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Old 06-23-2010, 05:23 PM   #1
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Question Journey/Meridian 34H Towing Question

Hi Everyone:
I am new to the forum and we are in the process of selling or trading our class C for a DP. We have always liked Winnebago quality and are focused on the 34 foot Meridian (1st choice) or Journey. Budget wise, we are looking at a 2006, maybe 2007. We would consider the 36 foot model, but prefer the 34 because of storage concerns as well as we mostly boondock at races and camp at state parks.

We will be towing a yet to be purchased enclosed trailer with our off-road rock crawler and assorted race junk. We will try to keep the trailer between 20-24 feet and will be under the 10,000 pound towing capacity (best guess is going to be around 8500 lbs).

We are looking for coaches with the 350 Cat. Anyone out there towing a similar size/weight trailer with either the 34 or 36 foot? How does it handle? Any problems/suggestions? Thanks!
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:37 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. There are a bunch of Journey/Meridian owners here so I am sure you will get some answers soon. We have the 36' with the 330 CAT and our toad is about 4,700....no problems. I suspect you'd be OK but you will certainly know you have that much weight back there, especially on grades. Do you know what the tongue weight will be?
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:03 PM   #3
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Thanks for the welcome! I look forward to being a card carrying Winnebago owner soon. We have actually found the perfect coach, but it's on consignment and the dealer is having cash flow issues so does not have the funds to take ours on trade. The search continues.

I am not sure on the tongue weight until we have it all set up and loaded. If I understand the hitch correctly, we are going to need a weight distributing hitch to control the tongue weight. Winnebago is one of the few that I have seen like it, but although it's a 10,000 pound hitch, you can only have 500 pounds of tongue weight. Most others say 1000 pound tongue weight. If we end up around 8500 pounds, I would assume that's at least 850 lbs tongue weight.

The good thing is that my husband has towed every kind of trailer imaginable for many years and is adept at properly loading and adjusting the trailer.
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Old 06-29-2010, 09:32 AM   #4
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Okay, no one out there is towing a trailer with the 34 or the 36 foot? I would greatly appreciate some first hand knowledge of what to expect. This is a big purchase for us and I don't want to have any major regrets.
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:07 PM   #5
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This might help

I see your only problem to be your hitch weight, if you can manage that you will be home free.
The Cat. is a strong puller. Here are some weight paremeters of my 34 footer and you will see that if you get a 34 footer yours should be similar.

I have a GCWR of 36,850 the later models have a few hundred pounds more.

My 4 corner weigh in loaded for travel came in at 23,000 pounds so there is no way you are going to exceed the GCWR of the vehicle. Any 34 foot you should purchase will not be exactly as mine but you see they are not going to be too far off either.

My axle weight were way under also and specifly you would be concerned about rear axle/tire weight. if your transferred hitch weight to your axles with a weight distributing hitch.

rear axle 17,500 mine came in at 15,800
The front axle which would also receive some of the transferred weight was 9350 mine at 7300.

It seems to me you are good to go, just dont exceed 500# hitch weight.
Whatever you do you will be pulling some weight, watch your temps., if they look high look into getting the cac & radiater cleaned, some have not had the slobber tube extended and have dirtied up the radiater
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:22 PM   #6
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Usually a 10,000 pound hitch has a 1,000 pound tongue weight. I don't have a Winnebago but my hitch has a sticker on it with those two weights. If your hitch doesn't have a weight sticker call Winnebago and they should be able to tell you.
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Old 06-29-2010, 06:15 PM   #7
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FLgatorgirl - Probably 95% of the people on this forum are like me and just tow a car, so we're not of much help to you. I know there are least a couple of racers on here that tow enclosed trailers, but I don't remember their names, just deduced that from their avatars. You might try a title like "Towing enclosed race car trailer w/Journey/Meridian 34H". That might get the attention of the people you need to reach...
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:23 PM   #8
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The hitch weight could be a big problem. My 03 Journey 34H is very close (within 500#) of max for the rear axle when loaded. Yes, I know, we carry a lot of stuff.

Performance with a 330 or 350 will not be a problem.
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Old 06-30-2010, 06:22 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone. I might try reposting as suggested by tomsm. I am glad to hear that the Cat 350 should do the trick. We walked away from a great deal on a unit with a 300hp motor, I just didn't think we would be as happy with the performance when towing.

RCTime, it's very helpful to see all of your weights. I get a little paranoid about all of the weight issues. It looks like the 2006 models that I am looking at have a GCWR of 37,910. We are looking for either a 34H or a 36G.

I will need to double check on the UVW once we choose the exact coach, but from what I have seen so far, I think we will have more than enough capacity for cargo/fluids and the trailer. My biggest concern is not overloading the rear axle. We will use an Equalizer (10k rated) weight distribution hitch and I am hopeful that will do the trick. This will be our first enclosed trailer and first DP, I want to get the combo right for safety as well as handling.
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:34 AM   #10
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Just another consideration, don't forget supplemental breaking system. You think you are paranoid about weight now, wait until the weight police get a hold of what you are doing. You should be fine with the correct set up. You'll love the cat 350. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 06-30-2010, 01:57 PM   #11
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Maverick--as on our current motor home, we will have a brake controller and the trailer will have 4 brakes. We would not even attempt towing a trailer without them. By weight police, I am assuming you mean forum members who freak out on towing issues?
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:29 PM   #12
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We have an '05 Journey with the 350 Cat. We pull a 28' Pace enclosed trailer loaded up with race car, golf cart, tools, you name it and have not had a hint of a problem. We use a top quality weight distribution style hitch. The Winnie hitch states that the standard tongue is 500lbs but with a WD hitch it will handle a 1000. I have no reason to doubt the since we have had no issues. Just be mindful of how you load the trailer and you shouldn't have issues.
Hope this helps.
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:49 AM   #13
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Mikeso---Thank you so much for responding. It makes me feel much better to hear from someone who is actually in a similar situation to what we are expecting. I am actually starting to lean to wards the 36G because of the larger bed and no loss of the pantry with the bigger refrigerator. My husband would love the 28' foot trailer, it's going to depend on what we can find a great deal on.

By chance have you ever weighed (4 corner) your rig? What brand of weight distribution hitch are you using? Overall, do you feel like the rig handles well on the road (wind/trucks/potholes,etc)? I am sure it will be a major upgrade over driving our class C.
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Old 07-01-2010, 03:51 PM   #14
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FLgatorgirl, I have never done the four corner weighing. The rig, when loaded to go to the races, is full everything you could possibly need to support 3 people for up to four days of dry camping at the track and have never had any issues nor does of any the racers I run with that have similiar set-ups. The rig handles great for MH pulling a trailer. I don't recall off-hand the name of the WD hitch we are using but I think the important thing to consider is don't skimp on it. Money saved on a cheap WD hitch is not worth what it might cost you if it fails. Take your time setting up the initial proper ride height of the hitch and do it with the trailer and the MH loaded if possible. Another thing don't abuse the equipment. I drive at a resonable speed limit, I keep up on the oil, air filter and tire pressures. You should not have issues. A racer buddy has a 34' with the 330hp motor and tows a very simliar combination, no issues. My preference, get the 36G. The floor plan allows for people to be in the living area conversing and someone can still take a nap in the rear bed and not have to be boarded up for privacy. Whatever you get, enjoy it and don't worry.
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Old 07-02-2010, 05:35 AM   #15
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Mikeso--We will have a very similar scenario to yours with what we need to carry. I don't know about you, but when we go racing, it's up to 20+ hours away many times. We off-road rock race and, well, there aren't any rocks in Florida.

I think you are right on the 36 and that is what I am going to focus on. We are very strict with maintenance and upkeep and will definitely spend the money on the best hitch. It's a relief to hear that the rig handles well and that your friends with similar setups are happy as well.

The speed issue for hubby, not so much. He is always in a hurry because we always have so far to go. We have friends with a 40' who see no problem flying down the highway with a trailer at 80mph. If my husband thinks that's what a new diesel is going to get him, he best look for a new co-driver. I have to keep on him to stay at 70 in our current class C. My dad has owned and driven semis forever and shown me how much caution you have to use when driving/towing that much size and weight.
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:34 AM   #16
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Like Mike, I tow a race car in a 26 ft enclosed. 2005 journey 36G w/350 hp Cat. I have towed with and without the wt dist hitch. With my previous 3 motorhomes(22' gas,24' gas , 32'gas) the hitch was absolutely a necessity. The journey doesn't seem to care, it is just so much heavier of a chassis. I like the 350 cat, but the 300 cummings is good also. the cummings will get much better mpg. I went on a 3300 mile race trip in march and got about 7. the cummings probably will get 8-10, and that is towing a trailer. I wanted a 34' like you are searching for, but found the 36' with everything we wanted and more at a steal. It was a year and a half ago when the market was at the bottom. You can do better if you sell your coach andtake the trade out of the mix.

We have many racing friends that tow just like you, enclosed trailers, dry camping at events that are 1-5 days long. These coaches go down the road straight as an arrow like a freight train with no problems. When we went on our March trip, the other rig traveling with us was a 40' with a 350 cat and a stacker trailer with 2 race cars in it. We don't go 80 ever, you can safely go 80, but the traffic and others on the road are the limiting factor. lately if i have time i set the cruiseat 65, it will go up most hills at 60 and down at 67, some time 70 plus, oh oh, i forgot you live in FL, no hills, lucky you.

The coaches with the cummings may have a 5000 lbs hitch which you would need to reinforce.

One of my racing friends just bought a 05 journey 36 G 350cat (same as ours). He paid 86000, it needed 4 tires and new batteries , it has 33000 miles

This is a great site for any info you may need

Dave
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Old 07-10-2010, 11:33 AM   #17
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HI FGG:

Meridan or Journey 36G... 350 cat... Freightliner Chassie... Allison Trans... is about as bullet proof as you can get. I tow a 4200 lb. Jeep Sahara when not towing that I tow a 7X14 motorcycle trailer with three Harleys.

Love the setup... The CAT is a puller. 7.4 MPG pulling the Jeep.

Good Luck.... Jim P.
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Old 07-14-2010, 04:20 PM   #18
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Thanks for the additional thumbs up on the towing. I feel MUCH more confident from your experiences that this combo will be great for us. Dave1330, we don't have hills in Florida, but all of our races are from 300-1200 miles away and we encounter plenty of steep grades. If we can qualify, we will head to California in February for a huge desert race. We absolutely have to have the new rig and trailer for that one! Now, if the perfect deal would just come along..............
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