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Old 07-19-2018, 12:05 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 79
1995 Rialta Never Ending Repair Story

I am so frustrated. I already put so much money into fixing leaking pipes, rusted muffler, and radiator leaks and the engine issue Odyssee doesn’t seem to stop. I was told that all parts at the engine are original and therefore totally rotten and leaking. Now we discovered another leaking pipe which makes the AC leaking pressure. But the worst thing now is that I happen to have an engine (alternator / transmission) problem which stops me from moving that thing to a mechanic shop. I haven’t figured out how to fix this problem yet since reliable VW mobile mechanics are rare here. So I just wondered if anyone of you here had a similar history when buying a 20+ year old Winnebago. That thing seemed to be in an good condition (I had it inspected before buying). But now I seriously wonder if I got a ‘lemon’. Wonder how much more money will I have to spend. I am just curious what your experiences are with motor homes of that age. (It’s a 1995 5 Zylinder Rialta with 88K miles on it). It seemed it has been stored for along time and want used often so it’s an very good condition interior wise...
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Old 07-19-2018, 03:55 AM   #2
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I owned and camped in VW van-based RVs for 20 years before buying a Class A. My last one was a 2000 Winnebago Eurovan Camper, with the pop-top. The Eurovan-based campers, like your Rialta, can be very frustrating, mostly because it is so difficult to find competent service at a reasonable cost.

It will help tremendously if you can gain some understanding of the Volkswagen part of your camper. There are many of them on the road, and an active community of hands-on owners that can steer you toward good parts and service resources. Despite its age, even Winnebago (and Lichtsinn RV, a dealer close to the factory) have tons of documentation on the systems and parts in your Rialta.

Winnebago purchased cab/chassis units from VW in Germany, and had them shipped to the USA for installation of the body and camping equipment. There are subtle differences in the engine and transmission electronics between these imported unfinished vehicles and non-camper vans that only a VW specialist or dealer would have information on. Bosch electronics do not age well. Many problems are ultimately linked to corroded electrical connections, especially the chassis ground points.

The old VW van community is very active and helpful, but even there, Eurovan (known as the T4 outside of North America) knowledge is less common than for classic rear-engine models. Few people will know or care about the Winnebago parts, but the VW issues are well-known and solvable with a bit of knowledgeable troubleshooting.

I would start reading here:

Here are a couple of parts sources that are far less expensive than the VW dealer network. I can say with no exaggeration that I have spent thousands of dollars on parts from these vendors, and have been satisfied with their pricing and customer service for a long time. I would only use the VW dealer as a last resort for the very few parts that are available nowhere else.
Europarts of San Diego

Please feel free to PM me for more information and references. I still have a full set of the factory service manuals to work from. Good luck with your Rialta. Persistence pays…
2000 HR Endeavor 40PBD, Freightliner XC, CAT 3126B
Gut/Remodel Thread
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:42 AM   #3
Join Date: May 2018
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Thank you so much for these links! I know there is a lot of documentation out there. I just find it pretty difficult to make any sense of these wiring flow charts and electronic details. I have zero experience and knowledge in mechanics, electronics and engines. I guess the elder models are more for people who can do a lot of repair and maintainable themselves. Otherwise it’s just an very expensive and not reliable Maxine that I got there. At least that’s how I see it at the moment. I think I’ll pay a mechanic to walk me trough some basics and show me how to trouble shoot issues.
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:43 AM   #4
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Sorry for the typos! They seem to show only after I posted *weird*
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air, repair

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