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Old 06-19-2015, 06:36 PM   #1
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1978 Southwind - The adventure!

Howdy friends!
Today I went out and got the title transferred for a 1978 Southwind! She's now mine.
For years now, it's been sitting neglected in this man's yard with a leaking roof. He obviously loved it for along time, but simply ran out of time and money to keep up with it.
I drove up and asked what he wanted for it, and was met with an answer of "nothing". Best price for anything is priceless, if you ask me.
Anyway, it's currently in sad shape and needs to be moved from his house, about 8 miles to mine. I will be spending my weekend trying to get the thing started. After that, comes sealing EVERYTHING and most likely re-roofing the thing.
I'm very new to RVs, this being my first one, and I'm fresh outta highschool, but that's not going to stop me!
I'll post my progress as much as I can here when I can.

P.S. To anyone interested, the guy I'm getting this RV from was crazy when it came to keeping manuals. I have manuals to EVERYTHING in this RV from the air conditioner, to the chassis, to the toilet! Anyone in possession of a 1978 GMC or a 1978 Southwind who needs a manual, feel free to contact me and I'll see what I can do!


She's a fixer-upper alright, but she's my fixer-upper!

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Old 06-19-2015, 09:19 PM   #2
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I have a feeling that when you get this fixed up, you're gonna have a lot more friends than you thought you had.

Del & Jerre w/Isis our English Bull Terrier
The Cougar's Den
1984 Fleetwood Prowler "E"
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Old 06-20-2015, 08:18 AM   #3
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I look forward to watching your progress.

Good luck!
Jay & Peggy Monroe with Dolly
Can't take it with you - don't plan on leaving any behind
2016 Newmar London Aire 4553, Spartan chassis
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:35 PM   #4
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Good luck, and have fun.

I recently got a 1988 Southwind that I am redoing right now. Keep us posted on your progress, and to ask questions. I have found this forum to be a great source of information on all kinds of topics.

One thing I did when I first considered buying the one I have, which was 25 miles from my home, was join Good Sam, in case I got it part way home and had to tow it. The cost for the year was less than the cost of a one time tow, so it was worth it to me. (I got it running and drove it home, but do not regret the back up plan)

I did not keep my unit looking original. I chose to make my own mods as I wanted them. You own this now, and can do with it what you want. Look around for some ideas as you go, and some bits you will restore, some bits you may want to rebuild with a newer design, some bits you may want to totally re-create as you want them to be. That is the nice part of being a home owner, even if the home is on wheels.

Have fun.
Karl I. Sagal KarlSagal@Gmail.com
Well done is better than well said. (Ben Franklin)
1988 Fleetwood Southwind, 34'
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:45 PM   #5
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It is good that you are young but that is a job. re-roof is the last thing that needs. It is probably rotted from the frame up. Those had wood frame walls and have been soaked for years. Throw plastic tarps over it and dig in around the walls, floor to ceiling. That will tell you how much rot and re-build you have ahead. The very best of luck to you.
"96" HR Navigator, 38' no slides, Cummins, Allison
next stop
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:17 PM   #6
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Best of luck to you, young man. Let me second KSagal's comment about coming here and asking questions- there is probably nothing that the collective experience here can't help you with.

BTW, we love pictures.
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:59 PM   #7
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Went down again today to test some of the basic electrics. Most of the lights work (only missing 3 running lights) which is good for getting it home. Another major stride made today was turning the engine over. I'm running it off of an old battery for the moment, so not enough power to start it, but definitely enough to turn it over twice! Buying a new battery either tomorrow or monday and hopefully getting the thing to start and drive a few meters. New fluid in everything, and stabilizer put in the fuel tanks.

As for the KSagal's comment, Mods are definitely a thing I want to do. My friend and I have decided on a few things we want to change such as replacing the dinette and lounge. We also want to look at some solar panels and other power saving devices.

I'll keep yall posted, and thanks for the comments!
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Old 06-20-2015, 08:45 PM   #8
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Keep it up! You and I are kindred spirits.. Restoring older RV's that we got for the price of nothing! Love this.
2004.5 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins, Long Bed, 4x4, NV5600
1988 Lance LC980 - A work in progress - Dubbed "Problem Child"
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:50 PM   #9
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Congratulations on your new treasure. I just finished getting my new to me home running. It had been sitting inside for 19 years. So I did not have any water damage to contend with, just the mechanicals. Might I suggest draining as much old fuel as you can before you attempt to start it. I know of a couple of pickup trucks around here that had sit from 10 to 15 years that were restarted. Within about a half hour they were no longer running and the cause was stuck valves. The old fuel has so much varnish in it that it coats the valve stems then the heat of the engine makes it like glue. It might just save you some grief. In my case the pick up tube was plugged in the tank so I would never have gotten fuel to the engine if I had tried to start it. The tank had about 4 gallons of goo in it. I do not think fuel stabilizer will do you much good at this point. Be sure that the brakes are working before you take it out on the road. Good luck getting it home.
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Old 06-22-2015, 01:26 AM   #10
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More picture dump!

Did some engine inspection today. Mainly checked hoses and electrical stuff visually. Pulled apart some things for cleaning, mainly filters. Also, finally got a new battery! Ain't she a beauty?

Thanks for the helpful comments! Definitely going to see what I can do with that gas! I didn't even think about it!
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Old 06-22-2015, 07:43 AM   #11
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Good luck with this one! Even if you have to pull it home with a chain, as long as the brake's are good! The motor and transmission are the old style, solid built, with steel crank and forged pistons, and the transmission is the turbo 400 three speed automatic. So if the coach part is trashed beyond fixing, you can always use the motor and trans in something else along with all of the other appliances! Keep us posted! And the best thing you could do to get the thing started, is run a line into a five gallon can, and draw new, fresh gas into the motor! You will have to drop the tank, and have it boiled out, and run new lines for sure! Again good luck!!
Retired, and "Always on Holiday!"
1996 Monaco Windsor 38' "Mona"
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Old 06-24-2015, 06:24 PM   #12
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Awesome RV man! What type of refrigerator do you have? If you happen to have a Dometic RM100?
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Old 06-25-2015, 09:54 AM   #13
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Not sure what I have as far as a refrigerator. Cant really check it out too much until I get it home. Its still sitting in this other guy's lawn. Far as I can tell, it needs a fuel pump
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Old 06-25-2015, 11:10 PM   #14
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Hey guys, I was down working on jimmy-rigging a fuel system for my RV to get it home, when I noticed something peculiar...

If you look at the picture below, there is a round disk in the bottom left of the picture. It appears to have a hose going into it and what USED to be a diaphragm on the other side... Anyone know what that is, or where I can get a replacement diaphragm? As far as I can tell, it connected a rod and chain to the throttle. Could it be part of the cruise control regulator?


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southwind, vent

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