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Old 02-19-2012, 01:44 PM   #1
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2003 Winnebago Chieftain - Pros and Cons?

Hello Everyone. I am a newbie to the sight and appreciate all the great insights and info exchanged. We are looking to buy our first Class A and have been looking at a 2003 Winnebago Chieftain. It is on a Workhorse chassis with an 8.1 L Vortec Engine. The coach has been well maintained and has 25,500 miles. Would appreciate any comments, pros and cons, on this unit. We have looked at other motorhomes and are impressed withthe Winnebagos. Appreciate all comments.

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Old 02-19-2012, 01:56 PM   #2
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We have the sightseer with the WH chassis and 8.1. I pull a car behind it and it is great, lots of power and handles very well. I've had it going on our third season now and still have had no problems except tires, and plug wires and I have 40,000kL on the unit. welcomr to the forum and the RV world and have a good one. BTW, I drive this thing at 60 MPH and get on average 11.7 MPG for the 3 years I've had it. BTW, that is in Canadian gallons, 4.5 litres vs 3.78 L
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:22 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. Any truth to the stories about excessive cockpit noise in the gas powered Class A motorhome?
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:27 PM   #4
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Mine is a33L 2003 so it's a little lesser quality than yours but I have never noticed any of the noise that some have stated. I lower to 3rd gear on a hill to maintain speed at 60 MPH and my RPM comes to 3200 and I have never had to raise my voice to talk to my co-pilot, so ,no, I don't think you will find it noisy at all.
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:51 PM   #5
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Friends of ours have a 2003 Chieftan and are very happy with it. The only problem I'm aware they've had is spark plug wires. Workhorse has an expensive retrofit complete with some air flow hardware and heavier wires. I'm sure it works, but I also know of others that went to places like Summit Racing and purchased high heat wires for a fraction of the cost of the factory retrofit kit.

You might want to also do some research to see if this year and model are involved with the brake recall.
2013 Adventurer 32H
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:00 PM   #6
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Winnebago makes a great product and teamed up with the Workhorse chassis the 8.1 and Allison transmission it would make a great unit for you. I can't speak for another manufacturer but as far as noise, ours is really quiet. I have never had the doghouse open yet to see if any additional insulation had been installed but as far as noise level in our coach we are quite impressed. There virtually is none.
Steve & Sally / HiTee & Hudson Our Little Poms / Heidi & Houston Forever in our Hearts
04 NEWMAR MACA 3778 W22 / 05 PT Vert
Michigan (Summer) Michigan (Winter For Now)
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:46 PM   #7
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I have an 03 Itasca Suncruiser 33v just about same mileage, only thing so far was the brake recall, fixed and nothing but fun since. Love driving it. Winnebago/Itasca build good units, you should be so lucky to find one that speaks to you ("buy me, I will be good to you)
2003 Itasca Suncruiser 33V
8.1 GMC, Workhorse, Allison, Koni's
2004 Honda Element toad
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:17 PM   #8
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I have the Ford chassis and the only time that the engine is a little loud is when accelerating or climbing a hill or bridge. Mine is as quiet as a car when at cruising speed. Check for leaks around the windshield because this is an area where most Winnebago models develop a leak. Other than that, the Chieftain is a very nice solid coach.
Nathan and Linda, 2000 Winnebago Chieftain 35U, F53 Chassis, Banks Power Pack
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:32 AM   #9
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I didn't see a model/length indicated. We really liked one floor plan on the 39' but the ccc was very small ...might have worked for a tail-gater but not for more extensive use, especially full timing.
Paul (KE5LXU) ...was fulltimin', now parttimin'
'03 Winnebago UA 40e / '17 Jeep Grand Cherokee toad
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