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Old 04-14-2014, 04:43 PM   #1
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Broken down HR Rambler

I just purchased my first RV and had a friend fly into Chicago to drive it back. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do it myself.
It is a 1986 Holiday Rambler Imperial.
He made it 24 miles before it lost all power...appeared the transmission slipped into neutral. Tow truck driver said it was probably the driveshaft or rear end. It doesn't appear to be the transmission (less than 6000 miles old and out of warranty). It makes a clanking sound when shifting into drive. Also when he stopped the rear brake was smoking.
To top it off, I had it towed to an International service center based on the recommendation of the tow truck driver since everybody was closed (Sunday) I couldn't talk to anybody. International told me they don't work on anything that small...now i have to pay for another tow.
Spoke to a independant mechanic in Chicago and attempted to trouble shoot this over the phone. He has a 97 Chevy 3500 and is willing to swap out the rear end IF that is what is wrong with it. He also has a drive shaft that he can install. Not sure if its the from the same truck AND if its the same length. Cost another 600-700 to tow it again. He is an hour away and will charge $200 just to drive out and look at it. And the International dealer tried to start it just to see what is wrong with it and now the battery is dead.
2 things that I have thought about:
what is my gear ratio? his is 4:11. Plus i get the added benefit of upgrading from drum to disc brakes...is there a downside to this??
what is my parking brake arrangement? on the drive shaft?
What else am I missing? Anybody else have a better idea or know of a great shop in Chicago? Or a cheaper tow service?!
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:05 PM   #2
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Daveputt: Congats on your new-to-u RV. sorry to read about all your troubles and expenses...hope you got a great deal on the purchase.

It would be most helpful if you could tell us what CHASSIS was used by HR back then. Newer IMPERIALS are all big DPs, AFAIK.
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:15 PM   #3
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P30 chassis. 454 with turbo 400 transmission.
Motor was upgraded by original owner, not the 2nd owner who sold it to me. I did speak with original owner and he said he upgraded motor to something larger but couldn't remember details. 8.1?? Regardless the motor isn't the problem.
Great deal on it though. $4k and it was kept inside it whole life so it's condition is unreal for its age. It's 7 years younger than me and I wish I aged that well!
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:18 PM   #4
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I think you need to get it to a Chevy truck repair shop. I'd be very hesitant to swap out a '97 3500 rear end. You don't even know if it is the rear end, broken U joint, or something else. (A broken U joint can make a 'clunking' sound when the driveshaft spins) What is the axle rating on your RV? Doesn't it have a tag axle? It should be listed on a plate next to driver's seat. Also I doubt a 3500 pick up drive shaft would be the same as yours. If you bought it from a dealer, you might have it towed back to them. I think you also have learned why a roadside assistance policy might be a good idea. Use Google and start looking for a Chevy truck repair near the RV's location and give them a call.
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
I'd be very hesitant to swap out a '97 3500 rear end.
I am not going to replace anything without confirming it is broke BUT I am trying to discuss my options.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
A broken U joint can make a 'clunking' sound when the driveshaft spins.
My friend that drove it said he crawled under the RV to inspect what he could. I will confirm with him if he looked at the U joint or not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
Doesn't it have a tag axle?
Yes
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Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
It should be listed on a plate next to driver's seat.
I am 500 miles away. My friend flew in to drive it home. Took a cab to airport after tow truck arrived.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
Also I doubt a 3500 pick up drive shaft would be the same as yours.
I was thinking the same thing. Not sure all P30 chassis are the same length AND is a 3500 chevy on the same P30 chassis.
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Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
If you bought it from a dealer, you might have it towed back to them.
Private party. Owner passed away. Children want nothing to do with it. Thats why/how I was able to get it so cheap (well at least I thought it was cheap until now!)
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I think you also have learned why a roadside assistance policy might be a good idea.
I have roadside. Purchased it on Saturday before my trip. Wasn't in the system on Sunday when I called. Coachnet was nice, but not the most helpful. I am hoping they will reimburse my money or pay for my next tow.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
Use Google and start looking for a Chevy truck repair near the RV's location and give them a call.
Since I haven't owned an RV before, do most mechanics work on RVs? I thought I was safe by going the heavy duty truck repair shop but that was a bad gamble!
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:08 PM   #6
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Or is there anybody in Chicago that knows where they would take a vintage RV in for repairs?
There is camping world or dealers. Any independent that works on medium duty trucks? Google is failing me!
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:11 PM   #7
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You'll have to check on an individual basis. Some don't have the headroom to lift an RV or they don't want the hassle of tracking dirt into the RV.

You'll have to be more specific as to area. 'Chicago area' is a vast area from Hammond, IN to Wisconsin border, Aurora and Joliet IL. Where is the rig?
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:12 PM   #8
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Bummer, What can I say, just a bummer, You know I was driving the 64 last Thursday and while sitting @ A stop light the thing felt like it slipped into neutral, then back into gear a block later going around a corner same thing. Got home and checked fluid.(OMAN) 2 quarts of tranny fluid low. Filled her up and she is going perfect. Could it be your Problem?
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:27 PM   #9
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keep in mind the brakes where hot this is some thing that well have to be looked at befor the RV can make it home

with the drag on the system the trans would have ran hot as well

bugs like to make a nest in the TH400 vint hole on the top of the trans

this could make it blow out fluid why going down the road

make sure the trans is just not low on fluid .. i got this alot with 14 of them running in trucks i had

i am 100% sure if it was a U joint it would have drop that end of the shaft and it would have been seen

this type of RV is right up my road and i made parade floats out of them all the time

all so if it is the rear end make sure its not the harder to find 79 inc wide one

Motor was upgraded by original owner, lol sounds like me ..he said he upgraded motor to something larger but couldn't remember details. 8.1?? Regardless the motor isn't the problem.

you can bold a th400 to a 8.1l but i am sure its not that
so its would be a 7.?L

bigger motor with hot brakes could have hurt the trans

i have had drivers that just did not care and push a truck befor

wish it was not so fare up or i would just drive up there look at it and most likely fix it for you
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:23 PM   #10
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The transmission was low on fluid but still was visible on the stick. After a few hours of cooling off it still didn't show any signs of getting into gear.
Not sure if it helps!
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:24 PM   #11
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Also, it's at Rush International dealer at
4655 South Central Avenue
Chicago, IL*60638
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:56 PM   #12
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Anyone with some basic mechanical knowledge ought to be able to at least figure out what the issue is. Surely someone at that truck dealer should have 15 minutes to take a peek.

I'm five or six hours away. Who's closer?
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:07 AM   #13
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Going to entertain using Uship to get this rv home. That way I can work on it myself.
Unfortunately, I don't have size info other than 33' long.
How should I estimate weight, width and height?
Any other P30 33' owners that can weigh in?! (Pun was intended!)
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:42 AM   #14
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I don't know how far you need to move it, but I'm sure it would be cheaper to find a local repair shop.
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