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Old 10-21-2020, 08:57 PM   #1
Winnebago Watcher
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 1
Angry Desperate for Assistance, Help and some understanding

I'm new to the forum. My name is Amy, I recently purchased a 1988 Winnebago Superchief. Chassis is a Chevy 454 7.4L V8. It has 79,000 miles on it. The water pump went out in it and normally Id perform the repair myself. But the RV park said if I wasnt certified I couldnt, Id have to hire a mechanic, which I did. The guy said he was certified. However after day two I decided to look under my motorhome and was horrified at what I found. Every pully, every belt, every bracket holding the components together, all the bolts, were scattered every where under the motorhome. I fired this guy and hired yet another mechanic. Only this time I was smart enough to verify his certification, wish I would have done that with the first one. After mechanic #2 looked at it, he said jed have to do some research to make sure he could put everything back together properly. He said he cannot find a 1988 with a 454 blueprint showing him where all the components go and which bracket goes with which component and what size bolts should be used to secure each component. Dear fellow winnie owners, please, is there anyone who has this information or can tell me where to get it! I'm absolutely frusterated and I do not for the life of me understand why mechanic #1 did this. He didnt know me nor me him prior to this encounter. I live and work out of my motorhome full time. This man has rendered my home and my ride virtually useless. If I cantfigurethis out soon im in danger of the authorities towing it and then I will lose everything. Please, someone help me.
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Old 10-21-2020, 09:25 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2019
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I would check online for a 1988 Chevrolet/GMC truck manual you could buy used or download as a PDF. A 454 should have the same belt/pulley setup regardless of the application although motorhomes are a notoriously tight fit.

If your current on the payment to the park your in I don't know why they would care if your mechanic is certified or not or if you have to stay an extra week or so there to get it figured out.

Good luck.
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Old 10-21-2020, 10:42 PM   #3
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Have you called General Motors?
Remember, the worse you can get for asking is a "No."
Wayne MSGT USMC (Ret) & Earlene (CinCHouse)
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Old 10-22-2020, 12:59 AM   #4
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At the risk of getting more involved, because I'm quite sure there is a whole lot more to this story than what you have shared, as a suggestion, which may or may not pan-out, you might try this:

Call your RV insurance company and explain you have a field service repair and you cannot drive your RV.

(Don't say anything more. Your insurance people are there to help you open the claim and provide support. They are not their to act as a seriate mechanic or therapist.)

Then ask if your roadside assistance will pay for someone to come fix your RV so you can avoid the cost of a tow?

Why will your insurance company help? ...Tow costs are very high and it's possible they (the insurance company) will save money if they pay for the repair labor instead of the tow. So this is not a philanthropic effort on their part!

My RV insurance roadside policy will pay the labor charges, but the parts cost. ...And fyi, the last time I got my RV towed 15 miles it cost $1500. So I think it's a good decision on the insurance company's part to handle a field service claim in this manner, and maybe everyone comes out a hero in the end.

...Insurance or no insurance, you then hit the yellow pages (Google) and find a mobile repair facility who is an extension of a legitimate repair shop. And if you can't find a mobile repair ad on google, then you should call a local repair shop and ask for a referral to another shop. (Napa counter people may also be able to help you since they are normally "locally grown" and know who is reliable and who is not. Craigslist would be a last resort.) And note, you need a medium duty truck mechanic or car mechanic, not an RV mechanic to fix your engine.

In the end you will have to pay the mechanic out of your pocket, but if you find out your insurance will reimburse you then that will help obliviate some of the pain.

As for the repairs: Anyone should be able to replace a water pump... without a manual on a Chevy/GMC truck. And when it comes to supervising your mechanic... DON'T. That probably was your first and second mistake.

As for you comment: "Every pully, every belt, every bracket holding the components together, all the bolts, were scattered every where under the motorhome." ...So what! ...Unless you hired a "tweeker" or "homeless" person which is a different problem.

If you don't have insurance and/or worse if you are at risk of being evicted/towed, that's a completely different problem that no one here on this or any forum can help you with.

Speaking for myself, I wish you all the best and good luck!
2004 Itasca Horizon ISK-40AD, 350HP Cummins 8.3L
115K miles and the best of 3 Diesels I have owned thus far!
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Old 11-04-2020, 06:25 PM   #5
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FYI, for research purposes, your engine is most likely in a 1987 chassis.
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Old 11-04-2020, 07:41 PM   #6
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Contact Winnebago Industries if you are unable to find specs online for download, the data is out there. Otherwise, any decent Chevy industrial truck mechanic should be able to do the repair. The RV park thing sounds odd, as long as you're paid and the rig is not junk on wheels, why are they involved?
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Old 11-05-2020, 05:57 AM   #7
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A certified mechanic should have the knowledge to put it back together and already have access to the on-line Hays or Motors Manuals for that very common Chevrolet Engine.

Why would he remove any pulley except for the one on the water pump anyways as all you do is loosen the alternator and perhaps the power steering pump adjustment bolt slip the belts off and then remove the 4 bolts holding the fan and pulley on the water pump. Aside from the 4 bolts for the water pump pulley the other 4 should be for securing the water pump to the engine so 8 bolts total plus a few hose clamps. As I recall you need to put RTV sealant on some of the bolts securing the water pump as they go through to the water jacket of the engine and will leak/drip coolant if you don't. That engine was used from the 1970's through the 1990's in a great many cars, trucks, RV's and boats.
Neil V
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Old 11-05-2020, 10:09 AM   #8
Winnebago Camper
Join Date: Jun 2018
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1988 Chevy 454

Everyone has good suggestions, it depends on you what you do with them. Most respectable campgrounds have a list of people that do mobile RV repairs. That being said, working on yours has to be similar to my 93 Itasca that I just sold with the same engine. Most work has to be done thru the doghouse AND underneath, including removing belts for the AC, alternator power steering and of course the water pump. After those are cleared the biggest problem is getting the bolts that hld the water pump to the block out. From experience, they break, which creates another problem. Working under there is TIGHT....trust me. Also check with your neighbors with older rigs and maybe they know of someone to recommend. I've been there, and at 72 don't want to do it again. Stay away from big RV dealers (Camping World, etc.) Not only will you get screwed while they try to sell you something newer, they will put yours on the back shelf for months. Most auto and truck repairs won't touch RVs because they are a different and difficult animal. Good Luck

2014 Itasca Sunstar, and formerly 1993 Itasca Passage, and over 20 years on the road.
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