Author Topic: 1979 Winnebago Minnie Winnie W24RH named "Betsy"  (Read 103 times)

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Offline Mlw

  • Post Contributor
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  • Posts: 52
  • Member since: 2021
  • I own a: Winnebago
  • Year: 1979
  • Model: Minnie Winnie W24RH
  • Chassis: Dodge MB400
  • Engine: 360-3 4 BBL
1979 Winnebago Minnie Winnie W24RH named "Betsy"
« on: November 08, 2021, 12:04 PM »
All the links:
Introduction: https://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php?topic=16252.0
Chassis Wiring: https://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php?topic=16254.0
Coach Wiring: https://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php?topic=16311.0
Compression test: https://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php?topic=16283.0

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.
https://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php?topic=16254.0

- 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.


Offline Mlw

  • Post Contributor
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  • Posts: 52
  • Member since: 2021
  • I own a: Winnebago
  • Year: 1979
  • Model: Minnie Winnie W24RH
  • Chassis: Dodge MB400
  • Engine: 360-3 4 BBL
Re: 1979 Winnebago Minnie Winnie W24RH named "Betsy"
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2021, 12:48 PM »
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:

Offline Oz

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  • Posts: 3916
  • Member since: 2002
  • I own a: Winnebago
  • Year: 1974
  • Model: D24 Indian
  • Chassis: Dodge
  • Engine: 440-3
Re: 1979 Winnebago Minnie Winnie W24RH named "Betsy"
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2021, 02:38 AM »
Dedinitely a total restoration.   :)ThmbUp