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Buying a Wanderlodge, a Bluebird or any RV Ready to take the plunge or looking to upgrade and you have questions? Folks are standing by ready to help.

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  #1  
Old 04-19-2010
Hoagie's Avatar
Hoagie Hoagie is offline
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Default FC Models

I see a ton of FC Bluebirds owned by many of you. Would this be a good "newbee" coach to own and work with? How is the noise factor compared to a PT model when driving? Also, I what is an air dryer?

Thanks,
Rich Hogan
Northern Minnesota
Wannabe/Newbe
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  #2  
Old 04-19-2010
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Ernest Ekberg Ernest Ekberg is offline
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Rich, my first bird was a 35FC. The noise was bad because the old dog house insulation had fallen apart. The heat was bad because of that insulation. This was before we knew Stephen Birtles sells the stuff. I have redone quite a few birds with new insulation and that makes a world of difference.
I currently have a 40 foot coach. Bigger is not always better and my eyes were too big for me and we bought the 40. Should have kept the FC as it would have been paid for.
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  #3  
Old 04-19-2010
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Rich, We have a 82 fc 33 Ernie is rite if the insulation is bad its a tittle loud if u have a 3208 na its even louder. I reacently replaced my 3208 na with a 3208 turbo 250 new insulation and it is amazingly very quiet. I like the noise level rite were it is. My friends liked my coach and got one as well. Thinking bigger was better for their first coach It didnt work for them to much and had to sell 83pt36. Every buddy is different I love our coach and am allready thinking of sp 36 but here is the deal for the wife and I.We are allways in tight spots and drive it like a car some just get a burger and just to cruise to the drag races easy in and out. FC for a breaking in to blue birds has been good to us and easy to handle after you get over the over welming feeling of the size and all the systems.
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  #4  
Old 04-19-2010
fxdwg fxdwg is offline
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Rich,

I'd say it's everybody's preference. As long as you're not afraid to get your hands dirty, any model will work great!

An air dryer is used to get rid of the moisture in a compressed air system. This air is used for braking, suspension (if equipped), air steps, etc. It should be routinely serviced. It's not too bad a job to do, as long as the last guy didn't tighten the dessicant cartridge too much!
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  #5  
Old 04-19-2010
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Hi Rich,

I've owned FC's now for over 25 years and have no intentions of changing. They are louder than rear engine buses but that is not always a bad thing. I compare it to a sport scar vs a luxury large sedan. You can feel and hear more of what is going on with the bus. You can feel the road more, you don't have that soft, boat like feel going around corners.

On my friends 90SP36 it rides so soft and is so quiet you can not even hear an A/C belt loudly squealing until you stop and step outside! I'm not comfortable with not hearing the engine.

I go off road a lot in the mountains and dunes and prefer the spring to air ride suspension. Also, 35' is as long as I want to go. Have had issues with a 40' bus I had and got rid of it. Some parks don't accept them and if you add anything (lifts or trailers) it just makes them that much harder to deal with. Even the turning radius made it much more difficult to get onto my property!

The last thing I'll mention is cost. I own my bird out right because I'm not spending under 20k for it. I'm a bang-for-buck kind of guy and this fit the bill. The older FC's are generally more simple, straight forward, and easier to maintain (in my opinion). I do follow the KISS principle.

Don't get me wrong.... I'm NOT putting down newer, bigger, nicer coaches as they are VERY comfortable, plush, and nice. BUT, they are heavier, bigger, and just don't meet my needs. If I go off road and bounce around I don't worry about breaking a table lamp, chandelier, mirror covered ceiling, etc.... hee hee hee
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  #6  
Old 04-19-2010
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Hoagie Hoagie is offline
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Thanks guys...That helped. It sounds like with a little attention to the doghouse area, things should be okay? I think I will lean toward a nice FC model for my first coach, but can they be had with a queen bed instead of the two singles? Also, are there any saftey redundencies built in to the air braking system (because it appeares everything works with air through the air dryer)? I sure would'nt like to have any braking surprises!
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  #7  
Old 04-19-2010
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On the older FC's it's a double or two singles depending on whether you have a side bath or rear bath. Rear baths use two single beds. As far as breaking they are all air brakes and if you lose air the rear axle will lock up. Here's some pics of my rear bedroom.
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  #8  
Old 04-21-2010
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The air brakes are a piggyback style with both air and spring actuation. Under normal use air pressure keeps the springs retracted, and air actuates the brakes normally. If you lose your air (down to between 20-45 psi), the spring actuators are no longer held back by air pressure and they will engage the brakes. If that happens, you aren't going anywhere. A low air pressure alarm will sound at 60 psi and that tells you to get off the road before the spring brakes engage. It's a failsafe system.

In addition to the main supply reservoir off the air dryer, there are separate air reservoirs for the front and rear axles. These are the secondary and primary systems. They are isolated by check valves so that if you lose one system, you don't bleed air from the other system. However, the air in one system will keep the spring actuators released, on brakes on both systems, in the event of a failure in the other system.

So there is adequate redundancy, both to ensure that the brakes will engage on a total loss of air, and to ensure you have time to get to the side of the road in case of loss of air.

This applies to FMVSS 121 brakes, which I think have been the standard since the early to mid-70s.
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  #9  
Old 04-21-2010
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FC's built the legend, you can't go wrong. We love ours, it has been a very reliable, livable machine.
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  #10  
Old 04-21-2010
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NH Bill NH Bill is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crit Bliss View Post
FC's built the legend, you can't go wrong. We love ours, it has been a very reliable, livable machine.
Crit,

I'll 2nd that. I just spent the past five months living on out 1983 FC 35. No problem at all for me. We love our FC! However, I will add this. I was alone much of the time. If there were two of us full time it would be just a little cramped.

I think a lot it depends on the psychological and physical make up of the individuals. Really large people would have a tougher go of it on an FC.

NH Bill
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