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General Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach that are not covered in other Mechanic's Corner categories (ex. refrigerators, water heaters, and compressors).

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  #1  
Old 03-01-2020
DFB052686's Avatar
DFB052686 DFB052686 is offline
FC Owner. Master of Bus Tetris.
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Hesperia
Posts: 212
Default A Rare Bird

I wanted to document the maintenance, changes fixes, and such on the 87 FC31. I figured since I am going to keep track of it myself, it might be of interest or entertainment to someone.

Picked the bus up from a great PO, he helped seal the open roof vents where the A/C units had been removed, me and ladders do not get along... also fixed a coolant leak(failed AUX pump gasket) and showed me everything he knew about the Rare Bird.

Had a nearly uneventful trip back from Utah, (NOTE TO SELF: a single group 31 battery from 2014 isn't enough to crank the 3208TZ when it's 35*F hah!).

Since the bus had some "lovely" roadmaster tires from 2011 on it, I had a leisurely trip back in the cool evening to Las Vegas, then California at 50mph. if the tires didn't look absolutely brand new (and had been verifiably stored indoors for most of the years.) I would not have taken this chance, even at 50mph in the cool.

after getting it back, a few things were obvious, it needed a cleaning, the 10-year-old fluids, and tires needed to get changed, A/C is quickly missed in all but "quite cool" weather when sitting behind a greenhouse on the highway. so that was on the shortlist (and the need to shore up potential rain leakage in hastily installed "band-aid" vents), the power steering system needs TLC, new batteries, and probably some more I'm forgetting.some non-maintenance observations: this bus is about the polar opposite of my previous 1983 FC35; the rare bird is sparsely optioned. things that are NOT in this coach:

-electric heaters (other than bathroom baseboard)
-side docking lights
-regular oven (only the convection combo)
-chassis heaters
-ice maker (uline)
-toaster
-digitell
-intercom phones
-Altec sound system
-Safe
-Konstant Hot

My first impressions are simply great, I prefer the lower option count. the power is fantastic, I can hardly wait to get the new tires on it to see how it is on the highway at a faster speed. it was actually a bit of a chore keeping the speed down on the return journey. cruise control was a lifesaver. the layout is happily familiar and much more open and there is more storage than my FC35. it's a winner all the way around.
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__________________

-Dennis (direct email please! dennis@wanderlodgeowner.com)
Hesperia, California

1987 FC31 “A Rare Bird”
(300HP 3208TA/ZF)

Towables:
2007 Grand Cherokee CRD, 28’ Wells Cargo Express Wagon
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  #2  
Old 03-01-2020
ChrisRasman's Avatar
ChrisRasman ChrisRasman is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Fort Myers
Posts: 1,333
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DFB052686 View Post
I wanted to document the maintenance, changes fixes, and such on the 87 FC31. I figured since I am going to keep track of it myself, it might be of interest or entertainment to someone.

Picked the bus up from a great PO, he helped seal the open roof vents where the A/C units had been removed, me and ladders do not get along... also fixed a coolant leak(failed AUX pump gasket) and showed me everything he knew about the Rare Bird.

Had a nearly uneventful trip back from Utah, (NOTE TO SELF: a single group 31 battery from 2014 isn't enough to crank the 3208TZ when it's 35*F hah!).

Since the bus had some "lovely" roadmaster tires from 2011 on it, I had a leisurely trip back in the cool evening to Las Vegas, then California at 50mph. if the tires didn't look absolutely brand new (and had been verifiably stored indoors for most of the years.) I would not have taken this chance, even at 50mph in the cool.

after getting it back, a few things were obvious, it needed a cleaning, the 10-year-old fluids, and tires needed to get changed, A/C is quickly missed in all but "quite cool" weather when sitting behind a greenhouse on the highway. so that was on the shortlist (and the need to shore up potential rain leakage in hastily installed "band-aid" vents), the power steering system needs TLC, new batteries, and probably some more I'm forgetting.some non-maintenance observations: this bus is about the polar opposite of my previous 1983 FC35; the rare bird is sparsely optioned. things that are NOT in this coach:

-electric heaters (other than bathroom baseboard)
-side docking lights
-regular oven (only the convection combo)
-chassis heaters
-ice maker (uline)
-toaster
-digitell
-intercom phones
-Altec sound system
-Safe
-Konstant Hot

My first impressions are simply great, I prefer the lower option count. the power is fantastic, I can hardly wait to get the new tires on it to see how it is on the highway at a faster speed. it was actually a bit of a chore keeping the speed down on the return journey. cruise control was a lifesaver. the layout is happily familiar and much more open and there is more storage than my FC35. it's a winner all the way around.

Very nice. Sometimes I wish I had a smaller bird. Kind of like a big van, hop in a go. Enjoy.
__________________
Christopher Rasmussen
USN Ret
Fort Myers, FLORIDA
2003 Wanderlodge 40LX
Body# F133835
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  #3  
Old 03-01-2020
DFB052686's Avatar
DFB052686 DFB052686 is offline
FC Owner. Master of Bus Tetris.
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Hesperia
Posts: 212
Default Oil Change/ swap to 30W

at 91,628 miles I changed the oil a couple days ago, swapped the decade old 15w40 for straight 30W with 2 bottles of STP and 1 bottle Marvel Mystery Oil.

used the on board hydraulics to raise the front of the bus and set the frame on stands.

I found Traveller brand straight weight oil at tractor supply locally in stock, (they had 40Wt there as well! and detergent free varieties) lucky for me, as the web states that not only do they not have any in stock, but no store anywhere near me has it in stock nor can you order it for in store pick up.(EXCEPT Napa, they have Chevron 30Wt for $150 for 5 gallons. but 2 day lead time)
strange times we live in... (I only saw the traveller brand in stock when I went in to the store to inquire about ordering shell T1, and they couldn't help me)

I picked up a new plug and sealing washer from cat, the old washer looks to have been re used a number of times, or maybe a different one? along with real filters. after using cat filters, I'll probably never buy "imitators" again. similar price, physical quality is just better, and they're marked in quarters for installation ease.

getting the old napa filters off the engine was quite a chore. you can see the selection of tools I attempted to use. none worked before the XL channel locks, and those felt like it almost didn't make the cut. I hope it was simply age that had bonded them so steadfast to the engine. next time will not be 10 years down the road. the new filters went on easily by hand and tightened with a metal band filter wrench.

Also found a great funnel that is tailor made for this offset situation, very sturdy and doesn't sag or tilt.

the oil change immediately brought exhaust smoke down, even though it was pretty low to begin with. the noise from the engine was noticeably lessened from the doghouse. not drastic, but there really was a difference. oil pressure reads just a tad higher overall now as well. and I have the simple peace of mind that it is done, and I know it because I did it myself.

CAT:
Drain Plug 6V-1176
Sealing Washer 3B-1925
Oil Filter: 9N-6007 (x2)

Funnel is a Lisle 17232
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__________________

-Dennis (direct email please! dennis@wanderlodgeowner.com)
Hesperia, California

1987 FC31 “A Rare Bird”
(300HP 3208TA/ZF)

Towables:
2007 Grand Cherokee CRD, 28’ Wells Cargo Express Wagon
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  #4  
Old 03-01-2020
DFB052686's Avatar
DFB052686 DFB052686 is offline
FC Owner. Master of Bus Tetris.
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Hesperia
Posts: 212
Default A/C Replacement.

As mentioned in a different thread, I ended up purchasing a pair of new Dometic brisk air II 15k BTU units with mechanical indoor ceiling controls and added the optional heat strip units to them,

I live in the desert and the extra capacity is welcome, and any unit that utilized a heat pump system wouldn't be effective enough for me, it simply gets too cold here for heat pumps to function properly, when you actually start to need them about freezing... no more heat, just cycling and cool air. like my house unit.

I was surprised at the lack of electric heaters in the Rare Bird, so this adds another 3000 watts of 120v heating to the three working furnaces, bathroom heater and coolant heaters.

these units in this configuration are noisy, no way around it. I think the design of the distribution box on the ceiling makes the noise worse than it could be, but cruisairs, these ain't!

to make up for the noise though, these units seem to be very efficient, they don't make straining sounds like so many roof units, they haven't cause any voltage dips on the circuit they occupy, whilst in a/c mode which is surprising, as the carrier on my camper and most rv's that visit do cause some disturbance electrically on that voltmeter.

and the cold air they put out is tremendous, and the heat is gentle and even. no excessive temps at the vents and no cooling randomly.

the pictures are a bit random, the compressor pic is through the plastic slots in the side of the cover, I was happy to see it is a small LG system repackaged, I have had excellent luck with LG in the past in HVAC. and finally the venting on the shrouds seems to have been changed lately to a more open layout, much like people "mod" the old ones to increase cooling, so it is encouraging that those mods are effective enough to gather mfg. attention
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__________________

-Dennis (direct email please! dennis@wanderlodgeowner.com)
Hesperia, California

1987 FC31 “A Rare Bird”
(300HP 3208TA/ZF)

Towables:
2007 Grand Cherokee CRD, 28’ Wells Cargo Express Wagon

Last edited by DFB052686; 03-01-2020 at 09:11 PM.
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  #5  
Old 03-01-2020
Mike Hohnstein's Avatar
Mike Hohnstein Mike Hohnstein is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NW Milwaukee Metro Area
Posts: 4,907
Default

I bought one of those heat pumps, don't even turn on around 20 degree's. Hope your experience is better than mine.
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Mike Hohnstein
FMCA 97824
'83FC35rb/85 PT40 Coke Bus
Germantown, WI
www.AutoTransDesign.com

http://s767.photobucket.com/user/mhohnstein/library/
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  #6  
Old 03-01-2020
DFB052686's Avatar
DFB052686 DFB052686 is offline
FC Owner. Master of Bus Tetris.
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Hesperia
Posts: 212
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Hohnstein View Post
I bought one of those heat pumps, don't even turn on around 20 degree's. Hope your experience is better than mine.
I avoided the heat pumps, they suck for exactly that reason. I got the electric element add-on. straight 1536 watt heating element. they plug into the controller and have a metal shield, best $61 add-on ever imho. an electric space heater that takes up zero space.

2x B59516 BRISK AIR II 15K BTU (A/C unit)
2 3314851.000 CDABD UNIV DUS PW AC HS (ceiling register/control box)
2 3314998.000 HEATSTRIP BRSK 2 (heating elements)
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__________________

-Dennis (direct email please! dennis@wanderlodgeowner.com)
Hesperia, California

1987 FC31 “A Rare Bird”
(300HP 3208TA/ZF)

Towables:
2007 Grand Cherokee CRD, 28’ Wells Cargo Express Wagon
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  #7  
Old 03-01-2020
DFB052686's Avatar
DFB052686 DFB052686 is offline
FC Owner. Master of Bus Tetris.
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Hesperia
Posts: 212
Default Driver's Battery Bay

When I picked up the Bird it had a single 2014 group 31 in the drivers bay and a questionable leaky 8D in the curbside battery compartment, although the bus easily started, it wasn't a trusted configuration

I pulled them both out of the way(along with the very strange 7' long 1/0 positive cable that was going from the starter to the 8D battery... yes, 7 feet or so could almost jump start the bus from another car, maybe??)

and noticing the battery compartment was corroded pretty bad IMHO, I elected to clean, sand and treat it with rustoleum converter. worked great.

I then settled on putting 4x 6v back in stock configuration. and found the OEM hold down in a storage bay, the Duracell GC2 from sam's club is the best value for money that is widely available and supported that I could find.

replaced the cables with 4/0 interconnects, will be replacing the main lines with 4/0 when I get to putting the second 4x 6v bank into the curbside bay soon. right now the bus has 1/0 and it is slightly slow to crank.
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__________________

-Dennis (direct email please! dennis@wanderlodgeowner.com)
Hesperia, California

1987 FC31 “A Rare Bird”
(300HP 3208TA/ZF)

Towables:
2007 Grand Cherokee CRD, 28’ Wells Cargo Express Wagon
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  #8  
Old 03-01-2020
DFB052686's Avatar
DFB052686 DFB052686 is offline
FC Owner. Master of Bus Tetris.
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Hesperia
Posts: 212
Default CAT CYA parts

Decided after some past experiences that it is good to have certain parts in reserve for just in case, and since the 3208 is nearing antique status in more tech minds. I picked up a reman CAT Water Pump & a new Tensioner pulley to put under a sofa in hopes of never needing them.

Cat water pump comes with a gasket in the box. and an interesting paper that delineates acceptable weeping, and basically says not to rush out to get a new pump installed until it actually fails by "pooling coolant on the ground"

the new style pulley is listed below along with all the components that you can buy separately from CAT the rebuild yours. interestingly the "pizza piece" shaped bracket that is the body of the unit is not available outside the assembly purchase... but every other individual piece is. no excuses to buy a whole new one, you can buy the shafts, pulleys etc...

only difference between the new style and the old is the square ratchet drive hole to tension it with, you can use the old one forever just fine, i like using spreaders to tension them anyway.

Water Pump: 0R-0781 (rebuilt, has 100%+ core charge)
WP gasket 9N-0137
Tensioner Pulley:7N-7612 (complete)
--pulley parts--
Shaft 9N-3342 $26.33
Bearing 5P-7807 x2 $26.25
Clip ring 2D-1523 $4.99
Cup/cap 4K-0149 $6.33
Pulley 9N-3343 $203.14
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__________________

-Dennis (direct email please! dennis@wanderlodgeowner.com)
Hesperia, California

1987 FC31 “A Rare Bird”
(300HP 3208TA/ZF)

Towables:
2007 Grand Cherokee CRD, 28’ Wells Cargo Express Wagon

Last edited by DFB052686; 03-01-2020 at 10:50 PM. Reason: Photo problems
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  #9  
Old 03-01-2020
Steelwheels's Avatar
Steelwheels Steelwheels is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Albuquerque & Downers Grove
Posts: 1,698
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DFB052686 View Post
As mentioned in a different thread, I ended up purchasing a pair of new Dometic brisk air II 15k BTU units with mechanical indoor ceiling controls and added the optional heat strip units to them,

I live in the desert and the extra capacity is welcome, and any unit that utilized a heat pump system wouldn't be effective enough for me, it simply gets too cold here for heat pumps to function properly, when you actually start to need them about freezing... no more heat, just cycling and cool air. like my house unit.

I was surprised at the lack of electric heaters in the Rare Bird, so this adds another 3000 watts of 120v heating to the three working furnaces, bathroom heater and coolant heaters.

these units in this configuration are noisy, no way around it. I think the design of the distribution box on the ceiling makes the noise worse than it could be, but cruisairs, these ain't!

to make up for the noise though, these units seem to be very efficient, they don't make straining sounds like so many roof units, they haven't cause any voltage dips on the circuit they occupy, whilst in a/c mode which is surprising, as the carrier on my camper and most rv's that visit do cause some disturbance electrically on that voltmeter.

and the cold air they put out is tremendous, and the heat is gentle and even. no excessive temps at the vents and no cooling randomly.

the pictures are a bit random, the compressor pic is through the plastic slots in the side of the cover, I was happy to see it is a small LG system repackaged, I have had excellent luck with LG in the past in HVAC. and finally the venting on the shrouds seems to have been changed lately to a more open layout, much like people "mod" the old ones to increase cooling, so it is encouraging that those mods are effective enough to gather mfg. attention
How’s the sound level compared to the older ones or the ones in your other fc.
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Kiki B
Downers Grove, IL
87fc35
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  #10  
Old 03-02-2020
DFB052686's Avatar
DFB052686 DFB052686 is offline
FC Owner. Master of Bus Tetris.
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Hesperia
Posts: 212
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelwheels View Post
How’s the sound level compared to the older ones or the ones in your other fc.
they are loud. you get used to it I guess, but it is louder than the carrier in my bigfoot camper seems to be. I believe it has a lot to do with acoustics, these make the same noise level on high as they do on low, but with a slight pitch change and there is buffeting noise from the air distribution box.

I will try to get a dB meter on them to be sure. there's the possibility that it's no louder than any other unit simply because it is remarkably quiet inside the 87.

the 83 has cruisairs, and all 3 on full cold is just not an intrusive sound level. although they are louder *outside* than the new dometics on my 87.
__________________

-Dennis (direct email please! dennis@wanderlodgeowner.com)
Hesperia, California

1987 FC31 “A Rare Bird”
(300HP 3208TA/ZF)

Towables:
2007 Grand Cherokee CRD, 28’ Wells Cargo Express Wagon

Last edited by DFB052686; 03-02-2020 at 12:29 AM.
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