The Tear Down is an investigation, a learning experience if you will that every race team does to their cars to find out how to make their cars better. What did 500 miles of racing do to the motor, how did the brakes hold up and can we make it better. The “weekend warrior” races cannot afford this level of investigation and opt to “run here til she stops” then pick up the pieces and see what happened, hey you can get better that way but wouldn’t it have been better if we could have known that brand of main bearings was failing prematurely or that piston could not handle the heat?
Our “Co-op Crate Motor” program has been a long hard climb to find out how to build a motor that will reliably live in our environment. Taking off from a traffic light in a GMC is like doing a burnout in a car as far as the motor sees things. It must be a “torque monster” to take that punishment time after time, in fact it needs to be stronger than any racr motor to sustain a level of performance with a minimum of maintenance, with regular gas, do it day after week after year with out failure and as efficiently as possible! When you look at it that way, out motors must be super human! We have investigated many issues trying to get to that “super motor”, some have worked while others have not. We learn from those errors and have been keenly aware that thing many times will happen for a reason (sometimes fate deals a bad hand) but we need to work hard and learn from them. To that end, we are to the point that a tear down may show us new things about our “Co-op Crate Motor” program and this is the story I want to tell you about here. Please bear with me as I give you this birds eye view of this to me exciting thing. I am excited not only to do this but also that we have arrived at this point in our business that we can say we could learn from it. From the days of hanging out in my back yard beating on basket cases to this point, I feel honored to be in the group of cutting edge investigators with a mission to better the lives of a classic machine like the GMC. So here we go, this all started on a sunny day…
My day sometimes seems like a never ending chain of fires. It’s a good thing I have broad shoulders for things like that and don’t dally around so there is no way for me to do any more than I am doing. If that be the case, that fact in itself reduces the stress a bit because there is nothing more that I can do than al I can and doing more or working harder is not the option. Sounds funny when you look at it that way but it’s the truth. One of the byproducts though of running through that much energy is burnout, I have seen it before and have experienced the phenomena myself, actually I consider it many times a day. It’s the work though that brings me back, the knowledge that I am doing something I enjoy, that makes a difference in my life and in the lives of the people I do the work for. In that it’s what keeps me going, I have a responsibility to keep myself from burning out, I have to remember the responsibility is awesome to stay on my feet and on task for myself and for everyone else. Therefore, once in a while, I need a break, a diversion, something to do thats outside of the normal frantic grind of the day, the week, the month. Some take a vacation to the Bahamas and I’ve tried that, the problem is after checking out that far it’s really hard and painful coming back and getting back up to speed. No, for me right now getting away seems to be better taken in small portions or in related activities where I’m not to far away from the pace that it takes so much paint to return to my usual “break neck” speed. Going to GMC rallies is one, I can “red eye” into a rally, see some friends, make new ones, talk about GMC issues then bug out and get back to work. I know that does not sound like that much fun and there does not seem to be much relaxation involved but it is a diversion and it does feed my need to get away. The next issue is also one that has become a favorite diversion. You’ve heard the phrase “the plumbers pipes leak”, well, I work on coaches from dawn til dusk but never seem to have much chance to get one out on the open road for a one on one trip. I mean the entire reason we recycle these beauties is to take them out onto the straight and narrow, pound the super slide with the tires and go from one place to the next. Why have one to look at, just like why own a antique car if all you do is polish it. I’m one of those that drive my cars, I build “driver cars” and enjoy them for what they do as much as how they look. I like to drive and look for the day when I can plop up into the drivers seat on a coach, fire that mother up and see what the pedal on the right is for. A good looking coach, well maintained in “ready to rumble” shape is a true pleasure to drive and I have now found a way to put my butt in that seat if not for a week at least for a day. So how can I enjoy a days drive? Let me tell you about this days run!
Janie woke me at 5AM, yes it’s my usual time but dreaming about how the day would go kept me horizontal a bit longer than usual. It was Saturday but thats no matter, one day is pretty much like the next with the way we are working right now but this day was to be different. I was going for a drive, not just any drive to the store for milk or something, no I was going to hit the open road with a worthy machine and there would be some unknowns involved. Oh boy, I can’t wait!! A ride to the Orlando airport got me in line at the “frisk fence” . Hey, its one of those prices you pay to live in a free country. I checked no bags so I had my usual tool assortment with me. A test light, some wire, tape and my crempers. I thought long and hard about running the crempers through the carry on baggage and read the limitations. It said blades over 4″, shoot, the blade on a cremper is 1/2″ and I just could not picture myself stabbing someone with a pair of crempers so they went in the bag. Of course that little girl on the conveyer told me they had different rules for “tools” and that the entire tool coulf not be over 6″ long so I donated one of the 3 sets of crempers to the stack of lighters, scissors and pointy tipped boots in the back room at the airport. Ah, well, that was fun so we just keep moving forward!
First a plane to Charlotte then a 2 hour lay over at the small end of the building looking at turbo props and other such “downsized” commercial aircraft. I had a 11:20 flight out on one of them to Richmond and just sat there contemplating maintenance cycles of small airplanes. A jet landed and I was feeling better, at least we’re not going to beat the air into submission! Out onto the tarmac I went and up into the belly of this little plane. The pilot was amiable enough and the attendant had a beautiful smile but my son just graduated from Embry-Riddle as a pilot and this guy had less facial hair than my son! Be still my heart, we’ll be OK, he’s got on a clean shirt and the buttons line up– we’ll be fine! I was sitting over the wing so the ride was fine and we landed without one of those sideways wiggles that happens with those small planes. I can’t help it but everytime I get out of a plane down onto the tarmac I feel like one of those paratroopers coming in hot at Atebbi, yea I know we need to get used to it for the future but I get a feeling of anxiety that someone is going to run up and force me into a waiting limo or something! Then came the terminal Now if you have not flown into Richmond lately, let me give you a warning—- bring a map! There is so much construction, the signs mean nothing. The sign says “to treminal”, well OK, it’s about like saying I can find the Great Wall of China by heading east from Pakistan– so how do I get to Pakistan? After 2 inquiries to people that looked like they knew more about where they were than I did (wasn’t hard to find them) I found the pick up ramp. OK, now I found Pakistan– now what? As I have in LA with my good friend, confidant and all around good guy Cal Terry, in Richmond I have Jim Galbavy. Aren’t cell phones great, with a quick call Jim pulls up and I’m again found Yea, I know the pic doesn’t look like much but to me at that time in a strange airport with the rest of my life to look forward too, his van and his smiling face meant the world!
Oh, I haven’t told you what I was going to do yet– have I. Good, the suspense will be good for ya! Jim G. picked me up and we both headed for a very special place– HP Works and the Wizards of fuel injection– Larry and his son Larry. These guys have it made, I mean all they do is high end fuel injection. The have a chassis dyno and are the software set up support we need to truly make our state of the art fuel injection system work. See, having fuel injection on your coach means nothing– ask anyone who has one they will tell you right away that the hardware is nothing without the software and programming to make it work. It’s kinda like a lap top with no Windows XP to make it work! These guys have been in it from the beginning and can solve the problem if you have one. Now there are only the 2 of them so don’t everyone call and burn up their ear– they are all business.
When Jim G. & I pulled up there was an ear deafening engine sound– kinda like standing next to the bleach box at the drag strip. I ytold Jim the dyno was in that building. Went around to the front and sure enough Sr. was sitting there on a stool in front of a lap top with this baby at full throttle burning up the rollers What is in there you say? How bout twin super chargers– injected we drooled on that a minute and Sr. said go look out back under the grey tarp. Oh Man, “It’s Ah HEMI” in ah Willys! Just a “go get some milk” toy he said! This is the sort of fellows you want on your team, not effected by the mainstream as much as doing a good job, not interested in the buck without being correct and real. Larry had warned years ago that the Tec II units sold to unknowing GMC owners should have never been and has worked hard with several to get them into units that could be reliable and perform well. You can trust what they say— I do!
OK, so why did I burn up a Saturday, hop 2 planes and bride someone to get me there? OK, here is where my fun begins. Jim Wolf (you remember he was the one with our early Koba stage 2 motor with the anomaly) , well we had agreed to do a tear down on his motor to see the way the pros do how the motor and it’s performance goodies were holding up– Jim had driven his coach from his home in Wisconsin to HP Works for a dyno tune and had left it there for me—- left it for me to drive to Florida to do the motor swap. SO– today was the day, I did not have time for one of those leisurely jaunts to and frow– oh no, I was on a mission and I needed to burn up the road– solo– get that thing to my lift in Florida and make this happen—- NOW!
A full tank of gas, half pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and I’m wearing sunglasses– hit it we’re on a mission from God! Those words rang true about what I was now prepared to do. I talked over several issues on our new Tec IIIr systems we’re putting together. We have decided that for several reasons of which I’ll tell you guys about later, we were going to an off shelf 2 bbl. air gate in place of the custom made, expensive and wasteful 4 bbl. air gates we have used in the past. Air gates are very different than carb. and as such do not need the complexity and considerations a carb. does. I mean one of those mean Mustang GT’s on the new car showroom only has one bbl– a big one to be sure but that shows that quantity is not the key– quality is. Just having a face to face and an agreement on this issue was worth the trip but the reality here is my fun has just begun.
Was was going to be driving an awesome looking , awesome interior, awesome running coach on a downhill run solo from Va. to Florida as hard as I dare. Oh man, now this is what I call a blast. Some people go to Disney to ride “Mission Space”, I do the real thing out on the highway with a rocket like this! No lines, no hot sun baking your brain, just an open road. I especially love to do this at night where it’s easy to put yourself in the cockpit with black outside and the only thing for your eyes to focus on but the centerline of the road and the dimly lit gauges telling your that your rocket was lit.
Now remember, we do have some issue with the motor and however small it adds at least a small factor of the unknown. I mean flying solo on the blacktop is the wrong place to have a flameout so there is some part of you wondering if you will make it, some background noise telling you to not do this– “it’s tooooo damgerous, you’ll never come out alive, run away, run away” This is when I see the general jump up onto the top of the fox hole with his sword pointing at the enemy and with a strong voice yell out “Damn the torpedoes, follow me boys”. Who is the crazy man willing to leave the comfort and safety of Jim G. air conditioned mini van for the uncertainty but possible victory of conquering the road gators, pot holes and other such obstacles and make a difference out there. In high school I wrote a poem for the English Lit class, let me bore you with it please:
The Runners Mind
My hand shook as time came near,
I gave my soul for this alone,
Will I win or will I be buried in the shame of loosing.
Can I do it,
I’ve run more before but never with this pressure,
My body is numb from my tensed nerves screaming for me to quit,
If I quit I would fall into the class of all people,
I am not a peaceful soul,
I fight for my life,
I’m above the crowd,
I’m a runner
Feb. 2, 1973
OK, I can’t run anymore, too many popping joints and baggage but hey, I think it takes the mindset to accomplish your goals whatever they may be and today the goal is Florida.
A check out with Larry on the program loaded in the FI computer, a fluids check and we’re ready for flight. Jim G. graciously agreed to guide my craft out to I-95 where I would have a straight shot to Daytona and then a left on I 4 and Orlando. We hit the first of several fuel stops and the space craft was ready for launch.
The speed would be 60, thats not to say this monster felt good at any speed but remember the goal was to make it and we had a bug on board that was hell bent to stop me– stay the course, keep the heading and ride the horse well was the focus. The first several miles with Jim G. leading was filled with listening for noises, getting to know the cruise control, steering wheel and the search button on the radio. All 3 features needed to work in consort to make the trip tolerable. The steering wheel was cocked at 90 degrees making viewing the gauges an interesting game of hide and seek but I felt would break the time up a bit. The cruise was one of mine, an electric servo computer controlled state of the art device of which I found I could trust, this all but made the gas pedal obsolete- I could play the game of “no foot” driving. With up.down speed adjust, it was easy to forget feet were needed to drive on the open road.
The motor was running like a champ, it almost seemed blaspheme to thiunk of pulling this motor to take it apart but as they say “you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet” so this perfect running power plant would give up it’s secrets if any for a worthy cause. Our new crate Jasper motor that would be put in it’s place would at least run as well I feel if not offer a bit more and with the Tec IIIr fuel injection we would see just how beefy this burger could be.
Hitting the 295 loop around Richmond I knew I would be loosing my escort. A call up and a thanks to Jim in the lead was the sign that the next exit was his. As I saw his blinker than him take a path away from me, I know I was on my own , CapCom we’re ready for power up– SRB’s are nominal. God speed and we were in open water. It was strange how quiet it was after Jim turned off, it had nothing to do with the sound, it was the fact that I was now out there doing the thing I have wanted to do. The helm was mine again and once again I was in control– out there– away from my shop– away from my tools– away from any help– I was flying on my own. I scanned the guages, set the cruise, listened for noises in anticipation that at any moment there would come a calamity of which I would have to sink or swim using my own wits—– but nothing was happening. The coach was occupying it’s own space in time, all 6 wheels were turning in consort and the only movement on the dash was the vacuum gauge as I rose and fell on the hills and overpasses. Here I am all balled up waiting to spring to action and —- nothing. There was nothing to do but enjoy the scenery– now my friend, this is where I wanted to be, this was my relaxation– this is my downtime. The pilot of the good ship— wait, what had I named this coach before? Remember, I name most every machine I work on– wait I remember, it was “son of Satin”! Oh yes, this coach gave me hell before we had sorted it out before. Hey, it’s always like that when you try new things. But anything worth doing, I have found, takes a bit out of you so here I was, living the title of a 70’s hard rock song “Bat out of Hell”, I was on the wings of the demon– I think we’re gonna have to do something about that name, maybe something will rise to the surface as I drive— lets see what happens.
The first 250 miles was uneventful, the gas gauge as usual was reading weird so I had determined to not believe anything it said. I had made the decision to drive 250 and fuel up. The first stop would also be dinner so I held out for a Flying J. I tell you if they ever offer an IPO on Flying J stock— buy it. These guys know what you are looking for on the road-0– and give it to ya. Consistent fuel prices, a card for a penny off per gallon which isn’t much but hey, it’s something, a buffet of comfort food, showers if need be and even a mall of stuff to buy with enough variety to keep your mind busy thinking about all of the stuff you ever wanted. An open parking lot where it’s easy to pull in and out and they don’t care if you want to park there and sleep a while– that is if you can sleep parked next to a running tractor trailer! Anyway, I look at those Flying J’s as an oasis in the desert. Nelson was the one who turned me on to this truth– if you have not stopped at one traveling, give them a try.
It turned dark during dinner which means the fun is really about to begin. I love nothing more than to drive at night. You get into that “tunnel” where everything around you fades to black and all you have to deal with are the guages and the white line. It’s easy to picture yourself in the front of a C-130 heading to parts unknown fulfilling a mission of some sort that you have dedicated your life to at that moment. The radio turns into your co-pilot and the scan button your way of changing the topic of conversation , after dark things take on a different look , the steering wheel cocked sideways made the view a challenge, but my friend the radio was right there looking back at me The coach just about drove itself, I mean I only had to give it one finger to show the steering wheel which way to go, the alignment was right and the coach did the rest.
Before it got dark we passed a few notable goals, the North Carolina border was no problem , it probably would not have hurt to stop but the coach was running so nice I could not bare to pull back on the reigns. Oh, sure the views of the hills were nice but what I was looking for were pine trees, flat ground and Florida signs. There would be many other things in between the time when these would come so my focus needed to be in the now.
As I pointed out, the nighttime changes things and what was scenery in the day turns to black holes dotted with outposts of humanity. Here’s one I bet you have seen if you have traveled I-95 before , kinda looks like a ghost ship floating in the sea of black– ah but you look closer and it becomes familiar and somehow relaxing to recognize something familiar Yes, that cluster of lights is “South of the Border” the world renowned tourist trap that everyone has seen if not have stopped at. Surrounded by the black reminds me of DS-9 (Deep Space-9 for you un-star trec folks). I did not stop, didn’t need anything and did not think I needed to present a cheap T shirt or pink plastic gator to anyone.
The coach was running like a top, could go any speed at any time but with gas near $3 a gallon, I wanted to think economy and keep her as close to the efficient speed of 58 MPH. 60 would do and at 3000 RPM at 60, the coach was just scooting along strong and quiet.
The hours passed, the fuel burned and the tires turned, we had dropped into a groove that nothing else mattered. This is the plase I hoped I could reach— the tunnel— where you pop in one side and pop out the other, it’s a mind thing but it sure feels like a worm hole to the driver. The state is where the truck drivers want to be, it’s how you move from one part of the coutry to the next and how I was going to solo drive non stop from Va. to Fla..
Needed a quart of oil at the next fill up, this shook my mind a bit back to reality to see the motor gulp up a bit of oil. OK, we’re still human and having to deal with the laws of physics– thats cool, we have that technology.
The radio scanned from one station to the next as I moved through the transmitter areas. I stayed with rock stations wanting to hear road songs to keep the groove going. CCR, Steve Miller Band, Lynard Skinnard, Charlie Daniels and then I hit it— I was looking for a feeling, something that put a tune to how I was feeling traveling through space in this road rocket. It was an old song but one that immediatly told me they were talking about me and this time— It was Ozzy and the song was “Iron Man”. Da—– da—– da da da——— da da da da da da da———– da da da. I—– AM—- Iron—— Man—. Oh yea man, this coach has it’s new name— Iron Man. The heavy metal colors on the outside, the wild stripes and the monster motor now made its name clear. No more satanic connotations– this was “Iron Man”. A solid object moving through space and time. You betcha, Iron Man fits so there we are, I am strapped to Iron Man and we are a team. I want him on my side, walk softly and carry a big stick– I’ve got my stick!
The name stuck and the song stuck in my head for a while. Could be from the 2 cans of Red Bull I had downed at the last fuel up but man I was trippin. Of course what goes up must come down and I knew pretty soon I would have to fight my eyelids– you see maybe the coach is an Iron Man but me being mere mortal I knew there would be a time soon that I would have to touch down. Oh sure, I could strap my hands to the wheel, lean into the windshield and stay on course but you know why? If I hit it hard but saved enough for another days play, life would not end so I started making plans for a soft landing and a couple of hours sleep somewhere.
Can’t— make— Florida— must stop. It’s 3:45 AM, the Brunswick Ga. rest area, foam the runway we’re comin in hot -n- heavy! “She won’t take it Capt, the Dilithium crystals are depleted”, in other words, I’m too pooped to pump! Pulling into the rest area, I pulled up between 2 tractors, let the engine cool down while I checked out the facilities, shut her off and it’s the last thing I remember before seeing daylight when one of the tractors pulled out. one more check to see if their plumbing worked and I fired that mother up and hit the road again. It’s a beautiful Sunday morning, the traffic was low and I felt like a new man. It kinda felt like a dream thinking about just a couple of hours ago. The last time I set the cruise control it was pitch dark and I was wondering how far I could ride the log before I fell off. Now, it’s a clear morning and I feel great. It’s amazing what 3 hours sleep will do for ya! All of a sudden— there it was. I crested the St. Mary’s river and the sign greeted me to Florida– the promised land! Being born in Jacksonville, the first real town coming into Florida, I felt like a horse crossing into the last field before the barn. Now my thoughts turned to seeing familiar signs, there’s the first Jacksonville exit sign— and here we are — the big city, J’ville, home of Lynard Skinnard, my high school gym coach and my Mom. I knew she would be up but like that horse running headlong to the barn, I did not want to slow down for a pleasure stop– no, this was all business and my mission called for no deviations. Next stop Orlando. I was in my own backyard now, I could break down and have AAA tow me home, I felt I could push the beast from here or at least stick out my thumb and hitch a ride home and send out a wrecker to collect the pieces if something happened. I made it, I was home.
But wait, my 250 mile stop isn’t working out. I figured from here I could coast but the reality is I still need fuel in the tank to get there. Jim had replaced his senders with those new ones– you knoe the ones that drop like a rock after it hits a 1/2 level. Looking at the gas gauge in Jacksonville I had just under 3/4 tank and figured I could make it. Now I’m just past Daytona and it’s showing 1/4 with the red mark not far away. Rule one with a fuel injected engine: DO NOT RUN OUT OF FUEL!! Priming the rails is a B(&&^$#! OK, so I’ll stop, I’ll pull on the straps one more time, yank out the plastic and feed the beast once again. Dangit, I couldn’t make Florida before a crashed now I can’t make it home with the fuel I’ve got— whats the deal here you Wuss! Man, am I rough on myself, see I push from goal to goal and I kick my own butt if I miss my mark. Oh well, chalk it up to old age, I’m just not a spring chicken anymore and they tell me it’s all down hill from here—- great! Guess I’l just have to settle for waking up each day and call the rest a bonus!
The cell phone rang, it was Jim Wolf checking to see how I was doing. Great news, I’ve broken through the stratosphere and am about to pop the chute — the Eagle will soon be on Tranquility base. We talked a bit about the trip, kind of a debriefing as I pulled out onto the highway. I told him about the new name for his baby, Sharon was happy to hear about that. So “Iron Man” it is, the name has passed all members. I told him we would dig into the coach first thing Monday and I’d call him with details.
But (& I’m not kidding this happened), as I pushed the red button on the cell phone, the motor hesitated. UtO, what do we have here, Cap Com, we have a situation— I sat up scanned the dash gauges my ears about jumping out of my head. I started talking to the dash <” Oh, come on baby, don’t fail me now, whats wrong– got some bad gas or something? Each mile the hesitation got more pronounced, under acceleration we had the problem. I slowed my trot to the barn to 60, still there, 50 still there. Now I was worried about making the house. It was hunker down time, I was too close to have to figure out the problem, I just needed to get there. I had no more than 3 hours sleep in the last 30 hours– I was in no mood for this! I counted the hills (well OK, overpasses) to the house in my head– the number of traffic lights and then the number of turns. Figuring I’m in survival mode I figured the percentage of energy it would take for each obstacle and how much cushion I had. Again, it looked like I was headed for the finish line with my fingernails!
Dangit, what could be the problem, it was acting like it was starving for fuel, the rails were loosing pressure or something, but it was doing it at any speed! Is it the high pressure fuel pump, was it bad gas, I really didn’t like the Podunk station I stopped at, looks old but hey, they had customers– it couldn’t be bad gas. All I knew was if this bucket would make it to the house, tomorrow it would get some new parts, new fuel along with the new motor and the works. “Throw out the baby with the bath water”, shoow, I’m gonna throw out the tub and the faucet to boot! How dare this thing give me grief so close to home! Thats not nice, oh don’t worry– Iron Man will get his rivets drilled tomorrow!
One more turn and I could see my house– home, with 3 cats in the yard, life used to be so hard, now everything is easy cause of you! I slid up parallel to the drive, pointed toward the shop where I would brave the 3 mile run after a shower, shave and some vittles. Funny how I just drove from Va., and am now contemplating a 3 mile tourney! Isn’t life funny that way!
Ok, now that I’m back to the shop, the fun is done and we’re now swapping hats for some work, I’ll clue you guys in on what we are doing. A “tear down” is a very good way to learn about the long term characteristics of your work. You can speculate all day about how a particular component will perform, how it will hold up and all of that but the proof as they say is in the putting. Looking back, did a motor do what it was supposed to do, did it stay together, did it start and run when it needed to, did it need service and did all of the parts perform their function is the real test but of course you cannot see that until the job is done. A tear down is a snapshot of how a motor is performing in the middle of it’s envelope. Of course to get this view, you must break apart a perfectly good motor, something that is very expensive but something most high end race teams do to track their performance. This process is usually bypassed by niche industries such as our for that very reason, the expense. We are fortunate, however, to have great customers– folks that understand that without devotion things cannot get better. Jim Wolf approached me several years ago at an Intl. Convention and said he wanted “the best”. I told him of some of the things we were working on and he liked the ideas and wanted to be involved. It has been a long struggle of discovery and Jim has been with us all the way. Now we can look back and say it was worth the struggle and to that end, I want to thank Jim for giving us the chance to do our best. He has now agreed to allow us to tear down his motor to see how our ideas are working. This will be a great help in our further success. Jim will be getting one of our new “Co-op Crate” Jasper motors in return for his troubles. We will get the benefit of seeing how his motor is performing first hand. This is a great thing for the both of us and I am excited about doing this. I hope now you can see how important this was for me to break and pick up the coach. A trip to Va. is better than a trip to Wisconsin and any road trip is a pleasure for me so talk about a win-win, we are all over this one!
Follow our tear down now at the shop of this motor and the install of the new Co-op crate Jasper motor into Jim’s coach. Now you know a bit of background which should make the job more interesting.
I love stories, stories about real events that happen to real people. I feel reality is interesting and hearing about the trials and tribulations of everyday life I feel adds to our lifes experiences. Thanks for riding with me doing something I truly enjoy, something that I look forward to someday replacing what I do to make a buck with. You out there that have reached the point in your life that such things are possible need to really get out there and go. Fuel costs will not go down, there is no need to wait for that. As you get older, it will be increasing difficult to travel, being in this business, I have made many friends who are retired and have seen them come to the realization that motorhome travel is now to difficult for them. I want to ask them if having the coach was worth it. Did they get out there and see all they wanted and enjoy their machine and the fact of having the freedom it gave them. I don’t though because I do not want to hear that they did not use it. I hope they all had a great time and fulfilled their dreams with their coach, after all thats the true reason for having one of these 26′ hot rods with plumbing anyway. Get out there and enjoy your life with your GMC, it’s just sitting out there waiting for you to pump the gas– do it! Viva La GMC!