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JasonJ400

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Aug 16, 2018
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Hi, I'm Jason. I just recently picked up (or dragged out of the woods) a 1978 Holiday Rambler in SE Pa. I think it's a 26' rig and it's on a Ford E-350 with a 460 gas engine. I had to replace the carb on it to get it running on a Friday AM and drove it home , did the title work Friday afternoon, cleaned it out a bit and checked out / fixed some stuff on Saturday and drove it out 1,000 miles to Oskosh for the week and back another 1,000 miles. It had about 48,000 miles and now has 50,000. It was quite an adventure but the old girl did me good.
This is my first RV so I'm really new to the coach stuff. I have had a few Ford vans over the years so I know them pretty well and I have an F-250 with a 460 in it as a wood wagon. I'm just now starting to get into the RV since it survived the road trip and clean it up, get it tuned up and figured out. I have not got the fridge to work / light or the hot water heater or coach heater yet but have not really tried yet since it's really hot out here right now. The roof AC works great on shore power but is tripping a 15 A breaker after about an hour. The rig had no generator even though it seems to have an insulated / vented bay for one there are no wires or cables in the bay (maybe an option that was not installed?) .  I plan to pick up a genset / inverter for it but I'm not sure how many amps / watts I will need to run the AC. I can shut the AC down to run larger stuff like the 750 W Microwave I got for it but would like to be able to run the AC and a TV and such at the same time.
It has a nice newer deep cycle battery that charged up well on shore power in it that came in handy camping but I smoked my old inverter trying to run the microwave and just ended up cooking on a little charcoal grill for the week.
I do now have the stove and oven working on propane so that's cool but I did not want to road trip the thing with gas in the tank that I was not sure would not be leaking / working.
I had a fuel issue on the way home as I tried to take I-80 to avoid the tolls as it just seemed to run out of gas on long up hill (mountains) climbs but it was an 88 degree day and very humid and going over 2,500 feet so I think I was getting vapor lock in the fuel lines so I'll have to sort that out some how. I'm going to cut some NACA ducts in the top of the hood and outlets at the back of the hood to try to remove under engine heat. I know I need to replace the right side Exhaust manifold gasket as well and that should help.
Anyway, That's the beginning to my RV story!
Thanks for the add.
Jason.   
 

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jefster

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Jul 11, 2018
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How big is the AC unit?  Generally you can't run that on 15a, you need 30 to avoid risk of damaging the compressor.  If it shuts off after an hour on a 15a circuit I'd be afraid it's running the motor too hot.
 

captsteve

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The A/C needs a bigger circuit to run. As far as adding a gen, it may be more expensive than would be feasible for that camper.

Personally, I would fix what I absolutely needed and leave the rest.  You can put $10,000.00 in fixing it and upgrading it and in the end you will still have a $1,000 camper
 

ennored

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I owned a 1977 Holiday Rambler for many years. A generator was an option on your 1000 series model. It would have been a 4000 watt Kohler.

I posted a copy of a brochure here:
http://www.irv2.com/forums/f65/can-anyone-identify-the-model-of-this-ford-holiday-rambler-235619.html

 

JasonJ400

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Aug 16, 2018
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Great info thanks! Yeah I ended up paying $1,000 for it after putting $400 into a rebuilt carb. The AC is a Coleman Mach EL. It has a 20 amp breaker. The breaker that it's tripping is a 15 A breaker on a power strip on a pretty long and thin extension cord. I'll try it on a heavy duty shorter cord. I figured a generator that could run 20 amps nominal (2,500 - 3,000) watts minimum. I was looking at the Ryobi 2300 blue tooth but it just does not have the KW without stacking a second one so now I'm looking at the Champion or a harbor freight 3,500. I'm not intending to buy new so I'll just see what pops up on market place or at the sale I could always just strap my house backup genset (7,500 -5,500) on a rack on the back bumper if need be but it's overkill and not very quite . I think most of the places we will be hitting with it will have hookups anyway but I would like the option in the future.
So far I have put new wipers on it, changed the oil and filter and pressure washed the whole thing, scrapped loose sealant and tape of the roof and shot all the seams with flex seal. I'm going to silicone all the windows and I'm thinking of putting silver roof seal on the roof.
My GF and dog are very excited about taking her out on the road. We are going to do a back yard Ramble with it next weekend to get everything worked out and what not (I'm fine with a pillow a blanket some PB&J, bread and toilet paper) LOL. 
 

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captsteve

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I think you have the right idea. get a 3000w inverter gen. fix what you need to and then run the wheels off of it. Keep it cheap!
 

Rene T

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captsteve said:
I think you have the right idea. get a 3000w inverter gen. fix what you need to and then run the wheels off of it. Keep it cheap!

Before you run the wheels off, have you checked the manufacturers date on ALL the tires. Anything 7 to 8 years old should be replaced no matter how the tread looks. Tires breach down from the inside out especially if they've been sitting without moving for a long time. I would also look at maybe changing all the belts and rubber hoses.
 

JasonJ400

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Thanks guys. I was most worried about possible fuel issues and tires. the tread on the tires looks GREAT but they do have dry rot. I popped the spare out of it's shell and it looked great (no dry rot in it's protective shell) and had air but I topped it up so I just made sure I had the correct gear to change tires on board and Teed up in my tool box and took her on the road. The ride was very stiff at first and it took about 400 miles until it seemed to settle in and I could do over 60 (the speedo looks to be about 6.5 mph off low!). The rig had a newer alternator on it and belt and still had the Napa sticker on the upper rad hose so I felt pretty good about it and all the fluids were nice and clean except the brake fluid, I sucked the resivior almost dry and added new brake fluid to it and another trick I won't disclose and low and behold about 4 hours into the trip I felt the back brakes starting to kick in for me :). After my second fuel stop I noticed considerably more (normal) heat from the rear drums after hauling her down from highway speeds into the rest stop. The rig also had new looking shocks on it and I think they had never really be run in and they went from buckboard pogo to Pa road slammer ditch "compliant" (no longer hitting my head on the roof of the cab and shouting like a cowboy on a Bronco). The tires seem to have broken in from the road oils but I won't be going anywhere near as far with it. I also figured since it's a dully rear axle I really had 2 spares if I needed it in a pinch. I did a walk around and tire tap at every fuel stop though. I did a quick price out on 6 of those bad boys new and yeah, Imma drive the tires off it THEN call AAA. LOL. Seriously I may pick up a set of 2 for the front or swap them out with the rear two on wood wagon F-250 (same bolt pattern and load range)
 

Rene T

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JasonJ400 said:
Thanks guys. I was most worried about possible fuel issues and tires. the tread on the tires looks GREAT but they do have dry rot. I popped the spare out of it's shell and it looked great (no dry rot in it's protective shell) and had air but I topped it up so I just made sure I had the correct gear to change tires on board and Teed up in my tool box and took her on the road. The ride was very stiff at first and it took about 400 miles until it seemed to settle in and I could do over 60 (the speedo looks to be about 6.5 mph off low!). The rig had a newer alternator on it and belt and still had the Napa sticker on the upper rad hose so I felt pretty good about it and all the fluids were nice and clean except the brake fluid, I sucked the resivior almost dry and added new brake fluid to it and another trick I won't disclose and low and behold about 4 hours into the trip I felt the back brakes starting to kick in for me :). After my second fuel stop I noticed considerably more (normal) heat from the rear drums after hauling her down from highway speeds into the rest stop. The rig also had new looking shocks on it and I think they had never really be run in and they went from buckboard pogo to Pa road slammer ditch "compliant" (no longer hitting my head on the roof of the cab and shouting like a cowboy on a Bronco). The tires seem to have broken in from the road oils but I won't be going anywhere near as far with it. I also figured since it's a dully rear axle I really had 2 spares if I needed it in a pinch. I did a walk around and tire tap at every fuel stop though. I did a quick price out on 6 of those bad boys new and yeah, Imma drive the tires off it THEN call AAA. LOL. Seriously I may pick up a set of 2 for the front or swap them out with the rear two on wood wagon F-250 (same bolt pattern and load range)

That's not good enough. You need to look at the date they were manufactured. If you don't know how to look up the date, let us know. This is for your safety and everyone else on the road with you. Also, if one of the rears let go and you don't hear it, it will really tear up your RV and will be real expensive and time consuming to fix.

This explains it:

https://www.tires-easy.com/blog/tire-dot-date-code/
 

jackiemac

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Hi and welcome to the forum.  You will need to make sure that the black tank is OK and working, sometimes if left the contents can harden and this can be difficult to remove.  If it is OK then make sure you put a couple of bowlfuls of water into the tank after emptying.

You see to be pretty proficient so you should be able to sort out any issues.  If you have questions, put them into the relevant message board as a new post to ensure you get the best responses.  Good luck.
 

JasonJ400

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Aug 16, 2018
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More great info thanks all. Yes I have just been putting water into the tanks and they seem to be working just fine. I found some tablets at the local Wal-Mart to flush down that are supposed to help condition it. I was pleased and surprised my local Wal-Mart had an entire RV isle! I picked up some leveling Lego blocks, a water PSI regulator and some other stuff I can't even remember. LOL. Took the rig to my inspection shop and got a good look at her up on the lift and boy she is solid and clean! Had to fix two lights and they will both need new pig tails but I got them working for the sticker and she has a 2019 sticker on the glass so that's great. Both upper and lower rad hoses are newer with bar code stickers from Napa as are the belts and the king pins are nice and tight and there is some rather new exhaust pipe from the muffler aft. I hit all the grease fittings and topped off the rear diff oil while it was up there since this thing is not easy to jack up in the driveway. Had a ball camping in it last weekend and taking her out to a campground next weekend and looking forward to it. 
 

JasonJ400

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JakieMac thanks for asking,  it went pretty well. It was about a 30 plus minute drive and the Dog settled in happily on the couch with his back to the back of my driver seat and looked out the window the whole time and that's great because my GF could look back at him from the passenger seat . He did not even fall asleep as he normally does in under 5 mins when riding in my car or SUV. the campground was very narrow and tight but what do you want from a place called Bolder Woods?. We got backed in and leveled up, hooked up and setup in an easy 30 minutes and even had some time to bake some corn bread muffins in the oven (first time using it) to bring to the grill jam music event latter that evening. We enjoyed some music for about 2 hours and decided to make our way back to our spot to make a fire and cook some hotdogs as the event was descended upon by a disc golf tournament group that were getting a bit sloppy as the night went on. LOL. Everything in the RV worked great except the power box had a loose contact in it and I had to keep going out to jiggle it if we pulled over 10 amps. Worked fine in the adjacent site panel but it was occupied by camper van overnight and I unloaded the inverter generator from the gen shed in favor of a create of firewood since I new there would be hookups. I got the fridge down to temp overnight before we rolled so it was fine but it would keep cutting out when we used the microwave . 
The forecast on Saturday called for a great weekend but it started raining pretty good around 3 AM and rained on and off most of Sunday so we went for a walk in the rain with and without the dog to check on this separation anxiouty and came back about 30 minutes latter to find him poised calm as can be in the driver seat looking out the windshield. No shoes were brought out and no trash was removed from the bin so that's great! We checked out the store and had breakfast (something we are calling RV-thing breakfast and it's GREAT) and broke camp and headed home. I did not sleep to well because the way the fold out couch is I ended up on the part that is the back of the couch and the gap and she on the nice new larger gel mattress part so I'm thinking of getting a larger gel mattress pad to throw over the entire couch when it's pulled out and just rolling it up and storing it in the overhead sleeper area. I slept like a babe on the couch when I spent the week in it in Oshkosh by myself .
Everything worked quite well in the coach and we were quite comfy and had a great time and we are planning to take her out for a long weekend this week maybe up toward the Pocono's, TBD. I need to look into and attempt to fire up the house heater unit though.
The truck ran great with no issue except it's idling a bit high. I tuned the pilot jet screws on the new carb on an 88 degree 96% humidity (density altitude) July day so it's just a bit fat and rich now in the cooler fall air so I may give it a nice re-tune on a more standard day if we get one before January LOL. We did not buy anything at the store except a magnet for the fridge so that's a pretty good sign we are pretty well fitted and most of the gear we got to stay in the RV . I moved in and out with two backpacks and a cooler. She had a bit more gear LOL. Girl brought 3 pairs of shoes for an overnight and she even found my secret shoe hiding spot under the fold out table and said "oh that's a great spot for shoes!" and took it over! Oh well, what are you going to do?  I might find a medium size folding dog create for the pup if we need to be away longer and I plan to put that across the front two seats and maybe throw a piece of blue 2" construction foam on it to make a dog bed. The dog was trying to sleep under our bed but it's a bit small for him so he was on the floor in the kitchen a few times and that makes going to the bathroom in the night a bit of a dance. 
 

JasonJ400

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Update, good news bad news, the cabin heater works! The hot water heater does not :( . there were ball valves installed in the water heater lines but the back side of the valves were not crimped. I opened them up and hit the pump and water started gushing out of the bottom of the heater box so it looks like the water jacket / tank is ruptured. The until looks like it's riveted and screwed into the cab and looks like it will be a bear to try to pull out to try to repair or replace. The nice thing is the fresh water holding tank is right next to the cabin heater and the ducts to the heater grates run right along the tank so if it was cooler out and we were running the cabin heat it might warm up the water in the holding tank and we could potential use it as "warm" water for a shower by shutting the outside water valve off. I could even put a copper coil in the  blower box but we will see. Taking it up to Blue Mt this weekend. Man I was very surprised to find 11 of the 12 campgrounds I called completely booked for the weekend on Tuesday in mid October. I figured with kids back in school and all it would be the off season. Learning new stuff all the time!
 

jackiemac

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Sorry for the late reply. 

Sounds like you guys are getting well organised.  Glad the pooch is happy and relaxed as that will make things much easier and you know you can go and leave him if you have to.

I hope you get that water heater sorted out, that is a bit of a necessity for longer trips.

Most State Parks are very busy at weekends we found, but during the week empty (apart from school holiday season).  Some have walk in sites though so you can still go if you are happy to get there early and take the chance.  We even found a couple of places that let you rent group sites during the week and they tend to be very empty so you can get the place to yourself which is quite nice if you want peace and quiet.

Every day is a lesson, we find stuff all the time.  There is always something needing a tweak but we have been pretty lucky and so far, fingers crossed, touch wood, not had anything really major to worry about.

Hope you continue to have some great times, it is such a great thing to do, we love it and are sad when we have to go home, which is in a few weeks now.....

Safe travels....    :D
 

JasonJ400

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The water heater is toast. Looks like it was not winterized and froze and ruptured. I priced RV on demand propane heaters and they are only like $70 so I think that will be the way to go and I can remove easy if I ever want to. I'm not sure if I can hook it into all the hot water lines or if I'll just use it for the shower. I can heat water on the oven to wash dishes with if need be.  We removed all the bedding and non canned food for the winter and I flushed all water lines with RV pink juice. I snatched a solar pool cover off the curb from my neighbor and I'm thinking that might make a nice heavy winter cover even though it's blue.
We did christen the black water tank on our last trip of the year since they had a dump station and it was a bit of a walk to the bath house and I picked up the correct hose but I broke the plastic T handle on the black tank dump valve by pulling it to hard. It's 40 year plastic I suppose. I'll just put a cheap vice grip on it.
We do kind of miss it already even though it's just parked up behind the barn. LOL. I think maybe we will go out every so often and have cocktails in the lounge and maybe cook what we are calling RVthing breakfast and run the heater in it just to keep it lived in.
 

jackiemac

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JasonJ400 said:
The water heater is toast. Looks like it was not winterized and froze and ruptured. I priced RV on demand propane heaters and they are only like $70 so I think that will be the way to go and I can remove easy if I ever want to. I'm not sure if I can hook it into all the hot water lines or if I'll just use it for the shower. I can heat water on the oven to wash dishes with if need be.  We removed all the bedding and non canned food for the winter and I flushed all water lines with RV pink juice. I snatched a solar pool cover off the curb from my neighbor and I'm thinking that might make a nice heavy winter cover even though it's blue.
We did christen the black water tank on our last trip of the year since they had a dump station and it was a bit of a walk to the bath house and I picked up the correct hose but I broke the plastic T handle on the black tank dump valve by pulling it to hard. It's 40 year plastic I suppose. I'll just put a cheap vice grip on it.
We do kind of miss it already even though it's just parked up behind the barn. LOL. I think maybe we will go out every so often and have cocktails in the lounge and maybe cook what we are calling RVthing breakfast and run the heater in it just to keep it lived in.
Sorry to hear about your heater, hopefully it's an easy fix for both shower and sink!

Cocktails etc. Good idea.  We just got back to UK and miss it already....  have a nice winter  ;D
 

JasonJ400

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Winter update!  I removed the frosted glass side back splash that was to the right of the range top and installed a nice redwood cutting board on piano hinge that can fold down 90 degrees and it pretty much doubles the counter working space when cooking and can double as a cup / snack holder for the fold out couch as a Christmas gift for the girl friend since she loves to cook in it. It locks back upright for travel. She really liked it.  I got the idea from watching an RV refirb show. It's a good use of otherwise wasted space.
I also scaled up a twin 1/2" pex pipe bracket I designed for another project to hold two McCormick seasoning bottles side by side and printed them out of PLA on the 3-D printer and the bottles snap in and out very nice and won't fall during transit. I can put them inside the cabinet doors, in the fridge / microwave cabinet or even on the backsplash wall to free up cabinet space. We do put most of our stuff in small baskets so stuff doesn't jump out after travel but it will be great to have the spices right in front of you when you're cooking . I was thinking the 3-D printer might be a nice way to make $ while RVing as I can download, design and print all kinds of stuff from the internet. I also use it to heat cell phone and tablet screens for repair and that might be a good campground service as well as the regular PC I-T work I do. 
My GF missed the Rambler so much she requested we have Valentines Day dinner in it so I fired up the heater and the engine just to run it and the generator to charge up the house deep cell a few hours before dinner (it was in the high 20s outside) and we had a great dinner with the pup and the cat even joined us.  A client of mine who is an RVer gave us a tip to put Irish Spring soap in the RV because mice don't like it. DON'T DO THAT! The freaking mice actually were EATING THE SOAP and I had to clean up all the turds on the counter top and over head bunk. Yuck! They even hauled a bar of the soap out of the overhead and had drug it along the floor!  We used some sample packs of Young Living Oils Peppermint oil as I KNOW mice head for the hills when they smell that. The mice did not seem to bother with anything else as I left all the cabinet doors wide open.

Spring projects include new steering axle tires before any long trips. Tread is fine but tires are old. The rig uses 16.5" rims that Ford used for a few years but are getting hard to find. I was happy to find one, and only one tire maker making them on tire rack dot com and they are the correct load range and not very expensive as I thought they might be because of how obscure they are getting . It's a good chance if I blew a tire on the road it could take a few days to source the correct 16.5" tire even though I do have a good (old) spare tire aired up on the back (I know because it happened once to a truck we were towing with 16.5" tires over the road and we had to put used farm tractor tires on it to get it home LOL) .
 
 

jackiemac

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Thanks for the info on the soap, I saw folks using it outside their RV in Arizona.  You seem to be enjoying the RV life so far!
 
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