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Old 06-30-2012, 05:20 PM   #1
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GMC motorhome

Hello, I am considering looking into purchasing a vintage GMC motorhome. I have looked some up on ebay and the internet...I don't know anything about these coaches. Could I get some suggestions on what the downside is on these coaches, such as leaking, etc., ..I was told they were bad to leak, that the air bags give alot of trouble. I don't want to get one that needs alot of work, I want one that is road ready..thanks for any help
Tom
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:13 PM   #2
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they have been known to leak but anything that moves or rolls will leak you just got to keep them sealed, air bags were bad about leaking down . engine was olds 455 cu in.
front wheel drive had trouble with cv joints ,other than that they are cool rides with lots of power and drive great . about 30 years ahead of their time
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:22 PM   #3
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Any older RV will require maintenance for leaks and mechanical things break. There have been modifications to the Oldsmobile drive train over the years to make them more reliable. There are a number of GMC motorhome groups on the internet that can offer a lot of help.

Google

Check this Google search.

Ken
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:11 PM   #4
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Those GMC's have a huge following, there are lots of people restoring them, I even saw one company that was adding slides to them!
It won't be a problem finding a fully restored unit.
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:14 PM   #5
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I would suggest this website. GMC Classics Motorhome Club If you scroll down past the pink toy and the red hat ladies you will find links to everything you ever wanted to know about GMC Motorhomes. There is even a for sale link that will give you an idea of how much these old babies are worth. There are a lot of them for sale that are better than new and extremely road worthy but be prepared to pay the price.
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:51 PM   #6
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Jim Bounds Coop motorworks does amazing things on the GMC's, they also have owners coaches listed for sale, Cooperative Motor Works (The Co-op)

The best GMC forum is, GMCnet: Welcome to the forum
There is even a Blacklist of members that will help you if you run into problems on the road, do a LOT of reading first and have someone who knows them check it out for you, you can find someone on the forum,
they have certain problem areas specific to the GMC,
I like them a lot, they handle like a car, and you must be mechanically inclined because not every repair shop is going to know what it is, or wealthy but I wanted something larger, also looked at a lot of Revcons, later Revcons used the 454" GM engine, easier to maintain and update than the 455" Oldsmobile in the GMC, and the last two years used a 403" olds, not enough power.
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Old 07-01-2012, 04:26 PM   #7
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Tom,

Before you do anything else, look at the picture in the sig...
Think this guy might know what the situation is???

The GMCs have such a following for two reasons:
They are unique in the field.
They are well enough designed that it is not all that tough to keep a nearly 40yo coach dependable and fun to drive. (I do not drive in daylight, my wife insists that she do.)

There is a site http://www.gmcers.org that will lead you to everything you will need to or even want to know.

It does not matter what you may have heard unless you heard it from two different owners.
Everything leaks, it is merely a matter of degree. Mine only leaks water at the door and then only in severe conditions.
The CV joints are not any big issue.
Front wheel bearings are critical. In the group, there are two very good fixes.
There is no structural wood that can rot, but if left in a field for a decade or more, the frame may be rusted (like a Corvette).
There are currently no "orphan parts" - repair parts that cannot be purchased. Yes, some parts are out of production, but replacements have been found.
You can also get kits to install closed loop fuel injection, all wheel disk brakes (change out the 4 drums in the back) and revise the rear suspension for even better braking. The list is really much longer.

If you are interested, I suggest you look up club chapters close to where you live and get to a rally or three. You will learn a lot on any of the open house days and you may even hear of a coach that is available.

There is a line we use all the time.
A good clean dependable coach will cost you about 25K$ - All at once or as a kit. You may be able to better than that, but it is not very far wrong. If you do a search of the local Craig's list of E-bay, you will find running coaches between 5~40K$. It is up to you to find out what you want and what you are willing to settle for.

Matt (See you at GMC net)
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:42 PM   #8
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I heard one time that the frames sagged and the side door was tough to open and close because of this. They are pretty cool looking even by today's standards.
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:02 PM   #9
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Tom, I would be asking myself if I were willing (and able) to commit to doing all or at least most of the repair work on a coach like this. An RV dealer is not going to be of much help at all unless you're having appliance (AC/furnace/refer) issues. Anything else is pretty much purpose built. Maybe not that difficult to work on yourself - but way different than most all the others Class A's. The support groups will be about your only resource.

I worked on these when they were new (they were built near where I live). They're awesome looking (still are!) and I found them to be about the coolest things around. I loved all the gadgetry involved - but I'm a gear head that's not easily overwhelmed by the electrical systems on it.

When I retired, they were NOT on my list when I went to buy a MH to do some serious travel with. They're WAY too small....
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Old 07-03-2012, 05:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BA-in-Mich View Post
I heard one time that the frames sagged and the side door was tough to open and close because of this. They are pretty cool looking even by today's standards.
You heard wrong, real wrong.. On some that were driven hard over rough roads, the rooftop unit has cause the coach to spread. The door still closes, easily, if it hasn't gotten out of adjustment. It may have more wind noise than it should but even this is easily dealt with.

Matt
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:14 AM   #11
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I think the best info is found at GMCNet (the second link below)

That forum is mostly about long term owners who like to tinker and upgrade their GMC coaches.

This is a SUPER friendly group and an excellent resource for owners, new and old. Info and advise for newbies who know nothing to design engineers who have done every mod and upgrade under the sun.



Also have a look a my buddies site which is a great way to learn more.

http://www.gmceast.com/about/Bovee_Idiots-Guide.pdf



I have owned my '77 Palm Beach model for 10 years,
a great coach that gets a lot of smiles and waves.



QUOTE=Manuel B;1229057]Jim Bounds Coop motorworks does amazing things on the GMC's, they also have owners coaches listed for sale, Cooperative Motor Works (The Co-op)

The best GMC forum is, GMCnet: Welcome to the forum
There is even a Blacklist of members that will help you if you run into problems on the road, do a LOT of reading first and have someone who knows them check it out for you, you can find someone on the forum,
they have certain problem areas specific to the GMC,
I like them a lot, they handle like a car, and you must be mechanically inclined because not every repair shop is going to know what it is, or wealthy but I wanted something larger, also looked at a lot of Revcons, later Revcons used the 454" GM engine, easier to maintain and update than the 455" Oldsmobile in the GMC, and the last two years used a 403" olds, not enough power.[/QUOTE]
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:16 PM   #12
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Tom and Nancy,
Did you get your GMC yet? I currently have a diesel pusher but have plenty of experience with my old GMC 26. Where are you located?
The GMCs are great units. Quite comfortable to drive as they are low profile, streamlined, and have an excellent suspension system. Don't be afraid of the air bag system as they are really simple and a wide array of parts and options are available. To me the main shortcoming is the limitation of what you can tow behind. We successfully towed a Ford Escort and a Triumph TR7 for years. Going to a heavier Jeep Commanche pickup wasn't as successful so I only did that twice. Going to a Ford F150 Super crew forced me to go to a diesel pusher. I'd be glad to answer any questions or offer any info if you still need it. The best test is to drive the unit (or several for comparison) to check for power, smoothness, handling and braking. Be sure to watch for the 7 year limit on tire age regardless of how good the rubber looks; but that goes for ANY vehicle.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:47 AM   #13
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Tom and Nancy,

While eagleman99 is not wrong and his replies show serious thought and consideration. What he left out is that now we have available a number of higher numerical final drives. If you are going to try to two a heavy toad, one of these is a virtual must. These are now available in a limited slip version.

You really need to get on GMC net and make some friends. It would be a great plan if you could locate a rally in striking range and go to see a dozen (or maybe an hundred) coaches.

Matt
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:09 PM   #14
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someday, when the wife and i retire, we will downsize to one of these old gmc's...
and we'll do it up 60's style, with lots of turquoise and such....
and it will be cool as hell.
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