Ladies and Gents,
Well, we're on our maiden voyage of our new to us, '04 Itasca 36GD with the 330 CAT. For the most part, we've ran from San Diego to Richfield UT without a glitch. Well, one any way, my rear view camera is throwing fits. But, I'll figure it out. Anyway, this is the true test. I mounted the lift on her about a month or so ago and we just got around to testing the whole situation out. I must say, I'm not overly thrilled with the 330 HP.
It moves along OK and takes slight grades barely OK. But, when you get her on some serious grades, like the ones from I-15 in Utah to I-70. That got her down to about 38 mph in third. The ones on I-15 on the way to Vegas got her heated up just a tad too. It was around 104 degrees and it was everything I could do, to keep it at 45-50 mph. I would have thought it would have taken those grades with a little more ease. I am pulling a bit of weight though. That rig is at its limit with the Honda GL 1800 Goldwing on the back of it and, towing a 2004 Jeep Rubicon.
Many thought that the back of the coach would fall off, the roof would be damaged, the frame couldn't handle it, the front end would run all over the road etc. etc. etc. Well, it handles FLAWLESSLY!!!! No wander, no squirreling, no enhanced wind effects, trucks going by, from either direction, NOTHING! It goes straight down the road with that load on her. So far, we've got about 500 miles on this setup with out any issues.
For those even considering this kind of setup, it works well. Of course you have to do your homework. Your rig must be able to handle the added weight etc. So far, so good.
Scott and Karla SDFD RETIRED
2004 Itasca Horizon, 36GD Slate Blue 330 CAT
2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Ext Cab 4x4 Toad 2008 Caliente Red LVL II GL 1800 Goldwing KI60ND
I suspect your Horizon weights a bit more than my 36' Journey with the 330 CAT (you got a few more goodies on that rig, I'm sure). We've traveled in the West twice towing a Ford Explorer weighing in at 4,700 lbs and, yes, the 330 CAT is adequate but it doesn't sprint up those long grades. You gotta keep those rpm's up which also helps keep the thing running cooler. When navigating steep grades, I dont let the Allison do the downshifting....I am proactive and manually dowshift to maximize the rpms.
Also, if you've not already done so, you may want to give the radiator/CAC pack a good cleaning. Rear radiator DP's suck a lot of crud from the engine bay and road thru the cooling pack and a good, annual cleaning with Simple Green and clear water is usually necessary to ensure cool running. Also, with the CAT, make sure the slobber tube is extended past the radiator and below the frame rails. The fan will suck that oil vapor into the radiator/CAC and gum things up.
2007 Country Coach Allure 470, Cummins ISL 425; 2012 Honda CR-V toad. SMI Air Force One braking system. Lucy the rescued lab/springer mix; Dixie rescued beagle mix. Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Scott I am interested in your setup with the motorcycle lift. Do you have the side radiator? or is it a rear radiator. I was just wondering with the motorcycle right on the rear and if it was a rear radiator if it would affect the cooling. Another question is the engine, is it the Caterpillar C-7 or the Cummins engine.
I was thinking of hauling a Harley on a system like what you have. But I had also heard that it might cause steering problems.
I am very familiar with the grades you are describing and some of those grades like Baker grade and then in Utah, some on I-15 and some real big grades on I-70 are a bear.
Don't feel bad because some posted bashing your Cat engine as to not having enough power. I used to have a Cummins engine and on I-70 by Richfield, Utah, I had about a four inch hole on the block of my brand new Cummins ISB engine. So I just laugh at these characters that try to bash Caterpillar.
* This post was
edited 09/02/11 07:46pm by RayChez *
2002 Gulf Stream Scenic Cruiser
330 HP Caterpillar
3000 Allison Transmission
Neway Freightliner chassis
2013 Honda CR-V EX
Thanks all for the nice comments. It was a bit work getting it to this point but, well worth it. So far, like stated, this CAT engine is a good runner. But, for the life of me, it should be illegal for the manufacturer(s) to install an engine that's simply too small. Well, many of you are satisfied with it and I am too for the most part but, on the hills, well.....
Anyway, Ray Chez,
As stated, I'd do it again in a heart beat. The hard part, is finding one of those "Hydralift" units used on the market. I got lucky and the wife found that one on ebay. I got it for way less than half price of a new one. Rare for me. I usually end up paying twice as much as it's worth. If you'd like, send me a PM with an email address and I'll send pics of the install at different phases. I too was concerned about the effects of the lift on, steering, front suspension, wandering because of too much weight shift off the front end, etc. well, all that worrying, was useless. IT WORKS!
As for the cooling, we ran through that desert of Las Vegas, Baker, Barstow, and everything before and after those towns at about 102 - 105 and as long as I wasn't pushing her too bad, the temp was hanging in there just fine. And yes, I too shift her before I let the Allison do the work. It's programmed to be pretty self sufficient but, a little help now and then, just seems to work better. I think that radiator is fairly clean. It's got the slobber tube extension on it and it's out to the side. I'll keep an eye on that situation though. Thanks for the heads up though. Again, thanks to all.