our first RV of any kind. We went back and forth between a Winnie and a Monaco. Ended up with the Winnie because of the floorplan.

We've been very happy with it and if I were in the market I would certainly consider buying another one... although Tiffin would be on the list too.

Best of luck

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Old 08-31-2013, 06:17 PM   #10
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Having bought a 2005 coach that is new to me one of the big reasons I like Winnins is that they have parts for them. With a used coach it is nice to be able to go back to the manufacturer and be told that the part you need is available. Yes it will cost but you can get it. That is important if you are planning on keeping the coach for a length of time.
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:22 AM   #11
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Some of our 1,000s of questions include, why did you choose a Winnebago/Itasca?
For us, it came down to design and floor plans. Our first Winnebago was a 2008 40TD, which is popular with some who full-time. It's more like "home" than anything in the class IMHO.

What do you like most about your rig and what do you like least?
Again, floor plan and how livable it is becomes primary especially if you go the full-time route. Materials and execution could be better.

Would you buy a Winnebago/Itasca again, and, if not, what would you buy?
I wouldn't marry myself to one manufacturer. The 40TD I had was great. The 42QD I have now is exceptional from a design standpoint, but misses the mark in quality control. We love it, but there are some obvious flaws. Other manufacturers have essentially copied the 42QD floor plan and would be worth a look.

How do you think a Winnebago/Itasca compares with the competition?
I'll leave that to others. When I bought the 40TD and then the 42QD, the competition didn't have anything comparable. I concentrated on those coaches. I excluded the "me too" designs with the opposing couches in the living room that everyone, and their dog, built. Winnebago has gotten my business because they came up with different and better designs.

I remember looking at other manufacturers. Their floor plans, from the low end to the most expensive, were almost identical. The expensive one had nicer materials and a better engine, but the floor plan wasn't any different. It was like a builder offering tract homes from $100k to $1.5 million and using the same plan for all of them.
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Old 09-01-2013, 05:21 AM   #12
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We would echo kjburns' comments regarding our 09 40TD. We continue to be impressed with the floor plan, which we found to be particularly well-suited to fulltiming. It's taken 35,000 miles and nearly four years to work out the bugs on our coach. Our experiences with Winnie dealers, Freightliner facilities and the folks in Forest City have been mixed. (These days we're partial to Cummins Coach Care.)

We shopped Tiffin, too. Sometimes we wish we had gone that route, but the floor plan ruled the day for us. If we had it to do over again, we would include Foretravel in the mix and seriously consider the newest used coach we could afford. The quality of those coaches is most impressive.

Good luck in your search, and enjoy your preparations for your exciting lifestyle change.
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:41 AM   #13
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We purchased a new gasser in 09 and our present rig on 11/11/11 We basically half time in this MH. I love the quality and the support network you get with the MH

We purchased each on based on floor plan which was open to the point that the DW who has claustrophobia has not problems
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:22 AM   #14
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About three month ago we moved into a 2011 Itasca Meridian 40U. We traded our '05 Winne Vectra 40FD because of problems that were going to make full-timing difficult. Mechanically we were beating the rig up with all the weight we need to carry for our volunteer work. We chose the floor plan and the chassis/engine. This model year fit our budget.

Winnebago is located in Forest City, IA, right smack in the middle of farm country. For the most part the workers were raised on farming and have a good work ethic. They can be counted on to show up for work and then do just that when they are on the line.

Quality control is another issue. It seems to be going down. In many places in the coach the woodworking quality is substandard. Mars and crack can be seen that are just not needed if true craftsmen were building and installing the cabinets and trim. The old rig was far superior in this area. I just discovered a delamination on the roof that seem to support that quality control is not as it was. But, from what I read and see, this is an industry wide problem and much worse with many of the other popular brands.

For full-timing this floorplan is hard to beat. The basement is humongous compared to other layouts, even in Winnebago/Itasca. The 380HP Cummins is doing well in the mountains of the east coast and fuel milage seems to be reasonable though hard to calculate because we use the generator often when camping at Walmart between volunteer project traveling.

I would recommend renting a rig closes to your desired floorplan and features. There is nothing like the real feel of living day to day in a RV. In ours life is great to live!

About the interior? Our last coach was of dark and elegant woodwork. The problem was it like living in a cave. This new coach has lighter colors and we 'feel' more comfortable. LED lighting (which this year didn't have) is great for the batteries and the residential refrigerator is so much better than the standard RV type.

No RV is problem free. Choose your features and what is important to you. Continue to do your homework and make the best choice you can. We just happen to like Winnebago/Itasca: great basement storage, great living area storage and floorplan, stacked washer/dryer, large residential refrigerator and great power plant with auto start system, just to name a few of our favorite features.

Happy hunting and happy trails.

Rick
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:42 AM   #15
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We have a 30 foot gasser so our opinions may not matter here, but wanted to provide input on Winnebago.


Some of our 1,000s of questions include, why did you choose a Winnebago/Itasca?
It met most of our must haves and had a great, comfortable floor plan. It was close to our budget in what we thought was a quality coach


What do you like most about your rig and what do you like least?
Best: Floor plan Least: spends too much time in the shop


Would you buy a Winnebago/Itasca again, and, if not, what would you buy?
We never say never, but we would probably look hard at other manufacturers. We've had a lot of problems with our MH. We've owned it for 18 months and it's been in the shop for 211 days. If we were full time, we'd have spent a bunch of time in hotels. It took us more than a year to get Winnebago to get involved with our problem, but once they started working wit us, things started going better with all of the repairs.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:54 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChileRick View Post
We have a 30 foot gasser so our opinions may not matter here, but wanted to provide input on Winnebago.


Some of our 1,000s of questions include, why did you choose a Winnebago/Itasca?
It met most of our must haves and had a great, comfortable floor plan. It was close to our budget in what we thought was a quality coach


What do you like most about your rig and what do you like least?
Best: Floor plan Least: spends too much time in the shop


Would you buy a Winnebago/Itasca again, and, if not, what would you buy?
We never say never, but we would probably look hard at other manufacturers. We've had a lot of problems with our MH. We've owned it for 18 months and it's been in the shop for 211 days. If we were full time, we'd have spent a bunch of time in hotels. It took us more than a year to get Winnebago to get involved with our problem, but once they started working wit us, things started going better with all of the repairs.
I am curious. What was your major issue or issues? Is the coach new or new to you?

As far as dealers go... I now go to the factory for most of my work. It's a pain but I spend less down time in the long run.

I know that there are many RVs on the road that satisfy their owners and have little trouble. But then there are the ones with the troubles. I think the dealers poor mechanics, that they like to call technicians, cause many of the delays, excessive expenses and compound problems.

As I have previously stated, the quality of the original build is so inconsistent. Some units look and function great off the line. Others are simply a mess. I think quality control is an industry issue and can only reflect the attitude of many of the younger workers. Dumb down in school is now becoming the same in industry. It must be difficult for the good and conscientious workers to be in the minority.
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:47 PM   #17
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Thumbs up Thank you!

My bride and I appreciate all the great input. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. Your responses have added important pieces to the puzzle.

Kind regards,
OWV
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:47 PM   #18
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All the other responses have been great. The Hershey RV show is way to big to see everything you really need to narrow down your search and focus on those manufacturers. For us it was floor plan, workmanship, and budget. Look above and below your budget and compare how things are made you will definitely see a difference. We ordered our Winnebago new from the factory because it was a new floor plan that worked for us. Reminded me of the good old days of ordering a car. I wanted to buy a 2-3 year old coach with low miles mainly because someone else would have worked the bugs out. No older floor plans out there like the 38T. I remember in 2006 all the articles about this new design with the kitchen up front. You should get a subscription to Motorhome magazine to get an awareness of what’s going on in the industry. We had some issues in the first 4-6 months all worked out under warranty. Summer of 2008 we spent 3 months on the road east to west coast and back. The Winnebago weighed in 900 lbs. under GVWR and we pushed it hard. There was a heat wave in the southwest that year with temps over 100 degrees for 2 weeks straight. We crossed the Hoover Dam and outside temp was 114 degrees. Not one issue. I would echo the comments made about the chassis manufacturer. Remember if the bathroom sink leaks it may be an inconvenience. If something goes wrong with the chassis your going to be sitting on the side of the road wondering what to do next. Have fun at Hershey I’ll be there on the 11th. We are in the market for another Winnebago. I am looking forward to seeing all the new designs and what technology brings to the table.
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:42 PM   #19
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We live in Alaska and went from a truck camper to a 30' Fleetwood Southwind in 1990. It has been a wonderful coach used for 100% dry camping and towing our boat and snowmachine trailer depending upon the season in Alaska. When we decided to upgrade we wanted a shorter coach for maneuvering with a trailer, an 80" long king, a propane oven, a propane refrigerator, bigger holding tanks for dry camping, (I wanted a diesel engine, DW wanted a gasoline engine), a dealer in Alaska, more windows if possible, light color interior, straight on tv viewing; thinking we would use the new coach in Alaska during the summer and use it outside during the winter.
We purchased a 2012 Itasca Meridian 34Y on a Freightliner chassis with a 340 hp/ 660 ft-lb diesel engine in Florida. It pretty much met every one of our requirements. We weren't sure that we needed the combination washer/dryer or the outside television but it had these features.
We took delivery in September 2012, drove across the country to California and up the west coast visiting as many attractions as possible. We left Spokane March 1, 2013 and arrived in Anchorage on March 6, 2013 adding about 10,000 miles since leaving Florida.
Because of the distance between Anchorage and the lower '48, we have decided to leave the new coach in the lower '48 and continue to use the Southwind during the summer in Alaska.
Observations: Our original Fleetwood motorhome has been great but the only full service motorhome dealer in Anchorage is a Winnebago/Itasca dealer. They have been wonderful so going with a Winnebago product was a good decision.
In a few locations in the states the cost of diesel was a full $ more per gallon then gasoline. The initial 6000 mile/6 month maintenance on a diesel is more then the maintenance that's been done in 60,000 miles on the gas coach. The 10 mpg towing and the performance is great but between the first cost and the maintenance and the diesel fuel cost premium, I would probably look hard at a gas engine in this length coach (35').
We had hookups 100% of the time in the lower '48 so larger holding tanks and propane refrigerator became less important. A residential refrigerator might be advantageous if hookups will always be used.
In the lower '48, we tow a toad all the time but never back a boat or snowmachine trailer so the shorter coach/wheelbase became less important. Another 5' would make a big difference in interior space.
Having the combination washer/dryer was wonderful. Having a separate washer and dryer would allow larger loads which would be an additional benefit.
The straight-on television viewing floorplan has been great.
We used the exterior tv a few times while barbequing.
Bottom line: The Winnebago/Itasca purchase decision was made via the one dealer in Anchorage. Beyond that, it was a matter of finding a model with the desired features.
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:42 PM   #20
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Quality Control Winnebago

To many quality control issues with Winnebago. We bought a new 2012 off the lot and have had it at three different service centers authorized by Winnebago. 27 different quality control issues that range from slide outs not operating, cabinets cracking, floor tiles with dents in them, wardrobe door not sliding, rust in kit sink cavity, electrical issues, screws coming through sides, fuel over-flow tube, storage doors not fitting correctly and way more. So I guess I would say I am not a big Winnebago fan. We like the floor plan and the D-A engine but just really tired of doing their work for them. We will not buy another Winnebago product and I am actually doing research on buying another manufactures rig in this price range. Presently have a 2012 Itasca Meridian 34Y Diesel Pusher.
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