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Old 12-31-2011, 01:38 PM   #1
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My newly purchased 1981 Midas Class A Motorhome.

Hi I am glad to be a part of this group. I just bought a:

Type: Class A
Year: 1981
Chassis: not sure but I know its GMC so maybe a p30/32
Engine: Chevy 454
Transmission: Turbo Hydro-Matic 400, 3 speed auto
Mileage: 49,000
Legngth: the guy who had it before me said it was 30 foot but im not sure how he measured it nor am i sure how to measure it properly.
Layout: Full bed in the back, door on passenger side, pull down spring loaded bunk over the driver and passenger seat. Kitchen on passenger side and bathroom directly accross from kitchen on drivers side. It has two fuel tanks I believe, one main and one auxilery, though i dont know if the switch works to change them and use both (would be cool if they did)
Generator: Oman (needs carb rebuild)
I will be posting here as often as possible as I was not really able to find much info on midas class a motorhomes on the net via google. I do however notice that the southwind motor homes from this same era are almost identical body styles to this one so

question 1) were they the same company or whats the story there.

#2) WHat chassis is my motorhome on? it has a chevy 454 motor with a th400 transmission. It is a class a not a mini motorhome (class c)?

#3) when calling a parts store (autozone, o reily/schucks), what do i tell them to be able to get the correct parts? they usually ask for make and model and year but im finding that motorhomes are a completely different beast and the major issues with my motorhome are mechanical having to do with the chassis more so than the motorhome portion itself.

I plan to gut the entire inside as it has been leaked on and the framing members (wood) have gotten wet to the point some are rotted. I am an expert at all things building and pretty good at bulding projects of any type from scratch, however I always find it very wise to seek the help and input of others whom have done something similar in the past.

#4) Does anyhone know where to call to get oman generator parts? I need to rebuild the carb on mine as the previous guy said it would not run without continuous carb cleaner sprayed into it.

#5) Tires on it are cracked in the sidewall and pretty old im sure they are size 8r 19.5. It is a dually in the rear. I know its ideal to replace them and be safe but I am thinking of starting with the steer tires and, when i finish renovation heading to north dakota for work and getting the duallys replace as I get money from that. the trip is around 1000 miles. My question is will that work, meaning is there someone out there who has been driving on cracked sidewall tires
and been ok. I know it would be better and safer to replace and if i had the cash I would but the renovation will likeley suck up all my cash and I need the rv to very cold weather ready.

I am planning on removing everything interior and repairing frame as necessary. perhaps adding some steel re-enforcement as I go. Then I will do electrical and then put up 2" of blue xps foam board insulation and make sure the interior (floor, ceiling, walls) are pretty well airtight and completely insulated. Then I am adding insulation boxes with wood exteriors to the various waste and grey water tanks, as the fresh water tank is inside. then covering it all with maple melamine panels and making the interior bright and pleasing with the windows covered (more insulation) I will be adding outlets as I go for lamps and etc.

#5) Im thinking the electrical on an rv is same as house right? so I can run it like a house?

#6) does anyone know of a parts catalog for building rvs or remodeling rvs where I can find materials specific to rvs?

The roof has leaks in several spots. previous owners tried to repair it by rolling the white roofing in a can but it appears that didnt work too well. so im thinking of hitting the whole roof with a wire wheel on a grinder and getting rid or everything on the seams and starting again. but I have never done this so I need input on rv roof and seam sealing. Also the windows have silicone around a lot of them (another diy who doesnt know what they're doing repair.) so any input on this?

ok sorry for the long post, ill stop there for now, but man am i excited to transform this beast in a beauty. and I will provide pics and info as I go.
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:42 PM   #2
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Glad you joined the group. Sounds like you a project at hand but what the heck that's gonna be part of all the fun. Hope yo enjoy your time here and with your project as well. Have a Happy New Year, be safe and Happy Motoring!!!!! Now Get Busy!
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Old 12-31-2011, 02:09 PM   #3
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Well lets take them one at a time. I'm not familiar with Midas MH's but I've had a few Rv's Two being class A's Mine right now is a 79 Pace Arrow. It would appear you have a P 30 chassis. The transmission could be a Turbo 400 or 475. 475 is a bit more robust. Now when calling the parts store just look at P30 chassis parts. Pretty much the same as P32 anyways. Does your unit have drum brakes on the rear or disk? Emergency brake on end of tranny or conventional type? I have manuals for both that I can email you but more information is needed. You will find tons of help here . You certainly came to the right place. As Far as your Onan Generator go here! http://www.smokstak.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=1re
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Old 12-31-2011, 02:57 PM   #4
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Before you rebuild the carb on your Onan, try this;
Get a one gallon can of gas and add 1 full bottle of SeaFoam (available at Walmart, among other places). Remove the rubber fuel line at the gas tank side(at the fuel filter is good)and insert into the gas can. Start the gennie and run the entire gallon of gas/Seafoam through it - should take an hour or so. Generator carbs tend to "varnish" if gas is left in them to evaporate over and over again, and this is a good way to clean them up. If this is not sufficient, then its time for a rebuild.

Your RV "house" has 2 separate electrical systems; one is 12 volt DC and is powered by your "house" batteries. This system will include all your built in reading lights, the water pump, the bathroom and range fan, possibly your reefer (if it is a 3 way, i.e. 12 volt/120volt/propane). The 12 volt DC system uses cigarette lighter sockets for plug-ins, and fuses.

The other system is 120 volt AC, just like in your stix 'n brix. This system is powered by your generator or the shore power cord which has been plugged into an outlet somewhere. The 120 volt AC system uses breakers.

Somewhere near the middle of your coach you will find the power distribution center. This will be an electrical panel with both the AC breakers, the DC fuses and (behind it or near it) the converter (which changes 120v AC power into 12v DC to charge your house batteries).

The chassis electrical system is just like any automobile; the headlights, running lights, horn, etc are powered by the chassis battery/ alternator/ generator.

There are no parts catalogues for vintage motorhomes. Some stuff you can find through RV salvage yards, other things can be replaced with new stuff. If you can't find what you need by Googling, ask here, and somebody can help you.

For roof repair, clean off the old junk down to a bare substrate and use Eternabond Tape and Dicor or C-10 self-leveling sealant (search this forum for LOTS of threads on this topic). For roof penetrations, we like 3M 5200 marine sealant/adhesive. All these products are PRICEY; however they are hands down the best stuff on the market for RV roof repair, and trust me, you can use cheap and convenient and either never get your leaks fixed or have to repair the repair in a few weeks or months. Its easiest to do it right the first time.

Silicone- my personal nemesis. Nothing will stick to old silicone and even fresh silicone just won't seal worth doodly squat, for the most part. You will have to laboriously scrape every particle of silicone off any surface you intend to re-caulk, right down to bare fiberglass or metal. If you have leaky windows, they are not difficult to remove and recaulk- just takes 2 people and a little time.
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:08 PM   #5
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Question Thanks for the replies so far guys.

To clarify, im looking for.parts that are used in new rv construction. Just an rv builders catalog or website.
I'm so excited.about this project I can barely sit still.

Question # 7) the brakes dont work at all. I have to use the hand brake on the left of drivers seat (its a long metal round bar with an adjustable tensioning mechanism you can turn clockwise to increase brake tension). The pedal goes all the way to the floor and pumping does nothing. the hand brake can kind of stop the rig (enough to have gotten it home) but I need to solve it, so im thinking master cylinder is no good (though this is a guess) there is plenty of fluid. Could maybe be air in the lines but I dont think so. The guy who sold it said it used to (one year or less ago) develop brakes after it warmed up a bit. But when he test drove it get said it no longer does....so does any of this support new master cylinder?
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Old 12-31-2011, 07:03 PM   #6
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For the chassis, first you need to find the chassis VIN number. It was common practice in that era for a coach mfg to build this years coach (1981) on the previous year chassis (1980). You need to determine chassis VIN number for parts and documentation support. GM used a 13 digit VIN from 1973 to 1980. They started using a 17 digit VIN in 1981.

Once you know the chassis year, you can then track down service and unit repair manuals (2 seperate books). Service manual most information. Unit repair covers disassembly and repair of a individual component. GM produced a seperate manuals for each year. The information for the P Series chassis was bundled in with the C & K series pickup data. So, you want to search for the 198x Chevy Light Duty Truck Service Manual (x = year).

There are 2 types of brake systems. One used a vacuum booster, the other used the Hydro-boost system (power brake pump assist). You will have to look and see which one you have.

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Old 12-31-2011, 07:49 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=Dave78Chief;104626 There are 2 types of brake systems. One used a vacuum booster, the other used the Hydro-boost system (power brake pump assist). You will have to look and see which one you have. Dave[/QUOTE]

That's good to know. Do you know how I could tel the difference between the two types. And where would I look for the brake booster. I have a 79 chevy scottsdale that us my daily driver and I did extensive work on it so I'm kinda familiar with trucks of that era. Thanks again.
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:28 PM   #8
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Well, it is sort of simple. Left front wheel well

A vacuum booster has a vacuum hose from the engine manifold going to it.

A hydroboost system has power steering pressure and return hoses going to it.

Dave
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:41 PM   #9
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Dave -
Do you think that the booster could be causing the no brakes scenario.
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:18 PM   #10
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No way knowing from here. Good be a leak in the system, defective booster, defective master cylinder, etc. If you ever worked on brakes then these are just a larger version. Same things that effectcar brakes applies to these. You have to drain and fill the system then bleed them and work through any issues you discover.

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Old 01-01-2012, 11:09 AM   #11
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Looks like you have everything covered from the above posts except the tires. If any are showing cracks then replace them now. Check the dates on the duallys and replace if they also have cracks. Don't repeat DON'T drive on them to save a couple of bucks.

Good Luck
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:38 PM   #12
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I have a 1978 GMC Midas class A, 30 ft. we think it was made from sportscoach. I know of a 1977 and another 1978 like mine. most Midas one's are now class C. we don't know just how many of these were built or from what yr's. show us a pic of yours. if you are going to travel that far I would strongly suggess you getting ALL NEW TIRES. where are you at? I think most of your answers have been answered. have fun rebuilding, or come to WA. and buy mine. it has just alittle over 5,ooo mi. on it. yep, ya heard that right. it too needs new tires but all is good and no leaks.

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Old 01-03-2012, 01:09 AM   #13
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Gonna grab my master cylinder tomorrow and get these.brakes going.

I'm looking forward to doing a check on all appliances and functions of the rv. I was thinking that on the generator, the previous owner didn't know there was 2 gas tanks (one main and one aux) controlled by a toggle switch on the dash . since the tank he had mefill was the one that is on the passenger side near the front, that maybe the generator runs off gas from the main tank and the main tank is empty. What do you guys think?
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:10 AM   #14
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Most generators will not run if the gas supply tank is less than 1/4 full. Also, on your carburator, do what Senior Chief suggested. If that doesn't work, take the carburator completely apart, soak over night in carb cleaner, check every nook and cranny for even the tiniest piece of debris and put it back together. That's what my brother did to mine and she fired right up and purred like a kitten. If that doesn't work, start spending $$.
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