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Old 10-29-2010, 04:16 AM   #1
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1986 Bounder must make 600 miles! HELP PLEASE

I just bought a 1986 34 ft. Bounder off E-bay. It has not been driven or serviced, for a while? The person, I acquired it from operates a towing co., and knows nothing about its history. It was a abandoned vehicle.
It is a 454 Chev. P30 frame with 13xxx miles. My question is, "what should I check or have done before I start the 600+ mile trip home". I have never owned for driven a MH before. Going into my 2nd childhood, (at age 66) I am wondering if I am going to live my dream of owning and restoring the old machine , or get ran over by a night mare (kangaroo).
All advice or suggestions, will be appreciated!
The motor is said to start and sound good and the transmission seemed to work and shift as it should but was only driven a short distance at 35 mph, never at highway speed. Thanks Ed what have I done?
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Old 10-29-2010, 06:35 AM   #2
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Hi Ed and welcome to the forum. Sounds like you've gotten yourself into a "project". I'm sure it'll be fun.

I'm sure others more expert than myself will chime in but I would be concerned with fluid levels and tire condition at the very least. If you don't already know how to read the tire mfg date code, search the forum and find out. Sitting for long periods can kill RV tires as does simple aging. There's some debate on the point but most believe that tires should be replaced after six to ten years regardless of the tread remaining.

Good Luck...

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Old 10-29-2010, 06:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troedw44 View Post
I just bought a 1986 34 ft. Bounder off E-bay. It has not been driven or serviced, for a while? The person, I acquired it from operates a towing co., and knows nothing about its history. It was a abandoned vehicle.
It is a 454 Chev. P30 frame with 13xxx miles. My question is, "what should I check or have done before I start the 600+ mile trip home". I have never owned for driven a MH before. Going into my 2nd childhood, (at age 66) I am wondering if I am going to live my dream of owning and restoring the old machine , or get ran over by a night mare (kangaroo).
All advice or suggestions, will be appreciated!
The motor is said to start and sound good and the transmission seemed to work and shift as it should but was only driven a short distance at 35 mph, never at highway speed. Thanks Ed what have I done?
First thing you should do BEFORE starting out is buy one of the road service plans like "Coachnet" or "AAA RV Plus" or Good Sam's. They will include towing of the RV in the event of a breakdown. That could be very expensive without a road service plan. They all cost about $100/year or so. Everyone seems to have their own preference. (Do a search and you will get lots of opinions on this forum). But get one that has good towing benefits (long distances, to repair facility of your choice, etc.). Personally, I don't think you can go wrong with Coachnet (which understands RV owner needs better than AAA, for example).

If you haven't driven a MH before, you might consider asking a friend who has some experience to ride shotgun and accompany you. That said, my wife and I picked up our 37 foot Class A and immediately drove it about 1200 miles home and our prior experience was limited to a 22 foot Class B.
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Old 10-29-2010, 07:55 AM   #4
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If it were me I would be concerned with stuff like the cooling system, fuel system, suspension system, brakes,belts and lubrication points.
After examing each for obvious issues like leaks or non-working..I would flush the cooling system and replace with new anti-freeze. I would studiously examine all belts and replace as needed. I would buy replacement fuel filters and carry along just in case of plugging...and before beginning would examine the system for potential leaks and learn how to replace the filters if needed along the way before beginning the trip. I would test the braking system..maybe examine the shoes for sticking etc and closely examine brake lines for leaking. I would change the engine oil/filter and change air filter too. I would get a grease gun and hit every zerk there is..especially thinking drivetrain and u-joints and suspension points. Someone has already cautioned you on tires and this would be critical to ensure safety...the other stuff breaks and you can pull off and be safe..a tire blowout is potentially dangerous. I would check to ensure there is adequate grease in the differential.
This site has forums for your model..also seek other's insights there for likely issues.
Good planning of the route back with rest areas/service sites/phone numbers etc at the ready seems prudent too.
Engine and transmissioon gaskets dry out and leak/seap from non-use..so I would expect the engine to have some leakage issues at first..I would be closely monitoring the motor for this and expect some smoking and expect that condition to lessen as the motor heats up.
Good luck!
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:47 AM   #5
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With that low mileage on that age of a vehicle I would bet it has original tires on it. Verify and put quality tires on it first thing. I would also do a complete fluid change; oil, coolant, transmission and general lube. Probably also do a differential fluid change. Know where you are starting.

Once you get it home, you should consider some additional upgrades. That motorhome has a lot of rear overhang and could use some suspension help. I had a 1987 31 footer and put Bilstein shocks and a heavy duty IPD sway bar on it. I would also guess that the front air bags are also worn and should be replaced. I also put Helwig transverse springs on the front end. No idea if they still make them. The motorhome handled a lot better after doing these.

Good luck and enjoy.
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:12 AM   #6
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Get the Vin number, license number, mileage and go to
Good Sam Emergency Road Service
RV Roadside Services - Good Sam Club Roadside and towing Services

Just incase...
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:01 AM   #7
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I would replace the tires, pull the brakes and probably replace the pads/shoes, change the engine and transmission fluid, change oil and fuel filers, change radiator coolant, flush brake lines as a minimum before setting out on a 600 mile trip. Get a road service contract and hold the speed down to 60 mph.

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Old 10-29-2010, 11:20 AM   #8
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Having done a similar thing a year ago, let me tell you my experiences. I'm about the same age as you and I understand that getting on the ground it not pleasant at our age, BUT get under the coach and look at everything. Especially follow the gas line from the carb to the gas tank. Check anything rubber and see if it needs attention. While you are down there, get a grease gun and hit every zerk you see. There are dozens of them. Some on the suspension and some on the drive line. 1. Brake fluid - the master cylinder or Hydroboost system can be difficult to find for a new owner. It is hidden behind the left front tire but usually can be seen from the engine cover. It can be hard to open because of it's location, but more than likely there will be little or no brake fluid left. On a 600 mile trip, that could be essential. 2. Tires - It goes without saying that new tires are in order. 3. Change the oil! 4. Gas filters - Mine had a hidden gas filter about midway back on the chassis on the curb side. It was a cylinder about 4 inches long and behind a chassis support. It needed to be changed but I eliminated it and added another filter in a more convenient place. There is a filter in the carburetor where the gas line goes into the carb. I'm not sure if your model has an electric fuel pump near or in the gas tank. If so, be sure it is functioning. 5. A tune up wouldn't be out of the question. Mine started backfiring through the carb about 10 miles from home on a 150 mile trip. A full tune up cured that. New wires, points, spark plugs, etc., etc. 6. Lights - check out all lights. I had to replace two and clean the contacts on many of them. 7. Suspension - Does yours have a tag axle? If so, be sure the rubber is not split or coming unlaminated from the metal plates.
You might also want to do a google search for a P30 Chassis Service Manual. There are a couple of places on the internet where you can download a pdf version of one.
You are going to need it.
I know that sounds like a lot of work, but it's better to get them done before you hit the road than have to do it ON the road. I made it home with mine in spite of the problems and it had sat for over 11 years. It's a 1984 HR Imperial.
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:24 AM   #9
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Pump the gas tank and discard any fuel that may have been sitting in it for any length of time and refill with fresh.

Replace the fuel filter, do the rest of the above.
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:49 AM   #10
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I looked up your purchase on eBay. It looks like you made a pretty good buy for the money. You can pour some money into this project and still come out okay. Of course, pictures on the internet make the vehicle look a whole lot better than in person, but I don't think you made a bad mistake. I am a little concerned about the front bumper and why or how it got bent up. I think I would take it to the truck center and have a good going over done. Maybe replace the transmission fluid, but that could cause more problems than it solves. I've done a lot of updates and replacements on mine. It comes with the age. I see that you are across the state from me. If you are ever in the Springfield, MO area, go over to Carthage and check out Colaws RV Salvage on I-44. They have hundreds of salvage motorhomes and just about any part you may need replacing. You will find that there isn't always a new part available for many items made in the 1980's. Good Luck with your project. You're going to love the trip.
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:42 PM   #11
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After reading the above posts, there was also one interesting problem I had and maybe this can help if it arises. I had a problem getting fuel to the carb and the MH would not run. It turned out that the fuel line out of the gas tank had serious cracks and it would not allow the pump to draw gas. On the 31 footer there was a cover under the bed to allow access through the floor to the top of the tank. This allowed me to easily change the hose, which I believe was 1/2 inch.

Once again, good luck.
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:27 PM   #12
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I am overjoyed, with all the responses and information received, thank you all, very much. I will be picking the Bounder up next weekend. I have contacted the owner and he is going to take the MH to a local shop and have them check everything out and change any belts, all fluids and filters, and pack wheel bearings, service brakes as needed. I will check the tires and deal with them when I get there. I will also pick up one of the road service packages this week! Thanks again for all the advice and comments. You have been very helpful and I hope, I can return the favor some time! Ed
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:06 AM   #13
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Since the owner selling it is a tow operator it is safe to assume the coach was towed from the front and this is how the bumper was bent. Frames have also been bent this way. Hopefully the bumper is the only thing bent.
No one I saw mentioned servicing the batteries, but it is essential on a coach that has been sitting to make sure there is suffecient water in the cells and the terminals are free of corrosion and tight.
Some carb cleaner put in the tank may also be a good idea.
Driving a motorhome is different than most vehicles on the road, especially an older one. Most are close to max. gvw and have large overhangs in the rear and are subject to being blown around easily by the winds.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadman View Post
Since the owner selling it is a tow operator it is safe to assume the coach was towed from the front and this is how the bumper was bent. Frames have also been bent this way. Hopefully the bumper is the only thing bent.
No one I saw mentioned servicing the batteries, but it is essential on a coach that has been sitting to make sure there is suffecient water in the cells and the terminals are free of corrosion and tight.
Some carb cleaner put in the tank may also be a good idea.
Driving a motorhome is different than most vehicles on the road, especially an older one. Most are close to max. gvw and have large overhangs in the rear and are subject to being blown around easily by the winds.
If you're going to do carb cleaner, use seafoam, its one of the very few in tank "cleaners" that I've actually seen results from. All the others are mostly AV gas with a little tiny bit of detergent thrown in. (Anything STP).
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