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Old 10-06-2010, 09:47 PM   #1
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New RVer's with a PROJECT

Ok, so we just bought a 1984 Southwind 33 ft. motorhome.
We have never owned one before but as of the end of this month we are going to be living in it full-time for the next 2 months.
At the end of that time we are going to drive it from here (Northern Ca.) to Denver where we are moving. The rig has a lot of issues that will need to be addressed pretty quickly in order for us and the kids to live in it and for it to be reliable for the trip.
I am pretty sure about the following facts: GM one ton motorhome chassis with a 454c.i. carbureted engine, 14,001-16,000 lb chassis, Onan 6.5 gen, Norcold N611, newer updated furnace.
Questions I have are exactly what model the motorhome is? What tranny do i have? And any other info I can decypher from the serial numbers and vin.

VIN is 1GBKP37W6E3327514
After looking at the posts here regarding vin decoding, I am confused by the year code which seems to say it's a 1981 chassis and the W which seems to report a 4.3l engine.

The pic posted has the serial number plate and I don't know how to decode it.

I'm starting on the reseal of the roof this weekend and after ensuring no leaks. i will move on to the electrical system, then water and propane. Any advice or encouragement is appreciated! Thanks in advance for all the great knowledge I've already been able to glean from the forums here!

Chris
p.s. I posted this here as well as in the new member forum because I thought the folks in this one might have more input. Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:32 PM   #2
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Tires

Good luck with your project. Before you load up the family, be sure to check the age of the tire using the DOT markings on the tire:

"U.S. DOT Tire Identification Number
This begins with the letters "DOT" and indicates that the tire meets all federal standards. The next two numbers or letters are the plant code where it was manufactured, and the last four numbers represent the week and year the tire was built. For example, the numbers 3197 means the 31st week of 1997"

Most RVers replace tires after 5-6 years regardless of wear. Even sooner if the rig has been sitting for a long time undriven.

Plenty of more info here on the forum.

Bill
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:41 PM   #3
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Hi Bill,
Thanks for the reminder! I did check and both fronts have the DOT date code of 023. So does that mean they are from the second week of 2003? They have no visible checking or cracks and good tread. Can I trust them?
The rears have the code 242, so 24th week of 2002? These have some slight visible weather checking so I am suspicious of them. What do you think?
They are all Bridgestone RL8 187. Size is 8R 19.5
Thanks for the input!
Chris
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:52 PM   #4
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I believe you are reading them correctly. And if they are from 2002 or 2003, it's time for new tires.

I know its hard to look at how well they appear and still think about replacing them, but that's what I would do.

Too much chance of a blowout on tires that old.

Bill
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:00 PM   #5
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Ouch! That's about $1600 mounted and balanced. Sigh.... What do you think about the tires themselves? Bridgestone R187. F load

Thanks!
Chris
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Old 10-07-2010, 12:27 AM   #6
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Chris, the motorhome you have is a good quality motorhome. My first one was a 1982 Pace Arrow 31ft., the sister to a Southwind. You will have to spend $$$ on any used one you buy, so don't cut any corners on safety such as the tires, bite the bullet and have a new set put on and your worries will be less.
As for the motorhome, it's on a GM P30 chassis, formerly know as a Bread Truck frame. An awfully good 454 engine with a turbo 400 transmission. It may also have air shocks inside the front coil springs as well as on the rear, as most were equipped with, if so, run about 45 lbs.of air makes the ride not quite as stiff. Good luck, happy trails and travel safe.
David G.
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Old 10-07-2010, 12:38 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info Dave! So here's a question for you. How fast should I expect this rig to go on a climb like up Donner Summit, for instance, with an average load? I'm not in any hurries, just want to know what to expect. It hit 65 mph pretty easy on the flat freeway driving home...
Chris
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Old 10-07-2010, 06:17 AM   #8
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i have a 85 southwind smaller (28 ft) looks same as yours i have same motor trans. you should have front air bags they didnt come from factory on rear i added them it is a no drill install i pull a 4 door chevy truck on level road you have to watch the mph on a long climb the 4 barrel opens speed will fall to50 mph now this is no moutain or the likes i run bf goodrich comercials got them from sams club ($1100) mounted and bal.
i did have to remove them from rv myself as they didnt have a jack.
be sure to replace brake fluid if it hasnt been done
dave
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:15 AM   #9
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I towed my horse trailer with my 31 ft 1995 Itasca a couple of weeks ago in the mountains of AZ. The steepest climb was a 7% grade. I could only do about 35 on that but everything ran fine. I put new tires on mine and went with the Bridgestone 187. They have a steel belted side wall and really improved the stability of the coach. They cost me just under 1700.00 installed, but I think it is well worth it.
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:21 AM   #10
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Sweet! Fleetwood service rep just emailed me the brochure for the 1985 southwinds as well as wiring diagrams and plumbing diagrams! So, now I know that I have a G30. 30'10" long, wheelbase and capacities info,etc, as well as some nice pics of what original looked like. I'm stoked! That plus all the helpful people on this forum make me confident about this project!
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Old 10-07-2010, 11:28 AM   #11
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P-30 or P-32 forward mounted sterring, if you have bell-cranks (you do)
its a p-32 you can buy lots of parts by telling them its a p-30
check this link
http--samstoybox.com.vso-library-Chevy%20Chassis%20Service%Guide%20pgm%201979-1986.pdf
sorry i dont know how to make a link this is the latest document on what you have and how to tell P.M. me if you need
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Old 10-07-2010, 11:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whem2fish View Post
P-30 or P-32 forward mounted sterring, if you have bell-cranks (you do)
its a p-32 you can buy lots of parts by telling them its a p-30
check this link
http--samstoybox.com.vso-library-Chevy%20Chassis%20Service%Guide%20pgm%201979-1986.pdf
sorry i dont know how to make a link this is the latest document on what you have and how to tell P.M. me if you need
dave
Yeah Dave, I've read the ENDLESS online debate on the whole P-series chassis thing. I've decided to largely ignore it unless I need parts and then I'll do the classic "match part numbers and eyeball" method.

I'm finding that the online community here is about the best source of info around!
Chris
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Old 10-07-2010, 11:48 AM   #13
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ever need any thing just chime out. you will love what you have i rebuilt front end and brakes boy with a new alignment it drives great. i do close to 20,000 miles a year
dave
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:42 PM   #14
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The G-30 is a van chassis cut away. Your VIN breakdown is a as follows:
1=US BUILT
G=G.M.
B=CHEVROLET INCOMPLETE
K=GVWR/BRAKE SYSTEM
16,000/HYDRALIC
P=FORWARD CONTROL
3=1 TON
7=MOTORHOME CHASSIS
W=ENG. V-8, 7.4L(454)
6=CHECK DIGIT
E=1984
3=ASSEMBLY PLANT(DETROIT, MICHIGAN)
327514=PRODUCTION SERIAL NUMBER
Your chassis is a P30/P32.
J
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