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Old 07-08-2008, 02:42 PM   #1
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Hello, all! We recently purchased a 1995 Dolphin 533 and are prepping it to fulltime for a year or more, starting in October (which can't come soon enough!). Unfortunately, the dealers and service departments in our area (Metro Detroit) seem pretty hostile to questions about the RV. I'm not sure if this is because of the age of the coach, or because we didn't buy it from them, or because we're violating some unknown code of RV dealer etiquette without realizing it, but I've been unable to get some seemingly simple questions answered. One dealer even told me to take my business elsewhere!

Can someone here offer some assistance in answering these questions, or at least tell my why asking them seems to make us so unwelcome at dealerships?

1. What can I expect to pay for routine maintenance like oil changes and brake service? Our coach has the Ford 460 engine with about 54K.

2. What are the specifications (oil fill, filter requirement, etc.) for the generator, which is a Generac Q55-G?

3. I would like a recommendation for a good roof-cleaning brush (our roof is filthy), and some advice on how to visually inspect the seals. We may have a leak (not a surprise given the age of the coach) but aren't sure how to eyeball a seal and tell if it's bad or not.

(Real difficult questions, eh?)

4. There is a cylinder attached to the front of the frame just inside the engine compartment. What is it? Sometimes ours howls, usually when the engine is idling. Is this normal?
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Old 07-08-2008, 02:42 PM   #2
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Hello, all! We recently purchased a 1995 Dolphin 533 and are prepping it to fulltime for a year or more, starting in October (which can't come soon enough!). Unfortunately, the dealers and service departments in our area (Metro Detroit) seem pretty hostile to questions about the RV. I'm not sure if this is because of the age of the coach, or because we didn't buy it from them, or because we're violating some unknown code of RV dealer etiquette without realizing it, but I've been unable to get some seemingly simple questions answered. One dealer even told me to take my business elsewhere!

Can someone here offer some assistance in answering these questions, or at least tell my why asking them seems to make us so unwelcome at dealerships?

1. What can I expect to pay for routine maintenance like oil changes and brake service? Our coach has the Ford 460 engine with about 54K.

2. What are the specifications (oil fill, filter requirement, etc.) for the generator, which is a Generac Q55-G?

3. I would like a recommendation for a good roof-cleaning brush (our roof is filthy), and some advice on how to visually inspect the seals. We may have a leak (not a surprise given the age of the coach) but aren't sure how to eyeball a seal and tell if it's bad or not.

(Real difficult questions, eh?)

4. There is a cylinder attached to the front of the frame just inside the engine compartment. What is it? Sometimes ours howls, usually when the engine is idling. Is this normal?
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:06 PM   #3
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Welcome to the Forum. Your questions are not that different from others answered here all the time. We have a great source of people that have dealt with questions such as yours and have willingly come up with answers and solutions. Hang in there, someone will jump in to help you out. And welcome.
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:38 PM   #4
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I'll throw my .02 worth in.
1. What can I expect to pay for routine maintenance like oil changes and brake service? Our coach has the Ford 460 engine with about 54K.
You don't mention about how many miles a year you plan to travel. Figure an oil change every 5k miles? Transmission service every 20k? If you spend most of your time on the hiway, brakes shouldn't be an issue. I think more importantly you might want to budget some money to the fact that you do have a 95 coach and it will take cash to keep it running. No warranty right? How old is the refer, generator, a/c tanks, stove, furnace, water heater, tires, shocks, brakes, holding tanks, water pumps ect ect. I hope you aren't scared. We full time in our 05, we don't drive much, maybe 300 - 500 miles a month. We travel a bit, stay a while, repeat. My costs are very low but I was lucky to have bought a new coach and have been able to do regular preventive maintenance.


2. What are the specifications (oil fill, filter requirement, etc.) for the generator, which is a Generac Q55-G?

I think you can find this info on the web at the mfg website.

3. I would like a recommendation for a good roof-cleaning brush (our roof is filthy), and some advice on how to visually inspect the seals. We may have a leak (not a surprise given the age of the coach) but aren't sure how to eyeball a seal and tell if it's bad or not.

Is your roof rubber or fiberglass? I use a still bristle brush and some roof cleaner from Camping world. I have a fiberglass roof. After a through cleaning I also apply a coat of clear floor polish to protect the roof from bird droppings.
Just walk the roof and look for old cracked weathered caulking. Cut it away with a knife. Clean the area with ipa and replace with new.

(Real difficult questions, eh?)
Not so difficult, I hope I helped a little
4. There is a cylinder attached to the front of the frame just inside the engine compartment. What is it? Sometimes ours howls, usually when the engine is idling. Is this normal?
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:46 PM   #5
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How handy are you, can you do some of these things your self. Ever changed the oil on your car same thing only easier you don't need to jack it up. Same with generator look at the manual just drain replace filter ( by the way it's the same filter that goes on a 4 cyl 96 Toyota Camry)on mine it's 1 1/2 qts of oil or until it comes to the mark on the dip stick.
For the roof clean it and do a search for Eternabond tape. Redo all the roof and roof side seams with the tape and you can forget about the roof seams leaking, good for about 15 years. Can put tape over the old caulk.
The brakes should be checked and the slides cleaned and lubed they have been know to hang up.
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Old 07-08-2008, 06:00 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice! I think we'll be traveling much the same way you do--300-500 miles a month and then parked for a few weeks. All of the appliances are in good working order, so I'm trying to get my preventive maintenance started before we hit the road. And I'll confess to only being slightly intimidated!

The manufacturer's website was, oddly, no help in getting gennie specs. I am happy to change my own oil (have already done it myself with the engine), I just needed to know how much was needed so I don't overfill it.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Rick 2005 Dolphin 5376:
I'll throw my .02 worth in.
You don't mention about how many miles a year you plan to travel. Figure an oil change every 5k miles? Transmission service every 20k? If you spend most of your time on the hiway, brakes shouldn't be an issue. I think more importantly you might want to budget some money to the fact that you do have a 95 coach and it will take cash to keep it running. No warranty right? How old is the refer, generator, a/c tanks, stove, furnace, water heater, tires, shocks, brakes, holding tanks, water pumps ect ect. I hope you aren't scared. We full time in our 05, we don't drive much, maybe 300 - 500 miles a month. We travel a bit, stay a while, repeat. My costs are very low but I was lucky to have bought a new coach and have been able to do regular preventive maintenance.


2. What are the specifications (oil fill, filter requirement, etc.) for the generator, which is a Generac Q55-G?

I think you can find this info on the web at the mfg website.

3. I would like a recommendation for a good roof-cleaning brush (our roof is filthy), and some advice on how to visually inspect the seals. We may have a leak (not a surprise given the age of the coach) but aren't sure how to eyeball a seal and tell if it's bad or not.

Is your roof rubber or fiberglass? I use a still bristle brush and some roof cleaner from Camping world. I have a fiberglass roof. After a through cleaning I also apply a coat of clear floor polish to protect the roof from bird droppings.
Just walk the roof and look for old cracked weathered caulking. Cut it away with a knife. Clean the area with ipa and replace with new.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>
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Old 07-08-2008, 06:02 PM   #7
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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 John Wayne:
How handy are you, can you do some of these things your self. Ever changed the oil on your car same thing only easier you don't need to jack it up. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yep, already discovered that!

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> For the roof clean it and do a search for Eternabond tape. Redo all the roof and roof side seams with the tape and you can forget about the roof seams leaking, good for about 15 years. Can put tape over the old caulk.
The brakes should be checked and the slides cleaned and lubed they have been know to hang up. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Many thanks!
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:04 AM   #8
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Oil changes by dealers will be billed at their rates. Here it is about $100/hour. Simple job to do yourself. Use 5w20 or 5w30 oil.

Oil in generator should be 10w30 and should take about 1-1/2 qts. Dip stick check as pouring should tel you when to stop. The drain plug is under the oil check dipstick. Oil should be changed every 50 hours or once ayear. You should run the generator under load monthly for about a half hour. Change oil and air filter each time you change oil. Internet sources available for filters. Also may be available locally in your area.

I think you have a rubber roof and should be careful not to puncture it. I have fiberglass so not sure on rubber maintenance. On fiberglass I just use a truck washing brush and car soap.

Look at caulking. If it is tight to each surface with no cracks it should be OK. If you see separations or cracks should remove with a plastic putty knife (not metal) and clean old caulk off surfaces. Special caulking needed for rubber roof. Others can give you info.

The cylinder is probably the hydraulic reservoir for the Power Gear leveling jacks. shouldn't howl unless it is being used. Perhaps something else howling?

Have brake fluid changed. Should be changed every two to three years (Ford recommends 2 years) because it will absorb moisture and when overheated like downhill braking can cause brake failure. When changing fluid, have the pads and calipers checked.
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:48 AM   #9
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Camping World sells a specific brush for cleaning rubber roofs, and they also have a cleaner and protectant. They work very well and my 9 year old roof looks like new. I clean and protect mine about once a year.
If you see any cracking or "weathering" of the caulk around your vents, air conditioners, TV antenna etc, make sure that the caulk product you use is approved for rubber roofs or you could ruin the rubber, and have a much larger problem.
If there are any punctures in the rubber, Camping World sells a rubber roof patch kit that has everything you need for a permanent patch.
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Old 07-09-2008, 07:10 PM   #10
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Many, many thanks to all! I have a weekend of roof and generator maintenance planned.
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:00 PM   #11
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Try this site http://www.guardiangenerators....n/Manual.aspx?src=qp

for your generator manual -- look at the bottom of the page.

Also be sure to check the distilled water level in all your batteries.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:24 AM   #12
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Same oil (10-30) as in a car, pickup, whatever. Find out if your motor take 5 qts or 6 qts. Oil filer...same. See NAPA for both. If you are so inclined, do it yourself. Same as anything else...no mystery. Lube: no biggie either. Upper/lower ball joints, steering, yadda yeadda yadda. But...in my case, I have a "unknown" lube fitting on the steering box. (Ford). Don't forget the universals (maybe more than 2, depending on the length of the coach) and check if you have a "hand brake box" located just behind the transmission. Make sure that has enough oil...otherwise, that's 700 bucks.
I have a Generac 5.5. It takes 1 1/2Qts of 10-30. If you have no manual, I would suggest you drain the oil, put in a quart, check the dipstick. Add as needed. Filter? I use NAPA #1348...the air filter NAPA 2442. (The foam "Pre-filter" is washable...and it can be, at least in my case, be replaced by Briggs and Stratton. Pull the generator spark plugs, find out what they are and replace them with same.

Maybe I've gone too far....just trying to help out.
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