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Old 01-06-2012, 01:59 PM   #1
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Itasca 37RQ

I have been looking at Apollos and Airstreams and have been coming up with reasonable examples that are far away. I just found an Itasca 37RQ within 4hrs of me. I am interested in getting a motorhome to use and restore. I am interested if any of you have any thoughts on the Itasca and certainly if you have any direct experience with the 37RQ.

Cheers

Ian
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:42 PM   #2
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If it is a 37RQ I am assuming that it is a Windcruiser. It would help if we knew the year. Most likely it has a fiberglass skin and a steel and aluminum frame. You will have a tag axle and could be either Ford or Chevy powered. The engine will determine the chassis. Overall, it is a good foundation but underneath it is just like most other motohomes. Be sure and check the skin above the furnace and water heater for delamination or wrinkling. Check the rubber in the tag axle suspension. If it is starting to pull loose, you've got at least a $600 repair if you do it yourself. The Itasca is certainly not an Apollo or Airstream but it's not a bad motorhome.
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:58 PM   #3
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Hi Ian and Welcome tho the Forum!

The Winnebago / Itasca motorhomes are good coaches, but age, use (or lack of use) and maintenance will determine current conditions and needed repairs.

As QuietWater mentions, it would help to know the model year and chassis make to offer further comments and suggestions.

Enjoy shopping for your vintage motorhome!
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:59 PM   #4
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Thank you for response ! Yes it is a Windcruiser 1989. The fellow is not asking a lot. I think Chevy powered. I downloaded brochure from Winnebago site, very good info. I know not an Apollo or Airstream. It really does come down to the proximity. Even if I can find an Apollo it very likely is not going to be close. Obviously I will have see this in person. In meantime I am waiting on close up detailed photos to better give me a look. I am a in depth DIY type. Have overhauled engines etc many times. I am in the custom woodwork biz so I though my skills there would be an advantage. Tag axle.. air suspension right? Is the 600 for bladders. My goal would be to put it in good running order and then attack the interior. The Airstreams I have found aside from being at least 2000 miles away are over 10k and the Apollos are few and far between and older...although really cool and I hear very good. Thanks again for the response and any info you have.

Cheers
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Old 01-06-2012, 04:43 PM   #5
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The tag axle will most likely be a Mor-Ryde system which does not have air bladders. There are rubber shear "springs" which may or may not be like the ones pictured here. There might only be one set of rubber on each side of the axle. You can see in this picture that the rubber is starting to peel away from the metal plates on the bottom of each side. This is not too bad, yet, but anything more than an inch is cause for replacement. However, you might find an entirely different system. It could have long springs and an air assist bladder.
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:11 AM   #6
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Thanks for the pic. I am still waiting on detailed pics from owner. I will ask for one of this area on RV. I know I am likely getting into something big , but could be a lot of fun too. She told me that when it has run for a few minutes it rises up off grond which led me to think up and down air suspension of some sort. You know far more than I. While I have restored a couple of cars and an airplane in my time something this big is new. Thank you so far for the input. It is very helpful and informative.
Cheers

Ian
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Old 01-08-2012, 02:39 AM   #7
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The Itasca 37RQ Windcruiser is basically the same as the Winnebago Elandan 37RQ. I am in the process of renovating a 1989 Elandan 37RQ, and what I can tell you is that it is a fairly straight forward coach to work on. Most of the automotive type parts come from either Ford or Chevy. This is my first motor home, but I have a bit of automotive restoration experience.

The tag axle is made by Henschen, not by Mor-Ryde. I haven't dug into it, but I can tell you that shocks for the Henschen is hard to find. The dual rear axle assembly is supported on air bags driven by a compressor underneath the bathroom sink. The engine is most likely going to be a chevy 454 with a Quadrajet carb and air injection coupled to a 475 transmission. After I replaced the front air bags, mine drives really nice even though it has the original shocks.

I lived in mine for 9 months while on a work assignment, and I have no complaints - it's a great vintage coach. The only down side are the systems that are not currently functional, and it is obviously built for 2 with an occasional visitor or two - not for a family with kids.

The things to watch out for is water leaks around the windows and where the front and rear caps attach to the body. I am addressing the delamination in a few places on mine due to water leaks.

Winnebago is a good resource for information such as wiring diagrams and plumbing layouts. They will usually send you additional diagrams on request.

Good Luck!

Erik
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Old 01-09-2012, 01:15 PM   #8
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Hi Erik

I had seen the Elandan in my searching around and assumed it was a difference in badging and maybe some interior appointments etc. That is very good information re axle and suspension. The person I have spoken to about it says it rises up after a few minutes of running however after 23 years I would not be surprised to find decayed bladders and leaks in general. I have a 10 yr old Range Rover with air suspension which I have replaced the bladders on and I am still chasing down leaks in the lines. Lots and lots of "o"rings to replace. It is not hard just tedious. What condition was yours in when you got it and how much of a restoration are you doing? I have one son 13 and I am divorced so it would likely be Ian and I. One thing I am trying to figure out is how much modification of floor plan can be done. My work is custom woodworking, I have a cabinet shop and all the equipment and resources to do nearly anything. I thought it would be fun to do a custom interior using lightweight materials used in aircraft interiors. While it may only be my son and I and possibly a third it still would be nice to be able to accomodate more. Would love to see photos of yours if you have them.

Tack sa mycket !

Ian
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Old 01-09-2012, 03:46 PM   #9
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Hi Ian,

I have a 1990 Itaska Suncruiser 32' and love it!!! This coach was very well built and lucky for me, well maintained by her previous three owners. It has a Ford 460 engine and nearly every upgrade available for the year. It drives like a dream!! Better than my car, in fact.

It did take me going through a LOT of used RV's over 14 months to find this one. The only reason I got her was due to a divorce of the owners, he had never planned on selling her. They had to sell at a loss.

I lived in it for a month, after I bought her and was more comfortable than in my stix 'n brix.

The oak cabinets were very dry (not cracked) and (after cleaning) a girl friend & I put on two coats of tung oil and one coat of lemon oil (her hubby checked out my engine for me ). The image below: right is the restored cabinet, left the dry one.



The previous owner smoked and I do not, so had to get that odor out of the coach. I used bowls of baking soda, set around the coach, along with bowls of charcoal (the kind w/out firestarter ).

I had a professional cleaner come in and clean the carpets, sofa, dinette seats, all chairs and the matresses.

The headliner was the worst. First we cleaned that with white vinegar. Once that was completely dry, the next day we went back over it with peroxide (that is antibacterial and antiviral). I let it air dry. The combination took out all of the nicotine stains and removed the odor completely. That was in October and the coach does not have a smoke smell to this day. I have friends, who are also non smokers and they said that they had no idea it was ever smoked in- there is no smell nor stains. It can be done, it just takes work.

As you can see by the above photo, there is material around all of the windows that can not be removed for cleaning. On those, I used white vinegar. Test a small, out of the way, area before doing this. My material had no change so I used a clean cloth, soaked in white vinegar, to clean any material that could not be taken down and washed. I dabbed the vinegar into the material, so as not to wear it, but also to get into the batting below as that will hold odor too.

The 'curtains' in the bathroom can not be removed, so I put the vinegar in a bucket and dipped the curtains into that. The curtains did not look dirty but, wow, were they!!! After dipping both curtains, repeatedly, I had to throw out the vinegar. Was too filthy to do anything else with.

The vinegar was also used on all of the walls, glass, shower stall, counter tops, appliances and both sides of the mini blinds. Literally every square inch, inside, was washed.

I left the baking soda and charcoal in for about a week, then removed those.

Just went into the coach, yesterday, and she is still sweet smelling

I hope that this helps you when you get your own, vintage, coach. You sound like you can do much, much more- inside- than I can. I look forward to seeing before and after shots of your coach.

Sheila
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:08 PM   #10
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Maulepilot,
I've got an 87 Windcruiser 37' and haven't been able to use it much yet. I blew the transmission on the way home when I baught it. Since I'm in the middle of a kitchen remodel at home, I haven't had time to pull the tranny yet. Other than that, so far I like what I see in mine. I does have the typical age related issues but overall the structure is sound. Hope you find a good one.

What type of Maule do you fly? I used to tow banners with an MX-7-235, and do airiel photograph in an M5-253, and flight instruct in an M5-180. Good airplanes, kind of like a Pacer with more power.
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:51 AM   #11
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Hi

I have a 1985 MX7-235 . Thats neat youve flown them. They are like Pacers with a punch. My Dad had a Pacer when I was a kid. I still like Pacers to this day and maybe sometime will get one to restore. The Maule has , as you know, incredible performance. I just did a field repair/overhaul on engine. New cam/tappets etc. Had cyls overhauled. Beats the hell out of a Mattituck overhaul ! I bought the plane in 2005 and have been cleaning her up ever since. The short field ability is amazing. I cant do everything it is capable of but still learning. Have you seen video "Big Rocks Long Props" ? It is some very good off airport flying in a modified M5. He has the extended gear and very large tires and a fixed pitch climb prop. Do you do any flying now? What kind of condition was the fram of your Windcruiser in when you got it. Would love to see pics and hear more.

Ian
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Old 01-10-2012, 03:48 PM   #12
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The Maule is a good plane. It takes a little work to get the most in performance. Unlike most airplanes, use the flaps to control your glide path. Set about 10 to 12" of power and milk the flaps from full down to about 20 degrees to control the descent. Much different technique, but it will get you in some pretty tight places. The MX7-235 that I uesed to fly, I picked it up in Callistoga CA and flew it back to Poughkeepsie NY over a 3 day period. That was a fun trip. I've found that the Maule 235 induction system (with the carburetor) is the worst for carb ice. I used to have to run about 1/2 carb heat while towing signs or it would ice up on me.

Unfortunatly I don't have an airplane of my own right now. I used to have a '43 Howard DGA-15, now that was an airplane! 4500 lb gross weight and 450HP. I don't think I could afford the gas now though - 20 to 24 GPH.
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Old 01-10-2012, 04:01 PM   #13
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Oh yeah, this is supposed to be about campers. My windcruiser frame is in great condition. I looked at a bunch of other MHs in the same vintage and all had lots of surface rust, some even had areas where the frame was rotted through. The Windcruiser is in great shape compared to some that I looked at. Check the roof good. The Windcruiser/Elandan of this vintage have an aluminum sheet roof, so the only joints and penetrations are for the end caps, plumbing, vents, and AC. If the Al is in good shape without a lot of hail damage or holes from trees, just keep up with the seals on the penetrations. No need to constnatly recoat the roof or replace a rubber membrane. AS I said, I haven't had a chance to use it yet, since it blew the tranny on the way home. Hopefully by spring I'll have time to drop the transmission and start to redo some of the interior. Expect the headliner to fall down unless it's been redone. All the Winebagos of that vintage have the same problem. Another issue I have is that the engine likes to throw belts. i think the AC comperessor clutch is bad and when it warms up the bearings seize. I'll deal with that after I get the thing to move. Just for comparison sake, I got mine in VA (I live in MD), and pricing was in the 2500 to 12000 range. Average seemed to be in the 6000 to 8000 range. I paid 3700 for mine, but like everything, you get what you pay for, so now I need to invest more ito it to make it usable. Other things to watch for are tires, since on the RQ37 you have 8 rather than 6. Steering components (my steering gearbox is a little loose) Front Air bags (mine are blown), and the list goes on.
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Old 01-11-2012, 10:09 AM   #14
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Howard ! That is an airplane. 450 HP was that the R985, I know they also had Jacobs I think. Nothing like the sound of a radial engine. Gas is out of control. I feel it . I have the IO-540 in the Maule and as you know it burns 10-13 gal/hr @ $5.00/gal. We should be paying what they pay in Abu Dhabi for gas ! Ill try not to get political here... Here I am thinking about a large gas guzzling camper. The guy with the one I am interested in is asking about the same as what you paid. I havent got to the point of making an offer as I have yet to see it in person. It is 4 hrs away and I am still waiting on more pics to get a feel for it. I am quite sure it will need a lot. I will post pics when available in meantime I attached a photo of my bird. I also have a J-3 and a Cessna 140 in my garage awaiting overhaul. The Cessna is on its way. Have you ever thought of building a plane? I want to do this at some point. Question is which one, fiberglass,wood aluminum etc...how fast. I have always like the Volmer Jensen VJ-22 Sportsman amphibian. I also like the Falco F8 , all wood and fast. One of my alltime favorite planes is the Bellanca Viking, wood ,fabric and steel tube ! This is becoming more about planes then campers! One of the big reasons I am interested in the Windcruiser is because it is relatively close. I had seen an Apollo on the west coast that looked interesting but the distance scared me. I think the Apollo has a great vintage look to it and the quality seems good as well. How far do you want to take the restoration of your RV ? I had mentioned on another post that I was interested in maybe reconfiguring the interior using lightweight materials. Truly customize it. I am working out some rough floor plans now to see what is viable.

Cheers

Ian
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