Author Topic: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!  (Read 1794 times)

Offline Bill Hime

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  • Posts: 41
  • My son Devan and our 76 Chieftain
  • Member since: 2017
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: D26C
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Well life is full of surprises. We have suddenly found ourselves moving from Wisconsin to Colorado Springs by Sept 1st.


Just a couple months ago, we bought a 76' Winnie that has seen very little action in the last 7-10 years. We were told it was driven about 10 miles to a local festival once a summer for that last 7 yrs. Before that it was used as a hunting vessel seasonally for 5-10 yrs before that.
We've decided to make the "Chief" the cornerstone of the trip, serving as a place to live in an RV park while home searching getting acquainted with our new jobs.


We are blessed to have a family member that was a truck/bus mechanic for the city for years and has worked on several older RV projects in the past. And I just learned this in the last few days!


So today, he came out to the house and spent 2 hours crawling over, under and through the Chief. The list was extensive but the goal is simple;


Make the Chief safe and mechanically ready for the 1000 mile journey from Cross plains, WI to Colorado Springs.


What we're starting with;


76' Winnebago Chieftain
D26,
Dodge M400 Chassis
440/727


First priority is brakes all the way around and a broken rear leaf spring.


2nd, no exterior lights work - headlights, taillights, running lights, turn signals, or brake lights.


I'll continue tomorrow with a complete list of what we are going to address. I will also post s many pics as possible. Should be a fun couple of weeks!




Bill




And the journey begins....!

Offline CapnDirk

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  • Posts: 534
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1988
  • Make: Itasca
  • Model: Suncruiser
  • Chassis: P30
  • Engine: 454
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2017, 09:01 AM »
Other than the brake lights the lighting would have a common fault most likely the headlight switch.  Going deeper, the brake and turn signal a common point would be bad sockets/ground.


A volt meter and 12V ice pick probe will be a good start for Winnie tools.


Of course check all fuses as the start point.
"Anything given sufficient propulsion will fly!  Rule one!  Maintain propulsion"

"I say we nuke the site from orbit.  It's the only way to be sure"

Offline Rickf1985

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  • Posts: 4361
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2017, 06:47 PM »
Well if you already have a mechanic on it then there is no sense in us throwing out suggestions at this point. If he needs anything do not hesitate to ask though. I hope this was a move for the better and not one that had to be made out of desperation. I know too many people in that position already.

Offline Bill Hime

  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • My son Devan and our 76 Chieftain
  • Member since: 2017
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: D26C
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2017, 01:57 PM »
Thank you Rick and Dirk,
he's really on top of it. Though he is open to any info we can find on coming up with parts. First up is brakes. I've copied Daves schematic with part numbers and looked over the listing he provides. My question is when I walk into NAPA tomorrow, will their system know conversions for the M400 chassis to buy front rotors, caliper rebuild kit and pads?

Bill
And the journey begins....!

Offline Rickf1985

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  • Posts: 4361
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2017, 07:03 PM »
Dave is the guru of old Dudge brake stuff so he is the one you need to talk to on that one. (and no, I spelled it that way on purpose :D )

Offline CapnDirk

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  • Posts: 534
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1988
  • Make: Itasca
  • Model: Suncruiser
  • Chassis: P30
  • Engine: 454
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 09:59 PM »
Bill.  I think you have a good plan.  With a good mechanic and the experience of people here you have a minimal amount of heartburn.  BEST thing to do is go one system at a time unless waiting for parts on xyz system.  Having multiple things going on is fine, but manage it!  He turns the wrench, part numbers, info he needs, etc here, if he needs it.


No doubt you have a real big load for yourself to make this happen, for the Winnie, be the middle man to him for resources.  Just my opinion.   :)
"Anything given sufficient propulsion will fly!  Rule one!  Maintain propulsion"

"I say we nuke the site from orbit.  It's the only way to be sure"

Offline Bill Hime

  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • My son Devan and our 76 Chieftain
  • Member since: 2017
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: D26C
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2017, 08:38 AM »
I couldn't agree with you more Dirk, thank your for laying it out like that!


Well I've looked into having a rear leaf spring made, left rear has 3 of the 9 leafs broke. Result was $600-$700 and 6 weeks out. None of that works for me! So we are having 3 leafs replaced with hardware, Ill find out the cost on that Monday.
I'm ordering tires this weekend, (all 6 ugh..). searched until my eyes felt like they'd bleed, lol. If anybody has any ideas please share...they don't have to be the best, just safe and good for this year, we can upgrade next year.  Decided on 215/75r-17.5




Thanks Everyone!


BIll
And the journey begins....!

Offline CapnDirk

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  • Posts: 534
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1988
  • Make: Itasca
  • Model: Suncruiser
  • Chassis: P30
  • Engine: 454
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2017, 09:52 AM »
Several here have and rave about Samson tires, and when I priced 6 for my rig it was about $850 including shipping from Simple tire.  Can't beat the price, and they can ship to you, or the tire shop of your choice (of course arrange with tire shop ahead of time).  Bead balancing seems to be very popular and works very well from what I hear.


On the leaf spring I would think you could get a bago or truck chassis full leaf assembly used and shipped for a better price.  Dave would likely know what would fit better than either of us.


EDIT:  Just checked and found these.  You wouldn't have to buy another set until they died from age.   :)clap


https://simpletire.com/samson-215-75r17.5-88000g-tires
"Anything given sufficient propulsion will fly!  Rule one!  Maintain propulsion"

"I say we nuke the site from orbit.  It's the only way to be sure"

Offline Rickf1985

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  • Posts: 4361
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2017, 10:17 AM »
Samson's are good tires, I have them on mine. Kevin has them on his and travels the whole country every year in his work and he has had no issues. I can't believe that on the springs! Most spring shops can make a new set up in a couple hours or even repair yours in the same time. Never heard that kind of time frame. You might want to check out different spring shops.

Offline Bill Hime

  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • My son Devan and our 76 Chieftain
  • Member since: 2017
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: D26C
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2017, 10:24 AM »
I didn't think to ask Dave about the spring. I'll do so immediately. I was wondering if there wouldn't be another truck with same chassis for a source for a used leaf spring of the same size. Thanks Dirk!


Yeah Rick, I was floored on the price and timeline. Madison Spring and Suspension is the local go to shop...maybe that's the problem.
I'll look further out, Milwaukee's only an hour 20 mins away.
And.. I'll check out the Sampson's!


Thanks guys!


Bill





Bill
And the journey begins....!

Offline Rickf1985

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  • Posts: 4361
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2017, 10:45 AM »
Any spring shop that services big trucks will be equipped to get you springs in a hurry, and much cheaper I am sure. They have hundreds of spring leaves on shelves and make them up on the spot as needed so it only takes a few minutes to make up a spring pack. And they are used to dealing with large old rusted springs. That have the huge equipment needed to get the stuff done in a hurry, truckers can't wait days for their truck back. Time is money when your payments are several grand a month.

Offline Rickf1985

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  • Posts: 4361
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2017, 10:50 AM »
Here is what I googled and it looks like Milwaukee Spring and alignment or National Spring are a couple of good choices. Both are truck repair places.

Spring shops in Milwaukee, Wis.

Offline Bill Hime

  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • My son Devan and our 76 Chieftain
  • Member since: 2017
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: D26C
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2017, 11:31 AM »
All that makes sense for sure Rick. I will check both and see if that doesn't change the game  :)clap




Bill
And the journey begins....!

Offline DaveVA78Chieftain

  • Tech Support Specialist
  • *
  • Posts: 3472
  • Member since: 2003
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1978
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Dodge M400
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2017, 07:59 PM »
Sorry for the delay. I have been tied up with an event here.

As I stated in my email,
Winnebago typically placed this years model  (e.g. 76) on last years chassis
(e.g. 75) so, do you have a

73-75 Hydro-Vac (vacuum) based M400 (RM350) chassis
(http://dave78chieftain.com/M400_73-75-RM350.html)
or a
76 and later Hydroboost (power steering pump) based M400 chassis
(http://dave78chieftain.com/M400_76.html)?

Front and rear brake components will be the same however the booster and
master cylinder hardware is different.

Once I know what you have, I can help with brake parts.

Sounds like Rick may be better versed on springs than I would be.

Offline Rickf1985

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  • Posts: 4361
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2017, 09:13 AM »
LOL. Owning a 4x4 shop I saw my fair share of springs, and built quite a few custom packs myself.

Offline plockit007

  • 6 year member
  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Member since: 2010
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1975
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain D25CL
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2017, 11:15 AM »
Hi There I hope you have a very safe trip here to Colorado Springs.


My name is Phil if you are planning to park the RV to live in before you find a place just use google.


There  are lots of the RV parks on Hwy 24 going West also one near me called Wrangler RV Park...I'm not sure of the rent prices since CS is a touristy town.


I live in the Central part of town so if I can assist you when you get here just give me a shout. PM if you need any help getting around here.


God Speed for a very safe travel. :angel: :)ThmbUp

Offline HamRad Mobile

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  • Posts: 158
  • Member since: 2014
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1987
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Elandan WCP31RT
  • Chassis: GMC P37 Motor Home Chassis
  • Engine: Chevy 454 cid V8 "LE8" Gas
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2017, 11:25 AM »
Good morning, Bill Hime; 

     Regarding the first price that you were quoted for a replacement spring assembly for your venerable motor home, one trend I have noticed over the years is a tendency for the price for a part to be "adjusted" to be more "appropriate" for the vehicle involved. 

     One example of this was a Harrison automotive heater control valve used on General Motors cars.  Dick Marson Pontiac sold them for $36.70 each for a Pontiac, but that exact same Harrison heater control valve, when it was sent to England to the Rootes Group and repackaged into a Jaguar parts box, when it came back to the United States, it had a price tag of $180.00.  I saw the same thing happen with BMW motorcycle parts in comparison with what the parts sold for in Germany.  A valve cover that was 10 DM in Germany ($2.50 at the time) was priced at $19.10 here in the United States. 

     I think that all of us know about the prices for things that go on a boat.  By the way, that is spelled, "Break Out Another Thousand."  However, there is something worse.  It is called an "airplane." 

     From the last annual inspection, three of the spark plugs (out of the twelve [12] on a six cylinder Continental O-300b engine) in the C-172 did not pass the series resistance test.  The replacement spark plugs were $285.00 "each" installed.  Well, I admit that the aircraft spark plugs are a little more complex than the regular automotive or lawnmower engine spark plug.  But the philosophy still applies.  Anything involving the FAA is expensive. 

     So, after the effort to put this in context, yes, I do agree that many of the things for a motor home do seem to be priced with the thought in mind that; "This is for a limited production run vehicle, and we need to amortize our design, engineering, and production costs over a much smaller population."  Even when it sure looks like a standard part.  And, yes, there may be a little of that outright "Hey, they bought a motor home; they can afford it." influence is at play here also.  Fortunately for us, with all the people we have here, many regular production parts used on a motor home have been identified and the alternate source for a standard part given. 

          Enjoy; 

          Ralph 
          Latté Land, Washington 

Offline Rickf1985

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  • Posts: 4361
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2017, 04:38 PM »
That is why I suggested a truck shop. A leaf spring is a leaf spring, they come in standard lengths, widths and spring rates. All of that will be know pretty much right away buy a knowledgeable spring man as soon as he sees it and measures the length, width and thickness. Then they pull the leaves off the shelf and put them together. Or they just replace the broken ones but on that rig I would replace both of possible. The last set of springs I bought which would have been pretty close in weight rating to yours cost me 135.00 each. That was about 5 years ago. You should not have to pay more than 250 for a new spring, installation will be extra. Figure 80-100 an hour but believe me these shops are quick. Now, the problem with getting one new spring, and they will tell you this, is that they will not guarantee it to sit level with the old one. On an old vehicle you should always replace both. Not what you want to hear but...................
A complete new spring will probably be less than repairing the old one, less labor involved.

Offline Bill Hime

  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • My son Devan and our 76 Chieftain
  • Member since: 2017
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: D26C
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2017, 09:52 PM »
I tried to upload a couple of pics of what looks like the newer hydroboost system but the pics are 2000 kb each  i?? :-[  I'm not very computer tech savy...
Rick, Nat'l Spring opens at 7am tomorrow and I'll be calling, thank you for the info! They also handle Centric brake parts  ;)
Phil, Thank you! I will definitely pm you. I know we'll have a lot of questions when we get out to CS. It will also be great to have a fellow Chieftain owner near by!


Bill
And the journey begins....!

Offline CapnDirk

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  • Posts: 534
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1988
  • Make: Itasca
  • Model: Suncruiser
  • Chassis: P30
  • Engine: 454
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2017, 09:18 AM »
Bill:  Right click on the file of the picture and see if the menu that comes up has an "edit" option.  That will load the picture in whatever default picture editor the computer has.  From there, see if you can find a "re-size " option.  Generally I find that phone pics need to be dropped down about 50% to post here.  I think the limit is about 400K?
"Anything given sufficient propulsion will fly!  Rule one!  Maintain propulsion"

"I say we nuke the site from orbit.  It's the only way to be sure"

Offline Bill Hime

  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • My son Devan and our 76 Chieftain
  • Member since: 2017
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: D26C
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2017, 06:21 PM »
So we learned more as Scott, the mechanic, dug in further..Driver front rotor down to 1/8" thick, needs replaced.
Rear brakes need rebuild kits. Drums just a little scared, need turned. Hydroboost leaks everywhere and steering appears the same. Master cylinder had no fluid in it.
Exhaust manifold has a broken bolt that leaks when running.

Rear axle's bearings were packed with grease?? no oil in differential.

Upside;
1.) all the nuts broke free on the wheels and shocks without snapping.
2.) Rear drums just need cleaned up, (turned).
3.) National Spring says it can rebuild spring stack.

Mechanic Scott's questions;
1.) I have a 10 bolt rear end. What is the weight of that?
2.) Should there be a breather tube on differential? If so, where?
3.) What is the torque suppose to be on lug nuts?

I'm taking the spring to National in the morning. I'm ordering tires tonight. And now I just need to clarify with Dave what parts and numbers I need to order for brakes.

Wow, this next 2 weeks are going to go fast! Our POD arrives this Wednesday to start loading our lives away!


Thank you everybody for your help and input!

Bill
And the journey begins....!

Offline DaveVA78Chieftain

  • Tech Support Specialist
  • *
  • Posts: 3472
  • Member since: 2003
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1978
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Dodge M400
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2017, 08:58 PM »
All parts on my web page M400 1976 and Later (Hydroboost) are good at NAPA.
Front Rotor is an EBAY source (bolts holding rotor to hub may need a 3/4" drive air impact to loosen (this is a medium duty truck chassis),

CENTRIC Auto Parts  Use Light/Medium Duty; 1975; Dodge; M350

Be sure to use M350 for brake parts.  As I said in email, Dodge used RM350 in 73/74 and then changed that to M400 in 75.  Aftermarket parts houses used the RM350 designation to set up their parts databases.
M400 is actually the M500 chassis which uses different parts

Get the service and parts manuals from the site store.  They will answer 98% of your chassis tech questions. Much of the information on my site is taken from them.
I just pulled the following rear axle info from it:
RM350: Spicer 70; 7,500lbs;  could be a 4.56:1 or 4.88:1 ratio
lug nuts: 300-350 ft lbs. I use a 3/4" drive socket set with a 3ft cheater pipe.  100lbs of force applied 3ft from nut (end of cheater pipe) = 300lbs of torque at the nut. 

Offline Bill Hime

  • *
  • Posts: 41
  • My son Devan and our 76 Chieftain
  • Member since: 2017
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1976
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: D26C
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2017, 09:49 PM »
Thank you so much Dave! That clarifies a lot..That rotor being an ebay item is kinda scary when you're on a tight timeline.
We'll keep plugging away!


Bill
And the journey begins....!

Offline CapnDirk

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  • Posts: 534
  • Member since: 2016
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1988
  • Make: Itasca
  • Model: Suncruiser
  • Chassis: P30
  • Engine: 454
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2017, 11:23 PM »
Bill:


I'm a 18 year Ebay veteran.  In 300+ purchases I've had to "wait" about 4 times.  Everything else was there in about an average of 4 business days depending on distance.  As for distance, when you find a decent price, check the "shipping" area of the page.  If they are on the "right" half of the country (closer to you)  better odds. 
"Anything given sufficient propulsion will fly!  Rule one!  Maintain propulsion"

"I say we nuke the site from orbit.  It's the only way to be sure"

Offline Rickf1985

  • *
  • Posts: 4361
  • Member since: 2013
  • I own: a Motor Home
  • Year: 1989
  • Make: Winnebago
  • Model: Chieftain
  • Chassis: Chevy
  • Engine: 454
Re: Prepping our 76' Winnie for a 1000 mile move in the next 3 weeks!
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2017, 10:04 AM »
I think he is more worried about getting the wrong part and then the subsequent wait to get things straightened out. Bill, you have a TON on your plate and I wish there was more that I could do but Dave is the man to talk to for this vehicle. I can do general mechanics but he is the MAN when it comes to Dodge motorhomes, especially the older ones. It sounds like you have a very competent mechanic and he has a good handle on the pertinent systems. I guess you are only repairing the one spring? In light of all the other things you have wrong I can go with that. It will get you there as long as the other one has no cracks in it. Don't overload the RV! I don't know how many people you have there helping move and wrench but it sounds like you need more. Good luck.

Rick

 

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