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Old 07-19-2020, 07:03 PM   #1
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Help with Vintage Flair: Dewinterizing

Hello to all on the forum from me. Name here is Eric and I'm located in Washington state. I joined this forum hoping that I might be able to gain some knowledge and also share some of what I've already learned on my own which might be of help to others. I don't own an RV myself (yet) but have been learning a lot as I've been in the process of fixing up my late father's 1992 Fleetwood Flair 33H so my mom can sell it. So far I've fixed the hydraulic leveling jacks, repaired the lower step on the motorized steps and got them functioning again, replaced the automatic transfer switch, gotten the generator going, have cleaned the burner tube and flu on the hot water heater, and have done a bunch of cleaning. I'd love to have a rig something like this myself but this one is WAY too big for me (30ft and my driveway is only 29ft long). We're hoping to get ourselves a smaller toy hauler or travel trailer eventually but right now I'm in "30 foot motorhome mode."



I wonder if anyone else here has a similar vintage Fleetwood Flair. I have a scan of the original owner's manual that's much better quality than the one on Fleetwood's website if anyone is interested in that. I also have scanned copies of the Onan 4KW generator manuals, including the service manual.



I am hoping to de-winterize this RV in the next week or two and am currently searching for the hot water heater bypass valve. I found what appear to be inlet and outlet shutoff valves behind a grate under the kitchen sink and I have found what appears to be the fresh water tank drain valve and also a water pump drain valve located behind a drawer in the bedside stand in the rear of the coach next to the water pump. Still looking for that bypass valve though. Does anyone here know where that thing is located on this model?


TIA,


Eric
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Old 07-19-2020, 07:07 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard!!

Does the refrigerator work?

How old are the tires?
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Old 07-20-2020, 12:35 AM   #3
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1992 Fleetwood Flair 33H

Yes, the refrigerator works - on electricity anyway. I haven't turned on the propane yet as I'm still trying to figure out how to unwinterize the water system. Need to flush and sanitize the water system and fill the water heater before turning on the propane I think.


I don't know date on the tires but I am going to check that. I know they were replaced at one point but haven't found the invoice for that so will have to look at the date code on the tires themselves. They look to be in great shape - no weather checking and solid surface, nice and black and nothing rubs off. The rig is parked between a solid fence and the house with only a couple feet on either side so the tires have never really seen any sunlight except when on the road. I will definitely check them over thoroughly and make sure they're aired up properly before we take it out though.


Eric
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Old 07-20-2020, 09:12 AM   #4
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Hi Eric! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined us!

It sounds like you've got a good project going there. On most motorhomes the bypass valves are always in the storage bay right behind the water heater.

How long has the rig been sitting up and how many miles on it?

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 07-20-2020, 09:36 AM   #5
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Maybe you could use the rig yourself and store it where it is? I am of the opinion that bigger is better in most cases. I pay $80 a month to store my rig in a covered facility and it has 120v 20A power so I can keep batteries charged etc.
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Old 07-20-2020, 11:47 AM   #6
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Unfortunately, storing it where it is now (folk's house) isn't a long term option as mom is wanting to relocate probably in the not too distant future, which means selling the house. We really need to get it out of there and we're hoping to have it ready to sell this summer. If it belonged to me, I wouldn't mind trading it for something smaller that I could park in my own driveway but I don't think that idea would fly with mom.
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Old 07-20-2020, 11:58 AM   #7
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There are different systems for water heater by-pass , some RVs have a single valve others have a three valve set up; diagram below.
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Old 07-21-2020, 02:38 AM   #8
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My folks hadn't camped in it for about five years but dad would winterize it and un-winterize it every year and, up until a couple of years ago when emissions testing was no longer required, we'd always take it for a spin on the freeway to get it nice and warmed up and would take it to the testing station about 20 miles from home. It always passed with flying colors. He'd also change the oil every 3,000 miles or once a year when not driving it much. It was definitely his baby. He passed three years ago and it has been parked since other than when I've moved it back and forth in the driveway a few times. Oh, he also always kept the gas tank full and was religious about using fuel stabilizer too, which is probably why it always starts right up. It's only got 30,949 miles on it and is in great shape. I'd want it for myself but it's just too darn big for me. Cleaning it up (and out) really has been interesting and educational, even if kind of a PITA. I've learned a lot and am still learning so that part is pretty cool.
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Old 07-21-2020, 02:53 AM   #9
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I've eduated myself as to the details of all the common water heater bypass valve setups and I know they're usually located very near the rear of the water heater. Unfortunately, on this rig the rear of the water heater is simply not accessible so I figured it must be located somewhere else nearby. I just hadn't been able to find it. A couple days ago I found what I thought were shut-off valves for the inlet and outlet to the water heater (located under the kitchen sink) and I figured the bypass valve must be under the rig just below those two valves. Today I crawled under the rig and was surprised to find that those two valves are simply drain valves. I did a lot of looking and a lot of crawling aroung under the rig today and I found another set of valves under the bathroom vanity that also turned out to be drain valves. There are also two drain valves in the rear of the coach under the bottom drawer of the nightstand in the bedroom. One of those is a system drain (outlet side of water pump) and the other is the drain for the fresh water tank (inlet side of pump). With nowhere else to look, I have come to the conclusion that this particular model didn't come from the factory with a water heater bypass valve. This might explain why dad had so many jugs of RV antifreeze in his collection, eh?


So, next trip down to mom's I'll probably be hooking up water and filling, flushing, and sanitizing. Wish me luck!


Eric
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Old 07-21-2020, 09:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricN View Post
Unfortunately, storing it where it is now (folk's house) isn't a long term option as mom is wanting to relocate probably in the not too distant future, which means selling the house. We really need to get it out of there and we're hoping to have it ready to sell this summer. If it belonged to me, I wouldn't mind trading it for something smaller that I could park in my own driveway but I don't think that idea would fly with mom.
Why would Mom care about what you park in your drive way? From your posts, too bad you don't want it because it sounds like an exceptional coach and finding another coach in good shape probably is gonna be hard!
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Old 07-21-2020, 01:16 PM   #11
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Well, like I said, mom's planning on selling the house and moving into a retirement community. Since the COVID-19 struck she has decided to hold off on that decision "temporarily" but she still wants the RV outta there so nothing is "in the way" when it comes to selling the house. We don't want to get stuck with our pants down and end up having to pay rent to store it. It's also way easier to work on it in mom's driveway where I have easy access to water, electricity, compressed air, and tools than it would be in a storage lot somewhere, which is why I'm devoting my time to it now rather than later. You're very right about it being in exceptionally good shape for its age and it probably will be tough to find something else as nice but the situation is what it is. The "silver lining" in this for me is all I've learned in the process. I used to find RVs a little intimidating but certainly not so much anymore. I'm looking forward to owning one myself more than ever now.
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Old 09-06-2020, 07:18 AM   #12
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1992 Flair progress report

Hi everyone,


I just thought I'd check back in to let y'all know how this project has been going.


Water system has been sanitized and flushed and filled and leak checked and all is good. I installed a new magnesium anode rod in the water heater too. Next up will be turning on the propane and making sure that furnace, stove, and water heater work and that the fridge works on propane.


I also found that the front chassis air bags were shot so replaced those too. Oh yeah, and the generator had a little problem that's fixed now too. It would start right up but wouldn't keep running. It would die as soon as I let up on the start button. Troubleshooting that was interesting. It turned out that the contacts on the connectors inside the control board enclosure on the generator just needed to be cleaned. Cleaned the rooftop A/C filters and blew the dust out of the coils, washed the roof, lubed the TV antenna mechanism. I think I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.


I've done a lot of reading here on these forums and it's sure been helpful. I really appreciate this resource and all the helpful folks here. Thank you all!


Eric
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Old 09-06-2020, 01:11 PM   #13
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EricN said:

"I think I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel."

That might be a freight train headed your way......


Thanks for the update!
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:53 PM   #14
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1992 Flair progress report

Turned on the propane last weekend and fired up all the appliances - stove, oven, water heater, furnace all working good. Fridge is working fine on propane too. I'm pretty happy about all that. That was supposed to be the final step before placing "for sale" ads but, when we pulled the rig out of the driveway and backed it back in we noticed the backup light on the right side wasn't working. Figured it was probably just a bad bulb but learned from mom that the backup light on that side had been intermittant for a long time. I popped the tail light assembly out to have a look and discovered very high resistance in the ground connection between the tail/brake side of the assembly and the backup light side (Bargman tail light assembly with aluminum reflectors and aluminum bus bar fastened with steel rivets for ground) . I fabricated a wire jumper and pop riveted it in place and have solid operational backup lights on both sides now.


Before I had time to place any ads an old friend contacted me to ask if we still had the motorhome because he and his wife were interested in looking at it. They came over and had a look at it and liked what they saw. He wants to take it for a test drive before he commits but I think we have a buyer.


Here are pics of tail light assembly and fix for the poor ground connection.
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