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Author Topic: 1987 Chieftain 33 , Chev 454, 31000 miles  (Read 1233 times)

36rascal

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1987 Chieftain 33 , Chev 454, 31000 miles
« on: July 05, 2014, 10:04:40 PM »
Hi, am new here. We bought the unit and put 5000 miles on it before my wife became terminally ill.
After her death I let this rig sit for nearly 20 years, I hardly looked at it and never ran it again. Recently I decided it looked too good  (especially inside) to donate it or junk it. I don't expect to get it roadworthy but I would like to fire it up to be able to move it a short distance.
I need to get at the carb to clean it--and the rest of the fuel system of course-- but I don't know how to get at the engine from above!
Supposedly the doghouse (if I can call it that) should be removable but the carpeting is tightly glued down and I can't locate bolts or screws that attach it to the dash area. I hate to just go blindly and rip everthing apart trying to find out how it's attached
I'd appreciate any suggestions! I consider myself mechanically inclined but this one stumps me.
Thanks in advance,
Ray Mac.

Lou Schneider

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Re: 1987 Chieftain 33 , Chev 454, 31000 miles
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2014, 01:53:11 AM »
Hi RayMac, welcome to The RV Forum.

The engine doghouse isn't attached to the dash - the humped part should be held in place by bolts or screws roughly at each corner of the hump.   You may have to poke around in the carpeting to find them.  Once they're out the humped part should lift right off.

herekittykitty

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Re: 1987 Chieftain 33 , Chev 454, 31000 miles
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2014, 02:38:20 AM »
I know this wasn't what you asked, but if you only want "to be able to move it a short distance", why not just have it towed?

If it's in as nice shape inside as it seems, you may be able to sell it to someone who just wants to live in it in a trailer park, with no guarantee that it will ever be driveable.

If making this driveable is a project you weren't looking forward to, that is.
If that's not the case, then, carry on.  :)
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 02:40:10 AM by herekittykitty »
Karen and Teddy-the-Kitty
Mostly stationary for now in a 32' Class C (2013 Winnebago Access Premier)

John Canfield

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Re: 1987 Chieftain 33 , Chev 454, 31000 miles
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2014, 07:34:29 AM »
Pretty certain the doghouse is screwed down, but the screw heads might be pulled way down into the carpet.  Also, welcome!  I think you are going to have a major job getting the fuel system in good condition.  Before you do anything, see if the engine will even turn over.
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
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36rascal

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Re: 1987 Chieftain 33 , Chev 454, 31000 miles
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2014, 11:07:11 AM »
Thanks for the replies!
Yes, I should see if it will even turn over manually but first want to make sure there's no critter nest in the air cleaner. No sign of it so far but need to check.
As far as firing it up, it's partly to see if it will run, plus I want to move it to a different part of my property. Towing it would not work because of no space for tow truck to turn around & get back out.
 I have felt around to find attachment points for the cover but no luck so far,
Will keep searching, thanks again!
Ray Mac

Alfa38User

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Re: 1987 Chieftain 33 , Chev 454, 31000 miles
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2014, 11:27:48 AM »
The head of the attachment bolt may be quite small, and use an Allan key or something similar.
Stu
Montréal, Canada 🍁
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Charlie 5320

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Re: 1987 Chieftain 33 , Chev 454, 31000 miles
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2014, 12:15:19 PM »
Several years ago I bought a 80 Itasca from a dealer that had been sitting for 8 to 10 years. I bought it real cheap, but it took me 6 months to get it road worthy again. They left the blinds open, so all the interior was sun rotted, it did look ok except for the front seats. Every part of that interior fell apart after I started using it. It was a lot of work, but didn't cost me much to refurbish it because I did it all myself. I did drop the fuel tank to inspect it and rework the frame for pulling, the tank was in real good shape to my surprise. All of the rubber items were rotten, along with the brake pads and lines, and master cylinder.  The onan generator in that coach had less than 60 hours use and looked like new, and ran very good after a carb cleaning.

You can get it going again if you decide to. I'd pull the fuel line off the suction side of the fuel pump and run a temporary line to a can of gas to see if you can get it started. If you do get it running, let it run several minutes before you try to move it as the trans will be very dry from sitting, and may have rust on the plates for the clutches.   
2003 National Dolphin 5320
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36rascal

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Re: 1987 Chieftain 33 , Chev 454, 31000 miles
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2014, 02:14:49 PM »
Success!
After a lot of groping around on the side of the engine corner and not finding anything I took a different tack. I searched using a carpenter's magnetic stud-finder. I located the 4 bolts, which actually did not go into the side of the cover but screwed vertically into the floor through tabs extending out from the cover. These were 1/2" hex-head bolts located several inches away from the corners.
The cover came right off once these were removed.
Thanks again to all, especially for the suggestions on how to prepare the engine properly for startup.
Ray Mac.

John Canfield

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Re: 1987 Chieftain 33 , Chev 454, 31000 miles
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2014, 03:39:23 PM »
Way to go!  Keep us posted on your progress.
--John
2005 Horizon 40AD, 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited
Our Horizon projects
Our weather

 

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