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Old 02-17-2012, 06:50 AM   #1
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Cool Itasca Meridian V Class-What's good/or not!

Purchased a 2011 Meridian V Class Model 34Y in August 2011. We've made several trips and are currently on the road. We love the coach, but we have not put much mileage (about 3k) on the coach and I was wondering if anyone has comments good or bad regarding this particular unit. Thanks RF
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:33 AM   #2
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34Y

We have a Winnebago Journey Express 34Y and really love it. We have about 10,000 miles on it. We are making a couple of changes; installing a residential refrigerator and adding a couple of batteries along with a larger inverter. We also changed out the Sleep Easy Leather sofa with a Sofa Bed. This gave us about 6 inches more walkway when the slides are in and is more comforable sitting. We tow a Ford Escape Hybrid and really like the setup. It is really nice to have the manuverability as the turning radious is very good.
Enjoy
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:02 AM   #3
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34Y Mods

Thanks for the feedback regarding your experience in the Journey Express 34Y and your ideas for changes. We tow a 2008 Saturn Aura which makes a great tow car. I have little experience with the inverter although I understand the application I have not really had a use for it. I do want to set ours up with my ham radio. We have a long trip (3 months) planned to begin May 1 and end up at the 2012 GNR and home. i also just went to the Freightliner school in Gaffney, SC which was very helpful re the chassis. RF
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:32 AM   #4
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We looked hard at the 34y and really liked it, but chose the longer 39n model. I specifically needed the extra room (took out the bunk beds and built an office). The only real difference with the 'Meridian V-class' or 'Journey Express' models from their more expensive siblings is in the engine and transmission. (yes the pricier ones have a little better trim, some equipment, and furniture, but lots more bucks).
Because you have the Allison 2500 transmission, the towing is limited to 5000 pounds. But for us, we can tow our Jeep just fine, keeping the speed down nets us in the 10mpg range, and all the rest works well.
I switched the coach batteries to 6v, added a medicine cabinet, changed the bed from King foam to Queen air, and various little things around the coach. We have been living and traveling in the unit now for nearly 2 years, and very satisfied with it.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:22 PM   #5
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Quote Because you have the Allison 2500 transmission, the towing is limited to 5000 pounds.


Are you really sure

From the Winnebago Web site for Meridian V Class

2010 Trailer Hitch6: 10,000-lb. drawbar/500-lb. maximum

2011 Trailer Hitch 6 10,000-lb. drawbar/500-lb. maximum vertical tongue weight

2011 Trailer Hitch 6 10,000-lb. drawbar/500-lb. maximum vertical tongue weight (34Y, 36M, 40U)
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:48 AM   #6
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Yes, the 'towbar' is rated for 10k pounds, but the chassis is only rated for towing 5000 pounds. You have to dig deep in the specification numbers to find it.

According to the Freighliner specs for the XCS chassis, it is rated for GVWR of 27910 and GCWR of 33000, specifically noting that the GCWR is limited by the transmission.

Perhaps I am interpeting those numbers wrong, but it appears you can physically tow up to 10k pounds with the towbar, but at what cost to the transmission? The chassis does have big disc brakes up front, but nothing was noted about the stopping power.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:02 AM   #7
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Quote Because you have the Allison 2500 transmission, the towing is limited to 5000 pounds.
According to the Freightliner Operators Manual, Section 13, Page 13.5 the XCS Chassis with the Allison 2500MH transmission is rated for a maximum of 33,000 GVWR to tow 10,000 trailer weight. You may validate this on the Freightliners web site under the Owners section where there is a download of the Operators Manual.
Thanks for all comments as it really made me think and dig.
Another interesting discussion is the value of weighing your unit which is taught in the Freightliner school. For me, I learned that my units tires were overinflated by as much as 20psi compared to the Itasca data card by the drivers seat. Best regards. RF
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:51 PM   #8
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Love our Journey 34y

We've owned our 2010 34Y for two years now. We've spent nearly ten months of distributed time and have accumulated about 23,000 miles since new. Long trips and short. Our biggest was a 2.5 month trip from our home in Florida to Yellowstone last summer.

The only major issue we've had with the coach was the original inverter (Xantrex Pro 1000 watt). We do a lot of dry camping and relied on it heavily. The inverter intermitantly faulted when shifting from shore or generator power and we had to shut down all DC power to restore it to operation. The original inverter failed completely six months in - replaced under warranty in less than 24 hours by Winnebago. Unfortunately, the faulting continued with the new inverter. Several dealers tried and failed to correct the problem. At the one year point we visited the factory and they were also unable to find the problem. We mutually agreed to replace the stock inverter with a new Dimensions 2000 watt unit that is a combined inverter / charger. I paid for the difference in the price of the inverter and they took care of all the labor. They installed a new sub-panel and now everything in the coach with the exception of the refer and the air conditioner can be powered from the inverter. It is AWESOME. Seemless, interupt free AC power.


Modifications:
- King Dome In Motion Satellite. Easy install but drilling the hole in the roof was pretty scary! All the wiring was there though - right where the factory said it would be. This is a GREAT system and we really enjoy having the TV going while underway.
- A CB / Ham radio rig and associated antenna. I put the antenna on the drivers side vice at the top location Winne uses. The coach has a CB electrical drop but no antenna wire.
- MCD Day / Nigh Shades in the bedroom. The pleated shades didn't keep out enough light for me. We also like using the day shades as they allow us to see out without the outside folks seeing in. We used the same material as the windshield shades. I plan to install MCD shades throughout eventually. I'll use the manual ones though, not the electrical version.
- Replaced the stock water pump with the Sureflo 4088. Better but still not a perfect pump. It is much quieter and provides smoother flow at low demands.
- Installed a cabinet door over the One Place panel. Winnebago made the door to my specs and it matches the cabinetry perfectly. I had to change out the thermostat with the model that uses a remote thermostat because once closed up the stock model didn't work properly. I expected that to be the case though and it was an easy change. The thermostats are identical other than the external sensor connector.
- Added window awnings to every window. These make a BIG difference in cooling and allow us to keep the windows open when it rains. Any carefree dealer can install these and they look great with the factory patio and slideout awnings.
- Added two additional coach batteries. I had the dealer do this before I took delivery. There is plenty of room in the battery compartment and it makes a big difference in our ability to dry camp for extended periods.
- Installed a tire pressure monitor system. I use the TST system.
- Installed the Winegard Sensor tuner device. It makes finding TV stations much easier and allows you to precisely adjust the antenna. It replaces the stock Winegard amp / switch in the panel over the entryway but you do have to enlarge the opening.
- Installed a override switch on the safety cutout of the generator autostart system. I got tired of having the generator kick out of auto mode everytime I turned the ignition on. It was a simple switch to break the sensor wire at the autorstart panel. I used switch instead of permanently disabling the sensor wire because the autostart systems demands to see a transition of the sensor state every 28 days to keep the autostart system operable.
- Installed mud flaps behind the rear duals and a rock guard hanging from the rear frame. Both work exceptionally well and the rock guard looks really nice. I got these from the DuraFlap company at a Rally. They custom cut the stainless plate for the rock guard. You can have anything you like. Don't let anybody tell you that you shouldn't install one of these because of engine cooling concerns. I confirmed with freightliner, winnebago and cummins that this was not a problem with my coach. The Duraflap people say the flaps behind the rear wheels are actually the best protection.
- Installed a stay-a-while propane system. It allows me to use portable propane bottles to add capacity to the coach system and lets me use the coach propane for my grill.
- Replaced most of the bulbs in the coach with LEDs. I was replacing the halogen bulbs way too often, they ran too hot, and they used too much power. If you do this, make sure you get the right "color" LEDs. There are several different types of "warm white" LEDs and you may have to experiment if you want to match the appearance of your currently lighting.
- Wired the output of the front TV to the Aux input of the dash radio. This is really nice when we have the TV on going down the road but also works well when we are at our site.
- Cut the ignition sense wires on the front and buffet tv power outlets so they will work with the ignition on. If you are interested, all you need to do is clip the brown wire to the relay on the back side of the outlet covers.
- Added several fire extinguishers throughout. Adding one in the bedroom is especially important in my opinion.
- Put a pull-out trash can (on slide rails) under the sink. Extends out the side door towards the euro chair. You can get this from Home Depot or Lowes for about $25 including the trash can. Frankly, one of the best mods to the coach. Have to cut a small notch in the back of the plastic trash can to allow it to clear the sink drain pipe but that makes no practical difference in the use of the trash can.
- Installed a central vac system. We put the vac unit in the third compartment on the curb side (counting the propane fill compartment). The hose connection and sweep-in inlet went directly below the One Place monitor area. The vent at that location makes access pretty easy.
- Replaced the stock bathroom vent fan with a Fantastic Vent Fan with rain sensor and installed rain sensor on the lounge fan.


Issues:
- The entry door deadbolt was difficult to use and if you opened the door with the handle while the deadbold was thrown, it was very difficult to get the door open. Winnebago has a free deadbolt modification available to
correct this problem. Talk to a dealer.
- Windshield wipers aren't very robust. Ours over-centered once while on high and doing about 65 down the road. It wasn't pretty. The drivers wiper was wiping the lower front of the coach and the passenger wiper was beating up the driver wiper. It also broke the washer fitting. Winnebago dealer repaired it and it has worked okay since but I still avoid running them on high while at highway speeds.
- Had a leak in the street-side bedroom window. My selling dealer tried and failed to fix the problem but another Winne dealer made it water tight. No problems since.
- Water heater backflow preventer valve went bad. Started making a loud hum when the hot water was running. Replaced the valve ($8) and it works fine now.
- I dislike the wheel covers (simulators). They creak and groan sometimes and I don't like my $150,000 coach making noises like that. Aluminum wheels are in my future.
- I've replaced the RCA Home Theater system twice and still think it is a crappy unit. I suspect the thermal environment is the problem. Winnebago should not install all the electronics in small enclosed spaces, especially in the front cap.
- I've never been able to make the IR relay system work properly. I have to leave the doors to the Home Theater and Satellite compartments open and aim the remotes up there.
- The outside TV was green whenever I routed a component signal from the switcher. It took six months but a dealer finally found an improperly connected cable in the long run from the switch panel to the TV.
- The sealants on the coach need a lot of attention. Don't get behind on this task. Don't use common hardware store products either. Check your manual, the winnebago website, and use the approved products. Winnebago doesn't use silicon much anymore and you shouldn't use it over their sealants. I've had to reseal the roof to sidewall area twice already.
- Okay, this is kinda disgusting but it is a real problem so I'll mention it here. The "drop" from the toilet to the bottom of the black water tank is very short. So, quite often our "solids" will stack up and eventually clog the down tube from the toilet. That stinks! Literally! Solution, keep the black tank at least 1/3 full and, if you aren't driving for several days and are using the toilet, you may need to stir the black water tank.
- This isn't a fault but you may not be aware that your icemaker won't work if you aren't powering the refer from 100v AC. The icemaker has to have 100v even if the refer is running on LP. The AC power is required to power the mold heater that breaks the cubes loose before they are extracted. I haven't done it yet but I plan to put the refer on the inverter circuit or at least put the icemaker on the inverter circuit. This won't be an issue at all if you primarily run the refer on AC. As I said earlier, we do a lot of dry camping an so often run the refer on LP.
- Patio Awning. The 34Y patio awning is attached to the side of the coach and so must extend out over the front slideout. That limits the usefullness of the patio awning.
- Entry Door Awning. If these aren't properly adjusted, they will contact the top of the entry door. There are a couple of pins that must be properly installed and tightned in the arms or you will have this problem. I saw it on about 1/2 of the coaches on the lots where we viewed coaches with these awnings.
- I had some early trouble with the leveling system. Kept getting the jacks down alarm while driving. The sensor on top of the resevior was was the wrong part. Winnebago shipped me the correct part directly and I replaced it mid trip. Has worked perfectly since.
- Don't forget to use the alternate shift mode on your 2500MH transmission. Press MODE button on your transmission shift panel. This is the ONLY way to get into 6th gear below about 65 MPH. This way you'll be able to run at optimal RPM all the way down to about 57 MPH. I use the alternate shift mode about 90% of the time, only reverting to performance mode when I'm running around in town or pulling the big hills.
- I have the CDI plastic impact mask on the front of my coach. During big summer trip, it got some nasty white streaks in it that I couldn't get off with any cleaner I tried. I think it was the result of letting window cleaner run down the front when I took the bugs off at fuel time. Often the front of the coach was either in the sun or was still hot from the sun. After much consultation with CDI and experimentation, I found a plastic polish (same stuff you use to fix cloudy headlights) that polished up the plastic to its original appearance.

What we love:
- The FLOORPLAN. Perfect for the two of us and our dogs. We especially like the seating in the lounge and the big king bed.
- The ride and the view. What a great upgrade over our 35 foot gasser.
- Winnebago Customer Service. I can't say enough good things about Winnebago. I always call their Service Assistance number before I even think about talking with a dealer.
- The front TV. I was disappointed when I saw the 2011 and 2012 models didn't have a TV up front. We are about 50/50 on our front vs buffet TV.
- The Freightliner chassis, Cummins engine and Allison transmission. Completely trouble free since delivery.
- Our paint job. It looks great and is holding up well.
- The bathroom layout. The shower is big, the lav is nice and has lots of storage.
- The quality of the fit and finish throughout the coach, expecially the cabinetry.

To sum it all up, we are very happy with the coach and I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.

Take care,
Randy
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:36 AM   #9
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Hi Randy, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to document your 34Y experience. I have read it twice and saved it as a Word document for future reference because you have first hand experience on many ideas that I have for the future. While we do very little dry camping we are planning a long trip beginning in May and finishing at the 2012 GNR. I want to install a CB and I also want to put my Yaesu FT-857D (AC5SP) in the unit before we leave. As you know, the buffet table is either all the way out or all the way in so I just finished building a slide bar to lock the table at any setting. PS The 2011 Meridian 34Y still has the front TV. Ours was built in June 2010. More later. Ray
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asw211rf View Post
Hi Randy, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to document your 34Y experience. I have read it twice and saved it as a Word document for future reference because you have first hand experience on many ideas that I have for the future. While we do very little dry camping we are planning a long trip beginning in May and finishing at the 2012 GNR. I want to install a CB and I also want to put my Yaesu FT-857D (AC5SP) in the unit before we leave. As you know, the buffet table is either all the way out or all the way in so I just finished building a slide bar to lock the table at any setting. PS The 2011 Meridian 34Y still has the front TV. Ours was built in June 2010. More later. Ray
Hi Ray,
I've noticed some of the 2011's have the front TV and some don't. I'm yet to see a 2012 34Y with one. I wonder if they changed mid-year during the 2011 build?

I've got one of those combo CB/10M rigs (RCI 2970 DX) and also have a small VX-6R 2 meter Handi. The CB/10M rig uses the sidewall mounted antenna. I connected to a glass mount window antenna. I run a CB firestick 3 foot whip going down the road and use a big ole stainless 1/4 wave whip for 10M in the campground. It's been fun. I'd like to have a multi-band radio but struggle with the antenna decision!

Feel free to contact me anytime with questions and please let us know about your experiences.
Take care,
Randy
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:51 PM   #11
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I have the 2011 Journey Express 34Y. I bought it in July, 2011 and have just turned 9000 miles. We love the amenities and have not really changed anything of significance. I have been concerned a bit about how the coach handles in crosswinds but, after attending Camp Freightliner, I weighed the coach and properly inflated the tires. I added some ballast to the front storage compartments to add weight to the front axle and added a Safety Plus steering stabilizer. It still does not handle like my previous class 6 truck chassis Super C but I have become more accustomed to the habits of the chassis and more comfortable driving it.

As for towing, I switched from a 4200# Jeep Wrangler to a 6200# full sized Chevy Silverado 4x4 to tow. The Allison 2500MH has a GCWR capacity of 33000#. I weighed my coach loaded with gear, passengers, fuel and a full load of fresh water and it weighed 24920#. Combining my 6200# toad with my 24920# coach, I am still below the 33000# maximum combined weight for the transmission by some 1800#.

I have found the Silverado to tow as easy as the Wrangler. It feels a bit heavier when starting off but it is not noticeable at highway speeds. I did add a Roadmaster supplemental braking system that brakes through my coach air brakes at the same proportion as I am applying to the coach.

On a side note, Winnebago has been great during my warranty period. I have had my front air conditioner/heat pump along with my converter replaced during the first few months of ownership and my dealer did it efficiently and without question. All those little annoyances that come with a new coach have also been repaired without hesitation. I feel really good about Winnebago as a manufacturer.

I have also been pleased with Freightliner. My coach came with a defective mode switch pad and a fuel gauge that would suddenly go to empty even after recent refueling. Mike Cody brought the parts with him to Camp Freighliner in Houston, Texas and installation was a snap one evening following the class.

The Cummins ISB is a great engine for this sized coach. I have found it to pull hills without effort even towing my Silverado. On flat terrain, I have pushed 10.2 mpg out of this DEF engine and can easily average 9-9.5 mpg even in the mountains. We recently traveled with another couple who were towing a Honda Fit with a maximum towing speed of 65 mph. Those two days were the worst mpg I have experienced with my coach. When we left them, I traveled at my normal speed of 70+ and my fuel mileage went back to the better mpg that I am accustomed to getting. I really think I was lugging the engine traveling slower and it ran in its power band when I increased the engine rpms.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:00 AM   #12
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Randy, I think you're right about the front TV, it's probably a mid build year change and since ours was an early build it still had the TV. I heard a lot of negative comments at GNR 2010 re having both the front and buffet table TV but like yourself, we prefer the front TV. Our unit was also built without the DEF tank. Re the ham antenna, I intend to use the ATAS-120A mounted on the ladder and removed during transit. Best regards. Ray
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:13 AM   #13
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Texas TC, I used to live in Lewisville, TX so I am also very familiar with Corinth and have a friend in the area (last name Teppen). Thanks for your comments. I also enjoyed Camp Freightliner and I had my coach weighed (24,620) with no passengers. As a result, I changed front tire inflation from 110psi to 90psi which did help handling. I currently tow a 2008 Saturn Aura and was thinking about one of the small SUV's like a Chev Equinox. Take care. Ray
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Old 03-17-2012, 05:42 PM   #14
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We have had ours, 2011 Meridian V Class Model 34Y since August 2011 as well. We love it. We do classic car shows and I pull a fully enclosed 20' trailer with one of my 3 Mustangs inside. My couch fully loaded weighs in at 26400, leaving me about 7,000 lbs to tow. As I live in Utah and many of my trips are to the Midwest, Nebr, Kansas we have to climb over the highest point on I80, 8,640 feet, I pull this at 55 mph with the slowest being 45 if I get behind slow traffic and lose my momentum. I have had little problem with the coach. Freightliner had to fix the fuel cage cluster and the mode switch on the tranny as someone else pointed out. My batteries went on the chassis as well and Freightliner replace with higher capacity batteries under warranty, from 850 Ahr to 1000 Ahr. Had one slide lock that didn't work when we picked up but that was taken care of as well as a few small things. Just like a new home there are some bugs but all seems well now. I also have a tv in buffet and up front. as well as outside and in bedroom. I need to install my 2m/440 rig in it yet but looking at a good mount for antenna, (Any Ideas?).
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:32 AM   #15
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Install Antenna!

Hello Utahhusker, I plan on attaching my antenna on the latter for height. I found a sturdy truck mirror mount at a truck and plan on using that. I am on the road and don't remember the brand but it is pretty beefy. I should be home next week and will be glad to email the brank inf if you want. My email is [email protected].

I have had a couple of things turn up is the last month or so. I had a blow out on the left outboard rear while I was Gaffney, SC attending the Camp Freightliner school. Also, on the way home my speedometer stopped registering but when I stopped and restarted it worked so more to come on that. All in all a pretty sound rig. Best wishes. Ray
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Old 04-08-2015, 04:55 PM   #16
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I just bought a used 2011 34Y Meridian and have not yet camped with it. However, when driving to my storage location, I noticed that the transmission mode button was not working. The dealer has pleaded ignorance on this issue. I bring this up in this thread because I noticed that a couple of posters have mentioned problems with the transmission pad. Upon calling Freightliner, they suggested that the pad needed to be replaced, and that I only had a couple more weeks remaining on the 3 year warranty for this item. Fortunately, I was able to get the RV into a Freightliner shop and had the pad replaced. Apparently there was an issue with the pin alignment on the electrical connection. It looks like the problem existed from the very beginning, but I guess the original owner never tried the mode button, or didn't care that it wasn't working. Sounds like this is a known problem to Freightliner and was a design defect.
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Old 04-09-2015, 02:25 PM   #17
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Freightliner Transmission Mode Button

I'm in the same category since I have never used the mode button. We've had the coach since new so it's clearly more than 3 years so I guess I won't plan on using it. Sorry I couldn't be more help. All in all the coach has been excellent. Ray
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Old 07-26-2015, 06:35 PM   #18
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i can solve some of your problems

I have a 2011 34Y coach and have found the solution for many of the listed problems.
The toilet backs up with solids
You have to remove the toilet and then remove the downpipe that goes into the tank. Take a 45 degree plastic pipe and cut out a moon shaped section that is glued to the bottom of the drop pipe. It takes a little fitting but can be done in about 2 hours total. You need to fill the toilet bowl about 1/2 way before flushing solids. It solved our problem completely
The slideout locks do not work and are locked in the unlock position
i have the pictures of the fix and it is a little involved but takes about 20 minutes for each motor--4 on the coach-. great fix and works perfect
water heater backflow valve
you need this to winterize the coach and that is the only use for the valve so if you are in a warm place and do not need to winterize no problem.
contact me and i can help with some of the things.
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Old 07-26-2015, 09:56 PM   #19
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regarding mode switch

I also had a bad mode switch. I was lucky as it was in warranty for another week so i had freightliner give me a panel and I installed it myself. Took about 15 minutes. Then returned the defective part to them. What it does is:

When you press mode it changes the shift pattern to get it into economy mode and into 6th gear sooner. You will find it does not shift into 6th till about 60 or almost 65. With the mode on it shifts about 55. Better for economy and fuel savings.

I think the part is about 200 dollars but check around. It is a plug in deal and an easy do it yourself repair. Remove the side panel and then you can see the panel. Remove two nuts and the panel drops out.
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Old 10-19-2015, 05:26 PM   #20
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I'm curious about the residential fridge conversion you mentioned. What fridge did you choose as a replacement? We own a 2011 34Y and have been discussing this mod, since we rarely dry camp and are starting to have problems with the Norcold.
I understand that an inverter upgrade will also probably be needed for the change. Will doubling the 1000 watts stock unit be enough?
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Goodbye class C, c'mon class A ghostrider General Maintenance and Repair 7 07-28-2009 09:06 AM

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