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Old 02-13-2012, 08:47 PM   #1
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89 Fleetwood southwind general?

Hi all,
I am going up for my first inspection of a 89 Fleetwood Southwind on the 24th that my father is passing down to me. I plan to refurbish it if not in to bad of shape, sight unseen.

The only info I have is it has a 454 and most likely a P30 chassis. My first inspection will be the drive train, brakes, fluids and roof. Make it driveable, and stop any leaks is my first goal.

With that said I know very little about some of these systems. The 454 is self explanatory as are the tires, I have extensive background in electrical so not to much worried there.

A few items I would like to know before going is what type of brakes does this system use, disk front drum back, disk all the way around. Also never worked on a dually rear end is it one set of brakes, disk or drum for each rear or a double brake Assembly for each side? I have also read some parking brakes are driveshaft mounted which sounds simple enough, does that apply to this vintage and model?

Next up is what is the typical roof system for this model? I would think it is pre EPDM time so what would be the best guess?

Thanks
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:57 PM   #2
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The 1989 Fleetwood products had a really poorly designed front and rear cap seal to the roof and were prone to leak. Side wall delamination was an issue doe to the leaks.

The problem with the delamination is you do not know how bad the damage is until you open the wall. We went through all of that with a 1989 Pace Arrow. Beautiful coach but a major pile of junk.

If it has side wall delamination, I would not invest any money in it with any upgrades and such.

ken
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:59 PM   #3
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If it has the seam over the cab area it WILL leak from there. The front piece and the rest of the roof flex and it will have issues. Mine drove me crazy with leaks I ended up putting Peal and Seal over the whole seam and then put elastometric on the edges of that. It finally did stop leaking from there then it started to leak from the top of windshield would drip off mirror right onto dash. Never could get that one figured out. The P30 is a great setup built like a tank of course get's the same MPG as a tank.
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:59 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for the tips!!! I will now move delamenation up to a higher priority. I don't want to build a whole new MH but I don't mind a little hard work and since it is free I have some flexibility on cost. But again not wanting to total rebuilt of walls, roof, drive train and so forth. My dad said there was one minor leak but it may only be minor on the surface.

So is the roof system a fiberglass cap or other?

Brake systems?
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:27 PM   #5
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Your roof will be fiberglass. Go ahead and plan on taping and sealing it and figure you'll spend a couple hundred dollars doing it right.

The side-wall leakage and delam issue is a real one but...

The coach will not fall apart around your ears even if there is wood damage behind the walls.

If the coach is free to start with, a good cleaning and a grand or two will upgrade it so that you can enjoy it and put many more miles on it. You can probably sell it for what you put into it sometime down the road.
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:34 PM   #6
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If you are new to RVing, please note that most motor home tires die of old age long before the tread is worn out.

6-8 years is considered a reasonable life span. Check the DOT code stamped into the sidewalls to see what the age is.

A blow-out in a 19.5 inch tire in a fiberglass motor home is no joke- they'll take out tanks and walls when they go.
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Old 02-15-2012, 12:11 AM   #7
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89 Southwind

We just got done restoring our 1990 25feet HiLo. The walls in the upper section(sides were totally water dammaged and delaminated. It depends how much time and $ you want to spend on the project. In our case the bones of the trailer were good and my husband is semiretired. You will never be able to cure the delamination the way the walls were put together at the factory. Should you decide not to restore you could make some $ parting it out. Keep in mind the major appliances and the cost to replace vs the value of the motorhome. Keep us posted on your decision.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Your roof will be fiberglass. Go ahead and plan on taping and sealing it and figure you'll spend a couple hundred dollars doing it right.

The side-wall leakage and delam issue is a real one but...

The coach will not fall apart around your ears even if there is wood damage behind the walls.

If the coach is free to start with, a good cleaning and a grand or two will upgrade it so that you can enjoy it and put many more miles on it. You can probably sell it for what you put into it sometime down the road.
Senior Chief Thanks for the roof info that is a great help. I agree with you on the delam issue and it will get a good inspection, hoping it is withing reason and repairable without a major problem. Will know much more after my first inspection, which will be a three day event.

Glad to hear it has a fiberglass cap/roof I can work fiberglass pretty well from my boating projects. Found plenty of good info on here for sealing the seams so don't see a major issue there, yet.

I agreed on the tires, already been price shopping and will replace all 6 if I find the MH in reasonable shape and give it a go. Even if I send a few $$$$ I can use it, sell it with no major loss. But want it for upcoming out of town work.

Also seen a few of your post and it appears you have a 89 Fleetwood 34' which is the same as what I am looking at. May need to keep in touch with you if all goes thought. Is your a 454, P30 chassis, if so can you clue me in on what type of brakes and maybe a transmission model? Simply for my research on this make and model.

Smeraldo, I hope I don't have that much of a delam/ leak issue but will know soon enough.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:21 AM   #9
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TDroma- ask away, but I warn you in advance, the transmission and brakes on our coach are 2 things that have never given us an issue!

Flush and new fluids in both when we first got on the road, and no problems since.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:00 PM   #10
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Eternabond is the best thing to use on the roof sealing.

As for the delamination, we had a sister 1989 Pace Arrow with delamination. Once they pulled off the exterior Filon panel, the steel in the walls was in bad shape and non-existent on places. The walls were rebuilt using wood to strengthen the rotted steel members.

If there is delamination, you have no idea of the interior damage. I would not spend much money on the rig and just use as is.

Ken
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Eternabond is the best thing to use on the roof sealing.

As for the delamination, we had a sister 1989 Pace Arrow with delamination. Once they pulled off the exterior Filon panel, the steel in the walls was in bad shape and non-existent on places. The walls were rebuilt using wood to strengthen the rotted steel members.

If there is delamination, you have no idea of the interior damage. I would not spend much money on the rig and just use as is.

Ken
Txiceman, Thanks. I think I follow what you are saying but would like to confirm. Is the Filon panels the interior panels and you removed for repair the delam issue or something other. Also I assume the steel that was in bad shape was the stud framing or other? Either way I agree, I do not plan to rebuild the coach.

Thanks again.
Terry
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:43 AM   #12
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I've seen minor delamination repaired without total reconstruction. Composet Products makes a very thin flowable epoxy that can be injected or poured into walls and floors. Not going to fix everything, but may be a cost effective answer to any delam you come across.
www.delamrepair.com
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:06 PM   #13
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Terry I too inherited a 1989 Southwind 30' about 5 years ago and have been enjoying it ever since. My parents bought it brand new, so I am very familiar with its good and bad points. Mine has the 460 Ford with 4 barrel carb & Banks headers, a John Deer Chasis with Mor-Ride suspension and only 36K miles. Five years ago I spent some $ to get it up to usable/boondockable condition and it has met every expectation since then. Here's what I did to get it up to usable condition. But right up front I warn you that the only way to make this all economically feasible is to do most of the work yourself:

1. New EPDM Liquid Rubber roof coating - put it on myself for the cost materials & 2 days labor (see Pro Guard Coatings The Manufacturer of Liquid Roof and Liquid Rubber - 5 gal pail plus, seam tape and tools. This stuff is fantastic and relatively cheap if you install it yourself. I would agree that the Southwind's roof was highly leak prone as it came from Fleetwood. Mine has several dry rot areas in the side panels as a result of years of leaking. But no more leaks! As to the dry rot and fixing the Filon, see below.
2. New rubber belts/hoses
3. New front shocks
4. New front fan
5. New Onan generator control board & carb cleaning
6. New fluids including: oil/filters motor/gen, trans, diff
7. 4 new Costco 6v golf cart batteries for coach & 1 new engine battery. Coach now has 440 aH of 12v power when running on batteries. Fleetwood did a horrible job wiring this MH! I re-did most of the 12v battery cables when I installed these great & very economical batteries with the solar system described below. Be absolutely certain that your neg is grounded directly to the chasis! Mine was not and this one thing gave mom & dad years of problems.
8. 2 - 205 watt solar panels wired in series thru a Blue Sky charge controller & a remote monitor/control panel above the driver. (get cheaper non UL "blemished" panels from Solar Panels, PV Systems and Inverters Distributor). In cloudless midday sky's, these babies put out almost 30 amps of charging! Installation of these is critical!! DO NOT use the standard 10 ga wire that comes with most panels. I used 2 ga stranded cable from the roof mounted panels (near the rear) to the charge controller that is mounted on the sidewall by the drivers foot. It is then less than 3' to the batteries and also less than 3' from them to the inverter (critical) on the other side of the firewall. The rear AC did not work so I removed it to make room for these fairly large panels. The panels are mounted so that they can be tilted left or right to increase panel efficiency.
9. Installed a Xantrex 2000 watt ProSine inverter under dash above motor mount. This is wired to two new switches in the elec panel under the fridge, allowing the inverter to power all 120v outlets throughout the coach. The switches allow power source selection (Shore-Gen or Inverter & the ability to turn off the stock charger-converter when running off batteries).
10. Replaced 4 bulbs with LEDs to conserve boondocking power (1.6 amp vs .2 !!)
11. 2 - cheap 20" flat screen TVs (1 mounted above driver across old hole between overhead cab)
12. Replaced dated carpet throughout with DuPont tile-look foam backed interlocking flooring from Home Depot. Floor is now easy care & coach is much much quieter on the road. This stuff looks like tile but weighs no more than laminate (like Pergo). I use 6 rubber backed bathroom throw carpets from Costco to keep everything soft/warm. These are washable so coach clean out is a snap. Just shake and sweep!
13. Cut aluminum insulating bubble wrap from Home Depot to fit all windows when in storage.
14. Winegard Mini-Max satellite dome antenna mounted on roof just behind the front AC and a non-HD Directv box in the overhead cabinet feeds both TVs.
15. Replaced the cheesy original & leaking kitchen faucet with a regular house kitchen faucet with sprayer.
16. New Turbo wash internal tank spray systems on both gray and black water tanks make flushing them a snap (no more dragging filthy hoses inside!).
17. Several other items including regular washing and waxing, flushing the water heater, etc...

Ok, that's a fairly extensive list! But before I undertook all of this, I had to justify the expense versus simply going newer. My thinking was that I could add about $5k of stuff to what amounted to a "free" motorhome and have all of the utility of a new model for tens of thousands less. With this rig, I do not worry about traveling a dirt road to that perfect boondock site or that someone might break into it while I am at a commercial campground. Why would they when there is a beautiful $200K diesel pusher parked right next door? Add in much cheaper insurance/annual license fees, with no monthly loan payments plus the fact that I know my parents took good care of it since new, and the decision was easy.

My biggest problem now is that sidewall dry rot issue. Five years ago when I did the big upgrade, I got estimates from a local RV specialty shop for a dry rot clean out and re-Filon job. The estimate was $15K to carve out the "cancer", re-skin the sides with Filon then do a complete body paint including the front/rear caps. At that time I elected to postpone the decision. There is simply no way I would get my $ back if I were to spend this much. Now, I am considering an upgrade to something like a mid-90's Blue Bird. This really would make more sense but it is hard to part with mon & dad's pride and joy. With this in mind I am trying to decide whether to spring for new tires or just sell the Southwind. It has been 8 years since dad replaced them. Although the tread is like new and I have religiously kept them covered when stored, it is time to replace them IF I plan on continuing to use the Southwind. Then there's the emotional attachment of climbing the steps and "seeing" dad laying on his couch or mom sitting accross from me at the dinette table laughing. Decisions, decisions... Life is full of them.

Lastly, I hope you got some good out of this lengthy post and best wishes with your antique.
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Old 05-06-2012, 06:26 PM   #14
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I own an 89 Southwind 30', 454, carb. Some sidewall delamination from roof joint leaks. Disc brakes all 4 corners, Drum parking brake on Driveshaft side of transmission. I love it, built simple, I know I'll never get anything out of it if I try to sell it,but I think I can keep that 454 ,Quadrajet, 400 turbohydramatic running till I'm too dilapidated to crawl Over/under it.
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