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Old 02-06-2014, 10:41 AM   #15
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OK. This brings us to our current coach, not a vintage but getting there.

My wife and I have been blessed with the ability and desire to work hard over our almost 25 years of marriage. Although we don't make great money by today's standards we do ok and I have always wrenched on the side for extra money so we could enjoy some toys along the way. The only reason I mention this is because for our age we catch a lot of crap about our toys from family, neighbors and co-workers who seem to think we have endless piles of money. We do NOT, we simply save, work hard and play just as hard.

We had used our previous RV's to haul our race car, sand toys and snowmobiles around, however, by the mid-2000's we had also developed a love of merely traveling around and seeing the country. My wife and I decided that we wanted to upgrade coaches again in 2006. We put together a "must have list" and a "would like to have list" and called my local dealer to assist in finding us our dream coach. Items that were on our "must have list" were; semi-monocoque chassis, 400hp (minimum), 40' (not 38' and not 42'+), tag axle, Aqua-Hot, 10kw generator, triple roof A/C units and it still had to be fully functional/usable with the slides retracted. The last one was mainly due to the fact that I didn't want to have to put the slides out when loading in the driveway due to space limitations and also because we used our coaches to haul our snowmobiles up on the mountain and I figured rather than mess with snow on the slide toppers as well as more cubic feet to heat when the temperatures were in the single digits it would simply be better to not deploy the slides when sledding in cold and snow conditions.

We looked for 9+ months and was about to either throw in the towel and keep the Beaver or we would have to step to a 42'. A 42' would hang slightly over our sidewalk when parked in the driveway which wasn't the end of the world, I just didn't want that and I also knew we were looking to step up from our 24' enclosed trailer to a new 26' so a 40' was ideal.

I was also having next to an impossible time finding a 40' with triple roof A/C units and the larger genset. Most, if not all, 40' coaches have dual roof A/C units and the 7500 watt genset. My wife didn't see the big deal but she also knew that I am quite particular and must have had a reason for my/our needs.

One day in mid-January 2007 I got a call from my dealer that said he had shot me an email with a build sheet for a 2003 coach that fit my description. I told him that 2003 was much newer than the 1998-1999 that we had discussed and had budgeted for. He replied he could get us into this for the same money we had discussed for a late 90's. I didn't see how that was possible but after getting home that evening and viewing the build sheet I started to get excited.

The coach showed up early February on a Friday morning and I got the call that it was here. My wife and I ran at lunch to look at it and it was filthy from the drive in. Overall, we liked what we saw but I wanted to see it cleaned up and also to see how it towed our trailer over a nearby mountain pass. It was also somewhat neglected as far as detailing went and the 3M mask on the front was hideous as it was yellowed and peeling severely. My wife started thinking that it was a mistake due to the amount of work it would require, however, I could see the hidden beauty that lurked just under that neglected surface and after some much needed maintenance and work. I quickly began to see why the price was what it was.

On Saturday morning we picked up the coach, went home and hooked up to our loaded 24' enclosed trailer and commenced our "test drive". One thing that my wife and I both commented on was how nice and warm and even the heat was distributed while traveling up and over the mountain pass in 10 degree ambient temperature. I fell in love with the solid foundation of the coach and the wife liked the floorplan, although she really liked the side aisle and stand alone bathroom in our Beaver vs. the pass through bath room/shower area of the Monaco. She absolutely fell in love with the fact that it was the only coach that we looked at so far that had a sink in the head as well as a sink in the rear bedroom. That was a big plus for her. I was not happy with the washer/dryer to be honest because I simply thought that is one more thing to maintain as well as winterize. She really didn't think anything of it, at least not until our first week long trip. Now that is one of her favorite features.

After our test drive we returned to the dealership and made an offer. After about 10-minutes of negotiating we were the proud new owners of a 2003 Monaco Dynasty Baroness 40' coach with 55k miles on the odometer.

Luckily the weather in February that year was mild so I immediately commenced getting the coach up to our standards mechanically. I ended up having to rebuild the alternator after realizing that there was a charging issue and the batteries were crap. I also changed all fluids/filters and greased the drivetrain/suspension components. After a couple of weeks of mechanical work I started to work on the cosmetics. First I installed some new tires on the steer axle and moved the steer to the tag. While the wheels were off I polished the aluminum wheels which were in very poor shape, I doubt they had been polished in the 55k miles that were on the coach.

I then removed the drive wheels/tires for inspection as well as to polish the wheels. March turned out to be good weather as well so I spend a week heating and peeling that damn 3M film off of the front in peices. The paint was also severely chipped under the film. I sanded the front cap down from a few inches above the bottom of the windshield and got the paint codes so I could have some paint mixed. I painted and clearcoated the front cap as well as repaired and painted/clearcoated the three front compartment doors on the curbside which had about a 5' scratch/crease down them. After painting was complete I then began going around the entire coach with a buffer, section by section, until it was completely detailed and started to look like something I wanted sitting in the driveway.

By late March after almost two full months of work she was ready for travel. We took a quick weekend trip to test everything out before a week long trip to the south end of the Grand Canyon that we had planned from the previous winter.

Here is a picture from our mayden trip. Paint and wheels all polished up and flat-towing our 1996 Grand Cherokee.


Parked in front of our house in 2008 after picking up our new 26' Haulmark Edge race trailer. Within the first 15-minutes of being home with the new trailer I had the heat gun out and all of the stickers, labels and emblems were removed from the trailer.


On our first trip out in March 2011 the slide topper over the bedroom slide come apart. The stitching failed which is quite common on these but more importantly I really didn't like the looks of the exposed roll (you can see for reference the original awnings in the two previous pictures). I had seen the new toppers out by Carefree on the new coaches that had the anti-billowing cover over them and the "bronze" colored slide toppers and bedroom window awning did nothing for me. I wanted to upgrade to the new style and go with black slide toppers and window awnings. Also, another pet peeve of mine was the streetside forward slide topper was also a combined window awning that pulled out with the slide, then you unlatch it and pull it out farther for the window awning. I absolutely hated that design so I ordered a seperate window awning for the window over the dinette and couch on the streetside.

Here is the new slide topper with separate window awning for the front streetside slide.


Curbside slide topper and bedroom window awning.


Bedroom window awning.


Personally, I think the enclosed black awnings/toppers look much better than the open material bronze toppers.

Coach and Jeep hooked up in from of our home after returning from a weekend getaway last fall.




Coach and trailer parked in Moab last fall with the Jeep.


I don't have any shots of the interior but I will have to get some. All in all my wife and I love our Dynasty and although it turned over 95k miles on her on the last trip we took in October of last year, we look forward to putting many more miles on her. I hope she is just getting broken in and has a lot more life and miles left to give.

Here is also a link to a thread I did last fall when I performed the fall service on the coach before putting her away for the winter.
Dynasty Service Performed


Mike.
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Old 02-06-2014, 11:38 AM   #16
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I just remembered that I had documented a repair that I did last summer pertaining to the air operated step on our Dynasty. Maybe this will help someone out if they experience a similar situation.

One of the things that didn't function when we purchased the coach back in 2007 was the air operated step. The dealer was going to fix it (along with a couple of other items) but I made an offer on an as is basis because I know they go cheap on repairs ESPECIALLY after the deal has been made. This way I didn't have to go back and repair or redo someones shade tree repair afterwards. I had to replace the air solenoid which was really no big deal. Other than that the air operated step has been trouble free until last summer.

We were on a trip to Durango/Cortez, CO area when the step started to move in and out slightly. This was not related to air pressure or activating the switch so I knew something had merely came loose underneath or something broke. We tolerated it for the remainder of the trip but barely tolerated it, my nerves can't take things not functioning properly.

Upon arrival home I commenced on tearing into the step. I found the bolt had broken which attached the ram end to the coach. It was quite a reach and I could only get one hand/arm in there at a time so it took a little repositioning on myself to gain access.

Here is the outer carpeted section removed and you can see how the rod end attaches to the step cover.


A nut on either side of the angle iron holds the rod securely to the sliding step.


The cylinder end back under the floor is where the bolt broke allowing the cylinder to "flop" around and the step to drift in and out slightly while traveling.


Here is the bolt that broke. You can see that when the bolt is tightly secured that the outside diameter of the cylinder is what is in contact with the floor, not the attachment point. I didn't think this allowed for much vertical movement as the rod was extending and retracting which could potentially put more stress on the attachment point than necessary.


I fabricated a block that would slightly hold the cylinder up off of the floor which would allow the cylinder a little more movement without creating any undue stress on the bolt. I then threaded the block so the attachment bolt would actually tighten down on the cylinder which would then allow the nut to be placed on the bolt from under the coach and when tightened the outside diameter of the cylinder itself would not be compressed to the floor of the compartment.




There it is installed and you can see how the cylinder is now elevated very slightly up off of the floor of the compartment.


And on the underside of the coach you can see where I cleaned the spray foam off and installed the new bolt with large fender washer and nut. Afterwards I applied some sealant and the repair was better than new.


Mike.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:59 AM   #17
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Last fall when I was doing some preventive and year end maintenance I ran across a drag link end that had some play in it. I was going to replace just the ends but leave it to Monaco to have a company build the drag link off-site and use a non-serviceable drag link end on the axle end. I was able to get the telephone number for the company that manufactured them for Monaco thinking I could get the size and/or part number for the end merely to save me some time of removing it, sizing it and then sourcing one. Boy was I wrong, not only was the company, Steering Components Inc., not willing to help me the woman was extremely pissed that I had called them. She wanted to know who at Monaco gave me the telephone number because "they do NOT deal with the public", she made that very clear.

I was going to remove the drag link and then machine a new threaded end for it to accept an adjustable style drag link end to save a few bucks. I still may as I saved the old drag link and may play with it when I find time. However, I ordered a new drag link last fall so I had one to install when I got the coach out of storage this spring. Saturday I removed the old drag link, installed the new one, greased everything and painted it.

Here is the new drag link on the shop bench waiting for installation.


I had soaked the drag link ends down last fall with Kroil to aid in removal then quickly hit them again with a shot on Friday afternoon.




It was hard to get a puller up in there with the forward run/control box but by turning the steering wheel a bit I was able to access it just fine. Drag link removed. Ready to clean the bore on the pitman arm and prepare for installation of the new one.


Old one on the ground out from under the coach.


New drag link set to the proper length and installed.




Wiped down with wax and grease remover and painted with some high solids semi-gloss black paint.


Here is the part number from Monaco if anyone is needing it.


Next on the list for Saturday's repairs was the vertical adjustment on the streetside slide. I have noticed over the last couple of trips of last season that the slide was starting to drag on my carpet near the front section of the slide slightly. I decided to investigate and make sure nothing was damaged or broken. After giving everything a good once over and determining that nothing was damaged or broken just out of adjustment, I decided to proceed with adjusting the slides vertical position. The box was out of square slightly with the opening so I proceeded to lift some of the weight off of the slide out arms to aid in adjusting.

Here is the paint lines slightly off at the front of the slide. Not much but about 3/16". Enough to cause the front side to sit slightly lower than the rear and the top of the box at the front to be slightly closer to the body than the top of the rear. By adjusting this corner up slightly it should square the box in the opening. Don't give me crap about the dirty coach, I haven't given her a good spring detailing yet.


Rear paint lines look pretty much spot-on.


Here is the vertical adjustment on the forward arm/tube.


I immediately found out why it was out of adjustment. I checked all of the UHMW wear blocks earlier and found none worn or missing so I was stumped why it was out of adjustment until I went to put a wrench on the locknut for the vertical adjustment, it was completely loose, not even finger tight. It was backed off by about a turn or so from being finger tight. After taking some of the weight off the forward arm I adjusted it with an allen socket a little at at time and then ran the slide in/out to in between adjustments. What a difference it made. The slide was instantly noticeable that it was moving much easier and with less friction. I didn't think it moved poorly last year but it sure was different now.


All in all a busy Saturday but she is ready for the upcoming season now.

Mike.
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Old 02-25-2014, 09:08 AM   #18
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Last night I was able to clean up and check the house batteries.


I then tested the chassis batteries and determined I should replace them prior to the start of the travel season. While they were out of the battery trays, I pressure washed the engine bay, wire brushed the battery trays and applied a thorough coating of POR-15 to the trays. I also applied some POR-15 to several frame and crossmembers in the engine bay.


I also masked off the label and scuffed the hydraulic reservoir which was in need of some touching up. I wiped it down with Wax & Grease Remover and applied a couple of coats of Eastwood's Extreme Chassis Black. I have found this paint to work very well in harsh environments such as these.




Last night I also bead blasted and applied some POR-15 to the battery hold-down hardware so tonight I should be able to install the new batteries. I also noticed that the positive cable was showing some signs of corrosion. I cut the insulation back a little and it has started to get into the strands themselves so I picked up some new 4/0 cable and battery ends so I can build a new cable and heat shrink the ends.

Mike.
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Old 02-25-2014, 10:43 AM   #19
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Hi Mike,

Like your style and Hands On from the mechanical side of things. Nice remodel you and your DW did on the previous rig.

Knowing your rig inside out, is always a positive.

I enjoyed our clarification that you 'earned' these coaches, and put in the work to obtain your toys. I suspect the fact that you both did prioritize and work for these purchases, is one of the reasons you also maintain them so well. Your pride of ownership is obvious...

Best of luck on your new rig, as you get out and start having some fun with it!!!
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:33 AM   #20
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Thanks Smitty. I appreciate the compliments.

Mike.
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:58 AM   #21
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Mike! i need your secret paint codes for your old beaver!

I have same paint as you and could use any help you can give me!! This has been my baby since 2009 and her clear coat (23 years later) is finally starting to fail. I live in Oregon and cannot do the work myself but do not trust anyone to match paint up.

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Old 02-25-2014, 12:05 PM   #22
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23 year old interior...:

un restored...:

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Old 02-25-2014, 01:53 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fkloster View Post
I have same paint as you and could use any help you can give me!! This has been my baby since 2009 and her clear coat (23 years later) is finally starting to fail. I live in Oregon and cannot do the work myself but do not trust anyone to match paint up.
Sharp looking coach. Looks like you have taken great care of it. The older coaches sure have personality. I hope our Dynasty ages as well as our previous two coaches.

Thanks for sharing pictures of your beautiful rig.

Mike.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:39 AM   #24
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More Dynasty Repairs/Upgrades

I replaced the chassis batteries with new NAPA HD 31 Commercial batteries, I also noticed that they have a few more CCA than the previous ones (950CCA vs. 900CCA). I also noticed that the battery end on the positive cable had some corrosion starting and it had gotten into the cable strands. The cable was barely long enough to reach as is so there wasn't enough to cut off and install a new battery end. I had to build a new cable so I picked up some new 4/0 cable and some ends while at NAPA as well.

Here is the new cable cut, crimped and heat shrink applied next to the OEM cable.


New cable with the convoluted casing and ready for installation.


One item that has bugged me since purchasing the coach back in 2007 was the fuse holders that were merely folded back upon themselves and zip-tied to the battery cables. There are seven of them and they were ziptied to the positive battery cable down between the chassis batteries and the engine belt/accessory train near the battery shut-off switch. This looked cluttered and horrid and I am frustrated with myself that I didn't do something about this seven years ago when we first purchased the coach. It is the one thing that kept bugging me every time I would open the engine access to check fluids and/or perform any maintenance.

I decided to use a piece of 2"x 1/4" aluminum angle that I had in my scrap pile. I know it is overkill and could have used some much lighter gauge aluminum but I didn't feel like digging out the break to bend up a thinner piece. This was handy so it is what I used.


I laid out the fuse holders to figure out a configuration in which to attach them that would look nice yet allow me to keep the same wiring without having to completely rewire the whole thing.

Here I am drilling the holes to attach the fuse holder. There are also two 1/4" holes on the top side that will be used to attach the aluminum panel to the crossmember which goes across the engine bay just above the chassis batteries.


Painted and ready for installation.


Here is a picture with the panel installed and all seven of the fuseholders installed. I also added some convoluted casing over the wiring.


When we first purchased the coach I had a lot of interior (house) lights that did not function. Upon quick voltage checks I realized that I was missing about half of my circuits. I traced back through the electrical distribution panel and found two 12 volt continuous duty solenoids that when energized transfer the 12-volt power from the house batteries to the electrical distribution panel. One of those relays/solenoids were bad. I replaced it and all was good. However, fast forward to 2014, the coach is 11 years old with 95k miles on it and upon testing I found the other relay/solenoid was bad. Upon testing with a meter I found that I had high resistance when the solenoid was activated so the contacts inside were pitted/damaged. I just decided to replace them both so I wouldn't have to worry about it throughout the RV travel season.

I also carry a spare solenoid just in case but I replace the two in the rear electrical panel located in the engine bay. Here are the solenoids/relays with the electrical pane cover removed. The very bottom one is the original that I did not change when we purchased the coach.


NAPA/Echlin part numbers (ST85). These are continuous duty solenoids that have an isolated ground on the coil (not grounded through the mounting). The ground is actually the side that is switched from a small switch just inside the door of the coach to kill all of the house 12-volt electrical.


New solenoids/relays installed and ready to reinstall the cover.


Rear engine bay all completed and ready for another travel season.


For the most part she is ready to go. Once the weather gets a little warmer I have a couple of spots on the streetside that I need to paint as I have some clear starting to peel off. The curbside still looks like she rolled out of the factory so by touching up the left side maybe I can buy myself a couple more years before having to paint the entire coach. $$$$$$

Mike.
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Old 04-22-2014, 10:43 AM   #25
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The last several weeks have been devoted to repairing some paint issues on our "getting older" Monaco Dynasty.

Here is a link to a detailed thread of our paint repair work.
Repairing Paint on Our Dynasty

Mike.
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Old 04-22-2014, 05:08 PM   #26
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ah ha...I knew that the paint repair on your Dynasty wasn't your first rodeo...You know that when you get ready to upgrade all you have to do is mention that you may be selling the Dynasty and you are gonna have so many PMs, it's gonna make your head spin!

Great job on the Beaver too!....
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Old 04-22-2014, 05:21 PM   #27
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Oh, forgot to post my past RV!...well it's not really an RV but we have been using it since the late 70's and last time was a few years ago on the Mojave trail!...yeah, the Beaver is a little nicer....
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Old 04-22-2014, 06:49 PM   #28
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Quote:
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ah ha...I knew that the paint repair on your Dynasty wasn't your first rodeo...You know that when you get ready to upgrade all you have to do is mention that you may be selling the Dynasty and you are gonna have so many PMs, it's gonna make your head spin!

Great job on the Beaver too!....
Thanks. I wish it were that simple. It is funny, everyone makes comments about how when I get ready to sell let them know. Then when I do they don't have the money or it is not the right time.

Lots of talkers out there.

Anyway thanks for the compliment. I appreciate it.

Mike.
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