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Old 06-13-2012, 01:43 PM   #1
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99 Southwind 36ft w/tag axle chassis questions

Looking at a 99 Southwind 36 ft with one slide and tag axle. 454 Chevy w/4L60e trans. What are pros & cons with this chassis? Any major issues with this engine/trans combo?
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:34 PM   #2
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I'm looking at one of these as well this weekend... not sure of the motor/trans combo. But I do know the 4L60E isn't the greatest of transmissions. I had two of them rebuilt on a Camaro I had years ago..
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:39 PM   #3
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I *think* the Ford F53 (v10) is preferred... (I think)
However, the 99 F53 has it's own set of issues - the spark plugs are held in by 4 threads or so and if not changed and retorqued properly, they tend to blow out and necessitate an expensive repair. Transmission in the Ford appears to be solid, but suffers from a wide 2-3 shift.

Sorry I don't have more info on the 454. If (as indicated above) it's the same transmission in the camaro, I'd think that it wasn't up to the task of a RV.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:28 PM   #4
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V10 or 460 is the way to go imo....and this is coming from a devote Dodge guy. 454s had issues If you go GM, you want low mileage. 454s don't quite have the power, which you really need for hills, the fuel mileage is a bit worse, they eat exhaust manifolds more often, and the valves tend to get gummed up. 454s like being wide-open, rather than loafing at low rpms. Low mileage is the way to go.

As far as the tag axle style chassis, the ride is going do be a bit smoother/more stable. The trade off is added weight and a reduced turning radius. Tag axles can tear up turf a bit under a hard turn.


Southwinds are a nice rig. I've been in my fair share of them
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:35 AM   #5
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Now you will hear from a GM Fan. The 454 was an engine that was developed for truck use like the 460 Ford these are both good engines but neither are milage kings. The early V10 had several problems that were corrected around 2004 but in a 36ft. MH with a gas engine none gets more than 7-8 MPG unless you want to drive 50-55 MPH. The 4L60e trans had problems it's first year but was corected the same year. The Ford C6 trans. was a good transmission but neither were developed originaly for heavy trucks. The 4L80e was Gm's truck trans before they started putting alison transmisions in them. My advice would be to look for somthing a little newer.
PS If you read these blogs you will hear every thing bad about every thing and very seldome anything good about anything.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:16 AM   #6
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^ haha, quite true about never reading anything good about anything. I don't agree with having to buy newer. If you're on a budget, the difference between a 99 and say...an 04 is tens of thousands. Stick with a low mileage rig, and you'll be fine.

The 460s were pretty bullet proof besides for exhaust leaks at the "Y" pipe, due to having a donutless design. The V10's only problem was that spark plug issue mentioned already. As far as transmissions, I worked in a large trans shop when I was younger (wasn't a trans tech though), and for every 3-4 Chevy MHs we had, we had 1 Ford......and no Dodges (the 747 was tough) lol
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Mopar View Post
The 460s were pretty bullet proof besides for exhaust leaks at the "Y" pipe, due to having a donutless design. The V10's only problem was that spark plug issue mentioned already. As far as transmissions, I worked in a large trans shop when I was younger (wasn't a trans tech though), and for every 3-4 Chevy MHs we had, we had 1 Ford......and no Dodges (the 747 was tough) lol

So the 99 V10 was considered pretty gutless (around 260 hp if I recall right). Ours has the Banks system, which they claim +30 dyno hp. It's still pretty gutless. I think the 454 is rated as even less power, so take that for what it's worth.

Later v10s, say 2002 (check me on this) went up in power to around 310, but had issues with spark plugs design where the plug would come apart when removing them... There's a tool to address it and you can resolve it by replacing the plug, but again - it's a flaw.

I think they got the V10 right around 2004, as indicated above.

Class-A V10's seem to get high 6 to 8 mpg, based on what I read.

I have no issue with Chevrolet and have bought LT-1s, LT-4s, LS-1s, and an LS-6 V8 based vehicles.. Great motors. Just check into the rest of the chassis before getting one... Or better yet, drive both the Ford and Chevy.
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:38 PM   #8
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as follows

1999 V10...275hp, 410lbs tq
2000-2004 V-10...310 hp @4250 rpm, 425 ft/lb torque @3250 rpm
2005 up V-10...362 hp @4750 rpm, 457 ft/lb torque @3250 rpm


for Vortec 454s 7.4 of all years.

290 hp @ 4000 rpm and 440 lb·ft < P12 HD/W20 Workhorse chassis-only models made 275-285hp and 430lbs, depending on year and emissions requirements)
They make similar power to the earliest V10s, but their power curve in combo with trans gear ratios didn't seem to be as well suited for MH duty.

Ford's V10 makes (they claim) 80% of it's torque below 2500rpm

I get up to 14....no, that's not a misprint 14 mpg out of my V10 Class A w/power upgrades when I baby it. My 460 30ft Class A got around 12mpg or so when I was easy on it.
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:26 AM   #9
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My 1st MH was a 98 SeaView with a 99 F53 V10 chassis. I now have the coach in my signature. I made the trip from the Prescott AZ area to Pismo Beach & Paso Robles CA many times in both coaches. I climbed a lot of hills on that run and the V10 4 spd handled them just as well as the 8.1. Yes the coach was lighter, but not a lot. Also the Ford drove so much better that I never felt as wore out as I do with th Workhorse.

Glenn
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