First timer Rv buyer questions I have

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Woodyswagon

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Nov 21, 2006
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17
Hello everyone? My name is woody and I am in process of purchasing a used RV from an individual. The Rv is a 1990 Fleetwood Cambria with 41.000 miles on a chevy 454 chasis. My question is how long does a chevy 454 engine last before needing major engine overhaul?? How dependable is the 454? any troubles??

This RV was only made for 1990 and 1991 and I am wondering if that could be a problem with parts such as windsheilds ect.
This Rv looks great in every way.

Also is there any electric powered aftermarket lift/stablizers on the market? This RV has no auto levelers but thats ok with me, I will just do it the old fashion way.

If anyone has any tips as for as what to look closely at certain items.

Also, Can the hot water heater be tested with the RV being winterized with the anitifreeze or would i need to de-winterize to test it.

Thanks For all the help

Woody
 

Tom

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Hi Woody. My guess is that the motorhome is built on a Chevy P30 chassis or one of its derivatives. That chassis, complete with the 454 engine, was a workhorse for many RV makes and models for a number of years. Many folks have reported driving high miles on that chassis with little or no problem.

I can't speak for replacement windshields, but you could check a few options:

  • Call your insurance agent, get a referral to a windshield company, and call them.
  • Check some of the salvage companies listed here.

When getting ready to check out the coach, take a look at some of the checklists in our library. Click the Library button above and select Checklists.

I just ran a Google search on that make/model of coach and noticed that at least one of the results mentioned delamination. I'd be somewhat concerned about that, although it depends largely on the location and extent of the delamination. Small areas can usually be fixed, but widespread delamination should make you run from the coach.

Hopefully others will chime in on the remaining questions.
 

Woodyswagon

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Nov 21, 2006
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Thanks, I will be picking up this RV on Saturday and I want to be ready to test everything. Is there anything you recommend i take a close look at other than the roof?


Thanks
 

Tom

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Woody, I'm not really familiar with that coach. We owned an earlier vintage Fleetwood Pace Arrow on the P30 chassis. The design of the roof was such that a dam was created all around the roof, resulting in a virtual lake up there. Eventually, we had leaks which were not detected until it was too late. The entire roof was shot, as evidenced by bubbles underfoot as I walked up there and by water dripping over the dash. At this point, major work was required (estimated at that time at something like $8,000, but probably a lot more in today's $$).

Water leaks are tough to find unless they've actually entered the coach and caused visible damage. In our case, the damage occurred within the roof long before it was visible inside.
 

Woodyswagon

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Nov 21, 2006
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Thanks fpr the response, I talked with the prior owner and he said, there was a small leak near the front driver side but he had a full coat sealant put on the entire roof in 2004 and that it fixed the leak.

He tells me there are no indications of any leaks anywhere. I hope he is right. question?? is it generally that all RVs leak eventually?

The Cambria has a arch type roof sort of like a mini bus showing indication that rain should run off both sides, but???

The price for this RV is 11.950 I sure dont need to spend 8.000 on a new roof. Is this a good deal or should i keep looking? This is our first Rv and we want it to last us at least 4 years with little repairs.

Thanks for any comments
 

Tom

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Woody, didn't mean to scare you, but thought I ought to share my (bad) experience. As best I can tell from internet photos, the roof of the Cambria does not suffer from the inherent water accumulation we had on our Pace Arrow. A large part of our problem was the combination of ignorance and lack of maintenance on my part, but the design was flawed.

If the owner says he had a water leak, flags should go up. What leaks is he either not telling you about or doesn't know about?

Check the seams between the main part of the roof and the front and rear caps. At that age, the seams should probably have had some maintenance, such as applying some Eternabond sealing tape. FWIW our 2003 Monaco has the front and rear caps fiberglassed to the main roof. But, when we were at the Monaco service center, I noticed several coaches with cracks (and potential leaks) at those joints. When I carefully checked our coach, sure enough there was a crack at that joint.
 

Shayne

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If the Tires on the unit are relatively new  Then it could be about a $1000 high if everything works.  Always go by low book which is 10400    The only major problems  were the the Chev engine at near ofr over 5oK miles overheated  May have been from Manifolds cracking.  Best I can offer and remember.  Good luck  and happy motoring.
 
F

Frizlefrak

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Woodyswagon said:
My question is how long does a chevy 454 engine last before needing major engine overhaul?? How dependable is the 454? any troubles??

Chevy big blocks are very durable engines.  How long it will run before needing a rebuild is directly proportionate to how well it was maintained.  I've pulled 200,000 mile SBC and big blocks apart before and found no ridge on the cylinders, virtually no sludge buildup, and very clean looking main and rod bearings.  Conversely, I've torn into 50,000 mile engines with rod bearing knock, very low oil pressure, badly scored cylinder walls, you name it. These engines almost all have one thing in common.....sludge buildup in the oil pan and beneath the valve covers.  The sludge is caused by infrequent oil changes.

If the previous owner changed the oil and filters religiously, the engine should go well beyond the 100K mark with no problems, particularly on an EFI (electronic fuel injection) engine.  Electronic fuel injection did more to prolong engine life than any other factor in the last two decades, as the engine runs closer to an ideal stochiometric (fuel / air) ratio than it ever could with conventional induction.  The old carbureted engines typically ran pig rich when cold, which tended to dilute engine oil and wash cylinder walls of oil as well.  They also did not adjust for changes in elevation, which means if the carb was tuned for 4000 feet, it often ran very rich at higher elevations, and leaned out to the point of detonation at sea level.  None of which was conducive to long engine life.

The advent of EFI changed all that.  It's not uncommon for properly maintained EFI engines to run well beyond 200K before needing a rebuild.  I do advise a changing the timing chain at around 100K, as it can become sloppy and retard timing, resulting in poor idle and low end torque loss.  Timing chains don't usually break, but if they do, it can be catastrophic to your engine.

Soooo...if the engine was maintained correctly, it's got a long way to go before it gives up.  In fact, you'll probably get tired of the RV long before the engine needs a rebuild.
 

Woodyswagon

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Nov 21, 2006
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I still would like to know if i can test the hot water tank with the antifreeze in it. I want to make sure the hot water tank is working.
 

Jeff

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Woodyswagon said:
I still would like to know if i can test the hot water tank with the antifreeze in it. I want to make sure the hot water tank is working.

Woody:

You will need to add water to the system to test the hot water heater and then will need to re-winterize the system.
 

RLSharp

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Woodyswagon said:
I still would like to know if i can test the hot water tank with the antifreeze in it. I want to make sure the hot water tank is working.

You can always turn the water heater on for 10-15 seconds, even if it is "empty," to determine if the system will ignite and continue to run. Draining a water heater tank does not completely empty all water and 10-15 seconds with the burner on will not cause any harm. If the burner lights and continues to burn for 15 seconds, in all likelihood it will continue to operate until the water is hot in normal operation. It is rare that the temperature shut off thermostat is faulty. Even if it is, the cost to replace it is minimal and something you can do yourself.

Richard
 

Jeff

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Good thought Richard, I was thinking of checking the water temp.
 

Woodyswagon

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Nov 21, 2006
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Sorry but I am still unclear on this.  You say its ok, they say no and add water. Whats is correct?
 

Jim Godward

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Woody,

Richard is correct.  In 15 seconds the gas heater will not over heat anything.  The electric rod would however possibly burn out and I would not recommend turning on the electric heater unless the heater was full of fluid.
 

RLSharp

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Woodyswagon said:
Sorry but I am still unclear on this. You say its ok, they say no and add water. Whats is correct?

I have replace many water heaters after draining the tank via the drain plug. After draining the tank, because of the placement of the Drain Plug, approximately two quarts of water will remain in the tank.

Allowing the burner to operate for 10-15 seconds is OK. This will allow you to determine two things; (1) whether the burner will ignite and (2) whether the flame sensing circuit is working properly. If a normal flame is not detected within 10-15 seconds, the circuit board will close the gas valve. It will not tell you how hot the water will be at the end of a normal heating cycle with a full tank of water.

Richard
 
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