1979 Winnebago Minnie Winnie W24RH named "Betsy"

Started by Mlw, November 08, 2021, 12:04 PM

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All the links to general problems:
And the next wiring problem: Onan 2.0AJ/R52 Generator.
BrakeJob Dodge MB400 chassis
Chassis Wiring
Coach Wiring
Compression test
Dodge 360 restoration
Get Engauged: So you think your oil pressure doesn't fluctuate?
Roof repair: the problems, the following
Servicing Trumatic E-3300 Furnace
Starting issues/accelerator pump needle
Teardown A727 Torqueflight transmission

Now I have bought my 1979 Winnebago Minnie Winnie a little over two months ago and since then many problems arose I think it's time to call this a project.

When you buy a RV that's 42 years old you're bound to get in trouble and you really should keep that in mind ahead of buying an old RV. If you are not skilled enough or not willing to learn how to maintain your RV you should really not buy an old RV because the costs of repairs and maintenance will get very steep fast when you are not capable to fix things yourself because of the fact that when you spot a problem it's often just the tip of the iceberg and the problem can get quite overwhelming.
So although I've found that she is heavily abused by the former owner and she therefore is a little rough around the edges, I'm still happy with here and as she's part of the family now we've Baptist here Betsy. She's American after all!

The problems I've found so far.
- Sagging ceiling in the sitting Area, Front bunks and bathroom, soft spots in the back bunks. Removing the sagging ceiling parts exposed that the aluminium roof plate resembled a very starry sky.

Very romantic but not so funny here as in the Netherlands rain is plentiful. The state of the aluminium roof plate showed it was not a very good idea to use aluminium on a steal frame, attached by ordinary iron screws divided by just a few sheets of plywood. The screws I removed were all nearly rusted away hence causing electrolyte, corroding the aluminium. Thru the holes rusty water came in drenching the plywood with rusty water so the electrolyte spread all over the aluminium roof plate causing the starry look and creating even more leaks. To complete the disaster the ceiling was covered with a Nylon/plastic film holding the water in so all the plywood on both sides of the Styrofoam was absolutely drenched with rusty water.

- ¾ of the inside of the walls are water damaged. Not all was to see directly due to the plastic wood look film covering all the walls so a lot of Gremlins were to be found here. (hence the tip of the iceberg) On the bright side, the Styrofoam is still strongly attached to the aluminium, so all I really need to do here is re-clad the walls because a look like in the picture will not be acceptable by my partner.

- Lots of water coming thru the firewall drenching the cabin driverside carpet destroying  the flooring of the cabin.

- Chassis wiring completely destroyed by former owner.

- Cabin wiring touched by former owner. Removing all the fuses from the power distributor Furnace and refrigerator have their own (secret) powersource. As the former owner has shown repeatedly not to bother to secure newly made electrical connections by fuses this is something that I will have to investigate immediately.

- Headgasket engine's left side probably blown or other problem with Cylinder 5.
Low compression, rock hard coolant hoses, bubbles in my expansion reservoir, sludge on the inside of my oil cap but nothing wrong with the oil on the dipstick.
Test with a lighter (sparks= water, combustion=fuel. If you can keep the oil in the flame and nothing happens at least no water or fuel is in your oil.
- all large gaskets are leaking, Valve cover, Oil pan, transmission oilpan,
- probably therefore the whole engine is covered in a 0.18 inch thick layer of grime.

Next to the problems with the firewall I'm going to take the engine out, clean it, paint it and restore it. This really wasn't planned but when you have to face it, you have to deal with it. and if the engine is out i can directly fix the problems with the firewall as well and overhaul the engine bay.

Still unknown.
-True state of the gas installation and therefore the Furnace, boiler, cooker and Lp part of fridge.
-True state of the Onan AJ-R52 generator. But if I have to believe the hourmeter it run 32 hours in the last 42 years.

-driveability of the RV. As the RV was sold as a fixer upper it doesn't meet safety regulations and is not allowed on the roads, but it brakes turns shifts and does everything it needs to be doing. Surely I'm not going to find any Gremlins there?

But for me this is as much as an adventure fixing her up as going on the road later. The huge advantage I will be having over other RV-ers is that I will know mine from top to bottom, using this forum help me to take precautions like having spare parts aboard, and helping other folks wit their future restorations in the future with this blog. It just can't get much better than that.

So to keep a bit of oversight I will place everything directly connected to Betsy here, Like restoring the in and outside and make separate topics for things like wiring, the engine etc as it can come in handy for more RV owners with diffrent types based on a Dodge Chassis. Enjoy, and feel free to comment.


at one of the few sunny and dry periods we have when it's Autumn in the Netherlands I decided to watertight the airshaft of the cabin heater. Betsy was stored under a tree and therefore the shaft was full of twigs, leaves and other debris.

Also for some strange reason the former owner had decided to slice open the bottom of the shaft so water could run freely over one of the main electrical connectors that was hanging underneath. The man just can't stop to amaze me with his  $@!#@!

after painstakingly removing the old waterinsulation and sanding the whole area where the wiperinstallation was a major paint in the bud, (I just didn't dare to remove it)  i treated the whole area with Rubber Seal including the upper side of the area which was never treated and therefore full of surface rust.

the results look like this:




1969 D22, 2 x 1974 D24 Indians, 1977 27' Itasca


As it is mid winter in the Netherlands and I was planning to bring the furnace back to life https://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php?topic=16311.0 I decided to work on the LG system so I could start it up again.

Finally something the former idiot didn't  $@!#@! up so it was a 30 minute job.

After thoroughly checking all the compression couplings connections and LG valves with soapy water and the old smell-o-meter I opened the gas tank and voila.

It's the little things that counts. A working stove and the lights working as they should made me go home satisfied today.


Well now you can be warm and have a hot cup of tea while your trying to straighten out the wiring.  :)clap
Rick and Tracy Ellerbeck


Thanks.  :)

First pull new wires to the Furnace so i get the heat from the furnace not the wiring  ;). But i'm becoming a real pro at that  :P :P :P

Ever heard of Johan Cruijff? He was a professional soccer player but was also a pro at contradictive sayings.

His most famous one: Every disadvantage has it's advantages.

The man was a genius   :grin:  :grin:  :grin:   :)clap


1969 D22, 2 x 1974 D24 Indians, 1977 27' Itasca


If I have the right country. Have you seen these. There just what the Doctor orderd if you don't have them. Price seem reasonabe as well.


Yep, I'm in the Netherlands. You have the right country  :)ThmbUp

I have the 1979 model and the excellent service manual for that downloaded from the servicemanuals here on the forum.

But thanks for the tip.  :)ThmbUp


Starting Betsy is quite the challenge after being away for 4 days to work. She wants to start but can't and as the risk of an occasional backfire is there as well I first pour a splash of gas down her throat. Doing that she just needs to be pushed thru two cyliinders and away she goes.

But as i'm not planning taking of the doghouse everytime i need to start the engine, so I can feed some fuel into the carburator I decided to clean and revise it as the accelerator pump is gone to. When you accelerate you need to see a shot of fuel in both barrels, which is not the case in underneath video.

Accelerator pump issue

The carburator itself is also incredibly dirty on the outside as well as the inside.


I had that accelerator pump issue with one of mine which had a d quadrajet on it.  I'm far from a carb guru, so I bought a new Edelbrock.
1969 D22, 2 x 1974 D24 Indians, 1977 27' Itasca


Well, I'm used to dealing with carburetors thru my job at the yachtbroker. Certainly at the start of the season there were days we did nothing else than cleaning carburetors. It actually not that difficult as long as you can bring up the patience and are organized, Especially the last one is important.

It took me 16 hours to disassemble, clean, soak, blabber with the other guys at the garage, blow out all the ports and bits and reassemble everything.

At the end I was missing 1 part I knew that was there in advance, the spring to hold up the secondary door. we searched and swept the entire garage with three guys to find nothing, so finally decided that there was nothing else to do than buy a new one.

So at home I went on the internet trying to find a replacement, and suddenly this video shows up:

suprise suprise

??? ??? ??? I have a feeling that I will need to open the carb again ??? ??? ???

It's really amazing how life keeps throwing things at you.  :D :D :D

The other part I miss was never there and that's the needle that fits underneath the jets of accelerator pump and probably the real reason my acceleratorpump wasn't working.

the missing Accelerator pump check needle

If somebody knows where I can get them I will be much obliged, because these needles aren't in your average repair kit, and searching the internet I can get the float needles but not this one.


1969 D22, 2 x 1974 D24 Indians, 1977 27' Itasca


So it has been a bit quiet around me.

After every lockdown my colleagues show how lazy people really are nowadays leaving lots of extra work for me, so no time to visit the forum  :angel:

Next to this we had three heavy storms in the Netherlands in just one week, Dudley, Eunice and Franklin. Dudley Killed the bindings of my covering sheets, and as there is a shortage of everything nowadays I had to buy covering sheets that were too small leaving a gap in the middle.

So the old Sheet was 315 inches by 158 inches covering the hole RV at once. so my plan was to fold it double, covering all the sharp edges of the imperial, AC, fridge chimney and broken air inlets, damaging the sheet. So by binding the new sheets over the old the new sheets Will be protected from the sharp edges by the old.

But imagine binding 2 coveringsheets to your RV in a storm with heavy blows with tops speeds of 70 miles p.h.  Let's just say that even working in front of the wind it was quite the challenge, But i got it done.

Problems weren't over however because if we don't have heavy storms, we have heavy showers or both. The weather really is absolutely lovely in the Netherlands during wintertime, If you ever visit the Netherlands you really should do so during wintertime.  :P  :'(  :rolleyes:

so after a full night of heavy rain and wind I came back next day to find an interior and everything in it soaked........... I really was 1/1000's of a hair away from lighting a match and throw it in the fueltank.


But let's just say you need a special kind of people to take on a project like this. You have to be absolutely bonkers! As my friends say I am and I always tell everybody you need to finish what you start, I would be a pour example If I would quit now. Next to that we Dutch are used to fight water  ;)


So, after getting all the water out of the RV when possible, I dug in the problem with the furnace not working. I still do not exactly know what was the problem, but got it working. And of course, now the damage was done, the right covering sheets that could cover the RV at once were nowavailable again, so bought one right away, binding it down with sailing ropes.

So then we got Eunice. to give you an Idea how it was, here is a video of the containerstorage on the other side of the road of the hobbygarage where my RV is parked, And yes, these containers were fully loaded.

I really was planning to ask if I could park my RV between those containers so my sheets wouldn't be ripped of again. Luckily I could park the RV sheltered at the hobby garage.

And then we got Franklin. But as Eunice allready cleared all the weak spots it was like a picknick in the park altough it still was a very heavy storm.

And we are still not out of the woods yet. Still heavy wind and showers but hopefully it will be over next Wednesday.

Man oh man, the craziness and extremes really makes me wonder if I wasn't Hitler in my former life.


Yep, "absolutely bonkers" is the norm here.  :D
1969 D22, 2 x 1974 D24 Indians, 1977 27' Itasca


It's been half a year that I restored the airshaft of my Betsy. (pictures above)

I vividly remembering not seeing watering holes in the bottom of the fenders and really wondering where the water and the debris will go.

Well... Today I got the confirmation!  :( :( :(


So under the motto "Never let a good day go to waste" I've started up the watersystem, to find that a true miracle happened. The Previous Moron did something right for the first time !!!!

I really fell to the floor and sat down in awe for at least half an hour to witness this true miracle. The complete watersystem was winterized correctly  ??? ??? ???

The watertanks were squeaky clean and there was only some dried up calcium at the bottom of the extra watertank. My trusty vacuum cleaner took care of that.
However the tanks were spotless I did Rinse the whole system with chloride however and left it soaking for two nights, Dumping the water in the grey and black watertank with some extra chloride so they are treated as well.

With the extra watertank under one of the couches I have a total of 90 gallons of water on board including the boiler. Ever try to fill that up with two waterbottles of 5 litres (=2.7 gallons)? Well... This guy did it./. Twice! I never said I wasn't loony. I did fill the extra tank thru the "manhole" because that works slightly easier than using a funnel on the wateropening.  ;)

The system actually works pretty well, but i probably need to change the drain valves as some of them weep a little bit.

The original watertank leaks

As far as I can see from the back as I cant see nothing at the front,

the pressure valve of the boiler is shot.

I Didn't open up the Anode rod, but this will probably be bad as well. As the pressure valve of the boiler is shot I didn't try to startup the boiler, but as the furnace and the fridge work excellently on Gas, I guess the boiler will be OK too, because the German laws regarding this systems is pretty strict.

On the positive side, the pump runs strong,

the pipes are OK as all the connections and even the level sensors still works.

The grey and black tank system is a whole different game unfortunately. I know the grey tanks weeps, so lets hope a little polyester treatments saves the day.
The black tank, I don't know as the valve of the tank runs really heavy was stuck open and needed to be closed with some loving taps with a hammer.
Next to this the Previous Moron absolutely destroyed the pipe-system so pretty much all of the black water escaped thru the cracks in the outlet pipe. I probably will have to rebuild this, but we'll see.

SO all of this is not to bad, and are two steps forward and one step back, so at the end still progress. Sometimes you need to appreciate the small positives next to the negatives.

So the questions for now are.
Does anybody has a link where I can buy the drain plugs?

Does anybody know where to get another pressure valve for the boiler?

Has anybody ever removed the pressure valve from the boiler? I've tried to loosen it allready but as the valve probably is the original one it's really stuck.


Well, last Monday I went back to the RV to find 2 big water stains under the RV. Definitely not what I hoped to see. clearly the drainplugs did a little more than weeping,

and sure enough about 45 of the 90 gallons of water gone and all the carpet that was still in the cabinets was soaking wet. So I Ripped out all the carpet, pumped the rest of the water in the grey and black watertank with extra chloride so they could soak too, tested the level sensors and they are functioning beautifully just to remind me why I'm fixing my Betsy up.

The Spin weld Fitting of the black water tank does not however. A steady drip was forming a 3rd puddle rapidly.

However, I think this is to be expected when you buy a fixer upper and are not to difficult to fix. I opened the drain plugs to empty the watertanks completely so i can start fixing the hoses and maybe use brass ball valves to replace the drain plugs. We'll see what we find here in the Netherlands.

So I left the water in the grey and black watertank to soak to empty them the next visit which was today.

So today I helped another RV-er out who's also at the hobby garage and had grounding Issues with his rear lights. As I became a real wiring professional due to my lovely Betsy, I helped him out. to find out another wiring magician had showed his magic, so helping a few hours became a full day... D:oH!

at the end of the day I remembered that I wanted to empty my Grey and black watertank and learned a very valuable lesson. Never be in a hurry when you emptying your waste tanks!!!

As the hobby garage was just about to close I just wanted to open the valves so the grey and black water tanks could empty, because I parked the RV so that the outlet of the tanks was straight above a sewer gutter.

Now owners of a 1979 Minnie winnie will know that the black water tank is in the middle of the rv at the back end and the valve is directly at the outlet, so you will need to crawl under the RV a bit to open this valve.

I forgot one thing!!!! the previous owner absolutely destroyed the pipes. When I found out there was just a little water in the black and grey water tanks so it was only a steady drip... Now the 50 gallon black water tanks was at least a quarter full, The Main outlet valve was closed.......


Luckily the tanks were pretty clean and didn't smell, next to this i'm pretty sure the tanks werent used for a long time and I noticed I used enough Chloride, However I can still figuring out a whole lot of other things I rather receive in the face  :D :D :D

O well, nothing a good shower can't solve :P


So after my last mishap with the waste outlet pipe I decided to tackle this yesterday. The Previous Moron showed me before, next to Wiring Magician the man is also a true expert in caulking and stopping leaks.  Especially the ones he creates himself.  :angry:  :angry:  :angry:

The true lesson here is: Don't buy somebody else's problems for way to much money because of sentimental reasons like I did. If I knew all the things I know now I really would have low balled the seller way more then I did now because the original asking price was quite ridiculous. On the other hand, the other RV's I saw and travelled thousands of miles for, probably were not much better or far worse, because owners are sentimental as well and often don't see the problems there RV's have.

But OK, I have it now, so no other option then to fix it. Altough not the cleanest of jobs, it certainly is the easiest. Just unscrew the bolts and nuts on the valves and the brackets and everything comes loose.

Luckily all the correct measurements are on the valves making life a lot easier.

However ordering parts here in Europe is very limited, so the risk of the replacements being China junk is way too high unfortunately. The one valve that is replaced is the valve giving me problems altough it is possible that the problems are there because it's the one from the black waste tank. It really is replaced as the bolts are metric will the other ones were inches.

I did found an RV shop that holds everything to repair the pluming system of my Betsy AND deliver outside the USA, so especially for the users outside of the USA


Visisting this site make me notice one thing, The pipe after the main valve, is there anybody out there who has this too because it looks like another add-on from the Previous Moron.


Well, Time for a update.

As I found my engine destroyed by the Previous idiot and my transmisson worrisome because I found more glitter in my transmission oil then Gary Glitter wore way back in the seventees, i decided to take a leaf out of LJ-TJ's book and i'm going to build a little more control in the RV.


Also this adventure didn't exactly add to my ease of mind...


and for everybody who wants to see the whole series:
91 Ford motorhome renovation and roadtrip


It's been a bit quit around this project. Problem is I still couldn't contact the welders to fix the problem with the headbolts. I was thinking about buying a Magnum block, but i'm just not ready to give up on this block yet. I know how it ran before I decided to open it up because of the oil starvation.

As long as the engine out, i have the possibility to work on the enginebay and do some rust protection.

Betsy's face - before and after:

Betsy's engine bay - Before and after:

And some rusty parts rejuvinated.

Vacuum can:

Headlight holders:


I need to go through your other threads, but I didn't understand how deep you are into this Minni..!!
The best mechanic is the one that can make it run with the least amount of parts!


Yes, i pretty much know my RV inside and out. The only thing i don't know about is the state of metal flooring of the coach, and pictures of Eyes open made me nervous about this. I will try to add the picture later when i'm home at my computer because doing this with a phone......

i know a lot of water has entered this RV and the floor of the Cabin is pretty bad as well as you van see earlier in this post.

But before I can address this i first have to fix the roof.

Eyez Open

Looking good from here...lol that is quite a handful you have strapped on there. I'm almost done for this year..it will be good to run around this fall for some trial trips.


Well, that will still take some time in my case.  :P

There was a time that working in hospitality was fun, nowadays you are more a police officer then a host.

It takes a lot of energy so you really need the scarce free time you have to reload. Luckily season is over and we're entering the period of 7 months storm and rain again, so I first took a hoiday of two weeks for the first time in 5 years.

I finally found a mechanical shop that can check if the block of my engine is any good or I have to find another one. Let's just hope there finally is some good news again with this engine.

so sorry it was a little quiet around me. If all goes as planned I hopefully will have some more time again fixing up the RV.

Right back to start