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Date Posted: 03/ 5/ 06, 11:00am
It is nice that you can rescue this Bird and get it on the road again. Great find also, kind of like a time capsule.
Since no one has responded to you yet, I'll take a shot.
You didn't indicate your familiarity with RVs, big rigs or mechanics, but I think you have outlined the basics - batteries, filters, oil, tire pressures for sure - maybe replacement. Since it has been stored inside, the effects of sunlight and ozone have been minimized on the tires. If it was stored on concrete floors, that would not be as good as if stored on dirt, asphalt, or parked on wood or plastic. Check the tires carefully for rotting, crack, etc. If they look OK and hold air, I'd make some short trips after firing it up, check them again, and then make a decision to proceed home on them or not. Since you know they are at least five years old, check the dates to see how old they really are. Hopefully, they are good brand and maybe the uncle changed them shortly before it was stored. Inflate them to the max ratings on the tire, not the old inflation pressures on the tag (usually) in the front storage compartment. I personally don't worry too much about dates if stored inside, not on concrete, holding air and no sidewall cracks or dry rot apparent. Any truck tire I've ever had blow showed warning signs as noted. If you have any doubts, get them changed out, especially the fronts. Blown tires at speed on this size of a rig tear up lots of stuff at best and cause serious accidents at worst.
On the filters, you probably know this but I would remind you to have some fresh diesel fuel handy to re-fill the racor insert filter and spin-on fuel filter(s). I guess my biggest concern might be the five year old fuel, which could have developed algae. Hopefully the tank was full and tightly sealed when parked. I'd have lots of extra fuel filters and tools for the ride home.
Regarding the batteries, on most early/mid-80's models there should be a bank of 6Volt (golf cart) batteries hooked in series/parallel fashion to form multiple 12 volt parallel circuits. On my 83 PT40 there were 4 6v batteries hooked 2 in series to form two banks of 12v in parallel. Gives more amp hours reserve power with the 6v. The 86 may have 6 or more 6v batteries hooked in series/parallel format. Someone may have converted the battery bank to 12v batteries, so you will need to check this before buying any new batteries at the local Sam's. The genset should have its own 12v battery in the front compartment on the driver's side.
Check all fluids - don't forget the antifreeze, and the oil in the fan and power steering reservoir. Check the belts on the alternator also before departing. You will access the alternator from inside the coach through a hatch under the rear bed.
The worst part to me in firing up dry engines is not having lubrication on the internals after sitting unused for so long, but unless you have an oil pre-charger system to install, you don't have much choice. Hopefully it will fire quickly and build up oil pressure quickly.
Not to take anything away from this forum, but you might want to visit www.wanderlodgeforum.org (Harvey, the moderator on this forum is a moderator there also). There are lots of members on that forum in S. Cal that might be able to assist you when the time comes. If you post this same comment there, you might find lots of advice and offers of assistance.
Where are you located in Texas? When you get the Bird back here, you will need to attend one of our Lone Star Bird Rallies to meet other Bird owners in Texas!
1991 WB40 "Texas Minivan"
San Antonio, TX
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