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Old 06-28-2015, 04:47 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 53
1996 Itasca Sunrise Restoration Project

Hello All,

This is my second post to this forum so if I'm in the wrong place or if there is a better place for this please just let me know. I purchased a 1996 Itasca Sunrise last summer from a gentleman that assured me that other than some cosmetic issues (headliner failure, interior needs some help) the coach could be driven cross country without any problems. GREAT! I wanted to take my wife, our recently adopted 12 year old daughter and our dog from Virginia to KC on vacation. It didn't make it out of the city limits and I've learned more about older class A motorhomes than I ever thought I would.

After the purchase and just by driving it from the RV storage to my house and back the first thing I noticed was an exhaust leak. It's a ICF31RQ on a Ford F53 Super Duty Chassis, 7.5 liter (460 cu.in.) engine. The air injection system pipe that bolts to the back of the right manifold was leaking. Of course the bolts were rusted no amount of coaxing was going to help so I get a new right exhaust manifold and start the replacement while it is parked in front of my house. This is where things start to go really bad. While I'm under it, I see that the steering stabilizer is crushed and wrapped around the tie rod, the inner rear duels are shot and I have antifreeze leaking from the right side radiator area. Then it starts raining and I have a waterfall inside on coming down from the top of the windshields onto the dash. I'm disappointed but OK I own it now I have to fix it. I get the manifold on and the exhaust leak is fixed. I then install a new Bilstein steering stabilizer and drive over to the tire shop and get a full set of new Michelin tires.

Next I start checking into the water leaks and I find the crank up TV antenna is shot so I remove it thinking that's the source until I find out about the famous Winnebago windshield seal failure, rusting frame, cost a fortune to repair problem. Water hose to the top of the windshield confirms that problem. I drive over to a local RV repair for a quote and decided I can live with the temporary fix. But on the 20 mile drive there and back I smell rubber burning similar to an old fan belt. I knew that the A/C wasn't working so I had a bad feeling that it was the A/C belt. I get home pull the engine cover and take the belt off of the A/C compressor. I was right it was the A/C belt but the cause was a bad A/C compressor. Sometime in this RV's life the A/C compressor locked up but instead of fixing it they kept on driving. The front bearing had completely failed and the only thing holding the A/C drive pulley on was the clutch. And if that wasn't bad enough, when the compressor failed blown out the front seal because the complete A/C system has been open to outside air for what I'm guessing is years because I found rust on the inside of the A/C fittings.

Now I'm rebuilding the complete A/C system but before I go there let's get back to the radiator leak. Thanks to the RV forum I soon find out about the famous Ford radiator leaks at seams where the core is connected to the tanks. Of course the replacement radiator is a special order only item so I find one for $$$.$$ and get it shipped to me. The place I got it from was great to work with and I finally got it installed a couple of weeks ago but not before I replaced the water pump, the thermostat and a highly corroded thermostat housing, and all the hoses. While replacing the water pump I soon discovered that someone tried to stop the radiator leak with large quantities of stop leak. I still need to finish flushing the system but I'll get to that later. Now I'm back on the A/C system. I was able to get an OEM compressor, evaporator, expansion valve and pressure switches but I have to hand make the hoses and use an aftermarket condenser. I purchased the largest Parallel Flow condenser with dryer that I could make fit in the existing area. It's about 1/3 rd smaller in height but the improved efficiency is supposed to make up the difference. I got it installed today so I can start to mock up the hoses. The compressor is a direct fit so no problem there. I'll get the evaporator and expansion valve block installed this week while I wait on the A/C fittings to arrive so I can finish making the hoses. The challenge is reusing part of the old hose that has the high pressure switch and the clutch cycling switch installed. I'll let you know how that works out soon. I'm trying to get all this done over the next two weeks so I can finally try that cross country trip.

I still need to share the problem i had with the furnace and what happened when I started to pull away from the front of my house and hit my brick mailbox with the right rear corner but that's it for now. My best all of you.


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Old 06-28-2015, 05:39 PM   #2
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Wow! When I was younger I sort of relished projects like this. Now, not so much. Best of luck with your new adventure. You will really enjoy it when you get it all sorted out.

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Old 06-28-2015, 05:51 PM   #3
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Location: Southern NM
Posts: 912
First of all, it sounds like you are a very mechanical person, which is great, it is saving you some money, but on the flip side, maybe if you would of looked at the RV a little more closely you could of used the things you found wrong as a bargaining chip, for a lower price, like the tires would of been not that hard to see, if you would of test drove it you would of heard the exhaust leak.

I'm not trying to bash you, and hope you don't take it personal, I think it is great that you are getting it going so you can take your family on vacation.

Any chance on talking to the previous owner and maybe working something out?

Best of luck
2005 Tiffin Allegro Bay 37DB
W22 Workhorse Chassis 8.1
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Old 06-28-2015, 06:10 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 53
At this stage I can't take anything personally. It's all my bad for taking this guy at his word so shame on me. Everything was supposed to be fine and every question was met with "it's always been like that". Or "sure...everything works".

Water way under the bridge so now I'm trying to make a silk purse. I'm hopeful I'll get it on the road and enjoy it for a few years before I upgrade. In any case, if you guys are up for it I'll keep this post updated as I go along.

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Old 06-28-2015, 06:32 PM   #5
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Posts: 1,342
You are so lucky that, per the previous owner, it could be driven cross country without any problems. Think of how bad things could have been otherwise. You are doing a great job bringing this MH back to life.

1993 Gulfstream Sun Voyager DP 30'
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Old 06-28-2015, 08:41 PM   #6
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Damn. And i thought i had it bad when i just recently bought mine after taking someones word. At least i haven't come across as many surprises with mine as you have with yours. The previous owner was pretty straightforward with me about the work needing to be involved in getting it fixed. (Needed a new roof, new batteries, and goes into reverse when it feels like it and not always when i need it to.) I put a new roof on mine and now I'm stumped on my electrical system. Nothing is wired how it's supposed to be for my batteries, I'm stuck trying to figure out the spaghetti noodle mess of the chassis electric system.

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