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Old 06-29-2015, 10:52 AM   #1
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NEED HELP !!!!!! getting 89 Southwind started

I bought an 89 southwind and need help getting it started again , I think the first problem is the batteries are loosening charge and there's not enough juice to power the starter ( previous owner might have cut some wires or taped them up and hid them ) so a picture of how batteries are connected would be super helpful

Engine Sat for min 5 prob 10years not being ran

The best I got was the engine to start to crank with carb off with a big puff of black smoke coming out of the carb so that's a good sing and the fan turns about 1/8th turn


Any tips on getting engine running again would be greatly appreciated , once I get it to run for a little bit I plan on replacing head gasket , water and fule pump and line, all rubber hoses, probably starter ,spark plugs and cords also

Any help with finding guilds to replace parts would be helpful also

Thank you in advance
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Old 06-29-2015, 03:22 PM   #2
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If the batteries are that old, you should replace them with new ones. That may fix the starting problem. No sense trying to troubleshoot if you don't have good batteries.
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Old 06-29-2015, 05:39 PM   #3
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NEVER just put a battery and fresh fuel into a vehicle that's been sitting for long periods of time, AND the PO didn't properly prep vehicle for long storage.

You need to go through a process to not ruin the engine.

You need to remove all spark plugs and put a couple table spoons of oil into each cylinder. Rust has set up around the cylinder walls and rings.

Change out old oil for fresh and replace oil filter.

Change out fuel filter. You may need to do this more than once after running for awhile as trash in gas tank gets stirred up again from sitting over the years.

Remove carburetor and put some oil down the intake to help with dry intake valves/valve seats.

With plugs out and oil in cylinders. LET ENGINE SIT FOR MINIMUM 1(one)DAY. This will let oil penetrate in/around the rings some to help with immediate dry startup.

While carb is off, remove upper carb top and make sure the float bowl is clean and free of settled crud on bottom and float seat isn't stuck. Shoot some carb cleaner through jets and other pump openings.

Replace carb, replace plugs, hook up gas line(after making sure it's free of obstructions) and put in new battery and only bump engine for a couple times to make sure engine is freely spinning. If you have any charging issues, this will then be the time to find---once you know the engines runs ok.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:58 AM   #4
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Ty for the advice,
They are 2 new car batteries I'm useing (replaced what was there ) thought about adding a 3rd ( don't remember off the top of my head if in parrale or series) but where u connect a positive to a negative to double voltage to 24 volts , but didn't know if that would fry some electronics. What do you think ? Battery gauge goes from 12-14v down to 0 when turning key


I'll pull the plugs n add some oil n replace plugs while I'm at it , but was waiting till I heard her fire for 30 sec before replacing fluids because I am planning on replacing head, oil and trans gasket along with water n fule pump , all rubber hoses n belts , and in doing all that I'd have to replace all the fluids any way, and didn't see point in spending the money to replace if I was going to replace again in a week or 2
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:24 PM   #5
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I would not double the voltage to 24. Most electronics will survive, but some will not, and there is no advantage to damaging any of it with this voltage.

I have an 88 southwind, and there are 3 batteries. One (and only one) runs the truck, the engine.

The other two are for the cabin, or the camper. Typically, these are called chassis and house batteries.

I have a lightening bolt looking switch on the dashboard that will add cranking power from the house batteries to the chassis battery for hard starts and long cranking. They are all wired where all negatives are common, and positives are common to each other, so that no matter how many batteries are used at the moment, the voltage is always 12 vdc or so.
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:36 PM   #6
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Stop all action and get some documentation and read it.

Batteries ate ONE 12 volt engine battery and TWO 6 volt chassis batteries wired in series to give 12 volts.

Do NOTHING AT ALL until you get a better understanding of what you have and what is needed.

Gas in tank likely bad and all fluids need changed.

Get a Haynes manual for your chassis and it should cover engine and running gear.

Do seek out some retired pro to help you or maybe a neighbor who has experience.

The engine may be in great shape but incorrect actions now may cause great damage as it has more than enough power to do a lot of damage without making many odd noise.
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:57 PM   #7
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You said your going to replace the head gasket, why? is it blown, which one? both? also if your going to replace head gasket, why are you even trying to start it? when replacing the head gasket, you could visually inspect the cylinder walls.


A head gasket is not a normal preventive maint. procedure.


you should put what make your chassis is, for better replies


The other things you mentioned are preventive maint and should be done.
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Old 07-01-2015, 12:56 AM   #8
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CJ7 is thinking the same as myself on the head gasket. Or do you mean valve cover gaskets? I just finished getting a Dodge 440 running that had sit for 19 years. The very first thing I did was turn the engine by hand to make sure it was not stuck. Than I ran a compression check. In this case there were 6 cylinders that hit around 110, 1 hit 60, and 1 hit 0 which was not a good sign. I sprayed a little fogging oil into the intake while cranking the engine and then walked away from it for awhile. Rechecking the weak cylinders showed about 100 and 75. I figured that once it was actually running the compression would probably come back on those two and I knew there was enough compression for the engine to run so I proceeded on with repairs. I dropped the fuel tank to clean out the old fuel and replace the lines. After that long the pick-up tube was closed off with varnish. The fuel gauge sender was also bad so was replaced while I was there. Rather than just pulling the top on the carb I put in a kit. That way I knew that after coming out of carb cleaner that all passages would be clean and I had fresh needle and seats etc. All rubber fuel lines were replaced along with the fuel pump. The steel lines were blown clear with air. While the plugs were still out I dropped the old engine oil and replaced with new. That way I could crank the engine at a faster speed to build oil pressure and lube the engine. As you are planning on doing, I also replaced the water pump, belts, thermostat, valve cover gaskets, and all the water hoses. I pulled the distributor and cleaned the advance weights and checked the vacuum advance for leakage. Only then did I attempt to actually start the engine. In this case it did not start right up. I have only seen it about three times in my mechanical career but the muffler was plugged thanks to mice. I dropped the header pipes down from the manifolds to confirm what I suspected about the muffler. The engine did fire and I shut it right back off. I blew shop air through the header pipes and that moved enough material out of the muffler that I could get some air flow. At that point we then had a running engine with a rather mouse smelling exhaust I might add!

So really it is not a matter of trying the engine first to see if it will run, rather it is a process of preparing the engine to run again. It sounds like you have an electrical issue too. I would check your battery cables and make sure everything is clean. At both ends not just the battery ends. Really sounds like you have a bad ground. As far as the volt gauge dropping to zero while cranking that may just be how it is wired, or you could actually be loosing that much voltage due to connection issues. Do you have a digital voltmeter that you can run some test with? Battery connections, since your dealing with a 12 volt system make sure all positives connect to each other and all negatives like wise. Connect in parallel only.

Tell us what engine and chassis your working with as it will really help in giving you better advice.
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Old 07-01-2015, 10:12 AM   #9
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Ksagal would it be possible to take a pic of you 88 southwind and how the batteries are connected

Thanks again for the tips

All the info I know about the rv is its a 89 Fleetwood southwind pretty sure it's a 454 Chevy big block engine and probably a Chevy frame also but I don't know the vin is 1GBKP37W8K3327994 incase that could answer some questions

TQ60 if I can find out what type Haynes manual I'd need I'd be buying it in a sec lol



My thought for replacing head gasket , was because engine hasn't been ran in at least 6 years and I don't know how long the antifreeze has been sitting in there th st I no the ph of the antifreeze can go crazy when it sits and can eat the head gasket

And to me I'd rather change it now at home where I have all the tools I'd need and all the time in the world . Kinda beats getting stuck on the side of the road 1/2 way across the country with my one year old daughter pregnant wife and 120 lb blind dog , n with my luck I'll have all the tools I need except one lol
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Old 07-01-2015, 05:32 PM   #10
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Contact Haynes via their Web with your Vin and see if they have anything on anything with similar chassis.

You have drive train and basic chassis that may have been used in something that they made a manual for.

If that does not work seek out manufacturer of chassis and do same.
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Old 07-02-2015, 12:35 AM   #11
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pinkey

A google search on your vin shows it to be a 1989 P30 chassis. I did not try decoding that vin, ususally you can find out several bits of information if you do such as motor rear end etc. Just a thought.
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Old 07-02-2015, 07:12 AM   #12
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Hey, pinkey, we have an '89 Southwind too. Getting rid of it this fall. Feel free to ask any questions.

Here's a link to an online manual for the P30 chassis (scroll all the way to the bottom- its the last item on the page). It a little early, but better than nothing.

Or, for $5, you can become a Full Member over at Classic Winnebago & Vintage Rvs
and access their big library of chassis, wiring, suspension , coach and appliance manuals. They are a fabulous resource for anyone with a vintage coach.

To get you started, assuming your coach is stock, you have a GMC 7.4 liter 454 with a Rochester Quadrajet carb on a P30 chassis with a TH400 transmission.

Parts look-up should be for the P30, but occasionally things will be designated Base (as opposed to stepvan).



As the earlier poster said, you have ONE starting battery for the engine, and another (or 2, or 4) for the house. If they are interconnected, it will only be through a momentary or booster switch- they will NOT be connected directly, so just ignore the house battery for now.
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Old 07-02-2015, 09:53 PM   #13
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Where are you from honeybadger?

I just ordered a shop repair guide , wireing manual and complete overhaul manual , after trying to figure out what chassis it was ( about an he before you said it was a p30 lol )


Did you ever pull the spark plugs on yours honeybadger? I feel like an idiot asking , but do you need a special tool to do it , the regular 5/8th spark plug puller does not fit down the tube to reach the spark plug ( went to AutoZone n replacement spark plugs were 5/8th) n I bought the smaller 9/16ths puller to c if it was smaller for some reason but that's too wide also


Was trying to put some oil in through spark plugs so I could try start it again over the weekend


And another stupid question, when you say "turn the engine over by hand " what does that mean ? Rotating the main fan , or entire pulley system of ac power steering water pump n everything else that's normally on the pulley system
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Old 07-03-2015, 10:23 AM   #14
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Pinkey, turning over by hand is exactly just that. You get underneath vehicle with a 1-1/16" to 1-1/8" socket/extension and 1/2" drive rachet and insert into crank harmonic pulleys and onto large center bolt head and spin clock-wise(looking from front) the engine, to make sure nothings binding up in cylinders and engine rotates through all 8 cylinders of their up/down full stroke movements of exhaust and intake openings. This is AFTER you inject oil in cylinder holes/intake manifold to help lubricate.

Also, if engine doesn't spin all way over, that's fine, just stop and reverse procedure and spin opposite way. If stops again, reverse. Keep doing this until everything breaks free and you can do full revolutions in a clockwise manner. Just keep squirting some oil into the cylinders to help and let sit a day or two at a time for penetration of oil. Don't rush.

Find yourself a "click" oil can with the flexible wand to get oil into holes and ports easier. A Tractor Supply/Farm Store will have them. Don't know about Walmart or auto store.
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