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Subject: Trip Report


Author:
Bud Leffel
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Date Posted: 07/ 14/ 02, 8:13pm

Hi All.

I felt I had to give you My report on our first trip in our 78 31FC 3208 cat Wonderlodge, This trip was to be untill oct. or the first of sept. But due to a medical problem with me after only a month we had to return home from Mount Vernon Washington, for medical procedures, got back to Desert Hot Springs Ca. Thur.June 20th. It was a short 5 weeks but it was great.

You where all right, about the Wanderlodge being a great Motor Home. It performed Perfect and did great in climbing steep grades of 4% & 6% the slowest was 30 MPH many at 40 to 45 MPH with 7.7 MPG. Before we left I had the Valves checked for lash adjustment and they were fine, but the cost was well worth it for peace of mind. I tried in vane to the speed to 60 MPH but it kept giong up to 65 perring like a CAT. Two problems showed up after the valve work, one was the speed control was not working and the second was a small oil leak on top of the engine it appears to be from the right Valve cover. We had parked it in our drive way for up to 4 days and never had a leak.

We had a problem with the hot water heater not heating and found it had a short so cut the 110 wires, untill it could be remove and checked out or replaced. This is the greatest Motor Home we have ever owned, and I an sorry to say that it is going up for sale as the wife feels that at our age this was a warning and we need to stay home.
But we have had 20 years of of RVing it, Some one is going to get a GREAT MOTOR HOME it is first class as far as I an concerned.

Bud mrb.leffel@AT&T.net

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[> Subject: Re: Trip Report


Author:
bud
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Date Posted: 07/ 14/ 02, 8:13pm

Hi again.
Thought I would update you about the oil leak as it might be help if the same thing happens to you. I took it back to the diesel shop that had done the valve adjust, and he found that it was the air compressor for the brakes that had sprung a leak and the fan was throwing it back on to the right side of the motor & tran`s.

We had a new air compressor installed, the old one had to be the original and could not be fixed, he also found a fuel line hose that was so old it broke whem he put a little pressure on it, and replaced it, he showed it to me and it was so old it was falling apart.

I am thankfull that both problems are now corrected, I think of what could have happened to us while on the road if they had not been corrected. I have bought a new elect water heater from Lowes with a 6yr warranty, so I will be installing it next week, that puts it is back in tip top shape.

Bud

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Subject: Valve adjustments


Author:
DanT
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Date Posted: 07/ 10/ 02, 3:38am

We recently returned from a 2400 mile vacation and I wanted to pass on a few observations. I generally do most work on my coach myself. (1980 FC) Last year when we got back I decided to change the carpet and add some sound deadening insulation to the front of the coach. I dedided that I might as well have the valves adjusted at this time since there would be no better time to tear out the dog house.
A friend who is a school bus mechanic agreed to do the work as my time lately has been limited. I can't believe the difference in how the coach ran after a simple valve adjustment. It never ran poorly and my friend said that none of the valves were out much so I am stunned at the difference. Less smoke, more pep, better speed retention climbing hills and best of all a little over a half a mile per gallon in fuel mileage improvement.
The other change was the addition of a sound deading insulation under the carpet and coating the dog house. Big sound difference hear to as well as a tempature difference as well. We got ahold of Soundown insulation company and bought it from their. Lots of products and priced fairly. Shipping is a little high as most of this stuff is lead based sound deadener. DanT

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Subject: Amp meters


Author:
Walt Coles
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Date Posted: 07/ 8/ 02, 1:54pm

The engine amp meter does not work on my 83FC. Before I tear apart the dashboard to check the meter, I thought that I would look at the wiring connections at the shunt. However, I cannot find the shunt. Does anyone know where it is? While on the subject of amp meters, what are the amp meter and relay for in the generator transfer switch compartment under the bench seat next to the step well.

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[> Subject: Re: Amp meters


Author:
Jeff Miller
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Date Posted: 06/ 24/ 02, 5:44am

My shunt is below the throttle pedal, mounted to the L. side of the frame. I have heard from several people that their shunt is in the forward end of the battery compartment.

The ammeter in the transfer-switch compartment tells you how much the battery chargers are charging the coach batteries.

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[> Subject: Re: Amp meters


Author:
Eric Johnson
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Date Posted: 07/ 1/ 02, 2:13pm

We have an 84 FC and the shunt is located on the back wall of our battery compartment. Hope this helps.

We had some kind of short in this shunt wiring that rendered it useless. Some components turned molten and ended up on the floor of the battery compartment. I haven't figured out how to fix it yet but watch the battery voltage to make sure the alternator is keeping the charge up while we are on the road or the charger while we are parked.

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[> Subject: Re: Amp meters


Author:
Steve Anderson
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Date Posted: 07/ 8/ 02, 1:54pm

Walt, did you ever find the answer to your Ampmeter problem? I have the same problem on my 79 Bird. I have located the shunt, it looks as if my guage is bad.
Steve Anderson
79 35 FC 3208T

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Subject: Hi..We are Proud new owners, with a Million Questions


Author:
Jack & Donna Smith
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Date Posted: 06/ 22/ 02, 8:04pm

We are Jack & Donna Smith, located in So.Calif. Last year, I retired, and we purchased a Toyota Micro-Mini, and we travelled across the United States, 22,400 miles in Seven months.
We knew we wanted something bigger, and better. We looked at most other motorhomes, (of all types) and finally located a 1973 FC31, and bought it.
After we got it home, we looked at each other, and asked, "Did we Really Do this?.....(Our Homeowners Assn. said something also, but this is a family bulletin board)..
Well, it is a 31', side Bath, with Twin beds in the rear. It has a Ford 391 engine, with about 600 miles on it. The Ford engine, I can understand. But I am puzzled about the Allison Transmission. I belive it is a 5 speed. I am not quite sure how to drive and operate it. The "Transmission Retarder" is also new to me. It seems to work, but I am not sure just how it operates.
The most obvious problem is the "IHOP Blue" & "Navy Grey" paint scheme. That has to go. Where does one get these painted? And where can we find the list of the 'Original' paint schemes? One RV shop near here quoted me $6,500. Seems high..What to do? I have painted a Boat with Imeron paint and it worked out well. Can it be used on the B.B.?
The interior needs new carpeting, and perhaps a Pergo, (or similar) floor, with some carpet. New front seats are needed, as reupholstering of the Dinette, and Sofa. Can a second sofa be purchased, to mount behind the passenger?.
We are fimaliar with the Dometic Refigerator, but I cannot find the Hot Water Heater. I did see a vent marked "Suburban"...
The tires are 9.00X20 mounted on Split Rims. Can the Alcoa wheels be gotten? Where, and at what price??? Is there another, or better choice? One Hubcap is missing.. Can one be bought, and where??
It does not seem to have a spare tire, or perhaps I just couldn't locate it...
Both side mirrors seem a bit small, and hard to use.. How is this problem solved?
We are anxious to complete these tasks, and set about touring the Southern part of the country, this time towing our Jeep CJ7, for a bit of off-roading.
Thanks for any help and suggestions you can give....
Jack & Donna Smith

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[> Subject: Re: Hi..We are Proud new owners, with a Million Questions


Author:
DanT
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Date Posted: 06/ 3/ 02, 4:38am

J&D,
The Allison transmission works like any basic automatic. Put it in Drive or the highest gear and it will do the rest. The nice thing about the Allison is it can also be manually shifted if you want to proceed down a long hill in a lower gear or such. I don't have a retarder so I can't comment on that one. I am installing carpet and Pergo in mine as we speak. Works great. Hardest part is removing old. Aound here you can get a coach painted for 2 to 3 thousand. Check the phone book for truck painters too. Imron works fine. I bought new Flexsteel seats for mine and they fit right on the old mounts. You can purchase these from a number of locations depending on where you are. Same with the couch. The wheel situation can be remedied at a truck junk yard. I don't know price since mine had Alcoas but used is ok as long as they are in good shape. BB have basicly a truck chassis and axles so truck parts are readily available. The water heater should be under the drivers side rear bed.
All the interior can be removed, changed or recovered at will. Ours was in a flood just before we bought it so everything had to come out. Easy once you get going. Most folks don't care for the 391 Ford as it is low on power and a pig on gas. But you have to start somewhere. Welcome aboard! DanT

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[> Subject: Re: Hi..We are Proud new owners, with a Million Questions


Author:
John Glasgow '70fc31
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Date Posted: 06/ 5/ 02, 10:08am

Congrdulations on your purchase!

I also have the 391 ford engine - it's not fast! Mine hgas about 60 miles on it - Remanufactured engine installed after the original died on the way home after buying it (omen of things to come?)

Our homeowners assn is also concerned but we have kept its presence below the 2 week maximum visit (no limit on the number of "visits")

I have the 6 speed Allison MT-40 transmission with retarder. The retarder works much better now that I have connected the linkage! It seems to work when the RPMs come up, so I downshift a gear and then press the pedal, it has a definite effect. I notice very little effect when the engine is running slowly.

The "suburban" vent is the propane furnace - I haven't tried it; as this is summer, that little voyage of discovery will wait a few months.

Let me know what you find out about the wheels as I have the same questions.

I use roadside service for the spare tire - I don't know if I could jack it up to change it anyway.

How is it towing the Jeep?

JOhn G
'70FC31

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[> Subject: Re: Hi..We are Proud new owners, with a Million Questions


Author:
L. R. Longcrier
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Date Posted: 06/ 6/ 02, 3:00pm

For a paint pattern, go to the history section of this site, and click on any of the thumbnail pictures, and it will enlarge. Take your pick of the pattern you wish to use. By all means if you can paint with imron do it, as I understand that is the paint of choice.

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[> Subject: Re: Hi..We are Proud new owners, with a Million Questions


Author:
Jeff Miller '77FC
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Date Posted: 06/ 22/ 02, 8:04pm

I heard that Weller Truck in Grand Rapids, MI had bought a batch of surplus parts, which included a set of new Alcoa split 20" rims, their number is 616.724.2000.
One caveat, you will need to replace your studs on all wheels and your outer nuts on the rear wheels to go from steel to the thicker aluminum rims.
You can also buy 22.5 wheels, they are easier to find and with 11R 22.5 tires you will now be tubeless and out of the old IMO unsafe split rims / lockring rims, the 11R 22.5 tires are also a higher load rating and cheaper, and the same rolling diameter as a 10.00 x 20 tire.
Also, you could go to a "low profile" 24.5" tire, the 24.5" wheels are easier to find used in aluminum.
When you look for wheels, you need 10-hole STUD PILOTED wheels, the standard for trucks and buses until the '90s, and still used on some new RVs (including Wanderlodges until '01). Tell any used parts man you need the 10-hole stud piloted wheels, 22.5 or 24.5, 7.50" wide will work with 11" tires as will 8.25" wide. 8.25" is easier to find.

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Subject: Closet air vent


Author:
Walt Coles
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Date Posted: 06/ 22/ 02, 9:45am

I have a 1983 FC35. Does anyone know where to get a matching air vent as used in the closet doors? It is about 7 by 13 inches.

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Subject: Dead Fuel Guage


Author:
Robert Atkinson
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Date Posted: 06/ 14/ 02, 11:36am

Need a little help locating the power source/breaker/fuse for the fuel guage. I can't seem to locate it on any of my blue box schematics.
The caoch is an 82 FC31. The fuel guage and the generator oil pressure guage died together, must be tied somewhere.
I have the 3208 NA and the 12.5 diesel gen set so I just have one fuel tank unlike most 31 FC's.
Thanks

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Subject: PT 35


Author:
Robert
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Date Posted: 05/ 28/ 02, 4:03pm

I have an 83 PT35 that I don't have any of the owners manuals for. Any suggestions for getting reproductions for the paperwork. Also the ignition switch stopped cranking the motor (DD 6-92)but it appears to be working, power is not getting to the solenoid. Is there a fuse somewhere in line? I also have a clicking or ticking sound coming from both front wheels, makes one loud click for each revolution. Haven't checked it out yet. Oil bath on bearings is OK. Is it possibly brakes?

Thanks
Robert

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[> Subject: Re: PT 35


Author:
Jeff
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Date Posted: 05/ 28/ 02, 7:26am

Robert:
Owner's manual: Try asking at www.wanderlodge.net, someone there might copy one for you. I assume that you've already tried BlueBird.

Ignition Switch: Try the rear start selector switch (inside engine door). I have heard that this selector switch is a common and inexpensive culprit.

Ticking sound: Remove the wheel, wipe clean the wheel face and hub/brake face where they meet, NO OIL! Reassemble with no oil on these mating surfaces, as well as on the spherical part of the lug-nut and where it contacts the wheel, the clicking should stop. Been there done that.

- Jeff
'77FC in Holland, MI

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[> [> Subject: Re: PT 35


Author:
Robert
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Date Posted: 05/ 28/ 02, 4:03pm

Thanks,
3am at a rest stop I was trying to use the rear switch but I couldn't find a key that would fit in it. Should the ignition key fit this also? I did try the antitheft switch in both positions. Finally crawled under it a shorted across the starter.

Thanks
Robert

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Subject: Bluebird:: Strange new equipment??


Author:
Jack Smith
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Date Posted: 05/ 24/ 02, 11:20am

Being new to the Bluebird Wanderlodges, I am wondering about some of the equipment used.
1. How does the "Coach Air" (Dash Air) work? Some say it is charged with R22 and not R12. Is the compressor, (a York?) engine driven? Is this unit usually working? Who can do the repairs on these units?

2. On the units with Air Brakes--How are they operated? Where is the air source? Is there a storage tank that holds the air at all times?

3. What is the transmission retarder, and how does it operate..
Is the Allison the normal transmission on the older 'Birds?
It seems that there are 5 speed & 6 speed Allisons..Any others...Are any auxillary transmissions used?

4. Finally, Engines. What are the main advantages or disadvantges between the Ford 390A gas engine and the Diesel, (non-turbo)? Is the 390A a reliable engine, and does it deliver adaquite power for the coach?

Thank You
Jack Smith

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[> Subject: Re: Bluebird:: Strange new equipment??


Author:
Dan
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Date Posted: 05/ 19/ 02, 2:32pm

Jack,

It depends on what year and model - gas, diesel, Front Control (FC), pusher, etc. I'll answer based on 1983 to 85 FCs CAT 3208 which is what I know best (I have 83 FC35). These are my opinions - so take with grain of salt. There are folks with much more knowledge and experience than me at : http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Wanderlodge/messages .

1. How does the "Coach Air" (Dash Air) work? Some say it is charged with R22 and not R12. Is the compressor, (a York?) engine driven? Is this unit usually working? Who can do the repairs on these units?

My dash air is dead - haven't checked it out yet. It uses the older freon, not the newer. Compressor is driven by a fan belt. Best guess about 50% of older coaches have working coach air. Other folks decide not to fix when it breaks, just run the coach generator and the forward most roof air when going down the road. Some folks remove the compressor and put in a shorter fan belt. Some convert to the newer freon and fix the coach air.

2. On the units with Air Brakes--How are they operated? Where is the air source? Is there a storage tank that holds the air at all times?
Three air tanks, one front brakes, one rear brakes, one accessory air tank. Compressor engine driven on same belt that drives altenator. Air also supplies air bag suspension if not an older coach with springs (see history for years).

3. What is the transmission retarder, and how does it operate..
Is the Allison the normal transmission on the older 'Birds?
It seems that there are 5 speed & 6 speed Allisons..Any others...Are any auxillary transmissions used?
Lot's different answers depnding on years -- and I'm no expert. My 83 has allison 4 speed auto, 4 position retarder is on the driveshaft (a huge magnetic unit).

4. Finally, Engines. What are the main advantages or disadvantges between the Ford 390A gas engine and the Diesel, (non-turbo)? Is the 390A a reliable engine, and does it deliver adaquite power for the coach?
I considered buying a gas bird - now happy I did not. 391 industial engine came in older birds. Tough engine. Not as much torque as diesel, gas mileage lower, less longevity (if maintenance good on both) than diesel. More parts and service for cat 3208 than out of production ford industrial 391. Advantage to 391 is lower purchase price of coaches with them.

Dan

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[> Subject: Re: Bluebird:: Strange new equipment??


Author:
Jeff
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Date Posted: 05/ 24/ 02, 11:20am

Jack:

The 391 is a decent engine, but lacks the logevity of the 3208 and the fuel mileage is not good (but better than the '75/'76 435 which was deplorable). All 3208 coaches before '87 had the Allison MT-643 (4-speed + lockup) transmission which is very reliable.

The air conditioning on most all vehicles including Wanderlodges was R-12 until they changed to R-134 in the early/mid '90s. It can be recharged with R-134a I'm told, but will lose some cooling capacity (with a new air-dryer etc.). Mine works very well, and at 18,000BTU I would never abandon it.

The air brakes get their air from an engine-driven compressor which supplies a wet tank and two dry tanks, best explained by obtaining a CDL manual from your DMV and reading the area for air-brake endorsement on your license, I believe that many of these are available on-line. Great question BTW, knowledge of an air-brake system is IMO necessary for operating one.

- Jeff

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Subject: Bulk Oil Filler on '84 35' Single Axle w/ CAT 3208


Author:
Timm Gleason
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Date Posted: 05/ 24/ 02, 11:13am

We have just recently inherited an 84 35' Single Axle Blue-Bird with a CAT 3208 engine. I have been through a mountain of documentation and cannot seem to find exactly where the bulk oil filler is located. I have not yet removed any of the engine covers yet as I like to have a good game plan before I start digging in.

One other question, it is equipped with a RediLine generator/inverter but best I can tell from the documentation, it was only used to power the ice maker. It currently does not work, has anyone switched this to operate a 120v circuit inside the coach instead? This seems to me to be a better option for 120v power use while driving instead of running the 12.5 kVA generator. Obviously you couldn't operate the bigger appliances, but lights and other small things could work just fine (I use a 300w inverter in my truck to operate my laptop on the road). Is there something about this inverter that I should know?

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[> Subject: Re: Bulk Oil Filler on '84 35' Single Axle w/ CAT 3208


Author:
Dan
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Date Posted: 05/ 18/ 02, 5:17pm

Coach is not with me, so from memory:
The bulk oil filler is located in a large roundish tank in your outside storage compartment that has the fuel filter (by the entry door). You need the coach aired up by running the cat engine (runs the air compressor). There is a switch in this outside compartment to run air to the oil tank. Now go inside and open up the dog house. Remove the oil filler cap on the left bank of the cat engine. Take the oil filler nozzle located by the gauge for oil, place nozzle in left valve cover, pull the release valve. Oil gauge shows each quart added as it rotates. Once you topped up the oil ensure you turn off the air to the bulk tank outside.

Dan 1983 FC35

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[> [> Subject: Re: Bulk Oil Filler on '84 35' Single Axle w/ CAT 3208


Author:
Timm Gleason
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Date Posted: 05/ 18/ 02, 5:24pm

Thanks much. I appreciate the help

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[> Subject: Re: Bulk Oil Filler on '84 35' Single Axle w/ CAT 3208


Author:
Jack Richardson
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Date Posted: 05/ 19/ 02, 6:11pm

Redi line...I use ours routinely when the genset is not on.First see if the relays in the compartment sending 12volts to the rediline are working. Mine were burnt out. You will notice each end of the redi line is a motor and has its one relay. If one fails the other end has to carry the load and it failed. I replaced the relays and bearings in the ends of the rediline. I would inspect the rediline to see if it is working or needs repair before spending money on the relays. You can jump the relays to check this. If you need more details E mail me. Theory..The receptical in the galley is on a relay.

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[> [> Subject: Re: Redi-Line


Author:
Jeff
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Date Posted: 05/ 24/ 02, 11:13am

The redi-line will work, it is a motor-driven alternator, and is very inefficient at low load levels. You are better off using an inexpensive portable inverter for small loads like a laptop or cell-phone charger etc., even a small TV.

- Jeff

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Subject: How do you use the Turbo Pyrometer??


Author:
Brad Rath
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Date Posted: 05/ 24/ 02, 11:06am

My '84, 35' FC Wanderlodge has a gage labled "Turbo Pyrometer" for its 250hp Turbo Cat 3208. When the engine is really pulling the temperature on this gauge can climb in excess of 1500 degrees F. I operate turbine engines for a living and that kind of temperature seems really excessive. The owners manual doesn't say a word about how to use the information. I have been trying to limit it to 1100 degrees by backing off on the throttle but when I do invariably the transmission temp starts to climb. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Brad Rath

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[> Subject: Re: How do you use the Turbo Pyrometer??


Author:
Jeff
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Date Posted: 05/ 24/ 02, 11:06am

Brad: Downshift.

You are right to limit pyrometer temps to 1100. The transmission temp will rise as the RPMs drop, keep the RPMs up by downshifting.

- Jeff

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Subject: 1983 BLue Bird Purchase


Author:
Greg Spears
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Date Posted: 05/ 17/ 02, 4:21pm

I am considering the purchase of a 1983 BlueBird Wanderlodge.

Could someone please answer the following questions for me?

1. Please give me a fair price range for a coach with the following equipment:
Turbo 3208
12.5kw perkins
78,000 miles
2200 hrs
new carpet & upholstrey
new tires less than 6,000 miles ago
full awning pkg
paint seems to be in good condition

2. I recently drove this coach and seemed it was not keeping the drivers area cool. Is this a problem with this model coach or just this coach?

3. Is this coach to heavy for the engine?

4. What cruising speed can expect under normal conditions?

5. Is it going to be OK to pull a 22' boat with this coach and if so what cruising speed can I expect?

6. Is it true this coach is very slow & prone to overheat under a load?

7. Please tell me if there is any specific concerns or problems I should look for?

8. Please advise if there are other considerations before buying this coach?

Your help is greatly appreciated!

Sincerely
Greg S.

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[> Subject: Re: 1983 BLue Bird Purchase


Author:
macey s.
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Date Posted: 05/ 17/ 02, 1:55pm

this is a test of vintage

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[> Subject: Re: 1983 BLue Bird Purchase


Author:
Dan
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Date Posted: 05/ 17/ 02, 4:21pm

Your questions - my answers:
1. Please give me a fair price range for a coach with the following equipment:
Turbo 3208
12.5kw perkins
78,000 miles
2200 hrs
new carpet & upholstrey
new tires less than 6,000 miles ago
full awning pkg
paint seems to be in good condition

My "guess" $30,000 to $40,000 depending on condition and documentation of maintenance, what your local market will bear, and what seller will take. Have seller fill out checklist this site, have coach checked by a cat dealer, and by a RV shop. Miles on tires immaterial - how old are they. Age and sun exposure is the RV tire killer.

2. I recently drove this coach and seemed it was not keeping the drivers area cool. Is this a problem with this model coach or just this coach?
Big engine right by your feet, insulation on dog house may need replacement - I'm doing mine right now (this weekend). Did you open air vent at your feet? Is coach air working (many don't on older coaches). Many folks run generator going down run with front roof air going full tilt.


3. Is this coach to heavy for the engine?
Kinda sorta - will cost bigger bucks to go with 84 250 HP, or 87-89 300 HP Cat, even more for pushers with 6V and 8V detroits. I have the 83 225 HP, it IS slow accelerating. I can tolerate moving slower for the lower price of a 83 FC.

4. What cruising speed can expect under normal conditions?
Top end: 64 MPH on flats, 50 on slight inclines, 40 on steep inclines.

5. Is it going to be OK to pull a 22' boat with this coach and if so what cruising speed can I expect? Yes if cooling system in top notch condition. About same speeds asa not towing. Make sure boat trailer has brake system.

6. Is it true this coach is very slow & prone to overheat under a load? It can pull a reasonable load almost at same speed as not pulling. Cooling system much be in peak condition (new coolant and additives, good hoses, good cap, good fan system, etc).

7. Please tell me if there is any specific concerns or problems I should look for?
See check list this site, read all the old posts, go to wanderlodge site on yahoo and read all posts there. You'll see the problems - will take you 5 to 6 hours min to read all the "old stuff", but your education will increase 10 fold.

8. Please advise if there are other considerations before buying this coach? Money and where to get a loan if youre not cash buyer. E-mail me if you need financing - I have been down that road.

Your help is greatly appreciated!

Sincerely
Greg S.

Answers by Dan Weaver, Newbie with 83 FC35 in Abilene TX.

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Subject: Need info before buying


Author:
Jack Smith
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Date Posted: 05/ 14/ 02, 11:08pm

We have been bitten by the "WanderBug". Have looked at the various Bluebirds, and have found a '73 that we like, although it needs a bunch of things done. The good part is that it had a new 390-A (ford) engine installed less than 1000 miles ago. ( The speedometer shows about 210K miles on the chassis). It has a Carbuater, But due to it being a 1973 model, it is exempt from the Smog regs, even in the Golden State of California. The body is pretty straight, no dents or ripples, but front Bumper has a pushed in dent. The 651 Allison trans was checked OK. No broken glass, just a couple of rock pits in the drivers side, (Split) windshield. Can these be replaced, and at what expense? Ditto the drivers side rear view mirror glass...Tires (Michlin 9X20} are OK, at least the front ones..The wheels are 10 lug split rims. Are they OK to use? Is there a better replacment for them??
This is a questionable question, but what mileage can I expect??? Flat towing my Jeep????? I think the gas tank is 140 Gal.
One Hubcap is missing....Where can we get a replacment?
Interior is good, but carpet MUST GO, first thing!! (Dark Brown & very dirty). Where can we get new carpeting installed?? Carpet Shop? Home Depot?---Actually, my wife wants Pergo, or some such put in & I have to agree with her.
The coach has twin beds in the rear, with the bath having the shower in it.
Some of the wood surfaces have been wallpapered!! What to do?? Cover them with 1/8th vineer? All of the cabnet doors are there, and most work OK.
The roof air over the front of the cab does not work.. What type is this and can it be fixed?
The other 2 roof airs seem to work OK, and a "heat Strip" has been installed.
The seller says the 12V to 110V "Converter don't work.. Is this serious, and/or expensive?
Has Body/Chassis rust ever been a problem with these Bluebirds?? If so, what areas are affected?
I suppose there are many other things that we will find, but the idea of owning the 'Bird appeals to both of us...I have just retired, and feel this is a coach that will last for 30 more years..
Rather than just dash some paint on, and install whatever, where can we find the original colors and paint scheme, as well as the items to make an original interior?
Question:..What is the "Transmission Retarder" and how does it work?
Question:..How is the 'Bluebird Association' set up, and is there a chapter in So. Calif.?
We realize that this 'Bird needs quite a bit of work on a few points, but a price of $7500 makes it attractive to us......
Jack Smith
jaxdon@earthlink.net

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Subject: Advice needed for future owners of 1969 Bird


Author:
Jack Smith
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 05/ 5/ 02, 9:48pm

We are thinking of purchasing a 1969 33ft Bluebird, Chev. 454, 10,000K on rebuilt engine. Possibly rebuilt Allison 5 sp.auto trans but clutch is installed. 6.5 Onan gen. Good body and tires,rough paint job. Rear twin beds, sofa, dinette, couchette area?? roof platform, 2 storage boxes.Any idea what model this would be? What does FC mean? What are the pros and cons of purchasing an older Bird such as this. They are asking 13,500.

Jack

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Subject: Sink drain to black tank


Author:
Walt Coles
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 04/ 28/ 02, 12:49am

I have an 83FC SB 35'. Has anybody changed to bathroom sink drain to go to the gray tank instead of the black tank. It makes the black tank fill up too fast.

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[> Subject: Re: Sink drain to black tank


Author:
Lawrence Thornell
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 01/ 1/ 02, 10:10pm

I saw a 35' XV where this change had been made. He took out the stove to get to the side of the shower and made the switch. I tried to duplicate this on a 33' XV, cut the line then couldn't make the new connection, so I just put it all back like I found it. The drain line takes off on a 45 in beside of the shower, better luck than I had. If you see an XV with "OH MY" up front he might show you the connection under his sink.

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[> Subject: Re: Sink drain to black tank


Author:
jeff libby
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Date Posted: 04/ 28/ 02, 12:49am

Be careful, the soap from the lav sink draining into the waste tank helps lubricate your dump valve.

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Subject: Brakes and Airconditioiner on 1970 FC31


Author:
John Glasgow
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Date Posted: 04/ 26/ 02, 4:52am

I have recently acquired a 1970 FC 31;
When driving it home form the shop (which put in a new radiator and engine) I noticed that I need to pump the brakes (hydraulic) once to get a “full pedal” then they work fine - I was able to lock up the wheels when I tried; Can someone help me out with what I need to do now bleed brakes, adjust brakes, rebuild master cylinder, replace the whole system? or is this normal with this type system?

Air conditioner:
I found that the wire from the air conditioner clutch ends about 12” from the from the clutch - Where do I find the relay that attaches to it?
John G
70 FC 31

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[> Subject: Re: Brakes and Airconditioiner on 1970 FC31


Author:
Dan
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 04/ 26/ 02, 4:52am

Look under fixes in this forum. A member with a hydralic braked coach talks about the brake system and what he did on his. Other than that, I'd put in a good high-quality, high temp hydralic fluid with a complete bleed. I have air brakes on mine so can't help more due to lack of experience with BB hydralics.

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Subject: Towing Capacities


Author:
Joseph Drella
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Date Posted: 04/ 24/ 02, 11:15pm

I have a 1981 Bluebird FC-35 and it has a factory towing tongue and ball. How much can I tow and can I tow a 7700lb. van with the proper tow bar . And do I legally need brakes on the tow van if it's over a certain weight. Thanks Joe Drella

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Subject: Ridewell Air System


Author:
Jack Richardson (FLYING AWAY)
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 04/ 17/ 02, 6:56am

FC35 1985 Vintage Bird
Looking for the Pilot Relay Valve BB #0982280 or Mfg. # WM147P. Local truck parts place not able to identify. I have cleaned mine, but would like to replace the valve or diaphragm kit. Also would like a number for the front & rear bags to price before removing. Mine are the orginal I think and are starting to crack. The numbers are in the rear against the frame or just not readable.
Thanks Jack:

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[> Subject: Re: Ridewell Air System


Author:
djsjhk4@att.net
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 04/ 14/ 02, 7:47am

Jack,
Don't know about your pilot valve, but a little research into the air bags can save a lot of money. I had the four bags on the front of our '85PT replaced last year at a truck repair shop here in Houston. The shop got the bags from the Firestone distributor here and cost of bags and installation was about $100 less than BB wanted for the bags.
Ridewell buys bags from Firestone, BB buys bags from Ridewill. Mark-up, Mark-up, Mark-up

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[> Subject: Re: Ridewell Air System


Author:
Bob Dilks
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 04/ 17/ 02, 6:56am

Jack: call Blue Bird parts at 800/495-7787 for the pilot valve at a cost of about $60, if you don't like the price they will give you the name and number and you can buy it locally. As to the exterior cracked air bags, they are almost certainly original but you should talk to Bennie Collier at Blue Bird tech support (800/992-6337)who will tell you the cracked exterior on the air bags is no indication of the air bag's interior condition. You can also call Ridewell and Firestone and discuss the bag condition with them.

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Subject: Optimistic Bluebird Buyer


Author:
Charles Glaser
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 04/ 15/ 02, 3:59pm

Hi Bluebird guru's,

I am about to buy an 83 FC35. I currently have a Coachman but a Bluebird is a new challenge and I have about a thousand questions. I am working my way through the check list on this site and it appears to be great but there are a number of things that I am not familiar with. Your answers may be good to add to the archive for other first time Bluebird owners. Does anyone have a good picture of all the dash switches that I can use to familiarize myself with and be more prepared to preform all the tests. I know some of the areas should be obvious but Please help with the list below.


Eng Hour Meter Gauge
**I am told that the engine was changed to a 250 turbo. Given this will the hour meter have any meaning for me?
By the way, where is it?
Eng Amp Meter Gauge
**How many amps should I expect at what RPM and where is it?
Eng Oil Pressure Gauge
**What is an acceptable range?
Eng Water Temp Gauge
**Is this a C,N,H gauge or a numeric gauge? If numeric what is a normal range?
Fuel Level Gauge
**I hope it says full and means it.
Low Air Indicator
**Is this a light or a gauge and where is it?
Air Pressure Front Gauge
**Where is it and what is acceptable?
Air Pressure Rear Gauge
**Same question as above.
Eng Alarm Indicator
**Now you are scaring me. If I hear it I am out of there.
Is it a light, bell, buzzer, horn and where is it?
Hand Throttle Control
**For this kind of money I thought there would be a foot feed. Seriously, where is it and what should I expect?
Accessory Warning Indicators
**Lights on dash?
Fuel Monitor Indicators
**I hate to sound stupid but is this referring to the normal empty full fuel gauge or something else?
Filter Element Gauge Racor Suspension Air dump Switch
**We are way out of my element again. I assume this dumps the suspenson air bags but where is it and what should I expect?
Wheel Tilt Switch
**On the column?
Safe Line Alarm - Shore Line Connect
**What is it and Where is it?
Eng Volt Meter Gauge
**Should I expect this to be in the 12 to 14 volt range?
Is the gauge on the dashboard?
Compartment Lights Master Switch
**Where is it?
Dash Lights Dimmer
**Many posts have indicated dim dash lights. Is this what I should expect and where is the dimmer?
Spot Light Speed-Selector Direction
**I am lost again. What am I looking for and how should it work?
Leveling System Indicators
Leveling Warning System Indicator
Extend and Retract each Leveler
**Should I expect a leveling system on an 83 FC35? If so where would I find the indicator's and how can I convince the levelors to extend and retract?
Musical Horn
**From many posts this seems to be very important. What should I expect?
Auxiliary Step Switch (2)
**Where is it? I guess it is another way to operate the air step. If not, Help.
Burglar Alarm Switch (Dash)
Burgular Alarm Switch (Key)
**Tell me about the alarm.
House Battery Condition
**Anything special to look for?
Swing Radiator
**Did this come on an 83 FC35? Given the above mentioned engine change should I expect to find it? How does it opreate?
Parking Brake
**Where is it?
Radar Detector
**Should I expect one?
Close Circuit TV System
**I am told it has one. How does it work?
Cruise Control
**Should I expect this and does it function like a car?
Jake Brake Operation
**Important stuff. Please tell me what I need to know about this system.
Accelleration
**From the posts this should be easy. Don't expect much.
Shocks Air Bag Condition
**I assume a visual inspection?
Gen Hours
**How much is high on a kohler 12.5?
Turn on Generator Front/Rear switch
**Where are they?
Gen Volt Meter Gauge
**How many volts should it read?
Gen Water Temp Gauge
**What is a normal operating temp?
Gen Hour Meter Gauge
Gen Oil Pressure Gauge
**In Gen compartment I assume. What oil pressure is acceptabe?
Check Power Line Monitors
**Where are they and what should the read?
A/T Switch
**What is it, where is it and what should it do?
Left Wiper
Right Wiper
Intermittent Wiper Control
Windshield Washer
**Is all of this on the dash?
Aux Battery Switch
**Where is it and what should I expect?
Front Heat Switch
**Where is it?
Right Hand Front Heat Fan
**Where is the switch?
Left Hand Front Heat Fan
Aux Pump Switch
**What is this pump for and where is the switch?
Digital Clock/Elapsed Time
**Should I expect to find one on an 83?
Defrost Fan
**Where is the switch?
RH Air Conditioner Fan
LH Air Conditioner Fan
**Where are the switches?
Air Conditioner Temp Control
**Where is the control?
CB Radio/Public Address Function
**Is this pretty straight forward?
AM-FM Radio & Cassette
**I can handle this one.
Volt Master Switch (12 Volt Master)
**Where is it?
TV Antenna
Antenna lift, lift warning lite & buzzer
**Where is the switch and what should I expect?
Ice Maker
**Any special switch or should it just work?
Ready Line
**What is it, where is it and what should it do?
Water Pump
**Where is the switch?
Hot Air Furnaces (3)
Roof / Central Air conditioners
Hot Water Heater & Instant Hot
System Monitoring & Control Panels
Thermometer & Clock
**What should I expect?
Tank Monitors
**Where are they and is there any way to check them?
Propane Monitor
**Where is it? Can it be checked?
Refrigerator Fan Switch
**Inside refrigerator?
AC Power Selector Switch
**Where is it?
Intercom System
**Any special switch to turn it on?
Central Vac System
**Like in a house?
Digitell System
**Lost again. Should I expect one and what is it's purpose?
Nutone Power Station
**What should I be looking for?
Nutone Accessories
**What does this include?
Front Bug Screens (3)
**Are these stored somewhere or fixed at the grille?
Air Hose & Gauge
**Where is it kept?
Air Dryer functioning
**What is it? What should I expect?
valves Adjusted
**How long between adjrstments is average?
Racor
**What is it and where is it"
Spare tire Spare wheel
**Under the back?
Barbeque & hoses
**Should an 83 FC35 come with one?
Macerater Pump
**What is it and should I expect to find it?
115 volt Inverter
**Should I expect to find one?
Solar charge system

Sorry this has been such an exhausting list. thanks for all your help and advice?
Charles

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[> Subject: Re: Optimistic Bluebird Buyer


Author:
Dan
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 27/ 02, 9:48am

Just a note here: I responded via e-mail and on this web site, but response on web site rejected -- apparently due to length. Another member also indicated he attempted to post reply - which also rejected.

Dan

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[> Subject: Re: Optimistic Bluebird Buyer


Author:
Steve Suresch
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 04/ 15/ 02, 3:59pm

Bluebird Buyer,
Hello I service and maintain a 1982 Wonderlodge for my parents. It's a nice rig, although, it's a 1982. Like to share some notes. Currently I'm trying to locate the isolater on the charging system. I 'll read that giant list later my friend.

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Subject: 1978 drawer pulls


Author:
BudLeffel
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 04/ 14/ 02, 7:27am

In replacing the carpeting under the couches and twin beds with Oak paneling, I have not been able to find the drawer pulls to match the kitchen and the drawers under the bedroom TV. as with carpet they had just cut out 4 inch hand holes for the drawers and pull down compartment doors. I would like everything to match, has anyone bought any ? or have an idea where I could purchase them, I need 4 pulls.

I tryed calling the Blue Bird parts service but only got a message that they where not available at the time and to leave a message and they would return my call, but gave up on them after two weeks and no call. Would apprecate any information you may have on Drawer pulls.
Thanks for your help.

Bud

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[> Subject: Re: 1978 drawer pulls


Author:
David Kay
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Date Posted: 04/ 14/ 02, 7:27am

Bud,
I have some drawer pulls from our '85PT.(after a renovation project) I don't remember if they are the same, email me and I will send you a photo

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Subject: 86 WANDERLODGE FC


Author:
L BOWMAN
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 04/ 9/ 02, 11:05am

I AM CONSIDERING BUYING A VINTAGE BB A 86 FC 35 ANYTHING I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THAT PARTICULAR ANIMAL BEFORE I JUMP IN BO

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Subject: BlueBird Wannbe Questions


Author:
Dave Williams
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 04/ 6/ 02, 9:39am

I've been learning a lot about BMC/WanderLodge coaches from this great site. I'm sold on owning one of these Vintage Birds. I'd like to stay under 40' and am curious about the 36' SP models. Looking around it appears I can afford one of these 'birds and I wonder if anyone cares to offer some advice.

First question these models were only made for 4 model years, was this due to problems with the coach or the advent of WB models? I've focused on the SP model because I've convinced myself (perhaps mistakenly) the Catepillar 3208 might be a better motor than the Detroit Diesels (repair costs, mileage, etc.), does anyone have any thoughts regarding this opinion? Were any of the SP's delivered with 6 speed Allison transmissions (were different transmission models available, etc.)? Should I fail to find a good SP is the quality of the 37' BMC coaches as good as the WanderLodge?

Lastly I live in the NW and might have to travel afar to purchase one of these 'birds. Does anyone have thoughts about how to evaluate coach condition, powertrain condition, etc. before flying out of town? I'd like to know how to get an independent professional appraisal, thorough inspection, road test, plumbing condition, etc. (perhaps oil analysis, too). If anyone has some good suggestions, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks

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[> Subject: Re: BlueBird Wannbe Questions


Author:
Bob Dilks
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 04/ 6/ 02, 8:52am

Dave;

There are many happy SP owners and I am sure they will be able to give lots of specific information. I can only give you some general information. First SP stands for "Single Axle Pusher" which is the successor to the FC model which was last produced in 1987, which is the same year other Blue Bird coaches went to 102 inches. I think SP's are wide body coaches. As I recall there was only one transmission available - a ZF. In general, Detroit Diesel engines are less costly to rebuild than Catapillar engines because Detroits' share more standard parts, ie, 6V92, 8V92, 12V92 and 16V92 all use the same cylinder liners, pistons, wrist pins, connecting rods, etc. The SP model is a Wanderlodge and carries a Blue Bird built frame with its attendant running gear. A BMC is a Blue Bird built shell mounted to a chassis by another manufactured. For the most part, you will be able to judge the soundness of the coach by your own observations and the mileage. If you are serious about a professional opinion on the condition, take the coach to the nearest dealer or servicier of "heavy coaches" such as Blue Bird, MCI, Newell, Prevost, etcetera and pay about $500 for a PDI (Pre Delivery Inspection). As I recall, oil analysis is only valid when compared to a series of analyses on the same vehicle.

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[> Subject: Re: BlueBird Wannbe Questions


Author:
Frederick C. Riester
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 04/ 6/ 02, 9:39am

Dave;
I bought a 89 SP36 privately 5 years ago with 80,000 miles and driven it 65,000 miles since. I have personally dealt with numerous repair issues and am familiar with the SP36 but still learning. Blue Birds are superb motorcoaches but not for the faint of heart. I may be able to answer some of your questions. If you wish, you may call me at 518 767 2332.

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Subject: email correction


Author:
Charles Glaser
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Date Posted: 03/ 27/ 02, 12:25pm

Sorry, lazy fingers. The correct address is cglaser@bellsouth.net.

Charles

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Subject: Optimistic Bluebird buyer


Author:
Charles Glaser
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 27/ 02, 12:19pm

Thanks all you guys that have helped me get started on my way to Bluebird ownership. Coming from the world of the disadvantaged (Coachman owner) it is a big step. The money is one thing but, all the systems, switches, pumps, gauges and anything else the factory could think of to put in these coaches is somewhat intimidating. Having forms like VB and Yahoo and the community atmosphere that all of you share coupled with the fact that I live about a hundred miles from the factory (Stone Mountain) makes the decision of “Vintage Bird” ownership a no brainier. As I have told some of you via email I am going to look at an 83 FC35 this weekend in Baton Rouge. It has the updated front and rear (like Ernie’s) and is said to have a 250 turbo engine replacement at 50,000??? It now has 90,000. The interior looks clean if not original it is close. Some new stuff; (refrigerator, brakes, tires, water heater). From the pictures the paint looks chalky or it may just be dirty. My concern is that this coach looks like it has been in retirement for a while and likely maintenance items neglected which means $$$. I can’t help but think about the coach that Lawrence Thornell traded to Holland in October that is now on ebay. Although it is older than the 83 it apparently doesn’t have any issues and may be a better buy for a first timer. Let me know what you guys think. Although I know Bluebird ownership will be an adventure, I expect this to be a good experience and if it is you PT 40 owners can start thinking about a new home for your bird in a year or two. Thanks again for all your help.

Charles

P.S. Jeff will you email me the information you wrote? Cglaser@bellsouth.ner Thanks

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Subject: Stick on wide label/stripping


Author:
Dan
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 26/ 02, 10:53am

Working through multiple problems on the newly purchased 83 FC 35. Last question for today. The stick on wide label/stripe at the top of the coach, both sides (70 foot total -- need to measure - looks 5" wide) is cracked, faded, and looks awfull. It is stuck on hard and looks tough to remove. My thought is to just stick on a wider stripe right over the defective one to enhance the look of the coach. Anyone done this - or have better advice?

Thanks again,

Dan, newbie FC owner.

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[> Subject: Re: Stick on wide label/stripping


Author:
Jeff Miller
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 17/ 02, 12:55pm

Dan:

I removed my stripes, replaced with stripes custom ordered/installed at a truck fleet graphics supplier, you can even get "wraps" to put murals etc. including windows if you want.
Removing the stripes was a different issue. I tried the rubber wheel "stripe remover", ineffective. I also tried the 3M Woodgrain and Stripe Remover (spray-on gel), it worked but it was slow and expensive, needed also their spray-on Adhesive Remover, about $10/foot from my experience. Finally, I went to using a good heat gun, and a wide-blade putty knife. The heat softens the stripe and adhesive and it comes off s-l-o-w-l-e-y. Also hot, use thin cloth gloves (Air Force "summer flyer" nomex gloves are perfect). Careful not to overheat, you can damage your paint or even buckle the sheet metal if really hot.

- Jeff Miller
'77 FC in Holland, MI

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[> [> Subject: Re: Stick on wide label/stripping


Author:
Dan
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 17/ 02, 5:41pm

Jeff,

I happen to have the AF nomex gloves, but no heat gun. Might try the wifes hair blow dryer. The stripe in question is 4" wide, and I'm considreing buying 5 or 6"wide and going right over the top of the existing stripe, overlapping on the lower and upper. Do you see any problem trying this approach?

Thanks
Dan

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: Stick on wide label/stripping


Author:
Jeff Miller
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 17/ 02, 6:45pm

Heck no! You'll see the edge of the old stripe through the new, shouldn't be a big deal and will save a ton of time.

- Jeff

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Stick on wide label/stripping


Author:
Dan
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 19/ 02, 3:25pm

Just a follow up - I cruised the web looking for stripe kits, and this source looks like the best price. I'll try the thicker 3 mil as I want to cover up the "bad" stripes at the top of the coach. The two existing stripes are 4" side by side. I'll do the bottom one first in 5" overlapping both sides of the stripe, then lay on the top one in 4". End visual should be 4.5" showing on bottom, 4" on top. I think this will be the easiest approach - and if it doesn't work I'll peel it all off and start over.

http://www.mrletter.com/striping.htm
See widths, prices and colors

Dan

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[> [> Subject: Re: Stick on wide label/stripping


Author:
MIKE HARRIS (IRT)
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 26/ 02, 10:53am

try a hot air steam gun to get the decals of i have a shop and this is one of the best ways i have found to remove decales we get buses in all the time that we have to remove decales

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Subject: Mirror parts


Author:
Walt Coles
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 25/ 02, 10:37am

I have an 83 FC35. Does anyone know where to get the rubber plugs that keep rain water off of the top of the mirror adjustment bolts?

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Subject: Bird Parts


Author:
Dale Yoder
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 19/ 02, 10:06am

Just wanted to let you all know that I purchased all the Blue Bird parts from Joel Trusty. I got his number off this sight and also from Jeff Miller. Thanks. If anyone needs front end parts or tires, transmission, windshields, wiper parts and a bunch of other things give me a call. My number is 989-453-2339. Call after 6:30 in the evening. That is Michigan time! I'm ready to put in the front axle and then on to the back. The engine is mounted and the project is coming along well. Dale
Parts are off of a '75FC

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Subject: Live Aboard


Author:
George Pate
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 19/ 02, 4:45am

Would like the pros and cons of purchasing a Bird (I have already found one and currently negotiating) and living in it full time (approx 3 years) for a temporary assignment away from my home. Thanks in advance for the advice/help.

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Subject: Driver/passenger replacement covers


Author:
Gary
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 18/ 02, 6:56pm

The leather driver and passenger seats on our '85 Bluebird are beginning to show wear. We would like to find replacement covers for them. We tried calling Flexsteel numerous times but never could get anyone to return our calls. Does anyone know of such covers? If they are available and where to procure them? Thanks! Gary

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Subject: 78FC Tachometer


Author:
Bud Leffel
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 17/ 02, 1:58pm

Hi all

Thanks for the help for my last question on identifing a Switch for me. I have completed the instalation of new paneling and oak floors through out our 31'FC 3208 NC Wanderlodge, and it looks great. The only problem was the Couchs and the beds, were not parallel, which did not matter with Carpet. Have another question for you, has anyone replaced the Tachometer? When I bought the Bird, they had replaced the speedometer but not the Tachometer, even though it was not working.

But it seems this is important to use the RPM to check your speed against, when I took it in to have the Valve lash checked, they found that they were OK it was a little spendy but for peace of mind it was well worth the cost, as the last owmer did not know they had to be adjusted every 30,000 to 40,000 miles, I also asked them to check out to tach, and fix it if they could.

They said it was in the wiring and needed to take to and electric shop. Would appreciate hearing what your thoughts are on fixing, or replaceing it. Need to have it done before we leave in may. Purchased a 1995 Escort Wagom for a toad, and have installed the Stowmaster 5000 tow bar and electric hookup so the last thing is the Tachometer.

Thanks

Bud

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[> Subject: Re: 78FC Tachometer


Author:
Jeff Miller
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 03/ 17/ 02, 1:14pm

Bud:
When I bought my '77, I was told that a lot of people don't bother to repair the tachometer when/if it fails, even though it might be a cheap repair, as the engine is governed anyway. I wanted to watch it, especially on the downhills, so I repaired mine. Holland Motorhomes had a replacement in stock, fortunately I didn't need it.
There are several failure items in the circuit. First there is the tach., and the tach. drive/sending unit ($250 when I bought my tach. drive). There is also an Angle-Drive, about $120 when I bought mine, and two short pieces of cable/adapter. The more common failure is either the adapter from the injector pump (about 2" long), the short speedometer cable from the angle drive to the tach-drive (about 2" long), or the angle drive itself. All of these can be found at a truck junkyard, and cheap. Just remove them all CAREFULLY from the front of the engine by removing the speedometer-type threaded ring holding the angle-drive to the "Adapter Plate" (Caterpillar part, cast aluminum on front of engine, held in by two bolts like a small thermostat housing, around $40, yup I broke one of these also) and removing the wire from the sending unit. Soak liberally with penetrating oil before attempting removal/dissasembly as the aluminum/steel connections are trouble and breaking the Adapter Plate on the engine is easier than you think, and could also damage the Drive Pin inside the Adapter Plate which is screwed into the nose of the Injection Pump drive (did that too).
The whole thing is best accessed by removing the radiator, and the radiator fan assembly. My mistake was trying to loosen the whole thing from below with the radiator in place, bad move.
If you don't have a swing radiator, you can remove the tach drive/sending unit (about the size of a "D" cell battery) if you are lucky and the penetrating oil works well, this is how I broke mine. If you are so lucky, you can look at the condition of the short cable, see how freely the sending unit turns, and check for stripping in the angle-drive and adapter by attempting to turn the output cable with the engine off. If it doesn't loosen easily, my opinion is you're best off aborting until you have the radiator open, hopefully you have a swing radiator.
Best of luck,

- Jeff Miller
'77FC in Holland, MI

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[> [> Subject: Re: 78FC Tachometer


Author:
Bud Leffel
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Date Posted: 03/ 17/ 02, 1:58pm

Jeff

Thank you for your reply, the info is great and I will take your suggestion and wait untill the rad. has to be removed then go to worh on it. We live in Desert Hot Springs, Ca.
We never thought we would live in the desert area but we think it is a great place to live, Leaving in the summer and spend the time in the North, Oregon & Washington,

We have done this for 13 years and have met so many great people and become friends and always look forward to seeing them each year. Thanks again for your help

Bud

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Subject: Dash indicator lights, 3 way rockers, tach and speedo light


Author:
Dan
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Date Posted: 03/ 17/ 02, 11:39am

I just bought s 83 FC35. How does the lower dash come apart to replace the burnt out indicator lights, and defective 3 way rocker switches? Also where do I find the indicator lights and 3 way rockers? Pep Boys and auto zone did not have any - I'll hit radio shack tomorrow. Also, my tach and speedometer are not lit on the upper dash panel. How does it come apart, and is it standard light bulbs?

I'll also be shopping for interior and exterior hydralic props - and see 0rr0rr.com is one source.

Also need new florescent bulbs and or ballasts - is RGM Industries best bet?

Thanks for advice and leads,
Dan

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[> Subject: Re: Dash indicator lights, 3 way rockers, tach and speedo light


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 03/ 17/ 02, 7:15am

Saw your question about replacement parts. I have replaced all the parts you are seeking with the following results:

Tach - went directly to the factory and received a tack that fit the opening, had a more compact readout spacing to 4000 RPM and was programed to the differential/tire configuration. Be sure to check out the engine tach drive before you spend money on the tack head in the dash. The tach drive is really a small generator that sends out an electrical impulse. The generator is turned by a short flexible shaft off the engine tack drive gear. Remove the tach drive and check it for damage.

Interior door struts: I used the struts from ORR to replace most of the original units but purchased a recent needed replacement from Blue Bird.

Flourescent lights: In the absence of a Blue Bird replacement, I have used RGM units to replace four original lights but had to modify the units slightly to get them to fit. I was not satisfied with the RGM units since they did not have a mirrored reflector, did not come with a blub, did not come with screw clips for the lens frame and did not appear to be Blue Bird quality. Price without the bulb and screw clips was about $35 and RGM wanted a check before they would ship. I was over at the factory this last October and the parts department now has a high quality replacement fixture with bulb for $55.

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[> Subject: Re: Dash indicator lights, 3 way rockers, tach and speedo light


Author:
Walt Coles
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Date Posted: 03/ 17/ 02, 11:39am

Remove side and front black molding to gain access to the bottom of the lower dash.

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Subject: Seat adjust electric panel, and gearing under the seat also.


Author:
Dan
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Date Posted: 03/ 16/ 02, 8:30pm

Application is 83 FC 35, the electric seat adjustment panel for the passenger side is broken on 2 of 3 adjustment. I think I once read this is a Ford panel - can anyone advise? Also, the actual under seat gearing that adjusts the seat is stripped out and needs replaced - any advice here?

Thanks much,
Dan

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Subject: Advise/Help


Author:
Peter Haley
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Date Posted: 03/ 8/ 02, 6:07am


We have been seriously thinking of buying a Vintage Bird ( early 80's) and
would be brand new at RVing having NO experience!!! Also we are retired and
don't have a big income but could afford to BUY a Bird. Trouble is after
reading the entire Vintage Bird Site (Harvey, Buzzy et al) we are afraid that they are to expensive to run and
keep up!! It sounds like you have to be an engineer or good mechanic to keep
one of them going. I am neither and wonder if we would be better off buying
a new standard Winnie Brave. We really need some advise our hearts say Bird,
but??????????

Thanks,

Peter and Kelly Haley
haleye@tmlp.com

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[> Subject: Re: Advise/Help


Author:
HR Skillern
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Date Posted: 01/ 9/ 02, 4:35pm

Hi,
You answered your own question. They ARE expensive to maintain---properly. Tires are good for 7-8 years and 12R22.5 Bridgestone's cost 500 bucks each. Oil/filter changes are upwards of $125. Unless you do some of the maintenance yourself, mechanics are about 75-80 dollars/hr. Unless you get an older Bird that has been taken care of properly, you can easily unload $10,000 plus getting it up to speed. They get about 5-6 mpg. They are very complicated yet wonderful machines. With the Brand X you mentioned, the advantage is that you get a warranty for a year or so. The bad news is that after that, you will probably spend as much or more on maintenance and you will not probably have nearly as nice a ride. I have an 85 40ft W/Lodge that I wouldn't trade for any Winnie ever made. The bottom line is that motor homes are not inexpensive, buy 'em and forget 'em vehicles. They all need a lot of attention---ignore them at your own peril. Rather like kids. Good luck.

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[> Subject: Re: Advise/Help


Author:
hank
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Date Posted: 01/ 12/ 02, 7:52pm

recommend you buy the 79fc35 listed on www.birdconnection.com FOR ABOUT $25 GRAND...SURE IT WILL HAVE SOME THINGS TO DO TO IT. JUST LIKE HARV SAID ABOUT A HOUSE...BUT YOU WILL NEVER..NEVER REGRET BEING A BIRD OWNER! $25k FOR THE BIRD AND PUT $10k IN IT AND YOU HAVE A GREAT COACH. $60,000 FOR THE WINIE CHIEF AND YOU STILL HAVE TO CHANGE OIL, FILTERS ETC. JUST LIKE THE BIRD. RECOMMEND YOU LOOK AT THE BIRD CONNECTION EVERY DAY FOR 6 MONTHS TO FIND A BARGAIN AND CHAT ALL YOU CAN WITH BIRD OWNERS..
DO SOME RESEARCH..LEARN ALL YOU CAN ABOUT BIRDS....THEY ARE THE "BEST KEPT SECRET!!!"
I LOVE MY BIRD!!!!!!!

BEST OF LUCK,

HANK

77FC33 FMCA 79318

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[> Subject: Re: Advise/Help


Author:
Jeff MIller
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Date Posted: 01/ 13/ 02, 10:23am

As an owner of a '77 FC for four years, I can say that your observations are correct to a degree. I just bought new Michelin XZA2 tires (their top-of-the-line, 7year/700,000mile warranty) for my coach, $350ea mounted/balanced, not $500 (shop around), and cheap tires (not recommended) are less money.

Many repairs are expensive, look carefully before you buy to prevent needing these expensive repairs (3 furnaces for instance, 3 possibilities for repairs).

I spent around $10k on mine after the purchase, which included replacing every cushion, all carpets and pads, drapes/blinds, all foam and fabric, engine insulation, new inverter/charger, stripes, wheels, weatherstripping/seals, stereo, 2 TV/VCRs, sheets/bedspreads, filters, fluids, swing radiator, lights, CB, and many other things that don't come to mind at this time to update it to our liking. This has kept the coach running almost flawlessly for the past 4years/30,000miles, although I still work and my family (of 6) travels in the coach, we don't full-time. I really went overboard and updated anything that I wanted, but in contrast to my friends who bought a new Winnie at the same time, I spent less in my upgrade than his coach depreciated in the first year, (and same for subsequent years), my maintenance is less, mileage better, and I can drive on windy days when his coach can't stay in its lane. I'm also much, much safer in my all-steel 34,000lb coach than he is in his "sticks-n-staples" motorhome.
The depreciation curve has pretty much ended in a vintage 'Bird, all you lose is wear and tear, and maintenance. Value depends more on condition/appearance/features at this point.
Last, I have lurked for 4-5years on www.rvamerica.com and other common RV sites to hear many complaints and concerns that owners of disposable motorhomes have. Many of those concerns aren't applicable to a vintage bird. The concerns about delamination, body sag, overloaded chassis, overburdened drivelines, crosswind sensitivity, parts availability, etc. The Wanderlodge is, and always has been built for the long haul, its chassis components are available at any truck service center. Its interior components also are sturdy, solid walls and cabinetry etc. vs. the common 1/8" thick walls and cheap fixtures of the disposable units Many of those units are just beginning to install 50a service, and most of those are really only 30a+20a and not true 50a+50a like a BlueBird.
The cost of owning any used unit will be higher as there is no warranty. Those lucky owners of new stick-built units who are not trying to return them under the lemon law (read owner reviews on the same site) are enjoying the few months of low cash outlay. For any purchase of a used motorhome I would budget a cash reserve for repairs which could conceivably be $2000 or more (the cost to rebuild the FC's transmission is not far from the cost of rebuilding the transmission on a common gas motorhome). This might never be necessary, but like a house or car, you never know and the stress level is much lower if you have planned for this possibility (just like you buy insurance).
I would never go back to a stick-built RV, neither would my family. I have had more care-free miles, interested passers-by, complements, friendly service and help from owners and from BlueBird, than I ever could have imagined when a Holiday Rambler (S.O.B.) owner. As another post mentioned, shop carefully, ask questions, and you will probably be very happy (and able to sell without losing your shirt if you aren't).

- Jeff

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[> [> Subject: Re: Advise/Help


Author:
Wayne Hand
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Date Posted: 03/ 5/ 02, 2:50pm

Jeff. Would you please tell me where you found those Michelin tires for $350 mounted/balanced. I have checked within a 100 mile radius of my FLA home and cannot come anywhere near that price. Thanks.

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: Advise/Help


Author:
HR Skillern
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Date Posted: 03/ 5/ 02, 5:01pm

Hi,
Obviously, there is an apples/oranges situation here. The tires that I have on my PT are 12 R 22.5, Bridgestones and they cost about $500 mounted. The tires Jeff is referring to must be 11 R 22.5, which are considerably less expensive. There are some PTs running around with the 11Rs on the rear and seem to be doing ok. However, check the weights and use the appropriate size tire for the given bus weight---unless you enjoy the sounds of loud noises and rushing air. Later,
RS

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Tire Prices


Author:
Jeff MIller
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Date Posted: 03/ 8/ 02, 6:07am

Correct. FCs run 11" tires which are the standard semi-truck size and therefore more competitively priced. PTs run 12" tires, less common and more expensive, standard bus tires.
My tires came from TCI in Zeeland Michigan, about 18months ago.

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[> Subject: Re: Advise/Help


Author:
Wayne Hand
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Date Posted: 03/ 6/ 02, 7:00am

Truthfully, you would be dollars ahead to go with a newer Fleetwood or Winnie product. I have owned motorhomes of all types for the past 30 years, and anytime you get into the bus category, as a Bird, Prevost, or Conversion, you will encounter considerable maintenance expense. That's because the parts are super heavy duty as compared to the other types, and therefore, are far more expensive. Plus, there are many more systems involved, which means, more potential for failures and more parts.

The problem people have affording Birds is this: they are made for people with "deep pockets", who have no problem handling the high maintenance costs. But, the older Birds have prices that are now affordable to folks with very shallow pockets. Only, the associated maintenance costs with a "half million" dollar coach still remain as if you had paid the big dollars for the unit. And, now you have wear and tare on top of that.

However, if you are like me, I enjoy owning a coach that is built like a tank, which will not rust or delaminate or get beat up from kids throwing things or hail, which has many redundant systems in case something should fail, which has many luxury amenities, which rides super nice, which you cannot hear outside noises inside, which if taken care of will give you several hundred thousand miles of service, which if you should be in a collision you most likely will not be injured and certainly not killed, and which will associate you with the most friendly bunch of owners and factory people you will ever meet.

Frankly, Bird would not have the reputation of high maintenance costs had the resale prices of the older coaches remained at the level comparable with similar units (such a Prevost). Because the buyers would have to have deep pockets just to purchase the used rig. And, I honestly do not understand why owners of the older Birds are selling them so cheaply. Bird's are every bit as nice and well built (better in most cases) than other bus type coaches. In fact, they have the exact same components, as engine, transmission, generators, etc., etc.

Good luck in your decision.

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Subject: 250 Cat with emphysema?


Author:
Larry McKay
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Date Posted: 03/ 8/ 02, 6:03am

This is a long one, so if you're not a Bluebirder into gearhead stuff, you might want to just skip it.

Last October we picked up an 82 FC35 off a lot in Vegas "as is". Nice solid unit with a lot of nice features (original paint in decent shape, good interior, etc.) and a lot of newish expensive items (12KW genset, tires, etc.), but with a lot of little and not-so-little stuff wrong with it. OK by me because the price was very right. Some previous owner, or whoever a previous owner paid to work on it (I shudder to think this could be the case), was a real hack mechanic and electrician, as evidenced by the kind of stuff I'm finding going through it and making it right. Whatever....this is why it was priced so low.

This unit originally had the Cat 3208N, 210 HP @ 2800 RPM, but came to me with a pretty fresh 3208T, 250 HP @ 2600 RPM. It has the original 4 speed Allison MT643 with the shiftpoints still set for the 3208N (too high) and with the loose (high stall speed) converter used with the 210 Cat instead of the tighter one you should use with the 3208T. I'll have an Allison shop reset the shift modulation soon as I get a chance, and will avoid lugging down and slipping the loose converter on grades to avoid frying the trans. She also has the original 5.29 rearend, which gives me a topend speed of 64 MPH at 2600 to drive across Texas with. I'm OK with that because we live, and do most of our RVing, in the mountains of the SW, and the short gears sure help you up the hills, especially towing. A two speed rearend sure would be nice......

The engine checked out perfect at the Cat shop. Injectors are timed stock, etc. But she seemed kinda gutless on the hills, even more so than I expected. She'd turn up 8.5 PSI boost max, and that was down at lower elevation, around 1500 MSL.

Got to investigating air cleaners. Turns out in those days Bluebird shipped 210 and 250 Cats with an aircleaner mounted on top the engine, trying to suck all their intake air thru a little 3.5" round flange on a cold air duct built into the RH lower engine doghouse. Too restrictive; need to open it up some, like double it.

But mine was different: There was a huge (like 18" square) remote industrial-strength updraft aircleaner mounted in the storage compartment just behind the LF wheel (right in the dust on a dirt road.....). The 5" diameter air inlet on the Cat 3208T intake casting was flanged down to 3.5" OD (roughly a 50% reduction in cross-sectional area), and was plumbed to this remote air cleaner with no less than 11 1/2 feet (!) of 3 1/2" tube. This tube included four 90 and four 30 to 45 degree bends (death to CFM flow) and crossed very close to the tailpipe, which undoubtedly heated the air some. But the best part was a 4 foot length of 3.5" OD corrugated steel flextube formed tightly around the exaust turbine housing of the turbocharger, literally touching it in several places and intimately close to it for a good 12", just before the air enters the engine. I can't imagine how much this further heated the induction air at full boost, with the EGT up around 1050-1100F. Ah yes, it's the old exaust-to-air interheater. The setup was pretty well constructed, but whoever did this obviously had no understanding of heat transfer.

I uninstalled the whole remote setup and rounded up an air cleaner housing at a local junkyard for $10. It has a 5" mounting pipe and it fits under the doghouse, just barely. It's off a 1980 GMC schoolbus with a 6.0L gas V8. I made the necessary mounting parts and put it on. Had to cut a couple small reliefs for the corner of this aircleaner in the steel stiffeners under the top of the engine cover. It uses a pleated paper element 5.5" high x 11" diameter. It intakes air thru oval slots in the bottom, but they were too few and too small so I added 1" round holes low on the sides to bring the intake crosssectional area up to equal to the 5" hole in the bottom. It would have been nice to duct in air from the front of the grill, but I couldn't see any reasonable way to add a second ~3.5" duct without performing mayhem on something in there, and that's what it would take, so it's breathing somewhat warmed air from behind the radiator instead. If not perfect, at least the inlet air will be a whole lot cooler than it was!

Took it out yesterday and ran it up a grade that I used to have to drop down to 3rd gear to get over. It accelerated up in 4th. Whoa! Boost pressure stabilized at 12.5 PSI. All this is at 3500 MSL and 60F; it will be interesting to see what she'll do at lower elevation. She used to put out moderate smoke at full throttle on a grade but that's gone now. I was afraid I'd hear a lot of intake honking noise thru the engine cover, but I didn't hear anything different so no problem. I have been seeing around 7.0 to 7.5 MPG but now I can't wait to see how much improvement I get.

I would be very interested to hear, from other Bluebirders, how much boost their 250 Cats produce when stabilized at max power, and what elevation they're at when they see it.

I seem to recall reading, somewhere in specs from Cat, that they spec their engines for HP and torque at standard conditions at sealevel, and with not more than some small pressure drop below athmospheric at the air inlet (ie. inside the air cleaner) to allow for the pressure drop across the element. To accomplish this requires a big element and minimum restriction. These things have straight mechanical injectors, not some hi-tech electronic closed-loop system. Thus the injection is calibrated to just squirt in so much fuel, depending on RPM and throttle position, and it assumes the airflow isn't blocked to get the right mixture. I'm betting a lot of Bluebirds out there have a lot more power and mileage in them, being lost to too-restrictive air intake systems.

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[> Subject: Catnip


Author:
Jeff Miller
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Date Posted: 03/ 8/ 02, 6:03am

Good to hear from another believer!
I've tweaked my NA a bit and easily cruise at 75mph (2900rpm), it will run 81mph (3100rpm) on the flats (I don't like running 3100rpm except for passing), and it climbs very well. My opinion is if you don't like your Cat's performance, fix it!

- Jeff Miller
'77FC

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Subject: converting 1970 BB to diesel


Author:
John G
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Date Posted: 03/ 8/ 02, 5:53am

Just got a 1970 FC (seen on this billboard), got within 7 miles of home before the engine gave up the ghost; The original generator didn't work, so we will either put in some (probably) major work or replace it.

As we are essentially putting in a new engine and generator, this seems like a golden opportunity to put in the powerplant of the (my) future. wanted to see what experiences/advice could be had before going diesel or gas.

I wonder about the weight of a diesel vs the 390 CID ford engine I am replacing - how will this affect the suspension?

Do I need another transmission to handle a diesel?(I am looking for a mechanic to help me decide if I need to replace the current one either way).

What other questions should I be asking?

I am planning on towing a minivan - sometimes

Any advice or other questions (am I nuts?) appreciated

Thanks in advance

John G

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[> Subject: Re: converting 1970 BB to diesel


Author:
Jeff Miller '77FC
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Date Posted: 03/ 4/ 02, 8:11pm

John:
I don't know where you're located, or if you're interested, but I've talked with a gentleman who's dissecting his '76 FC35 and removing a good low-mile gas engine and Allison MT-643 transmission, along with axles, brakes, springs, dash, windshields, front sheet metal, etc. and is interested in selling the whole batch for under $2000. His name is Joel Trusty, 317-823-6821 and he is in Indianapolis. Tell him that I sent you, and if you decide to buy, email me as I'd like some parts too if you want to sell some of them.

Jeff
jamiller@iserv.net

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[> Subject: Re: converting 1970 BB to diesel


Author:
Dale
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Date Posted: 03/ 6/ 02, 5:01pm

I'm in the process of changing an engine in a '72 BB. It originally had a 391 Ford and someone had it changed to a 534 Ford before I purchased it. After pulling the engine and doing work to the exhaust manifolds in '96 and then taking a trip across the country I realized that the power was low and the milage was even worse. Down to 3.7 mpg in the mountains of Oregen. I decided to change the engine.
I bought a truck with a 3208N and a 643 allison. I've found that the engine fits in the engine compartmant quite well. There had been some trimming on the frame when the 534 was put in, but it is nothing extreme. I'll need to trim the top flange of the frame alittle more and then should be just fine. Side mounts for the engine will be the biggest challenge. I've looked through a few junkyards but couldn't find mounts that would work. I'll just build my own. Also, will need to shorten the drive shaft a few inches and chage the yolk. There are alot of little things that need to be taken care of. Of course I'll need to change the ratio and am condidering switching to air brakes. It is hard to know where to stop making changes.
I can't quite imagine paying a shop to do the switch. I think the labor bill would be crazy. I'll update more later on or you can e-mail me directly.
I do have the 534 and MT42 allison for sale if your intrested. Dale

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[> [> Subject: Re: converting 1970 BB to diesel


Author:
Jeff Miller
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Date Posted: 03/ 8/ 02, 5:53am

Dale:
You can try calling Joel also (in the number above) as I talked with him and his coach has air brakes, which he has removed and would like to sell, and the 4.63:1 rear end. You could simply install both of his axles to update to air brakes.

- Jeff

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Subject: New Engine 3208


Author:
Jerry Thompson
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Date Posted: 03/ 4/ 02, 8:22pm

The Cat 3208 (?) in the 33 FC has bit the dust and its time for a new engine.
As is an expensive operation and I'd like to see if any of the owners have any advice as to engine builders or have upgraded to newer or more powerfull engines in FC series.

Also, has any one changed/upgraded the transmission or added a 2 speed rear end or "brownie"? Any one installed a manuel trans?

Thanks
Jerry Thompson

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[> Subject: Re: New Engine 3208


Author:
Lawrence Thornell
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Date Posted: 12/ 20/ 01, 8:50pm

Teddy Taylor changed from 210 hp to 250 hp in an XV. Major Job not satisfactory results! Then he added a two speed, very satisfactory results. See Harvy Lawrence's "Teddy and the Two Speed" in the March 2001 Family Motor Coaching magazine.

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[> Subject: Re: New Engine 3208


Author:
JOhn G
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Date Posted: 03/ 3/ 02, 2:28pm

Seems you asked the same question I am asking - I have a '70 31'FC with a dead (ford 390 gasoline) engine.

Is there any advice you could pass along?

Thanks in advance

John G

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[> Subject: Re: New Engine 3208


Author:
Jeff Miller
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Date Posted: 03/ 4/ 02, 8:22pm

Jerry:
Although it isn't exactly what you asked, I have made some performance improvements on my existing 3208NA. It will easily run 80+mph in rolling terrain, runs 75mph all day long, climbs better, and accelerates better.
I've changed rear-end ratio from 5.29:1 to 4.63:1 ($1200)
Increased air intake to engine ($100)
turned the full-load point to 3000rpm ($38)
That's it! The best money IMO I've put into my coach, and I've put plenty into it.
I'd certainly look for the extra horsepower if you can get a 250hp to put in, but feel that the little Cat works fine if properly set up and it is much cheaper to install another 3208 as all of your mounts/accessories would otherwise need to change. I don't see any use in a two-speed differential (although I looked into it myself), mostly because you will gain lower gears not higher ones and the beast doesn't need lower gears. A taller ratio still gives you plenty of lower gears for climbing.
Feel free to email me if you have questions.

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Subject: Electric Switch


Author:
Bud
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Date Posted: 02/ 22/ 02, 9:26pm

We recently purchased a 78FC 31` Wanderlodge, from the second owmer. It is in very good condition, he had replaced the Refrig & both Air Conditioners, within the last 2 years,
Plus it has been repainted.
We are removing all the carpeting from Floor, sides of the twin beds & under the twin couches. And replaceing with 1/4" Oak plywood. Have found water damage on some of the wood in the liveing room and have replaced it. Removed the left hand Couch to check for problems, but found that the water heaters both front and bed room had been replaced.

We are useing Armstrong Swiftlock Oak laminate flooring. Some of our friends have installed it in their home`s and it is very attractive. In cleaning out the storage cabnit under the dinette seat, to the left as you come in the door
There is a Gen. swtich for controling power to the coach.
Also there is a electric on and off switch on the side a little futher back. I can not find anything on it in the manuals, Can anyone tell me what it is For?

Bud

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[> Subject: Re: Electric Switch


Author:
Peter Haggins
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Date Posted: 02/ 22/ 02, 5:22am

I own a 78 35' FC. The switch that you refer to on my coach controls the 110v outlet that is situated on the outside wall, to the left of the driver's seat. This switch allows that outlet to be "hot" (powered) whenever the bus is plugged in regardless of the position of the main power selection switch. I believe that this is arranged that way so that you can install a heater or a dehumidifier during the off season and not have to power the entire bus. Hope this is of assistance to you.

Pete

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[> [> Subject: Re: Electric Switch


Author:
Bud Leffel
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Date Posted: 02/ 22/ 02, 9:26pm

Pete

Thank you for your reply, it sure helped out. I have found many of the questions and answers are a big help. I have printed them and have then all in a note book, making notes on the page`s to help find the items that are so helpfull to all of us new owners. Thanks again for your help.

Bud

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Subject: Vintage Wanderlodge


Author:
Harold Halldorson
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Date Posted: 02/ 19/ 02, 8:49pm

I am looking for input on a 1973 32' Wanderlodge. Appears in good shape, gas motor. What't the opinion on these years. Thanks H

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Subject: Bluebird/Prevost consolidated partss/service


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 02/ 15/ 02, 10:05am

Evidently Prevost has service centers to sevice Bluebirds.
Henley consolidating the parts overhead?
I did not kwow this. Is this another one of those things that everyone knows but me-- you guys letting me figure out things on my own. :>) See page two of this:
www.prevostcar.com/DB/parts/partner/partner_986996014_en.pdf

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Subject: How are Birds for towing trailers?


Author:
Jeff
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Date Posted: 02/ 11/ 02, 6:50pm

With a $70K budget, how would an early 80s Bird perform towing a 10,000 lbs. car trailer? FC or PT?

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[> Subject: Re: How are Birds for towing trailers?


Author:
Ernie Ekberg
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Date Posted: 02/ 7/ 02, 7:35am

Jeff- I believe the FC's are rated to tow 13,000 pounds, whereas the PT's are rated less. Ernie

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[> Subject: Re: How are Birds for towing trailers?


Author:
DonM
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Date Posted: 02/ 11/ 02, 6:50pm

I just finished towing a chevy cavalier on a tandem axle trailer 3000 miles. Combined wgt approx 4000 to 4500lbs. The manual with my 1980 FC33 says the hitch is rated at 500lbs tongue wgt/ 5000lbs tow. Driving and stopping I could not even tell that it was behind me. Going up hills was a rather slow process, but it always is anyway. Milage dropped from an average 9.2mpg to 7.2mpg. One hint: Unload the car from the trailer before you let the air out of the birds suspension or the back of the trailer goes up to high for the ramps.

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Subject: Battery caps


Author:
Williamson
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Date Posted: 02/ 10/ 02, 10:35am

I use 6 Trojan 105 golf cart batteries in an old PT36.
Batteries are located in the engine compartment.
Problem is loss of battery water both on the road and during extended park when battery charge is maintained by the coach Magnatek converters.
Question: Has anybody had any experience, good or bad, with the special battery caps which recombine the battery gases and return the resultant water to the cell?

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[> Subject: Re: Battery caps


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 02/ 8/ 02, 6:34pm

Money can buy happiness - when it comes to your DC system. I have no experience with battery caps but your inquiry is part of the never ending saga of flodded cell batteries and limited technology converter/chargers. I abhor wasting money and never try to be glib with funds but the situation in our 1984 PT36 with flooded cell batteries and dated chargers made my blood boil, along with the electrolite. The lack of dependable batteries along with the corrosion was more than I could stand. After the engine and transmission, I think the most important part of the coach is its DC system because it effects the performance of so many items like the refrigerator, fluorescent lights, LP system, safety monitors and various relays and solenoids that operate a host of functions. I threw everything out and started from scratch including a new 1/4 inch steel plate battery tray to replace the thinner tray that was already in advanced decay. I added six Lifeline AGM (recombinant gas) golf cart batteries (220 amp hour each) with new cables and a pair of Statpower (switcher technology)True Charge 40 Amp+ converter/chargers. Now all is serene and trouble free in DC land and I feel our coach is technologically equal to or better than the newest Blue Birds that are still using gell cell batteries and ferroresonant inverter/chargers. The special items I mentioned cost about twice the price of conventional items, but to me the peace of mind was worth it.

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[> Subject: Re: Battery caps


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 02/ 10/ 02, 10:35am

I did what Bob did for all the same reasons. Doesn't answer your question though.

Try this.

Send an emauil to Dan Sunderland-- knowledgable guy who seems to know the source for everything:

dcsunderland@earthlink.net

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Subject: Batteries


Author:
Williamson
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Date Posted: 02/ 8/ 02, 11:07am

Still looking for info on battery caps. The ones which I was referring to in the the query a few days ago are the "Hydrocaps" listed in the "Parts" section of this website. Any experience anyone?

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Subject: Fixing Stuff


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 02/ 4/ 02, 6:04pm

I've never been hesitant to come up on the site to ask for help in fixing something. However, I have not always shared with others how I did fix something. Sometimes fixes were so simple and basic that I thought everyone knew it but me and would be redundant to all the experts out there. This is not always the case and it works both ways.

Accordingly, with the web site GURU's approval, could I ask all to start posting those items you have successfully repaired. As you do stuff tell us the what, why, where, when, and how, etc.

As we work our way through this we will gradually have a fix directory that can be our institutional repository of Bluebird knowledge.

Thanks,
Jim

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Subject: which is easier to maintain


Author:
Tom Warner
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Date Posted: 02/ 3/ 02, 1:19pm

I am looking for a 33-36' wanderlodge and as yet have not decided on whether I want a FC or a PT. From a normal maintenance standpoint which is easier to work on in the engine compartment and transmission?

Are the FC noisier?

thanks,

tom

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Subject: Perkins diesel


Author:
Tim Babiak
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Date Posted: 02/ 2/ 02, 9:17am

I own a 1983 PT35. The genset, Perkins/Kohler, works fine
but is too noisy for confort when parked in close quarters.
Is there any quick fix on making this less noisy or do
I need to change the motor to a new quite diesel, (onan)?

Thanks,
Tim

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[> Subject: Re: Perkins diesel


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 01/ 26/ 02, 7:38pm

Tim:

Its generally not the engine but the cooling fan that makes the noise people complain about with the genset. Blue Bird generally has the best available at the time so I wouldn't be quick to toss out the Perkins/Kholer genset and put in another at a cost of say $8,000 plus all the time and trouble. Cart your coach to a Kholer service center to see what they can do to reduce the noise.

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[> Subject: Re: Perkins diesel


Author:
harvey lawrence
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Date Posted: 02/ 2/ 02, 9:17am

Tim,
I have an 84 Pt40 and also has loud genset. I checked all and found that I had a break in the exhaust line right after the muffler caused by the line not lining up when I rolled the gen tray out and back in. If you check and thisand it is OK, then check the condition of the sound insulation in the gen compartment, it may need replacing. Also You can change the fan on the Perkins to blow in instead of out by changing fan & fan hub. check the archive messages in this QA and you will find the description on how to do that.
If you cant find it let me know and I will help you look.
Harv Lawrence

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Subject: Leaking hose


Author:
Ken Donovan
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Date Posted: 01/ 22/ 02, 3:34pm

Has any one had to change a transmission cooling line?Mine is an 83 cat /allison and the hose on the top of the transmission is impossible to touch with a wrench.Short of cutting a hole in the floor or dropping the transmission,does anyone have any suggestions?Thanks Ken Donovan

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Subject: 1984--1988 PT Gross Weights?


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 01/ 21/ 02, 11:11am

After talking with some folks, there appears to be differences in the gross axle weights (GAWR)and the gross vehicle weights(GVWR) even among coaches that are the same length and same year group.
I am particularly interested in PT40's. Some 86 PT40's are listed at 42000 and some at 44000 and tag weights of 10000 and 12100 with the same 8V engine. I suspect differences are due to human error in the printing of the ID plate at the time of manufacture. One of our members has already got a corrected ID plate from the factory. While I am primarily interested in PT40's this informal survey may turn up anomalies in 36 and 38 foot PT's.

Accordingly, would you owners of 1984 to 1988 Pusher Types (PT) please check the Identification plate over the driver's windshield and send me the following info:

Year
Length
Coach number
Engine
GVWR
GAWR front
GAWR drive
GAWR tag

Example:
1986
PT40
8V92
F-69479
GVWR 44000
GAWR front 13200
GAWR drive 23000
GAWR tag 12000

Additionally, If any of you have weighed the left/ride side of each axle independently I would ask you to share that weight. There are two of us that have radically different left/right (left almost 1000 lbs., heavier than right) weights particularly on the tag.

Thank you in advance. Of course, I will share any trends or anomalies I may uncover with individuals/ the group.

Respond to:
jescoggins@earthlink.net

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Subject: Can not open safe


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 01/ 18/ 02, 8:08pm

Do not have a key or combination for the safe, any suggestions beside TNT.

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[> Subject: Re: Can not open safe


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 11/ 8/ 01, 2:55pm

Ihave the instructions for the safe in my 86PT
I'll zerox and send you the stuff if you want

what make and model safe?
contact me with your address

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[> [> Subject: Re: Can not open safe


Author:
Turpin Barrett
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Date Posted: 01/ 18/ 02, 12:04pm

I have an 82 35FC and when I purchase the coach there was no instructions for the safe. Your help would be greatly appreciated. What is the best way to get the combination?

Thanks

Turpin Barrett

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[> Subject: Re: Can not open safe


Author:
Harvey
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Date Posted: 01/ 18/ 02, 8:08pm

I believe I was told by the factory that when a blue Bird was purchased new the owner was to set their own combination so no one knew it but them. Aside from locating that person it may be possible for a good lock smith (or safe cracker)to listen to the tumblers and figure out the combination. TNT is not recommended as it creates considerable collatral damage and cannot be localized that well besides it is likely to be upsetting the nieghbors
Harv

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Subject: 84 bluebird


Author:
Larry Garrett
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Date Posted: 01/ 6/ 02, 8:24pm

We're about to buy a good shape 84 35' bird and will probably have to store it at a dealer since we don't have a spot here. But can we plug it in on home current just in the interim while we get it ready to go a trip? Not sure about voltage and all that...thanks in advance for your help!
Larry

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[> Subject: Re: 84 bluebird


Author:
HR Skillern
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Date Posted: 01/ 6/ 02, 8:24pm

Absolutely---your home electrical "current" is precisely the same as any RV park's electricity. Your home is probably 120 volts and the RV park voltage is either 120 or 240 volts(50 amps) The only caveat is to make sure that you don't exceed the amperage of your home's electrical circuit---probably 15 or 20 amps. You should be just fine unless you try to run the air conditioners.

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Subject: Bathroom heater


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 01/ 6/ 02, 9:44am

1986PT40
For information only
For Bluebirds: Is this another secret you guys were keeping from me -- and just seeing how long it would take for me to figure it out?
I didn't know the bathroom heater thermostat thingy would work underway-- I thought it only worked in conjunction with the galley propane heater. While coming north from Ft Valley the other day-- temps were below freezing--when we stopped the bathroom was ice cold. I then turned on the thermostat and set it for 70 degrees. At the next stop the bathroom was toasty warm. Don't know where it gets the heat-- I presume it just pulls in the warm air from the galley area.

Regards,
Jim Scoggins

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[> Subject: Re: Bathroom heater


Author:
Bob & Jo Dilks
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Date Posted: 01/ 5/ 02, 9:00am

Jim: My wife wants to wade in on this. She thinks you expected the bathroom thermostat to activate the galley LP furnace while you were driving down the road and since you did not have the LP furnace turned on you did not have any heat in the bathroom. Yes, the bathroom thermostat operates the galley LP furnace duct booster independent of the LP furnace. I think its nothing short of marvelous that you have been able to get heat from the galley area, presumabely supplied by your chassis heaters, into the bath. Its been my experience that all I get is cold air. That is why I ran the bathroom thermostat wire to the duct booster through a heat sensor in the furnace duct so the duct booster would not activate until the heater duct reached 110 degrees. Now I cannot run the bathroom thermostat without having the galley LP furnace working. Fortunately, I used bullet connectors so I can reverse the wiring easily. Next time I'm under the dinette I'll reverse the wiring and see if heat ever gets into the bathroom from the chassis heaters. Better keep that 86.

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[> Subject: Re: Bathroom heater


Author:
Harvey Lawrence
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Date Posted: 01/ 6/ 02, 9:44am

Jim
you probably activated the engine water heating system that runs all through the coach. My 84 Pt 40 has a good system and keeps th whole motor home toasty going down the rd.. Do you not have a set of Bird instruction Manuals? If not perhaps it would be worth you effort to finds some or order them from the factory. If I can help let me know.
Harv

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Subject: Price OK for 66' Wanderlodge?


Author:
Derrek Khajavi
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Date Posted: 12/ 30/ 01, 3:18pm

OK, it's time to make the plunge or not. The Wanderlodge in question is a 66' 31ft fwd control with 14,000 original miles! The original motor was pulled at 5000 miles and switched to a new Cat 3208 with new Allison 4spd. It was painted 4 months ago gloss white, no stripes. The interior is complete with original cabnets and fixtures. The carpet is not new but newer style berber in OK condition. The generator on board is a 4KW gas unit which is not working but is likely a solonoid or similar issue which is an easy fix. It needs at least 4 tires due to sidewall cracks. Is this coach worth $12000?

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[> Subject: Re: Price OK for 66' Wanderlodge?


Author:
Steve Clement
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Date Posted: 10/ 22/ 01, 11:29pm


What kind of vehicle does 14K buy today?? Of course you are the best judge of the bus, but it seems like a good price. The engine alone is worth the effort; shop around and you'll be amazed what a replacement job costs to convert from gas to desiel. We recently purchased a 1965 BB and love it,despite its host of problems. It is not logical to compare a BB with other Class A coaches since they are not even close to being in the same category.. Buy that piece of Americana and enjoy all the fun it still has left to offer. Did you ever get a believeable answer to the low mileage?

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[> Subject: Re: Price OK for 66' Wanderlodge?


Author:
HR SKILLERN
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Date Posted: 10/ 24/ 01, 6:58pm

It is impossible to know its value based on your description alone. However, I can tell you that you should budget a hefty sum to repair the generator---I have never seen anything be a "simple" fix. Think, new rotor, new stator, etc. Think new generator. Think thousands of $. Another point---14,000 miles on a 31 yr old vehicle? What's up with that? Best case---it was stored in a heated garage, maintained meticulously and driven 10 miles every week to keep the batteries up and the various systems operational and lubed. Worst case, it sat for years in someone's yard rotting away internally and was repaired well enough to sell to someone who was VERY trusting. My advice---get a tool box and a lot of spare money together. Good luck.

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[> [> Subject: Re: Price OK for 66' Wanderlodge?


Author:
Pat Fowler
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Date Posted: 11/ 20/ 01, 10:17am

Steve, what does it cost to convert to diesel and is it worth it?

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[> [> Subject: Re: Price OK for 66' Wanderlodge?


Author:
Derrek Khajavi
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Date Posted: 12/ 30/ 01, 3:18pm

Well is has been many months now since I took the plundge and sold my Country Coach for the 66' Wanterlodge with the Cat/Allison conversion. The first thing I did was take it to a good truck repair shop near my office to make sure the brakes, suspention, and motor were seviced and all fluids replaced and lines etc.. changed or verified good. If in question it was replaced. I spent remarkably little money for all that service, around $800! I thought that considering the age and lack of use many things would be in bad shape but most was like new. The mechanic said that the super low mileage claimed was not true and that there had been more than a few brake jobs and the steering box had been done before which he guessed meant that the coach had 100K or so on it. But he added that the coach was in better shape than any he had seen from that vintage. The Cat motor thankfully had what the previous ouner claimed on it, roughly 4000 miles! The next expence was the tires which I decided to abandon the size due to limited availability. I bought used modern semi wheels and tires which were 1-2" taller and a bit wider. I was assured that this way any roadside blowout repair would be no problem with supply, the prior tires would require days of waiting to be shipped out! Total cost for 6 wheels and lightly used tires with 80% tread that were 6 months old was $400! The generator turned out to be the original unit which required the retired original owner of my generator repair shop to come out to show the 'young kids' at the shop how to fix. With his cane banging on the side of the solid cast iron GenSet he proclaimed, "they dont make them like this any more!" and convinced me that repair was better than replacement. Total cost $800, ouch! The coach drives like a Luxury car with tank like strength. It is easy to handle even coming from a newer Country Coach with all the power assistance and all. The steering wheel in the city takes a few turns to turn a corner but it's OK. The vacume assist brakes take some getting used too but they are very capable of stopping the coach and give some real confidence over the CC disc brakes I had before which would fade easily. The Cat motor likes to vibrate though and makes front seat conversations strianed a bit. The Allison tranny is a dream compared to the TH400 in the CC. This BB has sliding side windows and vent wind deflecotrs for summer use which added with tinting make the mirrors had to see with. I have been unable to figure out the overhead swiches which have mostly lost thier placards and many are INOP making thier ID harder. No trips have been taken out of the local area yet because the systems are not all yet up and running but that will happen soon. Thanks all for the help.

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Subject: Lights and Stuff


Author:
thebomguy
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Date Posted: 12/ 30/ 01, 5:26am

Hey... as I said I am new to all this stuff and need some help... glad you guys are here... ok... I have replaced several florecents and some work but others do not... I am guessing that I need to replace the ballist or entire fixtures in those that do not work... just wondering if I am right?... also... the rear furnace kicks on but no heat... is there a pilot light that needs to be lit?... also there are a couple of fans (heaters?) under the sofa and under the cabinet in the galley... since it is getting down in the 20s tonight... should I turn them on... are they to keep the plumbing from freezing up?...

Really like my 79XV wish it had a little more topend... it is a Cat 3208 250 Turbo... read something about adding another entry in the air cleaner... would this help? and don't know anything about the 2 speed rear end... would this also help?

Thanks for all your help ... Phil Wheelehan

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[> Subject: Re: Lights and Stuff


Author:
Ernie Ekberg
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Date Posted: 12/ 26/ 01, 4:23pm

Phil- just a short note to say - yes, turn your heaters on- especially if you have them under the sink and by yourr water tank. There should be 2 and they can save you a lot of grief.

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[> [> Subject: Re: Lights and Stuff


Author:
thebomguy
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Date Posted: 12/ 26/ 01, 7:03pm

Thanks Ernie... just went out and turned them on... don't need any more grief in my life for sure! I was able to get two of the furnaces to turn on but the one in the bedroom does not seem to want to ignite. I can hear the peizo hitting and the fan is running but no flame. Perhaps, air in the line? For some reason the hot water heater does not work... no leaking just no hot water... ???

Phil Wheelehan (thebomguy.com)

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: Lights and Stuff


Author:
Bruce Morris
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Date Posted: 12/ 28/ 01, 5:38pm

Phil, I was just looking at the diagram for the heaters in my 83 Wanderlodge and noticed that each of the furnaces has a separate shut off valve. If the igniter is working correctly you might want to make sure that the gas isn't turned off.

Regards, Bruce in Raleigh, NC KI4ME
1983 35FC-RB Wanderlodge
FMCA 7142s - WL 3910 - GoodSam
http://www.geocities.com/bamnc/mypage.html

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[> Subject: Re: Lights and Stuff


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 12/ 29/ 01, 4:54am

Your getting lots of good advise on the bedroom heater that doesn't work. Here are some other items: Rust may have foulded the burner element and may need to be cleaned, gas valve and/or associated relay may be defective preventing gas from being supplied to the burner. Factory suggests yearly testing but three or four years may be more appropriate. If your furnaces have not been inspectd since installed, now is a good time to start with the bedroom unit. Remove the furnace and take it to a qualified RV service center for "bench testing". I think you should go a step further and have the burner removed and cleaned. Total cost for this service is about $70 including new fireproof gaskets if needed. If you want to get more technical help, call Suburban Furnace at 423/775-2131, they will help you with trubleshooting. Electric heaters are convenient but for really cold weather the big bang in heat comes from all those BTUs stored in LP. Just be aware that the LP heaters are not a substitute for also having your freeze prevent heaters (in sink and water heater plumbing areas) and plumbing line heat tape working. Here's to keeping your coach cozy.

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[> Subject: Re: Lights and Stuff


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 12/ 29/ 01, 6:20am

Oops, forgot one of the most common problems for heater failure. If you live in the southern half of the U.S. and do not have insect protectors on the exterior intake and exhaust ports of your furnaces there is every possibility wasps, particularly "mud dobbers" could have built their nests in the furnace. For some reason the wasps build in the furnace itself rather than the intake and exhaust tubes. Bench testing and burner removal and cleaning should reveal any of these nests. I had all three furnaces bench tested last year and one furnace had three nests, anothe two nests and I didn't get a chance to talk with the technician on the third. Good luck.

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[> Subject: Re: Lights and Stuff


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 12/ 30/ 01, 5:26am

First the fluorescent lights - the ballast (really an inverter from 12 volts to about 1400 volts) degrades over time and needs to be replaced. Blue Bird carries replacement fixtures for about $55 that are head and shoulders above other replacement fixtures you can buy in the $35 to $45 range. There can be many reasons the hot water heater is not working. First lets assume that the circuit breaker in the electrical distribution panel is turned on and has been voltaged checked to see that current is flowing to the on/off toggle switch for the hot water heater and that that switch has aslo been checked for operation so that power is going to the water heater cabinet. Lets also assume the water heater actually has water in the tank. To electrically heat the hot water, the current first passes through a 12 volt operated relay located on the inside water heater cabinet wall that turns off AC current if the low water sensor on the water tank fails to have a ground, either through the tank water as designed, or to the chassis which is a way to circumvent or test the sensor. After passing through the relay, the current next goes through a high temperature switch in the tank designed to cut off the AC current if the low water sensor fails to detect an empty tank. Check to make sure the plunger on the high temperature switch is pushed inward to reset the switch and allow current to flow onward. Next the electrical flow is through the thermostat switch and then on to the heating calrod in the tank. A failure in the relay, high temperature switch, tripped high temperature switch, thermostat switch or calrod can all cause the hot water heater not to operate. Get out your multimeter and check for current at every location.

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Subject: Paint Touch Up


Author:
Eric Johnson
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Date Posted: 12/ 21/ 01, 5:33pm

We have a 1984 FC coach with an exterior cream/bronze original factory paint scheme that is in pretty good shape. I recently put some superficial scratches on a rear corner and would like to hear if any of you have any experience with the best way to secure a like color paint. Best to have it done with local body shop? Is there a shop around Perry, GA that specializes in this so we could get it done during or after Rally in the Valley?

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[> Subject: Re: Paint Touch Up


Author:
mike harris
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 12/ 21/ 01, 5:33pm

call IRT in macon ga they speacalize in motorcoach repair and repaint call and ask for mike harris this is me. i worked for blue bird for 12 years painting comecial and wonderloadge units we can take your vintage units and give them the new paint sceams. if you like call and talk to mike skipper at wonderloadge and ask about us we have done a lot of work for them.1-478-745-2990

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Subject: Water tank leak


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 12/ 20/ 01, 6:30pm

Has anyone fixed a leak in the plastic fresh water tank? Any info would be appreciated.

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[> Subject: Re: Water tank leak


Author:
Lawrence Thornell
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 12/ 19/ 01, 8:25pm

Try your local body shop. They weld plastic bumpers. He will need a rod of the same material as the tank, not what he welds the bumper with. My bodyman did a great job but it did take two tries. It took about a week to order and receive delivery of the rod. You will need to remove the tank unless the crack is in an exposed area. Contact me if you need for me to find out where he ordered the rod from. Good Luck! LT

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[> Subject: Re: Water tank leak


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 12/ 20/ 01, 6:30pm

Camping World sells two different types of plastic tank patch kits
both work

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Subject: Light Bulbs


Author:
thebomguy
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 12/ 18/ 01, 9:34am

New to RVing... where can I buy interior light bulbs for my 79XV... I need the florescent type and the small bulbs that go around the interior... are these all just 12v or 12/120 volt bulbs? Thanks... Phil

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[> Subject: Re: Light Bulbs


Author:
John Stiles
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Date Posted: 12/ 18/ 01, 4:29am

The flourescent bulbs can be purchased at most hardware stores such as Lowes or Home Depot. The other bulbs are 12V and since I haven't had to replace any of these I'm not sure but I would tend to think that these can be had at a hardware store also but I can't say for sure.....

John

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[> Subject: Re: Light Bulbs


Author:
Harvey Lawrence
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Date Posted: 12/ 18/ 01, 9:34am

As noted the flourescent lites canbe purchase at the local hardware..the 12 volt spot or reading bulbs can be purchased from Camping World Bowling green KY
Harv

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Subject: Musical Horn


Author:
Matthew Ruge
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Date Posted: 12/ 18/ 01, 4:26am

We recently purchased a 1980 Blue Bird and we are sorry but every time we fix something, one of our favorite parts of the bus breaks. The musical horn has quit working correctly, it breaks up mid song and sometimes wont play at all. Is there a quick fix or do we need a new one? If we do need a new one where would we purchase it? Thaks for all your help.

Matthew

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[> Subject: Re: Musical Horn


Author:
John Stiles
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Date Posted: 12/ 18/ 01, 4:26am

I have a 1980 also so I assume that we have the same model of musical horn. If you will remove the musical horn assembly (4-screws) from your dash there are two things that can help.
One thing is to go to your local Radio Shack and purchase a can of spray contact cleaner and spray the board real well. Also try reseating any of the chips that may be in chip sockets instead of soldered. I had similar symptoms until I did this to mine.....

John

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Subject: Bedroom Leak-Not on floor


Author:
George Kremer
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 12/ 17/ 01, 8:36am

Have an '83PT. Had a leak couple weeks ago which soaked mattress and board beneath it, headboard side of cross bed. No wet floor, no water in pump area. Hot water heater working fine. Took apart headboard and cannot locate any leak. (Has not leaked since.) Oh, Rain not a factor....dry here in Florida.
Any thoughts or advice? Thanks. George

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[> Subject: Re: Bedroom Leak-Not on floor


Author:
Ernie Ekberg
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Date Posted: 12/ 9/ 01, 6:51pm

George- did you happen to have a lot of humidity and condensation in your coach? Just an idea, Ernie 84 35FC

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[> Subject: Re: Bedroom Leak-Not on floor


Author:
Bob Dilks
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 12/ 16/ 01, 6:36am

There are more ways to lose liguid from your water heater than you have fingers on your hands. My comments assume you have the original water heater and that your headboard is on the driver's side of the coach. First, the leak almost has to be associated with the water heater and its plumbing because other plumbing lines are below the bed level. First, make all checks with the water system under pressure, either city water hooked up or water pump on. Check the cold water flare connections before and after the check valve and the fitting into the pneumatic supply/drain valve. Check the hot water flare connections on the fitting screwed into the water heater. Check the coupling between the pneumatic valve and the water heater (prime area for leak due to galvanic action). Check to make sure there is no break in the engine coolant line for the motor aid and make sure the hose is attached to the pressur/temperature relief valve and make sure there is no leak at the low water sensor fitting in the heater. All heaters need captured air to accomodate expansion of the hot water. Without captured air,the water will expand and run out the P/T relief valve. To make a through inspection you will have to disassemble the driver's side rear cabinet and remove the closet floor to get to the water heater (not a big task). If you have an original water heater (now 17 years old) it needs to be replaced since its original life span is ten to twelve years. Its possible you have a leak in the city water fitting which is allowing water to spray up onto the mattress through one of the hand holes in the mattress board. Finally, make all your checks with the power turned off to the water heater. There are at least two electrical outlets in the heater compartment for other purposes, so switch off the breakers for these outlets.

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[> Subject: Re: Bedroom Leak-Not on floor


Author:
Harvey Lawrence
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Date Posted: 12/ 17/ 01, 8:36am

George, this reply is a long shot but since you said your investigations indicated no hot water heater or water line involvement here goes. I had a leak in my 79 that was in fact a roof seem leak and it would build up in a little pocket and then let go. Very difficult to locate source but found it after a bit. Another source of water since you said there was no rain, is AC condensate leaking from an AC unit and running down roof line to the top of the bed.
I decidedly think these are long shots but still possibilities.
Harv

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Subject: Radios and CB


Author:
TheBomGuy
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Date Posted: 12/ 15/ 01, 5:42am

Ok... took the plundge... just bought a 79XV... couple of things don't work... none of the radios... or CB works... guess they are on the same circuit... anyone have any advice where to start?... Backup camera doesn't work and need a new water heater... everything else seems fine for now...but could use a few more and better dash lighting... real dim... thanks... and hope to meet some of you down the road...

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[> Subject: Re: Radios and CB


Author:
hank
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Date Posted: 12/ 9/ 01, 7:03pm

welcome to the world of dim dash lights...get used to it. i have a 77fc33 and squint to read the speedo at night...hope someone has a fix

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[> Subject: Re: Radios and CB


Author:
Eric Johnson
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Date Posted: 12/ 15/ 01, 5:42am

I have an 84 FC 35 and solved the dim instrument lighting by pulling the steering wheel, getting under the dash and revised the power supply wiring to the instrument lights. Cause of dim lights for my coach was a corroded rheostat used for adjusting the brightness of the gauge lights. I moved the wire supplying power to the gauges from the rheostat to another lug on the headlight switch that supplies full 12 volts when headlight switch is pulled. Don't miss the light dimming feature and now enjoy readable gauges at night. Hope this helps you.

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Subject: Dash Lighting


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 12/ 15/ 01, 4:58am

Does anyone have info on the 110v dash lighting? That is the back lighting not the gage lights.

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[> Subject: Re: Dash Lighting


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 12/ 7/ 01, 6:24am

Generally one of two problems. First the two small dash inverters that supply the voltage for the dash luminescence may be burned out (about $50 each from Blue Bird). Second the luminescence circuit on the dash may be broken (as when a hole has been drilled in the material) and a new luminescence panel would have to be ordered at a cost of about $2,000.

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[> [> Subject: Re: Dash Lighting


Author:
Kevin McKeown
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Date Posted: 12/ 10/ 01, 9:49pm

Where are these small inverters located? Sometimes my panel lights up when I start flipping some dash switches, but now I can't even get it to do that. The top electrolum dash has never worked for me. Ideas??

Kevin McKeown
1986 38'PT

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: Dash Lighting


Author:
T. Ray
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Date Posted: 12/ 11/ 01, 1:24pm

Kevin,
This is one of the first repairs I attempted 3yrs ago when I got the Loose Goose. I like to travel out of Texas in summer at night & couldn't see the dash. Anyway, on my '82FC the inverters are mounted behind the top section of the instrument panel. My arms (I'm kinda large) looked like I'd been fighting a bobcat after this repair.
Mine was a single inverter, checked it for 110v, nada. Took it out, called BB, they said that one been replaced by 2 units wired in parallel. $50 each, lots of trouble getting them in there, but worked ----- for a while. They would quit, I would tear into it again, do the voltage checks, they would be ok, put back together, would work a while, etc.etc.etc. They are still the same, don't ever know when they're gonna and not gonna work. Will get to it again one of these days, but am gonna find a good single unit that is OVER the rating called for and go back with it. Something like you can purchase to run a laptop in your car now. I can't find where dash has been injured, but that doesn't mean it ain't there somewhere. Largest problem was using the screwdriver in the very confined space and driving the wood screws into the 3/4" plywood back there. Good luck with your repair, let us know how you do. Maybe your success will inspire me to tackle problem agan. Tom

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[> [> Subject: Re: Dash Lighting


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 12/ 15/ 01, 4:58am

Before you attack the instrument panel it will make life easier to remove the steering wheel.
Remove the center cover to the steering wheel-- pry it off with a very small screw driver or thin knife.
Underneath will be three or four hex bolts-- take em out and pull off the wheel.

Now, the wheel will be out of your way and you will be able to sit down while you work on the panel.

Urban myths and ghosts of Bluebirds past indicate the grounding of these inverters or the panel switches themselves are the culprit. On occassions, I hit other switches and the dang things come on.

Has not been a big deal for me since I don't drive at night that much-- mainly cause the instrument lights themselves are so miserable.

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Subject: Fan Motor


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 12/ 15/ 01, 4:44am

Has anyone repaired, or replaced the engine fan motor on a 1986 PT38 8V92? Any comments or help would be appreciated.

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[> Subject: Re: Fan Motor


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 12/ 15/ 01, 4:44am

I had the pump, not to be confused with the fan motor, replaced at the factory-- about $900. Call Mike Burkette for an estimate. The pump on the engine and the fan motor are traditional weak links in our coaches. Minor seepage around the motor is not unusual-- have tried to reach it from the hatch under the bed and from below -- had to go in from the back and remove a whole bunch of stuff -not hard, but aggravating and dirty.
if it is just a minor leak it's worth letting the factory have a shot at it-- little skinny guy with 9 foot arms goes in from underneath
you didn't say what the exact problem was so I am assumming minor seepage/leak
My take on this: It's such a pain to get in there it is worth replacing all the components and seals. Bite the bullet and do it right.
I think the engine driven pump and the hydraulic fan motor leaks are Bluebird's way of being sure everything has a light coat of oil so it won't rust :>)

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Subject: Air Compressor for air brakes


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 12/ 15/ 01, 4:27am

The air dryer for the brake air system seems to have a lot of oil mixed with the water when it exhausts. Also the compressor takes about 6 minutes at 1000 RPM to come up to 120 LBS PSI when the rig is started. Is this normal or is it time for compressor repairs. Can they be rebuilt or is it better to get a new or rebuilt one. Any info would be appreciated. Elmer Aydelotte

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[> Subject: Re: Air Compressor for air brakes


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 12/ 8/ 01, 9:59am

Six minutes does not seem long to me, my coach tskes about the same time. If you replace the compressor, get a factory rebuilt unit and have a reputable servicer do the work; getting the drive lug off the compressor crank shaft can be quite a task and if you do it yourself you will need a brass hammer. While we are talking about the air system, the factory recommends you release all brake air by pumping the brake pedal when parking the coach. Leaving the brake system "aired up" subjects the seals to unrelenting pressure and will shorten their useful life.

Bob Dilks

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[> Subject: Re: Air Compressor for air brakes


Author:
Ernie Ekberg
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Date Posted: 12/ 9/ 01, 6:53pm

6 minutes sounds about the same as mine. 84 35FC Ernie Ekberg

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[> Subject: Re: Air Compressor for air brakes


Author:
Don M
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Date Posted: 12/ 14/ 01, 8:26pm

I had the same problem in my 1980 FC33. If you are at all handy with the wrench it is not all that hard a job to do yourself assuming you have the swing out radiator. It took me about 4 hrs to do the compressor swap - I bought a factory rebuilt from a local truck parts dist. I now use 2qts less oil per 1000 miles.

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[> Subject: Re: Air Compressor for air brakes


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 12/ 15/ 01, 4:27am

first, and simplist, things first
your air dryer, most likly an AD-2, must be serviced
get the kit from almost any truck supplier/auto parts store and change out the desicant material-- not hard to do,but a dirty job
so many things in this coach depend on a supply of clean air--including safty items-- brakes

when the desicant material is saturated clean air is not provided and all kinds of gloop is blown out

now, after the filter is clean and run a bit, one can the make a judgement whether the compressor is passing oil

you should have the instructions for the air dryer in you goodie box

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Subject: Shore Power Cables


Author:
Matthew
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Date Posted: 12/ 14/ 01, 7:05pm

We recently purchsed a 1980 blue bird and we are looking for the 2 shore power cables for the 110, we have the 220 and that works great plugged in at home but if anyone could tell us where to find the 2 110 cables we would appreciate it very much.

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[> Subject: Re: Shore Power Cables


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 12/ 11/ 01, 1:14pm

You can buy the cables from Blue Bird at 800/495-7787 or make your own. The best locking receptacles costs about $90 and high grade 30 amp, type 3 stranded wire cable should be about $7.00 per foot. Most Birders seldom use the two cables because there are very few times when two 30 amp campground outlets are back to back. Each 30 amp cable serves a seperate leg of the coach wiring so both cables need to be connected to get power down both legs. A single 30 amp outlet is the most common power source in campgrounds and the easiest way to deal with the situation and get power down both legs is to put a 30 amp adapter on the end of your 50 amp cord. Blue Bird sells a "cheater cord" which has a 30 amp plug on the hookup end and a 50 amp receptacle on the coach connection. Price is about $230 for the cheater. Two 30 amp outlets supply 7,200 watts of power (30 amps X 120 volts)X 2 wires = 7,200 watts as compared to 12,000 watts supplied by a single 50 amp outlet which by definition contains two 120 volt supply wires(50 amps X 120 volts) X 2 wires = 12,000 watts. I mention this only because there is an impression two 30 amp cords equal 60 amp service and supplies more power than 50 amp service. But 50 amp service divided between two 120 volt legs is really 100 amp service (100 amps X 120 volts) = 12,000 watts.

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[> Subject: Re: Shore Power Cables


Author:
HR Skillern
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Date Posted: 12/ 14/ 01, 7:05pm

At Camping World, one may purchase a short (18 inches) adapter that will allow a standard 30 amp power cord to be plugged in to the 50 amp receptacle on the bus. The item referred to is made by Marinco, I believe, and retails for about $80. I have used mine for several years and can report excellent results. Good luck.

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Subject: A New Bird


Author:
John
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Date Posted: 12/ 14/ 01, 7:56am

What type of club can you join if you have a new BIRD...
John Bleakley has a new store in Unadilla, GA. just outside of Perry. Is that were the rally is next year? Have you heard about the new store. Please give me any info you can..

Thanks,
John

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[> Subject: Re: A New Bird


Author:
John Stiles
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Date Posted: 12/ 13/ 01, 4:07am

John,

The new Bleakley location is about 15-20 miles south of the Perry Ag Center (I-75) which is the location of the ralley each October. The "official" BlueBird club is the Family of Friends chapter of FMCA. Their web site is at http://www.familyoffriendsonline.com/. I would suggest calling Brenda Rogers at the factory for info on how to join.

John

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[> Subject: Re: A New Bird


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 12/ 14/ 01, 7:56am

John:

I though you had this information. If you have a new bird you cannot join Vintage Birds until you meet one of the following two conditions, one, your new bird is at least five years old, or two, you have spent at least $50,000 in repairs on the new bird in less than five years in which case it is declared a "vintage bird". Joking aside (or am I), actually only number one above is a requirement. As enjoyable as the "Rally in the Vally" is, the Vintage Bird rallys are generally loads of fun.

Bob Dilks

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Subject: Water Heater


Author:
thebomguy
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Date Posted: 12/ 12/ 01, 8:20pm

I have a water heater that does not seem to work... new to RVing and understand that BB has 2 ways to heat the water, I don't have any leaks but no hot water... how do I troubleshoot to see if I really need a new heater or just something that needs to be switched or reset? I have a 79XV. If I do need a new water heater what you reccomend? Also... why not use a regular 110 water heater? Thanks for your info and patience.... Oops... also where are the fuses located for that Radios, CB, and Camera located... Phil

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[> Subject: Re: Water Heater


Author:
Lawrence Thornell
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Date Posted: 12/ 12/ 01, 8:20pm

The hot water heater is electric. Located in the rear corner under the bed. You probably have a bad heating element, also check the breaker box in the back of the closet.

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Subject: Cabinets and Closets


Author:
thebomguy
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Date Posted: 12/ 10/ 01, 8:39pm

Just purchased a 79XV 35FC ... does anyone know what the cabinet and closets are made of... are they veneered in formica? Also... the shower is yellow and want change color... where can I find a shower stall that will fit... guess sink and commode are standard and can easily change them out... thanks...

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[> Subject: Re: Cabinets and Closets


Author:
Lawrence Thornell
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Date Posted: 12/ 10/ 01, 8:39pm

I beleave it would be hard to find a shower stall that you could get into the coach. You probably can find someone who can paint the stall with an epoxie. We have just moved out of an XV, convince your wife that sunflowers go good with the yellow and endure it. If you drop the soap in that little shower you'll have to step out to pick it up.

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Subject: Air Bags


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 12/ 5/ 01, 6:29pm

How long do the air suspension bags last on a vintage bird?
I have a 1986 PT 38 with 115,000 miles. Should I be thinking about replacement. All works well at present.

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[> Subject: Re: Air Bags


Author:
Ernie Ekberg
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Date Posted: 12/ 5/ 01, 5:26pm

Elmer- I have an 84 35FC and my air bags are fine. I really don't know the life of them. Ernie

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[> Subject: Re: Air Bags


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 12/ 5/ 01, 6:29pm

Got in touch with Ride Well the makers of the suspension this is their reply.
The air springs on your coach are fine as long as the outside of the
rubber member is not peeling off and the inner cord is not showing.
Please contact me if you have any questions.


Thank You
Donna Stapleton
Inside Sales Planner/Customer Service

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Subject: Generator fumes


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 12/ 4/ 01, 9:11am

Our 1984 PT36 admits odors (unsure about the cause of the odors) from the generator compartment into the coach each time the generator is used. The odors are noticeable even when driving. I have cleaned, sanded and aligned the cone and funnel on the engine exhaust. The engine does not have oil or coolant leaks. The dual fan motors in the generator compartment run when the generator is operating. Blue Bird says the odor entry into the coach is likely the wiring bundle chase at the drivers side front plus the steering column. Blue Bird says later year models had the wiring chase "foamed" but our coach likely did not receive the foam. Has anyone had the same problem we are experiencing and how did you solve it?

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Subject: Refrigerator repair


Author:
Royal Washburn
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Date Posted: 12/ 2/ 01, 2:45pm

I have a 1988 40' WB which has the original Dometic 3 way (AC/Gas/12VDC)refrigerator. The unit has been trouble-free but I feel like I'm living on borrowed time until it has a problem. Is there a reliable source which provides a quality rebuild of these refrigerators, or would it be more cost effective to replace it with a new one when it does fail?

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[> Subject: Re: Refrigerator repair


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 11/ 20/ 01, 5:00pm

Dometic offers various rebuild components for its refrigerators including new cooling units for a number of older models. Call Dometic at 219/294-2511 for information or 800/544-4881 for a list of service centers.

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[> Subject: Re: Refrigerator repair


Author:
Frederick C. Riester
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Date Posted: 12/ 2/ 01, 2:45pm

I have a SP36 which had a Dometic that quit with an amonia leak. After some research I concluded that a rebuild would be expensive and not as satisfactory as a new unit. Ended up with a new Norcold that was taller than Dometic. With some matching filler and edge material from Wilsonart (laminate) I was able to raise the top of the refer opening by shortening the top cabinet and make room for the Norcold. If you look real closely you might be able to see that it is not the original refer. Unfortunately I could find no acceptable unit that would fit the opening. If you want more info give me a reply with a telephone mumber.

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Subject: Holding tank odor


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 12/ 2/ 01, 4:39am

When the coach is on the road there is an odor from the holding tank in the coach. Any one know to cure problem.
Seems like the vent on top should exhaust the odor to the outside when on the road. It seem to be blowing it back in.

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[> Subject: Re: Holding tank odor


Author:
Susan Sohni
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Date Posted: 10/ 21/ 01, 1:25pm

Elmer, have you made certain that there is water over the valve and that the valve is tight? Once in awhile, the valve will not close properly, the water will leak out and then the fumes enter the coach.
Susan

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[> [> Subject: Re: Holding tank odor


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 11/ 15/ 01, 5:53pm

Your generator battery electrolite has boiled away due to overcharging. After running the coach, open the generator control door and check for the odor. Also sniff around the floor near the steering column base.

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[> Subject: Re: Holding tank odor


Author:
corky hubert
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Date Posted: 12/ 2/ 01, 4:39am

order a seal kit for your stool from thetford at 1-800-521-3032 cost about $ 40.00

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Subject: Looking for Towel Man


Author:
John Benham
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Date Posted: 12/ 1/ 01, 6:34pm

At the Rally In the Valley I spoke to an individual that was looking for a lock cylinder. I was going to remove mine and replace it with a non locking twist lock and I told him I would give him mine when I got home. He was selling some type of special towel and gave me one as a trade. Meanwhile, somewhere between Perry and Texas I have misplaced (nice way to say lost) his name and address. Any help anyone, thanks, see you on the road--

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Subject: Burnt out clutch on A/C compressor


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 12/ 1/ 01, 5:37pm

The A/C compressor clutch on my 1986 PT 38
8V92 burnt out. Looking for the problem I found that the twin fans on the condenser unit on the roof were not working. This runs the high side A/C pressure up over 350 psi and puts to much load on the clutch. I found in the RF overhead a relay that turns the fans on, it was burnt out. I replaced the relay and added a indicator lite on the dash to tell me when the fans are running. This might save you a $500.00 bill. If you need more info EMail ejohna@strato.net

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Subject: Newbie doing research on Wanderlodge


Author:
Hugh Gilbert
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Date Posted: 11/ 30/ 01, 12:43pm

Well I was considering an Airstream Classic MoHo before finding this site. Looking for sources to obtain info (floorplans, shop & owner's manuals)on 1980s vintage Wanderlodges. Gathering info on what was standard and optional equipment, features, colors, etc. for different production/model years.

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Subject: BACK IN AUSTRALIA


Author:
HANK HANNIGAN
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Date Posted: 11/ 30/ 01, 1:26am

TO ALL OF YOU WE MET AT THE RALLY, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO HELPED AND EDUCATED US WITH THE "NEW" BIRD (77FC33) NATY AND I THANK YOU AND WANT TO SAY OUR TRIP FROM GEORGIA TO CALIFORNIA WAS TROUBLE FREE.

WORST PROBLEM WAS OUR 10 HOUR STOP OVER IN NEW ZEALAND BECAUSE TWO OF UNITED'S 747 ENGINES DECIDED THEY HAD ENOUGH! WE WAITED FOR THEM TO CHARTER AIR NEW ZEALAND TO FINISH THE THREE HOUR FLIGHT TO MELBOURNE. WE ARE JETLAGGED BUT HAPPY TO BE BACK UNTIL END OF MARCH. I MISS THE BIRD WE LEFT IN LA ALREADY. SO MANY THINGS TO THINK ABOUT AND DO. WE CHANGED OIL AND FUEL FILTER WITHOUT A HITCH. WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM ANYONE WHO KNOWS ABOUT CHANGING TO "BIG WHEELS" AS OURS ARE SIZE 10. I AM INTERESTED IN BIG WHEEL ALCOAS ETC. ANY HELP OUT THERE WOULD BE APPRECIATED.
WELL MUST GET BACK TO THE BARBY NOW TO COOK THE KANG.
BEST TO ALL,

HANK AND NATY

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[> Subject: Re: BACK IN AUSTRALIA


Author:
Jeff
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Date Posted: 11/ 29/ 01, 5:53pm

Hank:

The "big wheels" are simply 22.5 wheels. Your bird should have 10.00 x 20 tires now, which are the same diameter/revs per mile as 11Rx22.5 tires (the most common truck tire on the road and almost $100 cheaper than 12R x 22.5 or 24.5s. This means that your speedometer will not need to be changed. If you have the older 9.00 x 20s, you will need to change the speedo gear.
My '77 already had alcoa 20s, so the wheel studs were already the right length. If you go from steel to aluminum, you will have to replace the studs (40) and the rear inner nuts (20). I found 22.5 polished wheels at a truck junkyard, two on a burned '99 holiday rambler navigator, four more (zero miles) on a new Freightliner chassis never finished ('99 also). I paid $125each, basically stole them. New they are at least $300/each polished. Beware of wheels from wrecked trucks and buses, they can be bent or cracked. Check them carefully.
You will need stud-centered or Budd wheels, BlueBird used these until '02 but most trucks and buses switched to hub-centered years ago, a good truck wheel man can tell the difference but Budd wheels in good shape are getting difficult to find (although they usually can be polished).

- Jeff

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[> [> Subject: Re: BACK IN AUSTRALIA


Author:
hank hannigan
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Date Posted: 11/ 30/ 01, 1:26am

thanks jeff. i will hold on to this message about the wheels. much appreciated.

best,

hank

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Subject: generator noise


Author:
Bob Benner
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Date Posted: 11/ 29/ 01, 5:58pm

Two queries:

Has anyone tried to quiet the gennys in the FC 35' birds.
There is now an article in FMCA's mag about that and I was wonderning if anyone has attempted.

Secondly, does anyone have a FC bird with the couches fixed in the salon. How do I get them up, out, etc. so I can give some lubrication to the Propane heater underneath. I've worked on my other noisy one under dinette, now want to quiet the one in the front. Then I'll tackle the one under the bed which looks easier to get to.

I've looked all around, and under the couch seat and can find no fasteners to hold it in place. It does not make a bed but is fixed.

thanks in advance,

Bob

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[> Subject: Re: generator noise


Author:
hank hannigan
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 29/ 01, 2:52pm

BOB:

NO HELP BUT I HAVE THE SAME QUESTION ABOUT THE COUCHES. 77FC33...BOTH COUCHES SEEM FIXED AND I WAS WONDERING HOW TO GET INSIDE. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU DISCOVER ANYTHING.
BEST,

HANK

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[> Subject: Re: FC sofa removal


Author:
Jeff
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Date Posted: 11/ 29/ 01, 5:58pm

My FC had the (non pullout) sofa on the driver side, it was mounted at the top of the rear/bathroom end by 3screws through an angle iron bracket visible when the cushions are removed, on the front end there is an angle-iron bracket to the floor hidden under the carpet. My curb-side (pullout) sofa is fastened to the half-closet wall on the rear end and angle-iron to the floor on the front (if I remember correctly).

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Subject: converting to diesel from gas


Author:
pat fowler
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Date Posted: 11/ 27/ 01, 8:49pm

what would be involved to convert from gas to diesel,how much might it cost and if anyone has made the conversion do you think it was worth it?

thanks, pat

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[> Subject: Re: converting to diesel from gas


Author:
Dennis Lovin
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Date Posted: 11/ 27/ 01, 8:49pm

In my humble opinion the proposed conversion could be disasterous. A diesel engine is much heavier than a gas engine, and the construction of the engine mounts and the front suspension are likely not adequate to handle it. The engineers who built the original chassis/engine combination knew what they were doing--and the crew who makes the conversion better know what they're doing too or there will be nothing but problems and thousands of dollars ahead.

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Subject: trip report


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 11/ 27/ 01, 5:32pm

1986 8V92TA PT40 44,750lbs, 1999 BMW K1200LT
We left Stafford, VA on 16 June and returned 24 August after 5968 miles. We were volunteers at Bryce Canyon National Park, UT. We visited Fort Valley, GA, Bonifay, Fl, Slidell, LA, Houma, LA, Odessa, TX, Carlsbad Caverns, Las Vegas, NV, Omaha, NB, Moscow, IA, and Dewitt, IA.
Two different fuel checks for fuel mileage:
5439.5 mi/870.93gal = 6.25 mpg
4186 MI /662.55gal = 6.32 mpg
I noticed slightly better mileage while at altitudes above 4000'. For instance my motor cycle went from 44 to 53 and the slightly better coach mileage of 6.31 included higher altitudes. These figures also include climbing the western hills including eastbound on I-70 to Denver mountains in WV and MD on I-68.
Checked tire pressure at 8000' prior to leaving. Next morning, I was down 3 psi in each tire at 4000'. If one sits a while at altitude air has to be added on the way down. By the way, the 60cubic foot nitrogen bottle trick for topping off tires that Gary (MINKERLODGE) Minker showed me worked like a charm. I won't leave home without it.
Visited Las Vegas and saw the Rita Rutner show. It was great to see a comedy show that was fairly priced, really funny, and no obscenities. We stayed at Circus Circus. Last year we stayed at Oasis resorts and will do so again in the future. Circus Circus is essentially all asphalt (hot) and at the wrong end of the strip for what we like to do.

There are 102 great motorcycle roads in the world. Twenty-one are in the United States. One of those is Utah 12 eastward from Bryce Canyon. Got a speeding ticket but got a local discount because I worked at the park!

I did an EL Cheapo 134A conversion of the chassis air before I went on the trip. Worked well in LA, TX, NM, AZ, NV, and other, hot humid places.

My cruise control has resumed the with the surging. This aggravates me to no end. Another trip to Fort Valley.

Had two small new problems with the coach:
After we got back from Las Vegas, awoke in the morning to wet carpet in front of the bed. My first thought was the new tank I put in had failed. After I got every thing apart I discovered that it was leaking around the seams of the on board water filter. Closer inspection revealed that it had leaked before and someone had repaired it before by gluing around the seams! Duh! The lights came on. I had wondered before what the dark stuff I had seen on the bottom of the water compartment. Charcoal. Some body had made a mess trying to repair before. Anyway, being at Bryce Canyon on Sunday dictated little choice but to epoxy around the seams and reinstall. I'm going to remove it, do some replumbing to by pass the filter and just use my current external filter.
The bathroom heater went out. Have not had time to trouble shoot yet.

I stopped by HWH in Moscow, IA to see if there is some newer application piston jack to replace the swing down front levelers. They are a pain. If extension reach is a problem, at this point I would even be willing to have to slide a 6 X 6 block under them prior to use. The service manager did a bunch of measuring and said they had the stuff that would fit. However, he was hesitant to proceed: The rear jacks gimbals back and forth 30 degrees and he was concerned that damage could occur up front if someone drove off the jacks. To me that is less of a problem than that presented by the swing down jacks now. Anyway, the boss of the company and designer of the jacks will be back next Monday and I am going to talk with him about the whys and wherefors.


Saw a few Birds on the road. Notably, a gang of three northbound out of Las Vegas at the end of July. Snooty bunch. Did not wave :>)

As always, the Beemer did it's job flawlessly.

That completes my report.

New subject:
I met a Bluebird guy once who was big into jeeps. I forgot his name. He had an older FC but then got a 98 or 99, I think. I need his advice on jeeps. Anyone know who he might be.

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[> Subject: Re: trip report


Author:
HANK HANNIGAN
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 26/ 01, 3:31pm

THE NICE GUY MIGHT BE:

DON HAIMAN, HE HAS AN 86PT AND WAS VERY HELPFUL AND FRIENDLY TO ME RECENTLY IN LA. HE WAS PULLING A NEW JEEP. (206) 619-5500 IS HIS PHONE AS HE IS A ESCAPEE.

BEST,

HANK

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[> Subject: Re: trip report


Author:
Mike McMahan
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 27/ 01, 5:32pm

Jim, I'm not that guy but i have had several jeeps and would be glad to try and help. Mike McMahan

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Subject: Alignment


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 11/ 27/ 01, 5:17pm

Does anyone have the front end alignment specs for a 1986 38' PT?

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[> Subject: Re: Alignment


Author:
harvey lawrence
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Date Posted: 11/ 27/ 01, 5:17pm

suggest you try either the Blue Bird factory service or dean woodruff at 770 577 1300
Harv

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Subject: New Orleans to Salt Lake City


Author:
Greg Borrouso
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Date Posted: 11/ 25/ 01, 8:16pm

I have a '79 31ft 3208 cat Wanderlodge. I will be traveling from NO to SLC mid December. I need tips and advice on what to expect climbing in the mountains and snow, and what would be the safest route to Utah?

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Subject: LP Furnace


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 21/ 01, 6:26pm

Can anyone give me info on the LP furnaces. All three on my 1986 PT 38 do not work. Have looked at the furnace wiring and it shows 4 wires to each furnace. One 12V+ and one 12V- and 2 thermostat wires. On mine there is 4 wires comming out from the furnace but only 3 are hooked up and the 4th stat feed wire can not be found. The three feeds are 1 12V+ and 1 12V- and the other one I assume is a stat wire, but I can not find the 2nd stat wire. Looked at the stat and it has 2 wires connected to it. If I short the 2 stat wires comming out of the furnace it lites and works OK.

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[> Subject: Re: LP Furnace


Author:
Jim Scoggins
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 17/ 01, 4:32am

it's odd that all three don't work
double check the basics
be sure the LP switch on the dash is turned on
turn on the thermostats and set the heat fairly high
you may have to cycle them 4-5 times before they will work

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[> Subject: Re: LP Furnace


Author:
Bob Dilks
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 17/ 01, 7:07am

You have to find the other thermostat wire.or improvise. Suburban supplied four wires out of the insulated furnance controls as follows: red positive power supply, yellow negative ground and two blue wires for thermostat use. Blue Bird supplied wires to the furnance as follows: red positive power supply, yellow negative ground, red from the thermostat to one blue wire to carry the thermostat signal and one brown connected to the other blue wire to ground the thermostat signal. If you improvise and ground the free blue wire exiting from the furnance, the furnance should operate normally in response to the opening and closing of the thermostat. Blue Bird wired the thermostats as follows: black power supply positive to the upper right hand connector (as viewed from the front) and red power supply positive from the lower left hand connector to one of the furnance blue thermostat wires. Its hard to believe that the negative thermostat ground wires were omitted to all three furnances as coincidence. The wires supplied by Blue Bird were covered in a braded sheath and wrapped at the sheath end with black electrical tape. Unwrap the tape and check in the sheath for the missing wire. Please do not rely on the wire color coding shown above as assembly line workers often expressed their individualism. Call me at 580/564-3517 if you need more info.

Bob Dilks

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[> Subject: Re: LP Furnace


Author:
HR Skilllern
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 21/ 01, 6:26pm

Hi, It is improbable that all three of your heaters are inop. More likely, it's something very simple. First, check that you have propane in your tank. Check the direct reading gauge on the tank itself. Ascertain that the propane main valve on the tank itself is open. Then, make sure to check that the propane cut-off switch is "on"---should be a small panel with a red light, green light and pushbutton located in the kitchen area near the floor, possibly under the dinette. You can then try to light your range to make sure you are getting gas inside the coach. It takes a while for the propane to work its way up to the burner, so run the thermostat switch up to max heat and back to off several times. I lit my heaters for the first time this season yesterday and it took about 4 or 5 cycles to get them cooking. They are fine now.

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Subject: Slow water Flow Dim tail lites


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 11/ 16/ 01, 6:53pm

Water to sink and bathroom & shower is very slow. This happens when using the pump or hooked up to city water. Could the filter be plugged? Just got this coach and do not know if the filter was ever replaced.
Tail lites and lower dash lites are dim. Only have 9 volts to the tail lites. If I put a jumper from the battery to to tail lite wire when they are on they get bright and so do the dash lites. Any help would be welcome.

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[> Subject: Re: Slow water Flow Dim tail lites


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 11/ 8/ 01, 3:33pm

water filter could certainly be glogged. It's a safe bet that the filter is clogged. Got rid of mine and use external filters.

However, on the verge of not knowing what i'm talking about--i remember someone talking about having to clean a "distibution valve". I think this delt only with the shower though. Check all the archives.

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[> Subject: Re: Slow water Flow Dim tail lites


Author:
Ernie Ekberg
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 15/ 01, 5:05am

The water sporlan valve my be stuck. I had to back off the screws to that and dislodge it a couple of times. I believe impurities makes it hard to move.

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[> Subject: Re: Slow water Flow Dim tail lites


Author:
Bob Dilks
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 15/ 01, 6:16pm

First the "water filter" is not a filter at all, but rather a water purifier that was originally designed to allow you to drink water from any country. The purifyer was good for 75,000 gallons or five to seven years of use. The purifyer may be clogged but that should have no impact on pump use since the purifyer only treats water from the city water inlet.

You need to install Bosh 30 amp relay and use the 9 volt tail light voltage to excite the relay. Then provide a new wire directly from the battery to the relay and then on to the tail light circuit. When you pull on the headlight switch, the voltage to the tail light will instead switch higher battery current directly to the tail lights. Also disassemble and clean all the ground connections in and around the engine compartment door. There is a major ground connection on the rear upper door passanger side. I suspect the dash lights brighten because you have reduced the voltage demand at the headlight switch by applying voltage at the end of the circuit.

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[> [> Subject: Re: Slow water Flow Dim tail lites


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 16/ 01, 6:53pm

Bob Dilks: Thanks for the info on water system & lites. As to lites I think I read in the manual that the dash & tail lites are fed from the same circut. Will try the relay, Iam sure it will do the trick for the tail lites and hope it works for dash lites.

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Subject: Lite plant diode & steering u joint


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 11/ 9/ 01, 6:03am

1986 PT 38, lite plant battery goes dead, after reading the manual I find that the plant does not charge the plant battery but it is charged by the coach engine alternator. Looking at the motor home 12V schematic I see a diode in the plant battery charging circut, I assume this is why the plant battery is not charging. Does anyone know where this diode is located?
The coach lubrication instructions state that there is a grease fitting on the steering gear universal joint that is located behind the LF access panel. Can see the U joint but can not find a grease fitting. Has anybody ever found it?

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[> Subject: Re: Lite plant diode & steering u joint


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 11/ 8/ 01, 3:19pm

seems like my comments about the generator battery are OBE.

Anyhow, I know of no one who has found that grease fitting. I know several guys who can't find it

BB Guru Mike Burkett says it doesn't exist -- sounds like a typo left over from previous years?

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[> Subject: Re: Lite plant diode


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 9/ 01, 6:03am

Found the diode and a 30 Amp breaker in the door on the right rear side of the coach where the 110V battery chargers are. You will see them as soon as you open the 2nd door. The diode was open and the breaker was burnt out. It is the type that opens when the load is to great and closes when it cools off. Replaced these 2 items and lite plant battery now charges when on the road or plugged in to shore power.

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Subject: Paint Repair on 1984 FC


Author:
Eric Johnson
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Date Posted: 11/ 8/ 01, 3:42pm

Anyone have information on the best way to get a paint scratch repaired on one of these coaches? Local body shop the best route or is there a Bluebird dealer that does this type of work? Understand original paint is Dupont Imron and it is still in great condition so I'm not interested in repainting the whole coach.

This is my second attempt to get this question on the site. Hope it works this time.

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[> Subject: Re: Paint Repair on 1984 FC


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 11/ 8/ 01, 3:42pm

Depending on where the scratch is and how big it is try this
Visit the local Wal Mart and get some fingernail polish-- they have a Godzillion colors-- works great on small scratches

Once again, depending on where the damage is-- a local paint shop guy did a spectroscopic match on mine and did a great job on a fairly large ding.

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Subject: Lite plant no charge


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 11/ 8/ 01, 3:12pm

86 pusher with Kohler 12.5 Yanmar engine lite plant. Does not charge the lite plant battery, any help would be appreciated.

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[> Subject: Re: Lite plant no charge


Author:
Jim Scoggins
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 8/ 01, 3:12pm

unless the generator has an alternator the charging of the battery is done by the regular battery charger in your coach
I have an 86 PT and that's the way mine is set up

So, be sure your charger is turned on, plugged in, and the charger circuit breaker is on. Start the generator, turn the electrical distribution switch to Generator.
You might want to take a VOM, hook to generator battery and see if the voltage is increasing. Also, does the generator battery charge up when you have AC hooked up and electrical distribution set to one of the shore power settings. If it doesn't there is some other failure going on.

Some of you electrical GURUS can now weigh in on this

New topic: From some of your questions, it appears you may not have an owners manual. BB can zerox you one if need be

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Subject: Water Heater & Insulation


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
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Date Posted: 11/ 7/ 01, 3:45am

Where is the water heater on a 1986 38" pusher 8v92? Rug is wet in front of the bed, looked at water tank & all fittings by pump. All seems ok & no leaks at that point.
Has anyone re insulated the engine compartment on a pusher? All of the foam rubber is gone on mine. What material did you use and what is the best glue and way to go about it.

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[> Subject: Re: Water Heater & Insulation


Author:
HR SKILLERN
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Date Posted: 10/ 22/ 01, 4:34am

Hi,
Look behind the bed, in the closet area. Probably the water heater has rusted through its bottom and now you get to replace it. The solution is to call BB parts, ask them to fax the instructions for installing the Raritan 1700 12 gallon marine water heater. The water heater may be ordered directly from Raritan in NJ. It costs around 400 bucks plus a solid day to install it. Good luck. PS. Another source of water leaks is from the air conditioning unit. Make sure that it drains properly.

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[> Subject: Re: Water Heater & Insulation


Author:
Jim Scoggins
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 7/ 01, 3:45am

Another possibility for the wet carpet. Have you recently filled the water tank?
mid 80's PT's with queen bed: Had a water siphoning problem that collapsed the water tank when filling it to the point where water ran out the overflow. Had to have a new tank built
contact me for more info.

Jim

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Subject: A/C - "AutoFrost" ... an alternative to R12?


Author:
Randy Frazier
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 7/ 01, 3:34am

Has anyone tried recharging their dash Air Conditioner system with an alternative to R12? I have seen this "AutoFrost" R12 substitute and wondered if anyone has tried it. Or alternatively, what is involved in re-fitting the dash air to a "modern" freon replacement, and who does that sort of work? (note - I have an '87 Forward Control, w/ CAT 3208TA 300HP Turbo.)

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[> Subject: Re: A/C - "AutoFrost" ... an alternative to R12?


Author:
Jeff Miller
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 21/ 01, 7:06pm

I watched a technician do this at Holland Motorhomes, he changed it over to R-134a. The tech. told me that they change many older Wanderlodges over to R-134, and that it is an economical and reliable change (but I don't remember the price).

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[> Subject: Re: A/C - "AutoFrost" ... an alternative to R12?


Author:
Bruce Morris
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 22/ 01, 4:48pm

If you check here in the Fixes section Jim Scoggins has an article on changing the dash air from R12 to R134A. He did it himself and said it wasn't as involved as he thought it would be.

You might want to read it, or you can also find it at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wanderlodge in the Files section.

Regards, Bruce in Raleigh, NC KI4ME
1983 Wanderlodge 35FC-RB
FMCA 7142s GoodSam
Web: http://www.geocities.com/bamnc/mypage.html

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[> Subject: Re: A/C - "AutoFrost" ... an alternative to R12?


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 27/ 01, 7:21pm

Go to http://www.autocool-refrigerants.com/product.htm#tech%20page that is a site with 12A a direct replacement for 12.

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[> Subject: Re: A/C - "AutoFrost" ... an alternative to R12?


Author:
Jim Scoggins
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 7/ 01, 3:34am

134A conversion
1986 PT40
Here is some info you all might want to capture.
The air conditioning has gradually deteriorated in my coach. Leaking R12 into the atmosphere and the expense of replacement R12 drove me toward a conversion attempt. Factory conversion, while effective, is expensive ($3500-4000 -- they do replace all the plumbing and all components -- compressor, dryer, evaporator etc., etc)
After some discussion with my local trusty mech at the Highway Garage, Stafford, VA, we decided to try a less expensive approach that while not a perfect solution, gets it done.

Discussion with the factory reps indicate they charged the system with 5-6 lbs. of R12 and then watched the bubbles in the dryer. Note: watching bubbles is not effective for 134. Accordingly, using the 80% conversion we figured somewhere between four/five lbs. would be needed.

We installed a new dryer (in passenger overhead--has the sight gage). The system was evacuated, checked to see if it would hold vacuum, and filled with 4.5 lbs. of 134A, A/C oil, and leak check dye (while visible to the eye it is best to use a black light). It was a 90 degree day, sea level-- pressures were 36 and 247 for low/ high side.

So far, so good. While one cannot hang meat it seems to be working fine.

Wouldn't you know it. After completing the evolution, the long time engineer guru (Guy Moulder) from the factory called. He said the system was a 6 LB system and I should therefore have 4.8 lbs. of 134A in the system.

Total expense was a little over $400.

Now I have a base line. I will explore running new and modern plumbing when/if the need arises.

I bought a charge kit from an auto parts place (about $15) and a couple of cans of 134A from Wal-Mart. My plan: add no more than 1 can if things go south on the road somewhere

Hope this helps. Contact me if you need more info. I saw where some one said i did this my self. Sorta true. I did the dirty work but paid an air conditioner tech for his brains and the evacuation and gage work. Any automotive air conditioner guy can do this.

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Subject: Filter for bedroom airconditioner


Author:
Mike Warmbier
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Date Posted: 11/ 5/ 01, 3:06pm

1983 PT 40 Have 3 central airconditioners. Found filters for one in front and middle. Can not locate one for bedroom area. Since the other two were very dirty I assume this will also be the case in the rear.

Also does anyone have a good method to aim the headlights, mine (4 lamp system) just don"t do the job. They seem bright enough.........

Mike

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[> Subject: Re: Filter for bedroom airconditioner


Author:
HR SKILLERN
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 31/ 01, 6:41am

Hi,
Look in the shirt closet behind the bed. There is a small door on the wall inside the closet leading to the evaporator. The filter should be found in there. So far as aiming the headlights, I would have a garage do it. They have the machine needed to do it accurately. Good luck.

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[> [> Subject: Re: Filter for bedroom airconditioner


Author:
Mike Warmbier
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 1/ 01, 5:55pm

Thanks for the prompt reply. I found the air intake for the AC, over the bed and under the mirror. The grill is pretty dirty but I can't figure out how to remove it since it appears to be part of the wall. It is not screwed or fastened into the wall but I notice a screw at each end of the wall which means to whole section would have to be pulled out. I removed the screws but this sections seems to be firmly attached. Any help before I get out my sawzal and 12 pack and get serious about this problem.

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: Filter for bedroom airconditioner


Author:
HR SKILLERN
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 5/ 01, 7:19am

Hi,
I don't think that you are on the right track. The filter should be fairly accessible and should not require that you disassemble anything. Find the evaporator---in my 40' 85PT, the central a/c evaporator in the bedroom is located in a closet behind the bed---and the air return filter should be attached to the evaporator. Access is gained through a small door specifically installed for this purpose inside the shirt closet. If the filter hasn't been changed lately, I advise you to pour a little bleach in the pan that the evap. rests on to aid in its draining. Get the book out and read the procedure. Good luck.

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Filter for bedroom airconditioner


Author:
Mike Warmbier
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 5/ 01, 3:06pm

Thanks for your help. Found the filter this morning. It was in small closet on right side of bed. The reason I couldn't find it was someone had mounted a 110 volt converter in the closet and this blocked the view of the small door. When I moved converter, found the door and filter. It was very dirty and I'll be able to clean it as required.

Mike

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Subject: Trailer Pulling


Author:
Thomas Thompson
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 5/ 01, 9:18am

I have a 36' 1983 Bluebird FC with a 3208 Cat Turbo & Allison Tran. I would like to pull a 24' trailer with a medium size car inside. Does anyone know if the tranny & engine can handle this load ok without causing damage?

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[> Subject: Re: Trailer Pulling


Author:
Mike McMahan
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 11/ 5/ 01, 9:18am

I have several friends who have used the fc's to pull race car trailers without any problems. They did have to reinforce the hitch and add the elec brake controller. Mike

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Subject: AC Voltage Diagram


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 31/ 01, 4:45pm

Anyone have a diagram or a schematic of the AC voltage layout on a 1986 PT 38. Front overhead dash panel ac voltmeters show no 110 voltage on either leg. Meters in dinette control panel show 110 on both legs.

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Subject: Hot Water Heater


Author:
Kevin McKeown
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 29/ 01, 4:22pm

I'm having fun looking in all the nooks and cranies in my 1986 38' PT (had it now for a few months). For reasons unknown, I can get any hot water when hooked up to 110v. Any secrets on this? I might have flipped a switch somewhere, or in the wrong configuration. My hot water switch is on and glowing in the cabinet behind the rear bed..any ideas. Also, what are the other two electrical switches for in the same cabinet?

Thanks like always!

Kevin McKeown
Yorba Linda, CA
1986 PT38'

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[> Subject: Re: Hot Water Heater


Author:
HR SKILLERN
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 29/ 01, 4:22pm

Re: the water heater---check the circuit breaker. There are other switches which, when activated, will prevent its use such as the "tank empty" switch or maybe the overtemp cutout switch. There should be a reset button, if that's the case, on the water heater itself. The simple and most probable is the circuit breaker needs to be reset. Re: the other two switches near the water heater heater switch; If I remember correctly they are for the battery heater and engine heater for cold wx starts. If you have a W/L ops manual, you should be able to find out how to use them.
Good luck.

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Subject: 1995 BMC 37 foot


Author:
Dean
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 28/ 01, 5:30pm

Looked at an extremely well cared for BMC with 50K miles.

I know this not a Wanderlodge, but what is the reputation of the BMC that Bluebird built for 3 o 4 years?

Thanks
Dean RV Wanabee

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Subject: Mystery switch


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 21/ 01, 11:18am

On the baseboad of the drivers side couch on a 1986 PT 38 there are two small switches side by side. One is off & on and the other hi & low. Same set up in bedroom of coach. Anyone know what they are for? seems to me they sould be nite lite switches but the only way I can turn on the nite lites is a switch over the rear bed that has the lable nite lite.

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[> Subject: Re: Mystery switch


Author:
Mike Warmbier
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 18/ 01, 5:13pm

I'm not sure but I think the switches you are refering to are for the coach hot water heat, this is the heaters that use hot water from the engine to heat the coach

Mike

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[> [> Subject: Re: Mystery switch


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 20/ 01, 5:19pm

Thanks for the info, that is what they were.

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[> Subject: Re: Mystery switch


Author:
Randy Frazier
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 21/ 01, 11:18am

Those switches are for the heating system that runs off the engine hot water. There are likely one or two more similar heaters along the length of the coach, likely one in the kitchen and then one back in the bedroom. To use the system, you have to have the engine warmed up, turn the "Summer/Winter" switch to "Winter" (on O/H dash Panel) turn the main "Front Heat" switch on, then set the room thermostats to "heat" and "on" and to an appropriate temp. If all that is set up, these heaters will run and heat the coach while you are driving. At least that's how it works on my 87 Forward Control.

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Subject: 110 volt chargers cooking batteries


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 20/ 01, 5:42pm

Thought I saw a fix at this site a few days ago about a member selling a fix that shut off the 110V chargers when the batteries were at full charge. Can not find it now.

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Subject: Sliding Tracks for Sofa Bed


Author:
Mark Walker
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 19/ 01, 12:50pm

Where can I find replacement sliding tracks for my sofa/bed?(84PT36)

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[> Subject: Re: Sliding Tracks for Sofa Bed


Author:
Bob Johannesen
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 19/ 01, 12:50pm

I found those oak tracks in the Rockler Woodworking Supply catalog. They should be available on the WEB, but it requires three tracks and they are sold in pairs, so you have to buy two pairs. Good luck !

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Subject: The Horn


Author:
Elmer Aydelotte
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 19/ 01, 12:02pm

Have an 86 38" pusher, can anyone give me trouble shooting info on the musical horn? Where is the horn control box located?

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[> Subject: Re: The Horn


Author:
Bob Johannesen
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 19/ 01, 12:02pm

I found my horn control module (on my 91) screwed to the underside of the dash top in front of the passenger. I accessed it through the front.

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Subject: WANT TO BUY 31FT FC 1984-87


Author:
HANK HANNIGAN
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 10/ 18/ 01, 4:43pm

WE ARE LOOKING FOR A FC31 1984,85,86,87. PREFERABLY ONE OWNER, IN GREAT SHAPE. CASH BUYER.
APPRECIATE IF ANYONE HEARS OF ONE THINKING ABOUT SELLING.
THANK YOU.
PLEASE EMAIL ME OR CALL (808) 599-7741

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Subject: 1978 31' FC NOISE-VIBRATION-FUMES


Author:
Steven Daniels
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Date Posted: 10/ 16/ 01, 3:40pm

I am new to BBs and have some concerns about a model I may be interested in purchasing. It is a 1978 31'FC with a 210 3208 motor. At idle and while driving, it emits much more noise than my 24' gas powered Class C of the same vintage. Is this to be expected, or can it be cured with insulation? Also at idle, there is a lot of vibration (enough to shake through your whole body). It does not appear to increase or decrease while the vehicle is being driven but can be felt throughout the whole coach. It does, however, diminish the further aft you go. Is this something one lives with in an FC, or an indication of problems (i.e. bad U-joints, something out of balance, loose/worn motor mounts, etc.)? The motor smokes at idle. Normal or not? Should one be smelling exhaust fumes in the coach? This could be due to the fact that the exhaust exits just aft of the coach door. If it needs to be rerouted, where should it exit? Any insights, advice and/or comments will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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[> Subject: Re: 1978 31' FC NOISE-VIBRATION-FUMES


Author:
Jeff Miller
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Date Posted: 10/ 16/ 01, 3:40pm

All could be normal, depending on how much.
The 3208 Cat is famous for white smoke during warm-up, a later fuel injection system can reduce it. Running warm it should not smoke. Black or blue smoke is different, some black on acceleration is okay when warm, too much indicates restricted air filter, bad injectors, or injection pump out of calibration. blue smoke is noramlly crankcase oil burning.
Some vibration at idle is normal, enough to shake the mirrors is probably not. Different vibrations can mean different things.
Noise will be more than a gas engine, you're sitting on a 10.4liter V-8 diesel BUT, look in the engine compartment to see if the insulation is shot, it probably is. The noise can be reduced with new and better insulation, and new carpet, but again not as much as a new gas engine or a pusher.
The exhaust IMO should be routed out the left rear corner, but 4" pipe is not cheap.
Have the engine surveyed by a reputable CAT dealer, he can tell you much. Also look for maintenance records, a neglected Cat is an expensive one. Oil and filter changes, anti-freeze testing, valve-lash setting, and fuel maintenance is all important. You should also have good oil pressure, >35psi@idle.
These are all normal vehicle items. The difference is truck parts will last a long time, but are expensive to buy.

- Jeff

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Subject: 31' 1984 Wanderlodge


Author:
Jerry Cram
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Date Posted: 10/ 16/ 01, 3:25pm

My wife and I have never considered owning a Blue Bird until recently. We were contemplating the purchase of a new travel trailer in the 28K to 32K range to take to Florida for 3 or 4 months this winter. However the father of a close friend has suggested that we consider purchasing his 1984 31' Wanderlodge. I have yet to do a visual inspection, but he has told me that the motorhome has only 30K miles on the odometer, has all the "bells and whistles" and is in
near perfect condition.
If anyone has the knowledge that I lack in this area, please send an email and advise as to what I should look for when conducting my inspection, as well as the general
"ballpark" worth of this vehicle, if it is actually in the condition descibed by the present owner.

Thanks for your help,

Jerry P. Cram

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[> Subject: Re: 31' 1984 Wanderlodge


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 10/ 15/ 01, 5:33am

use the inspectoion checklist available on this site

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[> Subject: Re: 31' 1984 Wanderlodge


Author:
Jeff Miller
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Date Posted: 10/ 16/ 01, 3:25pm

The value of a Wanderlodge varies a good deal with condition, colors, and features beyond just miles, length, and years. A good place to start is the Bill Board (classifieds) on this site, www.birdconnection.com, and autotrader.com to see what the asking prices are for similar coaches. Be sure to compare rear bath to rear bath, and side bath to side bath.

If it truly does have 30k miles, look for documentation to prove it. It could have been lived in for much of the time, or simply neglected. Either of these will cause more wear or damage than miles, I'd rather have a 200,000mile well maintained coach's driveline. New bearings in the engine (installed) are not much more than a new refrigerator (installed), a new A/C unit, or a new furnace, or even a pair of tires. Ditto for the generator useage.

If all systems are good, and the engine/driveline survey from a reputable Cat diesel mechanic is good, it is usually hard to wear this coach out.

- Jeff

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Subject: 89 35ft FC


Author:
Ed Downs
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Date Posted: 10/ 10/ 01, 6:19pm

What is the engine in this coach? The add says 35-3411. Is that a Cat engine? Thanks Ed Downs

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Subject: 1983 PT35 Motor Generator


Author:
Tim Babiak
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Date Posted: 10/ 6/ 01, 6:39pm

I've owned a 1983 PT35 for a year. In that time I've
repaired or replaced alot of little things. I have a
problem with my motor generator not working. I follow
all the factory instructions for usage but it doesn't
turn on. Any suggestions?
Also, this Bird is pushed by a 6V92 Detroit. It's
giving me only 5.6 miles per gallon. Is this normal?

Thanks,
Tim

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[> Subject: Re: 1983 PT35 Motor Generator


Author:
HR SKILLERN
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Date Posted: 10/ 5/ 01, 10:22am

I had a problem with my Redi-line. The remedy was simple---make a paper weight out of it. Seriously, they were the only game in town when they were built. But, they are very inefficient---only about 70% efficient, meaning that you lose 30% of your power in the transmission process. I replaced mine with a Heart 2KW inverter and am very happy with it. Plus you get a 100 amp battery charger with the inverter. I then disconnected the two converters (just unplug them) and use only the inverter/charger to charge my batteries. It is a "smart" charger, 3 phase, and consequently, my batteries don't boil dry like they used to. Good luck and keep on bussin'.

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[> [> Subject: Re: 1983 PT35 Motor Generator


Author:
Tim Babiak
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Date Posted: 10/ 5/ 01, 12:03pm

HR:
Thanks for replying so quickly.
The Heart 2KW Inverter, does it fit into place where
the motor gen. sets, or do you have to make an alteration?
Is it easy to wire into the coach?

Thanks,
Tim

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[> [> [> Subject: Inverter from Redi-Line


Author:
Jeff Miller
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Date Posted: 10/ 5/ 01, 2:06pm

I chose to install my Heart inverter where the chargers were. The chargers are paperweights anyway, and it was closer to the batteries (important). The wiring should all be upgraded / upsized anyway for the higher current capacity, and I had a new sheet-metal shelf made to hold the inverter so that it fits properly.
The wiring was not difficult for one who understands electricity and wiring, but it was time comsuming.

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[> Subject: Re: 1983 PT35 Motor Generator


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 10/ 5/ 01, 8:06pm

Your 1600 watt Redi Line Generator has probably served its useful life. Likely the demand sensor is shot. They are still manufactured and repairable. Go to rediline.con for internet info. I just replaced my Redi Line in a 1984 PT36 with an inverter. I believe the only inverter that will fit the abbreviated electrical cabinet in the shorter coach is the Statpower 1000 and 1800 watt units. Both have the same size enclosure - only the power and price is different. I can give you good advice on model type if you like - call 580/564-3517.

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[> Subject: Re: 1983 PT35 Motor Generator


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 10/ 6/ 01, 6:39pm

The Redi Line generator uses two DC motors, one at each end of the housing, to run an AC generator in the center of the housing. Power to these motors is actuated through two solenoids in the electrical compartment when the ignition is turned "on". Trubleshoot as follows: Turn the ignition "on", and using a multimeter, check for DC current at each DC motor on the generator. If voltage is present at both, there is a problem inside the housing. If voltage is present at only one motor, check the appropriate solenoid to assure voltage is arriving at the solenoid, then confirm that voltage is not leaving the solenoid, then check the smaller colored wire to a smaller stud on the solenoid top to insure there is voltage to excite the solenoid coming from the ignition switch. Next check the white wire from the other small stud on the top of the solenoid to insure it is grounded. If both solenoids are properly grounded, if there is ignition voltage to excite both solenoids and battery voltage available to be switched at both solenoids but only one exiting wire feeding one of the DC motors has voltage then one solenoid has failed. There is a possibility both solenoids could have failed. If you replace the solenoids they each must be rated for 80 amps continous duty, or you can use one solenoid rated for 200 amps continuous duty. The original Cole/Hersee solenoids are available from West Marine and perhaps from Blue Bird. If there is no exciting voltage from the ignition to the solenoids, your problem is either in the exciting wire or the contact at the ignition switch feed.

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Subject: TOAD wiring


Author:
Jim Scoggins
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Date Posted: 10/ 6/ 01, 8:09am

I am electrically challenged so be patient. I have an 86PT with which I have usually towed a small trailer. The light setup from the coach to the trailer is a typical four prong trailer connector. I recently purchased a 1991 Jeep wrangler to use as a Toad. On occasion, the jeep will be used to tow a small trailer but not while being towed by the coach.
I purchased a plug in connector set for the jeep to wire it for towing a trailer. This standard four wire kit plugs into the harness at the rear of the jeep in the vicinity of both tail lights.

The question: When I am towing the jeep with the coach, can I run the connection from the coach, the length of the jeep, and plug it into the connector at the rear of the jeep, thus having brake, running, and turn signal lights for the jeep.
The goal is to have one hook up into the jeep whereby one can hook trailer lights to it or activate the jeep's lights when it is a Toad.

Thanks,
Jim

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Subject: 1983 PT 40 question on location air tanks


Author:
Mike Warmbier
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Date Posted: 10/ 5/ 01, 7:53pm

I have a 1983 PT 40 and think it has two or three air tanks, one for the steps and other air accessories and two for the air brakes. Where are these located and how often should they be drained? Where is air compressor on engine?

Also I found a petcock under the engine (6V92 w/turbo) and assume this is some type of drain, I opened it, some oil came out, so I closed it. What is this for and should I be draining it.

If you have a Blue Bird the same model I have, would like to talk to you. You can E mail your phone number and I'll give you a call.

Thanks,

Mike crosley31@aol.com

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[> Subject: Re: 1983 PT 40 question on location air tanks


Author:
harvey Lawrence
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Date Posted: 10/ 4/ 01, 7:40pm

phone 361 790 8447

do not under any circumstances crawl under your motor home and bleed air out of the tanks, unless you want to be crushed like a bug!!

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[> Subject: Re: 1983 PT 40 question on location air tanks


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 10/ 5/ 01, 7:53pm

call me at 580/564-3517
There are three air reservoirs, one for the rear brakes, one for the front brakes and one for the accessories. They are supposed to be drained periodically, but in reality, if you keep you air dryer serviced regularly, water accumulation should not be a problem. When you park your coach, be sure to pump the brake pedal to exhaust all the air pressure, otherwise the constant pressure is tough on the seals and other brake parts. The engine air compressor is on the passenger side high rear (toward the transmission) and can be seen and felt by looking behind the exhaust pipe.

My best fuel mileage (interstate driving on the coastal plain) is 6 MPG which is normal. If you start in Denver and drive 60 MPH downhill to Dallas on the interstate you might eek out 7 MPG.

Will be happy to share information on the 6V92 with you.

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Subject: SP36 Generator Exhaust & Extender


Author:
Frederick C. Riester
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Date Posted: 09/ 30/ 01, 8:01am

Has anyone ever replaced the motor that extends the generator and/or replaced the exhaust slip-pipe assembly? Would be interested in any tips or suggestions on the job as well as information on how to make the generator slide work smoothly. Also any ideas on protecting the exhaust pipe (as it exits the generator compartment) from scraping in those pavement dips that sometimes can not be avoided?

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Subject: Cat 3208TA turbo overheating


Author:
Gerry Vicha
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Date Posted: 09/ 30/ 01, 7:47am

I have a 1990, 36SP with 23,000 actual miles,630 engine hours. I am Having a problem with the Pyrometer reading 900+ degrees to near 1150+ degrees when the engine is on a hard pull. These tempratures seam dangerously high to me. I have replaced the air cleaner, all belts, water pump, and recored the radiator. I have also noted that it only developes a maximum of 10 Pounds of Turbo Thrust, other turbo charged Cat engines I have driven would develope up to 30 pounds of thrust while never exceeding 950 degrees in temprature. Anyone have any ideas whats wrong????? Thanks
Gerry @ GRVMantuaO@aol.com

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[> Subject: Re: Cat 3208TA turbo overheating


Author:
Harvey Lawrence
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Date Posted: 09/ 20/ 01, 2:43pm

first...if your engine exhaust is smoking on a hard pull and the pyro heat is going up, probably you are dumping too much fuel into the cylinders and calibrations may be in order. If the engine exhaust is not smoking and you are getting higher temps then best you check the engine timing, it may be a little off.
Harv

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[> [> Subject: Re: Cat 3208TA turbo overheating


Author:
Gerry Vicha
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Date Posted: 09/ 22/ 01, 2:49pm

I got your reply, Thanks , I took it to a Cat dealer today,09/22/01, and they could find nothing wrong, engine was set to spec's. They suggested advancing the timeing 4 Degrees to improve preformance. Thanks for your reply !!!

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[> Subject: Re: Cat 3208TA turbo overheating


Author:
John Wentling
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Date Posted: 09/ 21/ 01, 8:47am

Have a 90 SP36 also the temp ranges and boost are the same that mine run. Accoring to BB they are with in spec.

Mine has some smoke on hard pull.

Gets about 5.5 Miles per Gallon

77000 Miles and 1675 Hrs on engine

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[> [> Subject: Re: Cat 3208TA turbo overheating


Author:
harvey lawrence
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Date Posted: 09/ 21/ 01, 6:39pm

rather than talk to blue bird I talked to a very good CAT dealer and he seemed to think tha the temps mentioned were a bit high. suggest you do the same to see wha they tell you. I contacted EA Martin in Springfield MO
Harv

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[> Subject: Re: Cat 3208TA turbo overheating


Author:
Frederick C. Riester
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Date Posted: 09/ 30/ 01, 7:47am

The dash guage is calibrated in PSI and the owner's manual says you should see 23.2 PSI (or at least that what my '89 36SP manual says) but I learned at the factory that is a typo. I had some major work done a couple of years ago at the factory and, after some research by the service people, was told that the 23.2 is for inches of water (or mercury - yes I know there is a big difference) and that measured in PSI the max is 12.5 PSI.

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Subject: 1986 PT38 Electrical Quirks, Etc.


Author:
Kevin McKeown
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Date Posted: 09/ 24/ 01, 7:27pm

I recently purchased a 1986 PT38 (8V92 Detroit) from a reputable RV dealer in Orange County, CA. I thought all was working ok, but have found a few quirks that I haven't been able to remedy...
#1: The little blue "on" indicator dash wont go off on rear landing lights or rear back up lights, and the actual lights don't turn on (sealed bulb out maybe?)
#2: When hooked up to shore water, I don't get shore water...only tank water w/pump.
#3: Do I have to take apart the docking light housings to get to the bulbs?
#4: My refer only cools down to 43 degrees...AC/DC or gas...anything I can do? The temp control is turned to coldest setting.
#5: The engine compartment squirrel cage blower went out...the bearing pin broke off the blower thingie. I've called just about everyplace, BB included, and no help or suggestions. I've been told that the engine fan/blower really isn't necessary...am I taking a chance of hurting anything by not having one?

I have a few more questions, but I'll wait 'til next time. So far, even with the little quirks, I love my BB! What a nice machine!

Thanks

Kevin McKeown
Yorba Linda, CA

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[> Subject: Re: 1986 PT38 Electrical Quirks, Etc.


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 09/ 24/ 01, 7:27pm

Here are some guess answers to your questions:

#1 - rear landing lights and back up lights have been turned on by the security light switch in the bedroom - bulbs are probably burned out from continuous operation - turn off security light switch before fooling with the bulbs.
#2 - you wont get shore water unless your "Tank Fill" switch in the utility bay is turned off. I cannot understand why you have not seen water running from the fresh water tank overflow if the "Tank Fill" switch has been left on. Water has to get into the tank somehow, and the Sporlan valve (solenoid) operated by the "Tank Fill" switch cannot have failed in both the open and closed positions simultaneously.
#3 - probably - BB has different lights for various years.
#4 - call Dometic at 800/544-4881, but you probably need a new refrigerator.
#5 - the squirrel cage blower in the engine compartment was manufactured in England and cost a princely sum when new. From the start the fans had bearing problems and ran down the batteries when stopped without shore power. Most owners I know have abandoned fan repairs and operation. You can add a pair of electric radiator fans to the battery access door if you like.

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Subject: air ride


Author:
Matt Dondero
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Date Posted: 09/ 17/ 01, 6:13pm

I have an 80 33 foot with air ride sometimes when the supension fills it would come up high on the right side.I would dump the system move the coach a little and it would level out. on my last trip it came up high on right side I dumped the system then she came up high in the back and low in the front , kind of california low rider style. I dumped again this time high on the right. limped home that way. the bags hoses and lines seem ok no air leaks the linkage to the control valves is connected . i suspect one of the control valves is at fault . any info on how this system works or the availability of repair parts would be of help.

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[> Subject: Re: air ride


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 09/ 11/ 01, 7:25pm

I believe repair parts are plentiful at 800/495-7787. Be sure to have your coach body number ready as well as model year and length.

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[> Subject: Re: air ride


Author:
Harvey Lawrence
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Date Posted: 09/ 17/ 01, 6:13pm

I had almost identical problems with my PT 40 this summer. One of the leveler contol valves stuck and ultimaty broke allowing that back corner to sag. Any auto parts store handliing airbag parts for a tractor trailer will have or can get the valve. Mine was replaced for $93.00 and all works fine. when I got the old valve off the coach it was actually froze up! I think if the air dryer is not serviced when it should be it allows moisture to build up in the leveler valves and corrodes them.
Harv

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Subject: Norcold ac/dc freezer chest


Author:
Mac McCraw
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Date Posted: 09/ 10/ 01, 5:41am

Need to know if there is a replacement for the Norcold model mrft 630B portable freezerchest located in the basement of a 1987 40 ft PT or if anyone knows where to locate a replacement compressor for same. Factory has discontinued the compressor and the new models are the wrong deminsions.

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[> Subject: Re: Norcold ac/dc freezer chest


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 09/ 9/ 01, 7:17am

Mac:

You might try www.grainger.com. The freezer chest is almost certainly a component assembly so you may find the compressor as a sold alone item.

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[> [> Subject: Re: Norcold ac/dc freezer chest


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 09/ 10/ 01, 5:41am

Thanks Bob, I will give them a try.

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Subject: Fridiking Grids


Author:
John Huston
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Date Posted: 09/ 9/ 01, 7:27am

Have a 1978 BB. Trying to locate plastic snap out grid for the coach AC (FrigiKing). Any help would be appreciated.

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Subject: ELECTRICAL PROBLEM


Author:
Tom Ray
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Date Posted: 09/ 8/ 01, 2:16pm

Good News/Bad News
Thought I would let all that tried to help me with the problem, that I found that the security switch over the bed was on continuously even though it physically appeared to be off. This was engergizing the multipoint transparent relay above the bed which was in turn engergizing all the other solenoids/relays that control all the outside lights. I took the little relay out and that seems to have solved my problem, since I never used the security feature anyway. Still have one indicator light on dash lit up on the driving light switch. Gonna tear into front of bus to see if I can trace that problem out. Will let you all know what I find (if anything). Thanks one and all for the many suggestions. I had so many problems occurring at once, my mind was in overload, your help was invaluable.
Thanks again, Tom '82FC

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Subject: electrical short?


Author:
Tom Ray
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Date Posted: 09/ 6/ 01, 1:17pm

Ok all you BB wizards out there, I've got one for ya!
Went bird hunting in South Texas over the h-day and woke up Monday morning @ 1:30am with my telephone, cb going crazy, lights in coach wouldn't work, etc. Went outside to see if the RV park had lost power, nope. Walked around the bird and saw that one of the halogen back up lights was barely glowing, docking lights and one driving light were doing same thing. Batteries were dead even though I was hooked up with 50amp service. Both batt chargers hot as a pistol.
After daylight, some friends and I installed new batteries and had someone in coach flip the master on & off as we looked & listened inside & outside coach. Two relays above couch were engaging, one above bed and one behind the dash panel was engaging. As we started disconnecting the control wires to the relays one by one, the lights started going out. That is, all except the indicator lights on the dash showing that the backup lights and docking lights were on, but the switches were in the off position. Now, to this ignorant old man, this means I have a hot supply going to ground and backfeeding these control relays through their grounds? If that is indeed what is happening, Question is where the devil do you start looking for the culprit? Wondered if any of you guys had ever had such an experience and had found the problem to be any specific piece of equipment. Thanks for any help you can forward. Made it home without any further problems by leaving all the relays/solenoids disconnected. Alternator brought the new batts up to speed and everything seems to work(except of course the aforementioned disconnected equip.) Tom '82FC

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[> Subject: Re: electrical short?


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 09/ 6/ 01, 12:11pm

Tom: As to the phone and cb working while "turned off", that has to be covered by the paranormal. Obviously you were visited by the spirits of South Texas. The rest is explainable. During the night someone accidentally hit the Security Light switch (generally located in the bedroom) which turns on the halogen backup lights, landing lights and front driving lights. This explains why these lights were "on" while their dash switches were "off". Next, your chargers were hot as pistols because they have degraded over time and could keep up with the relentless DC demand. Chargers are really converters first and chargers second. What this means is that they convert AC to DC first to meet the DC demand and then if there is any current left over, they charge the batteries. In your case, the chargers could not meet the DC demand which resulted in the third aspect, which was the DC demand drained the batteries to the point they were depleted. By disconnecting the relays which were excited by the signal from the Security Light switch, you in effect "turned off" the Security Light switch by eliminating the signal at the relay. You still need to find the switch in the bedroom dash and toggle it "off".

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[> [> Subject: Re: electrical short?


Author:
Tom Ray
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Date Posted: 09/ 6/ 01, 1:17pm

Thanks for your reply Bob,
After finding the security lights/docking lights glowing, the first thing I looked at was the bedroom switch. It was off. You have given me an idea though ------- the bedroom switch could be fried and making continuous contact.
Would that be great, or what?!!
Thanks for the input, I'll check it out and advise.
Tom

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[> Subject: Re: electrical short?


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 09/ 6/ 01, 1:10pm

Tom: While you had a spooky experience, I no longer believe the noise you heard was paranormal, or the phone, or the cb. What you should have heard, and probably did hear, was the "Low Battery" alarm going off. It is located on the monitor panel and, no pun intended, sounds like it woke you. All in all your coach worked as designed. Had you been awake at the time and had the presence of mind to check the gauges, which none of us do in an emergency, you would have noticed the DC discharging exceeded the DC charging which would lead to a battery failure. While you still wouldn't have had a clue as to the reason for the draw, it would have told you your chargers were no longer up to the task. A typical PDI (pre delivery inspection) procedure for a coach is to turn on all the lights and see if the chargers can keep up with the demand by watching the gauges, if not, it points to faulty or inadequate chargers.

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Subject: FC 1973 Parking Brake Problem


Author:
Leo Hair
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Date Posted: 09/ 3/ 01, 9:20am

Is there any fix for the parking brake for this vehicle. I have replaced all of the components and am still having difficulty in keeping it locked up from movement even on a slight grade.

It is especially difficult when launching my boat....just wants to keep going down into the water, making it impossible for me to get out of the coach. Any help will be appreciated.

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[> Subject: Re: FC 1973 Parking Brake Problem


Author:
Harvey Lawrence
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Date Posted: 09/ 3/ 01, 9:20am

leo I had a 31 ft fc 1973 and I found you are exactly correct.
I assume you are backing your boat down the ramp. WRONG!!! The drum brakes on the the 73 would not lock up as well in reverse as they will going forward!! I found the I could set the parking brake on mine and still back up against considerable resistance but still back up. Going forward it would lock up tight. Also as a safety factor NEVER launch a boat with a motor home from the back! put a hitch ball on the front bumper and drive it into the water. This does several things for you, A. It allows you to watch the boat so you can launch it B. it keeps your drive wheel high & dry so they always have traction C. brakes work better forward than backward so you have max brakes If you are backing in you are in severe danger of loosing the whole rig in the drink!! Let me know please
Harv

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Subject: Transmissions


Author:
bob
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Date Posted: 09/ 1/ 01, 11:47am

I'm thinking of upgrading from my older GMC to a Blue Bird. While looking at all the used adds a common theme seems to appear. Quite a few of them have had the transmissions rebuilt. Does this seem to be a common problem, or is it lack of attention from some owners? Any replies would be appreciated.

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[> Subject: Re: Transmissions


Author:
Eric Johnson
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Date Posted: 09/ 1/ 01, 9:45am

When I was shopping around for used FC's it appeared to me that an unusual number had the Cat engines replace or rebuilt by 100,000 miles. I have talked to a number of people, including diesel mechanics, about this and it seems that the single greatest cause is lack of timely maintenance. Many people assume that a diesel engine is tough and can take a lot of abuse when in fact they will give you very good service as long as you take excellent care of them. Oil & filter changes, valve adjustments are all critical.

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[> Subject: Re: Transmissions


Author:
Harvey Lawrence
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Date Posted: 09/ 1/ 01, 11:47am

Both the Allison and the ZF transmissions are excellent devices which are built to last over 300,000 miles easily...if they are care for. They only asked that the fluid be kept clean in them be it tranny fluid or motor oil ( yes you can use motor oil in an Allison) and that they be adjusted periodically. (and of course not abused) Heat plays a very imprtant part in any automatic tranny so proper cooling is essential. This done a tranny is no worry, Where you derived your trends, and facts is beyond me,as I have never realized the correlation or assumptions you make. Of course it is buyer beware and it helps if the seller has good service records.
Harv

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Subject: Air Bag


Author:
Russ Kell
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Date Posted: 08/ 28/ 01, 2:42pm

Need help locating a source for a front air bag for my
35 foot FC. I got a couple last year at local parts
dealer for around$100 ea. but can't seem to find them
anymore. Might have to bite the bullit and pay BB $239 ea.
They are Firestone #8992
Thanks............

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[> Subject: Re: Air Bag


Author:
John O. Rud
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Date Posted: 08/ 28/ 01, 2:42pm

I have two air bags (front & back) for a 1983 FC
wanderlodge. I have traded for a 1988 pusher so these parts are left over. If you are interested, give me a call at
(602) 810-1050.

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Subject: Rear end ratio


Author:
Lee Howard
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Date Posted: 08/ 28/ 01, 5:35am

I have a 79 33 foot. We are the third owner and have a well documented history. The engine was changed out to a 250hp turbo (cat rebuild). It had 75,000 miles on it and it let go a valve. I am having it rebuilt at Cat. The rear end ratio in it is the original 5.29. I just recently discovered your sight and can see we have the wrong gearing. Cat says it will pull a 4.33 rear with no problem. We are in Texas and seldom get into the mountains. We do take a few trips to the northeast. My question is what do you think about that gearing or should we stay with the 4.63. I am going to have it done next week. Any help would be appreciated. The 4.33 figures out at 77.40/2800RPM versus 72.4/2800 with 4.63.

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[> Subject: Re: Rear end ratio


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 08/ 10/ 01, 7:13am

Lee: I think it is difficult to fault the original Blue Bird engineering even if you do live on the costal plain with no mountains - remember, you may mant to sell the bird one day to someone in West Virginia. To make sure you get all the information to make a good decision, start by calling Butch Bennett, factory service manage at 800/992-6337. If he can't answer your questions he probably can pass you on to an engineer to explain why Blue Bird used a low gear ratio in the first place.

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[> Subject: Re: Rear end ratio


Author:
Jeff
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Date Posted: 08/ 10/ 01, 9:05am

Lee:
I would side with the 4.33:1 ratio as your '79 is a lighter coach than the later air-ride coaches, and probably will do well in flat to rolling terrain and possibly improve fuel mileage, noise level, and engine wear. In addition, I would ask the folks at your Cat dealer about turning up the governor to 3000rpm (although the 250hp was originally 2650 I believe) as the 2800rpm limit will reduce power long before 2800rpm. This new limit will allow use of lower gears for climbing and will make up for your higher final drive ratio.
I believe one reason for the early low gearing was the 55mph speed limit at the time.

- Jeff

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[> Subject: Re: Rear end ratio


Author:
Steve
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Date Posted: 08/ 16/ 01, 9:52am

>I have a 79 33 foot. We are the third owner and have
>a well documented history. The engine was changed out
>to a 250hp turbo (cat rebuild). It had 75,000 miles
>on it and it let go a valve. I am having it rebuilt
>at Cat. The rear end ratio in it is the original
>5.29. I just recently discovered your sight and can
>see we have the wrong gearing. Cat says it will pull
>a 4.33 rear with no problem. We are in Texas and
>seldom get into the mountains. We do take a few trips
>to the northeast. My question is what do you think
>about that gearing or should we stay with the 4.63. I
>am going to have it done next week. Any help would be
>appreciated. The 4.33 figures out at 77.40/2800RPM
>versus 72.4/2800 with 4.63.

I have also recently purchased a 79 35'FC. the documentation is for this rig is not all that complete, but, from what I have have been able to piece together, the original 3208NA was replaced with a new (not rebuilt) 3208T in 1984. At the same time the rear end ration was changed to a 4.10:1.
We live in Washington (hilly country by definition) and have recently returned from a trip over the Cascade mountains. I had been warned to expect hill climbing to be slow and laborious but was surprised to the contrary and found that I was able to keep up with slow traffic most of the time on the uphill. RPMs remain low shifts from 2-3 at 35 mph 3-4 at 45. I have not noticed lugging and feel that I have a sensitivity to that feel. So far I have been happy with the performance of the coach on the road but I will admitt to being conservative in the highway speed department

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[> Subject: Re: Rear end ratio


Author:
Lawrence Thornell
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Date Posted: 08/ 18/ 01, 9:28pm

Before you go too far read Harvey's article in the March issue of Family Motor Coaching, "Teddy And The Two-Speed."
Teddy says this is the answer.

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[> Subject: Re: Rear end ratio


Author:
harvey lawrence
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Date Posted: 08/ 28/ 01, 5:35am

You may not like my reply, but what you are doiing does not seem to make sense to me! You can gain 5 miles per hour at 2800 Rpm and possibly a slight fuel milage increase, is it really worth the cost of changing gears?? Sounds like the diesel is doing its job but dropped a a valve?? The 3208 likes to have a valve adjustment about every 30,000 miles if it does not get it it is inclined to eat its own valves.
I am familiar with Texas roads as I spend the winters in Rockport, and I can tell you that even at 77 MPH those folks will still be passing you (smile).
Harv

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Subject: Well I just got a 66' Wanderlodge!! & HELP!


Author:
Derrek Khajavi
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Date Posted: 08/ 22/ 01, 10:28am

After much deliberation and wheelin' and dealin' I drove away with $10,000 less bucks in my pocket. She is a 66' with a 8000 mile convertion to Cat 3208 and Allison 4spd. She needs some little touches on the iterior and some rubber skirts, tires, generator work, and leveler work. She runs great with the very fresh motor. She also has new paint as of a few months ago (likely a cheap job since it needs some jams painted etc.). What I need help with is the overhead switches. Many of the lables are missing from the switches and the manual only has text descriptions. Some of them must not be working since they seem to do nothing. I would love some help figuring the order of them out. The switches are above the driver and to the street side. Thanks a bunch!

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Subject: Vogue Motorhomes


Author:
Len Lawson
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Date Posted: 08/ 21/ 01, 8:17am

I'm looking for any information about older Vogue Motorhomes. Anxious to hear from anyone you can help. THX

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Subject: No Hot Water 84PT36


Author:
Mark Walker
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Date Posted: 08/ 12/ 01, 6:03am

When I open my hot water facets nothing comes out. The cold water side works fine. Please help.

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[> Subject: Re: No Hot Water 84PT36


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 08/ 12/ 01, 6:03am

>When I open my hot water facets nothing comes out. The
>cold water side works fine. Please help.

I suspect your coach still has the factory original hot water heater that did not have a manual drain. Rather, the coach uses a pneumatic valve to switch the hot water tank inlet/outlet opening from supply to drain. I your case, I would guess the valve is stuck in the drain position. These valves become inoperable over time and need to be discarded when a new hot water heater is installed. If you water heater is original it needs to be replaced before you have a leak that soaks the bedroom area. In general, the valve in question is connected directly to the hot water heater and has a pneumatic connection towards one end, a copper supply line in the middle and a smaller copper drain line towards the opposite end. Take the valve end plate ( spring loaded)off the end opposite the pneumatic supply and tap the piston back toward the center of the valve. The repair can either be quite easy or quite messy depending on the state of repair of the water heater and the pneumatic valve. The valve may also be located in a tight area where access to, and replacement of the end plate is difficult. Do not pressurize the air system prior to making the valve repair.

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Subject: shifting to 4th gear early


Author:
Marvin VB# 1164
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Date Posted: 08/ 11/ 01, 3:11pm

1981 with a new turbo 250 installed in 1994. I bought this coach in late 99. It shifts to 4th gear at about 37mph, rpm drops to 1600 [cat. book says turbo can handle full load at 1600 rpm.This to me is luging the engine, also at full throtle it will only go 58 mph on level ground at 500 ft msl and 2350 rpm. Engine plate show 2600rpm max. I would like some info on this if someone has time. THANKS

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Subject: Generator...


Author:
Matthew Ruge
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Date Posted: 08/ 7/ 01, 5:57am

We purchased a 1980 Blue Bird Wanderlodge approximately 6 months ago. She had sat for approximately a year and we have fixed what we think is everything. But... The generator is not charging its own battery. Also os there a switch that would let the Generator Battery start the motor and let the Motor battery start the generator? Is there something we have overlooked? Also, When we run all three roof generators and the NEW FRIDGE, i˙

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[> Subject: Re: Generator...


Author:
John Stiles
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Date Posted: 08/ 7/ 01, 5:57am

I also have a 1980 and have had some service work done on my generator. The Kohler service rep told me that the charging circuitry built in is known to "go bad" on the older ones and that he recommends wiring in a small external charger. He installed a small external charger on mine which isn't much larger than a pack of cigerettes for $60 and I haven't had a problem since.

John



>We purchased a 1980 Blue Bird Wanderlodge
>approximately 6 months ago. She had sat for
>approximately a year and we have fixed what we think
>is everything. But... The generator is not charging
>its own battery. Also os there a switch that would
>let the Generator Battery start the motor and let the
>Motor battery start the generator? Is there something
>we have overlooked? Also, When we run all three roof
>generators and the NEW FRIDGE, i˙

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Subject: back up camera RCA


Author:
Harvey Lawrence
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Date Posted: 08/ 3/ 01, 7:55am

If your on a budget like me replacement cameras seem a lot at $450. I found a company that says they can repair the RCA cameras for a lot less than the cost of a new one. LRC Electronics 930 Rolff St.. Davenport IA 52802 phone 319 324 2199 and talk to them. I plan to remove my RCA and send it to them this week.
Harv

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[> Subject: Re: back up camera RCA


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 08/ 3/ 01, 7:55am

>If your on a budget like me replacement cameras seem a
>lot at $450. I found a company that says they can
>repair the RCA cameras for a lot less than the cost of
>a new one. LRC Electronics 930 Rolff St.. Davenport
>IA 52802 phone 319 324 2199 and talk to them. I plan
>to remove my RCA and send it to them this week.
>Harv

Harvey, I agree a rebuilt camera is a lot less, about $175, than a new camera and lens. I only went to the new set up after the rebuild from an outfit in Lousiana turned out to be no better than when I sent them the camera. Actually, it turns out any reliable video repair shop can do the rebuild because the basic part is the Vidicon picture tube from Panasonic. Most shops are unwilling to do the research to identify and find the part and I had at least three shops tell me the picture tubes were no longer available. For those interested in rebuilding their RCA camera, which as I recall is model 2055C, the Panasonic Vidicon picture tube is Panasonic part number 20PE13A/8844.

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Subject: Back up camera Repair or replace


Author:
Henry Pozzuoli
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Date Posted: 08/ 2/ 01, 4:18pm

I have a 1983 33ft fc with a back up camera that does not work. I called PMMI and they helped me check the system and detemined that it needed to be sent in. The problem is they may no longer have the parts. Does anyone have a complete set for sale. Has anyone fitted a newer system to their coach???????

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[> Subject: Re: Back up camera Repair or replace


Author:
harvey lawrence
[ Edit | View ]

Date Posted: 08/ 2/ 01, 4:18pm

>I have a 1983 33ft fc with a back up camera that does
>not work. I called PMMI and they helped me check the
>system and detemined that it needed to be sent in. The
>problem is they may no longer have the parts. Does
>anyone have a complete set for sale. Has anyone fitted
>a newer system to their coach???????


If you just do not happen to have 450 laying around i suggest you call LRC Electronics 930 Rolff St. Davenport IA 52802 phone 319 324 2199.. I talked with them about my RCA out of my 84 pt40 and the say they can fix it for a lot less than a new one. Of course it will not be the finest available but you can see well nevertheless.
Harv

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Subject: 1966 FC


Author:
Bob Dilks
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Date Posted: 07/ 31/ 01, 7:46am

Forgetting the year, $12,000 sure seems like a deal for a Blue Bird FC with only 14,000 miles and essentially a new engine and transmission. Regardless of the miles, there are other considerations to making this coach road worthy. Any rubber component anywhere is suspect. Having a gasoline AC generator in a diesel coach seem awkard from a fuel point of view. Good luck on your endeavors.

Bob Dilks

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