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Old 07-28-2021, 11:24 AM   #1
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1989 Fleetwood Pace Arrow, am I an idiot?

2 days ago I bought a 1989 pace arrow, 57000 miles. Cosmetically it looked pretty good, exterior could use a buff but the oxidation is pretty much confined to where water ran down off the roof. Only real exterior issue is the hinges are rusted out on the last hatch in back driver side. $250 from salvage not to bad.

Now for buyers remorse, had a 50 mile trip home, brakes spongy, steering wandering, 454 power anemic, outer passenger rear tire BLOWOUT $250 if I drive it 2 miles to the tire shop, good/bad idea? Good sam free if I have a spare $800 if I don't 😢

Next issue shocks? LA freeways SUCK hit a pothole on the way home and half the cabinets over the couch detached, ordered some sikaflex 221 to glue/screw it back up sound right.

Third onan marquis 7000 gas generator cranks but no start, my guess carb clogged by snitty CA ethanol laced gas, carb rebuild? How much should it cost aprox?

One more thing the electric steps no monvey at all, no reaction to switch, I assume the motor riding around under the rig is the prime suspect? Fixable? How much should I pay?

I know it's a lot of ?'s but any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks Scott.
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Old 07-28-2021, 11:30 AM   #2
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Also all the paint on the hood has worn away, looked into a vinyl sticker to replaced it $550 no thank you. Looks like job for a rattle can, pretty sure the factory paint is long gone, anyone have a paint code for a close enough maroon?
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Old 07-28-2021, 11:35 AM   #3
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If your tires are old (read the date code) replace them.

No way to estimate the cost of fixing your genny without knowing what's wrong.

Same for your step, no way to know how much it will cost without knowing what is wrong.

Typically the common consensus is that if you are buying a used coach, have $10k set aside for all the stuff it needs. Most people aren't like me, when I sold my coach I had everything working and a brand new set of $3,000 Toyos on it.
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Old 07-28-2021, 02:46 PM   #4
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Scottfree,
Believe them about the tires. Learn to read the date code. Tirerack.com has a nice tutorial.
If you can't figure out the Onan by yourself in short order, find a friendly small engine shop. Onans are used lots of places.
As the owner of a somewhat older coach, get ready to replace all the rubber stuff. As the brakes and cooling system should be flushed, that make it a great time to replace all the hoses so involved.
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Old 07-28-2021, 06:20 PM   #5
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Paint

I have a '92. All the paint codes (and other important info) are printed on a piece of paper fastened to the inside of one of the closet doors. Look there first.
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Old 07-29-2021, 03:19 AM   #6
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I had a 1996 Winnebago with the 454. The generator would not run until I replaced the voltage regulator. If the generator hasn't been used for a long time, the problem could be the fuel or carburetor. The steps can probably be fixed by replacing the motor, which is the same as an electric window motor used in vehicles. If you drive to the tire store with a flat tire on the rear, don't drive very fast, as it could come apart and damage your coach. Drill through the wood only with a bit a little larger than the existing hole and use slightly bigger screws to hold your cabinets and don't over tighten them. Replace the rusted hinge, though expensive.
Do your repair as you can. It don't all have to be done immediately if the expense is to great. Tape, then shake the rattle can and paint away on the front. You might want to remove the front access door (hood) to do the painting.
Keep your progress posted.
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:02 AM   #7
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Yeah had a mechanic come out to get my car and rv running. Good news/bad I bought 2 batteries and an alternator (for my car) turns out car just needed a battery. And while the guy was not lying when he said he put a new battery in (date 06/21) he did not mention that he used a hose clip to attach it! ��

Good news he put a terminal on it and it fired not problem, bad news two days later wa-wa-waaa crank but no start. Good news I called good sam for a jump not a problem, I mentioned I had a flat (free if you have a spare $800 if no) so I asked if the driver could check the spare to see if it was in good enough shape to use, instead they offered to just tow it over to discount tire no charge, thought that was pretty cool..
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Old 07-30-2021, 07:23 AM   #8
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When you buy an older motorhome , be prepared to do a lot of work. If you can't do it yourself , it can get very expensive. Why not take the wheel off and take it to a repair shop. Your onan might just be the fuel pump that quit. A fairly common problem. You will spend a lot of time fixing little things but just remember it's 30+ yrs old.
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Old 07-31-2021, 12:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottfree1 View Post
2 days ago I bought a 1989 pace arrow, 57000 miles. Cosmetically it looked pretty good, exterior could use a buff but the oxidation is pretty much confined to where water ran down off the roof. Only real exterior issue is the hinges are rusted out on the last hatch in back driver side. $250 from salvage not to bad.

Now for buyers remorse, had a 50 mile trip home, brakes spongy, steering wandering, 454 power anemic, outer passenger rear tire BLOWOUT $250 if I drive it 2 miles to the tire shop, good/bad idea? Good sam free if I have a spare $800 if I don't 😢

Next issue shocks? LA freeways SUCK hit a pothole on the way home and half the cabinets over the couch detached, ordered some sikaflex 221 to glue/screw it back up sound right.

Third onan marquis 7000 gas generator cranks but no start, my guess carb clogged by snitty CA ethanol laced gas, carb rebuild? How much should it cost aprox?

One more thing the electric steps no monvey at all, no reaction to switch, I assume the motor riding around under the rig is the prime suspect? Fixable? How much should I pay?

I know it's a lot of ?'s but any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks Scott.
First off, sorry to hear your first trip with the old girl was not very good. Older coaches, as new ones,...if they sit a while, things happen.

Our coach sat 4 years and she definitely needed work. Especially in the deferred maintenance department.

Tires: As others have already stated. Check the date codes. Suspect the tires to be out of date. You should have 19.5" wheels, that are 6" wide. If so, you can go from the 8R 19.5 tires to the 225 70 19.5 tires.

Spongy Brakes: At minimum the brake fluid is old, and full of moisture from sitting. Hopefully you have no rust in the system. Ours needed a new master cylinder. Our brake calipers (4-wheel disk) were good, but we rebuilt them anyway. Also replaced all 5x brake hoses. With Performance Friction brake pads she stop very well. Will eventually do the GM hydro boost upgrade.

Wandering Steering: Have the front end checked. I suspect you will find a few worn tie rods, and possibly a worn driver or passenger bell crank. Our drivers bell crank and two tie rods were worn out at 36K miles. The P30 can also wander if the alignment toe setting is not set correctly. We like about 1/8" toe in.
You did not mention being pushed around by large trucks, so I assume your rig does not suffer from 'Tail Wag'.

Shocks: Yes the factory GM original shocks are harsh. They are oil filled and have mediocre bound sand rebound characteristics, at best.
Note: Old tires will also get hard and give you a harsh ride.
We purchased Bilstein shocks and are very happy with the smoother ride quality.

Cabinets & Built-In Furniture: We were very lucky and have not had any issues here. The main thing we did was to go around and tighten screws.
Our coach has two twin beds, and we did need to add floor to bed braces, as the original mounting was too light duty.

Generator: You definitely could be suffering from the horrible CA gas. Ours had a propane conversion done to it, so we have no issues with the carb. We did need to replace an intermittent ignition module on ours. (It would not want to start when hot.) We replaced the spark plugs and coil while we had it out. A good generator video is this below.
You may also want to verify if you have spark and fuel. A can of ether will help you determine that. If the genie sputters to life for a second, you will know if the ignition system is good. Otherwise, pull a plug wire and test for spark when cranking.

Power Steps: Check the step fuse first, then verify power is reaching the step. Also double check the ground wires. We added an extra ground strap, from the chassis to step frame. More help here:
https://www.rvwithtito.com/articles/...matic-rv-step/

Engine Power, Chevy 454: If the RV has sat a while (6 months or more) you probably have old (bad) gas. CA gas sucks bad, especially without adding Stabil before storage.
As mentioned above, our rig was stored for 4+ years, and had some pretty old gas. Although my step-dad added Stabil to the tank, the gas was still old. I ran it 120 miles to get her down to a 1/8 tank and added 10-20 gallons. We kept adding 10-20 gallons (and burning it through the engine) over and over until we got the old gas diluted enough. We kept adding fresh gas, over a few months, until she purred, and no longer backfired under full throttle.

We also replaced the spark plugs, wires and the cap & rotor. Made a big difference. We also replace the ignition coil. It was causing a light (non-regular) misfire when the engine was cold. Don't forget the fuel and air filter, and the change the oil and filter. Might as well get the regular maintenance logged in a new.
The 454 Chevy engine has lots of low down torque. Climbing steep mountain we rarely get her above 3500 rpm. Max torque on this engine is down around 1600 rpm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottfree1 View Post
I know it's a lot of ?'s but any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks Scott.
You are 100% correct, It is a lot. The good news is it is an older rig that has simple electronics, and systems. Nothing on your year rig is difficult to diagnosis or service. It will however, require some research on your part.
As a former mechanic, many techs out there are less than capable, or worse outright bad. Your education is worth it, when it comes to your rig. Eventually you will become the SME "subject matter expert".
IRV2 and Youtube will be your friend, when it comes to repairs. At best you can fix it yourself. At worst, you will know what to ask the tech, and know if you are being snowed or not.

Good luck.



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Old 07-31-2021, 04:35 PM   #10
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An Idiot or ?

You're living in the People's Republik.. SMOG checks are mandatory.. Something to consider when buying and maintaining any vehicle.

You're in for a load of work as it's a 32 year old MH.. Unless you're a hardcore DIY'er, you might consider stripping it down and selling it for parts. You could easily recoup your initial investment and actually make some headway towards buying something newer and better maintained.
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Old 08-01-2021, 12:50 AM   #11
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...SMOG checks are mandatory.. Something to consider when buying and maintaining any vehicle.
Living in CA, I'm sure you know all about CA smog checks. We all live with it here in Cali.

With that said, I'm sure the RV passed the smog and tail pipe emissions tests. Most people will not purchase a vehicle in CA w/o proof of a passing inspection, prior to purchase.

When you go for your biennial inspection, just make sure the engine has been run to hot, before going for testing. As a former smog tech, you generally are best off with a fresh oil change, especially if it has been a while since doing so.
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:58 AM   #12
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We had a 1989 Pace Arrow and it had more leaks than a sieve. The roof to caps joints leaked, window leaked and side walls delaminated. It was back to Fleetwood to have one side wall replaced and later both side walls were rebuilt in Houston. This era and major delamination issues from Fleetwood. If you see any ripples or waves in the side walls, it is delaminated and repairs are expensive.....to the tune of $17,000 in 1996.

That one should have a split exhaust manifold with an expansion joint. The 454 engines were bad a bout cracking manifolds. They were also notorious for killing spark plug wires and plug boots. I would up getting high dollar silicon racing wires with ceramic boots.

Probably the reason the cabinets detached is that the particle board in them has been wet due to leaks and the screw were rusty and pulled out of the soft particle board.

The help the poor driving of the P-30 chassis, I had to add a steering stabilizer.

And it is a GAS HOG.

Personally, I would not even look at that vintage of a Fleetwood.

Ken
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