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Old 01-05-2016, 05:37 PM   #1
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New guy, old motorhome, or the other way around

we just bought a '91 holiday rambler 1000. it's 31 foot. haven't gone anywhere but the driveway yet. i have a couple of questions---
how long to run generator to charge batteries(and how often is normal)?
where is brake fluid reservoir on this ford chassis?

when we drove it home and stopped for gas, the rig smelled hot and the brakes were not a sharp as i'm used too in my daily driver f250.they did seem to stop fine as long as i leave space in front of me. it is a heavy rig. is this normal?

the rig was checked out by the dealer before we bought it (paul evert's rv country--a big company) and everything works. it's in great shape with new awning,fridge,tires,cover,and like new interior. 73000 on a ford 460, and 94 hrs on generator.

thanks,wes
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Old 01-05-2016, 06:42 PM   #2
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If your charger is a "smart" charger, when the batteries are about 90% charged the charge voltage should taper off to about 13.6 or less volts.

If your converter/charger is not a multi-stage "smart" charger...one like this will take much better care of your batteries .
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To really know the condition of your batteries at all times, get a meter like this one and install it. The battery meters that just light a few lights like a gas gauge, are just a wild guess and not accurate.....the trimetric shown here is accurate because it measures the amps that flow into and out of the batteries.
Click image for larger version

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Old 01-05-2016, 06:58 PM   #3
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If it has the original Converter/charger, I doubt that it is multi-stage. Check the model number, google it, and check if it mentions that feature.

The multi stage units charge the batteries more quickly, and more safely (as far as battery protection).

Good info here:
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)

It's lots of info and you don't need to know it all, but it's a great resource. Lack of understanding of the complex electrical systems on an RV creates a lot of problems, based on the number of posts on this and other sites.

Unlike the simple systems on modern cars that require virtually no maintenance or knowledge, the RV systems require you to understand and do some maintenance.

Regarding the brakes: If the vehicle sat for awhile, there was probably rust build-up on the inside of the brake drums. It will wear away with use. I recommend exercising and testing the brakes by warming them up with a few light applications, followed by 2 hard applications spaced a few minutes apart. Beware that the hard applications can cause the vehicle to pull to one side or lock up one or more wheels. Once the brakes are properly exercised, you should have no pulling or lock-up. If you do, have a mechanic check them. Big vehicle + bad brakes = big trouble.
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Old 01-05-2016, 07:32 PM   #4
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I'm in Clovis, next to Fresno. That link is to the Workhorse dealer in this area. He is completely honest and won't sell you anything you don't need. I've used him for the past 8 years.

He works on any motorhome and also does smog checks along with alignment for large buses, trucks, etc.

If you are concerned about the brakes I'd suggest having them checked there.
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Old 01-06-2016, 07:44 AM   #5
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The OP has brought up a good point. Is there a list on this site for newbies? Something as simple as adding water to the house batteries once a month would have been helpful to me a few years ago. I drove my RV a month before I found out it had air bags, that would have saved me a couple of pair of underware.
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:13 AM   #6
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If you have any work done at that dealer verify it before you leave and inspect any all removed parts as well as verify inspect all stated work.

A friend had air bags replaced on a unit they purchased there and did not check them fully until about a month down the road when they were setting up for a trip and discovered cuts caused by install that leaked.

Dealer refused to correct due to it being a couple days past the 30 day warranty. ..due to the issue they should have done something.

The actual fix was to get springs that could handle the weight installed to avoid the air bags.
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:31 AM   #7
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Check the date code on the tires! If older than 7 years, replace. If older then 10 years, REPLACE IMMEDIATELY!
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dozerboy01 View Post
we just bought a '91 holiday rambler 1000. it's 31 foot. haven't gone anywhere but the driveway yet. i have a couple of questions---
how long to run generator to charge batteries(and how often is normal)?
where is brake fluid reservoir on this ford chassis?

when we drove it home and stopped for gas, the rig smelled hot and the brakes were not a sharp as i'm used too in my daily driver f250.they did seem to stop fine as long as i leave space in front of me. it is a heavy rig. is this normal?

the rig was checked out by the dealer before we bought it (paul evert's rv country--a big company) and everything works. it's in great shape with new awning,fridge,tires,cover,and like new interior. 73000 on a ford 460, and 94 hrs on generator.

thanks,wes
Wes, congrats on your new purchase! In regard to the brakes, my brake reservoir is under the drivers side of the dash. I have a round plate that screws on so it can be accessed from the cab. Also, my RV is 36' and the brakes on those older F53's are just not that great, or at least that is my experience and what my research indicates. I don't think they were engineered to stop that much weight in a real sharp fashion but if you research this issue, a lot of information will come up about how to check the brakes/calipers, etc. Good luck with the new RV and have fun!
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Old 01-06-2016, 11:00 AM   #9
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I had a 1993 HR 1000 (35CST) on the Ford chassis, my master brake cylinder was accessed from behind the front drivers wheel. I had to turn the wheel all the way to the right and that gave room to get in and behind the wheel. The master cylinder was on the frame there with heat shields that made it hard to access. I had to remove the heat shield to add fluid when I changed/flushed the brake fluid. If yours is the same make sure to reinstall the heat shield as the exhaust manifold is very close on the other side and will boil the brake fluid. Since my MH was 35' I also had a tag axle that had its own master cylinder.

Mike
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Old 01-06-2016, 11:43 AM   #10
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On the battery issue, you probably have a single stage charger/converter like mine had. I forget the model number but it works ok. You do have to keep an eye on the water levels in the batteries (I checked mine monthly), also mine did not charge the chassis battery so I added a trickle charger to keep it charged. The chassis battery would draw down in a week if not charged due to parasitic loads. The house battery would last about 10 days with nothing turned on. If we were using the MH we would need to charge the house batteries daily. l would leave my rig plugged in via a 20 amp outlet and an adapter when parked at my house.

The only real issue I had with the 460 was broken exhaust manifold bolts. On the second time around I went with Banks headers and did not have the issue afterwards.

I would still have that rig if it had a slide. Living in it 3 months at a time got tight with the 2 of us and 3 dogs.

Hope that helps some.

MIke
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:59 PM   #11
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To answer your generator run time question. The short answer is yes you need to run your generator to charge your batteries.

The long answer is 4 hours maybe. Older rigs, our 1986 Rockwood for example have a "harmonically regulated power converter" that is meant to run the 12 VDC while in a campground but to charge the batteries. A modern 3 or 4 stage 12VDC power supply and battery charger will take your batteries from flat to 80% charge in 4 hours.

With our 60A Progressive Dynamics 3-stage battery charger power supply we find that 1 hour for breakfast, 1 hour for lunch and 1 hour for supper keeps the batteries happy when boondocking. FWIW we've just finished 4 years of living off grid, that is to say boondocking.
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:04 PM   #12
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update

well, I took our '91 holiday rambler into a truck/rv shop to check everything out.it seems the dealer wasn't quite truthful about conditions(no surprise). everything in cabin is great ,but we need new back brakes,berrings,bushings on sway bars,radiator and assorted hoses,belts,oil pressure gauge,cruise control cable was cut, and misc little things. cost is about 4700.00 . this with the purchase price of 7900.00 puts us in our original price range we were looking at. they did a full safety/condition check of chassis, so we should be in great shape when we get it back this week. luckily, I found these guys close and with great references. they are IMPERIAL TRUCK AND RV in Bremerton ,wa.-- they work on semi's and rv's bumper to bumper

can't wait for maiden voyage

wes
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dozerboy01 View Post
well, I took our '91 holiday rambler into a truck/rv shop to check everything out.it seems the dealer wasn't quite truthful about conditions(no surprise). everything in cabin is great ,but we need new back brakes,berrings,bushings on sway bars,radiator and assorted hoses,belts,oil pressure gauge,cruise control cable was cut, and misc little things. cost is about 4700.00 . this with the purchase price of 7900.00 puts us in our original price range we were looking at. they did a full safety/condition check of chassis, so we should be in great shape when we get it back this week. luckily, I found these guys close and with great references. they are IMPERIAL TRUCK AND RV in Bremerton ,wa.-- they work on semi's and rv's bumper to bumper

can't wait for maiden voyage

wes
We did similar with our rig. Bought cheap, knowing it needed work, and came out after repairs under our price point. That gave us enough money to up grade tv's to flat screen hd's and Winegard traveler automatic sat dish.
Happy rv'ing!!
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dozerboy01 View Post
well, I took our '91 holiday rambler into a truck/rv shop to check everything out.it seems the dealer wasn't quite truthful about conditions(no surprise). everything in cabin is great ,but we need new back brakes,berrings,bushings on sway bars,radiator and assorted hoses,belts,oil pressure gauge,cruise control cable was cut, and misc little things. cost is about 4700.00 . this with the purchase price of 7900.00 puts us in our original price range we were looking at. they did a full safety/condition check of chassis, so we should be in great shape when we get it back this week. luckily, I found these guys close and with great references. they are IMPERIAL TRUCK AND RV in Bremerton ,wa.-- they work on semi's and rv's bumper to bumper

can't wait for maiden voyage

wes
Wes while you're having your brakes worked on have them flush the lines and refill with DOT 5.1 severe duty hi-temp brake fluid (not 5.0 but DOT 5.1) DOT 5 is silicon based while DOT 5.1 is polyethylene glycol based and is compatible with your present brake fluid.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOT_5.1

My brother driving a class C called me in a panic from the high Sierra's when he began getting brake fade on every downhill. After he switched to DOT 5.1 he had no more problems.

Steve
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