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Old 06-10-2012, 08:18 AM   #1
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Purchasing an 06 Itasca Meridian 36G

I'm getting ready to purchase an 06 Itasca Meridian 36G from a private party in Arizona. The coach looks beautiful in all of the pictures that I've seen but I haven't yet seen it in person. When I fly down and inspect it, what should I look for?
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:49 AM   #2
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If it has spent the past 6 years outside, the sun can be pretty harsh. (have family with an RV down there) Some will be only aesthetic fading, while other items can result in leaks. I would check all seal points (caulking around vents, skylights, etc) carefully and the condition of anything rubber, such as slide seals and so forth. If the tires are not new, there is a good chance that the heat made them eligible to consider replacing despite how much tread they may have.

Under the chassis look for any evidence of water that has leaked from above. Also, pack rats and other critters like to find homes in rigs like this or chew under carriage wiring and such. Have seen this. Buy a cheap creeper and crawl the entire undercarriage length.

These are the local climate concerns. All other checks are standard to all RV inspections (all systems operational, mechanical inspection, road test, etc. ). If a good reputable mobile tech is available, it is worth it to pay for their inspection services. Chassis mechanic inspection would be a good idea too.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:57 AM   #3
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You should look for and hire a competent RV technician to do a thorough and complete inspection for you, especially if this is your first RV. I just purchased a used RV and had it inspected, but even then I have found issues that were not noted and should have been. Believe me, it will be money well spent, costing between $200 to $500 dollars, please do it and you will not be sorry.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stvscharfe View Post
I'm getting ready to purchase an 06 Itasca Meridian 36G from a private party in Arizona. The coach looks beautiful in all of the pictures that I've seen but I haven't yet seen it in person. When I fly down and inspect it, what should I look for?
Well Sir,
That's exactly how we purchased ours. A ton of pictures sent, quite a few conversations on the phone, as many details as possible without actually seeing and driving it and finally a motorcycle trip to go and see it. We live just outside of San Diego and we cruised on over to Mesa AZ to see and drive it. We loved the coach and just about everything about it but, we had some doubts, that were personal preferences to us, nothing that had to do with coach condition.

This is just for your information. We found another one, a sister ship to the one in Mesa, and had the interior layout almost identical but, had a dinette and a full four door fridge. Long story short, we made the deal over the phone and flew to Austin TX to pick her up. Well, upon inspection of the coach, we found the entire front end, which like 99% of the full body paint coaches out there, had a "3 M mask" on it. But, this one was "CRACKED" in a zillion places, all throughout the full front end. That included the mirrors and, the top cap. It looked horrible. The seller NEVER DISCLOSED THAT!!!!!!!

If I'd have had a gun, I'd almost have shot him. (not really) Upon doing some research that day/night in the hotel we were staying at, I found out it would be a pain in the a$$ to get that coating off and, over 99.9% of the folks that have had to remove it, took the paint off with it. So, a repaint of the front end was inevitable. We were not about to pay what he wanted for it with not only looking the way it did but, driving it home and then, adding the potential cost and inconvenience of immediately sending it to the body shop for repair, AT OUR COST, was COMPLETELY out of the question. We were so frustrated with the flagrant disregard for an honest business transaction and, our cost of the plane tickets TO AND FROM, we could not believe a person would do that.

I mean, if it were me, and I had a potential buyer for our coach, I'd give the folks each and every DETAIL I could, way before we'd even get that close to a deal. I would not want to be in that situation where I was that dishonest. I'd disclose even the slightest blemish and issue.

So, what's all this leading to you ask? All I can say is, you, apparently like us, most likely could not find anything you liked, closer to you or you would have already purchased it or at the very least, have taken drives to see all you could, correct? So, it's off to another county, state etc. to find what you want. An airplane ticket is, actually cheap in comparison to the cost of a coach in the range you're looking at and, you're hopeful getting EXACTLY what you want.

As for what you should be looking for, ours is very close to what you're intending on purchasing. It's an '04 Itasca Horizon, 36GD with the 330 CAT and Allison 3000MH trans. It has 40K miles on it when we picked it up. Here's some details of issues.
1. Like many Winnes and Itasca's of that era, we have rust, to varying degrees, on the cabinet (basement compartment) frames. That is, open the compartment doors and ours had/has a bit of rust, under the paint, on the outside of the door seals. Not a huge deal but, still needs attention at some time.
2. We had three drawers in the interior that were literally falling apart. I've done a ton of cabinet work in my life so, that was no big deal what so ever. One was so bad, I removed the drawer face, built an entire new drawer, and installed the face on it.
3. Our ceiling fan was noisy in the bedroom, as is about 90% of them according to other posters on here. So, a nice gent sent me a site that had new motors for that little fan and I purchased one and all the noise is gone.
4. Some of the Winnes and Itasca's have had "glue separation" issues with things like the front end cap for the generator, headlight assemblies, and more. That is, the manufacture uses a glue to attache most of the components on that front end and some of that glue has not held too well and these boys have had to repair that. So, take a look at that.
5. The term "Crazing" is a condition where the fiberglass has a zillion small cracks in it and is not visible until you walk right up close to the coach and it then appears. We saw more than one Meridian with that unsightly, severe and costly issue. About 99% of the time, it is not repairable so, we walked away from them. Many guys won't acknowledge it and think a buyer will not care.
I called on a few, that were quite a distance away from us and asked specifically about that paint condition and, many of them honestly acknowledged it, even though it was not in the ads for the coaches. Those too would have been long drives for nothing, not to mention some seriously choice words between me and the seller.

The chassis's are great, well built, and, for the most part are as solid as can be. The fit and finish, is great. Our coach, it's complicated systems, and general conditions, are all in very nice shape. Do test the "auto leveling" system to make sure it's operating correctly. Check all the "one place" data, that is where all the data from your holding tanks, generator output, battery condition and more, are working and displaying correctly.

Listen to the basement air work. There's been reported issues with compressors and motors in those systems. I like those systems a lot. Some, are not all that happy with them. If it has a "Sleep number" bed, take a few minutes to make sure it works. Lay on it, make an up or down adjustment on yours and her side of the bed and see if the pump and display on the controllers are operating correctly. It can cost a bit if they're not.

Check if you can, all the history of the engine and trans maintenance. And, last but certainly not least, check the DOT dates on the tires. That yahoo in Austin had 7 year old tires and never told us. They were cracked, ALL OF THEM, and I told him about them and his reply, "they're fine, I'd go on a trip with them anywhere"..

I know I've forgot other potential issues and someone else will chime in. I hope your coach turns out just fine. We love ours to death. We get so many compliments on it. I hope this is some info you can use. Take care and good luck.
Scott
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Old 06-10-2012, 04:49 PM   #5
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As FireUp has said, do your homework and be careful. We also purchased our current rig (a slightly older Winnebago sister to the Meridian) long distance. We live in VA and traveled to Rockford, IL to buy ours. We could not find a 36' DP in our price range near us that wasn't rode hard and put up wet. We did tons of internet search and found two at a dealer in IL. Lot's of pics, phone calls and my insistence that it be a one-owner rig and I would have to be put in touch with the original owner. The dealer had no issue with that since it was one of his repeat and regular customers.

Insists on service records and I would also recommend hiring an independent local RV tech to do an inspection. Check all systems carefully....make sure they work to your satisfaction. That is a 6 year old coach so if it has the original tires, I would not consider it if the owner doesn't agree to replace them or lower the price at least $2,800 - $3,000 since that is what 6 of them will cost for that coach.

We love the 36G floorplan. It works very well for the two of us. We've traveled all over the U.S. in it and it has performed very well.

Good luck and come back and let us know how it works out.
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:41 PM   #6
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Fire Up did a good job of describing some issues. We have a '05 Journey and within 6 months I was gluing on body parts. Rust is inherent problem. Last year, the factory replaced one rusted compartment and the weather shield on another. It may not do any good, but I painted alot of exposed metal with POR 15. The radiator corroded was replaced for a cost of $5000.The clear coat is pealing at the roof edge. Look closely at the tires for checks and cracks. I replaced the Michlelin tires with only 45000 on them. Mate sure the electric couch operates smoothly without assist.
Good luck on your purchase.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:01 PM   #7
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We purchased a 2006 Itasca Meridian 36GSE about a year and a half ago. I agree unless there are new or nearly new tires replace them. Part of our deal was new tires, ours had only the stove top and I wanted the oven too, so they added that.

It has been a great coach thus far. We have done many things to it that we wanted, and spent many hours here learning all the things to do or look for.
Here is a pic of our most current outing. Enjoy, the floor plan is awesome!!!
Click image for larger version

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Old 06-10-2012, 07:08 PM   #8
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Nice looking setup. Where we're you camping? The sites are well outfitted.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:09 PM   #9
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When we bought ours, the first thing I did was buy a Good Sam extended service plan to cover the thing bumper to bumper for any unseen problems. You can always drop it later.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:45 AM   #10
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Council Grove Lake in Kansas. In looking closer I guess I should update the date on my camera!!! lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVTotem View Post
Nice looking setup. Where we're you camping? The sites are well outfitted.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:04 AM   #11
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Thank you for all of the suggestions. I sold my 2000 Discovery yesterday (after a long day of cleaning, emptying bins and cupboards, etc) and I'm looking forward to having a newer, more modern coach. I have owned two Itasca's in the past, so I'm kind of familiar with the Winnebago product. The note that Fireup made about the parts being glued on rings a familliar bell...I had an 88 Windcruiser that the entire rear cap fell off on the road. I hope their quality control has improved. Anyway, thanks for all of the suggestions. I'll keep you posted.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhenIm64 View Post
We purchased a 2006 Itasca Meridian 36GSE about a year and a half ago. I agree unless there are new or nearly new tires replace them. Part of our deal was new tires, ours had only the stove top and I wanted the oven too, so they added that.

It has been a great coach thus far. We have done many things to it that we wanted, and spent many hours here learning all the things to do or look for.
Here is a pic of our most current outing. Enjoy, the floor plan is awesome!!!
Attachment 22127
WhenIm64,
In looking at that campsite you're parked on, it looks like you could do some oil changes, some trans oil changing, and more. LoL, that's a serious drop off. Good thing there's a concrete stop block back there.
Scott

Quote:
Originally Posted by stvscharfe View Post
Thank you for all of the suggestions. I sold my 2000 Discovery yesterday (after a long day of cleaning, emptying bins and cupboards, etc) and I'm looking forward to having a newer, more modern coach. I have owned two Itasca's in the past, so I'm kind of familiar with the Winnebago product. The note that Fireup made about the parts being glued on rings a familliar bell...I had an 88 Windcruiser that the entire rear cap fell off on the road. I hope their quality control has improved. Anyway, thanks for all of the suggestions. I'll keep you posted.
Well Sir,
Glad you're moving up in life. There's lots of help here on this site so, when you pick up your new ride, get lots of pictures, we need pictures. If you have any questions on anything, send them out, someone here should be able to help.
Scott
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:14 PM   #13
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Since you are in AZ, do yourself a favor and check out Fountain Hills RV in Fountain Hills, over by Scottsdale. motorhomes He is a small dealer, handles about 20 motorhomes and believe me, they he doesn't buy anything he has to put a lot of money in. His inventory is A-1. He now has an 07 Journey 39K which he has a slide show on the site that walks you thru EVERY DETAIL of the coach. I realize you might want to stick to 37' which is basically what a 36G is, but the 39K is a great floor plan with 3 slides(2 opposing in the living area). He is asking $124K or offer. We bought our 04 39K from him in May 10 and it was in almost new condition with 9300 mi. on it. Also, he is a no b.s. dealer, just him, an associate and a maintenance guy and reputable. Very good people to deal with. If that 07 had Cherry cabinets, I would be discussing it with him right now. It is worth checking out his website.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:56 PM   #14
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Thanks Doorguy, that looks like a good website but I'm pretty set on this 36G. The photos appear to be beautiful and it has everything exactly like my better half and I want it. Even the cabinets are Cherry.
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:47 PM   #15
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You are welcome, I hope it works out for you.
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