Originally Posted by Emac
I am looking at purchasing a new to me 2006 Meridian 39k. This will be my wife and I's first pusher. does anyone have any advice or experience with these coaches? Any particular items I need to be concerned with? Current owner has all past receipts and service records. I have read all the pros and cons with the basement air but have not found very many other topics. Any advice is appreciated.
Thank you all in advance
We have an older, sort of sister ship version to that coach. It's an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT. You're more than likely looking at a Freightliner chassis with the CAT either 330 or 350HP motor. The Cummins option was, according to the brochure for that year/model/options, was the 300HP ISB and, only for the 32T model.
The coach itself is a very nice coach. It has very well built cabinetry, and normally good attention to detail on/in the interior. That engine/chassis will have what's called the "Exhaust brake" equipment so, a bit of a study on that will help you with your driving habits, especially when down hill running. If properly used, it will extend the life of your normal service brakes by thousands and thousands of miles.
In the '04 years, the Horizon and the Vectra were close to the top of the line models for both Winne and Itasca and, with that, those two models provided a SLIDE OUT generator on a tray. The Meridian and Journey of the same year, did not. But, on an '06 and, a 39' model, I'm not sure if you'll see a slide out gen or not. If so, you're incredibly lucky due to the fact that if and when any break-downs or service happens, having that generator on a slide out SERIOUSLY cuts down on labor costs for repairs etc. It's not a deal breaker but, is sure handy in those situations.
And yes, CAT, did put the exit to what's called the "Slobber tube" or otherwise known as the "Blow-by" tube, right next to the middle of the oil pan. Well, based on the operation of that slobber tube, it can deposit an oily film onto the CAC and Radiator fins, due to the action of the engine constant drive fan. And, when those fins get oily, they collect dust, dirt and debris that's picked up from the roadway and deposited in them.
When that happens, that seriously impedes air flow through both of those units and, hence, you'll potentially see a rise in engine operating temps, especially during grade climbing in higher ambient temp weather.
CAT and or Freightliner, has implemented a "kit" for taking the exit of that slobber tube and, putting it farther back towards the back of the coach, so that whatever fumes and oil residue is way less likely to be deposited on those fins.
Now, one thing that can pretty much guarantee that there will be little to no oily residue from emanating from that tube is, making DEAD SURE that there is the correct amount of oil in that engine. And, most likely, I'd bet my house that, your engine will require a maximum of 19 quarts with filter change.
Other things to look for:
1. Roof to front/rear cap and, gutter seams. Winne and Itasca both "glued/caulked" the roof to the side gutter seams as a securing method. If the caulking/glue is cracked due to age, it needs immediate attention. And there's much debate on here pertaining to that subject.
2. It's a widely known fact that, in a few years of Winne and Itaca production, the windshield frames, behind the glass can get pretty rusted due to poor workmanship and sealing from the factory. Sometimes, the rubber weather strip can be peeled back and, it may or may not, reveal this condition.
3. The overflow/pressure tank on the rear, top of of the radiator is a plastic. It often does get weather checked and cracked to the point it will actually start to seep out of the seams. It's regularly exposed to both the elements and, engine heat and cold. So, check out that little tank and note its present condition. If it needs or, will need in a short time, replacement, you're looking at, around $130 or more, and that does not include labor which, for that replacement, can get a tad expensive.
4. The air dryer is often overlooked, due to the fact that it normally runs for many, many thousands of miles without giving any signs of need of service. If the records show that it's been serviced within the last couple of years, it's still got some life left in it, based on conditions it's had to work in.
5. Check all the batteries. The standard Inverter/Charger that came with those coaches is the Dimensions 2000 watt modified sign wave version. For the most part, they've performed well and, do a pretty good job of providing good house electricity when called for. In the previous years, as in my '04 and even most of the '05 versions, both Winne and Itasca DID NOT provide for chassis battery charging, while on shore power.
But, the later '05s and, the '06s were equipped with what's called a "Trik-L-Start" component. That little black box, about the size of a pack of cigarettes, is not a battery charger. It it connected to both sets of batteries, house and chassis through the Auxiliary start solenoid. It's job is provide the chassis batteries with SOME of the charging that is intended for the house batteries. If and when it sees a .5 V difference between the two sets of batteries, it jumps into action and, siphons off some of the charge and sends it to the chassis batteries. And, it will only put a maximum amount of 5 amps into them.
And, speaking of that Auxiliary Start solenoid, it also is responsible for not only linking the two battery sets together for augmented engine cranking but, it links the alternator to the house batteries for charging while motoring down the road. You can check it's operation very easily by, at the "One-Place" panel in the middle of the coach, press the toggle switch for checking the battery voltage/condition for each set of batteries. Read the voltage for the house batteries while the engine is NOT RUNNING.
Then, start the engine and let it idle for about 30 seconds or so and, while it's idling, press that same toggle and re-check the house batteries for a reading. If it's up considerably higher than it was without the engine running, that auxiliary start solenoid is doing it's job. IF you don't see any voltage upgrade after you've started the engine, that solenoid is most likely in a non-op condition and, needs immediate attention. And, if that's the case, you'll find that solenoid, on that model coach, behind a panel, after opening the latch, just above the generator. You'll see nomenclature pertaining to that solenoid and house battery disconnect solenoid, right in front of you when you open that gen access panel.
6. The basement air on these coaches is basically a residential air conditioning unit. About 98% of the owners of this type of unit, prefer them over the roof airs. Some are not so happy. But, in any case, if you check the one out in the intended coach and, it's making some noise, it might be a simple bronze bushing that Coleman and one other maker of these units installed as a fan bearing. It can be replaced without too much trouble for a cost of around $20.00 or so, with a permenantly lubed bearing.
There are other items and things to look for but, that will get you a good start at examining this coach.