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Old 02-09-2012, 06:54 PM   #1
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'84 Fleetwood Southwind Projects

i've had a lot of spare time this winter (thanks a lot, new dealership GM..) so i spend a lot of it mucking about with the rig. i finally got the batteries wired up successfully (what? it took me eight months...) and decided that i hadn't run the generator since... since i BOUGHT the rig.... so, i got it cranked up and ran the A/C briefly to put a load on it. i've decided to put an electric-only refrigerator in it, which is not as tall as the old Dometic, so i built a heavier shelf inside the cubby to hold it, and added a fold-down door on the front for another storage space.
then there's the fun part; driving it around the back yard! mind you, i live in the city limits and my yard is NOT that big.... but i have gotten very good at manuevering the rig in tight spaces. can't do a lot of that, though; that 454 is a thirsty old girl....
thinking of taking out the fold-out sofa bed and putting something else in there....
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:28 PM   #2
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Good luck with your project! I am about to start a similar project of my own, getting a '89 Southwind which hasn't been used in years. Not sure what it is going to need but so ready for a new project.

Question on why you went with a electric only fridge? Any project pictures? Also 8 months on the batteries, lol. What is the rush?

Good luck with your project.
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:57 PM   #3
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on fridge to each his own my 1985 norcold is on every day never had a problen
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:36 PM   #4
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the rig didn't have a fridge when i got it, and i've read one too many stories about fridge fires. no furnace in her, either... just the cooker unit. when i bought the rig, it was not my intent to use it for camping or traveling; it was (and still is) my "parachute" in case things do not improve here.
it took me a long time to get around to correctly setting up the batteries because it seems there are as many ways to do that as there are hair partings....
everything i do on the rig is a new learning experience; it's unlike any car or truck or HOUSE i've ever worked on, but still pretty straightforward.
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:21 AM   #5
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Just an important reminder--It is recommended to run the generator for 1/2 hour under a good load at least once a month. (Portable electric heaters or hair dryers can be used to add to the load)

Excessive short on/off use and non-use can cause fuel and electrical problems.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:53 AM   #6
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Congrats on your mods. Nothing wrong with sprucing up the old girl. Heck that's half the fun. Don't get any speeding ticket in that back yard. Enjoy all your future travels, be safe and Happy Motoring!!!!
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:52 PM   #7
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i'd not had a chance to bring the fuel level up where the gennie would run off the tank until recently, or i would have been giving it the proper exercise all along. it gave me a chance to make sure the inverter was working as well; the 110 plugs were okay and the A/C blew cold pretty quickly (we've had some pleasantly MILD winter weather here until the last couple of days!). we had some heavy rain the other night and, whenever that happens i ALWAYS check the rig for leaks... 28 years old and it's gonna leak somewhere! luckily it was dry inside again; crossed fingers...
i need to go through all the running lights and get them working and/or replace broken/missing lenses.
one thing i'm also considering along with removing the sofa-bed is adding a partition to block off the "cockpit" from the rest of the coach. another folding screen or simply a heavy drapery.... that's a LOT of glass area collecting heat like a fishbowl!
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:07 AM   #8
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Not sure why you would need to put in a heavier shelf to hold the fridge. My electric weighed in at much less than the propane one it replaced.

I do recommend you get some oil based wood primer and seal all the wood around the refrigerator. That is a prime mold area.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:44 PM   #9
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the electric unit i found is 17" shorter in height, and i decided that instead of having dead space above it, i'd raise it (and remove stooping over to get something from the bottom shelf) so i built a new platform atop the old. it is sealed up with rustoleum to keep the wood dry. the new platform will hold my weight without protest... (200+)... (yikes.)
the new storage bin under it has a fold-down door that rests on the drawer beneath it when open. i figure to use it for storing drinking water bottles and sodas.
i measured out the area of the cockpit i wanted to close off; it's roughly 7'7" x 6'4".... however, the front living area will seem much smaller if i close the cockpit off. i think i'll leave the wraparound curtains to keep the sun out.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raccoonman View Post
it gave me a chance to make sure the inverter was working as well; the 110 plugs were okay and the A/C blew cold pretty quickly
Uh, not to nitpick but the generator make 110/120v AC power- there is no inverter involved. The converter changes the generator AC power (or shore power) into 12v DC to charge your batteries.

An inverter (which you will not have as a stock option for a vintage coach) changes 12v DC power from your batteries into 120v AC.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:09 PM   #11
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you're correct, of course; my terminology is incorrect!
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:20 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=raccoonman;1082176
one thing i'm also considering along with removing the sofa-bed is adding a partition to block off the "cockpit" from the rest of the coach. another folding screen or simply a heavy drapery.... that's a LOT of glass area collecting heat like a fishbowl![/QUOTE]

No need to block off the cab in your RV and lose precious floorspace- here are three popular ways to block the sun from coming in the windshield (aside from your regular windshield drapes)- two cheap and one expensive.

Cheap is to go to your big box hardware store and buy a roll of Reflectix, that silver bubble wrap stuff used for duct insulation. Cut to fit, and apply to the inside of the window with tape or Velcro. The Reflectix also keeps the warmth INSIDE during cool weather.

Second cheap method is to go to Walmart or the sporting goods store and purchase a couple shiny silver Mylar Emergency Blankets. They will be in the camping section and are folded up about the size of a paperback book.

Take down your drapes, and then carefully cut the blankets to the same size as your existing windshield drapes. Attach to the drapes as a lining (facing the windshield) by sewing, or even stapling, Velcro, or glue.

The expensive way is to make or buy sunscreens that mount to the inside or outside of the window. The big advantage is you can still see out, but 90%-95% of the solar energy is kept out, and no one can see in.
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:26 AM   #13
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great ideas!
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