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Old 06-25-2006, 01:15 AM   #1
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New Member here... Wife and I have been looking at Class A's for the past 4 or 5 months with the intention of buying one once our property in California sold. We've been comparing, creating charts, checking features models, plusses and minuses, reading the forums,,,trying to figure out what would work best for us. Even spent a weekend at Lazy Days! Never having owned one, we wanted to get it right the first time.

Well, as luck would have it, we ended up back at the dealer we started at Rivers RV in Jacksonville - with the same salesman (Jimmy is great!), and wrote a contract on a 2005 Itasca Meridian 34H that had just been traded in on an Allegro Bus.

Our original thoughts were leaning towards 40 foot MHs, but we love the State and National Parks and thought we could get into most of these with the shorter coach. The more we looked at this one, the more we found it had! The only things missing that we wanted are Central Vacuum (easy add-on), Ceiling fan in master bedroom (I'm told it is pre-wired, so it should be easy??) and side cameras (seen John Canfields posts and website...curious about the turn signal tie-in?)

We have an 87 Goldwing Aspencade, and are thinking about the Overbilt Lift, and will need a tow dolly to pull the PT Cruiser Convertible (automatic). Curious about with or without brakes?

We would like to find out from other owners of this model there likes and dislikes. I have a couple of weeks before we pick it up, so if there is anything special that needs to be checked out, I would appreciate experience from the noble wise ones! We went out and played with all the toys - ie slides, TV's, Magellan GPS system, Generator, and I can't find anything that doesn't work...maybe the original owner took care of any problems for me?
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Old 06-25-2006, 01:15 AM   #2
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New Member here... Wife and I have been looking at Class A's for the past 4 or 5 months with the intention of buying one once our property in California sold. We've been comparing, creating charts, checking features models, plusses and minuses, reading the forums,,,trying to figure out what would work best for us. Even spent a weekend at Lazy Days! Never having owned one, we wanted to get it right the first time.

Well, as luck would have it, we ended up back at the dealer we started at Rivers RV in Jacksonville - with the same salesman (Jimmy is great!), and wrote a contract on a 2005 Itasca Meridian 34H that had just been traded in on an Allegro Bus.

Our original thoughts were leaning towards 40 foot MHs, but we love the State and National Parks and thought we could get into most of these with the shorter coach. The more we looked at this one, the more we found it had! The only things missing that we wanted are Central Vacuum (easy add-on), Ceiling fan in master bedroom (I'm told it is pre-wired, so it should be easy??) and side cameras (seen John Canfields posts and website...curious about the turn signal tie-in?)

We have an 87 Goldwing Aspencade, and are thinking about the Overbilt Lift, and will need a tow dolly to pull the PT Cruiser Convertible (automatic). Curious about with or without brakes?

We would like to find out from other owners of this model there likes and dislikes. I have a couple of weeks before we pick it up, so if there is anything special that needs to be checked out, I would appreciate experience from the noble wise ones! We went out and played with all the toys - ie slides, TV's, Magellan GPS system, Generator, and I can't find anything that doesn't work...maybe the original owner took care of any problems for me?
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Old 06-25-2006, 02:57 AM   #3
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You may want to check....I believe the PT Cruiser is 4-down towable. If you can avoid the hassle of a dolly, I would certainly recommend you consider that. If you do use a dolly, surge brakes would certainly be a plus.

The Journey/Meridian are Winnebago's entry level DP's but they have a lot of features for the money. We are pleased with our Journey.

Welcome to the forum. You will find lot's of friendly and helpful people with good advice.

Enjoy your new rig.
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Old 06-25-2006, 03:24 AM   #4
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Tom,

The side cameras are really not difficult. If you can install a car radio you can install the side cameras.

Visit RVCams.com

They are very helpful and knowledgeable people. You will need to know the make and model of the rear monitor you have now. That will tell you if you will need a new monitor (one that will handle 3 cameras). You probably have a Voyager camera and monitor. It is made by Audiovox.

My suggestion - measure real close and see if you can use a color camera and monitor. The cameras are not the problem. The fit of the monitor is different. I went with a new B&W Voyager monitor because I was not sure about the fit of the monitor. I may still switch out to color yet. Color really looks nice.

I went ahead and spent a little more money and changed out the rear camera to a tilting camera. WOW - is that ever nice to have. In order to have the tilt function and not change the wiring, I gave up the microphone from the rear of the coach. That was nothing to me because I could not hear anything from back there anyway except the engine running and I did ont need a microphone to tell me that.

When it gets time to install the side cameras you will be faced with your first real challenge. You have no idea how difficult it is to drill the 2 - 3/4" holes for the camera wires. I think I measured for two days before drilling the holes.

You will have to paint the camera housings unless you want to have white housings sticking out there. I suggest you go to Harbor Freight and buy an air brush. I caught one on sale for $5. I used the air take off on the coach for air. The touch up paint you should have in your black bag is plenty to do the housings. If you do not have any, call Customer Relations, give them your seriel number and they will tell you who made your paint. Probably Sherwin Williams. You can buy a pint of paint and a pint of activator and that will be more than you will ever need.

I mounted mine in a different location than John did. Send me an email at [email protected] and I will email you a pic of where I put mine.

Good luck and I am sure you will enjoy your Itasca.
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Old 06-25-2006, 04:12 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses...[LIST]PT Cruiser is an automatic, which is why Im assuming the tow dolly is necessary.<LI>Camera monitor is the Sony Color with the Magellan GPS tied into it. Also assuming that the side cameras will tie into it.<LI>Adrian, noticed you mounted your passenger side on the door, while others are forward of the door..any problems?<LI>Agree with drilling apprehension. <LI>Painting is not a problem, I've got a friend that does real nice custom work.
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Old 06-25-2006, 04:01 PM   #6
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Thutch
We have a new 2006 Meridian 34H and love it so far. Haven't had to take it back for anything yet. Did have hydraulic leak from one of the Jack solenoids but HWH sent me a replacement and i replaced it myself. You will love your meridian. It drives like a dream.

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Old 06-25-2006, 06:01 PM   #7
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Congrats on your purchase, we love the 34H floorplan. We have been on two long road trips so far this summer and have averaged 9.6 MPG towing a Pontiac Vibe. This includes a lot of mountain driving as well.
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Old 06-26-2006, 03:08 AM   #8
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Tom,

No problem mounting the camera on the door at all. I think it was actually easier. I removed the plastic inside door liner - all screws - and ran the wire so it would come out level with the floor at the top of the steps. I had to notch out a small hole on the edge of the liner for the wire. I left a small loop so the wire would not be stressed when the door was opened. From that point I did it pretty much as John C describes in his web site.

I do not think the Sony rear camera will tilt up and down unless they have up graded the rear camera since I did mine. Bummer - tilting rear camera is really nice.

Good luck.
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Old 06-26-2006, 06:07 AM   #9
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My 06' Meridian has been great. I was amazed when I took it out for a 1500 mile shake down cruise and had no problems with any of the systems.

The side camera issue has me going though. The dealer where I bought the rig said that I needed to replace the monitor to be able to use a side camera. I also have the black and white Audiovox monitor. I don't know if that's true or not. Opinions????
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Old 06-26-2006, 06:54 AM   #10
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Sarge:

Call Tim at RVcams.com. He will know. I replaced my OEM Sony BW monitor and cam with Sony color. The monitor has inputs for 3 cameras.

If you want to upgrade, Tim may give you some allowance on your existing cam and monitor...he did for me.
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Old 06-26-2006, 09:53 AM   #11
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Thanks all for the info & feedback...I do have the Sony color monitor. Feeds to it are the Magellan GPS and the rear camera. I'm guessing that the side cameras will "share" an input?
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Old 06-26-2006, 10:12 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by AdrianLee:
I do not think the Sony rear camera will tilt up and down unless they have up graded the rear camera since I did mine. Bummer - tilting rear camera is really nice. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The only way the Sony rear cam tilts up and down is with me on a ladder loosening the screws.

My turn signal cams on the other hand....they'll do just about anything you want!!
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Old 06-26-2006, 10:59 AM   #13
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We have a 2004 34H and think it is great for our purpose. We also like to stay in City, State and National parks so this length has been ideal. The coach is well built as we have had no serious problems with it in 14,000 miles. We would like to have the extra living room width associated with the deeper slide-out on the 36' model, but the kitchen slide-out works fine.
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Old 06-26-2006, 05:36 PM   #14
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We have a 2005 Meridian 34H, and we love it. We have over 11,000 miles on it, and had very few problems -- nothing that has stopped us from traveling. We went to Forest City in November to have the warranty work done while they were not busy, spent one night in it when we dropped it off, and 2 nights when we picked it up 2 weeks later. The temps were below zero, with a strong wind, but we were toasty inside. We rented a motel the last night, just to have showers, but spent the nights in the motorhome as our dogs was with us. We have a 2004 Goldwing we occassionly tow in an enclosed trailer; only know its back there by watching the backup camera. We didn't choose to order any of the options you are asking about, so can't help you with those. Everyone has their own preferences, and that's what makes them unique.
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Old 06-27-2006, 10:20 AM   #15
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Thanks for the feedback!

Catpowered,

How long have you traveled in yours? We were a little concerned with storage space.


Bob & Kathy,

I'd be interested to know your Forest City experiences. Our first major trip will be from Jacksonville FL to our daughter's place in Scobey Montana. We've got a new granddaughter there that we need to checkout. Wouldn't you know it, Forest City is right on the way! Figure, I'll have time to shake things out before we head that way.

Did you make an appt? How long in advance? What did you have done that took 2 weeks?
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Old 06-27-2006, 06:39 PM   #16
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Our experience at Forest City was great. We tried to make an appointment for Fall when we had a vacation planned, but they recommended we bring it down during the winter, as Fall is so busy (snowbirds travelling through area).

Appointments usually seem to take about six weeks. Winter is slow, and we called the week before to see if it would be OK. They can spend time to just 'check' things that they can't do when it's busy. It didn't take 2 weeks, we simply didn't want to take time off work to wait, so we left it with them on Monday AM, and told them to take their time, and we went over for the weekend to pick it up Monday AM two weeks later, as our schedules allowed. They moved it to a camp-spot (several electrical hook-ups in front of their building), and we arrived Friday night and turned the heat on.

Our list is almost embarrassing, as it was short and knit-picky. We read so many messages of real problems, but we've been very fortunate so far, and hope it continues!

Our list included:
squeaks/rattles from front TV, driver's window, and door
roll-tops (one over sink wouldn't stay down, dining table/computer desk area wouldn't roll up)
key-fobs didn't always work
screws in dash backing out
fresh-water sensor off
fog-lights broke off
missing cover on fuse-area under fridge
check items: roof, engine access door, generator door
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Old 06-27-2006, 07:02 PM   #17
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smlranger: thanks for the tip. I'll call Tim and see what he recommends. And looking at John's web page, I just may do the install myself!
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Old 07-05-2006, 12:28 PM   #18
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Update: Went and visited again this weekend to check for inside dampness after the rains we had and all seems dry. Checked the carpets at the slides and no dampness. I did find that one of the key fobs doesn't work...but I figure that's a battery.
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Old 07-06-2006, 12:17 AM   #19
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Bend the little prongs where the battery goes in the remote control. That should fix it.

My '05 has everything but the central vac. Love it once the bugs got "exterminated".

Enjoy!
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Old 07-06-2006, 06:33 AM   #20
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THutch,
You asked about storage space for long trips...we go to northern Wisconsin from Arizona for the summer, living in the coach and traveling statewide all summer. We do not lack for storage space especially since we have no washer/dryer. That is a huge space just for storage. The basement bins are adequate, but no pass-through's. Sorry this took so long to answer, but the fishing has been good.
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