Not sure if this should go in Class C Motorhomes or Fleetwood Product Owners.
Hello, I have posted in the "new member area" if you need a little background on me and my fiance. I also apologize in advance for the long post but to avoid simple and/or unnecessary questions or rude/inconsiderate comments, I have learned that it is best to provide as much relevant info as possible in the first post.
We just paid (well, verbal contract to pay, its already as good as sold) for a 1981 Fleetwood Tioga (not sure if it is the Tioga Arrow) 24ft Class C on the 1979 G30 chassis it has the 6.6L/TH400/4.10 the same as our previous 1977 Midas. The reason for towing it home is as follows: the Current Owner, bought it a couple years ago with around 2000 miles on all the components listed at the end of the post, she put just over 2000 miles on the RV on her way to a new job in MD, now she stopped at a quicklube place for an oil change roughly 3500-3800 miles into the rebuilt engine. The mechanic did not fully tighten the drain plug on the pan, unaware of this, she drove 250 miles after the change, then stopped overnight to rest, and in the morning fired it back up and headed out. then after roughly 50 miles that morning she stopped to get gas, while she was filling the engine stopped, wasnt smoking,knocking or making any funny sounds that she can recall. so after it was filled she went to start it, but the starter wouldnt turn over, so she called AAA for a jump, but before the guy arrived, she got it to turn over and she started heading through town to get to the hwy, it stopped again going down a 25mph residential, again same symptoms, she she called AAA again thinking the battery was low, and needed a jump/charge or alternator. he attempted to jump it, and when it wouldnt jump he checked the fluids and there was no oil registering on the dipstick, he said your out of oil. so AAA called a bigger tow truck and they hauled it to the shop where it now sits, the mech, brought it inside, checked the dipstick, saw no oil, and went under and the drain plug easily turned off with his hand. the Shop owner put a socket and 4ft bar on the crank and attempted to turn it over with no luck, told the current owner the engine is shot, and needs to be replaced : bam $2000+ the current owner didn't have nearly that much, they only had enough gas to get where they were headed so left it there and listed it on craigslist to sell it. the shop owner allowed them 2 weeks, and i have renegotiated for longer since I just had knee surgery and cant get down there for another week. I do not know if the engine is recoverable or not honestly, but I did sieze a 1984 5.7L with 140K on it when it was 4 qt.slow on oil pulling a similar amount of weight, and I was able to free it, and drove it for several months before trading it, so i know its not completely hopeless. If everything checks out as stated, I can just bolt a different engine up to the trans and be done with it, if i cant unlock it.
It is located 275 miles south of us, Now I have seen some pictures from when the current owner left it there, she was in a hurry to get to her new job, so there will still be some cleaning involved of course, but the pictures were in a PDF, and slightly compressed. However having already owned a very similar Class C 4 years older, we already know mostly what we are getting into. The shop owner has stated he will txt me pictures about a week ago but have not seen any as of yet and I am not the pushy type. The actual owner of the RV is now in MD, and obviously cant just stop by and get fresh pictures lol. After my questions I have copy and pasted the old craigslist post and my TV information for reference. We will be buying it regardless of the condition of the actual living quarters, due to the $5000 in resale value of the upgrades/addons listed at the end of this post.
What I am trying to learn/find out from anyone else that has or had a similar Class C on the G30/G35 Vandura chassis is this:
1. What would be a reasonable dry weight for any similar Class C on the G30 chassis? Our previous one had been mostly gutted to be redone when we got it, so I cannot use that for an estimate. Some items have been removed by PO's so it will be slighter lighter than stock. (I can move mattresses/fridge and anything else not bolted down to the back of the TV if needed to adjust weight distribution.)
2. How wide the front axle is from left lugnut to right lugnut, so I can know if it will fit between the wheel wells of a tilt bed trailer by boss has. It is this one but a few years older and has a winch installed for drawing vehicles up on it: H & H Trailers :: MX Speedloader™ Manual Tiltbed
It is 22 paces front to bad on the bed, I would be ok with 1-3ft of the RV hanging off the back
3. What is the wheelbase for the 70's G30 RV chassis? or atleast an average if anyone can step outside with a tape measure. I need to know if the rear wheels are far enough back so as not to run into the wheel wells
4. Has anyone on here, or know a forum where I can get information on swapping the engine on a G30 or any Vandura Chassis? For example, can i unbolt the front clip/bumper and simply slide the engine right out the front?
My 3 primary tow options are:
A. Borrow my boss's tiltbed car hauler assuming dimensions are correct and within GVWR for the trailer (10,000lbs and the trailer weighs 1700-2100)
B. Buy another Harbor Freight tow bar, replace all grade 5 hardware with grade 10.1 hardware, replace the 5000lb 2" coupler with a 2 5/16" 7500lb coupler, and reinforce the "A" arms with 1/4" steel. bolt it to the front bumper, install breakaway kit that activates the parking brake (it is a legal requirement), and run a 25ft 4wire cord from the back of my TV to the trailer plug on the back of the RV for lights.
On a side note I have used a HF tow bar previously to pull my old 1977 Class A weighing in right under 11,000 lbs dry with a 1996 dodge ram 1500 V6 magnum about 50 miles up a few steep hills and back down. getting going was easy, stopping and turning not so much, that big RV pushed that little truck like it wasn't there when i was on any gravel.
I know the HF tow bar is capable from the factory, I know my TV is capable of up to 10K behind it. However I am hoping to be able to trailer it since then I would have trailer brakes.
$95-$120 but I get to keep/use everything to tow my TV behind the RV once it is running again.
C. Call down to the local trailer supply store, they rent out all kinds of trailers, and just rent one big enough and use my come-a-long to pull it up on the trailer, however my come-a-long is only rated to 6000lbs line pull so not so sure about that idea. But I cant get a quote on a trailer until I know roughly how much I intend to load on it.
Worst case scenario, we get there, and the camper has been vandalized or the "important" things are missing. we can still decide to back out. the contract is dependant on the RV being in the condition stated when the pictures were taken 4 weeks ago.
I intend to tow it back with my custom 1988 V20 Suburban Silverado, it has a built 5.7L/TH350 combo with 39Kmiles to replace the original 6.2L/700R4 that exceeds the factory ratings of any combination offered that year. GM 14bolt Full Floating rear with 8leaf spring pack and load range E 235/85R16's. GM 10 bolt front end with the HD 6.2L 3 spring pack, same tires as rear. The available hitches for my frame with the most powerful stock powerteam (454/TH400), go up to 12,000lbs WC and 15,000 WD. But I only have the 7500lb WC/10,000 WD hitch on it, since i didnt really plan on towing heavy things a whole lot. I am very confident that my tow vehicle is capable safely up to the 10K mark for sure, and I would gander that with the appropriate hitch/ball combination I could handle the 12K/15K as well. I only list the specifications because without knowing some of these details, most would immediately say a suburban cannot safely tow over 5-6K.
Here is the "original Criagslist post from about 3-4 years ago from what I have figured out, Everything listed is correct, except now 4 solar panels, and another 2000 miles on the entire unit.
24 foot, class C 1981 Tioga that we put a ton of work into before finding out it was too small for us. The RV runs like a champ, is almost entirely made up of new components inside and out, made to operate off the grid using solar power and water heating, and it impresses everyone that sees it. Want way to many specifics? Read on. . .
-Engine, transmission, and carburetor rebuilt at 80k miles in September 2013, less than 2000 miles on the rebuild. (over $13k worth of work)
-All fuel and brake lines have been replaced.
-All six tires have been replaced within the last year and have less than 2000 miles on them.
-No oil, coolant, or gas leaks.
-There's an Onan 4000 gas generator onboard. . . I've never used it because of the solar system, but it is there, but totally doesn't run. I did see it run when the RV was sold to me two years ago though, so a quick tune-up would probably bring it back to life pretty easily.
-It's a 1981. . . so she has some scuffs and some light rust, but nothing crazy. At some point it looks like the owner backed into something on the back right corner of the RV. . . but it's not super noticeable.
-There's a hangboard on the side of the RV. Don't know what a hangboard is? It's a training tool for rock climbers used to gain finger strength. Not a climber? You can still get in a good pull-up workout.
-We bought this RV because the interior wasn't used much, it was obvious this RV was just stored for a really long time without seeing much action. All fabrics, wallpaper etc. are in very good shape considering the year.
-Year-old carpets and laminate wood floors. New vinyl tile bathroom floor.
-Original couch that folds down into a bed.
-Cab-over bed that's at least queen sized, if not larger.
-Curtains for every window and big curtains to separate the driver seat of the RV from the living space.
-There's no passenger seat because we wanted more storage room rather than an empty seat.
-The water system is completely new and re-engineered using PEX and Sharkbite fittings. The 45 gallon tank under the couch is connected to the rooftop tank with a brand new pump, so water can be transferred up to the roof tank.
-The kitchen has a new stainless steel sink with an awesome faucet, soap dispenser, and under-sink water filter.
-There's no toilet in the bathroom, but this was setup to be out and off the grid. Without dump stations to rely on, you're just collecting your pee/doodie to have fun dealing with later. When we bought the RV, the black tank was cracked and the toilet didn't seal, so it wasn't a hard choice to remove. That being said, there is the hole in the floor so a toilet COULD be installed again if a future owner so desired.
-The shower is in good shape and has a four chamber soap/shampoo/conditioner dispenser. It also has a rain showerhead AND a hand held shower head. The bathroom window is tinted to deter any creepy neighbors.
-The bathroom has a new, super powerful bathroom fan with multiple speeds.
-An Olympic Wave catalytic heater is installed in the main space. Haven't heard of a catalytic heater? They're amazing. They use propane. . . and that's it. No electricity, no flame, no fan, no carbon monoxide. . . and it pumps out some crazy HEAT.
-Energy efficient LED lighting.
-LED TV is mounted in the living "room".
-New-ish electric fridge with plenty of food storage space.
-USB charger outlet near the bed to charge your phone at night.
-This RV was designed to be able to be away from RV parks, completely off-grid. Although, it still has connections to be plugged in for an RV park.
-It has a great solar system comprised of:
o Two, 100W solar panels with multi-direction, tiltable mounts.
o A charge controller to efficiently charge the batteries.
o A 1500W pure sine wave inverter. The best kind of inverter you can buy that converts your 12V battery power into 120V AC power.
o One VMAX 125AH AGM Deep Cycle batteries to store that solar power so you can binge watch Netflix all night long. After much research, we decided on these batteries and we have four of the same ones in our current rig. They rock.
-It has a 25 gallon solar shower system on the RV roof, made to absorb heat from the sun during the day so you can take a gravity fed, warm shower in the evening without using propane OR electricity in the process. The water typically gets 15 to 20F above ambient.
The reality is, I have way more money put into this rig than I'm going to get out of it. I've spend around $22,000 dollars making this the perfect rig for us, so it's a great time to take advantage and step into a ready-to-go vintage RV.