Last weekend a coach came back to the fold, in other words a coach that has been in the owners hands being maintained “in the field” away from what I would say any GMC community ideas or benefits. Is this a good thing? Maybe, depends on how committed the previous owner was to seek competent help. Sometimes we get coaches in with all manner of rigging…. when you see that, there will be some backing out of less than optimum lets say repairs. And then there is a coach that someone has loved and kept up, ownerd, used and was made a part of someones family why…. because they liked the coach and enjoyed it. They kept it up best they could and when they were faced with having to let their baby go they did it right away….. such is the coach we’ll be talking about
The only upgrade It has from the GMC community is the visor and the side engine vents and what looks to be a late installed Zip Dee awning… other than those the coach was very original.
OK so now the job is to bring the coach up to standard.. add countermeasures for reliability, renew some still original but still operating key components, to document the condition with a baseline of fluids and key components and for damn sure make sure the brakes work!
First thing is the coach goes up on the lift for it’s looksee…. just relax, look to the left and cough…. So lets break this “renew” project down…. first we have original steel rims with 4 year old 16.5″ tires…….that’s @ $2600. Next on inspection we see a beautifully kept original painted rear wheel well with an original weather checked, ballooned air bag Now over the years there had been maintenance done to the air ride system, someone added a pressure gauge at the air bag…. not the best idea but it was a way for someone to air up the system without the compressor working and see how much pressure they had which is the case here…. A bad place for a delicate instrument but still someone had done some thinking.. we’ll take all that out when the quad air bag upgrade is installed. Not only will this replace the worn out scary original bags but will also add many safety and maintenance options and countermeasures to the coach. Cost for this automatic upgrade…is @ $2300. You could spend 1/2 but get no backups or countermeasures…. you will need to good tires and a good air bag on each side to move the coach…. no options there! Looking under the coach….. the out of sight/ out of mind place ….. quick, call the Smithsonian…. this coach has a completely original… what 40 year old set of fuel hoses . The original fuels selector valve hard as a rock, cracked hoses and wire connectors just out of sight to the left of the pic above. Has never leaked, has never failed to furning fluid. The carb has dead spots on acceleration and can be really hard to start when cold. Could be the original carb with it’s float bowl “snot holes” leaking…… all of this is all good though saying no one has screwed with it but…. it needs all fresh stuff. With the Ethanol we are now presented with to renew all underside hoses with Ethanol resistant silicone lined Gates Barricade hose, new seal, filter socks and adding an electric fuel pump countermeasure we’re looking at @ $1200 in parts and labor… new fuel vapor separator and you know that carb needs to be brought back to spec using a flow bench and 3 gas analyzer it’s $285 which includes and a more reliable electric choke. Can’t see much in this pic but the original body pads have crushed and fallen out… not all but enough to allow the body to drop onto the frame. When this happens, fuel, brakes, air and LP lines get crushed. Repair of this age related issue is $50 for the body pad set and @ 3 hours to install the 20 pads or @ $290.
Now brakes…. we have original rear brake hoses.. Here is a pic of the swollen rusted fitting ends and the rounded bolt shoulder which says “I am 40 years old”. Some still carry the aluminum date tag! .How can this be? Well, most regular repair mechanics look at a hose, sees no wet or cracking and in that there are no rear brake hoses to fit our GMC at the parts house they are left and reused. All wheels needed their bearing “preload” reset after many miles of driving. This says to me there has been a long time since the drums were pulled and anything checked in there including those loose bearings. This means we are looking at a complete brakerebuild to include hoses but also the brake masted (had dirt and goo residue in the bottom, new hoses and we discussed, the steel lines look good and if we can break them loose from the original steel combination valve none will need replacing. The coach does have a recently replaced brake booster… further proof when the coach needed something it got it but that’s all…. Rebuilding the original brake system complete can run $1500 -as much as $2000… I don’t think we’ll need to put that much labor into this coach in that it’s been kept so clean and rust free. A final biggie for this coach is the motor and transmission. The underside of the coach has been well preserved with the amount of oily fluid that’s on the under there. The shiny stuff here is not polish, it’s petroleum distillates not that dirty but not that dry. We have a tranny pan leak, with the front of the motor wet means the front seal could be leaking. The speedometer shows 75K miles….. if it’s original which it very well could be, this original 40 year old motor has been a trusted friend but now it will have a loose timing chain. The labor to replace the timing chain to a double roller will also replace the not leaking but old water pump, good but old fan clutch and we can install a recirculating 3 port mechanical fuel pump for no more labor. That work will be in the $1000 range. No updates also means the exhaust crossovers in the concave intake manifold has a burn mark right through the middle means it needs those crossovers plugged and the intake magnafluxed like we did to the pickle last week Take @ a days labor to remove and install all that, $120 from the machinist… we just did it for the Pickle… @ $60 in parts or @ $110 with a new water pump, fan clutch, timing chain, front main seal and belts.
Now there is more, a baseline on all the fluids, plugs, wires, cap and rotor (the complete high voltage ignition system components and other stuff but lets add these biggies here….. lets see… that adds to @ $10,000. Now remember there will be small things we run into as we go, issues we will get with the customer and lets us all make decisions… We did a mechanical evaluation on the project as a thumbnail which shows between $10-15,000.
Now this was a great find… a clean, maintained barn find and remember there could be soooo many other things that could be needed on another coach to bring it up to todays standard.
Guys this is a really good gauge as to what it will take for you to bring a 40 year old well kept coach up to speed….. It’s just the truth…. no, you do not HAVE to do all of this, many will work a coach like this in stages. These folks live in I think California and purchased the coach so we could bring it to drive home. It will have electrical, air system, fuel system and tire countermeasures. We will need to leave as much of the original pollution stuff in there for emissions tests but the coach will again service it’s new owners the way I bet it did for the previous… and isn’t that what this is all about? OK, follow this project and all of the other revitalizing coach projects we have going on right now. Yep…. this was along one but I think important.
This is the sort of information I am creating videos on over on Patreon. Folks said they wanted how to and information videos on this stuff so that’s what “Motorhome Rehab Ranch” is all about. I get it, having to screw with PayPal stinks….. Patreon is funded through those folks and heck I have no idea how to use it….Our past CMW membership was a great group of folks helping me afford to be on my cell phone (321-299-5707) when you need help. Expanding that program, doing more to help and entrtain, Patreon is a great aid but we need to use and support it.
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That’s Wayyyyyy to much for one day… thanks for hanging in and for the support…. see ya tomorrow……