Figured THAT opening remark would get some attention and let me tell you after doing this over 20 years I have to tell you that’s true……. a little play on words, A GMC will never work the same as a new vehicle TODAY. I hope you ask me why do I say that before you burn liknesses of me……. new car you have to admit have a longer maintenance cycle that cars of the 70’s. There is no “plug in port” for the car to tell you the gas cap is loose or it’s time to spend a boat load of money and have the dealer service your car to keep from voiding the warranty. You have none of that stuff with a GMC Motorhome.
Bout now you’re thinking …wa.wa.wa..now what shallow point will this be but I am taking time out of both of our lives to say something I feel is at the cruxt of frustration messing with these fantastic vintage machines.
I’m in here early so I’ve got some pics and stuff for you but I really would like you to bugger through this point I feel might help many of you as you work with your motorhome.
The diagnostic tree (how you figure out what happened when your vehicle stops doing what it’s supposed to) in the 70’s was tied to using your senses…eyes, ears, nose….. and a constant vigilance to alarm you when a problem occurs. Unlike cars today, old war horses would give you some warning before they sputtered out on ya. There would be red fluid on the ground… go look at your transmission, green meant cooling system and so on. Before you went on any trip where you had to rely on the good graces of the motorhome you or your service station mechanic would spend an hour tightening clamps, bolts, check hoses, belts, all fluids, grease the chassis, adjust the brakes and basically look around to see if everyone was happy. Today, a vehicle will pretty much run autonomously until something happens… then a red light comes on and the vehicle stops. And there is little other than pushing or getting it towed you can usually do.
See this is the difference that I can say a GMC Motorhome will never run like a new one today. Now it’s true motorhomes today seem to fall apart as they drive. One diesel pusher owner I sold a complete fire suppression system to said he had more time taking the coach back to the manufacturer (he would not trust ANY RV dealer out in the field) there’s more miles taking it in for scheduled service, recalls and repairs than he has on it going anywhere else! We drives it back to Tiffen in Red Bay Alabama for everything!
Holy crap and we get upset having to have all that stuff checked…. many just give everything a quick look and hit the road….. now don’t tell me you have never done that!!!!! It’s our nature today to assume everything is hunky dory, you cannot do that with any vehicle of the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s. Oh, and how many vehicles of that era DO we use to do things that are important to rely on the vehicle? Does a doctor who lives 50 miles from a hospital buy a “survivor” or original condition 1976 Plymouth Duster to get him to the operating table on time? No, they have their BMW’s or Teslas for that!
You must understand, we are expecting a mechanism made by man that is 40 years old to excite, satisfy and comfort us as well as a new anything……. you will always be setting yourself up for failure if you do not take what I am saying here into serious consideration.
Had a guy who pulled up in a really fancy Mercedes…. now I’m not attacking everyone driving a German car……. you know what I mean, his expectations were high. He had bought a 23′ Explorer II coach built by Explorer vans…. a VERY nice machine… too nice because his expectations were it should drive as good as it looks. I told hime many thing sabout the coach trying to prepare him…. one point I made is the motors pulling these loads could use a quart of oil every 800-1000 miles and he needed to watch that…….Got a call 6 weeks later from Detroit……. holding the phone to the floor I could hear the hammering of the main bearings. I yelled to him…. TURN IT OFF! Asked how was his oil pressure when the noise started, he asked what gauge was that. Then I asked him to go out and check his oil…. he asked where would he do that! I asked what have you been doing about checking the oil. He said he had put in a quart of oil every other tankfull of fuel………..let that sink in…….. the motor had frothed up the oil and had literally drowned in oil! He asked who could fix it………. he said he wanted to sell the coach as if he felt he could flip it and get his money back…….. it’s worth poop with a blown motor and friends this was a nice 23′ motorhome. He had it towd from Detroit back to us, we rebuilt the 403 and he sold the coach…. of course not making back the money he had squandered but still got like $40,000 for the coach. Why did all of that happen? The man did not listen and learn about the machine he had put his life in.
In short…. don’t do that. Don’t expect because you have a fresh motor that something can’t happen and if it does someone must have done something to you. I find I must have broad shoulders and thick skin trying to help the next generation of GMC owners mentally prepared for what they are seeking to do. It is NOT as vehicles are today… you cannot use the same maintenance baselines of taking it in when something goes wrong. EVERYTHING can go wrong on a 40 year old vehicle at ANY TIME!
Now have I scared you enough to want to sellyour coach too? Get up to speed, know your vehicle…. how some basic stuff works and how you can monitor the condition of the coach and know when something needs to be attended too. Do that before you get one of these or you may very well turn out to be a frustrated owner.
You do not have a nationwide network of dealers like your new car. You can’t just burn out one service center then go to another and continue your berating of everyone who touched your coach and blame everyone but yourself by not keeping your coach systems in good order and knowing they are good. A GMC needs that if you are to rely upon it….. no shortcuts and if you abuse your coach, something happen that you do not carefully investigate things will happen to the coach you or anyone else could have guess would happen…. but it did.
Our first inclination and the first step of acceptance of your situation is to lash out at everyone associated with anything that had to do with what happened. “Why did this happen to me and who caused it?” Am I right? Well gentlemen and ladies….. as Forest Gump said “It Happens”……. and it does then we have to work the problem and deal with it…. you and everyone concerned.
The next step of acceptance of the hole you’re sitting in is looking for help or what to do. You need a support group, someone to call or some way to reach out for input and assistance. The Chevy or Olds dealer will give no relief. What you need to some other support group to solicit help. We do that here at the Co-op. My personal cell phone is on 24/7 and other than the troll calls I used to get from well… I’m not going there folks call me when they need help and I will answer the phone whenever. I have offered this help for 2 decades…… Please do not call about gas prices in Topeka but if you need help mt number is hot. You need this, many have a good network in the 21 local GMC specific clubs throughout the country…. others ise the “Black List” … a listing of folks willing to at least do what they can to help given to us by a true GMC enthusiast and friend Roger Black. These are the things you need. You cannot be an island to your own driving a GMC today. You will not find a rear brake hose at Discount.
For that and other things you NEED the crazy people who carry those parts for your machine. What would you do? And this is also why ..I’m not saying buy every screw but support a dealer who supports you, buy parts you can and hopefully keep them there for you to find those parts no longer on the shelf. Expertice and information…. if you have a new car but every dealer Chevy dealer closes down……… what would you do if you just bought a new Yugo, Saturn, Peugout (can’t even spell that one). I don’t care how nice your car is you will be screwed!
All of these things are critical if you are going to be a happy GMC Motorhome camper and you will be blaming everyone but yourself for not keeping up with your coach. Someone comes to me and says “Everytime I get in my coach something goes wrong”. Hey, get in the thing more! You do not know anything about your motorhome if things fall of for no reason…. sorry to say that but there it is. And if something does happen…. may have a root cause but unless you have been using Bubba and Scooter for your work….. what else do you expect? If you don’t know the last time your brakes were flushed, bleed and checked over…… brother do NOT go out on the road! It’s just that simple….. you don’t have to know everything on how to fix it…. one GMC guy once said to a new owner….”If you can’t fix your coach yourself you have no business owning one!” Now that’s bull hocky too……. if you know how to maintain your coach and can recognize issues and know what to do about them…. have backups, countermeasures and support…. hey, these are awesome machines. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A MECHANIC TO OWN ONE OF THESE! Lets get that myth busted right here and now. But you do need to understand what you are driving and know things not only can but will happen….. you must prepare for those thing, know what to do and do those thing.
OK, it’s too long… I’m done….. a large part of the stress of my life is GMC owners unrealistic expectations and the expecting someone did something directly to them on purpose or from stupidity. Guys that’s not it……..
I’m done and I appreciate the Emails, texts and calls yesterday. Yes, I am in a difficult event right now and I’m looking for folks to more understand the coach they have and how things work. I am still convinced you can have an unique, exciting and fulfilling experience with a GMC motorhome or other worthy vintage RV’s. I’m still convinced these are the “cheapect toy in the box… but there has to be understandings to taste a part of that fun.OK, it’s 8am, I need to get the guys going but I will be back…. with pics anf fun….. I truly hope all that crap above gave you pause to think about your investment and how you can get the most out of it. Don’t do everything you read on the internet… the coach will NEVER run again. Question things and questions some folks motivations. Don’t be lead astray and don’t drink the punch! I’ll be back a little later…OK, I’m back…….. have a doctor app. in an hour so I have a little time here. So you want a new exhaust system…. .Doing brakes and a quad bag set up having the exhaust pipe out of the way make life much easier. If you are installing a quad bag rear suspension set up like this one , cut the exhaust pipe, pull it out and reconnect it when you’re done. Especially here where we’re doing pile of work undercarriage AND a new exhaust this is what you do. The intake manifold is back from the machinist We have these seriously cleaned then Magnafluxed to be sure there are no heat cracks. As usual, the process found this intake too has a hairline crack You can hardly see it if at all but it’s there. A bad one looks like this
It’s easy to see this crack with the magnet dust still showing the crack. All concave (carb below the heads) intakes … actually this is the only one GM ever made has a flaw that will caiuse this intake manifold crack….. when the crack reached the bottom of the floor on the inside…. exhaust gasses contaminate your fuel/vapor and you stop. The motor coold down, the crack comes back together and you drive clueless for a little more until the crack opens. Blocking the exhause crossover eliminated the possibility this will happen These are Mondellos…. we make them for a fraction of the cost. That along with a mr. Gasket fiber intake gasket set (455 motors it’s a #404) and some Permatex Ultra-grey and this problem will be solved. If you can, please try and make this mod, it’s important….. Soall that’s happening today.
We remounted a new Onan generator…. fits pretty nice but it’s only a 2.8K 1 roof AC ist’s OK but don’t fire up the microwave…… Nice fit though….. Kenny found a milk shake cup in the pile of mechanical trash going out. He knows he’d better get it quick before Arther empties the trash in the morning!
Can’t remember if I piced this to ya but this 70’s Airstream trailer will have an opening side wall . to be used as an on site Wedding photo booth with the side open, lights and the stage set for that perfect pic I think we may be building more…. pretty fun!
So my doc app is calling…….gotta make sure the guys keep rowing the boat…… I hope I didn’t bore you with todays pose…… the stuff at the top was really important as I see it. Your expectations and reality have to meet somewhere……..but that does not mean we give up………
As I have said too many times, thank you for the visit and your support….THIS is what it’s all about…….. see ya later
Gary Kornstein says
You haven’t scared me – yet . 🙂
I LIKE the idea of being able to listen and smell for trouble before the light comes on and having gauges that actually move according to load and conditions instead of the digital dash that says “everything’s ok ” , until it isn’t.
If you come across another nice 23 that only needs a needs a new motor or something along those lines , please call me ( 519-573-1241) as I’m on the hunt for a side bath 23 that isn’t a ‘core’ and that can be made reliable. My budget isn’t 100k but it’s not 20k either so I’m hoping I’m being realistic in my dreams . . .