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Old 07-31-2015, 11:14 AM   #1
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Workhorse Chassis & 8.1 GMC Gas Problems

We are about to take ownership of a 2007 Dolphin LX6320 34' Class A with 20,000 miles, equipped with the GMC Gas 8.1 engine and Allison Transmission. I am somewhat of a "Gear Head", who realizes the value of other's experiences. Having absolutely no experience with this particular coach or any of it's running gear, I would be most grateful to hear about anyone's experiences, particularly any "BEWARE" issues regarding use and maintenance. "Many Thanks", in advance for all of your thoughtful responses!!
Gary
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:21 AM   #2
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My coach sits on a W22 Workhorse chassis, love it. The 6 speed Allison is nearly bullet proof. I would ask if the coach comes with any service records. I believe there were a couple recalls on Workhorse, Brakes and a fuel clip. Make sure any recalls on your chassis have been done. This is our third coach and rides and drives better than any other we have owned.
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Old 07-31-2015, 06:06 PM   #3
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If not already done, I'd recommend installing a rear trac bar and Koni FSD shocks. Our W-22 chassis benefited greatly with those two upgrades. The Vortec 8.1 and the Allison Tranny can't be beat in the 'Gasser' world...IMHO.

Can't speak to the 'house' side...ours was a HR Vacationer.
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Old 07-31-2015, 06:23 PM   #4
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That 8.1 with an Allison is a beast. It's quite a hill climber and will out climb most diesels, but will be a little noisier inside the cab. We found the 8.1 was a great performer with decent mileage if you drive it rationally.

You may have to add some chassis mods to get it to handle the way you want it. A track bar and shocks would be a good upgrade.
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Old 07-31-2015, 06:42 PM   #5
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I purchased mine in 2012. I wanted yo establish a base, so I did a lot of upgrades and maintenance. Now I know exactly when the fluids were changed and when they are do again.

I also changed serpentine belt and tensioner. I changed the fuel filter and flushed radiator and brakes too.

Then I did Koni shocks, ultrapower upgrade ( a must in my book), iridium plugs and magnum plug wires.

My wife lives the floor plan and I love the chassis. Hope you enjoy hours ad much as we have enjoyed ours.
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Old 07-31-2015, 06:51 PM   #6
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The tires may be original. You should check the date codes. They age out, not wear out. If they are 22.5 inch on a 22,000 pound chassis, they will run $400 - $500 each. You should make it a condition of the sale that they be replaced or the cost discounted accordingly.
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Old 07-31-2015, 08:03 PM   #7
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I bought mine used as well. It is a solid drivetrain. I did change the tranny fluid over to Transynd (which you should have in an 07) and also changed the screw on tranny filter. There is a magnet in there, if you do maintenance make sure it is in there. I have also bled the brakes to flush the fluid, changed the coolant along with all hoses and put a new belt on and carry the old hoses (the ones I didn't have to cut to remove) and belt as spares. Mine is 37 feet and it pulls fine so on a shorter coach it should be even better.

I have the front sway and the steering stabilizer and it really doesn't get pushed around too much by trucks. I plan on new shocks over the winter since right now they appear to be on backorder for my coach.
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:24 PM   #8
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2007 Dolphin on W-22

I believe you will be on the W-22 chassis. The W-18 to W-22 chassis had the Bosch brake recall. Easy to see if it was done. Give the vin number to a reputable shop and they can look it up.

Make sure the ECM (Electronic Control Module) has not been re-programmed. i would spend the money to have a Chevy dealer hook up their scan tool to check that the ECM is set to factory standard. That engine is a beast! Use synthetics oils in engine, tranny and gen set. Not sure if you do need sway bars and such as my W-24 is very steady on the road. I still have the original Bilsteins and the ride is as good as the roads we travel on!


Join FMCA, then join The Dolphins. It is an FMCA Chapter devoted to owners of National RV motorhomes. Not only really nice folks and great rallies, but a wealth of knowledge about your coach!

You can find info on The Dolphins at The Dolphins

Hope to see you at an upcoming Dolphin Rally!

Darryl
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:41 AM   #9
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Great suggestions, all! They bring up some more specific questions:
1. Rear Track Bar
A. Replacement, or upgrade?
B. How does one identify the stock track bar?
C. Brand and diameter of desired bar?
2. Belt Tensioner
A. Is this a common problem part? (Reason for replacing please.)
3. Ultra Power Upgrade
A. What does it consist of?
B. Is this a GMC or aftermarket part(s)?
4. Front Sway Bar
A. What brand and diameter of bar?
5. Tire replacement
A. Experiences with specific size changes (larger or smaller) and brand (due to difficulty obtaining 235/80/22.5's, particularly when traveling)?

Thanks in advance for all the help!!
Gary
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Old 08-01-2015, 09:20 AM   #10
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As I have not needed to do any of the other mods you mention, I can only comment on tires.

The Michelin size appears to be fairly unique to the Michelin brand. I replaced mine in 2013 with Michelin XRV and have no regrets. There are other brands available, but I actually got my best price on the Michelins using the FMCA discount program. My Michelins ended up even cheaper than Hankook or Bridgestone, but still a healthy chunk of change. The savings through the FMCA program is substantial and well worth the cost of membership.

I keep my tires covered when not rolling for 7 days or more. The tires I took off had several sidewall cracks, but were still road worthy. I'm a bit anal about tires so decided to replace them as they were 7 years old. After removing the old tires noticed a few cracks in the tread area. Those cracks were not visible until after the tires were removed.

As I mentioned, I haven't felt the need to look into the other mods mentioned above. I am quite satisfied with the ride and handling of our coach. The engine is a powerhouse and has given me no problems in the hills or mountains.
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Old 08-01-2015, 10:08 AM   #11
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Gary, let me see if I can answer your questions with my rationale:
2.a. I replaced the serpentine belt after having a conversation with Jon from Brazel's. He suggested that after 7 years it would be a good idea to replace it and the tensioner. I did and feel a lot more comfortable traveling up and down the highway.
3.a. Ultrapower is an upgrade to ECM from Brazel's. They flash the ECM for more horsepower and torque. I had it done by Alliance Coach in Florida this year. Jon told me if I pulled the ECM I could send it to them and they would flash it and send it back. It was easier to have it all done at once in Florida. The plugs, wires, Ultrapower and Konis. The folks there did a superb job. Though I would have preferred to go to Brazel's I could not justify the trip in my mind to get this done.
I also had Michelin tires replaced when I bought the coach in Oct 12. I also purchased a roadmaster spare tire carrier, ordered a steel wheel and purchased a tire with my FMCA discount. Was pleasantly surprised it was not as expensive as I thought it would be.
I have not done any track bar additions. My coach is on W24 chassis and is pretty steady on the highway. Every once in a while I get a little sway from fast passing 18 wheelers, but not bad at all. I may add at some point but not convinced the $$ to purchase and install will improve handling yet.
Hope this is helpful and if you need any more info on what I did you can pm if you like.
Tom
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Old 08-01-2015, 10:49 AM   #12
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I was fortunate in that the prior owner was a stickler and had the front trac bar and steering stabilizer installed. I see a lot of recommendations for the steering stabilizer with regards to control if you have a blow out on the front tires. While I am always on guard against a blowout, I do feel a little better knowing the stabilizer is there just in case.

If you just got the coach, I would run without engine performance upgrades for a while and determine their need. Might be funds better spent elsewhere. I find my coach has not been in need of more power thus far but haven't traveled in the Rockies or anywhere like that. It takes the hills a bit slower but that's OK, plenty of power going up and more time to look at the views The Allison engine brake is also wonderful going down. If I know the hill will be steep I will usually manually select a lower gear as I enter the downgrade.
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:07 AM   #13
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great info thanks
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Old 08-01-2015, 05:20 PM   #14
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I owned a 2005 Winnebago on a W-20. Love the power of the 8.1 and gearing of the Allison. I passed a many a DP up 6 & 7 % grades and my friends that had Ford chassis couldn't keep up and my fuel mileage was better than theirs. The things I'd suggest is a rear Track bar and a steering stabilizer. That was the only thing that I had a problem with on that chassis. Those two things solved the tail wagging the dog issues. Have everything serviced as for as the fluids go. Inspect the radiator and heater hoses and yes I agree change the serpentine belt and tensioner as Tom had said. Inspect the shocks. If there is no leaks then they're good to go. One other thing is to check out the rear hubs. Those Spicer differentials had a tendency of leaking at the axle seals. Mine did. Happy motorhoming
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