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Old 07-05-2014, 12:28 AM   #1
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Would you fix it or scrap it?

We have a 1985 Winnebago Chieftan 33'. Our first trip out, we broke a fan belt outside Springfield, MO, but a mobile repairman fixed us up. Yesterday, about this time the RV overheated with a loud noise. After 16 hours in the heat, the first 3 by the side of the road because Good Sam said there was no one to tow us, so just sleep by the side of the road. Anyway, I digress. We found a mobile mechanic who came out & replaced the valve cover gaskets (well, put some in as someone had just squeezed some goo on it & slapped them together. We get that fixed & discover that we've blown the front & rear oil seals. The mechanic can do an R & R with a rebuilt engine for about $1750 with a 90 day warranty. We have about $5k invested in it.

SO, here's the question, would you spend the money to fix the old girl, or call it quits & dump it. I'm so torn.

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Old 07-05-2014, 12:48 AM   #2
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Its a classic....I think I'd put the dough in.....Its hard to give up on an old classic rig like that.....everything needs a little bit of TLC with age.
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Old 07-05-2014, 06:18 AM   #3
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We have a 1985 Winnebago Chieftan 33'...... The mechanic can do an R & R with a rebuilt engine for about $1750 with a 90 day warranty. We have about $5k invested in it.

SO, here's the question, would you spend the money to fix the old girl, or call it quits & dump it. I'm so torn.

I don't know "how" you can get a rebuilt motor installed for that price, seems waay too cheap IMO, but if that is true (installed and warranted) then I would go for it before just giving up. Good luck. Ed
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Old 07-05-2014, 06:29 AM   #4
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I guess it may depend on how deep your pockets are. If he'll replace the motor with a warranty you may give it a shot. As mentioned seeing the older rigs on the road is great. I seen one just the other day on I-275 heading North for the weekend. WOW is all I could say for the condition it was in. Good luck on yours but remember after the motor just about anything can happen and you have to be prepared for it. Something seems to go all the time. Have fun and Be Safe.
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:44 AM   #5
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Are you talkin' 'bout CRANKSHAFT seals?

I feel like I did that jus' by dropping the oil pan...
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:53 AM   #6
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I think that you need to look at it in a couple of ways. What shape is the rest of the running gear,what condition the interior and exterior are in and how much you like riding around in a MH most of us kind of wish we had ourselves.
I wish that I was only in mine for that amount. I just had to spend $3100 for an exhaust manifold repair on my 3126B Cat and then turned around and coughed up $3000 for an aftermarket warranty,so that I wouldn't have that again. I really like my rig and don't want to change it for another one.
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:02 AM   #7
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If the coach is in good shape then yes, i'd fix it. Running an older vehicle will always involve a higher level of maintenance. You'll eventually get on top of it. Keep the faith!
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:10 PM   #8
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Not sure why you would want to replace the engine when both oil seals can be replaced. The task would involve the temporary removal of the crankshaft to get to the seals, then the shaft would be reinstalled. If there is nothing more wrong with the engine than the seals (you DO have an oil leak correct? When the seals are compromised, they allows oil to leak from the front and rear of the engine), then just have the seals replaced. The cost would vary but I doubt if it would pass the $500.00 mark and most of that would be labor. The seals themselves are relatively inexpensive. Seals will wear out, but having both fail at the same time is odd unless something else caused the seals to fail. The only thing that comes to mind is a clogged PCV valve or a clogged crankcase breather system. If that happens, blow-by would build up in the crankcase and with nowhere else to go, the pressure would relieve itself through the lowest point of resistance which would be the oil seals.

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Old 07-06-2014, 03:50 PM   #9
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I think there is more wrong, but I personally don't understand all of the details. Once it was taken apart, there are enough things wrong that replacement is the way to go. We will get a good warranty on the motor once it is in and the connections to transmission, crankshaft & exhaust manifold will be tended to and the exhaust system sealed properly. We stupidly believed the previous owner was repairing what he said he was instead of putting it together with "chewing gum & bailing wire." I used to take care of the engine on my vehicle when I was a teenager. Maybe it's time to see if I can figure out this engine & what care it needs.

DH really enjoyed our trip to St. Louis more than he thought he would. He really likes our RV & unless we decide to full-time, it's more rig than we will ever need. He realizes he is pushing 70 & has decided he wants to go & do while he can go & do. The interior of the rig is in good condition. I want to replace the carpeting with hard flooring & the wall board beside & behind the stove. The wall behind the the stove has been overheated & melted. I don't want a fire. But structurally it is a sturdy old rig that's pretty enough. And once she's up & running, she will be paid in full which means a lot.
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Old 07-06-2014, 10:58 PM   #10
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In my opinion ( and we all have at least one)...
First: I'd hire a local verifiably qualified motorhome tech and pay for a complete look-over of your entire coach for the purpose of giving you a detailed estimate of EVERYTHING that needs to be and or should be done with an associated timetable - first: what needs to be done (critical for your driving safety), second: what needs to be done (for your comfort), etc. Use this list to determine how deep you want to get into this coach.

Second: Have a heart-to-heart conversation with your DH and look at your finances and debt tolerances to taking on a loan to buy another coach.

This process usually makes your choice(s) fairly obvious.

Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 07-06-2014, 11:18 PM   #11
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In my opinion ( and we all have at least one)...
First: I'd hire a local verifiably qualified motorhome tech and pay for a complete look-over of your entire coach for the purpose of giving you a detailed estimate of EVERYTHING that needs to be and or should be done
Yeah, you're right, we should have done this before buying it. I got suckered in with the "nicest guy" who was willing to make some repairs. Right! Turns out they slapped the exhaust together & didn't do that right & now we find out the motor has a cracked head. I know better with buying vehicles. I can't explain why I didn't do better. But, that's water under the bridge now. We are replacing the motor & have IN WRITING a terrific warranty already. This work will make the rig much more reliable. And if it breaks down, I either get the mechanic out to fix it or he will pay for someone else to do so.

We agreed when we started getting ready for retirement that we wouldn't take on any new big loans. Our S & B is paid off & all we pay on it is insurance & taxes. Our van is almost paid off. The PT Cruiser is free & clear. Winnie will be, too. DH is willing to use some of his investments to get Winnie up to snuff. I'm sure once the repairs are made I'll feel much better about taking off in it.
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:35 PM   #12
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I bought a 99 Minnie that I have been pumping money into been out a couple of times you just have to think the worst and maybe its not all that bad I've done a lot to mine roof sealed tires propane but if handy not to bad.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:19 AM   #13
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First I heard a head was cracked...that paints a worsening picture.
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:53 AM   #14
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Its a tough call how far to go with it
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