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Old 03-22-2011, 06:47 PM   #1
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the Raccoons bring a Southwind home

the Raccoons ( the wife and i; we had pet raccoons for years) have been searching SC/GA/FL for a cheap (yep; CHEAP) RV to serve as a "parachute" should things go ... further wrong than they have been?
anyways; the first one we actually looked at was a 1984 Fleetwood Southwind, 33 footer, very well kept but showing it's age... we told the seller we would keep them in mind.... went all the way to Tampa to look at a similar, slightly newer unit; it was a right bloody shed. turned around and came back to SC, tried again the NEXT weekend.... drove to Daytona after work on a Saturday, to meet up with another seller... got the parties mixed up as to WHO and WHAT we were going to see.... well; got to test drive a nice old Dodge Travco; a real Starship C-class. too small... said our thanks and kicked ourselves all the way home. tried to meet up with a seller offering a tag-axle Mallard, but couldn't raise him.

the next week we decided that going down on weekends was wasting our time and our money; nobody was around, they were doing "weekend" stuff themselves. so, we went down on that Thursday to check out one more "bargain"... had been emailing back and forth with the sellers for a week; even talked on the phone; actually got TO the supposed dreamboat family truckster... and felt like running in the other direction. it had been for sale for weeks, yet the sellers still had it full of personal gear; the basement lockers were all falling off the coach; the passenger side wall was coming loose from the body... and it had been painted inside. yep. house paint. over the paneling, wallpaper... everything. AND they couldn't get the lighting to work. only the chassis had power. oh boy.

how to get out of this..... while they're distracted trying to resurrect the dead, i'm trying to raise the sellers of the Southwind on the phone, from across the yard..... hooray! they still have it; they'll adjust the price for need of new tires, and we can make it there before dark. let's go!

a mad rush across North Florida and deep into Georgia, and we're back looking at the '84 Southwind...... (to be continued)

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Old 03-22-2011, 06:55 PM   #2
Vintage RV Owners Club
Fleetwood Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Zephyrhills, FL
Posts: 78
I feel your pain. Had similar experiences. I figured finally if they are living in it they arent ready to sell. And, its not worth driving if they dont or wont send puctures. Theres a reason... Finally got lucky. But went over budget. Oh well. At least it dont smell like dead cats inside. And it was right down the street. Now if I could get rid of the sail boat....

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Old 03-22-2011, 07:04 PM   #3
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after a few minutes of let's make a deal, the money was exchanged and the keys and bill of sale exchanged. let's get moving; we got 180 miles to do and it's getting dark soon. (keep the darkness in mind...)
a quick trip to a gas station, 50 bucks in regular, and a soda for the road.
learning how to handle a six ton freight car on the fly.... pretty easy, i'd driven heavy trucks before. for a good hour or so, everythings peachy keen; i've found the "groove" the 454 likes, and it's not doing anything crazy.... YET. see; somewhere along the way, the alternator belt had been thrown..... so it was running off the battery. luckily, the battery had been on a charger ever since we FIRST looked at the coach; so it was full when we started off. but when it got DARK.... and i turned on the chassis lights.... well; no battery likes THAT for long. soon, all i could see in FRONT of me was my SHADOW, from the headlights of my WIFE following me.... this will never do... maybe if i crank up the genset? so, i pull over and crank it up. doesn't seem to help.... but i let it run anyway, because it may be helping and i can't tell.

fast forward.... maybe another half hour. this is when the battery is so depleted it can't run the electric fuel pump... (how it ran the electronic ignition is beyond me!) so i HAVE to remedy this somehow.

fastest way? well; buy another battery. managed to find a spot where i could safely moor the coach while the wife and i went in search of an Auto parts store or Walmart.... and bought a new battery at Autozone.
took it back to the coach, swapped it for the depleted one, and cranked it up, ran to another gas station for another 50 bucks in gas, and took off for home.....

keep in mind, now, that the first leg of the trip was still in daylight... now it's pitchblack out.....
but the new battery held all the way to the driveway. what DIDN'T hold was the right inside duallie tire.... i think it blew about 40-50 miles from home....... i never felt it, but i HEARD a loud flapping for a few seconds and it was gone... the tire itself is still on the rim, somewhat... good thing it was A. inside and B. on the rear.....

heckuva first trip on a vintage rig if i do say so myself.
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:12 PM   #4
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IMHO don't rush, hurry or speed to buy your MH. We searched locally and even all states surrounding us, had an idea of what we wanted and the price-s we were willing to pay. Found the one we wanted and left a thousand messages since no call backs. Figured it was sold, a scam, family on extended holiday or in jail. 2 months later as we were getting ready to make another 7 hour one way trip to look at the next prospect the one we really wanted called! Drove 2 hours and bought it that day cash. Sometimes what you need and want is right around the corner and taking your time will allow you to make a better decision.

Ron & Wendy 94 Pace Arrow 454
Ron & Wendy-Kansas
94 Pace Arrow 34 ft
25 yr Army retired 2006
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:11 PM   #5
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understand what you went through i looked for months found one just what i wanted but only seen pictures took a chance bought of of ebay drove 1200 miles to Tucson picked it up brought it home the seller was a good honest guy but the mechanics that did the repairs need their back sides kicked for some of the sloppy work i had to repair but she is up and going I'm still a few thousand under what i have seen within a couple of hundred miles of the house and nearly done (if you really ever are done) and ready to enjoy it this year.good luck.

best wishes frank,cricket and harley the dog
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:39 PM   #6
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it's funny how i looked all over the immediate area of the State and almost without exception ALL the coaches i saw were priced 2-3x what they were asking in GA and FLA.... and most were badly abused or worn out! one was set up in a "fish camp" about 40 miles away; it looked "fair" from 40 feet away AND from the outside.... when i went inside, i felt as if i should be working for CSI...... 'nuff said.

odd how Charlestonians feel like everything located here is somehow worth a fortune. without exception.
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:44 PM   #7
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The Saturday update: went to Trail Center, a local business, and bought a replacement vent cover for the one i wasted backing up the driveway; only 24 bucks; the saleslady looked at the piece of hinge i brought in and described what the PO had done, which was buy the cheapest cover and cut the hinge to fit. it took more time to climb up on top than it did to actually install it. now i can have my wallpaper tub back.

i also decided to use some wood shims under the shower stall, to take up space. i glued in some spanish cedar strips i've had sitting around for twelve or so years waiting for something to do.... i thought about using the spray foam, but the plumbing under there made me decide against it. if anything goes wrong, i'd be ripping out that nasty stuff.

the PO had installed a set of shelves over the frig when he had a working Norcold, but i'm going to use a standard frig, so i removed the shelving he put in. going to install a lock on that outside hatch as well, since no gas will be in there.

the last thing i worked on today was to decide on a location to install my own personal trademark decoration: an Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders sporran; a "swinging six". it'll hang behind the driver's seat on the end of the overhead cabinet.

still working on a way to repair or replace the Herr swingout rear window lock hardware. don't want to render it unusable as it is a safety feature, but as it is, it doesn't lock at all.

i think i've decided on a plan for filling the hole left in the rear console cabinet by the removal of the vacuum system; i think i'll mount a 1500w electric heater there, with a metal flange to hold it in place and provide some insulation for the surrounding wood. i think i have another similar spot in the front space where i could put one also.

the only trouble i have encountered so far is that i get so relaxed in there that i sit down and doze off.

i should have bought one twenty years ago, and forgot the house.
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:19 PM   #8
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messing about this weekend and decided to fill the fresh water tank, pressurize the city water connection, and give the plumbing a try....

found that i need some sort of fill tube or adapter to fit the fresh water inlet, unless i want to stand here holding the hose, aaaannnd... that the differential pressure valve between the 12v pump and city inlet leaks. a lot. good thing is, that the water pretty much ran along the floor fram and out of the coach! i was absolutely SURE the FW tank had split.... also need to find a replacement spigot for the kitchen sink, or a collar; the original popped right off the faucet. 27 years, stuff wears out.

i took the back bed top off to check the FW tank.... MAN is there ever a load of wasted storage space under there. (can you tell i was a sailor?)
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Old 04-11-2011, 06:37 PM   #9
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Location: texas
Posts: 2,225
nothing wrong with the rig u bought first il say i was lucky when i had a blow out on the as
i did no damage i feel with a little work you will be happy i have 5 weeks vacation before november 1 will be the boat races in gulf shores 2 in gulf coast no telling where else

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