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Old 12-10-2010, 12:02 PM   #1
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Odd Options to Know About on HR Class A's

Recently we bought a vintage class A HR Imperial 33'. I noticed a wet storage door under the rear bed, and found that there is a small heater core and fan under the bed for rear bedroom heating. This heater gets hot water from two 25' heater hoses that come off the intake manifold of the engine. Needless to say when these hoses leak, it will rot your floor and cause severe water damage. I don't know if this was an option or added by previous owners, but is something to check just in case it is leaking.

I am fighting the familiar road wander problem on my P30 IFS chassis and am trying to make this rig less stressful to drive on narrow, shoulder-less uneven asphalt roads that wind thru the windy hill country of Texas. I have to drive 40 miles on these 2 lane, 2 way roads just to get to the highway so we can go somewhere, and it is exhausting just to get to the highway. Does anyone have experience with the correct inflation pressure for front air bags? I am replacing the power steering gearbox and a worn bell crank arm to fight the problem, and hope this will help. I have adjusted the gearbox until it binds, backed off a little with no change, hence the new gearbox. I had read all the threads on this problem. Any suggestions may keep me from re-inventing the wheel....Happy Trails !
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Old 12-10-2010, 12:33 PM   #2
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my front end weighs 5200 i run 65 psi to get the ride hight correct i did belcranks ,ball joints.tie rods, then allignment mine drives great now in the wind thats a nother story. be sure to check the lower ball joints they wear faster than the top. now im north of you on 35 W in fort worth there is a shop that alligns big rigs (rays champion spring) they did mine best improvement. do you have rear air bags they are bolt on
dave
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:25 PM   #3
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Our recently acquired '88 Winnie Super Chief also has the rear heater option - the lines come from the engine coolant thru metal piping under the MH - not anywhere inside, until they come up into the inside where the heater core and fan are located under the head of the bed. The extra rear heat is a nice feature if driving in colder temps, where the relatively small under-dash vehicle heater is unable to properly heat all the MH insides - no evidence of leakage or related damage in ours.

There's a related thread now running on this board:

cold while riding

Ours also has the P-30/32 GM chassis, and road wander when meeting or passing other large vehicles, and also pavement irregularities was a serious problem until I installed new Bilstein HD RV shocks and a new Bilstein steering stabilizer, the old OEM shocks and stalilizer were totally shot - the old girl handles quite nicely now...
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Old 12-10-2010, 07:52 PM   #4
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The original sales brochure for the 1984 Holiday Rambler came with my HR Imperial. The Imperial was the top of the line in 1984 and came fully equipped with the rear heater, separate ice maker, dual fuel option, even a bar-b-cue grill (long lost on mine), and a fold down bed above the driver's seat.

The bad part: Everything I have tried to replace or upgrade is an odd size, no longer available, one of a kind, or just more trouble than I want to go. For instance; there are no replacement refrigerators that are the same dimensions as the RM1300 in the Imperial (I had the core redone for $425 and reinstalled and it runs good as new), the plastic roof vents are no longer made and the replacements that I found are about $50 each. (Try Airstream) The option was to reconfigure the openings which involves a lot of cutting and screwing just to replace a $10 plastic vent. I wanted to replace the glass in the front door. While removing the 10 screws in the glass frame I discovered a crack in the frame, so I bought a new one from the local rv store. It looked identical to the original but, of course, it was too narrow to fit the door! I wanted to replace the aisle/courtesy lights that were burnt out. The only place on earth that I could find them was direct from Winnebago for $7.00 each, but could not get them in the original black but had to settle for white.

The list goes on and on but you get the idea. I love the way the HR is built with all aluminum frame and aluminum skin. I have not found any leaks anywhere. But getting it caught up to date is taxing my patience and wallet.
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:29 PM   #5
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80's Vintage Holiday Ramblers

Our side door window on our 83 Imperial 33 from was very cracked and loose when we got ours. I found an exact fit replacement frame online at Pelland Enterprises www.pellandent.com for $23.00. The part # is: 20-RAD-BL for the black frame. I used three pieces of 1/4" plexi-glass bonded together at the edges to replace the bad, loose window. Don't know what inside frame should have been there to take up the extra 1/2" gap, because I doubt the OEM window was 3/4" thick. Your rig looks to be in very nice shape. Does your fender skirts have cracks, or are they still good? Ours was subjected to 100+ Texas heat for some of it's life, and Pelland has them as well, but they are pricey! How many miles are on your Imperial? Is the dual fuel option you mentioned for engine fuel? Ours has a six foot long propane tank, and I was wondering who converted it to run on propane, so I guess it was a factory option. Ours is not piped to the engine any longer and just supplies the coach propane now, thankfully because the propane option looked a little dangerous being piped into the air filter housing. Ours had 110k on it, but had a new motor, trans, rebuilt differential and a Gear Vendors overdrive unit added. I have done the tag drum brakes (Chrysler brakes?), and both sets of disc brakes, u-joints, carrier bearing, wheel bearings, seals, water pump, re-cored radiator, new fan clutch, belts, hoses, master cylinder, steering damper and now doing the power steering gearbox and bell crank arm...all in 2 months of ownership. The bell cranks and arms are ridiculously expensive, and only found one provider....Getting mine up to date has been pricey also, but I think the old HR's are built better than most..

Happy motoring,
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:46 PM   #6
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Thank you for the comments. The picture makes it look a lot better than it is, but for the most part it is in pretty good shape. The fender skirts are still crack free. One reason I bought it was the mileage on it. It had 26,360 on the odometer and the PO said it had been keep in a barn until the last two years. He said it belonged to his uncle that passed away and he ended up with it. There were no batteries in it and one of the tires was in shreds so a test drive was out of the question and I didn't get a chance to try out anything in the coach, but the guy looked and sounded very trustworthy and he said all I needed to do was put tires on it and hook up some batteries and I could drive it anywhere. He lied through his teeth! After spending $1000 on tires plus an oil change, lube, and new gas, I started out on my first trip home (about 150 miles). I didn't get 4 miles before it started overheating. I stopped at a truck stop and put in a gallon and a half of antifreeze. As soon as I got on I-44 I discovered a vibration at 60mph. However, I managed to get to the exit for the highway home and the whole motor just stopped. Fortunately it started back up but about every 5 miles it would just stop. No warning, no gradual let down, just flat stopped. It would start back up with little cranking and I would be on my way for another 5 miles. About 25 miles from home it started backfiring through the carb. I had taken the doghouse off when it started overheating and never put it back. When it started backfiring, it scared the hell out of me. However, I managed to get it back home. Since then I have replaced the distributor and everything connected to it, put on a new Edelbrock carb (However, I want to have the Quadrajet overhauled and reinstalled), new tune up, new brakes, installed an electric fuel pump near the gas tank (main reason the engine kept stopping), rebushed the bell crank, and installed airbags in the coil springs. There is still a lot more to do. I still have the vibration but I am hoping it is a badly balanced tire. However, It could be in the drive line somewhere.
Wow, this is sure long, I didn't mean to write a book about my MH. Stangdoc, I would like to compare notes as we update these money pits. I have a recall notice on the dual fuel option. It was to be taken out for safety reasons. Mine is still intact but I have never used it.
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Old 12-13-2010, 08:57 PM   #7
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Perhaps this info may help, On my 83 Itasca 33" I installed a Carter street/strip electric fuel pump cuz the stock manual pump could NOT keep up with the fuel demand......
Installed the "Edelbrock 1722" manual engine pump and all is well e'nuf that the electric Carter has been removed, Remember that it's a LONG run from the tank in the rear to the engine.
On the flat & level the electric & engine purred along nice but on the hill climbs the engine would fall flat on it's face....
Carter swore up & down that fuel would flow e'nuf even when it was in the off position..

Jim
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Old 12-14-2010, 03:35 PM   #8
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Wow, it sounds like your experiences have paralleled mine, even though our HR has 90k more miles. Our first trip (150 mi R/T) started like yours, engine backfired thru the carb and quit, it started back up, exited and put more gas in it. About 5 mi from our destination, a vibration started, before I could pull onto the shoulder the front drivers tire blew out at 70 and pulled me from the right lane to left lane and into the center median (steep ditch) all in about 100 ft. After I checked my pants, and kissed the ground, I got out of the severely leaning behemoth and saw the tire was shredded, front fender skirt was gone, and the wiring for the front leveling jacks was ripped out. Four hours later (at midnight) the wrecker showed up and towed us 3 miles to a Walmart to spend the night. Ours may have had only 7k on the new engine, trans and rear end, but like yours had been sitting for a few years. The previous owner had replaced the front 19.5 rims/tires with 16.5 for some unknown reason. Problem was the tires were "LT" tires not meant to carry 8 tons, hence the blowout. The tires were brand new, so I had thought I could make a short trip on them while locating correct rims to mount new tires on. 19.5 rims are scarce down here for some reason. Mine has an Edelbrock manifold and AFB carb, RV cam and headers. Still almost gutless on hills. These 454's are anemic compared to the old 454's. Only making 180 hp for a big block is shameful! Does yours have enough guts to tow a small car? I need to drop the gas tank and drain it and seal the inside, cause being 1/4" ungalvanized steel plate probably means it is rusty. I installed three new clear gas filters to catch any rust. I tried a new Holley 110 gpm lift pump, but it didn't work as well as the marine fuel pump that came on it. Where was your engine battery located on yours? Mine was above the radiator inside the grill in a place that was impossible to see or check the connections, so the first thing I did was move it to the side battery compartment and eliminated one of the coach batteries. Mine also ran hot when I got it, so I replaced the water pump, fan clutch and had the radiator re-cored and it runs cool even in 100+ Texas heat. Where did you get the new bell crank bushings? Mine needs them, but all I have found it way overpriced new bell cranks at $350 each. I am getting ready to order new bell cranks, but if I can get new bushings, I would rather do that....
Sorry my post is so long, I don't know how to tell a short story....

Happy motoring,
Kevin (Stangdoc)
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Old 12-14-2010, 03:52 PM   #9
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Did you pay the ransom-like price for aftermarket (Super-Steer) bell cranks, or were you able to get new bushings, or even factory bell cranks? Have you found factory bell crank arms anywhere? I have only found the bell cranks and arms at Precision Frame and Alignment and they are quite proud of their products! Thanks,
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Old 12-14-2010, 06:53 PM   #10
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I had mine at the local Chevrolet Truck and RV center doing a state inspection. They said there was too much play in the bell crank and suggested I replace it, but, like you, they couldn't find one for a reasonable price. Chevrolet doesn't stock any. The mechanic ordered a bushing for it and drilled out and pressed it in. I'm not sure where or actually how he did it but it was a lot less than a new one. However, I am still fighting the notorious wander. That is something I want to address as soon as it gets warm again.
You were lucky with the blowout. And, who would put "LT" tires on a motorhome? That is one of my biggest fears. I do NOT want a blowout on the Interstate. I bought the best tires I could get for the money before I ever even tried to get it home. I get a lot of my replacement parts from Colaws RV Salvage in Carthage, MO. They have acres and acres of salvage RVs and have just about anything a person could want in used parts. Check them out their website.
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:32 AM   #11
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Rear heater-handeling

Greetings,
After reading thread, I decided to put my experiences with my '87, 33' Imperial. Mine has 87600 on the clock. The former owner said something about that not being accurate, but I was not interested in what the reason was I was only interested in what I saw.
Mine has the rear heater too, but here in Fl. we don't need that much.
Anyhow, I've owned it almost a year now and still pleased. I've been out camping with it 5 times now and other than a brake pad failing on the first outing, no other troubles.
Everything needed looking at because it is old. I keep the speed down to 55 because the front tires need replacing because of age. No cracks or things like that just using the date code. Mine has a high output at low rpm alternator and if the start battery is low will cause belt squealing right after starting. I learned to charge the battery prior to starting and that problem went away. Someone had put the incorrect belt on the power steering pump so that squealed when turning anything other than a few degrees. I put the correct belt on and that problem went away.
I have not used it in the mountains yet, but I'm not concerned about being the first to the top, so I'll live with whatever it does. I like the way it runs. It appears to be stock. The shocks are Billisteans. There's a damper on the front suspension and I checked the various parts for looseness and there appears to be little. It handles well so far. I really like this old girl and intend to upgrade parts as needed. Mine has the single bed on the driver's side rear. No problems with getting up if needed, but I could convert to twins if needed.
Next projects will be to strip and reseal the roof openings and seams, replace vent covers and replace radiator hoses. So far NAPA has the parts I've needed by listing it as a '87, P30, 1 ton step van.
I have a slight gas tank leak if I fill it up. It appears to be coming from a tank fitting high on the drivers side, mid-way down the tank. Not sure what that is but it could be a connection for another tank. I'll get to that someday, but I just don't fill it.
Powhatan
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuietWater View Post
The mechanic ordered a bushing for it and drilled out and pressed it in. I'm not sure where or actually how he did it but it was a lot less than a new one.
YUP - I'd think a good automotive machine shop or similar could fabricate suitable bushings - used to be a common thing with kingpins in earlier decades...
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:13 PM   #13
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may be he had better luch pressing them in than me as mine were under size
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:33 AM   #14
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The tank fitting that is leaking is probably the main gas line, as the generator fuel line is tapped into the tank somewhere around the 1/4 tank level. My generator dies if I have less than a 1/4 tank of fuel. Mine had a replacement rubber fuel line running 25 feet to the engine that someone installed. I found that the original line was a standard steel fuel line that was fine, so I hooked it back up since that rubber line had already started cracking, and it ran fine. Happy motoring,
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