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Old 02-17-2012, 10:53 PM   #1
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Fleetwood Owners Club
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Ok did I make a mistake............Im new to this.

My wife wanted a motor home ,A BIG motor home so I found one on Craigslist( funny neighbor of my sister) there were no pics only a description,I liked what I read so we went and looked at it and of course she could not say no so " we " bought it.For $1900.00
It is a 1989 Fleetwood Southwind 36' with Tag axle 55,000 miles 2 owners.454 with Banks Power Pak,Unknown brand of tri-Y headers and dual flowmasters ,475 a/t with a gear vendor under/overdrive, has 3 solar panels a 6.5 Onan genni, and so on( ask if you want to know more ).
Ok one of the two PO mickey moused alot of stuff,so I will askin alot of questions.
When we went to leave the PO house I checked all the fluids and tires all looked real good but was leaking gas had to replace the fuel pressure reg by the tank or behind the rear wheels after that drove home fine turned it off and it dieseled and coughed.next day tried to start and was hard to very slughish and then very loud clunk noise and starter had fallen out was hanging by the battery connector, so replaced that also and it fired right up.Last night went to put gas in it,filled the tank went to drive out and nothing would not start,had 12.5 on volt meter still nothing but loud clicking or electrical switching noise from under the dash or hood maybe under dog house.After waiting 30 min or so got a jump and it fired up drove it back to its spot and had 13.3 on volt meter so i decided to shut it off.It dieseled for a bit then backfired very loud and kids said fire shot out of muffler tips.

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Old 02-17-2012, 11:02 PM   #2
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Alpine Owners Club
Texas Boomers Club
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Location: United States
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Even if you did make a mistake, at least it was not a $200000 one!

Michael (Home base Northern CO)
USED TO HAVE; 03 Alpine 40MDTS Now RVless
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:16 PM   #3
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Congrats!!!...your not buried in neck deep in initial purchase cost(like many)....so a few $$ here and there for some repair is very easy to swallow.
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:06 AM   #4
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IF this is a gas unit the dieseling may be a timing issue.. as for the hard start that could be nothing more than dirty connections, I would start at the battery and work out in both directions.
Home is where I park it!
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:02 AM   #5
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Workhorse Chassis Owner
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Location: NH
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Your first motorhome, very good. The fun has just begun. It'll be a bit of work but as others have said, a small amount of money invested. With some work and help you'll have alot of fun. It'll also give you untold amount of experience, and ideas. Good luck and post pictures as you progress. Have fun.
Bruce & Nancy
FMCA F280542
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:21 AM   #6
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Used to own a 454 (1988) and found that when the engine had been ran for awhile and at operating temp. I had to leave it run rather than shut it off, because it would not start if it was hot. I solved the problem by adding a second battery and a high output alternator. After that I never had another starting problem.
R & E
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:29 AM   #7
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It has a lot of neet stuff on it The under/overdrive unit would cost almost as much as you paid for the whole coach Also the banks power pack and the headers.

Is it runing hot? Could be the reason for the dieseling. When were the spark plugs changed last, as was stated, timing might be an issue. With the starter being that loose, you need to do some major crawling around under that dude and check each and every bolt you can put a wrench on.... including the exaust and intake manifolds. A leak in the intake manifold could cause the dieseling also.

Does it have electronic ignition? Fuel injection? Check fuel filters, if running lean could cause the backfireing. Fuel filters could be choking the engine for fuel causing the lean running?

Just a few thoughts, check the tires for weather checking and the dot date codes they could be really old.

Most of all enjoy the new coach and welcome to the forum.

Happy Trails
MGySgt USMC(R) 1961-1991
2001 Fleetwood Expedition
2013 Jeep Wrangler Sierra Toad
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Old 02-18-2012, 06:49 AM   #8
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If nothing else, you could part it out and double your money.
2004 32' National Sea Breeze 1311 Class A on a F-53 Chassis, CHF, TST TPMS, 5Star Tune.
If Dunner (RVM23) can't fix it, it ain't broke!
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:24 AM   #9
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Great find!
Now the fun begins. All battery connections need to be checked and cleaned. Fluids, belts, brakes and tires need to be checked and replaced as needed. Your backfiring issue should get solved when you have it CA smogged. Do you have a high idle when the engine is fully warm? I believe you have the Ford drive train since you have the tag axle, most did. At 55,000 miles you have a lot of life left in that MH with proper care. Clean up the Mickey Mouse stuff and enjoy. I might see down the road, I-10 and I-15 are my main drags.
P30, 454 ENG, TURBO 400 TRANS
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:39 AM   #10
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Clicking noise in doghouse could be a starting relay.
Steve & Sally / HiTee & Hudson Our Little Poms / Heidi & Houston Forever in our Hearts
04 NEWMAR MACA 3778 W22 / 05 PT Vert
Michigan (Summer) Florida (Winter)
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:56 PM   #11
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I feel your pain . Not really, I just wanted to say that . I am in the final stages (I hope)of what you are just starting . A month or so back, I purchased a 1989 32ft Sun Clipper. It had been used as a camper (stationary) for the past 5 years. I've had to address several issues, from a roof, to a water heater.

You will find everyone here extremely friendly and helpful. Don't hesitate to ask questioins about anything. If there was such a thing as a dumb question, I would have been "booted" off

What advise I would give you on your project would to break all the issues down into catagories.

1. Engine
2. Powertrain
3. Electrical
4. Appliances

You get the idea. Then I would address each catagory and mark them off as you go. I did most of the work myself, but a few items I farmed out to a local shop. Finding a mechanic sometime can be a chore. I was lucky, I have a friend that owns a shop and he is good at helping me. I also tell him, he's too damn high, and he informs me, I can take it somewhere else if I want .

The biggest thing, don't get overwhelmed, Instead of viewing it as a big job, just look at it as several little ones.

Good luck and welcome to the group.

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Old 02-18-2012, 02:36 PM   #12
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Location: Northern Virginia
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Don't give up too easy. The 454 is a very good engine and there are a lot of smart mechanics out there to help you. If you look at it as a hobby it will be less overwhelming. Get it running and fix the leaks first. Then move on to the internal systems. Prior to any trips, make sure you check the DOT code on the tires for manufactured date and look for side wall cracks.
To start, check the distributor - is it tight, if it has a vaccum advance make sure the vacuum line isn't brittle/broke. It is easy to open and check the rotor - should be clean and dry inside - no corrosion.
Then you might want to check the fuel filter for gunk and air filter for mice :>)
This year may be a stay close to home year to get the bugs worked out. Persistance and in mind how much you are learning.
Tom and Amy from Northern Virginia.
2000 Allegro 454/Workhorse P32/TST/Crossfire
Life is a DIY project - enjoy it.
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:53 PM   #13
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Tiffin Owners Club
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Location: Orange Beach, AL
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Ditto OSP1268's remark the 454 is unusually hard to start when hot and it will blow the doughnut gaskets in the exhaust system.

Otherwise it is a very powerful engine and will stay with the best.
Del & Charlotte
RVing - Time well wasted
2004 Phaeton 40TGH w/ 2010 Acadia
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:11 PM   #14
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All good advice above. I had a 454 and it would never start warmed up. My friend who owns a bunch of Corvettes told me the 454 uses an insulated starter with a shield to keep it from binding up. He got me the shield and starter and no problems after that. Good luck!

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