I wouldn’t call this a down right soap box subject but I will say I’ve talked with many both in person and on the phone to folks looking to buy a GMC. I need to tell you guys a few things in talking to so many… in the first 3 questions I can tell wether someone understands what it means to try and drive a 40 year old vintage RV. Think about this, there is NO president that a 40 year old vehicle of any kind being expected to perform and do the same things the vehicle did when it was built……… No president means it’s not normal to expect something like that to happen…and that’s right!
A machine from the 70’s was designed for a certain type of maintenance, inspection, adjustment and using a very different diagnostic process than we are used to today. There is nothing to plug into to see performance conditions of the drive train. Folks, wether you want to admit it or not, we are no longer used to checking under the hood every week as part of a usual maintenance cycle. We run a car today until it burps……you take it in, they plug in and start replacing parts to make the light go away. You should not guess problems away, you follow a diagnostic path that we did back then to solve issue. Does it have fuel squirting down the carb? Is there a spark when you ground out a plug wire? Then there must be a piston sticking out the block because the motor should fire! That’s how you find the proble.
What’s the mileage of the coach? A question many ask first…. that means much less than what you think. Lets say you want to look for low miles……. you find a coach with 75,000 miles on it. That means either someone drove it only 1875 mile a year….BTW, that’s not enough to keep the batteries charged….. or it has over 175,000 mile at which the list of things that has been repaired comes into interest. Even more important would be the list of original 40 year old parts still being expected to perform as new! And what to fix is not as important as picking a point to stop fixing!
These are really old machines that look slick and new…but they are still really old machines. Do not expect to stay up with 85mph traffic flow on our highways today. Yes, the coach will do it but does that mean you should?
It’s an obvious fact that if you were to go buy separately every part that made up your car the cost would be astronomical……for you to “replace everything” on your GMC and renew “everything”…cost would be in that hi altitude range…… you have to carefully choose hi failure rate issues to completely bring back that systems overall integrity……a brake job is not just about shoes and pads………. Today a brake job on a GMC needs to include every spring, hose, line, component and fluid associated with the brakes to assure your 12,000 pound projectile will stop when you need it to!
If you do not know the age of your rear wheel bearings… you really have no way of assuring they are not 40 years old is to replace them. If your tires are date coded over 5 years old you should get new tires….. you never see old tires on a Corvette….. the owner KNOWS if ne blows a tire the side of his car will be gone…….guess what, the lower section of the GMC Motorhome is made of “Corvette plastic”…brother, do NOT screw around with older tires…don’t care how much tread it has….lemme say it this way, are you a hi stakes gambler? Then go for it!….
And finally…I guess this DID turn into a bit of a rant…..sorry……. ANY vintage RV, farm implement or car you will buy today WILL have to be totally checked out and there WILL be issues that will need to be addressed before you go out on the road and rely upon the machine. I hear, “Picked up a coach and drive it 1200 miles straight home with no problems.”. That means you had enough good Karma and the motor Gods were smiling on you…it does not mean the coach has passed a shakedown test and all will be good. Oh..it will until the parts on your ole machine start letting hands go. They are all holding hands……holding that machine together……in short, you were flippen lucky!!!!!! No jack that thing up and see how close you were to death and destruction!
Oh…and just because you fixed something does not mean it will never screw up again…why do things break again…..they did it once, guess it wants to again! The most you can hope for is completely renewing systems and watch them just as you would have 40 years ago…remember how you used yout eyes..ears..nose…tugging on things, tightening clamps and constantly checking fluids…..yeah brother, that how you get and keep these things on the road….You don’t do this…… send a donation to NPR… you’re gonna need the Karma!
Jared just pulled up…it’s ambulance day…see ya later…..