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Old 09-27-2014, 09:24 AM   #1
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Am I ever going to enjoy my RV?

Well, yesterday was the 4th time we took the RV out & the 4th time we broke down. I'm discouraged & disgusted with it. I wouldn't mind putting the money into it if we got to enjoy it.

We picked it up from local RV service of 1st oil change on new motor & service to generator. They also replaced the AC belt. Not even 5 miles down the road, the AC belt goes & in the process takes the serpentine belt off (not broken, just off) so it overheats. It took almost 2 hours to nurse it back to the shop by driving short hops then resting to cool. It's Friday night at 7 pm & the mechanic won't be in until next week so our weekend plans are scrapped.

PS The mechanic got a real kick out of working on our rig as it is the unit used in the movie Spaceballs. He took pics & texted his friends.
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Old 09-27-2014, 09:41 AM   #2
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Text... I might welcome you to the world of "vintage" RVs... but you are already there. I am a do-it-myself mechanic...and on my older Bounder...I spend that ratio of 25% down time per season keeping up with improvements and replacements to assure and secure good use. But as a word for all owners like yourself... there will be that magical moment when you have replaced so many items that there is little to go wrong for an extended period of time. So stay on top of all regular maintenance parts...go over everything twice..regularly. Run up every system throughout the year...and shake everything out. Schedule a pre use event before any long trips..... and you will reduce surprises and got-chas by many times.
I will only own an older rig...cannot afford a newer one. But i am getting personal and familiar with that which I have selected.
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Old 09-27-2014, 11:56 AM   #3
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That sort of thing kind of goes with the "vintage RV" territory. After all, the coach is 30 years old! If you have to pay somebody else for every little repair, it is likely to be a money pit.

You might also look for a non-RV shop for chassis work. Few RV dealers have any chassis repair specialists, and most all charge higher labor rates than truck repair shops or even car dealers. Your Chieftain probably has a gas chassis from either Ford or Chevy.
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Old 09-27-2014, 12:16 PM   #4
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There is a forum that is dedicated to vintage RV owners. It is very useful and you will avoid condescending remarks that seem to be the norm for this forum. Here is the link: Good Old RVs - Vintage RVs for the rest of us...
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Old 09-27-2014, 12:24 PM   #5
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you will avoid condescending remarks that seem to be the norm for this forum.
I find this comment very odd. I think this is one of the most polite RV forums there is.

Bruce
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Old 09-27-2014, 01:30 PM   #6
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I find this comment very odd. I think this is one of the most polite RV forums there is.

Bruce
As a rule everyone is polite, but with vintage RVs there is a general attitude of "that is what you get for buying an old rv." I have asked several questions on this forum about my 87 Southwind and many of the replies to me have given me this impression even though similar questions about newer RVs do not give that impression. It is like old RVs are junk and should be gotten rid of instead of being given the same respect that new ones get.
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Old 09-27-2014, 02:20 PM   #7
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This event sounds like you got poor service instead of a vintage RV problem. Before we got our Country Coach the wife and I bought a 1992 Class C Dutchmen on a Ford chassis. I spent a lot of money at first in maintenance. Pulled the brake calipers and lubed the pins, flushed the brake fluid, transmission filter and flush, new tires belts and hoses etc. we ran the wheels off that thing and other than one plugged fuel filter never had problems. What I couldn't do I took to Ford as I didn't trust most RV service centers. By the way I documented all the service and when it came time to sell that's what sold it. YMMV
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Old 09-27-2014, 03:00 PM   #8
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I don't think you had this experience because your coach is 'vintage'. It's because you have a mechanic that doesn't know how to change an AC belt.

If that shop cared about you, they'd get that mechanic or someone else in, to get you on the road quickly.

Time to find another mechanic, and possibly another shop.

Jim (A lifetime diesel mechanic and diesel engine machinist)
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Old 09-27-2014, 03:49 PM   #9
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Textronics, I have to agree with Papa Jim. I rv'd with 80s model Southwinds on P30 chassis for about 20 yrs until I sprang for this DP.Did you get a new A/C compressor or did the old one freeze up. Or the pulley may not have lined up right with that new motor. I recall having a serpintine belt on my 89, but not my 86. I would have hung on to my vintage RV, but I was seduced by all that torque, air suspension & slide out. Once you get it dialed in you should enjoy it.
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Old 09-27-2014, 07:06 PM   #10
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To be fair, this AC has a "new" compressor" which has now eaten 3 belts -- this last one extremely quickly. The serpentine belt just came loose in the process. It's aggravating & frustrating, and they did offer to take care of it. It just took us forever to get back to them because Good Sam pulled its old stunt of taking forever to address our distress call. I've come to expect that now. They insisted on not even logging our call until we called 911. We didn't see any need to unnecessarily call an emergency number for a non emergency so they did it for us. After over an hour of drinking around, they hadn't even logged the service call, so the limping it back to the shop took a couple of hours. They did keep the gate open an extra hour for someone to let us in and lock up behind us.

Hubby still works full time and we have a commitment we made which eats most weekend until next April. After that, he and I will try to do some of the work ourselves. We wanted this service documented because of the new engine. We were required to get an oil change at 500 miles. Valvoline, who does all of our other vehicle oil changes wouldn't touch the RV because it's an RV. So we took it to an RV shop and had them take care of other things while we had the rig there. And I don't recall complaining about the money. In fact, I reread my post and it is that every trip = a breakdown that bothers me. We knew we would have to put some money into maintenance and improvements but there is no way we can afford 2 or more x what our house is worth to purchase a new or even new enough to have a warranty RV.
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Old 09-27-2014, 07:44 PM   #11
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I too have an older RV setup. I can do most work myself which is an advantage

How a bout a couple of pics of the Spaceballs RV?..Does it still have the rocket boosters...lol?

Love all of Mel Brooks' movies BTW
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Old 09-27-2014, 07:56 PM   #12
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I am sorry to hear of all your problems with your coach. With it throwing the compressor belt 4 time, I would bet that the pulleys are misaligned. Take your coach to local independent garage that will work on anything you bring in. They are around and most of them are good and prices are reasonable. Have them check the pulley alignment. I suspect that the wrong pulley for your model is on your compressor. You can't always get a new one from the parts store and have it fit correctly.
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Old 09-27-2014, 08:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandpere View Post
As a rule everyone is polite, but with vintage RVs there is a general attitude of "that is what you get for buying an old rv." I have asked several questions on this forum about my 87 Southwind and many of the replies to me have given me this impression even though similar questions about newer RVs do not give that impression. It is like old RVs are junk and should be gotten rid of instead of being given the same respect that new ones get.
I don't agree. There are many of us out there that have newer RV's and have problems and spent a crapload of money to fix things. It's a mechanical vehicle with moving parts. Some are lucky to have purchased a well cared for coach, however, that is still not a guarantee of problem free use. Some like me, buy a coach and things just happen and I have only 40,000 miles on my coach. I'm into it for about $10,000 in repairs. I still have things that need to be fixed but do the immediate needed and plan for things to come.
It's no fun breaking down and it's no fun spending money you don't have as disposable. I don't mind problems, I just don't like expensive ones.
Give your rig a going over and see if you can spot potential issues and then try to pick them off on a priority basis before they become problems. Do as much of it as you can yourself to keep costs down. Eventually as others have mentioned, you start to get ahead of the "everything is a problem" stage and start to enjoy what you got into this lifestyle for.
Keep your chin up....it does get better!
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Old 09-27-2014, 09:18 PM   #14
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yea, I don't know if this is so much an old RV issue. Ours is a 1985 pace Arrow with a 454, I better knock on wood, but in the 3 yrs & probably close to 10K miles, weve not lost a belt. the only problem we had at all was the electric fuel pump failed, but it didn't stop our trip.
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