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Old 03-16-2014, 11:50 PM   #1
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2004 Meridian Itasca power question?

Hello all, happy to be a member finally!
I just purchased a 2004 meridian itasca 36g. Today I took it up a 7% grade. I slowed to about 37mph. I was very disappointed. Being part of the reason why I bought a "DP" was to have more power. It has a cat 350. I had no trailer either.
Is this normal for all you cat 350 owners. Thank you
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:36 AM   #2
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This past weekend we went up the 7% hill on I-40 into Ashville with our 330 Cat pulling a Saturn Vue. We got down into the 30mph zone also. Thats OK we still passed a couple trucks. The key thing to remember is that if you have the radiator fan like ours (always on) to down shift enough to keep your RPMs around 2000 to keep enough air moving to cool the engine. I got down to 3rd gear near the top. You may have the thermostat controlled fan on yours but since it was close to ours I thought I would mention it.
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Old 03-17-2014, 08:56 AM   #3
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Don't let the trans do the shifting downshift manually, if that does not help check your gas filter and air filter
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:02 AM   #4
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I don't think it's very unusual. A 7% grade isn't all that common.

Ditto on not letting the transmission pick a gear. I pick the gear that will keep the engine around 2000 RPM and watch the temp gauge closely.

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Old 03-17-2014, 09:18 AM   #5
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Normal. Keep rpm as suggested by others. Enjoy the road.

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Old 03-17-2014, 06:44 PM   #6
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Normal. Keep rpm as suggested by others. Enjoy the road.

Gary
Ditto for me also. We do a little better but we're shorter.
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Old 03-17-2014, 09:13 PM   #7
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We travel I-8 between Yuma and San Diego at least yearly ... there are a couple of good pulls there ... the first gains over 4000 feet in about 30 miles ...

We used to have an F-53 gasser before this DP ... this rig goes up the grades about 5 mph faster and the noise is in the back ... in the F-53 the engine was howling (near our feet) all the way up the grade ... we couldn't talk or hear the radio the last 7 miles to the top

Remember a 7% grade means that you are lifting more than ten tons about 7 feet every 100 feet you travel in your Meridian ....

So keep your RPMs up, keep the radiator clean, and quit worrying about being the first one to the top of the hill
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:11 PM   #8
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Ours is the 330HP, 860 lbs torque, and the CAT fan takes 20 HP just to turn it. We just came over Death Valley thru Panamint Springs; we tow a Honda CRV. When at Furnace Creek, I looked at the map and figured we would soon be at -100 Ft below sea level and we had to climb to nearly 5K feet in 60 mi. Now that is a long pull. I finally told my wife I need her to drive the car over cuz I didn't want to put all that strain on the engine and tranny. As it was, I had to really work the gears vs. rpms to keep the temp within range even tho we were only at about 80 deg. outside temp.

I thoroughly clean the radiator and CAC every 6 months from inside and out but I think I need to drop down to every 3 months, it doesn't take long for these CATS to rack up oil/dirt residue on the radiator/CAC.
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorguy View Post
Ours is the 330HP, 860 lbs torque, and the CAT fan takes 20 HP just to turn it. We just came over Death Valley thru Panamint Springs; we tow a Honda CRV. When at Furnace Creek, I looked at the map and figured we would soon be at -100 Ft below sea level and we had to climb to nearly 5K feet in 60 mi. Now that is a long pull. I finally told my wife I need her to drive the car over cuz I didn't want to put all that strain on the engine and tranny. As it was, I had to really work the gears vs. rpms to keep the temp within range even tho we were only at about 80 deg. outside temp.

I thoroughly clean the radiator and CAC every 6 months from inside and out but I think I need to drop down to every 3 months, it doesn't take long for these CATS to rack up oil/dirt residue on the radiator/CAC.

Hey Doorguy, how is ya, long time no speak to? Hope things are going well. As for the OP, yep, all is normal. I too was under the impression that because we had graduated to the BIG LEAGUE with DIESEL PUSHER, that we'd be flying up all the hills, be able to pull dump trucks down the road, and all that but, to my sort "let down", we really don't fly up any hill. For one, we're pushing a lot of weight, even without the toad. And with the toad, we're pulling a 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab 4x4 and, many times it's got a 900 lb. Honda Goldwing, GL1800 in the bed.

So, don't feel along Pal. I'd be right there with you at about 35 mph or so. Good luck with your new rig, it's close to a sister ship to us. Ours is the '04 Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP.
Scott
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:42 AM   #10
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Opti-lube - buy and use. If valves require adjustment make sure they are done to spec in the frequency recommended.

A diesel will go way down on power from dirty injectors, out of adjustment valves, and dirty air filter.
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:06 PM   #11
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We own a 2006 Meridian 36g. What you are describing is not unusual. I don't know what you expected, but a 7% grade is a pretty steep hill for any DP to pull. Drive it for awhile and you'll learn to love it. Don't expect the impossible.
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Old 05-07-2014, 04:33 PM   #12
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So I took it into the shop and found out I have 3 bad fuel injectors! I think I know why is was a dog! The rig sat for 3 years and I'm thinking that might be why this happened. What kind of filters do you guys all run?
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:01 PM   #13
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I agree with all the posts. But, a mention of the air filter caught my eye. When did you change it last? They are only good for about 5 years (two or three by Freightliner standards) and after that can have the nasty habit of coming apart. Big, expensive damage to the turbo. This may not improve your grade pulling but it could save you some very expensive down time and all of the stuff that goes along with it.

When I am climbing hills and start to loose momentum I shut the econo mode off and manually downshift if need be. We have hit some really steep grades all across the country and have been able to pass most of the 18 wheelers without overheating using this method. It's a learning curve.

Happy trails,
Rick Y
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