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Old 05-27-2013, 03:17 PM   #1
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Smile 2003 Journey 36LD

Hello all from sunny Fl. My name is Kurt and my wife's name is Sue. We are looking to purchase our first RV. Looking at diesel pushers and came across this 2003 Journey 36LD. It has a Cat. C7 motor with 36,500 miles. Seems like a fair price at $58,000.00 I would like some feedback on this coach if anyone owns or has owned one in the past. I have read up on the Cat. motor good and bad, and of course the roof issue around the perimeter. Thanks and a happy memorial day to all!
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:28 PM   #2
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Diesels cost more to start with and more to keep up, if you are not going to do a LOT of mountain driving and putting 100,000 miles on a motorhome then GAS is the way to IMHO.
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:10 PM   #3
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I purchased a 2000 Itasca Horizon (also a Cat) 7 years ago. In the time I have had it I have put on new tires, changed the oil and filters regularly. Mechanically, I have replaced the coolant holding tank $150) myself. Yes, routine maintenance is a little more that gas, but I have thoroughly enjoyed owning a pusher. Personally I like the more open floor plan that a pusher allows as well as the additional power as we tow a GMC Acadia.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:02 PM   #4
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Hi - We just bought it's sister coach the 2003 36 DL GD one year ago. We paid $51k with a brand new set of tires and 28k miles.I willing to bet they would take a lot less for it. Ours had the CAT 3126E 330 Turbo engine and not the C7. I didn't think the C7 was used that year but maybe the late year model ones did. The guy I bought it from also called it the C7. You might want to get the serial number and call Freightliner, CAT or Winnebago and they can tell you for sure. Not many differences between the engines mostly some emissions upgrades. With all that being said we love ours for the look and feel of the craftsmanship and I really enjoy driving it. I picked it up one morning and drove back home in 10 hours and was not stressed at all. It handles like a charm. It is so quiet up front with no engine noise it takes a while to learn how to gauge your speed. We have driven it up and over the mountains to Asheville NC and it didn't stumble once. We plan to workamp and spend a lot of time away from home is the main reason we went with the diesel.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:04 PM   #5
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Gas vs Diesel

I have owned a gas and a diesel MH. As far as ride and comfort goes the diesel is hands down the winner. I travel about 10K miles a year and take the rig in for service every January and that's it. Now if something breaks that is always scary but if it not involving the motor or drive train it's all the same. As you know the diesel is made to go a lot of miles compared to a gas engine so it's you choice. If you are going to travel go with the diesel if you are just going to be a weekend camper the gasser will probably be OK.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:08 PM   #6
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We own a 2004 Journey with Cat Engine (C7 -- 330 hp)... we have driven it 106,000 miles ... ours is a little longer and weighs a tad more ... I drive between 62 and 65 mph ... I have averaged 8.3 mpg during the last 60,000 miles (it seemed like it took about 30,000 miles to get broken in)

We are about half timers ... this winter we were gone for 5 months ... generally about 4 months ... then another month or so in the summer bumming around.

We have had a couple of mechanical problems ... but nothing that $$'s couldn't fix ...

You will be lucky if you do not need new tires ... look at the DOT time stamp ... and very likely an alignment ... I encourage you to weigh the coach and adjust the inflation of the tires according to the tables for the tires you select.

Incidentally, Michelin has a discount program for folks who are member of FMCA (you will more than save your dues on the discount on 6 tires)
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:58 PM   #7
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We've had our '02 Horizon 36LD for nearly 10 years, and it has been a great coach. We really like the curbside dinette floorplan, as we look out over our own patio area, not the top of the neighbors awning.

If you get it, check to see if it uses a sealed bearing on the upper fanbelt pulley, or if, like mine, it has a pretty tough to get to grease fitting. If it has a grease fitting, make sure you get a flexible hose, skinny grease-gun nozzle, and get in there and grease it. That is one even the service techs will miss.

I'd recommend getting all the fluids changed, and make sure the Allison has the Syntec synthetic transmission fluid in it. If it does, there will be a tag on the fill pipe, saying so. If it doesn't, I would highly recommend you get that done. If you have an opportunity to take the rig to the Freightliner factory servicenter in Gaffney, SC, they do excellent work, at prices lower than Freigtliner dealers, and, join the FCOC (Freightliner Chassis Owner's Club) there at Gaffney, and you will receive a discount on all parts.

Good time to get ride-height checked, brakes checked, radiator cleaned, and overall chassis inspection and lube. Once you bring everything up to spec, you should enjoy years of enjoyment, with little more than ocassional routine maintenance.

Oil changes are 15,000 mile intervals, and if you do them yourself, not expensive. Buy the filter at any Cat dealer, and use a good quality oil. Shell Rotella is sold at Walmart and Sams Club, and is good. I personally have always used Amsoil 15w-40 Heavy Duty diesel engine oil.

Regards to the price, negotiate what you can, and if you and seller are happy, it is a good deal. Have fun and enjoy.
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:13 PM   #8
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I agree with what Ben has said pertaining to the terminology. The actual C7 wasn't offered until the beginning of 2004 so technically speaking, a 2003 motorhome would have the 3126E. However, the early production of the C7s were very similar if not identical to the 3126E which it was based with the main difference being the addition of the ACERT emission controls. It wasn't until 2007 that CAT made additional upgrades to the engine that further set it apart from the 3126E. But as Ben describes, many will refer to the 3126E as C7s and the terminology will commonly be used interchangeably, properly or not, because of those interim 2 or 3 years where the C7 was essentially the same engine (with a few minor differences).

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Old 05-27-2013, 10:54 PM   #9
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They're good coaches and if the condition is good, it should carry you a lot of miles in comfort. As one fellow said, they cost more initially and cost more to maintain, but after owning three of each (gas and diesel) I would never again own a gasser. And actually, they arn't THAT much more expensive.
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Old 05-28-2013, 08:36 PM   #10
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Kurt,

We have a 2004 Meridian 36G built November 2003 with the C7 that we traded a gas Bounder for. The wife and I enjoy the ride and the room over the the Bounder. The cost to operate, as mentioned before, is more, but it was worth it to us. We are not full timers but hope to spend more time in the Meridian in the future.

I am not tired at the end of the travel day driving the diesel like I was with the gasser and that is priceless to me.
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:23 AM   #11
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We have a 2006 Meridian 36G and we love it! I agree with you, it's not tiring and it's a pleasure to drive.
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