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Old 08-17-2017, 05:55 PM   #1
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Out of my comfort zone

After 40 years of operations management in the nuclear industry where training, proficiency and the rigor of configuration management is routine, I'm out of my comfort zone having just bought our first Class A MH where I'm clueless. My wife and I bought a 1999 Holiday Rambler Vacationer, 1 owner w/42,000 mile off an Ohio dealer and have no idea what to expect. She's a retired Dental Hygienist and I'm getting close to retirement so we thought we'd try this out with an older model before we upgrade; don't have a clue what to expect. Dealer did a comprehensive inspection of coach, chassis and systems and recommended new tires after agreeing to a $19K selling price. Fortunately (I think) they offered to put 6 new Firestone MH tires on and split their cost. I have to think getting new tires on this for $900 is a great deal and it will retire significant risk (nuclear talk). Any recommendations to keep us out of the ditches and poor house as we get our sea legs? Dealer seemed honest and said exterior coach was average condition for age (no obvious issues), windshield has no chips, cracks or issues, and interior is above average (looks new). We bought it at risk after taking with him on a 10 mile test drive thinking if it doesn't work out we aren't out of a whole lot of money. Recommendations, thoughts, advice?
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:08 PM   #2
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Congrats on the new wheels and welcome! You found a great resource here, that can be half the battle!

I'd recommend a couple of road trips around the area to test the "car" side of the unit and perhaps a overnight or two in the driveway to demo the "house" systems. Similar to a used car, check the various vehicle wear items and fluids etc. If not mechanically inclined, have a mechanic you trust look it over. New tires are a plus and $900 is definitely less then what I just for mine! Water is your enemy, check the roof and other sealed spots for leaks. Similar to a house or boat, there is always something that needs tweaking.

Congrats again and welcome!
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:17 PM   #3
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Welcome. Assume you got no service records. If you can tell who the prior owner was by the title paperwork suggest you contact them and try to get service history

- has coolant ever been flushed and or changed ?
- has transmission fluid ever been changed ?
- brakes ever serviced ?
- belts ever changed ?

I would base line all of the above by doing them if you can not confirm them as done in past few years. If selling dealer did not change oil and filter I would do that too.

You might post if it is gas or diesel if diesel the diesel owners can chime in with more things

If you have hydraulic leveling jacks check them for fluid resivour at the full mark if they have retract springs check them you may want to proactive replace them before one breaks - jacks won't retract if spring breaks
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:45 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tips.

Edited post to clarify it is gas on Ford chassis. Dealer changed oil and filter but not sure about coolant. Hydraulic jacks work good. Will try to make contact with previous owner on service records. It's clear it was well maintained and not abused.
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:48 PM   #5
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Always start out camping at home or close by. It's a great way to familiarize yourself with the new rig. Things will go wrong, break and so forth, but I'm sure it will probably not "melt down"🤔 Relax, have fun and enjoy
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:32 PM   #6
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We bought out 2002 Windsor in 2008. I feel I am fairly savy as to mechanical side (working in mining industry for +25 years). I did a complete inspection myself before purchase, I could not find anything wrong.

That being said, the first thing I did was take the rig to Crosspoint Cummins for an inspection and service. I knew the manager, he worked for me as maintenance superintendent for a mining complex, so I knew I could trust his opinion.

After the service/inspection we went over the results, he said the rig was "cherry" and I got a heck of a deal. Gave me piece of mind and also a starting point for the maintenance side of it.

I would recommend you do the same. No doubt the dealership did an inspection but may not have been as thorough as you might think. Have a complete service done, oil, lube etc. I'd also go ahead and change the belts, keep the old as spares.
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Old 08-17-2017, 08:41 PM   #7
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I think the number one item for a new Class A owner is the surprise on how the coach handles on the road. Your new coach is not like your sedan and it doesn't drive like it. Wind plays an important part as well as passing semi's. Semi's will push you away as they begin the pass and then may pull you back in while the trailer goes by. It also depends on the style of front end on the semi as to how much push you get. In this case you need to check and see if the Cheap Handling Fix or CHF has been done. Search this forum for it. I highly recommend doing this to your chassis. The CHF helps with this as well as proper tire inflation and loading. There are other mods you can add to the F53 chassis to help with handling but I advise only doing so after trying the CHF.

Load your coach as you would for a normal trip. Then go weigh it to see how each axle is loaded. Check the loading chart for correct weight distribution (it should be located near the drivers seat). If your load doesn't match reload and try again. Also load your heavy items as low as you can. It helps with the handling.

Finally, keep your speed below 70 MPH preferably below 65 MPH. You're retired and have all the time in your day to travel. So keep it slower than you might in the sedan. Don't try to drive long distances in a single day. I try to keep a days travel at 300 miles or less. Preferably less. If you have never driven a large truck think about taking a driving course that is offered for Class A RV's. It might be well worth your time to do this. Enjoy this lifestyle. There's something new around every corner. Welcome aboard.
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:52 AM   #8
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You'll get lots of good advice here, but in the end, you'll learn by doing, we all did. First and foremost, just relax and enjoy your new lifestyle. We bought our first coach four months after retiring, a six year old gasser. Fifteen years later, we're on our third coach, a quad slide DP. A few things we learned over the years. Have a road service you feel comfortable with. Early on, we found a local service shop we worked well with that provided years of service and good advice. Load lite, unless you do a lot of off road camping, there will be a store nearby for those items you forgot, so don't worry about it. Most importantly, relax and have fun.
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:18 AM   #9
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Dave, Welcome to your new lifestyle and our forum. You will learn lots here. I live in Chillicothe, just north of you. I have put 35,000 miles on a 2003 , v-10 F53 Ford in the last 6 years. I used to work at that nuclear facility just south of where you live. When we first bought our coach, we took numerous short camping trips around the area to try and figure out what we didn't know, and learn a few things that needed tweaked. If you are now retired, I would suggest middle of the week camping this time of the year. The campgrounds get quite full on the weekends.
Probably the most important lesson this RV has taught me is to relax and be flexible with the trip planning. Those of us with engineering management backgrounds are used to planning and controlling things, and that's almost impossible to do with a rolling house that tends to have things break down. Just relax and enjoy the ride, and some of the best memories that you will make will be during unplanned events.
If you would like a more direct contact with me, you may PM me with your email and/or phone number.
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:34 AM   #10
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Add to this list:
Flush and replace brake fluid.
Brake calipers are probably "sliding caliper" design so, in addition to checking pad/lining condition, lubricate sliders.

And, use SEARCH on this forum to find information and opinions for every system on your motorhome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by powercat_ras View Post
Welcome. Assume you got no service records. If you can tell who the prior owner was by the title paperwork suggest you contact them and try to get service history

- has coolant ever been flushed and or changed ?
- has transmission fluid ever been changed ?
- brakes ever serviced ?
- belts ever changed ?

I would base line all of the above by doing them if you can not confirm them as done in past few years. If selling dealer did not change oil and filter I would do that too.

You might post if it is gas or diesel if diesel the diesel owners can chime in with more things

If you have hydraulic leveling jacks check them for fluid resivour at the full mark if they have retract springs check them you may want to proactive replace them before one breaks - jacks won't retract if spring breaks
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Old 08-18-2017, 10:18 AM   #11
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Hi Dave! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Congrats on the new rig! Keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 08-18-2017, 10:38 AM   #12
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Sounds like the OP is getting some good advice, especially about the brakes. Camping close by for a few times is a great way to get aclimated. We used to belong to a club that had it's own park. It was about 35 miles away and made it easy to use the rig.
My late wife always overpacked, especially in the food dept., then she usually decided we should eat out. We never did much boondocking, a week at Quartzsite was about it.
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:49 PM   #13
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Congrates Dave!!!! I looked but nobody said about carrying extras engine oil, coolant, trans fluid, air filter, oil filters. levelers oil, fuses of all sizes, rear light bulbs for turn signals and stop, marker light bulbs, extra types for inside chassis lights, funnels for water and oil short and long and oh yea plenty of tools!!!! and FIRST AID KIT!!!! Don't forget the vise grips!!!And when in doubt ask questions of this group even while on road!!! Best of luck on your new venture!!!

Steve
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:56 PM   #14
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Well that's a little scarry for us that depend on the people running nuclear power plants, being confident in what they are doing.
Sorry for being so blunt, but learning the systems of a diesel pusher should be a walk in the park for you! IMHO.

Welcome to the forum!
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