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Old 03-16-2010, 09:18 AM   #1
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Advice on 89 P30 with 454 - HR Crown Inperial

I am considering purchasing a Holiday Rambler Crown Imperial on a P30 454 Chassis. The unit has about 66K miles and appears to be in super condition. Does anyone have any comments on the motorhome or the chassis? I am planning on having a mechanical check done on the engine and transmission, what should I have done. Thanks

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Old 03-16-2010, 11:13 AM   #2
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You didn't say what year, I had a 1995 with the trany having trouble finding the reverse spot off and on when I shifted. Other than that a great ride.

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Old 03-16-2010, 12:02 PM   #3
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It is a 1989 34ft.
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:41 AM   #4
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Thumbs up 1989 Holiday Rambler

higherplane - any older RV should be completely inspected for not only mechanical condition but the coach body and all the systems as well -remember you are looking at a vehicle and a 'house 'as well - you did not say how many miles are on it but mileage may not always be a factor in determining the condition of an RV- I have seen several low mileage motorized RV's that had been siting for several years and were in poor condition- either the coach suffered from lack of maintenance ( roof not checked and leaking water is one example) or the chassis was rusted and oil leaking etc.- so with RV's you have to check each one on an individual case- if you can have an RV technician check the coach part as well as having the chassis inspected and get at least a general idea of what its going to cost to put it back in shape/on the road and repair anything on the coach then that can be used to determine the value- many people have purchased an RV only to find they have to spend lots to get it in shape and that just used up any savings in the lower purchase price - all RV's have problems but most of them are minor except when it comes to water damage and or major chassis or powertrain repair and if you like this one and you are happy with the inspections then its a matter of personnal choice - the P30 chassis was used in many applications and many RV's as well - here is a website that sells parts for the Chev step vans (same chassis) - www.stepvanparts.com ( www.millsupply.com ) - they have a ton of stuff for the 'P' chassis as well as other items for electricl heating etc. - many of the earlier RV's used a lot of generic parts such as tailights, electrical parts, heaters etc, with the reguler utility vehicle such as the Chev step vans - let us know if you do purchase this one and good luck!
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:53 AM   #5
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1989 Holiday Rambler

higherplane - sorry you did mention the mileage at 66K- one other thing to check for in the chassis is any sign of collision damage and see if the current owner has any of the maintenance bills/receipts as well- also one other thing to keep in mind- on an RV you also may have to get the propane and the electrical system checked and/or inspected - most if not all US States and Canadian provinces require a gas system inspection and certification and I am hearing that some campgrounds are not letting any 'older' RV's in to their site unless there is proof of certificaton for at least the propane system and some insurance companies are now requiring the same before they will insure an RV (not all but some) - I have been hearing about this for at least the last two years in the RV industry so check your local State laws for this.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:31 AM   #6
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I have the same unit. Maybe we should stay in touch to help solve each others problems. If you still have your Rambler.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:30 AM   #7
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I've had an '87 and '89 Imperial. Very solid motorhomes. Loved them both.
Steve, Mary & Buddy our 2-year-old Chihuahua mix
1995 36' HR Endeavor, 460 w/Banks, 2005 PT Cruiser
Fulltimers originally from Michigan, hanging out in Oregon for a spell.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:41 AM   #8
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Check the parking brake - it may be a complex hydraulic system that runs off the power steering pump. If so, they are problematic. Some folks replace them with a manual brake handle (IRV2 has several write-ups relating to AutoPark - if it has it).
Also, the carbureted 454's drank a lot of fuel.
Tom and Amy from Northern Virginia.
2000 Allegro 454/Workhorse P32/TST/Crossfire
Life is a DIY project - enjoy it.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:57 PM   #9
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One thing that I have found out with my p-30 based motorhome is that the tread width is somewhat less than the wear grooves that are forming in so many roads now days from the truck traffic and lack of maintenance. I have spent quite a bit of money trying to make the actual driving a pleasant experience. With the narrow tread you may find yourself constantly making small corrections. In some year they widened the tread and I don't know which year that was. ( mine is a '93 so it was after that)These comments are so you can go into this with your eyes open.
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Old 09-24-2013, 05:11 PM   #10
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The older chassis were originally built for the 8' width. When the wide body (8'6") coaches appeared around '90 or so they continued to use the same chassis. That is the reason for the appearance of narrow wheels. Chevrolet did not change the chassis before it was sold to Workhorse about '99 or 2000. WH came out with the W chassis and left the narrow wheels for a year or two on the lower weight models. You will most likely have a carburetor and they did use a lot of gas, along with the 3 speed transmission. They were top line when new and condition is everything. My daughter & SIL have an '82 Bluebird so I have an idea of what is involved in older RVs. They can be enjoyable, if you are very handy.
1995 Roadtrek 19 Versatile
Dodge 318
1975 GMC Eleganza II
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:32 PM   #11
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The P-30 uses air springs to help the front suspension. The original bags will need replacing. Air Lift makes a good replacement.

The 454 is a solid engine, but is prone to cracking the headers, particularly on the right side. Some of the manufacturers were using a header with an expansion joint to get around the problem.

HR Crown was a well built and solid coach. But the P30 chassis was prone to a bit of road wandering. HD shocks will help and replace the bell cranks with the ones from Henderson.

Amateur Radio Operator (KE5DFR)|Full-Time! - 2012 6.7L Ford Crew Cab Dually -2013 HitchHiker Champagne 38RLRSB - Travel with one Standard Schnauzer and one small Timneh African Gray Parrot
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:56 PM   #12
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I had a 95 Winnebago which had a p32 chassis. It had about the same width as your proposed chassis up front.It like most of those units had front air bag inside the front springs. I put some gauges on those bags so I could tell at a glance the the pressure was up. You could also hook them up to the same compressor that inflates the rear bags, but varying the pressure up there didn't seem to be necessary, I just put it at the recommend max pressure-- I think it was around 90 psi. Once I got all leaks out of the system those bags pretty much will stay up.

I was able to make a pretty good performer out of that chassis by adding air lift bags to the rear, with the air compressor so I could make changes to the airbags while underway. That was the best thing i ever did for that unit. If a road was really sloped I could raise that side, if the wind really got crazy I could add air making the rear suspension stiffer--- worked like a charm.

What I would advise you is this, In 1996 the p32 workhorse chassis was modified to a wider stance up front so handling is much better. Also they went to multipoint fuel injection on the 454, giving it more power. Unless you just have to have the unit you're considering -- look for something with a 96 or newer chassis. YOU WON'T BE SORRY!!

After buying my 95 I put on a better exhaust system tying in improve the power and I did, but it comes already there in the 96 & newer. My 95 had throttle body fuel injection, which for me was a whole lot better than a carburetor engine.

Hope this helps


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95 Jeep toad
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454, crown imperial, holiday rambler, p30

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