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Old 04-12-2010, 05:30 PM   #1
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found a 2004 Journey for sale - need advice

okay I need some expert help as I know nothing about RV's other than what I have read...

this rig has a 350 Caterpillar Engine, 6 speed Allison Transmission, Freightliner Chassis and Full-Body Paint with 2 Slide-outs.

Never been smoked in or had pets stay in it and it is claimed to be a single owner

So what do I need to look for in giving the rig the closer eye?
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Old 04-12-2010, 05:52 PM   #2
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My list would include:

1. ask for and inspect chassis maintenance records. That CAT/Allison combination is nearly bullet proof if it has been maintained properly. If a private owner, ask them how often they have cleaned the radiator/intercooler or had it cleaned. Their answer may tell you a lot about how well they have maintained the coach. Rear rad DP's get dirty radiators and can run hot. The radiator/intercooler sandwich should be degreased and washed annually.
2. check tires for age....if they are the originals, they will need to be replaced soon even if there is good tread. So, figure nearly $2,500 - $3,000 for shoes for that thing.
3. get on a creeper and roll around under the beast with a good flashlight. Look for excessive rust, any signs of leaks (water, oil, tranny fluid) or anything else that might look odd.
4. check all of the coach systems and make sure they work...water pump, fridge, AC/heat pump, fans, radio, TV's, water heater, LP furnace.
5. look in all the compartments inside and out and pull out a drawer in the galley to inspect for any signs of water leaks, stains, etc. that might suggest a leak that was not attended to. Water leaks in an RV can lead to costly problems.
6. climb up on the roof and inspect it carefully for any cracks, tears, etc. Make sure all the caulk around vents, etc. is in good shape. Ask if the roof-to-sidewall seam has been inspected and re-caulked (if necessary) per Winnebago's recommendations.
7. drive it, of course. Take it on the highway with passing trucks if you can. See if it tracks and handles well.

Good luck with it and let us know how it goes.
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Old 04-12-2010, 06:13 PM   #3
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And if you buy it get a Good Sam extended service plan that covers the whole coach for about $900 per year. It's worth the peace of mind. There might be other plans from other sources but I have this one and it has worked great for me.
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Old 04-12-2010, 06:45 PM   #4
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wow thanks for the list - it is the type of info that will help me out... and no doubt about an extended plan in my future no matter what I get
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Old 04-12-2010, 06:54 PM   #5
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Along with smlranger's list, expect to do a full chassis service (M3) which includes all chassis fluids (engine, transmission, coolant), air dryer service for the brakes, air filter, gen service, rear axle service, etc.

If you don't have the service records, this way you'll be sure it's done right.

Probably about $1500. Then you're for sure good to go.
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Old 04-12-2010, 08:32 PM   #6
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good tip as well - thx
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:19 PM   #7
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I own one ..

We own a 2004 39W Journey ... full body paint ... same engine and transmission as you are inspecting.

We have over 70,000 miles on ours ... it has been to all four corners of the lower 48 ... crossed the Rockies several times ... we tow a 4200 pound SUV ... it has plenty of power for climbing and the exhaust brake does an excellent of holding the speed during long descents.

I had it aligned soon after purchase ... I weighed it ... then inflated the tires according to the Michelin chart ... it handles really well ...

The only frustrating problem that I have had is an "adhesive problem" where the adhesive they used to fasten brackets to the fiberglass shell have not held ... I have had several reglued and two brackets are bolted now.

The coach has met our expectations ... it is our second Winnebago ...

I think tomsm has the same coach ... I suggest you read some of his posts, too.

SM gave you lots of good advice about selecting any coach ... I tried to restrict my comments to the 2004 Journey
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Old 04-13-2010, 04:31 AM   #8
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thanks skigramp i will pay attention to all the brackets as well
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Old 04-13-2010, 04:48 AM   #9
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You can call Winnie, Freightliner, Allison give them the Vin and they can tell you what if anything has been done to that MOHO under warranty.
Also often times in the paperwork/Blackbag there is something about the previous owner/service. All very helpful in determining if this is the unit for you. You can also print out the parts list and this will tell you exactly whats on that particular coach. You might be suprised with the amenities .,,I was. Good Luck
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Old 04-13-2010, 12:09 PM   #10
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Heyduke- the coach is probably ready for a valve adjustment, $400-$500; also the anti-freeze reserve tank is probably split at the seam and needs replacement that will be about $650 without the extended warranty (with the warranty only $250 deduct).

Also check all of the GLUED plates to the body for hinge supports, they are probably loose (hood and engine access in particular).

Other than that plus other suggestions posted, it is a good coach.
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Old 04-13-2010, 03:06 PM   #11
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The antibreeze tank (surge tank) is located in the rear just above the Hydraulic reserve tank. If the tank has been exposed to UV rays they tend to crack. If is checked it could be in need of replacement. I changed mine myself and the part was $109. All the glue stuff is just routine maintanance where the braces are glued to the end caps.
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:15 PM   #12
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heyduke - I'm the original owner of the Journey in my signature. Everyone else has pretty much covered everything. The only other thing I can think of is the batteries will probably need to be replaced, if they are original.

Our Journey has been attacked by a major hurricane (2 weeks after I bought it) and more recently hit by lightning. The hurricane required everything on the outside to be replaced - paint, wheels, mirrors, antennas, etc., but nothing was harmed inside. The lightning required replacing just about every printed circuit board in the unit - fridge, A/C, heater, inverter, TVs, radios, etc., etc. But, throughout all this, that bullet proof drivetrain just kept on ticking. The lightning fried the ABS computer, but that was the only thing damaged on the chassis. ECM and TCM were fine.
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Old 04-13-2010, 08:40 PM   #13
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hey i really appreciate all the advice... i had already planned to look at this in stages... first stage was cosmetics (do we like the layout - is every thing nice, damage, etc mostly interior items)... the next stage is to get one om y buddies who knows about diesels ( i don't) and the last stage is a final walk through...
i did the first stage today and all seemed well except some discoloration around a rivet? inside the fridge - burned or rusted? will try to post a picture later.. going out of town tonight...

it is a nice rig so i am interested but only if everything is in pretty good shape... the tires unfortunately are originals based on the dot date.... :(
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:46 PM   #14
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heyduke - take a look at this old topic re:the discoloration...
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Old 04-14-2010, 10:23 PM   #15
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Heyduke,
I have an 04 journey 34H, C7 similar to yours. I have had it for 1 year, and have found a wealth of information on this forum. Wish I had seen smlrangers pointers about 11 months ago as I had the overheating problem. One thing you might want to do as I discovered is to take your coach into Freightliner and have them readout the alarm events stored on the coach computer. When they read out my computer, I realized that the previous owner had multiple overheating events (problem identified by smlranger above).
My coach had 11,000 mi when I purchased it and it already had a clogged radiator.
1. I cleaned the radiator
2. lengthend the blowby tube ("slobber" tube)
3. I replaced batteries
4. repaired multple failed glue joints by molding the brackets into a layer of fiberglass instead of glue
5. added safe T plus steering stabilizers
6. added shadow charger to charge the engine battery when on shore power
7. mounted spare tire under the coach
8. enlarged air tube to gas tank to reduce slow filling (marginally effective)
9. installed Koni shocks
10 will be installing garnet technology "see level II tank monitors
11. repaired damper motor in Sanyo convection microwave

had to repair the coach AC.

Many of these were discretionary on my part. Engine and transmission have neede no attention. Very happy with the fundamental coach.

jim & debbie, 04 journey C7, 34H + suzuki AWD toad
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