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Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Posts
7
Location
Richmond, VA
Howdy,

My name is Mike.  Brand new to this forum.  By no means new to camping or campers.  Father of three (18, 16 & 2 yrs old.  Yes, I'm stupid), small business owner, camping addict, a sucker for a project, and all-around court jester.

I have just acquired a new project camper and know I will have questions as I am venturing into uncharted territory for me.  This will be my first Motorhome.  So what did I buy you ask?  It would make sense to buy something simple, and basic for a first rig.  Yeah...  I did not do that.  What I got was a fully loaded (at that time) 1987 Country Coach Diesel Pusher Coach.  I wasn't even looking for a project.  This project found me.  ;)  It was actually gifted to me by a customer of mine who knows I have a love of camping but had sold our last family travel trailer before our youngest was born.

I haven't even taken possession of this coach yet as the current owners are still moving all their personal possessions out of it.  It has been parked in their driveway for the past 7 years.  Due to health reasons, they were physically unable to use it.  So now I am stepping in to bring it back to life.  Everything worked when it was parked, so that is a starting point of reference.  I know the engine isn't seized up because with a set of jumper cables I could get it to turn over (albeit sluggishly).  Before I even photograph this beast, it needs a bath or five, and a thorough cleaning inside.  I have spent all of a half-hour inside the rig.  I did notice a musty smell, and the bathroom tile floor seemed to have condensation on it.  I would be shocked if there isn't a roof leak somewhere.  I have restored two travel trailers in the past, but this is by far the biggest camper we have had.

I look forward to meeting you all and chatting.  Thank you in advance for any advice or guidance you feel called to share.

Here goes nothing!!  ;D
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
Posts
76,131
Location
West Palm Beach, FL
Actually sounds like a fun project as long as you have the time to devote to it. And aren't under too much pressure to make the first camping trip right away...
 

Rene T

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May 20, 2011
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19,474
Location
Farmington NH
One of the 1st thing you're going to have to do is replace the tires. They are at least 7 years old. Tires need to be changed every 8 to 9 years even if the tread looks good. They rot from the inside out.
 

jackiemac

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Feb 22, 2016
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7,309
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Scotland
Hi Mike and welcome to the forum.

Sounds like you are looking forward to getting stuck into the project.  Hope it's not to tough and it works out well for your family.

All questions welcomed..

Good luck.
 

SpencerPJ

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Nov 1, 2017
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Location
Midwest
Rene T said:
One of the 1st thing you're going to have to do is replace the tires. They are at least 7 years old. Tires need to be changed every 8 to 9 years even if the tread looks good. They rot from the inside out.
At least before you take on road trip.  Personally, it would be the last thing I did, hard telling what will come up to delay, or cancel a large project as this.  Welcome to the Forum, sounds like an exciting project.  Put those kids to work  ;D ;D ;D
 

Gizmo100

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Joined
Sep 28, 2018
Posts
3,029
Welcome to the RV Forum Mike.

Sounds like you will have your hands full for a little while. Best of luck
 

Matt_C

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Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Posts
670
Location
SE - Mich
Mike,

You may have a real winner there.  Country Coach used to be real good, BUT..... 
Age takes its toll on everything.  Rubbers stuff is particularly vulnerable.  Not Just tires.  Save replacing them for last as they age out sitting still.  All the rubber parts, hoses, belts and seals should be suspect.  Then there are things like coolant and brake fluid (if it is not airbrake) as these are things with corrosion inhibitors that deplete.  If it is airbrake, it may have a dryer that needs attention. 

Also, watch out for water in the fuel.  Diesel does not age out as badly as gasoline, but the tank age does not do it any good.  You may have to scrap the fuel that is in the tanks.  That can often be sold off to greenhouses. 

It is going to take a lot of time and effort to get her back to road ready, but if you look at my example, it can well be worth the effort. 

My example is a small 1973 class A gasser with about 180K on it.  Currently it is down because a part aged out and I am taking my time repairing everything.  Target is the end of August for back on the road.

Matt
 
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Posts
7
Location
Richmond, VA
Thank you all for the warm welcome.  I plan to start working on this rig Saturday.  Mission One is to get her running again.  I am running by this afternoon to verify the starting battery size so I can get them ordered.  We get a pretty healthy discount on things like that through my company.  The tires look good, but I know the rears have some age on them.  The steer tires were just installed in the fall of 2012 and have been off the ground since it has been parked with the leveling jacks deployed.  I do plan to replace all the tires before our first trip, but for now, they are all holding air.

I will start a rebuild thread and get some pictures up so you can all follow along.  I will feel much better once I have running, and I can (cautiously) drive it the 45 miles back to my shop.  It will probably take two hours at the speeds I will be running.  ;D  Then, it will get a bath or two to get the majority of the filth off.  The inside will get the first round of cleaning.  Then I will begin assessing all the systems, and figure out what takes priority.  Most of the time in my past campers this ends up being Electrical systems first, followed by propane.  For safety sake, these two are obvious focal points.  I don't want any shorts/sparks, and/or propane leaks.  Both could bring this project to a sudden and disastrous end.  :eek:  That will be all that gets done for a while till I can devote more time to it.  We are in the peak of our busy season with work and trying to do things with the kiddos on the weekends before we get back into the next school season.

Winter for my business is our slow season.  This is when I actually have time to work on my projects.  Until then I will be gathering parts, and money like a squirrel getting ready.
I hope to have it ready for a family camping trip sometime mid-March if all goes well.

Happy Camping,
 

ArdraF

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Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Posts
10,693
Welcome to the RV Forum, Mike.  Yes, you will have your hands full but Country Coach made a pretty good product back then, so we'll all be hoping you found a diamond in the rough.  Because it's been sitting so long, rubber pieces will need to be found and probably replaced.  We just replaced our turbo charger because a piece of rubber in it had disintegrated and to say it was sluggish was an understatement.  Works like new again and the motorhome charges right up those hills the way it was when new.

Do take some photos before it has its first bath and while it's still sitting in your friend's driveway.  That will be the true "Before" photo so we all can see how far you get before it's ready to start being fun.  And, don't worry that it doesn't look clean because we've seen some pretty sorry looking RVs.  I recall one that had bird nests in it, not to mention walls separating.  It's always fun to see how someone turns a lemon into the proverbial lemonade!  Good luck on your project!

ArdraF

 

Old_Crow

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Joined
Nov 20, 2016
Posts
3,257
Location
Tom's Place, California
ArdraF said:
And, don't worry that it doesn't look clean because we've seen some pretty sorry looking RVs.
ArdraF

Amen to that!  All you have to do is spend a couple of months in Quartzsite during the winter.

Come to think of it, there's a couple of fine examples of sorry looking RV's floating around Bishop, CA this summer...mostly parked in the Von's parking lot, right under the sign that says "No Overnight Parking".
 

HueyPilotVN

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Jun 5, 2012
Posts
2,589
Location
Lake Havasu City, AZ
Mike,

I have a little newer Country Coach and have had good luck with it.

Not sure if yours has a full set of manuals.  They did a good job with documentation with details on most everything.

If you are missing manuals or need something looked up I will be glad to help.

They are out of business but there are plenty still on the road.
 
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Posts
7
Location
Richmond, VA
I am getting excited.  Tomorrow is the day  8)  to hopefully start the engine and see what we have to work with.  I picked up two new 4D starting batteries last night.  Those things are huge!  Don't worry, I plan to take lots of pictures just where it is sitting, as is.  The couple I am getting it from and I am going to go through every compartment and system.  My goal is to get it running and assess if it will stay together long enough to get it up to my shop as-is.  I really don't want to have to work on it in their driveway, but I might not have a choice.  Once I have a handle on the engine, I will test as many other components.  The main AC seems to work well.  The rear I haven't checked yet.  There is a lot of "stuff" in the camper that I am going to haul off to the dump, 

In a dream world I will have it running and get to run it up and down their drive a few times to get a feel for the brakes, and see if any parts fall off...  :eek:  Then I will get the title, and get over to DMV this coming week to get it transferred over and tags ordered.  Going to look into putting antique tags on it if possible.  Then next weekend, if all goes well it will make the journey up to my shop where the real work will begin.  All prayers and good vibes are greatly appreciated, I think I'm going to need them!!  :D

Hope everyone has a great weekend!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
76,131
Location
West Palm Beach, FL
Why 2x 4D starting batteries?  Is that how it was equipped?    Seems like overkill. A pair of Group 31 batteries will easily start a Cummins C or L engine and a 4D is roughly equivalent to 2x smaller size 12v batteries. 

Typically a motorhome would have 2x 12v Group 29 or 31 starting/chassis power batteries and 2-4 deep cycle batteries for the "house" 12v power. The deep cycles would be either 6V GC2 golf car batteries in series or Group 27 or 31 12v.  Wondering if it originally had 2 x 4D's, one for starting and one for house power?
 
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Posts
7
Location
Richmond, VA
Gary RV_Wizard said:
Why 2x 4D starting batteries?  Is that how it was equipped?    Seems like overkill. A pair of Group 31 batteries will easily start a Cummins C or L engine and a 4D is roughly equivalent to 2x smaller size 12v batteries. 

Typically a motorhome would have 2x 12v Group 29 or 31 starting/chassis power batteries and 2-4 deep cycle batteries for the "house" 12v power. The deep cycles would be either 6V GC2 golf car batteries in series or Group 27 or 31 12v.  Wondering if it originally had 2 x 4D's, one for starting and one for house power?

Gary, this is the factory spec size for the coach.  The "house" batteries are on the opposite side of the coach.  There are 4 Group 27 deep cycle batteries to run that side of things.
 
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