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Old 03-22-2014, 09:36 AM   #1
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Recommended Upgrades

I am so close to buying an RV I can taste it! It will probably be a 1985-1990 Holiday Rambler, Vogue or similar vintage that have P30 chassis with 454 in the 33' range.
Ignoring all the maintenance that will be required to make the RV safe (check tires, brakes etc) what mods would you recommend on a vintage like this. This won't happen all at once so I would like to hear what others consider high priority.
Some things I have been entertaining

2 categories
Maintenance/Performance/reliability upgrades:
Tire cover
Windshield cover
Better shocks
Air bad controller
Mor-Ryde Suspension (too expensive?)

Creature comfort upgrades:
carpets changed to wood
fabric - recovering windows and couches/chairs depending on expense
LED interior lights
bathroom - shower head, fan or toilet, anything about pumps??? (read something somewhere?!)
exterior carpet step cover
rear view camera upgrade
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:00 AM   #2
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#1 replace tires if more than 7 yr old even if they look great.

#2 vent covers so you can let it air out and not worry about rain.

3# LED TVs

4# check sealant upgrade as needed.

5# AC shroud covers if cracked or brittle.

6# batteries if needed

7# surge protector.

8# be sure to buy a good water regulator otherwise you will replace the cheap one once you get tired of low presure.

9# good shower head, I recommend a oxygenics with the on off button.

#10 new mattress or memory foam pad ( walmart has them for a good price)
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Old 03-22-2014, 02:26 PM   #3
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1. Flush and replace the brake fluid. Repeat: flush and replace the brake fluid.

2. A P-30 chassis of the age you are considering will likely have some "slop" in the rear leaf spring mounting and shackles. GM intended these to hold the rear axle from side-to-side movement, but adding a Panhard bar (Track bar) will reduce or eliminate any tail wagging.

3. I suspect the age range you are considering encompasses both carburetor and throttle body fuel injection for the 427 CID engine. Remembering back then when we had a carb 427; friends who bought new P-30's with TBI claimed much better fuel economy. Just something to consider.
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Old 03-22-2014, 04:36 PM   #4
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Before you hit the road, be sure and have the gennie checked. We do Wal-mart, Lowes, HD, BLM, and mall parking lots so the gennie is very important. For the age bracket that you are thinking about buying, I would replace the front AC with the 15,000 BTU unit, in a bind, it will give you enough cooling to sleep. The front will ride a lot better if you replace the air bags in the coil springs. (Ask me how I know.) I don't remember what water pump I bought, but go with a higher GPM then the cheap one. The Maxx Air vent covers are the best because you can leave the vent open in a driving rain. We have purchased two older units and both of them have gotten a gas/elec water heater, not first rattle out of the box but close to it.

We had a chevy 454 in our 86 Allegro and we got about 8 MPG but I don't drive over 60 MPH. Our toad is a 95 Plymouth Grand Voyager on a tow dolly.

We're retired and never in a hurry.

.
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:03 PM   #5
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I will comment on the interior since the rest has been covered.
Is there something wrong with the interior the way it is? Ours is original didn't really like it @ first but after a good clean up we grew to like it and have left it alone its pretty nice for 32 years old.
Is it torn up. You'll be spending alot of time in her so get her done the way you want and enjoy her. We saved a ton of $$$$ for other Mechanical's that I want to have done to her. Don't forget the pictures and
Happy Travels,
tb
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:20 PM   #6
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Interior and exterior on all I am looking at nice in similar condition. Dated but usable. Hopefully the pics attached.
The vogue has the edge on coolness but the 3 Imperials are pretty much apples to apples.
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Old 03-23-2014, 12:13 AM   #7
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I'd say that interior looks awesome! For myself I like the older rigs as they have a lot more character then the new ones. Good luck on the new rig!
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Old 03-23-2014, 07:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitchyb View Post
I'd say that interior looks awesome! For myself I like the older rigs as they have a lot more character then the new ones. Good luck on the new rig!
I totally agree! Check out this vogue. It's higher than the others but has some great style.
Has anybody reupholstered their furniture and have a clue what it would take to repair the captains chair beck to original condition? I would hate to lose they style.
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Old 03-25-2014, 03:24 PM   #9
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You might want to compare to an early '90's P30/P32 chassis. I believe when you get to about '91 or so they went to throttle body fuel injection in place of carburetor. Should be a bit better fuel mpg's, but also much less complicated than the 4 barrel carb. Electronic spark control verses vacuum. The other big advantage is the 4L80E transmission you will get. The older rigs had the TH400 3 speed. The 4L80E is a 4 speed overdrive unit. Little better fuel mileage, but much quieter cruising since you'll have lower rpm's.

The 454's are somewhat notorious for cracked exhaust manifolds. The Banks Power Pack system is a huge improvement I've been told. Better mpg's and more power. If you find a rig with a bad exhaust manifold think about putting a Banks system on.

The bell cranks are known for wear too. This leads to a loose front end. Replace them with the Henderson Super Steer bell cranks. HUGE improvement over the loose worn ones. And they will never wear out. They're much more expensive than a stock press fit bushing one. Worth it though.

I had a '92 Allegro 454 gasser. TBI, 4L80E. I did the Henderson upgrade. Made a huge improvement in handling. I also did Bilstien shocks and steering damper. I think it might have helped when I sold it since prospective buyers could feel the difference on the test drive.

I replaced my rear springs too. The back end was too low for my liking. I took out one of the spring units and went to the spring shop with that and my VIN. I told him I wanted more capacity. He sold me two new spring units that had two extra leafs over the originals. It raised the back way up. Made it ride much better, and much less likely to scrape getting into a steep driveway.

Older rigs might have a old style converter/charger for the batteries. Mine had one that would overcharge the batteries. No circuitry to stop charging when they're full. If so, get a newer charger/inverter.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:52 AM   #10
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Daveputt, I really like that rig the repainted one is way cool also I also like the interior. Which one are you leaning too? Here is what we live with.
Tim
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Old 03-26-2014, 05:53 PM   #11
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Thanks Bob86zz4. I have thought about the more modern engine and it's advantages. I'm probably sticking with the 80's purely for aesthetics and cheap prices. I'm going to assume 7-8 mpg for the majority of my driving!
Banks sounds awesome but boy are they expensive. Not sure if I can get the payoff on mpg alone. Exh man overheating seems to be common. Any aftermarket temp gage I can use to monitor this or just engine temp?
I also looked into the bellcranks upgrade. It will be in the list if I find steering sloppy. Looks like a fun upgrade.
I expect shocks sometime during my ownership. Never thought about going stiffer.

Spritz, your coach looks perfectly vintage. That fabric is crazy awesome! I hope its in as good of condition as it looks!
I love the vogue and the blue interior. The guy selling it refuses/doesn't have the capabilities to take more photos. The C-list add doesn't do a good enough job for me to fly down and buy it so I am ruling it out for that. Down to 1 of 4 Holiday Rambler Imperials all late 80's. Just need to pick one and start personalizing!
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:04 AM   #12
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I had the same problem with my 454 Manifolds well just the right side. Had it fixed, lasted a year took it back (warranty) and they used a new type of gasket, it has some sort of a metal ring around the inside maybe 2 inches wide. So far it has held. This place asked me to let them put headers on they said I would be a lot happier with performance and elimate the gasket problem. I kind of wish I would have. I don't have any overheating problems even while towing the caddie the temp gauge stays just a hair under 1/2 way and I'm getting around 8-9mpg @ 55 -60mph.
I am leaning towards the Koni Shocks ($$$$ Bling) heard nothing but praise about them. I'm going to get the Bell cranks too(SuperSteer). Lots of things too do to her this summer. We are going full time next fall.
Good Luck with whichever you decide on, I'm sure there will be pictures, Up interior almost perfect, was one of the selling points.
tim
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:25 AM   #13
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Daveputt, Have you looked @ PPL out of Tx? I see they have a nice 87 Executive in pretty good shape, FS
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:54 AM   #14
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Daveputt, Have you looked @ PPL out of Tx? I see they have a nice 87 Executive in pretty good shape, FS
Looking at it now! Looks great! I will send them an email with my 100 questions I have been asking everybody else! Thanks for the lookout...
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