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Old 09-23-2016, 12:07 AM   #1
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Things I have learned

Hi All,

I joined this forum because as I have gone through my RV restoration journey I have come to the forum many times as a guest and found very helpful answers. Now is my time to give back.

I happened across a 2000 Winne Brave SE 31' on accident. It was a long time friends parents unit and after a short discussion they needed to get rid of it to make room (long story). They never really used it for camping but as a hotel replacement to go to the casino's 2 states away. It had under 20k miles and the interior was very hardly used. The biggest issue... it had not been on a trip in 6 yrs....though was started and even run around the block on regular intervals.

Known issues when I drive it out of the driveway: gen did not start, refrigerator did not work, 1 of the 2 AC units was not checked and did not work, the engine AC was unchecked (later did not work). The engine was strong and on a test drive the transmission did well.

It was an hour drive from there to my house, it did not make it.

About half the way there the right front caliper locked up. Rather then risk it I had it towed home. It was a $600 tow. Now what I have not mentioned to this point was the price... nor how good these people are. I got the unit for $2500. They felt so bad because they did not see the break issue... they gave be $500 back toward the tow.

This is where the repair story starts.

So far I have replaced... tires and hub caps, master cylinder, all brake hoses, calipers, all shocks, all sway arm bushings, had engine AC fully rebuilt, new 2 way refrigerator, pulled gen carb cleaned and new gaskets, new gen starter, new top unit vent lids, new wiper arms and new water heater drain valve. The main hoses and belts has been recently changed.

I am still having an issue with the brake booster and still need to replace the rear AC. Still need to have the tran, rear end, and radiator flushed. But that is the last of the major mechanical. We already did some upgrades (taking out all the brass) but have more to go.

If you are looking at doing a rehab project like this. #1 make sure you buy it right. Just like a house it is not how much you put into it, it is how much you pay for it. #2 even if you do most/almost all the work yourself you will still put in 8k. Good tires alone are 2k. Stay away from top Google searches that feature the word "RV Parts". Stick to www.amazon.com www.rockauto.com www.partsgeek.com and in a pinch www.ebay.com any others should be on exception only after doing FULL research on cost.

#3 Unless you are really handy and know your stuff (both in a house and around a car) don't try a rehab thinking this will be "easy".

I am 6 months in on my project. We are almost done with stage 1 (main repairs) of 3. We have had it out 2 times so far and looking forward to 2 more in the next 2 months... and love every minute of it!
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Old 09-23-2016, 12:43 AM   #2
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Have fun out there , it will be worth all the effort you're putting into it.

Safe travels.
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Old 09-23-2016, 01:17 AM   #3
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My first coach was a 2000 Brave 30 Ft. Now this was 10 years ago, so it was only a 6 year old coach at the time. So my story was a little different than yours. I didn't have all the mechanical issues, and we only had one AC, and it worked fine.

It's a long story, but I did get it at a right price. It was owned by a retired couple, and the husband passed away. She was going to trade it in on a new car, but the car salesman had become a friend of theirs that had sold them many cars over the years. He didn't want the coach, and had a boss that was putting pressure on him to make a deal he wasn't comfortable with. So we worked out a deal that was good for everyone.

But, I didn't make it home either. I learned so much having this coach. Turns out it was a workhorse chassis, something I had never heard of, that was actually made by GM. Well this chassis had an ignition switch issue. So we're tooling down I95, 70 mph, life is good. All of a sudden, the switch mechanically fails, and the engine no longer has 12 volts. Engines really need 12 volts, especially if they are going to continue moving 70 mph.

Imagine your going 70 mph, and someone shuts off the ignition. It's way worse than it sounds, but we made it through it alive. My insurance included roadside assistance, and they covered a tow to the nearest dealer. They actually told me what the problem was, and there was a recall on it. It all just ended up costing us a night in a hotel.

The reason I responded was to let you know what I ended up doing. Actually the worst thing on this coach was the carpet. Unlike yours, this one was used a lot. I ended up taking everything out, couch, dinette, captains chairs, everything, and put in new wood flooring. The interlocking flooring that looks like tile. Made a huge difference. I added a central vac system that I found on eBay that someone had bought and never installed. Added a dome dish I bought on Craigslist on my way home from work one day. Etc....

We ended up with a really nice coach, but it was getting a little long in the tooth. So we ended up trading it for way more than we had in it, and then did the same thing over again with our second coach. Now we're on our third, and we will be keeping this one for a while. It's much newer, and is the one we have wanted for a long time.

My point being, it may seem like you are putting a ton of work and money into your rig, but the day could come that you will be able to step back and realize you've created a real diamond in the rough. I think Winnebagos are among the best built in the industry. I wish you the best of luck. And from my experience, I can tell you that there is a ton of good information right here in this forum. You're in the right place to find help when you need it!
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Old 09-23-2016, 08:40 AM   #4
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You bring up a REALLY important thing I learned that forgot to mention that will help someone in a Google search sometime from now.

If you have a 1999 or 2000 RV and it has a Chevy 454 engine and it is labeled Workhorse on the fame label it is actually a Chevy P30 frame not a Workhorse

Workhorse was the Chevy commercial truck frame division. In 1999 they spun off the division to a separate company. They started throwing the Workhorse label on the frames but were still using P30 parts.

For instance mine is titled a 2000 Winne and the frame is labeled as a 1999 Workhorse. When in reality the frame parts are actually a 1999 Chevy P30. This made picking out the right mechanical parts a REALLY big challenge till I figured this all out.

So as a takeaway... if you have an 1999 or 2000 RV with a Chevy / Workhorse frame... take time to research what you actually have and picture match the parts to save yourself from having to return parts.
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Old 09-23-2016, 09:03 AM   #5
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Workhorse is actually a completely different company but continued to build the P-30 / Chev. chassis to use up the available parts until they had their own chassis in production. The easiest way to tell the difference is that the P-30 chassis has independent front suspension, but the Workhorse has a solid front axle.

Also, when you replaced all of the brake parts, did you completely flush the brake system and replace with new fluid? (brake fluid absorbs water and a good recommendation is to flush every two years). And, the longer wheelbase P-30 chassis had the "AutoPark" parking brake (something else to explore if you haven't already discovered this).

Quote:
Originally Posted by imob View Post
You bring up a REALLY important thing I learned that forgot to mention that will help someone in a Google search sometime from now.

If you have a 1999 or 2000 RV and it has a Chevy 454 engine and it is labeled Workhorse on the fame label it is actually a Chevy P30 frame not a Workhorse

Workhorse was the Chevy commercial truck frame division. In 1999 they spun off the division to a separate company. They started throwing the Workhorse label on the frames but were still using P30 parts.

For instance mine is titled a 2000 Winne and the frame is labeled as a 1999 Workhorse. When in reality the frame parts are actually a 1999 Chevy P30. This made picking out the right mechanical parts a REALLY big challenge till I figured this all out.

So as a takeaway... if you have an 1999 or 2000 RV with a Chevy / Workhorse frame... take time to research what you actually have and picture match the parts to save yourself from having to return parts.
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1999 Safari TREK 2830, FMCA 190830, Safari International chapter
1995 Safari TREK 2630, 1983 Winnebago Chieftain, 1976 Midas Mini
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Old 09-23-2016, 10:54 AM   #6
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Yea I did the full brake flush. That was painful. The existing fluid was grey instead of gold. I even had them do a finish check on it at the tire shop where I got my new tires at.

I am still having a brake issue though. I suspect it is the check valve on the hydraulic brake booster. While the braking is very smooth no jerking and seems balanced... it takes more "leg" then it should. I have been wrestling on taking it to someone or working on it myself. I am just not sure how to check if is the brake booster itself or the check valve.
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Old 09-23-2016, 11:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imob View Post
Hi All,

I joined this forum because as I have gone through my RV restoration journey I have come to the forum many times as a guest and found very helpful answers. Now is my time to give back.

I happened across a 2000 Winne Brave SE 31' on accident. It was a long time friends parents unit and after a short discussion they needed to get rid of it to make room (long story). They never really used it for camping but as a hotel replacement to go to the casino's 2 states away. It had under 20k miles and the interior was very hardly used. The biggest issue... it had not been on a trip in 6 yrs....though was started and even run around the block on regular intervals.

Known issues when I drive it out of the driveway: gen did not start, refrigerator did not work, 1 of the 2 AC units was not checked and did not work, the engine AC was unchecked (later did not work). The engine was strong and on a test drive the transmission did well.

It was an hour drive from there to my house, it did not make it.

About half the way there the right front caliper locked up. Rather then risk it I had it towed home. It was a $600 tow. Now what I have not mentioned to this point was the price... nor how good these people are. I got the unit for $2500. They felt so bad because they did not see the break issue... they gave be $500 back toward the tow.

This is where the repair story starts.

So far I have replaced... tires and hub caps, master cylinder, all brake hoses, calipers, all shocks, all sway arm bushings, had engine AC fully rebuilt, new 2 way refrigerator, pulled gen carb cleaned and new gaskets, new gen starter, new top unit vent lids, new wiper arms and new water heater drain valve. The main hoses and belts has been recently changed.

I am still having an issue with the brake booster and still need to replace the rear AC. Still need to have the tran, rear end, and radiator flushed. But that is the last of the major mechanical. We already did some upgrades (taking out all the brass) but have more to go.

If you are looking at doing a rehab project like this. #1 make sure you buy it right. Just like a house it is not how much you put into it, it is how much you pay for it. #2 even if you do most/almost all the work yourself you will still put in 8k. Good tires alone are 2k. Stay away from top Google searches that feature the word "RV Parts". Stick to www.amazon.com www.rockauto.com www.partsgeek.com and in a pinch www.ebay.com any others should be on exception only after doing FULL research on cost.

#3 Unless you are really handy and know your stuff (both in a house and around a car) don't try a rehab thinking this will be "easy".

I am 6 months in on my project. We are almost done with stage 1 (main repairs) of 3. We have had it out 2 times so far and looking forward to 2 more in the next 2 months... and love every minute of it!
imob
Good post and excellent advice.

BTW those of us who bought newer low millage coaches, (and used them), have eventually had similar issues.

Mel
'96 Safari, 146k miles, (120k miles mine, since '01)
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Old 09-23-2016, 12:08 PM   #8
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This somewhat normal for the P 30 chassis. You will likely find similar complaints on every motorhome brand forum for models that used this chassis. The "real" Workhorse chassis is said to have much better brakes, although they went through a long and contentious Federal recall several years ago over brakes.

I'm taking our Trek in for complete brake rebuild next week (at age 78 I decided there are some things I don't need to do anymore). I have specified a very aggressive and expensive, brake pad, and will post results soon.

Hawk HB252 P.860 Pad Description:
- Engineered from technology used in heavy- duty on/off- highway and Military applications - Extremely high coefficient of friction and fade resistance - Recommended for professional fleets (greater than 1 ton) and light trucks towing excessive payloads - Unequaled For Severe Duty Use* Hawk Performance SuperDuty brake pads utilize our OE and aftermarket severe-duty friction technology. This product has been engineered for class 2 and higher on-highway commercial trucks. This unique ferrocarbon material delivers extremely high fade resistance, with superior high temperature rotor and brake pad wear. This product is not recommended for personal or recreational trucks and SUVs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by imob View Post
...I am still having a brake issue though....... it takes more "leg" then it should. I have been wrestling on taking it to someone or working on it myself. I am just not sure how to check if is the brake booster itself or the check valve.
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