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Old 12-10-2015, 07:25 PM   #1
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Winnebago 1992/94 Elante 37RQ or maybe a 1989-1993 Elandan

I'm still looking at a Outlaw 38RQ but in the back of my head I've been thinking about a vintage Winnebago Elante or Elandan and upgrading it.

I really like the overall style of this coach. It's not just a big box but actually has some character. If we could pick one up and a good price I think it might be worth putting some money in it.

It would need to have good bones before even considering it and it would need a complete inspection as well. Wouldn't have any slides but I think we could live with that with the right modifications.

There are issues however:

I can't find anywhere what the GCVWR is. The GVWR is published but not the GCVWR.

Both only have a Class II hitch, 3,500 tow and 350 tongue weight, which is about 700 pounds short to tow our Journey, tongue weight is not an issue since it's always less than 100 pounds.

The later Elante's have a 19K GVWR where the earlier Elandan's only have about 17K GVWR. I guess if you want to take a SWAG at the GCVWR it should be about 3,500 pounds higher then the GVWR.

Since both look like they are about the same weight I'm thinking I could upgrade the hitch to a Class III and then make sure I don't go above the current GVWR less the additional 700 pounds for the toad. That keeps you under the GCVWR.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:28 PM   #2
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This is more about the chassis and brakes than it is about the hitch itself. Bolting up a class III or reinforcing a II does not do anything for the chassis and brakes.

Not familiar enough with the Winne design to say for sure, but the Fleetwood coaches of that time period depended on 2" square tubing in the floor for much of their hitch capacity. The frame rail extensions, with all that overhang acting as very long levers, and the fact there is little reinforcing where the extensions meet the real chassis, actually are not capable of carrying any more than the class II rating - if that.

Point being - look at the entire picture, not just the hitch itself. There's much more to it than most are aware of.
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:09 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahicks View Post
This is more about the chassis and brakes than it is about the hitch itself. Bolting up a class III or reinforcing a II does not do anything for the chassis and brakes.

Not familiar enough with the Winne design to say for sure, but the Fleetwood coaches of that time period depended on 2" square tubing in the floor for much of their hitch capacity. The frame rail extensions, with all that overhang acting as very long levers, and the fact there is little reinforcing where the extensions meet the real chassis, actually are not capable of carrying any more than the class II rating - if that.

Point being - look at the entire picture, not just the hitch itself. There's much more to it than most are aware of.
i agree that when it comes to brakes and the drivetrain you just can't bolt on a Class III and go. This is why I'm trying to find out what the GCVWR is since I have no plans nor do I want to go above that number.

Same for going above the tongue weight since that adds to the floor weight and the pressure on the frame extension as well as the GVWR. Fortunately towing a toad adds nothing to the tongue weight and in fact the tongue weight is almost nothing when your towing four flat and about 70 pounds when using a easy tow dolly. So tongue weight is not an issue.

What is an issue is the direct pull weigh not floor loading weight. This absolutely something that has to be looked at. Assuming the GCVWR is 3,500 above the GVWR, a reasonable assumption, then there is no question you can tow tow 4,200 pounds if you reduce your GVWR by 700 pounds as you're still within the GCVWR. This is the case right now with the Thor Outlaw and many other MHs. What's unknown is if the frame extensions can handle that extra 700 pounds of direct pull safely. I would want an engineer to look at this before making that decision. That said I would expect the amount of additional bracing may be minimal.

One more thing. One of the reason other than I like the overall design and look of these is the documentation available. The documention I found on Winnebagos web site for these MHs floored me. It's all there including wiring diagrams, wiring routes, plumbing, frame layout and more. The documentation is close to build quality.

As open as Tiffin and some other are I've not see this level of documentation published except by a Automobile manufacture. Kudos to Winnebago for publishing this level of documentation especially on older coaches.
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Old 12-11-2015, 07:24 AM   #4
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Without looking at the brochures, I'm going to guess those were available on Chevy P32 or a Ford F53 chassis? Trying to find some generic chassis specs for that timeframe....

Like this document, which has some GCWR info on page 29:
http://www.offroadtoybox.com/RV/P-Ch...entProcess.pdf
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Old 12-11-2015, 08:00 AM   #5
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Timon - The GCVWR ratings were never established/advertised until later in the 90's - mostly due to the fact issues like the one we're considering here weren't considered when the coaches were designed. For instance, our '97 HR DP doesn't have one. I think one reason for that is toads, or even full timing, were nowhere near as popular then....

MANY of the earlier coaches, when loaded normally, were very close to the GVWR, if not over, especially the larger ones. If considering the purchase of one of these, you want a current weight slip so you can compare that to the GVWR - prior to handing over your hard earned money....

Agreed, the capacity to get your toad rolling, not that big a deal. The issues can start stacking up once that's done. Stopping is one issue. Not just with the brakes themselves (which, on a coach running near max GVWR, are very likely working at max already, leaving you with marginal braking power), but with forces imposed to the chassis. Regarding chassis loads, there are also considerable side loads - for example when maneuvering in tight areas. With the coach's steering wheel hard over, when considering a long overhang, that toad is trying to pull that hitch nearly sideways.

Not trying to talk you out of what you are considering. Just some thoughts in case you haven't already considered them.
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:03 AM   #6
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Check out 1989 Spectrum 2000 (rear engine 460 Ford)
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Old 12-11-2015, 10:04 AM   #7
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1996 F53 Owner's Guide

It lists the GCWR for the 1996 F53 at 25,000 pounds (page 73). That's the oldest Guide available from Ford online.
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Old 12-11-2015, 12:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahicks View Post
Timon - The GCVWR ratings were never established/advertised until later in the 90's - mostly due to the fact issues like the one we're considering here weren't considered when the coaches were designed. For instance, our '97 HR DP doesn't have one. I think one reason for that is toads, or even full timing, were nowhere near as popular then....
Well that explains why I can't find it. Based on that one would normally assume, yes I know what A S S U M E means, one could base the GCVWR as 3,500 over the GVWR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ahicks View Post
MANY of the earlier coaches, when loaded normally, were very close to the GVWR, if not over, especially the larger ones. If considering the purchase of one of these, you want a current weight slip so you can compare that to the GVWR - prior to handing over your hard earned money....
Based on that and having looked at the documentation for the both the Elante and the Elandan one would want to get the Elante. It has a GVWR of 19K with the Ford engine verses 17K on the Elandan. I double the weights have changed much from the Elandan to the Elante based on my research.

Quote:
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Agreed, the capacity to get your toad rolling, not that big a deal. The issues can start stacking up once that's done. Stopping is one issue. Not just with the brakes themselves (which, on a coach running near max GVWR, are very likely working at max already, leaving you with marginal braking power), but with forces imposed to the chassis. Regarding chassis loads, there are also considerable side loads - for example when maneuvering in tight areas. With the coach's steering wheel hard over, when considering a long overhang, that toad is trying to pull that hitch nearly sideways.

Not trying to talk you out of what you are considering. Just some thoughts in case you haven't already considered them.
The toad has brakes so that will mitigate the stopping issue.

One can mitigate the side loads by dropping the toad when you get into areas where maneuvering could be a problem. Since I wouldn't even consider trying to back with a toad the plan has always been to drop the toad when reaching an RV park or campground anyway.

Don't worry about taking me out of it. I tend to do a lot of research before doing anything so I'd likely talk myself out of it first.

One benefit going this way costs much less than getting a new MH is that we may get a used Jeep Wrangler for the toad instead of a dolly and our Dodge Journey. It has the advantage of being really quick and easy to convert to towing, would give you 4 wheel braking and we could have some off road fun with it. I'd just have to setup the rear for the dogs but that's fairly easy to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavy707 View Post
Check out 1989 Spectrum 2000 (rear engine 460 Ford)
Very interesting however it looks like they can be very hard to find considering only 96 were ever made. Interesting that the tag was in front of the drive axle.

One thing was that I couldn't find ANY documentation on Winnebagos web site like I could on the others.

Quote:
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1996 F53 Owner's Guide

It lists the GCWR for the 1996 F53 at 25,000 pounds (page 73). That's the oldest Guide available from Ford online.
Yea, I ran into the same thing. In fact I'm not even sure what chassis was used on them in the first place.
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:56 PM   #9
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Nothing absolute here, but most of the stuff we sold back then, Class A's anyway, were all Chev.
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Old 12-11-2015, 02:11 PM   #10
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I used to own a 1993 HR 1000 on a F53 with a tag axle. It had a GVWR of 19400 and GCWR of 26000. I know that the the tag is added by the manufacturer and they are responsible for the weight ratings when they engineer / certify that change. So the Winnies would be different (as noted by the GVWR of 18000) but it should be stamped on the information plate. When you look at a possible coach look for the plate normally located by the drivers seat.

By the way Thousands of New & Used RVs for Sale on RVT.comĀ® - Travel Trailers, Motorhomes, Campers and More - Sell an RV Online has a spectrum listed:

1989 Winnebago Spectrum 2000, Class A - Gas RV For Sale By Owner in Lenoir City, Tennessee | RVT.com - 142897

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Old 12-14-2015, 04:14 PM   #11
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Timon - The GCVWR ratings were never established/advertised until later in the 90's - mostly due to the fact issues like the one we're considering here weren't considered when the coaches were designed. For instance, our '97 HR DP doesn't have one. I think one reason for that is toads, or even full timing, were nowhere near as popular then....

MANY of the earlier coaches, when loaded normally, were very close to the GVWR, if not over, especially the larger ones. If considering the purchase of one of these, you want a current weight slip so you can compare that to the GVWR - prior to handing over your hard earned money....
Well I called Winnebago today and got some information on the 1994 Elante 37RQ so I thought I'd pass it along.

If you have the 19K GVWR chassis it has a GCVWR of 25K which gives you a total of 6,000 for towing max depending on the hitch that was installed. The 17K GVWR only have a 20K GCVWR so one really wants the 19K chassis.

The wet weight complete with fuel, propane, full water tank, empty holding tanks, all options and one person is listed at about 16,280 pounds which gives you roughly 2,900 pounds for everything else. That should be fine for us and two large dogs plus what ever we want to take with us.

He also said that it could have a either a 3,500 Class II or a 5,000 pound Class III hitch so it's possible that one might has to upgrade the hitch to tow a typical toad. He didn't see that as a major issue since any good hitch installer could handle it.

So based on the information I received I should limit my search to the 1994 Elante 37RQ with the 19K GVWR. Let the search begin
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Old 12-14-2015, 08:18 PM   #12
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I don't have a comment regarding the weight and towing cPacities but I did want to say that I too think that those generations of the Elante and Elandan are awesome. Their design is spectacular and give such a great long and sleek style, especially with the tag axles. I always lean towards the vintage and unique vehicles as I think they have great character. I have considered looking for an Elante or Elandan of the late 80's or early 90's as well. F you do get one, I hope you will share some pics and start a thread of your restoration or journey.
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Old 12-15-2015, 10:41 PM   #13
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I found a 1994 Elante 37RQ out in Florida, figures it would be clear across the country. The asking price however is almost too low to be true. The pictures look gorgeous but we know that pictures only tell part of the story.

I'm leery that it could be a scam so I'm being quite careful. I'm in the process of getting VINs an serial numbers so I can run a CarFax checks along with other checks such as getting information from Winnebeago. At some point I want it to undergo a complete inspection so I need help from someone in the area who hopefully knows a good place to get that done. If at any time something starts looking fishey I'll be ready to bail.

I'm wondering what if someone here who is near Miami, FL that might be willing to be my eyes, ears and feet during the initial checks. I'd be willing to compensate you for your time. If things pan out I'll likely fly out and complete the transaction.

Any advice on the best wave to proceed would be always be welcome.
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Old 12-16-2015, 07:28 AM   #14
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There are RV inspections companies that will do what you are looking for and provide you with a full report. I would guess that in Florida, there must be several RV inspections available. Many years ago, I hired an auto inspection company to do a full report on a Lincoln Towncar down in Florida that I was interested in and they did a great job with a nice report. I did end up buying the car.
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