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!!!ALERT!!! MUST DO MECHANICAL ITEMS FOR YOUR 'BIRD!! Listed here you will find the MUST DO MECHANICAL ITEMS that we feel should be performed on your 'Bird. (ONLY ADMINISTRATORS CAN POST HERE)

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  #1  
Old 07-08-2013
mynavion mynavion is offline
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Location: Stockbridge
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Default New owners (Advice and Check list)

Over time reading past threads concerning "on the road problems" made me think (oh no), I don't really recall an advice thread for new owners (maybe there is ?). Anyhow, I thought I would start one up if anyone is interested in contributing:

  • As a new owner, before taking a long journey (especially with the family aboard), go to a local campground for a weekend shakedown and learn the systems.
  • I don't care what the previous owner told you about the mechanical condition, learn how to do the basics (belts, hoses etc) before heading out on that long trip.
  • If its an FC, figure out if it has a swing radiator or not.
  • How good are the belts, are they tight and can you change them yourself?
  • Identify the belts used and carry spares. I don't care if you are the one to change them out on the highway or not, you'll be glad you have the correct spares.
  • Check the hoses. Same with carrying spares.
  • If an FC, learn how the radiator opens (if a swing radiator).
  • Unless you are totally dependent on roadside service and towing, ensure that you carry the proper tools to do the basics (radiator swing, belt/hose changing etc.)
  • What is the age of the tires and condition? Pressure check before travel.
  • As simple as it sounds do you know how to check the oil and transmission fluid as well as the antifreeze?
Some here may think I am going overboard stating the obvious. Well in my opinion, with older birds so affordable now, many are looking at a bird as an option for a safe reliable motorhome not realizing the mechanical complexity and the "gotcha's" that may come with a 30 year old motorhome. One can buy the most mint condition, best maintained bird out there but its still 30 years old (or what ever age) and subject to problems. Many of these problems don't have to leave you stranded with a little homework and getting your hands dirty in advance by learning to do the basics. Hopefully other experienced owners will pitch in with suggestions....
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John Stiles
1980 33FC
"My Navion". SOLD
Stockbridge, GA

Last edited by iamflagman; 07-08-2013 at 09:00 PM. Reason: updated title
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2013
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patticake patticake is offline
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Location: Ponchatoula
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Good advice, wish something like this was available when I first started fooling around with these. I had to do it on a wing and a prayer. Especially going to a local campground. My first trip was 500 miles to Kerrville, in the winter, not knowing how to operate the heater or defroster, or even if we could make the trip. This was in my '78FC. Bought from a consignment dealership that knew less than I knew about birds.
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90WBWL40 "Jus Chillin"
Ponchatoula,La.
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  #3  
Old 07-08-2013
Butch Charpentier Butch Charpentier is offline
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Location: Syracuse
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Also if you have a blue box and you should. Read everything in it especially the owners manual. Make sure your tool box has at least rudimentary tools all american not metric. As well as a simple electric meter. Another thing I would do is get as much working in your driveway as possible, i.e. heat, air conditioning, water, ice, toilet, fridge, instahot, garbage disposal, lights, etc, etc.
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  #4  
Old 07-08-2013
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bwinter1946 bwinter1946 is offline
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Location: Madera
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I would add:
Know what fluids your rig needs and carry some extra.
Roadside triangles for marking your rig while on the shoulder.
A roadside assistance membership either Good Sam or Coachnet. FWIW I do not recommend AAA for your bus needs.
IR thermometer can answer a lot of questions concerning over temps and gauges.
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Brad Winter
Madera, California
1997, 37' BMC
1999, Jeep Cherokee, Toad
1970, VW Baja Bug, Alternate Toad
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  #5  
Old 10-15-2014
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teamf4 teamf4 is offline
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Location: state center
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mynavion View Post
Over time reading past threads concerning "on the road problems" made me think (oh no), I don't really recall an advice thread for new owners (maybe there is ?). Anyhow, I thought I would start one up if anyone is interested in contributing:

  • As a new owner, before taking a long journey (especially with the family aboard), go to a local campground for a weekend shakedown and learn the systems.
  • I don't care what the previous owner told you about the mechanical condition, learn how to do the basics (belts, hoses etc) before heading out on that long trip.
  • If its an FC, figure out if it has a swing radiator or not.
  • How good are the belts, are they tight and can you change them yourself?
  • Identify the belts used and carry spares. I don't care if you are the one to change them out on the highway or not, you'll be glad you have the correct spares.
  • Check the hoses. Same with carrying spares.
  • If an FC, learn how the radiator opens (if a swing radiator).
  • Unless you are totally dependent on roadside service and towing, ensure that you carry the proper tools to do the basics (radiator swing, belt/hose changing etc.)
  • What is the age of the tires and condition? Pressure check before travel.
  • As simple as it sounds do you know how to check the oil and transmission fluid as well as the antifreeze?
Some here may think I am going overboard stating the obvious. Well in my opinion, with older birds so affordable now, many are looking at a bird as an option for a safe reliable motorhome not realizing the mechanical complexity and the "gotcha's" that may come with a 30 year old motorhome. One can buy the most mint condition, best maintained bird out there but its still 30 years old (or what ever age) and subject to problems. Many of these problems don't have to leave you stranded with a little homework and getting your hands dirty in advance by learning to do the basics. Hopefully other experienced owners will pitch in with suggestions....
If you have a manual, is there somewhere in the manual that tells you what sizes and what you'll need?

Tools? Are there special ones that we'd need to change a belt or something that one might not normally have in the garage.

Done oil changes and fluid checks on normal auto's.....is it fairly similar?

Thanks for posting this!!
Even the things that might seem simple to someone else aren't necessarily to another, so again, having this posted...thanks.
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Matthew and Tina Farrell
State Center, IA
SOLD:1982 FCSB 33
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  #6  
Old 10-15-2014
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teamf4 teamf4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwinter1946 View Post
I would add:
Know what fluids your rig needs and carry some extra.

Is this in the manual somewhere?

Roadside triangles for marking your rig while on the shoulder.
A roadside assistance membership either Good Sam or Coachnet. FWIW I do not recommend AAA for your bus needs.
IR thermometer can answer a lot of questions concerning over temps and gauges.
What is an IR thermometer? or does IR stand for something....
Thanks!!
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Matthew and Tina Farrell
State Center, IA
SOLD:1982 FCSB 33
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  #7  
Old 10-15-2014
Joatha Joatha is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teamf4 View Post
What is an IR thermometer? or does IR stand for something....
Thanks!!
InfraRed thermometer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_thermometer
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2001 Bluebird Wanderlodge LX ME
WanderBee
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  #8  
Old 10-15-2014
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NealinNevada NealinNevada is offline
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IR thermometer is an InfraRed thermometer which allows you to take temperatures of important places on the engine, tires, etc. Then if you record them for awhile, you have a baseline number for normal temperatures. When you do a walk-around on a trip you can quickly spot an impending problem. The IR thermometers are available at Harbor Freight and many other online places.
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1994 WB40 and a slow '73 Nova SS
Palomino Valley, NV

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  #9  
Old 10-15-2014
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curtsprenger curtsprenger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teamf4 View Post
What is an IR thermometer? or does IR stand for something....
Thanks!!
IR
http://www.amazon.com/Thermometer-AR.../dp/B000MX5Y9C
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1987 PT38 8V92 "MacAttack Racing"
1974 FC31 534 gas engine, air brakes (sold)
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  #10  
Old 10-15-2014
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teamf4 teamf4 is offline
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Thank to you all!!
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Matthew and Tina Farrell
State Center, IA
SOLD:1982 FCSB 33
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